The Sad Tale of Gansel and Hetel

September 29, 2009

The plight of Hansel and Gretel is known to many but have you ever heard the sad story of Gansel and Hetel?

Two middle class kids “adrift” in the consumerist shopping mall culture take a bath in debt and almost ruin their lives… can they be saved?

Bad Health & Bad Luck

Gansel and Hetel had it rough growing up with divorced parents.  Their dad didn’t take care of his health and didn’t buy enough life insurance so their mom was left to raise them totally alone after he passed away. 

Their mom didn’t have the choice of staying at home with her kids vs working since she was the sole breadwinner.  She tried to teach her kids about money but she was working three jobs and hardly ever around.  Then when she got really sick she lost her job, couldn’t pay her insurance premiums, and her medical expenses forced the family into bankruptcy.

Bad Decisions

Gansel and Hetel obviously skipped school on the day they taught about how to stay out of debt. They didn’t understand that managing money is mostly about your behavior and mindset and preferred to appear rich, which kept them broke.

After turning 18 and leaving home they both fell into a pit of debt and had to turn to a MonaVie Scam to try and dig their way out.  The scraped up extra money by signing up for new checking accounts and earning bank bonuses each month.  Of course their checks almost always bounced so the bank overdraft fees quickly ate away the bonuses.

Investing in Their Future

Gansel and Hetel looked for any possible way to save a few cents.  One method was hanging out in the public library all day and keeping thier furnance in their apartment turned off. One day Gansel was surfing the web on the library computer and ran across a few personal finance blogs and started to learn about money.

He called Hetel over and they read about debt elimination, paying off credit cardsdebt repayment plans, and the debt tsunami.  How come no one had told them this stuff before?

They moved from debt into the investing categories, reading about the Coffehouse Investor, dollar cost averaging, steering clear of Fidelity, and asset allocation. After that they came across these huge resource lists for people who are in their twenties, trying to be frugal, learning about personal finances, and trying to save money.

That afternoon Gansel and Hetel made a pact to pay off their debt and then start investing in their future.  They knew they had a long road ahead of them but reading the stories of others in debt had inspired them.  Who knows if they’ll make it but they’re on the right track!


Will this article help you save or earn more money? Get others like it simply by entering your email address below. Your email is used only for delivering daily money tips and you can opt out of delivery at any time. Click here to see all your free subscription options.


Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

All posts by


3 Responses to The Sad Tale of Gansel and Hetel


  • The Big Bundle