Episode 68: How Side Hustles Helped One Couple Pay Off $224k in 2½ Years | Leo Jean-Louis, Freedom Is A Choice Movement

This month, we’ll be helping you get started on any financial and investment goals you’ve made. This week, let’s work on goal-setting with your dinero. Listen to episode 68 to hear how this family went from a six-figure debt to a six-figure net-worth in less than five years.

For episode 68, we have Leo Jean-Louis from Freedom Is A Choice Movement, a platform dedicated to share the real-life, personal finance strategies the Jean-Louis family used to pay off their six-figure debt and build wealth.

Leo Jean-Louis is a first-generation Haitian-American. At a very young age, he learned the value of being content with what you have and being resourceful. In middle school, he purchased fun-sized candy bars and resold them to his peers for $0.25 each. He was able to save enough to buy himself his own full-sized basketball hoop! Over the years, Leo has spent a bulk of his time reading and learning about everything finance. After his post of paying off debt went viral on social media, he and his wife founded Freedom Is A Choice Movement, a business created to teach millennials how to become debt free.

In just 9 months, he has created a debt payoff plan for individuals and families totaling over $4.45 million! His money tips and personal finance journey have been featured on Yahoo Finance, the Steve Harvey TV Show, the His & Her Money Show, MagnifyMoney, and Northwestern Mutual, just to name a few. Leo lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his beautiful wife, Faith, and their firstborn son. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

In Episode 68, Leo and I talk about:

  • The burden that comes with carrying debt—this is the kind of burden that keeps you up at night, that will leave you constantly feeling exhausted and drained, that will never allow you to fully feel free
  • The cost of earning a degree—the American Dream sells us on the idea that acquiring a degree is our “ticket” into a different class or lifestyle. That a diploma leads to earning more, a better life, etc. Leo critiques this and asks us to consider if it really is worth it for those who see it as an investment
  • Starting with your why—paying off debt isn’t fun. It isn’t fun to be funneling most of your money into paying these bills. So in the moments where it is hard to continue on your dinero journey, understanding your fundamental reason for making this change will be crucial
  • Celebrating the milestones in your journey—yes, debt payoff is not fun at all. So to make sure we don’t stray from our dinero journey, we need to remember our why and celebrate the wins we’ve achieved as they come. Did you pay off your first $5K? Celebrate that sh*t. You paid off another $10K? Celebrate that sh*t too. Celebrate all the wins.
  • Side hustles as a way of earning more—budgeting is a great tool for gaining control of your finances. But when you’re trying to pay off up to six figures in debt, “cutting down” will not be enough to achieve your goals. Only earning more can do that

Leo situates his financial advice within the realities of communities of color. His advice is culturally relevant to communities who are typically not considered in the world of personal finance and investing. Thank you, Leo for being such a crucial member of the personal finance content creator space!


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