Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Path to homeownership source of pride, peace for Platteville family
After years of hard work, and plenty of heartache, the Kerkenbush family is proof positive that dreams really can come true.
The path to homeownership began seven years ago for Stephanie and Troy Kerkenbush, of Platteville.
Along the way, they learned how to take charge of their financial situation—learning how to budget, save for their future and drive up their credit scores. But as they learned how to make their money work for them, they were faced with new struggles.
Both their mothers—one of whom has since passed away—were battling aggressive forms of cancer.
“We watched both our moms, the women who have always lifted us up when we needed it, go through such awful times, and they needed us more than ever,” Stephanie says.
But the couple kept working toward their dream, and late last year their hard work paid off. They were ready to buy a home for their family of five.
“The pride we have owning this home is immeasurable, and I feel a peace in my heart that I haven’t felt in a very long time,” Stephanie says. “And I know that Troy’s mom, Alice, is smiling down from heaven—she wanted this so badly for us.”
The family’s journey began during a free Money Makeover with Dupaco’s Jo Roling at the Platteville branch, where they learned how to create and follow a budget. The couple started using a ledger to track their monthly income and expenses. They trained themselves to pay their bills first and always on time.
“I always dreaded money management years ago, because it just seemed overwhelming,” Stephanie says. “But now that we’re using the tools we’ve been given, I enjoy it.”
Over the next few years, Roling continued to dive deeper into the couple’s finances.
In less than 18 months, the Kerkenbushes’ scores climbed more than 115 points—showing them that financial success is attainable.
“Jo wanted this for us just as much as we did, and we could feel that from her,” Stephanie says. “Jo has been our biggest champion and cheerleader—and almost like a family member to us. The fact that we shared happy tears together at the closing says everything about our relationship with Jo and Dupaco.”
By Emily Kittle