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New Jersey Pastor, Author DeForest Soaries To Speak On How To Become Debt-Free

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Dr. DeForest Soaries

On Saturday, Kansans can learn more about managing money at a Financial Freedom Expo in Wichita. Pastor, author and former Secretary of State for New Jersey DeForest Soaries will share his expertise on finances.

Dr. Soaries is the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey. He is the author of “dfree: Breaking Free from Financial Slavery" and “Say Yes to No Debt.” The books are based on Dr. Soaries’ "dfree" strategy on how to be debt free.

Continuing his effort to stress the importance of financial freedom, Dr. Soaries has launched a national anti-payday loan campaign. This project is being coordinated by the Center for Responsible Lending based in Durham, North Carolina. The goal of this campaign is to educate the public about these predatory lenders that legally charge borrowers 300 – 500 percent interest on short-term loans and to mobilize a grassroots opposition to these predatory lending practices

The Financial Freedom Expo will be held at Wichita's Urban Preparatory Academy on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Several free workshops will be available, as well as free credit reports.

Below are highlights from his conversation with Carla Eckels. You can hear the full piece at the audio link above.

On his beginnings

I was trained to be a community organizer by Rev. Jesse Jackson in the 1970s, and I was an advocate of fighting oppression, injustice and the like. What I discovered, however, was that in my own life, I was so ill-equipped to handle money that I would literally come home from prayer meetings on Tuesday night to get calls from bill collectors. I had never really focused on the financial empowerment that is critical to start a family, to have a community.

Fast forward to now, I'm pastoring a church with over 7000 members, and many of my members, I found, were living in modern history the way I was living back in the day. So I decided that political power and social and civil rights were important, but only to the extent that we had economic power and it didn't start with government programs or affirmative action. It really started with personal responsibility and decision making with the money that we have.

On being financially responsible

We have an entire system. It's 12 Steps to Financial Freedom. I wrote a book called “Say Yes to No Debt," and it really starts with taking what you have and tracking what you do with it. You write down everything you spend. You have to separate your needs from your wants.


Carla Eckels is assistant news director and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.

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