From growing up in poverty to sitting outside the home they built together a few years ago with a thriving real estate business, John and Julie Acosta have done a 180-degree turn with their personal finances. They’re the kind of people who make you want to sit for hours and peel back all the layers of their story.
“We grew up poor, but we want young people to know you don’t have to stay there,” John said. Julie added, “People see where we are now, but they don’t see what we went through to get here.” Now, they’re passionate about giving back to their community and providing students with the tools they need so they don’t end up learning money lessons the hard way.
When John and Julie decided to start their own real estate and brokage firm three years ago, everything was new to them. They even had a 2-year-old at home, but they decided to take a leap of faith and figure out how to be business owners. Looking back over that time, Julie says she and John are stunned by how many people they’ve helped through Half Moon Realty. “We’re baffled, but we really wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU). That’s where the passion comes from. FPU changed our lives!” she said. Now, they’re able to change even more lives by sponsoring Foundations in Personal Finance in two local high schools.
The Heart of a Teacher
Today, they’re more interested in genuinely helping their clients buy and sell properties based on individual needs than they are in making a quick sale.
“Sometimes we have to sit people down and say, ‘I don’t think you can afford a home right now. You can’t pay your current bills,’” Julie shared. “People just don’t have the knowledge!”
John added, “I recently talked to someone who’s 10 months behind on his car payment, and he didn’t understand why he couldn’t buy a house. I talked to him about taking FPU and figuring out what he needs to do to turn his financial life around. People just don’t know how to handle their money.”
It’s clear John and Julie have the hearts of teachers. They truly want what’s best for their clients, as well as for the next generation in their community.
“We Wish We Knew This as Teens!”
The Acostas were first introduced to Foundations in Personal Finance through The Ramsey Show. They heard about the high school curriculum and thought, We wish we had this information when we were young adults! Man, can you imagine if we’d been investing $100 a month from the time we were 18? So, they decided to become sponsors of the curriculum, helping local students get a head start on financial wisdom.
Julie shared, “The people who call into Dave Ramsey’s show are typically sharing regrets or money problems. If we can get to young people before they have money regrets—even if it’s just helping one person like it helped us—that’s a big deal. We’ve come a very long way, and we wish we had Foundations when we were younger . . . Can you imagine if this was in every single high school?”
They’re currently providing this curriculum for two schools, and they plan to sponsor more—moving at the speed of cash, of course.
“We want to sponsor more schools eventually. But we have to save up for it because we don’t want to bring this curriculum to a school and then not be able to honor that every year,” Julie said.
Leaving a Legacy for Local Students
More than anything else, John and Julie want to see lives changed.
Julie said, “We aren’t doing this for recognition or to get returning clients. There’s no way this information won’t help at least one student in the class. There will be at least one student who takes it and runs with it—who decides not to take out student loans or finance a car because they turned 18. We have hope and confidence that someone will get it. We won’t always get to hear about it, and that’s okay.”
Sponsors like John and Julie help bridge the financial literacy gap for students. Many schools lack the funding to teach a personal finance course, but it’s crucial that students learn how money really works before they graduate. Through their generosity, the Acostas are leaving a legacy of financial literacy for the next generation.
“We care about your dreams” is Half Moon Realty’s slogan. But for John and Julie, this phrase extends way beyond their real estate business. By sponsoring Foundations in Personal Finance in local schools, they’re giving students the financial tools they need to build the future of their dreams. Local teens are now trading in money stress and crippling debt for financial peace and the ability to manage their money the right way.
Now it’s your turn to get in on the fun! Help empower students to think differently about money so they can move into the next chapter of their lives with confidence. If you’re interested in sponsoring Foundations in Personal Finance in your local community, reach out to us today and we'll connect you to one of our Sponsorship Advisors.