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Posts Tagged ‘Financial Peace’

Dave Says

As many of you have already heard, Dave Ramsey will be doing a live show in Grand Rapids next week and guess who brought tickets!!

I have been a fan of Dave Ramsey since the beginning of 2008. I think it might be hard for a few folks that know me to believe I didn’t like dave at one point. I thought he was this bald old guy just tryin to get over on folks with these stupid unfunny talk shows he came up with. I remember one day riding in the car with my mom while she was listing to some tapes of his she had purchased. I remember the exact words I spoke that summery day in 07 “he isn’t even sayin anything important” I was 24 at the time and pretty much thought I knew it all, so DAVE had nothin to say to me.

Well shortly after my 25th birthday I had a serious emotional break down and was on the verge of contemplating ending my life. I remember going to therapy sessions, I remember not going to work and almost being fired, I remember my house being broken into and my car being crashed. I couldn’t remember a time in my life where I had felt so low and defeated. My spirit had been ripped to pieces and I couldn’t see a way out of the mess I had created.

Then there was Dave. My mom called me up a few short days after I had returned to work (from being off for months). I was literally dragging myself to work, depressed at beat down but I knew If I didn’t want my house to be foreclosed on I had to go. She called me up and told me that his financial class was being offered in all these different churches and advised me to see if there was one in my area.

At the time I felt I had no choice, I was ready to file bankruptcy and I figured was was the harm in going to see bout this money class. I few days later I had attended my first day, and that first day changed and saved my life.

A lot of people around me make fun and tease (some jokingly some not) about my passion for Dave Ramseys teachings. I have seen blogs comment sections span from 2005 and counting about how they don’t agree with much of what he says.

I have come to learn that its not my place to defend every argument about Dave. There are even a few things I don’t agree with, but I understand the general principle he attempts to teach. So if anyone ask me why im such a hard core ride or die for Dave is because his program and a many of prayers from my mother and her friends saved my life. I will forever be grateful for all that I have learned and I intend to share with those who want to listen to my story.

So Dave thank you for all you do and I will see you next week in Grand Rapids Mi.

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Ok as you all know I have been on this huge financial kick for the past 4 months. Had a large amount of set backs and finally able to get the ball back rolling. As I was enjoying my friday evening I was reading blogs one to be exact called stuff educated black people like (yall know bout it). Anyways I started to wonder about us folk and what it is that actually makes us successful people.

Most Educated folk after they get their college degrees move outta state and make there first home purchase, get their first car, and take that first trip to another country. At first I used to be close minded thinkin yea this was really how to show people you made it. After I hit rock bottom from losing just about all my stuff (and mind) I started to realize that all that stuff didn’t really make sense and the friends I thought I was keeping up with had less than I did. So now I have a new list of what it means (to start) to be financially successful along with your college education. Just because you have an education does not give you permission to be stupid about money.

1. Don’t buy a house unless its more than just you living in it and if you do pay it off in 15 years or less

Yea I know we look good and we can show off but truth is now days unless you are purchasing a home for 50 cents on the dollar its not a wise choice. Most of us if we travel and work them 75k and up jobs dont even have time to enjoy that lavish home so it just sits there looking cute and going down in value. Also paying a home in 15 years will cost you more on the front end but will save 10’s of thousands in the long run. Most folk say they don’t plan to own a home more than 5 or 10 years but truth told if you pay it off you can have this as an asset in addition to the new home you purchase, instead of dumping all the interest. Also the so called tax deduction you think you get from owning a home (per the irs) is not really helping you (ask me for more info on this)

2. Pay off your student loans

We all think its the American way to live in debt and have student loans but truth is the longer you keep them the longer you will be broke. I looked at my student loan balance it said it would be an extra 7,000 if i drag my payments on for life instead of paying off the original 11,000 I actually owe, the rest is interest. It is a wise choice to pay off all your loans regardless of what they tell u in college. also stop going to school trying to avoid paying back loans and get a job!!!!


