Teaching you to embrace today while making yourself a millionaire!

I wish I would have understood how easy it is to become a millionaire by starting to save small amounts of money when I was younger...

I feel compelled to share the simple concepts you can apply today....


27 April 2010

Help What to do with Student Loans

Subject: debt counseling

Hi,I came across your blog accidentally, but am glad that I did. I live in California and have been looking to find some debt counseling services. After an initial web search, I was very confused - most services seem like debt consolidation scams. Could you point me in the right direction? I have around 30k in student loans and another 2-3 in consumer debt. I currently make a fair salary and am spending (slightly) less than my income. If you can provide any info - even a few links to authentic services.


Thanks for the opportunity to help. I am going to go over a few basic concepts that you need to think about before consolidating your loans. Remember the rules change all the time and the state you live in may have different rules. So this is a general guideline.

Now you have a picture of your current situation. Make a call.

  • If you have government loans I would start by calling them to determine your current situation and options.

  • Private loans I would call your current provider to see what the options are with them.

  • Ask questions - my understanding is Gov. Loans and Private loans can not be consolidated. Government loans normally have a lower interest rate. If consolidating private loans be careful not to increase your rate and watch for fees.

What is your goal?

  • Paying off as soon as possible?

  • Simplifying - one payment

  • Extending your payments to lower monthly payments - but will add more interest you pay over time?

My recommendation always is pay off as soon as possible. If you do not consolidate take the highest interest rate loan and pay as much extra to principle payment as possible while paying the minimum on the remaining loans. Once you pay off the higher interest loan - add the payment from the first loan to the next highest interest rate loan and pay it off etc.

The companies who gave you the loans want you to take the longest repayment schedule and will make it very appealing by telling you how low your payment will be. What they don't tell you is the longer you have the loan - the less freedom and opportunity you have in your life. As well as, how much more money they make from you.

Hopefully, you will never be poorer than while being a college student. So I tell recent graduates - do not increase your lifestyle dramatically - take the time to pay off your debt instead of creating debt with large purchases or expensive living accommodations. If you can keep a roommate or continue to live modestly for a few more years - you can have so much more freedom to live your passion going forward.

Regarding your credit card debt - I would try to pay that off as fast as possible - more than likely that is your highest interest rate debt. Attempt to live debt free - pay cash for any purchases so you don't continue the cycle.

My next post will cover steps to save while paying down all the debt you currently have as that is as important as paying off debt. Time is currently on your side for long term planning - also the need for emergency savings, and money needed over the next couple years to everyday living.

It is truly a life choice to change your thinking and set yourself up for long term success. I believe you can live your passion and have a very balanced and financially successful live.

Stay tuned......


12 April 2010

87 Million dollar Income and now 5 Million in Debt

Derrick Coleman, NBA basketball star made over 87 million dollars in his 15 year career - and now is 5 million dollars in debt. If I said it once I have said it a million times, if you don't know how to manage $30,000 what makes you think you can mange more?

So let's start with the basics regardless of your income.

1. Always pay yourself first. I don't care if it is $10 a week. Preferably it would be about 15% of your gross income, going into a tax deferred retirement account.

2. Have an emergency fund. It should be at least 3 months of your total monthly expenses.

3. Pay cash, if you can't afford it - don't buy it.

4. Live under your means. If that means you live in a smaller place, don't have the latest gadget, or name brand clothes - sorry. It beats the alternative, debt, stress, and homelessness.

5. Get a second job if necessary for the short term, walk dogs, mow lawns, work fast food. What ever it takes to get out of debt or get that emergency cash saved.

6. Grow your own vegetables, herbs etc. People say good food costs more than fast food. That is true - however, at what cost. Your health will pay in the long run. It is very inexpensive to grow your own - have a small garden in your backyard or get a hydroponic planter. They go on sale often. Check out local farmer markets.

7. Have a roommate or two to keep costs down.

8. Spring is right around the corner - look in the paper for free activities. Most cities have parties in the park, free concerts, bike paths, etc. Entertainment does not have to be expensive.

Once you start to adjust your thinking - and realize you can save money. It becomes fun. Because you have FREEDOM and OPTIONS. Which gives you the opportunity to live your passion.

