During Melaleuca’s 26th Annual Convention held in Salt Lake City last week, Melaleuca held a mortgage-burning celebration to recognize 18 families who paid off their home mortgages over the last year. These families burned their mortgages in front of 8,000 people as they celebrated the accomplishment of being totally debt free, including having no credit card debt and no car loans. Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot and President McKay Christensen honored these independent Marketing Executives with the Total Financial Freedom Award.
Melaleuca recognized 29 families with the Financial Freedom Award for reaching their goal of having absolutely no debt except for their home mortgage. They are well on their way to burning their mortgages early. Additionally, the company honored 59 families with the 1st Step to Financial Freedom Award for paying off all their credit card debt.
“Our family has been careful to live within our means,” said Susan Leonard, a retired schoolteacher from Elizabeth, Co. who has earned $1 million from Melaleuca since 2006. “By making tough decisions along the way, we saved enough money for all five of our kids to go to college and offer them a good start in their own lives. Our Melaleuca income has played an important part, and our lives would be extremely different if it weren’t for Melaleuca.”
Another family to win the Total Financial Freedom Award, Senior Directors V Lester and Katie Shrock from Shipshewana, Ind., used their monthly check from Melaleuca to pay double, sometimes triple, payments on their mortgage. Directors III June Thompson and Michael Bajada from Vancouver, Canada took on a roommate to speed up the payment of their debt.
Executive Directors VII Tim and Ronda Campbell from Indio, CA, kept a strict budget and saved their sizable Melaleuca income. Fortunately, their savings provided the financial resources Tim needed to overcome a health scare in 2013. They marvel at being debt-free in spite of the daunting bills they once faced.
VanderSloot praised all of their self-discipline and sacrifice. He thanked the recipients for sharing their stories and encouraged the audience to follow their examples and live debt-free principles that bring peace of mind.
“One of the most important principles is to say we can’t afford something unless we have the cash for it,” VanderSloot said. “If you live by that rule, you can use it to inspire yourself to say ‘let’s work harder; let’s do a little more; let’s save up; and let’s have the goal to buy it. But let’s not buy it until we can pay for it.’”
Ever since the company was founded 30 years ago, Melaleuca has practiced what it preaches. Melaleuca has always had the philosophy of not taking on debt, and it operates as a debt-free company.
“As a company, we have been frugal in our business decisions,” VanderSloot said. “We do not buy or build anything until we can afford to pay cash for it, and we own all of our facilities and manufacturing plants along with our equipment, computers and furniture. We feel this protects us from any financial problems in the future.”
At last year’s convention, the company honored 24 families with a mortgage burning event. Melaleuca has celebrated 185 families across North America who have paid off their mortgages early since this recognition program began.