4 Financial Lessons I Learned From Michael Phelps

August 31st, 2016

Olympic fever was felt worldwide in 2016. Michael Phelps has done it again winning his 23rd gold medal and 28th medal overall.

For today?s Financial Fitness Magazine, I have compiled 4 of the top financial lessons from I learned from Michael Phelps.

Financial Lesson #1: It does not matter where you start financially.

Did you know Michael Phelps did not win a medal in his first Olympic games? It’s true. Even though he did not start well, he showed the world that his future looked bright. Even though you may not be in a great financial position right now, your financial future can also be better, when you commit to making your future bright.

Financial Lesson #2: Financial success is a journey of overcoming challenges.

Michael endured many ups and downs throughout his career. At the age of 10 he was diagnosed with ADHD. And after he did well at the 2012 Olympic games, he lost his endorsement deals due to some bad choices he made. He overcame those challenges to have his best Olympic games ever in 2016. And he is sure to reap the benefits of new, even more lucrative endorsement deals.

Financial Lesson #3: Always set and go after financial goals.

After the 2012 Olympic games in London, Phelps retired from swimming. With no goals to chase he was arrested for DUI twice. With new commitment to his goals in 2016, he then turned his focus to Rio… and the rest is history.

Financial Lesson #4: Giving back is the key to financial success.

Michael has inspired and mentored thousands of youngsters. He also inspired Joseph Schooling of Singapore who won the gold medal in the 100m butterfly, while Phelps won the silver. When you give back by helping others and giving to charitable organizations or your church, it ends up bringing you blessings you may not expect.

7 Tips To Help You Save Money When Buying A Used Car

August 31st, 2016

Are you in the market for a used car that’s nice, but won’t break the bank? Make a smart choice, by following these 7 Tips before going car shopping and closing the deal:

Car Shopping Tip #1: Know how much car you can afford before you buy.

A good target is 10% or less of your monthly income going towards a payment.

Car Shopping Tip #2: Make a list of your top 3 car choices and start early.

Give yourself at least 3 months time to do your research and negotiations. Don’t rush into a deal, you may be sorry later on.

Car Shopping Tip #3: Buy a car that is 2 years old and just off a lease or recent trade in.

Doing this will enable you to avoid a big chunk of the depreciation at the start and still have a great car.

Car Shopping Tip #4: Use websites like KBB.com, TrueCar and Edmunds.

Using these new and used car pricing websites, you will get an idea of prices you’ll pay and reviews of the used cars you are considering buying.

Car Shopping Tip #5: Start your search for used cars on AutoTrader, the largest car sales website.

They list millions of new, used, and certified second-hand cars from thousands of dealers and private sellers. Then you can compare prices you found by searching on Ebay Motors, Craigslist and reviewing the local newspaper.

Car Shopping Tip #6: Pay for you used car in full.

If at all possible, it’s always a good idea to pay for your car in full when you take delivery. You won’t have another monthly payment to make, and you stand to save big bucks on interest costs, especially on longer-term loans.

Car Shopping Tip #7: Deal with the Internet Sales Manager.

If you find a used car you like at a dealership, make notes on the car and the price and leave. Then connect with the internet sales manager via email and text messages to start the conversation. By approaching your car buying like this, you can avoid dealing with high pressure sales tactics from the dealership’s usual car salespeople. And you are more likely to get a fair price faster.

Paying For Chores Teaches Valuable Financial Lessons

August 31st, 2016

In this day and age, it seems our children are growing up without understanding and embracing the value of money. It’s no surprise, since many parents’ answer to “Mom, can I have $20 to go to the movies?” is “Here honey, go have fun.”

The problem with this approach is, whenever your children want to have something or do something that costs money, they grow to expect you’ll just give them the money.

In the old days, it was common for parents to give their children allowances, that they could spend or save at their discretion. But there was always a catch… the child had to perform some task around the house that needed to get done. We called them “chores.”

This way the parents cut their work around the house in half, as their children did their chores. While at the same time, the children learned the important lesson of the value of money. They learned how working for what you want is better than asking (or begging) for money all the time.

Whether you create chores for your children to do, or use another method of having them do something for financial compensation… every time they have to work for something they want… will teach them the value of money.

So why is this lesson so important? Many children grow up to be adults and parents, but they still do not understand the value of money. These people are the ones who run up tens of thousands in credit card bills without even thinking about it. Then when it comes to pay the bills, they are stuck.

You being tough with your children about money now, while it may seem unpleasant to you, is actually giving them the financial education they need to become prosperous adults who understand the value of money. These adults are far less likely to abuse money and credit. And are far less likely to experience family problems due to personal finances out of control.

Do you have a yard that needs to be mowed? How about the dirty car that needs to be washed? Pick a few things each month that you know needs to get done, and pay your children to do it. Before you know it, your children will be coming to you, not begging for money, but begging to cut the grass or wash the car!

A New Kitchen Can Increase Your Home’s Value and Enjoyment

August 31st, 2016

Do you enjoy cooking for your family, your relatives and for friends around the neighborhood? How about the great get-togethers that happen around a home that smells like a gourmet restaurant?

If you like to eat out in restaurants every day, this tip is not for you. But if you value the time you spend in the kitchen creating new and delicious meals that are crowd and family pleasers, I’m here to tell you… Keep on cooking baby!

However, cooking is not nearly as much fun when you’re in a kitchen that looks like it’s from the 1960s. It’s a fact, that amateur home chefs have much more fun, and are more creative, cooking in a kitchen with all the new appliances, fixtures and “bells and whistles.”

What’s great is, while you’re enjoying your awesome kitchen… a kitchen your visitors want to hang out in because it’s so cool… you secretly think about how your new kitchen increased the value of your home by $40,000, $50,000 or more!

While it does cost you to totally remodel your kitchen, this cost is really an investment in your home. Not only will a modern kitchen with all the bells and whistles increase your home’s value… when you go to sell your home, your awesome kitchen could be the biggest selling point.

And that’s a big deal, since at any time there are 10s of thousands of homes for sale in any particular area. And when you want to sell, who’s homes do you think will sell the easiest? The home with the 1960s faded yellow appliances and the old school fake counter top laminates? Or the kitchen that looks like a studio for Food Network?

A Huge Weight Lifted Off Our Shoulders

August 31st, 2016

Our story began back in 2011. We were a fairly new couple trying to blend our families together with a new bundle of joy on the way.

A friend, Melinda Anakalea, introduced 101 Financial to us after hearing me whine about our finances at work. She generously arranged for her Instructor, Tara Shim, to come out and host a small group presentation for us and a few other co-workers. I was immediately intrigued and couldn’t wait to start. My husband (then boyfriend) was not as enthusiastic!

We started our journey running two separate 99 Financial Programs because we refused to put our money together. It was a long 18 months of getting real with ourselves and each other. This was our truth, $30,000 deep in consumer debt, credit in poor/fair standing, juggling multiple jobs to make ends meet, stressed and tired. Sadly, we accepted this as “normal.”

The 99 Financial Program got us organized and created a strong financial foundation, bringing us together as one.
We jumped on the 101 Financial System together and attacked our debt with a vengeance. Within 6 months, we paid down $20,000! A huge weight lifted off our shoulders and we knew our lives were about to change.

A few months later, we got engaged. YAY! We were able to happily plan and pay for our entire wedding and a three week honeymoon adventure within 9 months. Everything was paid before we even left. Our wedding was everything we imagined it would be… simple, sweet and STRESS FREE!

Our honeymoon was an amazing start to our marriage. We enjoyed a week exploring different islands of the Caribbean on the cruise ship Allure of the Seas. We then spent a couple of days embracing our inner child at Universal Studios, followed by another week in New York City. Then we circled back to Maui for a few days where it all began before returning home to the Big Island.

Two months after returning home from our honeymoon, I made the bold decision to leave my job to support my daughter?s education, and to relieve her from all the responsibilities I had put on her shoulders to accommodate my work schedule. It was a tough decision to make, but through projections and an our undying commitment to the “budget,” we pulled through and created a better quality of life for our family.

This was my “aha-moment.” It solidified the importance of financial education and how valuable 101 Financial is to me and my family. Getting out of debt was great. Paying off our wedding and honeymoon was fantastic. However, no longer suffering from the anxiety and stress of everyday life and bills was PRICELESS!

On July 2, 2015, we hit another milestone in our 101 Financial journey. We became first-time homeowners! What?s even more exciting is knowing we have a plan in place that will allow us to pay it off faster than we ever imagined.

Opportunities are presenting itself left and right. In January 2016, we started our own bookkeeping company… DeMello I.N.C., LLC. We are also now in the process of acquiring our second home. None of this would be possible if it wasn’t for the education we received with 101 Financial.

Thank you Alan Akina and the rest of our 101 Ohana for everything! We are beyond grateful and truly appreciative.

– Ihilani DeMello

 

Almost $80,000 In Debt Eliminated

August 31st, 2016

Like many others before us, we thought 101 Financial was too good to be true, and like many others before us, we were happily proven wrong.

Along with many other college students, both my husband and I couldn’t afford college outright and had to take out loans to afford our education. When all was said and done, I incurred approximately $110,000 in student loan debt to get my doctorate. I was overwhelmed with the reality that I owed a small mortgage back to the federal government at 6.8% interest. I was automatically enrolled in the extended-repayment plan, relegating me to pay almost $800 per month for the next 25 years.

At first, I had to defer my loans, because finding a job upon returning home from college took quite a while. Eventually, I was blessed to find a great job in my chosen field which paid a very comfortable income, but we still couldn’t pay more than the minimum amount for my student loans. We didn’t want to be stuck with this debt for 25 years, but the reality was that we couldn’t get married, save for a down payment on a house, or just save money for an emergency fund and pay more than the minimum payment.