Stay tuned..........

10 April 2010

I Don't Care How Much Money you Have... If You Don't Know How to Manage It.....

Another star to go bankrupt. Nicholas Cage is the next casualty. My point is if you make $30,000 or $3 Million dollars - if you don't manage your money appropriately - you end up in trouble.

Cage owes 11 million on the house, it has been on the market for over a year. He was trying to get 11.5 million with no bites. The bidding was starting at 10.4 million - and guess what - no one is interested.

I tell students in every presentation. Just because you make more money doesn't mean you are going to make better decisions. If you do not know how to budget, live under your means, pay yourself first and live without debt -- you are subject to having financial issues.
I am one of the best presentations who will ever hear in your life - if you want to be not only financially successful - but learn to live your passion and have balance in your life.

Have your activities board shoot me an email or call me - I would be thrilled to come to any of your campus's. A rock band may be entertaining for a night but I will change your life forever.

Stay tuned....

09 April 2010

How to Obtain A Great Credit Score

Meet the Credit Score Perfectionists
Erica SandbergWednesday, April 7, 2010
From Yahoo news

While most Americans strive for good credit scores, others take special care to achieve great ones. Meet some credit score superstars -- and learn why and how they keep those precious three digits so high.

Good Scores Key to Financial Health
Credit scores were developed as tools to help banks and businesses make objective decisions. To generate them, a mathematical formula pulls credit report data and transforms it into a numerical rating. FICO (
FICO) scores range from a low of 300 to a high of 850, and according to, mortgage lenders consider anything above 760 as ideal. While it is the dominant score, FICO isn't the sole scoring model. For example, the three major credit reporting bureaus -- TransUnion, Experian and Equifax (EFX)-- produce the VantageScore, with a scale ranging from 501 to 990.

Despite ranking system differences, a higher score always indicate less risk, and having them makes you more appealing to lenders, employers and landlords.
Consequently, focusing on scores is only natural. "People are drawn to this subject because it allows them to measure something that they equate to financial health," says Jose Rivas, national education manager for Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco.

That focus, however, can turn into anxiety, with conflicting information often to blame. "One article states that consumers should close their unused accounts," says Rivas, "another states that consumers should never close their accounts." For this reason, getting the facts from reliable sources is essential. Like the following high achievers, you can create a terrific credit score with real knowledge and a specific sense of purpose.

Credit Score Vigilante
Dan Nainan, a professional comedian who constantly travels between New York and Los Angeles, has carefully built an 830 FICO score. Doing so enabled him to negotiate preferential terms with his premium reward card. "I was able to drop the annual fee for my $450 per year
American Express card to $150!" Nainan also cites the "feel-good" factor: "It's a comfort to know that wherever I go and whatever I apply for, I can get it."

Vigilance is Nainan's strategy. "If there's anything at all that might affect my score, I ask a ton of questions and go to the Internet and do as much research as possible. If I test drive a car, or sign up for a health club, I look at the fine print very carefully to see if they have a right to hit my credit file with an inquiry." He's also programmed everything online "so that all of the bills pay themselves, and any and all credit card balances are paid off immediately."

Protecting a Long History of Timely Payments
Want the very best vehicle loan available? Let your numbers do the talking. When Brenda Avadian, founder of Caregivers Voice
, out of Pearblossom, Calif., was applying for a car loan, her 849 score helped her secure top financing. "Saving thousands on interest charges is a tremendous motivator," says Avadian, who locked in 0 percent interest for five years. A loan with a 4 percent rate would have cost her an extra $3,200 on the same vehicle.
Avadian attributes her impressive score to a long history of timely payments. "And on those rare moments when a bill sneaks under some paperwork and it's either late or due that day," says Avadian, "I call and take care of it." She believes her loyalty to the same banks (three credit accounts -- not too many, not too few) also helps. "Instead of constantly shifting to capture the best deal, discount rate, rebate points, etc., I've stuck with the same folks for years."

Regular Charging, Zero Balances
At last check, marketing company president Paul Entin, from Bloomsbury N.J., holds a 990 VantageScore. For him, it's a matter of honor and integrity. "A high credit score indicates your name and your signature on a contract have meaning. It's an indicator of certainty ... of character. It would be difficult to trust someone with a poor credit rating to the same extent you can trust someone with a higher credit rating."