3. Pay for cars with cash Thats just smart and its what rich folk do they don’t typically drive BMW’S

4. Actually contribute 15% of your income to retirement some kinda way

Please don’t believe ssi will be there when you turn 65.

5. Stop borrowing money

Buying everything on credit is not cute anymore even if it is a 0% interest card.

6. Have a net worth

The definition of net worth is what you own – (MINUS) what you owe = what you are worth. meaning if you had to get rid of everything what would you be left with. If all your money is tied up in house payments credit cards, car payments, bikes, boats, and time shares and when you add it all up hello?? your broke. You have to actually have something you own to be wealthy and also not have debt if you owe 500,000 on stuff and none of it is paid for unless you got 1 million in the bank your broke

7. Stop Using credit cards

Who wants to argue with me about this really?

8. Learn how to really invest in real estate

This does not mean borrowing the equity against your principal residence to go buy rental properties and fix and flip its (this is not property ladder on TLC). Those people who do that don’t have money and neither do you. If you wanna be a tv look a like, the least you can do is pay cash for your investments and us cash to fix them up. If all those rental properties you never sell go belly up or u lose your job God forbid, your house will be foreclosed on first!!! this isn’t cute when you have mouths to feed.

9. Save Money for stuff you want to buy

So I know we live in a get it now pay for it later society but honestly if we saved for it for a couple months you might not feel such stress later on when your not using it.

10. Don’t get a loan to start up a business

Most new businesses cost under 5,000 to start so you do not need the SBA to get off the ground!! Stop being lazy, if you want to advertise print some flyers and drive around town and post them, make a website, tell friends, work your butt off. You don’t need hundreds and thousands of dollars in capital to start a company and make it work.

I am learning these things now. It took me losing most of all I had to figure out I really had nothing. I don’t want to live the life of my broke friends who look like they got it going on. I want to be the one who actually has money to lend and not need it back, actually take real vacations and actually own nice cars and houses. Most importantly I want to give back to my community we can’t do that financially or spiritually if we work 100 hours a week trying to pay a house note.

I am currently working on getting out of debt, its not cute to be in it. Its not fun getting out. I have to live on nothing and work my butt off for a number of years (hopefully less that two) but it will be a great feeling when I say I truly have a net worth.

Mikki

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So there I was getting ready to click the “submit button” on a round trip flight to Baltimore MD for 4 days when I did the unthinkable, I dialed the number to “D”. Honestly when I called, I can’t remember what i was calling for but I spilled my guts about the whole operation “runaway Mikki”. So after about 5 minutes I was convinced that taking a trip for a job interview I had magically convinced the hiring department to give me , that could possibly be life changing, was not such a good idea. This is exactly why I am learning that telling people everything I do is a bad idea.

Now in “D’s” defense, I know he meant no harm in telling me Baltimore has a high crime rate and that its not #1 on the Best places for African Americans to live in 2008. But I was completely washed of self confidence by the time I was off the phone. He also reminded me that I was limited on funds which also didn’t help. So I got back on my computer hit “cancel” and typed up an email to the person requesting an interview which read “I can’t come” (in short). It was only 2pm and my day was ruined and I was heading towards a state of confusion and depression. It also lead me to some deep self reflection about my past actions and here are some things I discovered.

1. I am a very prideful person, I don’t like it to much when people tell me what I can and cannot do.

2. I am physically “independent” but dependent mentally which means even though I argue people down about why my way is right, In the end I almost always take their advice (with the exception of my home purchase).

Nobody actually knew I had a bright idea to flea Michigan except for one boss (who seemed on board about the idea and “D”. I had went 3 days without speaking a word to anyone because I knew for a fact that If I mentioned it to anyone They would convince me otherwise (including mom).

Now to be fair to “D” i did pick MD on an almost whim and here is why.

1. I have never been to MD, matter of fact I haven’t been to many places in U.S period. So as far as my likes and dislikes I really didn’t have any.

