Celebrating the Ultimate Freedom

Melaleuca Newsroom text above global headquarters

Late this summer, Frank and Belinda VanderSloot had the opportunity to visit three beautiful homes belonging to Melaleuca Marketing Executives to burn the mortgages and award the owners with the Total Freedom Award! It was an eventful day of phenomenal parties full of food and fun that gave Frank and Belinda the opportunity to get to know Marketing Executives across the country. Most importantly, it was a day dedicated to celebrating the ultimate freedom - ZERO DEBT - with the three families who are experiencing it!

Trixie & Rod Overcashier
Executive Directors III

"We're no different... we just made different choices..."

Rod and Trixie Overcashier live in an incredible home on a sprawling piece of land in Prior Lake, Minnesota. It's evident that every aspect of the house was built with their family in mind, including the pool in the backyard that has baskets on each end for intense games of water basketball! It was put to good use on the day of their mortgage burning party when dozens of Melaleuca marketing executives brought their families to the Overcashier's to celebrate with them and their three children.

Before Rod and Trixie were introduced to Melaleuca, they were committed to being out of debt. "We felt strongly about Melaleuca before we knew of Frank's philosophy about being debt free, but it helped us feel even stronger about the company because we spoke the same language," Rod says. "I knew that financial freedom was a message that needed to be spread and I was so happy that Frank and Melaleuca were spreading it. It wasn't about 'fake it until you make it' and being flashy, it was about being down-to-earth and a lifestyle that brings freedom."

Armed with that philosophy, Rod and Trixie consistently made a number of choices and committed to them. Those choices allowed them to accrue the least amount of debt possible to build their home. In fact, they bought the land before they built the house in order to pay for it piece by piece, and some of the labor was done by Rod himself. They were able to quickly pay off the debt they had by putting their Melaleuca income towards the payments.

"For us, being in debt was not an option," Rod observes. "From the time we got married, we knew we wanted to enjoy life when we were young. Being totally debt-free was one of the goals I wanted to achieve prior to retirement and not at retirement, and the sooner the better. I wanted to be young and have it done." Trixie agrees, "We don't want to wait to enjoy life. We want to do it now."

Looking at their home on the day of the party, it's hard to fathom that a couple as young as Rod and Trixie and with all of their children still at home could be totally debt free. During his remarks before the mortgage was engulfed in flames, Rod spoke about a lot of things they did to reach their goal. "You have to be willing to do without, you have to be willing to not have what the neighbors have," Rod said. "You have to delay instant gratification, because ten years from now that will make a huge difference in your life. It has made a huge difference to us and we never thought of it as a sacrifice. It was a lifestyle we chose in order to accomplish what we knew we'd accomplish in the future. And the future is here."

"We didn't wait to start doing this until we had reached a certain place with Melaleuca," Rod continues. "We started from the beginning. We're no different than anyone, we just made different choices. People say to me, 'I wish I could do that' and I tell them, 'You can. You just have to make the choice.'"

Bill & Merijo Alter
Executive Directors II

"There's tremendous peace of mind..."

Bill Alter always told his wife that he didn't want to owe any money on the 'Ponderosa' - his Ponderosa being a warm inviting country home tucked into the trees in the hills of High Ridge, Missouri. On the day of their mortgage burning celebration, it was evident that Bill and Merijo were incredibly pleased to have reached that goal. The feeling of togetherness and family was impenetrable, as the Alters thanked all of their friends and family for coming and for making the goal something they could accomplish.

Merijo Alter had experience in the direct-sales industry before she learned about Melaleuca. "The first company I was with had to shut its doors and when the company closed down we had a little bit of money saved so we weren't in panic mode," Merijo says. "I started looking at other direct sales companies and each one looked better than the last. Each thing that I got involved in required buying thousands of dollars in inventory and sales aids and I started borrowing on our home equity to live on. At that time, Bill was in the State's House of Representatives which didn't pay well. We found ourselves in debt. Bill was not happy."

Merijo considers finding Melaleuca a great blessing that brought them many things, one of which was the financial resources to pay of the debt they had accrued during a difficult time. "Thank God for Melaleuca," she expresses. "I'm so delighted that the company has the principles of helping people instead of using people. I've seen it from that perspective and I just despise it; it's what makes Melaleuca so different, and so much better."

After the Alters shared their heartfelt appreciation for each other, Melaleuca, and the people celebrating with them, Frank and Belinda stood by and watched the Alter's mortgage go up in smoke.

Merijo has had time to reflect on what it means to debt free. "It's given us more choices," she says. " What we do hasn't changed - we still work everyday - but I think there's just tremendous peace of mind knowing that what we have is ours."

"Bill was just saying today that we want our business to grow faster than it ever has before," Merijo says. "The company does so many things right and we just want to share it with everybody. We want everyone to feel like this."

Kathy & Bill Hardy
Executive Directors III

"We look at the world differently..."

Early on in their lives, both Bill and Kathy Hardy learned about financial independence and money management from their parents. "We learned from our parents to stay out of debt. They're in a great place now because of it," says Kathy. Hoping to pass the same message on to their sons, they showed them what that meant by setting fire to their mortgage in the backyard of their amazing home in El Dorado Hills, California, while Frank and Belinda and their many guests cheered them on and then presented them with the Total Freedom Award.

Kathy and Bill's message that night was about family-about what their parents had showed them and what they wanted to show their own children-and why. "A huge part of why we wanted to be debt free is because we don't want to be a burden on our children. We want to take care of ourselves. We don't want to put that on our kids. And we want to be an example to them, like ours were to us," Kathy comments.

Bill continued with his insightful remarks, "It doesn't seem to occur to people that you won't ever have a mortgage. Debt is completely normal. Today, especially in California, people have big shiny cars and big shiny mortgages. You see people struggling. I just don't think it occurs to people that life doesn't have to be that way. The masses are going over the cliff and if you feel pressure to be at a certain status you won't make it. You'll go right over the cliff with them."

"There were a couple of times that we thought we could take the extra income and make some investments, but we knew we had to concentrate on our home first," Bill continues. "People are always tempting you, but we stayed the course."

Staying the course has changed their lives in many ways, "It just seems like you see things differently when you don't have a mortgage," Bill remarks. "There's a burden that's no longer on your mind. And without that burden we're thinking, 'What can we do to get even further along?'"

It's also changed the way they look at their business and how people they meet look at Melaleuca. "When I do presentations now I can show pictures of our mortgage burning with Frank and I can show people that we really paid off our home with our Melaleuca income," Bill says. "People are really taken back by that. They are stunned. They're thinking about their own situations and the kids that need to get through school and the taxes they need to pay and how paying off their mortgage was never even a consideration. It causes people to really take notice of what Melaleuca is."

And it's changed how they look at the future. "It's a whole different feeling when you don't have the debt," Bill says. "We look at work differently because work is now a choice. We're looking forward to the point when we can retire and we're going to be able to do it while we're still youthful. We're going to be able to call the shots."

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