Fast-forward a few years… we had the beautiful wedding we wanted, bought a place to call our very own, and had money tucked away in a rainy-day fund, but we were still saddled with debt. We were juggling my school loans, his school loans, the car loan for the second car we desperately needed once we moved out to the Leeward Coast, and of course the mortgage for our new home.

We were able to make all the minimum payments on all of our loans and still tuck away some money in savings every month. But after being married a couple years, we naturally started talking about having children. After analyzing our finances, we concluded that we couldn’t afford to have kids unless we stopped saving every month. We both came from single-parent homes and watched our mothers struggle financially with little to no savings to fall back on. We absolutely refused to put ourselves at risk of repeating their mistakes.

As a completely unexpected turn of events, we were invited to a 101 Financial Workshop by my husband?s coworker. She had already shared some of the financial success she and her Instructors were having with The 101 Financial System before inviting us, and while we were apprehensive, we figured if we didn’t need to commit to or pay anything beforehand, all we had to lose was a few hours of our time.

We listened intently to everything Alan had to say, and our skepticism started to melt away. What we found to be most reassuring was that it was no “quick-fix” scheme. He preached having sound financial habits and discipline as a foundation. And using his system for rapid debt elimination to build on that foundation to achieve the financial freedom he?s helped so many others attain.

That is exactly the path that we are on now. We joined The 101 Financial System almost seven months ago, and since then we’ve completely eliminated all of my husband’s student loans and our car loan, and we’ve considerably reduced the balance on my student loan debt… totaling almost $80,000 in debt eliminated.

We are conquering our debt by using Alan’s 101 Financial System to tackle our principal and minimize the interest we are paying on our loans. We finally feel ahead of things. We are projected to close out my school loan in approximately 2 years instead of 22 years and we actually feel financially comfortable to start our family.

Thank you so much 101 Financial for all you have blessed us with. We feel so empowered by the financial freedom and peace of mind you promised us from day one.

– Kevin and Alissa Makaipo

 

Changing Our Life With 101 Financial

August 31st, 2016

– Lavalle Ramos-Dias and Mark Dias

 

How To Achieve Financial Freedom

August 17th, 2016

What is financial freedom?

Most advisors define financial freedom as “when your investments generate enough passive income to cover your monthly living expenses, whether you go to work or not.”

So how can you earn enough passive income to cover your living expenses?

With these four financial moves you should make, that will enable you to become financially free:

Financial Move #1 – Know exactly how much you need to bring in each month to cover your living expenses.

Sit down today and make a detailed list of everything you pay for each and every month. This includes your mortgage payment, your car payment, and all the utilities for your home. It can also include medical expenses and education expenses like private school, books, meals at school and university or student loan costs. As well as your usual living expenses like food, water, going to the movies and taking vacations. When you add all these up, this will be your target number.

Financial Move #2 – Take inventory of your current assets and the income they generate each month.

These assets can include social security payments from all the money you’ve sent the government over the year. It also includes dividends and payouts from any retirement accounts you may have. Plus, include your savings account, and funds generated from your investment portfolio.

Financial Move #3 – Build a plan to increase the passive income you earn, so you can get to your target number (your living expenses). Then set a date for when you want to reach this goal.

For example if your target goal is $5,000 a month in passive income, you can now set a target date 5 years from now to be able to have all of your living expenses paid by your passive income sources.

Financial Move #4 – Leverage at least one of the two best ways to generate passive income on a long-term basis:

Start your own business – Where you have employees that do all the work for you, and you collect the profit at the end of each month…

Or own rental properties that generate income every month. With this option, not only can you earn money from the rent you collect, you can also benefit by increases in equity value of your properties when the housing market is up.

As you can see, becoming financially free is not that difficult. You just have to know the best ways to get there. Then take action to put these effective ways into action. Enabling you to create your future of financial freedom.

5 Reasons Why You Should Stop “Spending To Impress”

August 17th, 2016

You know the phrase… “Keeping up with the Joneses.”

It’s the pressure and thoughts of having better and bigger toys, houses, cars and stuff than your neighbors. This behavior is one of the top ways families eventually find themselves overextended, underwater… and in financial ruin.

Here are 5 big reasons why you should not try to impress others with what you have, and to stop “spending to impress” your family and neighbors if you’re guilty of this now:

Big Reason #1: You have nothing to prove.

There is no trophy or award that goes to the person with the most stuff. Often, behaving like this can actually cause family and friends to resent you, for showing off while others are experiencing financial troubles.

Big Reason #2: Buying stuff will put you deeper into debt.

If you put $10,000 of stuff on a credit card, the interest cost will be close to $15,000. Leaving you with the reality that you really just paid more than double the cost of the things you bought.

Big Reason #3: The “big” friends you have are probably faking it too.

Did you ever think that they are playing the same game? It is a losing game. Over time, your friends will pay the price for showing off, just like you could when you let “spending to impress” take over your life.

Big Reason #4: Your retirement plan will be upset with you.

You see, having more money in your investment accounts working for you is much smarter, and gives you a much better feeling than spending that money on trying to impress someone. You won’t have the money you need down the road because of you spending and neglecting your retirement account. Plus, you will miss out on the tax benefits making deposits into your retirement account can bring you.

Big Reason #5: Those you love don’t care about your stuff.

The people that truly matter to you don’t care about the fancy things you buy. While your family really loves you no matter what you have or what you look like, they could grow to resent you for having things they don’t.

And guess what? When you don’t practice “spending to impress,” you’ll find it far easier to save money every single month. You’ll see your bank account growing every month. While you see your credit card bills get smaller and smaller.

5 Financial Fitness Tips for High School Graduates

August 17th, 2016

So you have a son or daughter that graduated high school this year. Now what?

When it comes to money, now is when things really count. Your high school grad can grow up to be very good with money, and live a great life. Or they can get stuck in the rut of personal finance problems that stays with them for life.

With only 17 states across the country requiring high school students to take financial literacy courses, getting financially fit could be an uphill battle for any recent grad.

I know you care deeply about your child, and the happy life and success they can attain. I’m sure you’d hate to see them coming to you for cash at every turn, just because they never learned how to manage money.

I want to help you fix this today, so your grad lives the great life we just pictured, instead of the life of difficult and despair.

Here are 5 tips to help your high school graduates navigate the financial world:

Financial Step #1: Teach them to live within their means.

Tell them why they need to spend less than they make each month. Monitor their spending, and make sure they understand exactly what this important step means to their future. Explain to them what could happen in either scenario, the good and the bad.

Financial Step #2: Avoid debt as much as possible.

I understand that debt is necessary for certain things like buying a home or even for a college education. But you have to encourage them to use the money they need and that’s it. Not a dime more. Explain to them what happens when they are irresponsible with credit and debt.

Financial Step #3: Use the power of compounding interest to make them rich.

Set up a Roth IRA in their name and have them invest a little bit of money each month in a low cost index fund. Maybe even let them know that you will match every deposit they make so they have extra incentive. Starting them off on the right foot early in life, and making saving and investing automatic, will pay off for them big time.

Financial Step #4: Have them mind their credit.

At this age they might not have a credit score yet, but now is the time to have them work on it. Make sure they know a great target to shoot for with their credit score is 750 or higher. Teach them how to be responsible with credit. And be sure they know exactly what can happen to them if the don’t follow your advice.

Financial Step #5: Have them fun with their finances.

Seeing money build in their accounts will be fun to them. Encourage them to enjoy saving, investing and spending wisely. When they get off track, which will happen, don’t let money stress them out and affect your relationship. Let them know it’s just money. And there’s more where that came from if they stay on the right path.

You taking the time to guide your new high school grad in the right direction could mean the difference between them respecting money and credit, and enjoying watching their wealth grow…

Or them being irresponsible with money and credit, bringing stress into your family, and of course hitting you up for cash every time you turn around.

7 Summertime Tips for Homeowners

August 17th, 2016

Summer is a great time for family fun, picnics in the park, going to the beach and traveling to your favorite locations.

However, summer is also an important time for homeowners.

Here are 7 Summertime Tips all homeowners should pay attention to, if you want to save some cash, and keep your stress levels down:

Summertime Tip #1) Do a summertime audit of your insurance coverage.

While your family is enjoying time off from school, and spending time having fun in the sun, this time of year is a great time to check your home’s insurance coverage. One good storm can damage your home with flying objects, buckets of rain water leaking into home, trees falling on your home (or on your neighbor’s home) and more.

Summertime Tip #2) Give your air conditioning system a yearly checkup.

While we may not even think much about our air conditioners in cooler months, it’s something most of us can’t do without during the warmer months of summer. Many air conditioning contractors and service companies offer “summertime checkups” that can give you peace of mind that all is fine, or alert you to serious problems ahead, that a simple repair could help you avoid.

Summertime Tip #3) A clean home is a beautiful home.

During the cooler and darker days of winter, not many people spend time or effort cleaning the outside of their homes. Yet left to the elements, including pollution and shade that causes mold buildup, your home can start looking unkept. Taking the time to do a thorough cleaning of the outside of your home in summer (or have someone do it for you) can leave your home looking great all winter long.

Summertime Tip #4) Help your air conditioner help you.

Summer is also a great time to make sure that the cool air you are paying good money for is not just leaking out and cooling the entire neighborhood. Spending just one weekend making sure your windows seal properly, while caulking any openings you find in windows, siding and door frames, could save you hundreds of dollars over just one summer season.

Summertime Tip #5) Ensure peace of mind while you’re away.

Many families do a lot of traveling during the summer months. With no one to watch over your home, you may return with a number of unpleasant surprises. A smart move is to turn off the water to your home, or at least close the faucets going to your clothes washer. Another is to have a security system on your home, as well as a friend or neighbor who will watch for any suspicious activity or emergencies.

Summertime Tip #6) Keep your gutters clean and water-sealed.

Even if it isn’t the end of fall, leaves and debris can still accumulate in your home’s gutters. Then all it takes is a good storm to bring them down. Also be sure to seal all cracks and joints so water doesn’t escape where it can leak into your home.

