An Interview with Coach Melissa Cappleman


Melissa Cappleman
I was single by choice, yet determined to be a mom.

Many people tell me that they are drawn to me because of my personal story. It is the story of how I overcame my own tendency of struggling with money problems, and how I became debt free. In fact, most of my clients feel they can easily relate to me, due largely to the fact that I’ve been where they are – in debt up to my eyeballs, and not sure how to get out of it. It’s so easy to wander into debt, just as I did.

Here’s my story of how I got back out of it…

Accepting debt to make our dreams come true

In the spring of 2004, I was living and working in Denver, Colorado, when I decided it was time to buy a house and adopt a child. I was single by choice, yet determined to be a mom, and to provide a good home for the child I would soon have. After first making sure I could afford the mortgage, I became a homeowner in April 2004. And I began the adoption process in January 2005.

However, it wasn’t long before I realized that the house needed work. The driveway was not safe for a single woman living by herself, so I added a garage, for increased security. I also needed central AC due to my mold allergies (plus the furnace was circa 1960) so, to afford my home renovations, I took out a second mortgage on the house. Soon, the garage renovation was starting to run over cost and my spending sprees had gotten out of control. Who buys a new living room set when getting ready to adopt an infant?  I was running out of money fast, even as I was working to fund the adoption.

However, instead of knowing how to budget finances, I simply tapped into all of my available financial resources, which included loans from family and tapping into my 401k, to adopt my handsome son and bring him home from Guatemala in August of 2006. I was finally a Mom!

It is nearly impossible for me to express the joy I felt at finally being a mom. I had literally been given a healthy, happy son, I had a great job, and a new home…It was bliss!

Deeper into debt

Soon though, my bills began to grow even larger. Providing for a baby is expensive! Childcare and diapers alone were costing me about $1,200 a month. Plus, I had student loans, my car payment and of course, credit card debt. I also had a first and second mortgage on the house. I took the advice of an older colleague and took out an IRA loan which I used to get rid of most of my credit card debt. That seemed like the perfect solution, until later on, when I was surprised to receive a large tax penalty for not putting that money back into my IRA. I was taxed at my current tax rate PLUS A 10% PENALTY.

To help me forget my financial woes, I dove headfirst into motherhood and my career, which I loved. My work kept me busy and left me with a sense of fulfillment. Then one day, everything changed. My manager was transferred to another country, and the manager who stepped in took over most of my responsibilities. I spent my days searching for work, anything to keep me busy and challenged. Nothing worked.

Meanwhile, I loved coming home to my son every day, but when he went to bed, I had nothing left to do. So I spent my evenings reading anything I could get my hands on.

The beginning of the end of living in debt

One night in February 2007, I read a magazine article about a woman who hired a coach to get herself back on track, and I was intrigued by the possibility of providing similar services for people. I love helping people, so I figured being a coach would be perfect for me. Plus, I also saw it as an opportunity to earn a second income and I immediately signed up for coach training.

I began my life coaching business in March 2007 and became a Certified Life Coach after receiving training in the Wellness Mapping 360° and Coach Training Alliance Certified Coach programs.

At the same time, I had discovered The Dave Ramsey Show, a free podcast. This time, thanks to Dave’s influence, instead of splurging when I received my annual bonus, I used it to pay off my car. When I finally received the title from the bank (surprisingly without a congratulatory letter), I had never felt better about managing my own financial situation. I thought, “well, at least I own my car, because I may have to live in it!” I gave myself a big pat on the back.

Getting myself out of debt began to feel like something that I could really do. By now, my credit cards and car were paid off, and I had momentum toward my goal.

Life throws a curve ball

However, in 2009, my life was disrupted. In January, I was laid off from my position at a financial services firm and in August my Mom passed away. These events prompted several decisions that have gotten me where I am today. I had no full-time job and my family was in California – why was I still living in Denver? I decided to sell the house and relocate to Los Angeles. After a month of showing the house with no offers, I just decided it was time to go. One hour into our drive to California, the realtor called with an offer. We negotiated it to just $2,000 under the asking price and closed! When the money came through, I used it to pay off that first and second mortgage – and in March of 2010 – I was officially debt free!

In 2008, I completed the Dave Ramsey training, and I am now the Dave Ramsey Certified Debt-Free Coach of the Greater Los Angeles Area! I am proud to say that, since then, I have helped hundreds of people across the nation discover the road to financial freedom. In July 2011, I also completed the Inspired Spirit Coaching Academy training, so my clients may more rapidly achieve financial prosperity using spiritual principles.

Achieving a balanced life

I now live a wonderfully balanced life, both financially and spiritually. My wonderful son is my light and joy. I run my business on a cash basis, and always have, just as I now do my personal life.

Getting out of debt has given me the flexibility to do what I feel most passionate about. I understand exactly what my clients are going through: been there – done that. I live my life according to spiritual principles, as well as the financial concepts I’ve been taught in my finance coaching training.

My story is not unique. I do know what you are going through. I’ve experienced the financial and emotional turmoil that out-of-control debt can bring. However, because of my training and experience, I also know that it can be overcome. I would love to help you do it, too.

In 2011, after just one year in Southern California, I had become so busy I could not handle alone the demands on my time any longer. I’ve now put together a team of finance coaching experts, including Jeff Lightner, to help you achieve your goal of financial peace and a debt-free life.

That is my story and I’m excited to begin helping you write yours. If you are truly committed to getting out of debt but aren’t sure how to do it, I am here to help you. Just get in touch with me to set up your free get-acquainted call and we can start from there!