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Methods for debt-reduction

Swearing off debt entirely was a key part of Kamel's approach, and it all started with cutting up his credit cards. “Aggressive is what it takes if you want to get out of debt quickly,” he said.

He immediately saved up $1,000 and set it aside as an emergency fund, while simultaneously attacking his $4,000 credit card debt — which he did by creating a strict budget, partaking in various side hustles and selling stocks from his days working at Apple.

Kamel also opted to lean heavily on the popular snowball method, a debt-reducing strategy which prioritizes repaying debts and loans with lower balances first — while making only minimum payments on other outstanding debts.

His reasoning is simple: paying off the $4,000 quickly gave him all the “momentum and motivation” he needed to tackle his other significantly larger $36,000 student loan afterward.

Once Kamel found himself debt-free within two years of his “financial wake-up call,” he was able to cushion some of the other savings he’d started setting aside — including the “ankle biter” $1,000 emergency fund, which he eventually grew to the point that it covered upwards of six months of his expenses. This tactic “turns an emergency into a minor inconvenience.”

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Maximizing returns on investment

With his newfound financial freedom, Kamel decided it was time to “go ham” on investing by putting 15% of his gross income into a retirement account. He added that eight in 10 millionaires become rich thanks to consistently investing in a retirement fund.

“Homeownership is [also] a huge part of this puzzle,” he said, urging viewers to buy a home as soon as they’re financially stable. Kamel and his wife took out a 15-year fixed rate mortgage, bought a modest townhouse and hustled to earn more income to pay it off faster.

Kamel and his wife did everything, from strict budgeting to aggressive side hustles. He also admitted that the townhouse wasn’t the couple's “dream home,” but they understood that getting into the housing market and letting their property “appreciate in value” was the first most important step in generating more income down the road.

Their 15-year fixed rate mortgage payments also amounted to no more than a quarter of their monthly household income, which kept them comfortable.

Kamel isn't alone with his frugal lifestyle approach. Warren Buffett is one of the most successful investors in the world — yet, despite his massive wealth, the Oracle of Omaha doesn’t live a lavish lifestyle. In fact, he’s frugal in many areas of his life, including only buying used cars.

With the combined equity on Kamel’s home and the money in his investment and savings accounts — not to mention his frugality — he found himself a net worth millionaire within a decade of his initial “financial wake-up call.”

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Christy Bieber Freelance Writer

Christy Bieber a freelance contributor to Moneywise, who has been writing professionally since 2008. She writes about everything related to money management and has been published by NY Post, Fox Business, USA Today, Forbes Advisor, Credible, Credit Karma, and more. She has a JD from UCLA School of Law and a BA in English Media and Communications from the University of Rochester.

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