Summertime Tip #7) Don’t forget to take a look at your roof.

The roof on your home takes the full force of winter weather, strong winds, and heavy rains. Roofing can also get baked with temperatures as high as 120 degrees. With all the work your roof does for you, it pays to climb up there while the weather is nice during summer to do a thorough inspection. Fix (or have a qualified professional fix) any issues you find, before they get out of hand and cost you big bucks.

Taking action on each of these smart money-saving and preventative moves during summer will ensure your home stays safe, sound and beautiful.

The savings you could enjoy by focusing on just half of these tips may well be enough for next summer’s big vacation.

The Power of Change

August 17th, 2016

“I started as a client of 101 Financial in 2007. I had just gone through a difficult divorce and was at one of the lowest points in my life. For 25 years I was dependent on a husband, and suddenly I found myself at the helm ALONE, with five children who had yet to complete their college education.

I was at rock bottom, my confidence level was at an all-time low, and I was in debt way over my head with a credit score in the 500s. Then someone introduced me to 101 Financial. I was so ashamed, but he convinced me to give it a try. I will NEVER forget that turning point in my life. Thank you Jerry Jona and Lewis Lindsey for never giving up on me!

Not only did I discover a great system, I learned to THINK DIFFERENTLY. I learned to think progressively, to seek out fresh and innovative techniques, to juggle, to negotiate, to pay off debt, to set life goals and to strategize.

Today I am a CHANGED woman. The incredible power and confidence that came with 101 Financial has provided me with the ability to get my children to their college graduation and beyond. By the time my last child was a senior at LMU, tuition and expenses had capped $52,000 for one year, and I DID it, on an income of less than $35,000, all by myself! My oldest now has her own business, I have two Engineers, one Attorney, and my youngest child sells real estate.

101 Financial provided me with the skills that I so desperately needed in my time of despair. I consider it a milestone in my journey. The education is phenomenal, but moreover I am indebted for the change that occurred WITHIN myself, a person who today is much stronger and much more unconventional.

I have been able to conquer debt, outmaneuver the banks, and gift my children with a college education. But more importantly I have shown them that positive change can occur when we allow ourselves to be a catalyst for it. I’ve shown them what it means to overcome adversity, to face challenges with conviction, and to have the faith that God places people in your life for a reason. My life is a reminder to them to never doubt the power of self-reliance, and the possibilities that can be accomplished once you OPEN yourself to new thought processes!

Today I have the confidence in KNOWING that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to. I will NEVER go back to living in fear or to giving in to conformity. I am more determined and dedicated than ever to helping others and empowering them to achieve their goals. Today I am honored to assist countless parents and children with the financial aid process for college; not for financial reward, but to pay forward what has been afforded to me through the remarkable power of financial education and personal development!”

– Mylie Aiu

 

101 Showed me the World… Literally!

August 17th, 2016

“Hi! I’m Gabby Desimone. I’m 20 years old now, but began my financial life right out of high school. I had always been a saver and thrifty with my money because I grew up in a household that was quite poor, always struggling to make ends meet and stressing on where money would come from. Seeing my parents always worrying and never having the opportunity to just live their life, and be in a constant mode of stress, was EXACTLY what I didn’t want for my future.

I knew that if that was to be the case I would need to be diligent with my resources and break the cycle I was raised in. I had a conversation with my Aunty Shan Otare one day, about the goals I had to travel, and she basically said: “Why not YOU…let me show you how.” That’s where the 99 Financial program came in. I immediately started to see my money not only grow, but work for my benefit.

My biggest goal was to visit Europe while still being a teenager! With the 99 Financial program, I was able to begin saving, and within literally 4 months I was able to save for a 2 month trip to Europe & the U.S. East Coast! All while still being 19 years old.

I’ve had numerous accounts of people of all ages, lifestyles, and from different countries that marvel at my capability of doing so! I ALWAYS tell them, “Believe me, it isn’t only me, the 99 Financial program has literally changed my life and has afforded me to reach some of my biggest dreams!”

Fast-forward to today, since returning from my adventurous trip, I have now graduated to the 101 Financial System, and already have the means to go on my next 2 month journey to Central America, Canada & the U.S. West Coast this summer. All while still having a savings to fall back on to. I’m already planning for a trip to Asia in early 2017.

Did I mention I work only part time as a barista and photographer? Yeah, let’s just say a TON of people are insanely interested, shocked and impressed to see me leaving again, so soon after returning from my European trip last fall.

I’m beyond thankful and feel so blessed to have an awesome Instructor and the 101 Financial System change my life like it has, and in such a short period of time! I now never have to feel that intense stress that comes with not knowing where my money will come from. I can ENJOY and LIVE my life in a state of Financial Well-Being. I used to never give in to those “this program has changed my life” quotes, but honestly I was proven wrong with 101 Financial. I mean, how many 21 year olds are able to say they’ve visited 12 countries on their own on terms, and their own dime?

Thank you Aunty Shan & 101 Financial.”

– Gabby Desimone

 

Our Journey to Being Debt-Free

August 17th, 2016

“Aloha, my name is Bettina, along with my fiancé and my 2 kids, we’d like to share our 101 Financial success story and how it changed our lives drastically. My family and I were introduced to 101 Financial in June 2015 and actually joined the system in November 2015. I initially knew about the system 2 years prior, but was really skeptical about it. That was until my good friend brought me to one of the seminars that was held at the MACC. Even then I was still a bit nervous about joining, but 4 months later we joined.

September 2014; my fiancé was involved in an incident and couldn’t work for 9 months. That left us with only my income. We lived pay check to pay check, with 2 kids, 2 car payments and other living expenses with only one income. We were so behind with bills that I had to sell my first vehicle in order to avoid repossession, it was the hardest decision of my life. I worked hard for it to just sell it prior to only having it for 3 years.

Both of our credit scores went down and it felt as if I was never getting out of debt. We were $30,000 or more in debt when we first signed up. As embarrassing as it sounds, we started with only $20 in our account. At that time, we had been living off of credit cards and short-term loans, that left us in a whirlpool of debt.

Then my boyfriend got his job back and I thought, things will finally change, but it just got worse. We were still doing the same things, just paying what we needed to pay every month, but never really saved anything. That’s when we decided we needed help with our finances and sent our Instructors (Jessica Salva & Karen Patague) a text message who encouraged us and helped us to better understand the whole system.

When we first signed up, we started with the 99 Financial program and after learning more about the system, we eventually progressed into the 101 Financial System. Three months into the 101 Financial System, we’ve paid off our personal loans, credit cards, late payments and also prepaid for our very first trip.

In 3 months, we paid off a little over $10,000 and still have extra on the side for our rainy day fund, our savings and future expenses. We are now working towards a second vehicle and saving up for a house extension. We weren’t expecting to do it this year, it’s a blessing that 101 Financial came in at the right time and made it possible for us to do it sooner.

Our credit scores have improved and we’ve been doing better with our finances. The 101 Financial System taught us how to control our money, how to live comfortably and be at peace. We love 101 Financial and we’ll definitely encourage families and friends to join in on the road to being DEBT FREE. Mahalo to my Instructors and to Alan Akina!”

– Bettina Mae Oliva

 

Get The Job You Want, Even If You Have Bad Credit

June 30th, 2016

Did you know that having bad credit can prevent you from getting the job you’ve always wanted? It’s true. So what do you do if you’re trying to land the job of your dreams, and you think you have bad credit?

First, it’s important for you to know what a good credit score is. Most credit scores fall between 300 and 850. A score of 720 or above suggests that you’ve been managing your credit in an acceptable way.

So why do employers check your credit? One common scenario is when two people have applied for the same position, and the company uses their credit reports to determine which one to choose.

As you can imagine, an employer would much rather have someone working with their company that doesn’t have the burden of financial stress affecting them every day.

Here are 5 simple steps you can take to boost your credit score and help you land your dream job.

Step 1. Get your credit score.

If you don’t know where you stand now, you can’t determine where you want to be financially. You’ll want to know your FICO score. This is available at MyFICO.com

Step 2. Get your credit report.

I suggest you use one of the free to use sites, like CreditKarma.com or AnnualCreditReport.com.

Step 3. Identify and fix any errors found.

Start with checking your personal information, like social security number, address and correct spelling of your name. To make sure this is your credit report, and not someone else’s.

Next look for any credit accounts that do not belong to you. Then check that your payment history is correct. If you find errors, start by contacting the credit reporting agencies for each item. They are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Step 4. Get up to date with any overdue accounts.

If you’re behind and think you need help getting current, contact the creditor to work out a payment plan. Creditors love it when you are talking to them and making an effort to get it right.

Step 5. The best way to improve your score is by understanding how your credit score is calculated.

This begins with making your credit payments on time, which
is the biggest factor, and accounts for 35% your credit score. The amount of debt you have is worth 30% of your credit score.

To reduce your debt, pay off the highest interest rate debt first, then roll the entire amount that was going to that debt to the next highest interest rate debt.

To find out how you can get the help you need to make a better credit score a reality in your life, you can get your
free copy of my “Super Duper Simple Book On Money”
right here… www.101Financial.com/book

And to find out where you stand now with your personal finances as a whole, get your personal financial analysis at: www.101Financial.com/financial-analysis/

3 Ways To Save $1,000 This Month

June 30th, 2016

Can you come up with a $1,000 right now if an emergency situation popped up?

According to a recent poll conducted by the Associated Press/NORC, two-thirds of Americans would have difficulty coming up with $1,000 to cover an emergency.

Here’s the crazy thing… this difficulty spans all income levels, including:

– 75% of those making $50,000 or less.
– 66% of those making between $50,000 and $100,000.
– 38% of those making over $100,000.

People in all three of these income groups would have at least some difficulty coming up with a grand, including those making more than $100,000 a year.

