One Year Later: My Extraordinary Interview Series Roundup

One year ago, I launched a new series here on Making Sense of Cents where I interview people who are doing extraordinary things with their lives. I started this new series because I wanted to show you all real stories about financial successes, and I wanted you to get to know the people leading these…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 25, 2023

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One Year Later: My Extraordinary Interview Series RoundupOne year ago, I launched a new series here on Making Sense of Cents where I interview people who are doing extraordinary things with their lives.

I started this new series because I wanted to show you all real stories about financial successes, and I wanted you to get to know the people leading these extraordinary lives.

I figured this would not only be great motivation, but it would also show everyone the different things that are possible. Plus, interviewing these amazing people is a great way to learn from them as they share their secrets to success with us.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the people I interviewed this year:

  • How This 28 Year Old Retired With $2.25 Million
  • This Successful Entrepreneur Went From Welfare To Earning Millions – Interview With Kimra Luna
  • From Rags To Riches- How Tina Immigrated To America With Nothing And Now Has A Net Worth Of $2,000,000
  • How This Couple Does Van Life With A Baby (and a dog!)
  • How This Successful Family Of Four Makes Travel Blogging Work For Them
  • How This Family Moved To The “Hood” And Paid Off $120,000 In Debt
  • How This Couple Bought An $11,500 RV, Traveled To All 50 States, And Built A Thriving Business
  • How This Couple Paid Off $204,971.31 In Debt
  • How We Paid Off $195,000 In Debt In 18 Months!
  • How This 29 Year Old Is Building A Real Estate Empire
  • How Elizabeth Reached Financial Independence By 32 And Moved To A Homestead

Below, you can learn more about each person’s story and find a link to their full interview.

 

How This 28 Year Old Retired With $2.25 Million

The very first person I interviewed was JP Livingston. JP retired at age 28 with a net worth of $2.25 million. And, her net worth is still increasing!

Of that total, 60% of her net worth came from saving, while 40% came from growing her money through investing. This is why investing your money is so important, and it’s how you really allow your money to work for you!

JP grew up listening to stories about financial insecurity during her parents’ upbringing. The freedom that early retirement brought really appealed to her, and who doesn’t want to retire early anyways?

She is now retired at the young age of 28 and says that she still lives “an incredibly luxurious life.” And, she managed to retire early while living in one of the most expensive places in the world – New York City.

Please head to How This 28 Year Old Retired With $2.25 Million to read the whole story.

 

This Successful Entrepreneur Went From Welfare To Earning Millions – Interview with Kimra Luna

In a relatively short amount of time, Kimra Luna went from being on welfare to making around $1,000,000 annually with her successful digital business as a personal branding and online business strategist.

Kimra helps entrepreneurs (like me and you!) monetize their companies and brands online. She has a huge and loyal audience of over 100,000 followers.

She teaches business owners the same strategies she uses so that everyone can reach the success that she has had. Plus, she is a successful course creator – over 5,000 students have purchased her programs!

People love her courses and everything that she teaches, and I’ve always heard great things about her.

She’s been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, Smart Passive Income, and more.

Please head to This Successful Entrepreneur Went From Welfare To Earning Millions – Interview with Kimra Luna to read the whole story.

 

From Rags To Riches- How Tina Immigrated To America With Nothing And Now Has A Net Worth Of $2,000,000

Tina immigrated with her family to North America when she was 18 and had just a few hundred dollars to her name. She now earns around $400,000 per year and has a net worth of about $2,000,000.

In the first year that Tina came here with her family, they rented a small room in a triplex, while sharing the washroom and kitchen with other families.

She has an inspiring rags to riches story that shows people how hard work can make dreams come true.

In this interview, you’ll learn:

  • The challenges they overcame when immigrating.
  • How Tina paid off her debt.
  • About her $100,000 emergency fund.
  • What it’s like going from $0 to a $400,000 yearly income.
  • How money has changed her life.

And more!

Please head to From Rags To Riches- How Tina Immigrated To America With Nothing and Now Has a Net Worth of $2,000,000 to read the whole story.

 

How This Couple Does Van Life With A Baby (and a dog!)