Entin maintains his high score by using his business and personal credit cards regularly and paying them off every month. "It's not magic -- pay your bills on time and pay the debt. Make it a priority. Pay attention to spending."

Keeping the Right Mix of Credit
"Every time someone runs my credit they say, 'Wow, I almost never see someone with credit that high,'" says Carrie Rocha, founder of in Minneapolis. She keeps it first-rate to preserve her autonomy. "As someone who got out of $50,000 in debt in less than three years, I take a lot of personal pride in my financial freedom." Though Rocha has no plans to borrow money again, "I have no barriers when it comes to employment, insurance or other areas of life where my credit score is used to assess the kind of risk I am."

Besides "the obvious things like pay my bills," Rocha says she increased her score by talking to her credit union loan officer, who said an overabundance of idle retail accounts was driving it down. She had opened the cards randomly during in-store promotions, but never really charged on them, so there was no history to protect. After formally closing the accounts, her scores that were previously in the 720 to 740 mark rose to the 800s.

Does the Perfect Credit Score Exist?
Pursuit of excellence is often wise, but does 'perfect' exist? Yes, says Craig Watts, public affairs director for FICO. "Several thousand consumers do in fact have the highest possible FICO score."

While not everyone will reach the credit score apex, you can get close by consistently following three simple guidelines:
1. Pay all bills on time.

2. Keep credit card balances low.
3. Take on new credit only when you really need it.

Don't obsess over small credit score variations. "Lenders decide what score they will accept for their best interest rate product," assures Watts. "They genuinely don't care if your score is 50 or 100 points higher than that."

Clearly, A-plus credit has its advantages, but there is no reason to go overboard. Find balance between attentiveness and fixation by understanding what those numbers can do for you and knowing how you can improve them. And remember -- credit scores gauge your borrowing history, not your intrinsic value as a person.

Stay tuned.....

08 April 2010

Excellent Question on Inheritance

I received a question on Facebook and wanted to answer for all to see. This student has some very good questions and wants to make an informed choice vs. just listening to her parents. Although, some parents have excellent advice many are in financial distress themselves. I am a believer in educate yourself, listen to valuable resources and then make a decision. Then if it goes well you can feel good if it doesn't - you only have yourself to blame and learn from the lesson.

I have some questions about money stuff. I should ask now so I have a general idea of what to do. I just got the money that I inherited from my grandmother this past weekend. its enough to pay for the rest of my time in college so I don't have anymore student loans (which is amazing)but I have some money left over about $3000 what should I do with it? I want to save most of it but don't know where I should put it/what kind of account I have a savings account already, should I put it in there? and I don't know what to do with the chunk of money for next years tuition. what type of account it should sit in until I need it. my mom is trying to give me ideas but i want to have the final decision of what type of account it will be suggestions?

First off, I am sorry for your loss. Inheriting money is about the least desirable way to obtain a windfall. But your questions are excellent.

Some basic money rules:
  • Any money you need in the next 2 - 3 years should be in a very safe account. Savings, checking, money market that is FDIC insured. You do not want to take any risk with this money. You may not make alot of money in interest but the money will be there to pay your bills.

  • Regarding the remaining $3000. It depends on when and how you want to use it. If you want to use the money after graduation for a car or house, then you may want to put it into a low risk mutual fund. Something that has a timeline feature. So if you need the money in 2014 - then check with a company like Fidelity Investments or T. Rowe Price and asked about their no load time based funds. Again, you are not going to get rich but it will be invested in the market in a diversified account for the appropriate risk for your time frame. This will give you the opportunity to make more than a savings account but remember you are taking on risk and may lose money if you need it on a specific date. If you can ride out the ups and downs of the market - and are not tied to a specific time line - you can wait for the market to rebound and hopefully make a few bucks.