Here are 3 ways to put $1,000 in your savings account this month, to ensure you can come up with the thousand bucks if you need it:

Way to Save $1,000 #1: Have a good old fashioned yard sale.

If you haven’t used something in the past 6 months you can probably put it up for sale. On one good Saturday morning you can make you up to $500.

Way to Save $1,000 #2: Return past purchases.

Do you have a big ticket item that was recently purchased, that you’re really not using? This can be taken back for cash… and easily save you $250 or more.

Way to Save $1,000 #3: Try the Triple-Sit program.

Baby sit, pet sit or house sit. Offer your services for a few days this month. This could net you another $250.

Once you have your $1,000… put it in a saving account.

Then as you think of more ways to save cash for an unexpected emergency, save that cash and add to your savings each month.

Before you know it, you could be sitting pretty on a $10,000 Emergency Fund. Which will do wonders for you if you worry about not having enough money in a pinch.

Don’t Leave Your Family Hanging Like Prince Did, Get A Will

June 30th, 2016

By now you know that Prince the famous musician died without a will.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Prince is worth an estimated $300 million and the number is expected to grow.

Without a will, Prince’s estate will now be handled by the State of Minnesota. The state will determine which family members get what.

To be sure that this never happens to you, here are 3 ways to get a will established this week.

Your Will #1: Write the will yourself.

Get out a sheet of paper and write down all of your wishes, being very specific in choosing your beneficiaries and who the executor will be. Have at least 3 witnesses sign and date it.

Your Will #2: Use an online service like LegalZoom.com.

You can get their basic will for just $69 or the full version for $149.

Your Will #3: Hire an attorney.

Just about any attorney can draw up a will for you. But if you are in need of an advanced plan, it’s best to hire an attorney who specializes in estate planning.

Remember that a will is a very important legal document.

Having a will brings to life your wishes regarding the distribution of your property and the care of your children, after you are gone.

Don’t leave your family hanging. Don’t leave your wishes in the hands of your state government. The small effort you make now will make your family’s life easier later on.

5 Tips For Saving On Home Expenses Month After Month

June 30th, 2016

As a homeowner, you know the bills and expenses you pay each month to maintain your home can get out of control. Especially if you ask yourself this question at the end of each month…

“Where did all that money go?”

Well today I’m here to help you reclaim some of that cash, especially the home expenses you have that happen every month.

Here are 5 smart tips for saving on your home expenses month after month:

Home Expense Savings Tip #1: Electricity.

If your electric bill is anything like most people’s, you could use some ideas for cutting that bill in a big way. So what can you do to shrink your electric bill every month?

Consider adding natural gas service. Do you know how much it costs to run an electric hot water heater day in and day out? It’s not cheap. With a natural gas “on demand” water heater, the gas only comes on when you turn the water on. And there is no tank to keep hot when you’re not using it, which is most of the time.

Then there’s all the other electric consumers you have in your home. Be sure to use energy efficient lighting, and have window shades to block the sun during the day. You’ll also want to have ceiling fans, and a smart thermostat that adjusts for day and night heating and cooling.

Home Expense Savings Tip #2: Perform preventative maintenance.

It’s a fact, it takes a lot less money to keep your home in good condition, than letting it get so bad you have to call a professional to fix it. It pays to have someone look at and tune up your appliances once a year. And to put a fresh coat of paint inside and out. Do this and you’ll feel like you’re living in a new home, for a long time, with minimal expense.

Home Expense Savings Tip #3: Do your own yard maintenance.

Have you added up how much it costs you each month for your lawn cutter guy, your pest control guy, your tree trimmer guy and your fertilizer guy to show up? Well you can do all yourself, and it’s not really that much to do. And the savings will really add up.

Home Expense Savings Tip #4: Shop around for insurance.

When you bought your home, did you check out what other companies were charging? I have news for you, many people don’t. They just go with the company “their mother” always used. Or the company that the lady down the block uses. Do your homework and you could save a pile of cash every year.

Home Expense Savings Tip #5: Don’t fall for extended repair plans and appliance insurance.

If you have ever accepted one of these “plans” you know it’s likely you never used it, though you pay for it, often monthly. You’ll save far more by having something fixed when it needs it, or buying a new item, than paying for “what if” appliance and services insurance that you’ll probably never use.

Home Expense Savings BONUS Tip #6: Pay down your mortgage so you can stop paying PMI.

If you didn’t put at least 20% down on your home when you bought it, it’s likely you’re paying Private Mortgage Insurance in every one of your mortgage payments. Pay as much as you can toward the principle on your loan, and your PMI payments will go away much sooner, saving you a boatload over the life of your mortgage.

As you can see, you stand to save a significant amount of cash by following any of the tips I’ve shared with you today.

Just imagine what these savings could add up to month after month, when you apply all of these tips? It could be enough to take a great trip, build an addition on your home, or even make your family’s savings much bigger than it is now.

We Cut Our Debt In Half In a Little More Than 3 Months

June 30th, 2016

I knew about 101 Financial for a few years before my wife and I actually signed up. My brother had been doing it for a couple of years, yet, he never really explained how the program worked. For someone who is constantly traveling the world it seemed to be working well for him, and 101 Financial has supported his lifestyle. Since I never had much knowledge on the program, I was skeptical of it and never really took any interest.

Fast forward to 2015, I met the love of my life and we got married in June. Currently we live in Edwards, CA where my wife is stationed for the Air Force while I attend school full-time as a Veteran. Considering that we had to move from Hawaii, we accumulated about $26,000 of debt.

Before joining 101 Financial we were very responsible with budgeting, however, we were not where we wanted to be and still found ourselves stuck at the same spot. Eventually it created unwanted frustration and problems at home. Then in November my wife and I were blessed with news that we were going to have our first Keiki. That’s when I realized we needed help in finding a better way to handle our financial situation.

In January of this year we finally decided to see what 101 was all about. Jodee was very informative and helpful during our orientation. Immediately my wife and I became students and it was such a relief for us. In just a little over three months we were able to cut our debt down to half.

Considering that we only have one income and some benefits from the VA, it was a great accomplishment for us. Also, we were able to enjoy ourselves during the weekend and take road trips to places such as Los Angeles, San Diego, and Las Vegas.

Today we’ve realized how much The 101 Financial System has changed our lives. It has allowed us to live a better and more relaxing life. When our baby girl arrives in August, 101 Financial will provide us the opportunity to give her the best life we can possibly offer her. Ultimately, we’re very thankful for the knowledge that we’ve gained from our instructor Jodee. We’d also like to thank Alan for all that you do. If there is anyone out there that is considering 101, I highly suggest you sign up!

– Jeremy and Kristen Fuller

 

We Will Have Our Conventional Mortgage Paid Off In Full

June 30th, 2016

When Cameron and I first started the 101 Financial System in 2009 we were in pretty good shape, but far from being financially fit. Most of what I knew about finances came from Cameron’s solid habits. We owned an investment home in Utah and had just bought our first home for us where we were living in Washington.

I had just given birth to our second child and I was a full time stay at home mom. Neither of us had any college debt or outside consumer debt, but money was tight and was also the center of most disagreements. In most relationships you will come across the spender and the saver.

Spoiler alert: I am the spender.

After five years of marriage and telling Alan Akina, our longtime friend, that 101 Financial wasn’t for us, we finally decided that we would give 101 a try. I was supportive in my husband’s decision, but had no idea what that meant for me; the spender. Well, let me tell you. It was long talks about what I spent at Target, followed by threats of no more name brand jeans… my kryptonite.

Like a faithful student, Cameron attended the workshop alone, and even did a few classes without me. He was even hesitant when he paid $3,100 straight to our mortgage principal in the first class. But soon he started to understand where our money was going and wished for me to learn alongside him.

I had unknowingly grown accustomed to my mother and father’s lifestyle. By no means were they extravagant but money wasn’t an issue. I had to learn that I was my own financial obligation, no one else’s. And now that I was married with a family, it became increasingly apparent that I needed to learn financial accountability.

I started this journey with no understanding of finances, not even understanding how to use a credit card. I tried to catch up to Cameron’s accounting background, and grew more and more excited as we started to familiarize ourselves with the program.

To my surprise, my oldest son was born with a clubfoot that had gone unnoticed in the ultrasound. We were hit with unforeseen medical expenses totaling in the upwards of $20,000 dollars. With the help of 101 Financial, we were able to pay off all of his medical expenses in a matter of months. And pay for any necessary treatments without feeling burdened.

I was able to provide the best for him. Within the first year, the financial stress lessened and we bought and paid off two cars. I was able to travel home to Hawaii for months at a time and still attack our Washington mortgage.

In the next few years we were able to bring our Washington mortgage down $60,000 from our original purchase price. We’ve since then leveraged the 101 Financial System to move us home to Hawaii, pay for, start up and bond our own General Contracting company, Evolution Builders. We paid off five more cars, including two work trucks, and two old cars for hobby. We also became part owners at Crossfit Zeus, where we were able to pay our share in cash, and even save over $10,000 in cash in five months. In four months we paid off our $22,000 Disney Vacation Club timeshare membership and most importantly we were able to create memories with our family.

One of the best things about being a 101 Financial System student is the comfort and flexibility of the roadmap. In the last six years our family has gone back to Seattle to visit friends and family; visited Mickey Mouse and Aulani 4 times, Disneyland 6 times, Disney World, Las Vegas 4 times, and even Utah, Mexico, Hilo, and Maui.

In July of 2014 Cameron and I finally bought our current home on Oahu. Excited to own in Hawaii, we made a goal to pay our home off in less than 8 years. Just shy of our home’s 2 year anniversary we will have our conventional mortgage paid off in full. Shattering any previous goals that we had made.

I cannot even begin to express the gratitude that I have to Alan and 101 FInancial for educating us on a better way; for pushing us to continue to learn and expand our knowledge base. To look and think outside the box, to surround ourselves with the right people, to focus on the big picture, to go after what we want and live the life we want to live.