Giddi and Jace from Our Home On Wheels live in a van and travel full-time with their baby (yes, a baby!) named Juniper, and their dog, Lotus. They are outdoor enthusiasts who purchased and converted a Sprinter van in March of 2016.

When they first started full-time travel, they had no more than $40 to their names.

Before they moved into their van, they were feeling stuck and unhappy in their full-time jobs.

Now, they fund full-time travel by selling their handmade jewelry, and they also collaborate with brands on social media.

In this interview, you’ll learn:

  • How they live in a van with three people and a dog.
  • How they are raising their beautiful baby in a van.
  • How they earn a living traveling full-time.
  • And more!

Please head to How This Couple Does Van Life with A Baby (and a dog!) to read the whole story.

 

How This Successful Family Of Four Makes Travel Blogging Work For Them

Caz and Craig Makepeace are a married couple from the Central Coast of Australia. They have lived in five countries and traveled to 52 of them, and they blog about their travels at yTravelBlog.

Just seven years ago, they had no idea what they were doing with their blog, and since then, their blog has grown to be one of the biggest travel blogs in the world.

In this interview, you’ll learn:

  • The obstacles they had to overcome while getting started.
  • How they afford to travel extensively with their family.
  • How they have become such successful travel bloggers.
  • What an average day is like for them.
  • Tips for traveling with children, and more!

They have traveled extensively, including an 18-month stint traveling through Australia with their two daughters. They recently came to the US and are road tripping here.

They’ve been featured on Forbes, The Today Show, have been invited to the White House, and more.

Please head to How This Successful Family Of Four Makes Travel Blogging Work For Them to read the whole story.

 

How This Family Moved To The “Hood” And Paid Off $120,000 In Debt

Aja McClanahan made big sacrifices to pay off $120,000 in debt!

In this interview, you’ll learn:

  • How she got out of debt.
  • How she kept up with her debt paying discipline.
  • The sacrifices she made to get out of debt.
  • Her tips for paying off debt when you feel like you have no money.
  • How she increased her income so that she could pay off debt.
  • What she would do differently, and more!

Her article, Hood Rich- How Living in the Hood Saved Our Finances, got me hooked. In it she says “We live in ‘Da ‘Hood.’ Corner stores, kids out late at night, gunshots, alley mechanics and all the glory of what the ‘hood life entails. Yes, this is where our home is located. A home on the next block is selling for $2,500.”

Yes, she paid off over $120,000 in debt, and none of their debt was even from a mortgage, and she did it all with a family to care for.

Please head to How This Family Moved To The “Hood” and Paid Off $120,000 in Debt to read the whole story.

 

How This Couple Bought An $11,500 RV, Traveled To All 50 States, And Built A Thriving Business

Heath and Alyssa Padgett currently live in an RV full-time, making a living, and documenting it all.

They blog over at HeathandAlyssa.com, and I’m a huge fan! Not only have I been on their podcast a couple of times (How Michelle Makes Six Figures from a Blog While Full-Time RVing and Learning How to Make $5k/Month in Blog Revenue), we’re also friends.

In 2014, they quit their jobs, purchased a motorhome, and went on a year-long road trip across America. They worked jobs in all 50 states for a documentary they filmed called Hourly America.

After a year of living in an RV full-time, they realized RV life was for them. They worked to pay off a bunch of debt, built up their video production business, and they still love RV life.

This amazing couple has been featured on CNN, CBS, People Magazine, Business Insider, Forbes, and more!

Please head to How This Couple Bought an $11,500 RV, Traveled To All 50 States, and Built A Thriving Business to read the whole story.

 

How This Couple Paid Off $204,971.31 In Debt

Claudia and Garrett paid off a crazy amount of debt and are now living debt free!

They sold their 1,500 square foot house, downsized to a 500 square foot home, sold 80% of their belongings, side hustled like crazy, and were able to pay off $204,971.31 in debt.

Yes, they paid off over $200,000 in debt!

Please head to How This Couple Paid off $204,971.31 in Debt to read the whole story.

 

How We Paid Off $195,000 In Debt In 18 Months!

Sami and Dallas started their debt free journey in January of 2016, and by July 28, 2017, they were debt free! They paid off $195,000 of debt and have a great story to share.

