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From CPA Graduate to Financial Education Entrepreneur: The Schlagbaum Story

In this article, we will share the story of Brennan Schlagbaum, a finance and accounting graduate from the University of Louisville, who and his family have successfully achieved financial freedom by paying off over $300,000 in debt and building a successful financial education business. Despite facing various personal struggles, mainly related to their daughter Logan’s health, they overcame the obstacles and made their dreams a reality.

After graduating, Brennan faced several financial challenges as he had significant expenses and no immediate income. He decided to live with his parents to minimize his expenses, as it was eight months until he started his new CPA position at Deloitte.

Brennan and his wife Erin purchased a $233,700 home, a move that put them in a lot of debt. However, instead of giving up, they turned to self-education through google, youtube, and books to learn about budgeting, saving, and investing. By 2019, this journey led to the creation of Budgetdog, which began as an Instagram account and eventually evolved into a full-scale business that brought in up to $100,000+ a month through client consultations, courses, book sales, and promotional and affiliate revenue.

Brennan and Erin’s journey to financial freedom is truly inspiring. They could pay off over $300,000 in debt, including student loans, cars, and an engagement ring, by negotiating raises at work, earning extra income through their business, and implementing a solid plan. The business, Budgetdog, helped others improve their financial well-being and played a crucial role in assisting Brennan and Erin to pay off their debt and achieve financial freedom.

The couple’s approach to budgeting and personal finance was unique and innovative. They created a budget and balance sheet to track their expenses and income. They also employed amortization schedules to ensure they made the most of their money. By organizing themselves and taking just 30 minutes each month to review their finances, they were able to get a clear picture of their financial situation. They also avoided lifestyle inflation and stayed in their lane, which meant not comparing themselves to others and not spending money on things they didn’t need.
The Schlagbaums have accomplished a lot over the last five years. However, their most considerable success has been in caring for their daughter Logan, who was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy. The couple could afford and access specialized medical treatment for their daughter, which required them to fly across the country to Dallas-Fort Worth,  made possible because of their strong financial foundation.

One of the most important lessons the Schlagbaum’s learned during their journey is the importance of having a plan and sticking to it. Without a plan, they found themselves spinning their wheels and not making any progress. Additionally, they learned the importance of avoiding lifestyle inflation and staying in their lane, which means not comparing themselves to others and not spending money on unnecessary things.

The story of Brennan Schlagbaum and his family’s journey to financial freedom is a testament to the power of self-education, hard work, and determination. Despite facing various personal challenges, particularly related to their daughter’s health, they achieved financial freedom and built a successful financial education business, Budgetdog. 

Through their innovative approach to budgeting and personal finance, they could organize their finances and make the most of their money. They achieved their goal without sacrificing the well-being of their family. Their journey serves as an inspiration to others that even in the face of adversity, it is possible to achieve financial freedom through persistence and determination.

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