The only joy that is better than seeing your child’s face light up the first time they see Mickey, is knowing that they will be able to perpetuate this knowledge for generations to come.

Maya Angelou said it best, “Do the best you can until you know better, then when you know better, do better.”

– Kamaile and Cameron Heide

 

Did You Know Your Bank Does This With Your Money?

June 7th, 2016

If you had a secret key that let you come into your bank after everyone is gone for the day, and see the money you have in your checking account, you would be in for an unpleasant surprise.

Because when you opened that door to your checking account, and looked inside, you know what you would see?

NOTHING.

That’s right. You see, at night, when you’re not looking, the bank “borrows” your money (without paying you ANY interest). All while they use your money, and everyone else’s in your bank, to make money off your money, by investing in the money markets and stock markets that are open on the other side of the world. Then when they are done for the night, they put your money back in your account.

Now if you tried to get your bank to pay you interest on the money they borrow from you every day, you know the answer you would get. Sorry, Charlie.

What if there was a way you could beat the bank at their own game, and keep your money safe from your bank? Well I have a nice surprise for you, there is a way you can. That not only keeps your money in your account, it can actually save you a boatload of interest from your mortgage and your credit cards at the same time.

Curious how this works? Wonder how you can really beat the banks at their own game? Well I have news for you, hardly anyone even knows this goes on, much less understands how it works.

But today, you can get all the shocking details, and how you can leverage this knowledge for your gain, when you attend my limited-time Special Online Training Class for people like you, called:

“Experiencing Financial Peace of Mind” with Alan Akina.

During this Special Online Training, you’ll get all the details about what I’ve given you a peek at today. Plus you’ll find out all about who I am, how my life was growing up in a poor family, to going out and seeking the financial knowledge I needed to figure out just how this thing called money really works. Then all about why I started my financial education company “101 Financial”, and how we’ve helped 10s of thousands of people leave their stress about finances behind, to live lives of financial peace of mind.

What’s great is… Because you’re one of my Financial Fitness Magazine readers, you get to attend for Free!

Just one thing… access is limited, and I don’t know how much longer I’ll be making this online training available for free. So register to attend for free while you can.

Then, on the day of your training, you can watch on your computer from the comfort of your own home. What you will experience will transform how you look at managing your finances.

Register to Attend “Experiencing Financial Peace of Mind”

5 Tips To Save On Your Auto Insurance

June 7th, 2016

According to the US Labor Department, consumers spent an average of $983 on auto insurance in 2014. This a 23% increase from just five years ago.

Since insurance rates are always on the rise, here are 5 Tips to lower your auto insurance bill.

1: Always get quotes from at least 3 different providers.

Auto insurance prices can vary greatly from company to company. Shopping around can save you a lot more than you may think.

2: Get the highest deductible you can afford to take on.

Typically the higher the deductible, the lower your premium will be. You’ll pay more when you have an accident, but if you’re like most people who haven’t had an accident in years, you stand to gain from the lower monthly premiums.

3: Before you buy a car, check on the insurance cost.

If at all possible, make this one of your research steps before getting a car. The fact is, some cars have cheaper insurance costs, and some cars have much higher costs. If you put off getting that sports car you want, and make do with a family car for a few years, you’ll enjoy fairly low insurance costs, depending on where you live.

4: Pass on collision and comprehensive coverage if your car is an old clunker.

If your car is really old, you might be paying more in insurance than the car is worth. Use this calculation to see for yourself…

Add your comprehensive and collision premium together and multiply the total by 10. If the number is more than the value of your car, then you should pass.

5: Work to increase your credit score.

Most companies use your credit score to determine your premium. A lower credit score could increase your payments by up to 50%. So it pays to do what you can to increase your credit score. Starting with getting your credit report, and having any mistakes corrected which may be affecting your score in a negative way.

Since you have to pay auto insurance every year, cutting your insurance expenses can really add up.

7 Tips for Increasing the Value of Your Home

June 7th, 2016

If you’re in the market to sell your home, or just want to prepare it so when that day comes, you can get the most out of your investment, you’ll want to remember my 7 Tips for Increasing the Value of Your Home…

Tip 1) Curb Appeal Speaks Volumes.

Any realtor will tell you, if you can make your home look like a million dollars when someone drives up, you’re on your way to increasing the value of your home. Just by adding some nice plants and maybe some decorative bricks or paver stones, you can have people thinking…”That’s the nicest house on the block.”

Tip 2) It’s Amazing What A Fresh Coat Of Paint Can Do.

While paint can protect your home for up to 10 years, it can get a bit weathered looking after just a few years in the hot sun, or after a few brutal winters. Hiring a quality contractor who uses premium paint can not only boost the value of your home, your house could become the star of the neighborhood.

Tip 3) How Old Does Your Kitchen Look?

Another focal point of a nice home is a well laid-out kitchen, with all the latest appliances and a comfortable kitchen living area. While buying all new appliances and cabinets is great, it’s a wonder what your kitchen could look like just by cleaning and refinishing what you have.

Tip 4) Are Your Floors ‘Old School’?

There used to be a time when shag carpeting was all the rage. Times have changed though. By tearing out old musty carpets, along with cheap linoleum flooring, and reflooring with today’s beautiful and low-maintenance hard wood and laminate wood floors, you stand to increase your home’s value significantly.

Tip 5) Insulation and Climate Control.

Gone are the days of having “window rattlers” to cool you, and dusty and dangerous heaters to keep you warm. Today’s electric and natural gas-powered climate control systems will keep you comfortable all year long. Plus, you’ll reduce your electric bill and add to your home’s value measurably by being more energy efficient.

Tip 6) Improve Your Indoor And Outdoor Lighting.

With the emergence of LED lighting at affordable prices, there’s no longer the need for high-wattage incandescent bulbs that give harsh light and generate heat. Plus, LED lighting can typically last up to 10 times longer, saving you the hassle and expense of replacing 20 light bulbs, 2 or 3 times a year.

Tip 7) Create a Beautiful Landscape For You And Your Neighbors.

Nothing improves a home’s appearance and value like a striking landscape. While it does take a few dollars to install and maintain a grand, lush landscape… this addition will make you feel better about your home every day. And make your neighbors and visitors jealous every time they drive by your home.

Some realtors estimate that by making the improvements you’ve read today, depending on the local real estate market, that your efforts could increase the value of your home as much as 25%.

We Are So Grateful We Decided To Start 101 Financial

June 7th, 2016

When David & I were first married, we would do our finances together. Eventually I took over paying our bills and balancing the checkbook. Long story short, David is now in charge of finances and we’ve been better because of it.

He has our online payments scheduled and makes sure we have the money to pay off credit cards in full each month. And he makes sure we don’t use more money than we have in our account.

We’ve watched some of Alan’s videos and wanted to get more information about 101. We knew people we could ask but somehow never got around to it. We’ve known several people who have posted on social media how The 101 Financial System has helped them buy a house, get out of huge debt or pay for a new car.

Somehow we didn’t feel the urgency to find out more since we weren’t trapped with a lot of debt. The only debt we’ve had in our almost 10 years of marriage was my student loans from college. And with the Federal Teacher Forgiveness Program we eliminated the last $10,000 left on the loan.

We had car payments, but the interest rate was at 0% so we didn’t have to worry about paying more than we had signed up for. We weren’t living paycheck to paycheck, we paid our bills on time and had a pretty good credit score.

We were fortunate enough to recently buy a house, so now we have a mortgage and started paying for bills that go with owning your own home.

I guess it’s all about timing. We now had more friends and family that are associated with 101 Financial. They’ve asked if we wanted to go to a meeting or to a meeting in town, but for one reason or another we would miss the event. We finally had a chance to attend a meeting, heard the presentation and decided it was the right time to get started.

We met with our cousin, Soriah Tuimaunei in April 2016 and hit the ground running. Once we started, we were able to pay off the remaining $10,000 on our car and paid $45,000 toward our mortgage.

We are so grateful that we decided to start 101 Financial so we could start eliminating the rest of our mortgage faster than we could have on our own. Eventually we want to buy more property, get an additional car and go on more family vacations.

– David and Carol Yuen

 

Never In A Million Years Would I Be Where I Am Today…

June 7th, 2016

Guess who I was? Yep! I was one of those 101 Financial nay-sayers who didn’t think I needed the help of this “education company” to teach me to be financially responsible.

My Dad had done a great job of that already! He taught me to invest, to never spend more money than what I had and to never carry a balance on my credit card. So far I had been pretty fortunate in accomplishing these goals.

For some reason, and I truly don’t know why, I decided to go to a 101 seminar. Guess what happened? A gigantic light bulb went off in my head! I literally couldn’t get my application filled out fast enough! I need this company! I need their knowledge! I need this application approved so please, oh pretty please approve me right now, because I’m ready to get on the 101 bus! That’s how it all started.

Shortly after joining The 101 Financial System, I had the opportunity to move into a larger home. I owned a little condo and needed to sell it for equity for my larger home. Guess what happened.

Yep….my new home closed before my little condo sold. And you know what that means. The only loan I qualified for was one of those really great “interest only” loans. You know, the kind where the bank gets lots and lots of interest from you with minimal amounts, if any, going towards the principal. It was disastrous! But it was all I qualified for so I had no choice.

Here’s the really great part! 101 Financial to the rescue! Through knowledge I gained with The 101 Financial System, once my little condo sold I applied for a HELOC. The really great part? 1% interest! I used that to pay off my interest only loan and now considered this my new mortgage.

Who has a 1% interest on their mortgage? Me, That’s who! That, however was years ago. My little home is now paid off and I am really enjoying the next phase of 101… investment opportunities!

Never in a million years would I be where I am today without 101 Financial. My story sounds all rosy and peachy keen, but there were a few bumps in the road. What I saved for last in my story is the fact that during all this greatness I lost my job. It was one of the most traumatic things to happen in my life. But I made it through. Guess why? The tremendous emotional support of friends and family, and that financial education from 101 that I thought I really didn’t need.