In this interview, you’ll learn:

  • How they got into debt.
  • Why they decided to pay it all off.
  • How they managed to pay it off in just 18 months.
  • Why they decided to pay off their debt instead of primarily investing.
  • Their tips for others to pay off debt.
  • How their debt payoff story is different from others.
  • The financial goal they are working on now.

And more!

Please head to How We Paid Off $195,000 in Debt in 18 Months! to read the whole story.

 

How This 29 Year Old Is Building A Real Estate Empire

At 29, Elizabeth Colegrove is a successful real estate investor, property manager, and landlord.

She currently owns eight rental properties and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

In this interview, Elizabeth shows us how exactly she built her real estate empire, the process to affording each, what she looks for in rentals, how she manages her real estate properties long distance, and more.

Please head to How This 29 Year Old Is Building A Real Estate Empire to read the whole story.

 

How Elizabeth Reached Financial Independence By 32 And Moved To A Homestead

Elizabeth Willard Thames, better known as Mrs. Frugalwoods, is the creator of the award-winning personal finance blog, Frugalwoods.com. At age 32 she “reached financial independence and left a successful career in the city to create a more meaningful, purpose-driven life on a 66-acre homestead in the woods of Vermont” with her husband and young daughter.

Thames is the author of the book, Meet The Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living. Before becoming a writer and homesteader, she worked for 10 years in the non-profit sector as a fundraiser and communications manager.

Please head to How Elizabeth Reached Financial Independence by 32 And Moved To A Homestead to read the whole story.

Which interview was your favorite? In the comments below, please let me know who I should interview next!


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Janet

    Thanks for sharing these inspiring stories! I left my Finance Analyst job in 2016 and now I’m studying abroad and I’m really hoping that I won’t have to return to my old corporate life again. Graduation is coming soon and so I decided to start my blog and hopefully it’ll help me realize my dreams :)!

    Thanks for your inspiration Michelle!!

  2. loving this postt it is really interesting and everyone can find some tips to use in their life, thanks for sharing!!!

  3. Al P

    Thank you for sharing! It’s absolutely encouraging to read each of these individual’s stories. It gives us that extra boost to become successful.

  4. Absolutely loved every bit of this post. Thanks for sharing Michelle. It’s truly an inspiration for all the wannabe entrepreneurs like me.

    1. Thanks! Which story was your favorite?

      1. Tina’s story really hit my spot.From rags to riches, And how she created a $2,000,000 of net worth.

  5. Sara Michaels

    Hey Michelle! I LOVE reading these stories!!! Heath + Alyssa’s story was by far my favorite and really resonated with us. We’d continually been on the fence & seeking a new way of life that allowed us FREEDOM and I have to say the YouTube videos we found and YOUR BLOG + interviews gave us the inspo to push us into ACTUALLY DOING IT!
    THANK YOU for sharing!!! xo – Sara

    1. Awesome! When are you setting out!?

  6. I really like JP’s story. Like you said, it’s pretty incredible to retire that early while living in one of the world’s most expensive cities. Rent is insanely high, which means that most young adults in these cities have little savings.

  7. The Curious Frugal

    I really love this interview series – I don’t know that I can pick a favorite! They all have different stories and paths but a big thing they all have in common is grit. Definitely a determined bunch. There were a couple that I missed so going to read those now.

  8. Elizabeth’s interview really hit it home for me. It’s what I dream about and hopefully will realize soon. Keep the interviews up! They are really inspiring 🙂

  9. Hey Michelle,

    I think that’s a great way to energize and re-energize affiliate marketers, aspiring and existing bloggers, and those lazy affiliates who fell off the bandwagon to get on track and get serious about the internet marketing side hustle. Keep doing what you’re doing my friend. 🙂

  10. Really excellent reads….I especially like JP Livingston’s story. I am definitely going to go check out her website 🙂 I am pretty sure we live in the same area, the the cost of living here SUCKS!!!

  11. April Vera Cruz

    I want to be financially free that’s my goal in life. Thank you for all this information that is given. I stumbled upon your website by just browsing and I can actually say what an eye opener. Crazy thing is, I just cancelled my subscription with Bluehost. I’ve had it for a year and did nothing with it. But now that I’ve read your Blog and have a better understanding. I have to signup and subscribe again…lol