2. I didn’t care where I went just as long as I could leave.

3. Again it just didn’t matter to me.

People do whimsickle stuff all the time and end up just fine if not better. The difference between people who are successful and people who aren’t is that one of them lacks self confidence. I clearly don’t lack in the narcissistic department. I honestly believed I was going to walk into that interview and say “this is my job” and even if I didn’t get “That job” I planned on continuing the search until I found one.

I don’t have any ties to Michigan (except my home) which is currently rented out. My job certainly isn’t worth staying for. I have thought of all the reasons why I should leave hell my car got all my shit in it!!! Oh yea I didn’t tell yall my roomate moved out and left me with an empty apartment and 2 weeks to find a place of my own. So you tell me WTF am I still doing here!!! I realized that no situation can be worse than the one I am in now so I may as well take my chances on it. Sure I mighta been out $600 bucks, my job would have still been in tack when I got back if I felt I just wanted to stay here but i don’t.

I am 25 and this is my time to explore, have fun, go places do stuff. It might take me a while to cover every state but if i start now I might find one I like, point is i gotta start someplace even if Baltimore does have a high crime rate, by the way Detroit is currently #2 on the list which is where I am from so go figure.

Anyways I have to take responsibility for my own actions which I am doing. But I can not continue to listen to people who live in a box of there own and don’t think I can make it just because they didn’t. There is a true difference between someone looking out for your best interest and them “ones” that don’t want to see you be happy. At this point I don’t care to find out which person is which anymore. I am gonna do like the song says “you just do you imma do me” and keep it moving.

At this point I have emailed the lady, and I feel like if she truly feels I am a good candidate for this position, she will make a way for me to get to the interview. If not then well its just not meant to be. I do believe one thing and thats God’s blessings come with no sorrow added to them so with that motto im only gonna do what I am truly lead to do. further more I pray that people who read this don’t let people stop them from following dreams yea some things may be far fetched at times but if you don’t at least try you wont ever know if you could have made it. I must be super strange for believing in myself.

Mikki

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As you all know I have been taking classes on how to build wealth and become debt free for the past 2 months. The classes will be ending soon but I hope to join a new group for continued success and further encouragement. In my last class we learned about different investment options (once we are out of debt) and how to make the best out of the money we earn long term. One thing we learned about was Mutual Funds and how they work. Here I will share what I have learned as well as compiled information from the world wide web.

What is Mutual Fund?

A mutual fund is a collection of stocks, bonds or other investment instruments. It is owned by a group of investors and managed by a professional money manager. When you buy shares of a mutual fund, your money is pooled with that of other shareholders. Your pooled dollars are then invested and managed by the fund manager. Most mutual funds are “actively managed”—which means shareholders pay the fund manager a yearly fee to actively research, buy and sell securities for the fund’s portfolio. Different mutual funds have different goals—with varying degrees of risk and return—which means they can help you meet a wide range of personal investing goals. Keep in mind that mutual funds may lose value—they are not a deposit, they are not bank guaranteed and they are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or any other government agency.

Common Types of Funds

Bond funds: sometimes called fixed income funds—are pooled amounts of money invested primarily in bonds. Bonds are basically IOUs from companies or governments. By investing in bonds, the fund essentially lends money to companies and/or governments, and usually collects regular interest payments until the money is paid back. Bond funds are often good choices for people who want stable income with lower risk (keep in mind that risk levels and income distributions can vary, and bonds are subject to interest rate risk and default risk). Some bond funds invest in a variety of bonds and fixed income investments; some specialize in conservative, investment-grade corporate bonds; and some specialize in high-risk junk bonds.

Stock funds: stock funds are pooled amounts of money invested primarily in stocks. Sometimes called equity funds, stock funds are often good choices for investors with a long-term investment horizon (those who plan to invest for five years or more) and who are looking for growth of capital.

Stock funds come in many types, varying in investment style and company size. For example, depending on your goals, you might invest in an aggressive small-cap growth fund (which would have more market volatility than a fund made up of securities of larger, well-established companies, and carries special kinds of risks) or a conservative large-cap income fund, which has different risks.

