Breaking the Cycle


“It was a cycle of me piling on debt,” Loata Tuikaba describes. “My debt wasn’t huge, but I just couldn’t get out of it.”

It was a cycle she grew up with, she admits. “All of my family struggles with money,” she says. And that was what brought her to a Financial Peace University class last spring.

“I was nervous going to the class because I don’t always like to share...but everyone was so nice, so revealing! Everybody had a different story,” she explains. “I think that people were fed up with were they were at. They didn’t want to stay in the same cycle of debt.”

And it was in each of these stories that Loata was able to see that this cycle she found herself in was in no way unique to her. She met couples who had been struggling with major debt for years, families that found themselves in over their heads, and even college students who felt like they were drowning in their student loans.

She realized that her debt was trapping her in the day to day struggles. She wasn’t able to look ahead to the future because she was placing so much effort on managing her finances today. This was just not the life she wanted—not for herself and certainly not for her daughter.

“I’m a single mom. I have a 16-year-old daughter, and I’m pretty transparent with her about a lot of things,” Loata says. “In the class, you have to have an accountability partner, and I couldn’t think of anybody else but my daughter.”

And so, with her daughter watching and learning alongside her, Loata set out to break the cycle. She grew up in a very religious family, but planning ahead, especially with finances, was never something she saw or was taught. But that would not be the case with her daughter.

“I wanted her to see the struggle that I went through and then me achieving it,” Loata describes of setting a budget and making a financial plan for the first time.

Through each step of the process, one of the most important things that Loata felt she was able to emphasize to both her daughter and the rest of the group was the importance of tithing.

“This is my first step—paying tithe—and then everything else will follow,” Loata emphasizes. “I feel like paying the 10 percent to God is my biggest form of gratefulness.”

Going through the class took her from the hard work of laying all of her debt out in front of her to the small steps that would eventually bring her out of that debt. Her biggest takeaway was that she couldn’t keep going without planning anymore. Planning with finances had never been in her vocabulary before, but buying without planning is exactly what trapped her in the cycle she hated so much.

And as a part of that plan, she and her daughter cut up Loata’s credit cards together.

As plans took form and she started utilizing FPU’s mobile budgeting app, Loata and her daughter worked together in their day to day expenditures to make wise choices on where they were going to allocate funds. Through these strategies, Loata was able to finally start intentionally thinking and planning toward what God may have for her in the future.

And to Loata’s delight, so has her daughter. She joined a program through her school that put her on a path toward college scholarships and she’s even started making a savings plan for her very own car.

“I have this cloud lifted off of me,” Loata sighs in relief. “I want to do much more. It’s been great to take the class and be out of debt and then see my future—and to have my daughter see all of that.”



Kari Freeman is so great. She's the Communications Coordinator at Summit and is so helpful, smart, kind, and also likes tacos. She makes Summit a nice place to be. You can email her at

Financial Peace University begins soon at each campus and you can find more information here.