– Tracy Haole

 

How We Made Our Finances Super Duper Simple

June 7th, 2016

5 Tips to Know Before Buying Your First Home

June 2nd, 2016

Buying your first home is one of the biggest financial steps you’ll ever take. If you put in the time and do your research, it could be one of the best choices you’ve ever made.

To help you consider a few things you may not think about when home shopping, here are 5 Important Tips to consider before buying your first home:

Tip #1 – Can you really afford it?

Not only will you have a mortgage to pay, your payment could be much larger than your rent was. It’s common to have your property taxes, homeowners insurance, windstorm insurance and flood insurance all rolled into your mortgage.

That means if the lender told you your mortgage payment will be $1500/month, it’s likely you’ll pay $1800/month or much more, with your insurance and taxes rolled in.

Tip #2 – Have you ever kept up a yard?

When living in an apartment or house you rent, your lawn and shrubbery always looks great, without you lifting a finger. As a homeowner, you’ll have to make the time to do this yourself, which includes buying all the yard equipment you’ll need, plus fueling and maintaining them.

If you go the route of paying to have your yard maintained, you can easily add an extra $100-$300/month to pay your yard man to keep your yard looking nice. Plus a much higher water bill to keep your yard green.

Tip #3 – Will your home be new or used?

Many homeowners see buying a used home as a way to save on their mortgage. Yet many don’t think about the fact that as a homeowner, they’ll now have to pay for any repairs, upgrades or disasters out of their own pockets.

If you are buying an older home that is used, take the extra expenses that come along with it into account, when seeing if you can afford your mortgage, plus added repair expenses that can pop up at any time.

Tip #4 – Is it a buyer’s market in this area?

So what is a buyer’s market? It’s when home values have dropped below the recent median value. Buyer’s markets are a great time to buy, since the real estate economy is on a downswing.

However, if the area you’re looking at has a strong economy, and home values are higher than the recent median value, you may not find many deals. These conditions indicate a sellers market. Plus, if you buy, you may even put yourself in a position where your home may lose value in the not to distant future after you make your purchase.

Tip #5 – Is the home in a neighborhood association?

Living in a community where there is a neighborhood association can be nice. Everyone must keep their properties up to a certain standard. And home values may be on the higher side. Yet with an association comes fees and dues you must pay monthly or yearly, or risk legal action.

If your home is not in a community association, you won’t have these fees and dues to pay. Yet the neighborhood may not adhere to the same standards you are used to. Which means you could have a neighbor with an RV in the front yard, or even livestock in the back yard.

So when thinking of buying your first home, make sure you do your homework. Don’t rush into anything. The more you look around, and do your research into the area and inhabitants, the better your chances of finding a balance of a nice neighborhood, without too many association restrictions.

6 Ways to Save For Your Future

April 25th, 2016

When it comes to saving, many people have a difficult time. Even when someone wants to save for their future, the options for making this happen can be confusing.

So today we’re taking a look at 6 common financial products, which can make it easy to save, and earn a return on your dollars.

Savings Product #1: Savings Account

If you bank at a Credit Union, they may call this product a Share Account. Your initial deposit amount is usually $25 to $100, which can bring you a .2% to .5% return. This product is government insured by the FDIC (though accounts at some credit unions are privately insured), and your funds are generally available immediately. You can make saving easy with a Savings Account by making deposits at your teller, the ATM, or having funds deposited from your checking account.

Savings Product #2: Online Savings Account

With this account, your minimum initial deposit can be as low as $1, and can bring you a 1% to 2% return. This product is government insured by the FDIC (though accounts at some credit unions are privately insured), and your funds are generally available immediately. You can make deposits to your Online Savings Account with an automatic deposit from your checking account or by a direct deposit from your employer. These products are not automatically insured, so check on their insurance status first.

Savings Product #3: Certificate of Deposit

If you bank at a credit union, they may call this product a Share Certificate. Your initial deposit is usually a minimum of $500, and it is a one-time deposit. Here you’ll generally receive a 1% to 2% return, and can withdraw immediately, though you may be subject to an interest penalty. When your CD matures, you can cash-out and receive total interest accrued. CDs are government insured by the FDIC, though accounts at some credit unions are privately insured.

Savings Product #4: US Savings Bond, Series EE

With this type of US Savings Bond, your minimum initial deposit can be as low as $25, though the minimum is $50 if you choose to buy bonds from a payroll deduction. Rate of return on EE bonds is usually 1.5%. While you can’t buy US Savings Bonds at a bank or credit union, you can buy them periodically, directly from the US Treasury at www.treasurydirect.gov. Where you can also buy electronic Savings Bonds with a checking account deduction. After 30 years, you have to cash in an EE Savings Bond or it will no longer earn additional interest. The purchase price is typically half the face value of the bond.

Savings Product #5: US Savings Bond, Series I

This type of Savings Bond comes with “inflation protection.” You can purchase I Bonds for as low as $25, which usually earn 0 to 2%. They are government guaranteed, but if you choose to access the principal of these bonds you have to wait 12 months, and you lose 3 months of interest. You also buy these bonds at www.treasurydirect.gov with checking account deductions. Their Easy Saver program enables you to make periodic payroll or checking account deposits to purchase additional bonds. Like Series EE bonds, you must cash them in after 30 years, or interest no longer accrues.

Savings Product #6: Money Market Account

You can open a Money Market Account for $250 at most banks, and expect a return of .1% to .3%. They are government insured, though accounts at some credit unions are privately insured. You can access your balance immediately, and getting started is easy from most banks, insurance companies and investment firms.

Sit down with your financial planner or banker today, to see which of these financial products makes sense for you. Then open your account, and commit to saving each and every month.

When you’re old and gray, or when the time comes when you need some serious cash, you will be in a good financial position.

Source: www.americasaves.org

6 Tips for Aging In Place

April 25th, 2016

Arranging care for our aging parents or grandparents is not only just emotionally challenging, but it can also be quite expensive.

As cost for senior care climbs each year, one thing you can do to is to prepare for what we call “aging in place.”

Baby Boomers do not expect retirement to include moving into a nursing home or an assisted living facility. The more affordable option is to age in place.

The fact is… 78% of boomers own their homes and want to stay there.

So here are 6 tips to help you prepare financially to retire in your own home.

#1: Plan ahead and do your research. What will you need to “senior-proof” your home.

#2: Are you in a senior-friendly home now? If your only bathroom and washing machine are upstairs, and you have hip problems when you’re older, will your current home be the best fit? I know people who have moved from their current home for just this reason.

#3: Do home improvement projects one at a time to minimize cash flow problems. For example, one month add hand rails, then a couple months down the road do the walk in tub.

#4: Do it right the first time and avoid any of the up-charges from contractors for making changes.

#5: Do the easy stuff first like removing rugs and other hazardous tripping items. Remove furniture in tight walkways and move the dishes to the lower cabinets.

#6: Remember that safety comes first in all we do to senior-proof our homes.

7 Financial Tips For a New Baby

April 25th, 2016

When you have a baby on the way, it can be easy to get caught up with setting up their nursery and buying cute baby clothes. Just don’t forget to take a few steps back, and see how your personal finances will handle your family’s new addition.

To help you, I have 7 New Baby Tips to think about, when you’re faced with planning for all the expenses that come with having a baby:

New Baby Tip #1 – Know Your Insurance and Medical Costs

The day you find out you are expecting is the time to take inventory of your insurance coverage and your anticipated medical expenses. Review the benefits you receive from your employer, and identify any gaps in coverage you may have to make up for. Then secure a pediatrician in your area who comes recommended by someone you know.

New Baby Tip #2 – Save For Maternity Leave

While many employers will grant you leave of absence after you have your new baby, some may not provide you with ongoing paychecks during this period. Do your homework to see which benefits your employer provides. Create a savings plan in advance to cover any loss of income you may experience.

New Baby Tip #3 – Plan Ahead for Baby’s Expenses

If this is your first child, it’s important to find out what you can expect your financial expenses will be. Visit family or friends who have had a child in the last 3 years, and get all the advice you can from them. Then look for reputable authorities online where you can get more information about the reality (and costs) of raising a new baby.

New Baby Tip #4 – Establish Baby’s Social Security Number.

The staff at your hospital should provide you with the proper paperwork for baby’s birth certificate. It is at this time when you can get baby’s social security number. If this is not provided, or you don’t have your baby at a hospital, be sure to contact your state’s family services department, and arrange to get both of these.

New Baby Tip #5 – Build and Protect Your Emergency Fund

Having a solid Emergency Fund is always important. Now with baby, it’s even more important. If you’re not saving regularly now, the time to start is now. If you do have a fund set aside for life’s unexpected expenses, leave it be, unless you have a true emergency. With a new baby, you never know what kinds of “emergency” expenses will come your way.

New Baby Tip #6 – Be Aware of How Baby Affects Your Taxes

With children usually comes tax breaks. Keep track of all your baby-related expenses, including any out of pocket medical costs. Then get with your financial planner or tax expert to create a plan for your expanded family’s tax situation.

New Baby Tip #7 – Make Adjustments to Your Budget

With a new baby also comes additional “Money Out” from your budget. From a mountain of Pampers to how quickly your child will grow, you’ll have to make room in your budget. Which likely means cutting in other areas of your budget will be necessary.

Getting clear on these important areas now, will ensure you have as few financial surprises as possible. Then you can focus your time and energy on making baby’s life great, without worrying where the money will come from.

Success Story of the Week – Shaleina Kekoa

April 25th, 2016

“My husband and I started our 101 Financial journey in May of 2015.

Prior to starting, I did all our finances. I thought I knew everything I needed to know about finances. I paid our bills on time and paid more than just the minimum balance
due.

