They raised seven kids while drowning in debt. Here are the lessons they're passing on.
True
Capital One

The Kunziers were rich in the things that matter most—family and love—but their finances were in shambles.

John Kunzier had been running a successful construction business when 9/11 happened and changed everything. When the business started struggling, John didn't want to fire his employees, so he made some decisions that, in hindsight, were the wrong ones. The following year, the business failed.

John Kunzier. All photos via Upworthy.


"It was a big blow to my ego," says John, "to have something you built completely collapse."

John had to declare bankruptcy. John's wife, Liz, was pregnant with twins at the time, and the family had to rely on loans to make ends meet. "We actually took out a loan that would never end," says John.

"It was a horrible financial decision for us," says Liz.

The Kunziers began, slowly but surely, picking up the pieces of their financial life but then the 2008 Great Recession hit. "It was literally like somebody ripped the rug out from under us," says John.

Liz kept a "money tree"—a good luck tree people sometimes keep in their homes. The tree wasn't in great shape, but it limped along, and then one day one of the twins cut it down. It was the perfect metaphor for the family's financial situation.

As a result, the family took no vacations, never ate out, and didn't buy any new toys. Despite that, they weren't unhappy.

The Kunziers are a large family. John and Liz have seven kids including the twins and two grandchildren. So when they hit financial hard times, they had to cut out everything but the necessities. The couple didn't even give each other birthday or Christmas presents.

They've been real with their kids about their situation, especially as they've gotten older. The family lives in a very affluent area, and the kids are used to seeing people with lots of material things. But John and Liz maintained the philosophy that "things don't make you happy."

The Kunziers. Photo via the Kunziers.

"I took it as us being a different kind of rich," says the Kunzier's daughter, Claire. "Us being rich in family."

Not wanting their kids to feel a sense of deprivation, Liz says, "We didn't say, 'Oh we can't do that because we can't afford it,' we would just say, 'No, we're not doing that. That's not something we're going to do.'"

"We wanted to make sure your upbringing was good and memorable and fun, and that you guys didn't know any different," John tells his kids.

What's more, the Kunzier kids have learned valuable lessons from their parents' financial experiences.

When the market turned around, the Kunziers were able to refinance their home, which helped them climb out of their financial hole. "All of a sudden, things got better and better and better," says John. "It's a snowball effect, either way."

Because the Kunziers are open with their kids about their financial journey, their kids will have a better sense of how to financially plan and make sound monetary decisions.

"I think it's really important for me to hear this," says Claire. "Because I am a freshman in college, and I am starting to make these financial decisions for myself, especially with loans." Claire says she won't live on campus next year so she won't have to take a loan out to pay for room and board.

Claire with her sister and mother. Photo via Upworthy.

"For me," she says, "deciding what's important to do is being shaped by what you guys did."

The Kunziers now have loads of financial wisdom, guidance, and proven advice to pass on to their kids and grandkids. But perhaps the most crucial lesson is one they've already imparted — how to maintain a resilient spirit and focus on what's most important when times are toughest.

"We didn't have all the money in the world, but we had each other," says the Kunziers' son, Jack.

"Not having a whole lot of money isn't the worst thing in the world," says Liz, "because if you've got your family with you, and you love each other. That makes it not sting so bad."

Learn more about the Kunziers in the video below:

These parents are being brutally honest about their financial history so their kids can learn from their mistakes — and that there are things more valuable than money.
Posted by Upworthy on Thursday, November 29, 2018
via KrustyKhajiit / YouTube

Thomas F. Wilson played one of the most recognizable villains in film history, Biff Tannen, in the "Back to the Future" series. So, understandably, he gets recognized wherever he goes for the iconic role.

The attention must be nice, but it has to get exhausting answering the same questions day in and day out about the films. So Wilson created a card that he carries with him to hand out to people that answers all the questions he gets asked on a daily basis.

Keep Reading Show less
Courtesy of FIELDTRIP
True

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected diverse communities due largely in part to social factors such as inadequate access to housing, income, dietary options, education and employment — all of which have been shown to affect people's physical health.

Recognizing that inequity, Harlem-based chef JJ Johnson sought out to help his community maximize its health during the pandemic — one grain at a time.

Johnson manages FIELDTRIP, a health-focused restaurant that strives to bring people together through the celebration of rice, a grain found in cuisines of countless cultures.

"It was very important for me to show the world that places like Harlem want access to more health-conscious foods," Johnson said. "The people who live in Harlem should have the option to eat fresh, locally farmed and delicious food that other communities have access to."

Lack of education and access to those healthy food options is a primary driver of why 31% of adults in Harlem are struggling with obesity — the highest rate of any neighborhood in New York City and 7% higher than the average adult obesity rate across the five boroughs.

Obesity increases risk for heart disease or diabetes, which in turn leaves Harlem's residents — who are 76% Black or LatinX — at heightened risk for complications with COVID-19.

Keep Reading Show less

Sometimes a politician says or does something so brazenly gross that you have to do a double take to make sure it really happened. Take, for instance, this tweet from Lauren Witzke, a GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate from Delaware. Witzke defeated the party's endorsed candidate to win the primary, has been photographed in a QAnon t-shirt, supports the conspiracy theory that 9/11 was a U.S. government inside operation, and has called herself a flat earther.

So that's neat.

Witzke has also proposed a 10-year total halt on immigration to the U.S., which is absurd on its face, but makes sense when you see what she believes about immigrants. In a tweet this week, Witzke wrote, "Most third-world migrants can not assimilate into civil societies. Prove me wrong."

First, let's talk about how "civil societies" and developing nations are not different things, and to imply that they are is racist, xenophobic, and wrong. Not to mention, it has never been a thing to refer people using terms like "third-world." That's a somewhat outdated term for developing nations, and it was never an adjective to describe people from those nations even when it was in use.

Next, let's see how Twitter thwapped Lauren Witzke straight into the 21st century by proving her wrong in the most delicious way. Not only did people share how they or their relatives and friends have successfully "assimilated," but many showed that they went way, way beyond that.

Keep Reading Show less
via WatchMojo / YouTube

There are two conflicting viewpoints when it comes to addressing culture from that past that contains offensive elements that would never be acceptable today.

Some believe that old films, TV shows, music or books with out-of-date, offensive elements should be hidden from public view. While others think they should be used as valuable tools that help us learn from the past.

Keep Reading Show less