In these tough economic times many people feel overwhelmed. They don't feel they have any control over their financial future.
But when it comes to money matters, Lynette Khalfani-Cox knows her stuff -- that's why she's called, "The Money Coach."
But she's quick to admit -- she hasn't always made smart financial choices.
$100,000 Credit Card Debt
"Back in 2001 I had a $100,000 in credit card debt alone. It was the result of over spending right out," she said.
Today, she's debt free.
She says she used any extra money she could find to pay more than the minimum due on her credit cards.
"I took the time to knock out that debt in just three years and I never missed a single payment," she said.
Her financial finesse has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, and the Fox Business Network. She's also appeared on "Oprah" and "Good Morning America."
But her real passion comes from sharing her debt free strategies with people one-on-one. That's why she recently launched something called "The Zero Debt Tour" -- targeting churches with free financial workshops.
Sharing What She's Learned
Her goal -- to share with others what she has learned about managing money.
"I teach people practical money management strategies about how to get out of debt, how to save more money and how to better budget," she said.
She admits that some of her teachings may be hard to swallow, especially when it comes to being financially accountable to God. But her faith-filled messages are meant to bring hope to people.
"You really do have to make choices, the tough choices, to determine what can I live without, what do I really need, and what's simply a want?" she said.
Khalfani-Cox says she's seen firsthand just how serious the problem is, from massive mortgages to crushing credit card debt and student loans.
No More Paycheck-to-Paycheck
For some people, it's a struggle just to put food on the table and buy basic necessities. More and more people are now living paycheck-to-paycheck and desperately looking for strategies to improve their personal finances.
"We have people driving Mercedez, BMW's, Lexus' etc., who are in food pantry lines and it's because no one ever taught them the basics of good stewardship, proper money management. They had no savings, they had no cash cushion, they were relying on their credit cards to finance their lifestyles," she said.
But Khalfani-Cox says there is good news -- she's confident that if people make the right money moves, they can become financially fit, too.
"God is good and I want people to know that there is hope even amidst the economic crisis that we're currently in," she said. "People should have hope that you can come out on the other side, I'm living proof of that."
*Originally aired April 9, 2009