Until one night we went to a 101 workshop that Alan was doing and we realized we were doing it all wrong.

We started with a total of $61,000 in debt with a brand new car payment, two personal loans, one credit card and one student loan.

Within the first 3 months we paid off $6,900. In the next 6 months, we paid off an additional $7,600. Now we are about 11 months into the program and paid off another $15,600.

At this moment we paid off both loans and my husband’s school loan, leaving us left with only our auto loan. Nothing we thought was ever possible.

In addition, we paid for about 4 weekend vacations (3 to Maui and 1 to Oahu) and are currently on our postponed honeymoon to Las Vegas, then to LA.

We watched several shows, went to several museums and ate, ate, ate! My husband and I decided we wanted to take my 2 nieces to Disneyland, which we also paid prior to even leaving home.

While on our honeymoon we didn’t have to worry about having to pay for it when we return home to Kona because it was ALREADY PAID FOR.

101 has given us FINANCIAL PEACE OF MIND and taught us how to BETTER BUDGET our money by BANKING SMARTER. We are tremendously blessed with what Alan had taught us.”

– Shaleina Kekoa

 

Financial Literacy Month Action Steps (Part 4)

April 19th, 2016

April is Financial Literacy Month. Over the last three weeks I shared 15 of my Top Action Steps for becoming Financially Literate.

Miss Action Steps 1-5? You can view them here.

Miss Action Steps 6-10? You can view them here.

Miss Action Steps 11-15? You can view them here.

Today I’m bringing you the next 5 important Action Steps I recommend you take action on this week. Since the key to making these steps work for you is applying them in your life.

Let’s continue my Financial Literacy Action Steps with…

Action Step #16: Know your Money In and Money Out.

This is pretty simple to do. You have to know the fixed expenses you have every month. You have to know your variable or occasional expenses every month. You have to know where every dollar of your expenses is going every month. And you have to know how much money you have coming in every month.

Your Action Step is to go through the bills and expenses you pay in an average month, and tally up your fixed expenses and your occasional and variable expenses. Then add up all the income you earn on an average month. Now you will be able to see in black and white, your Money In and your Money Out. Which is a big step toward becoming Financially Literate.

Action Step #17: Save, Save, then Save some more.

One of the hardest things to do for most people is save on a consistent basis. While you should save just for the sake of saving, you’ll also want to save for things you want to have or do. All without having to depend on credit to get them. So when you have a big goal you want to accomplish, like buying a home, it’s time to save. When you want to make your future better for you and your family, it’s time to save. And when you want things that you absolutely feel you must have, it’s time to save. And don’t forget one of our previous Financial Literacy Month Action Steps, saving for your Emergency Fund.

Your Action Step is to write down exactly what you want. Next, write down how much cash it will take to get what you want or reach your goal. Then determine how much money is left after your Money In and Money Out, and use the extra to save for wants, goals and your family’s future. Stay on track, and you’ll see that saving works. You just have to be disciplined when it comes to socking that cash away.

Action Step #18: Find ways to spend less each month.

If you don’t keep track of your spending, it can be really easy to overspend each and every month. And month after month, this can really add up to some serious cash that just vanishes. Make it your goal to keep track of what you spend money on throughout the month, and spend less than you are used to spending now. If you think about this regularly, it’s not that hard to do. But if you don’t keep track of how much you spend, it will always be difficult for you to get ahead and stay ahead.

Your Action Step is to revisit your Money In and Money Out, to get clear on where your money is going. Next, commit to track where your cash goes every month, with the intent of cutting your spending in as many areas as you can. When you implement this advice in your life, you’ll find it much easier to save.

Action Step #19: Save on food by planning and reducing waste.

I want to talk about this specific way to cut your spending, since it deals with a topic that is close to my heart. When I was a child, a good meal was sometimes hard to come by. To this day, I hate the thought of food being wasted. And of course, I never like it when money is wasted, either.

Your Action Step starts with planning your meals ahead of time. Which includes planning what you’ll need from the supermarket, and what you don’t need. When you can reach a balance of buying less because you are planning better, and spending less because you no longer have to buy as much, you set yourself up to save money each month, while not wasting food that others would do anything to have.

Action Step #20: Don’t put off your financial matters.

No matter how much you would like it, putting off your financial obligations will not make them go away. In most cases, putting things off will just make matters worse. Managing your finances properly is not only an important thing to do, it will make your life much less stressful.

Your Action Step is to prioritize your financial decisions, actions and responsibilities and smash the habit of putting things off. Create a calendar of which bills and payments need to be paid on which day. Also make a note of the amount of each payment. Then, by revisiting your Money In and Money Out again, come up with a plan to pay all your financial obligations on time. Then commit to follow your plan every month.

By following all of my Financial Literacy Action Steps, you will put yourself on the path to taking control of your personal finances. And living a much more enjoyable life.

Do you think you could use help putting these action steps to use in your life? Want to enjoy the benefits I’ve talked about today, by becoming financially literate?

Well you can start down the path to living life with financial peace of mind. And it’s a lot easier to do than you may think. See how you can take your first step in the right direction today.

5 Money Saving Tips for Prom

April 19th, 2016

If you have kids in high school you know what time it is…It’s Prom time!

The average student is projected to spend over $900 on prom according to a report by Visa.

Growing up I don’t recall spending much on prom. In fact I do remember buying my date a pretty little dress that was on sale for under $20.

So if you have kids going to Prom use these 5 tips to keep more money in your pocket.

#1: Don’t be too proud to borrow a dress or tux.

Simply changing up some of the accessories could make a huge difference and not cost much at all.

#2: Buy instead of renting.

Surprisingly buying a dress or suit can be cheaper than renting. Plus you get future use out of it.

#3: Brand names don’t matter.

Do you really need the expensive tux or dress? Things move so fast at prom no one will notice the brand you are wearing.

#4: Skip the Limo.

For my son Keanu’s prom at Kahuku High we washed and cleaned my SUV and had my sister drive him, his date and another couple. We even made our own snack basket, with a bottle of apple cider to go.

#5: Don’t stay at the hotel afterwards.

Instead use the money you would’ve spent on the room to have a party at home.

Could You Be a Victim of “Lifestyle Inflation?”

April 19th, 2016

Think back to five or ten years ago, to how your life was then. If you can remember, think about how much you were making at your job then. Also think about what your life looked like, as far as what you had and the things you used to do.

Now take a look at your life now. How much more do you make now than you used to back then? And how much more stuff, expenses and bills you have now, that you didn’t used to have back then.

I wanted you to take a look back at years past, and take a good look at your life now, to help you understand the concept of “lifestyle inflation.”

For most people, the big goal is to do better in the future than they have done in the past. And that includes living a better life now than they did years ago.

Well, while we all want a better life for our families, which usually includes having more and experiencing more, the fact that you earn much more than you did ten years ago, but still don’t seem to have the financial health you’re looking for, is a sign that your household has experienced lifestyle inflation.

Getting caught in lifestyle inflation means it can always be difficult to save. Because there is always something new you want, or another part of life to experience. And no matter how much more you earn, lifestyle inflation can eat up that additional income to the point where you experience money problems month after month, year after year.

Lifestyle inflation can be damaging to your life and finances over time… limiting how much you can save and your potential to amass wealth.

One big factor that brings lifestyle inflation into the lives of many families is the ever-present need to “keep up with the Jones'” next door. Your neighbor gets a 75 inch TV, so you have to get one. A neighbor down the street just bought a convertible sports car, so now you need a sports car too. A co-worker just got a massive new home, so now you feel the need to live in a palace too.

My advice to you is to break the pattern that makes you want to keep up with your neighbors, your co-workers, and every advancement that comes along, both large and small.

When you realize that it’s all about life and your family and friends, and not all about getting more and more, and bigger and bigger stuff, you can start to see the things in life that are important. Which most people miss out on, because they are too busy keeping up with the Jones’… then wonder why they don’t have any money, even though they earn way more than they did ten years ago.

Want to know a way you can easily break-free from the limitations of lifestyle inflation gone wild? See what I have for you here.

Success Story of the Week – Nohea Betham

April 19th, 2016

My story began in 2003, when I decided to go to college without a plan as to how I was going to pay for it, not knowing how much it would REALLY cost, and the mis-education of how student loans work.

All I knew was I wanted to go to Art school and I needed a degree to get where I wanted to be career wise.

Two Art schools, three private student loans and a handful of federal student loans later, I was looking at over $100,000 of debt, with interest mounting.

Fresh off graduating in 2008, married just a year, I had delusions of grandeur… that I’d get that great job they tell you is out there just waiting for YOU, and I’d be set, no worries.

A few weeks post-graduation we found out we’d soon be parents! My husband, Josh, had just been honorably discharged from the Marines and was about to start school himself (yes, more student loans).

I was concerned no one would hire me knowing I was pregnant. Well… it took 5 months after I graduated, and I was 2nd choice for an internship, part time, $10 an hour and no benefits.

A month later the student loan bills started rolling in, I had to choose between our living expenses and paying the student loan bills. Of course I chose the former, and
we all know what happens next. Missed payments led to debt collection calls, letters, lawyers and terrible credit (not just mine, but my cosigner’s as well).

After our first daughter was born we decided it would be best if we moved back to Hawaii and live with family once Josh was done with school. So we moved, thinking it would be easier to get a job back home, we will have help with baby, NO WORRIES.

When we first moved back in 2010 we had told my parents give us 3 months and we will be out. But the reality was, neither of us had jobs. This time it took me 8 months to find a job! But I was able to start making small payments on SOME of the loans; however, it was never enough.

We were always behind and living paycheck to paycheck.

We were sure once Josh got a job everything would turn around. WRONG. The debt hole just got bigger. And no matter how hard we tried no one would rent to us, and buying was completely out of the question.

Josh became a Master Technician and with that he needed tools and tool boxes, I knew we couldn’t afford these things, but with the pressure of not having what he needed to work, Josh made the decision on his own to take out a personal loan and open lines of credit with various tool vendors.