Balanced funds: Balanced funds mix some stocks with some bonds. For example, a balanced fund might contain 50 to 65 percent stocks, with the rest of the money invested in bonds. Balanced funds are often good choices for investors with a longer-term investment horizon (those who plan to invest for five years or more) who are looking for a mix of growth capital and current income.

Compared to stock funds, bond funds can be fairly conservative. But be sure you know the distribution of stocks to bonds in a balanced fund before you invest—so you fully understand the fund’s potential risks and rewards.

Money market funds: Money market funds are pooled amounts of money that invest in high-quality, short-term money market securities (which generally mature in one year or less—sometimes in as little as 30 days or less), such as treasury bills and commercial paper. These funds seek to preserve the value of your investment at one dollar per share (with fluctuating interest rates), though it is possible to lose money by investing in them. But because they make short-term investments in large, creditworthy banks and corporations, they are considered the lowest-risk type of mutual funds. However, they also tend to have the lowest returns.

Index funds: Index funds invest money in the stocks of a market index (a benchmark that represents market returns, such as the S&P 500), with the goal of getting the same overall returns as the market. A true index fund adjusts its portfolio often to closely mirror an index. Index funds tend to be “passively managed”—which means portfolio adjustments are automated, based on the index—so fees tend to be lower than those of actively managed funds.

International and global funds: International funds invest in companies outside of the United States. Global funds invest in both U.S. and international companies. Both types tend to be more volatile than domestic funds, as they are subject to currency, political and economic risks.

Sector funds: Sector funds invest in one particular sector of the economy, such as technology, healthcare, financial services, computers, natural resources, utilities, precious metals or real estate. Because they aren’t diversified across industries, these funds can be extremely volatile. The name of the fund often tells you what the fund’s focus is.

So this is it find out which one works best for you with your long and short term goals, whatever you do though make sure you understand it before you sign up!!

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February 28th 2008 would have marked my 7th week in my Financial Peace university classes. So far I must say the program is going

amazingly great. Only yesterday I sat down and actually discovered I have a negative net worth of $100,000 (ouch!). Looks bad on paper I know, and people are thinking “how can finding out your broke be great?” Trust me knowing is half the battle. Since I know what debt I have, I was able to formulate a plan to paying things off, and if all goes well I could pay off everything (including my home) in about 5 years that’s if I continued to work my current job and never made anything extra.  

Money don’t grow on trees no sir

 For all my friends that I talk to on a regular basis, you have been made aware of the set backs as far as obtaining a second job (failed drug test), but things are looking up, I may have a job interview at Meijer coming up soon and I will update on that here in the next week or two. 

Milestones  

The past 2 months haven’t been a walk in the park. I have had to turn down parties, trips to the city (the only city I know and love), and dinner and my favorite spots (Ruby Tuesdays and Paneras), I also haven’t seen the insides of a mall for a minute too. But for the sacrifice I have made much has been gained. I now have $1,000 saved (for emergencies), paid off a couple old bills, and actually have stopped worrying about pay day!!! Yea baby.  It is a wonderful feeling I must say and I look forward to seeing the day when I have no bills what so ever. Its going to be a long road (2 years til debt free excluding my home) but the pay off will be having the rest of my life ahead of me to actually enjoy. 

 Randomness

 Unfortunately during these 2 months I have learned that as long as I am alive I will have relationships to go in and out of. I recently entered into a friendship I thought might be promising but so far its looking like it’s a false alarm. Now most days when I get frustrated in dealing with men I say just “Fuck it” but since having some one to hold, kiss, cuddle with and spend time with keeps me sane (somewhat) I just cant say “Fuck it” just yet. I will say the adult in me is learning that everything has its process and I have to learn my tolerance levels before I can forge ahead. I don’t know really what my future holds as far as dating but I do hope there will one day come a light at the end of this tunnel.  

Stay tune…. 

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