During a 2019 episode of The Ramsey Show, a US couple shocked listeners by revealing they had accumulated just under $1 million in debt.
While it's not uncommon for Americans to amass debt from mortgages, student loans, and car loans, this amount was considered excessive.
Despite earning above-average salaries, one half of the couple shared the details in hopes of finding a solution to their financial predicament without resorting to bankruptcy.
Host Dave Ramsey was nearly speechless upon hearing how they had reached this point.
The caller told Dave, "We have probably just under $1 million in debt and we want to know how to get debt free without filing bankruptcy."
Following that, she clarified that their mortgage accounts for $210,000 of the debt, while $335,000 is from their student loans. The remaining amount is attributed to their personal loans and credit card debt.
She added: "About $136,000 in credit cards, $44,000 in personal loans and $35,000 in car loans."
To provide some context, the caller, who is 29 years old, and her partner, who is 32 years old, both have advanced degrees and work for the government, earning a combined income of $230,000.
Given this information, it was understandable that host Dave Ramsey asked the question, "Is it both of you that have completely lost your minds?"
She then told him: "Well, I have the majority of the student loans and he has the majority of the credit cards."
Following a question about how her partner had accumulated $100,000 in credit card debt, the caller proceeded to explain: "I think it's one of those things where we're just making really poor financial decisions and thinking you'll be able to pay it down as you go. And it doesn't happen."
Host Dave, who was utterly perplexed by the couple's situation, inquired of her: "Is there recognition on both of your parts how absurd the situation is?"
She sincerely replied: "Yes, there is. So I think we're both a bit scared and want to do anything we can to avoid."
The host didn't mince words and told her directly: "Well you're scared and you should be. You're disgusted and you should be.
"You're in the early stages of being sick and tired and sick and tired and you should be.
"So I'm getting ready to destroy your life as you know it, because your lifestyle is considerably above your extremely good income and has been for a period of time. And so you've gotten used to spending like you're in Congress."
As a potential solution, Dave suggested a $30,000 budget and advised the couple to curtail their expenses for the next three years.
A TikTok clip of the show, which was shared two days ago, quickly went viral as viewers were left astounded by the couple's financial situation.
And here I am losing sleep over my $7k in debt!" one person commented.
A second wrote: "I cannot even imagine being in this situation."
"I can't even fathom the amount of interest they're paying on that credit card debt," a third chipped.
And a fourth added: "I need a complete documentary on HOW they got $1 million in debt and then a reality show about how they attempt to get out of it."