Iredell physician shares debt struggle in new book

Posted at 2:23 AM on Oct 24, 2016


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At one point in his career, respected hospitalist Dr. Obioma Anukwuem found himself nearly a half million dollars in debt.

That revelation may come as a surprise to his patients and colleagues at Iredell Memorial Hospital. In his book titled Debt: Slavery in Disguise, Anukwuem shares how he got rid of the debt in a three and a half year period, and how others can achieve financial freedom as well.

"Debt enslaves us. It keeps us in bondage," Anukwuem said as he explained the book's title. "When we’re in debt, we always think about it. It steals our peace of mind. If not tackled, it only gets worse."

Anukwuem said he made the same mistakes that cause money problems for many Americans. He thought he was buying into the American dream by purchasing a new home, leasing cars and charging purchases to credit cards. Before he knew it, his debt ballooned to nearly $500,000.

"People say, 'He’s rich because he drives a fancy car,' " the physician and author said. "They don’t ask, 'How much does he owe?' But you have to understand the concept of net worth. When we started this process, our net worth was negative."

To get out of debt and remain debt free, Anukwuem said he and his family had to change their mindset when it came to money matters. The lessons he learned compelled him to write his new book, which includes his plan for paying off debt and building net worth. He also drew on his 20-plus years of experience as a physician in order to help people approach financial challenges.

"We set short term goals. We never wanted to look at the big picture," Anukwuem said.

"Like I tell my weight patients, don't look at the 40 or 50 pounds you want to lose, that will make you feel overwhelmed. If you set short-term goals, before you know it, you see the results."

The community is invited to attend a book signing event at 7 p.m. on Nov. 17 at Barnes & Noble bookstore at Birkdale Village in Huntersville.

Debt: Slavery in Disguise is now available in paperback, hard cover and in Kindle versions on, and

About Iredell Health System

Iredell Health System includes Iredell Memorial Hospital; Iredell Home Health; Iredell Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center; Community and Corporate Wellness; Occupational Medicine; and the Iredell Physician Network. Iredell Memorial Hospital is the largest and only non-profit hospital in Iredell County. The comprehensive healthcare facility has 247-beds; more than 1,500 employees; and has 260 physicians representing various specialties. Centers of excellence include Women’s and Children’s; Cardiovascular; Cancer; Surgical Services and Wellness & Prevention. Iredell Memorial was also recently named as a Blue Distinction Center+ for Hips and Knees, as well as Maternity Care, by Blue Cross Blue Shield. For a comprehensive list of services and programs, visit

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