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Travel Blogger Karen Akpan Shares How She Journeyed From Debt to Economic Freedom

across social media, started in 2017 to document and share budget travel hacks for people. Although she wasn’t a big spender, her story speaks to how debt can sneak into the lives of even those who earn good money.This creep ultimately caused her family to lose the ability to stay on top of their finances.“It’s called ‘lifestyle creep’ when you’re done with school so you think you have more money and can afford more things,” Akpan says. “But the truth is that you really can’t.”At the time, Akpan had a good-paying job as a clinical researcher while her husband stayed home with their son.

The consistent income made it hard to see how their monthly payments were beginning to add up. Then, in 2019, she lost her job.This pivotal moment changed Akpan’s relationship with money and her life trajectory. With an expensive California mortgage, car payments and student loans, the emergency fund she and her husband, Sylvester, had dutifully built quickly depleted.

At that point, it felt like they were drowning in debt.She recalls waking up one day and thinking, I can’t live like this. If I continue like this, the cycle is gonna repeat itself. My child’s going to start college and struggle and have two or three jobs.

The thought of her son, Aiden, going through the same struggles was enough for her to change things. With books, blogs and YouTube (or as Akpan calls it, “YouTube University”), she began and . At one point, she realized it was time to sell the house.“I calculated and multiplied our monthly payment by the 30-year time period, and I realized that we would pay back three times the amount of the house,” Akpan explains.

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Karen Akpan Shares


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