  • Another option is and my favorite if it applies. If you do not need the money and can save for retirement - put it in a Roth IRA. Again, use firms like Fidelity Investments, T Rowe Price, Vanguard to invest in time based funds. You would be looking at funds with the year ending 2050. The younger you are when you start saving small amounts of money for retirement. The better your opportunity for success. One factor is you have to have earned income to contribute to an IRA. So you will want to check the rules when you call the Investment Firm you opt to use. Also, never pay a load on a fund. It should not cost you money to investment small amounts of money, beware of back end loads - meaning you have to hold the investment for a certain amount of years to avoid a penalty. Look for NO LOAD funds.

Keep the questions coming and congratulations on educating yourself.

Stay tuned........

02 April 2010

Ups, Downs and Cost of Recovery

So I am learning that getting a diagnosis is only half the battle. As you remember 6 weeks of being sick without a diagnosis - after an emergency room visit for dehydration - a diagnosis of Giardia was discovered.

I started a 14 day course of treatment - however everyday I got sicker and sicker and sicker. More violent symptoms of throwing up and diarrhea. The day finally arrived where i was going to the specialist I had been trying for weeks to get into. That actually turned out to be a little disappointing.

He thoroughly read my chart, looked over all the tests I had performed, looked me over. But he failed to listen to me. I kept telling him I could not eat literally. It had been weeks since I had more than 1/4 of a banana ALL DAY.
I was getting thinner and sicker by the day. I would feel good until I put food in my system and then it was torture. I was so tired.

At this point he was getting annoyed with me and said call me in two weeks when you finish the antibiotics and we will reevaluate our plan. I was in shock I thought I will be dead by then or definitely back in the emergency room for dehydration. (doesn't seem like the best approach to me). He hands me a bunch of prescriptions, gives me some verbal instructions and walks out. I felt like i was hit by a bus. I walk out of the office and ask the nurse if she can help me organize what just happened in the office. To make a very long story short and not go into the details of my melt down - she wasn't much help.

Which is my next point ALWAYS TAKE AN ADVOCATE WITH YOU. I had my Mom with me and that is when she took over. I stormed out crying because I wasn't being helped, I was starving, I didn't feel good and they just dismissed me and didn't show any compassion. My mom at that point chased me down the hallway and got me to stop and tell her what I needed. I gave her a list of questions and she went back in to the battle field to fight for answers. When she went back in and asked to see the Dr. they politely told her he was with patients. They didn't expect what came next. My Mom very nicely but firmly said "No problem, I have all day. I will be sitting right there - where you can see me. I am not leaving until I see him". They didn't know what to do with her so they invited her to the back office area and went and got the Doctor.

He came out and answered all her questions for me. However, still had no answers regarding the food issue and still seemed to think going to the Emergency room was a fine option.

In the meantime, I am sitting on the floor in the hallway by the elevator crying and calling my sister in law who is a trauma nurse for some answers. Here is the great news - her brother is a Doctor who specializes in infectious disease. She calls him and runs threw this entire six week saga with him. He gets to work to help me. Later that night he calls and tells me 40% of people with the parasite I have - become temporarily LACTOSE INTOLERANT.

What have I been eating - mashed potatoes, oatmeal with milk, yogurt, pudding, and milkshakes. Holy cow I was literally eating all the wrong foods. I took all dairy out of my diet and guess what? I can eat, I keep food down and I am feeling much better.

Had the doctor taken five more minutes to ask what I was eating and given me this information I would have avoided alot of misery. 40% of the population is a huge number - that is where I get frustrated with our health care training and system. We need more doctor's like House (maybe alittler nicer than him) who - will take a step back and not just look at the data but talk to the patient.

I keep chronicling this experience because there are so many lessons in it. I haven't even gone into the rash around my eyes yet - because that seems to have everyone stumped.....

  • Stand up for yourself - and always take an advocate to the Dr. with you. It is your life and no one cares about it as much as you do.

  • With our current health care system it has taken me weeks to get in to see a Dr. and I am one of the fortunate ones who have very good health care coverage.

  • Even after a diagnosis I did not get all the information I needed and continued to get sicker. Dehydration can kill you - not to mention the amount of lost time from work.

  • I have spent out of my own pocket thus far - over $500 on co-pays and prescriptions, and my total bill is over $10,000.

  • A simple parasite can literally put you in financial ruins.

  • Having disability insurance, savings, and low debt has saved me from a pending disaster.

Stay healthy and stay tuned.........


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