We were in over our heads and at each other’s throats!

4 years, 2 kids and 1 layoff later, the bottom dropped out, Josh was diagnosed with PTSD and a host of other mental and physical disabilities. He was fired from his job in 2014 for breaking a phone during a PTSD breakdown.

We were drowning in debt and were down an income.

Then the dynamics with my family changed for the worst. May 2015 my mom demanded that we move out. Our only other option was Josh’s family, and there we were asked to find our own place within 3 months.

I was beyond stressed at this point and our marriage had been tested every step of the way.

In July of 2015 we went on our first family trip that we had planned earlier in the year because we had received a large tax return, and were tired of never being able to do anything fun with our money.

SO, we threw caution to the wind and went.

As fun and needed as the trip was, it ultimately dug our debt hole even deeper. After the trip, we were constantly overdrawn and started to fall behind on loan payments AGAIN. Everything was a mess.

Meanwhile, I had found God. I finally decided to let go of the wheel and lay may burdens down, to find rest in him. September 2015, I was driving home from work, weary and stressed, I began to cry and pray. Then I got a text from Soriah…

“Sis, have you ever heard of 101 Financial?”

(YES, I still have our initial conversation!)

I told her I had just been praying for help in every aspect of our lives. She sent me Alan’s video workshop and I watched and was intrigued… until the end when the tuition amounts popped up! I told Soriah, it sounds great, but I can’t afford it. Her response? Let’s not worry about that yet, we will figure everything out, I’m going to help you and it will be beautiful! I decided to give it a try…

We tried to start with the 101 Financial System, and I wasn’t completely surprised by the answer… DENIED… due to credit history, credit score, and debt load to income ratio. Even though I wasn’t surprised, I was still discouraged.

Soriah remained positive and suggested I start in the 99 Program first and work to get to the 101 Financial System. So we did, and I’ve been on fire since.

I paid off $2,000 while in 99 using better budgeting to get to a positive cash flow and save. Changing my credit utilization brought my score up.

Within 2 months I graduated 99 and qualified for the 101 Financial System!

Then I was able to get my first credit card ever with a $15.5K limit, and a month later we were able to move into a house.

We are currently renting, but had anyone asked me if this was possible a few years ago, or even a few months ago, I would have laughed, then cried and said, no it’s not.

BUT, with 101, things you would have never thought a possibility before suddenly seem WAY more attainable.

I now have control over our finances; I know where all our money is and where it goes. Best part is, I’m now eliminating our debt, about $20,000 so far. We are also planning for our 2nd family trip, and this time I won’t have to worry one bit while we’re on the trip or how it will affect our finances after the trip.

I feel so absolutely blessed, and I continually thank the good lord for answering my small prayer, by sending me Soriah with the love in her heart to share Alan’s vision.

– Nohea Betham

 

Financial Literacy Month Action Steps (Part 3)

April 12th, 2016

April 1st started Financial Literacy Month.

Over the last two weeks I shared 10 of my Top Action Steps for becoming Financially Literate.

Miss Action Steps 1-5? You can view them here.

Miss Action Steps 6-10? You can view them here.

Today I’m bringing you the next 5 important Action Steps I recommend you take action on this week. Since the key to making these steps work for you is applying them in your life.

Let’s continue my Financial Literacy Action Steps with…

Action Step #11: Commit to pay off your debt.

There are many important tasks and activities in your life that you commit to every month. I would bet few to none of them are as important than focusing on paying off your debt. When you make a plan to pay down your debt every month, and stick with it month after month, every month, you will see progress. And the more progress you see, the easier it will be to maintain your commitment.

Sit down with your spouse or partner tonight, and agree to a mutual commitment to pay off your debt. Then take the steps necessary to make it happen.

Action Step #12: Create and protect an Emergency Fund for unexpected financial events.

One of our greatest founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, said this about being prepared… “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Which explains why so many people fail with their personal finances. Just by putting away cash in an Emergency Fund on a regular basis, that you don’t touch for day to day expenses, you will have the peace of mind of knowing you have prepared your family for the unexpected. And when an emergency does arise, you will be able to handle it.

Take your first step today, by making your first deposit into your Emergency Fund.

Action Step #13: Secure your financial future with a retirement account and guidance from a professional you trust.

When it comes to talking about retirement savings, most people stick their head in the sand like an ostrich, hoping the subject will just go away. Look, we all have to retire some time. The sacrifices you make by funding your retirement account today, will provide you with a much more comfortable life when you retire.

Seek the guidance of a qualified financial professional, and open your retirement account this week. In 20 or 30 years, you’ll be very glad you did.

Action Step #14: Teach your kids how to manage money.

Don’t you wish you would have received an education in personal finances before you graduated high school? Those who did get this education from their family can look forward to a bright financial future. Your kids can be in this enviable position when they become adults, when you make the choice today to teach them about how money works.

Sit down with your children this week, no matter how old they are. Then start the conversation about managing money properly. Make sure they are prepared for what the world has in store for them when they hit 18 years old. They will thank you for it later.

Action Step #15: Create a budget that works for you and stick to it.

Sure, it can be fun when you go to the store and buy something on a whim, just because it makes you feel good. But when you spend money you know you don’t have, you’re setting yourself up for stress and heartache.

Make it a point to create a budget for your household, and stick to it. Where ever you are financially right now, creating and sticking to budget is the best way I know to put yourself in a better financial situation in the short term, so you can enjoy a long life of peace of mind.

Want help putting these action steps into use in your life? Want to get the great benefits I’ve talked about today, when you are financially literate?

Well you can start down the path to living life with financial peace of mind. And it all starts right here.

5 Reasons To Add Rental Properties To Your Retirement Plan

April 12th, 2016

Does the thought of having enough money saved up for your retirement years weigh on your mind? Well it should, no matter how old you are now.

It’s a fact that people are living longer than ever before. And there is a strong possibility that you could outlive your retirement funds.

So what can you do to ensure you can live the lifestyle you’re used to when you grow older? Think about how having rental properties can give you the continual flow of income you will need.

Here are 5 reasons to consider adding rental properties to your retirement portfolio.

Reason #1: Rents almost always go up over time.

As inflation rises, rental rates usually keep up with the economy. With so many people renting these days, you could set yourself up to always have positive cash flow.

Reason #2: The IRS gives rental property owners special tax deductions.

They allow you to depreciate the building portion of your property, which will reduce the taxes you pay.

Reason #3: You can always sell this asset for quick cash.

Single family homes are typically easier to sell than other types of properties. So when you’re in the market for a rental, choose what you purchase wisely.

Reason #4: Buying a rental property can be easy.

To own an asset that is worth around $500,000, you don’t need to have all of the cash up front. In fact, all you need is a down payment to get started.

Reason #5: Your renters will pay off your mortgage over time.

So if you ever need a large sum of money, you can borrow off of the property’s equity without having to sell off the house. You can also use the rent payments from your tenants to add to mortgage payments you are making to pay off your mortgage faster and save a boatload of interest.

So if you’re worried about what you’ll do for money when you retire, and what kind of quality of life and freedom you’ll have, now is a great time to consider picking up some rentals.

5 Areas First-Time Home Buyers Overlook

April 12th, 2016

As a first time home buyer, you are stepping into unknown territory. Even if you’ve tried to do your homework first, there are still many areas to consider that most new home buyers completely overlook.

Then when it comes time to sell, to move up to a nicer home, or a nicer area, or an area where prices are rising, it may be too late to rethink your original purchase decision.

The fact is, many buyers don’t think about these important areas until they have already purchased their new home…

Area #1: What is the Resale Potential.

Many first-time home buyers are so involved with finding their dream home, they don’t think about the day when they will want sell and get a bigger or better home. Which means they will probably be selling their first home at some point. That’s where unexpected problems can pop up.

Without understanding the movements of the market in your area, the state of and access to quality education nearby, and even major construction or project work from the municipality you live in, you could find yourself in a position that in order to sell, you have to lose money in the process.

Area #2: Not being prepared for inspecting the home.

It’s easy to get all caught up in the excitement when you think you’ve found your dream home. But then as you start doing a thorough inspection of the property, including the features and benefits of the home, it can be easy to give it a look, while being so excited that you don’t remember to inspect the most important features.

This can easily be remedied by making a master list of everything you want in your home, and the status or condition of each of these areas. Don’t let emotions get the best of you. Take your time, and make sure you have your bases covered.

Area #3: The staging setup may be different than yours.

Realtors hire “staging” experts to decorate a home for sale so it wows the buyer, and gives them the nice feeling of a homey environment. However, it’s likely that your idea of how you want the home laid out with furniture and other items will be different.

So do your best to try to look at the home the way you envision it, set up with your style and features that you know you want. And do your best to disregard the way the “staged” home looks.

Area #4: Not having enough cash on hand.

Some first-time home buyers save and save for their down payment to get into their first home. The problem with this is, there will be many other expenses in the first months of home ownership, including buying furniture or having your existing furniture moved, putting down deposits for services, fixing any repairs needed and more.

The next problem is that while getting all this done, many find themselves tapped out for cash. That means no more Emergency Fund for unexpected expenses, and possibly having some rooms remain empty for months or longer.

Area #5:Not investigating the neighborhood thoroughly.

Just because you think the area your new home is in is the perfect neighborhood for you, it pays to dig deeper into the facts. Does one of your neighbors have young adults who have a rock band? Guess what, they will probably practice every day. And how well do you know the rest of your neighbors?

If you don’t have an association or code enforcement, and you have a bunch of renters in your area, how well will your neighbors take care of their homes and surrounding areas? You can easily go to your local city or county, and see first hand how many people in your area own, and how many rent. And don’t forget about the landlords, in some cases they can be worse than bad tenants. Do your homework first, research for any complaints filed in your area, so you don’t have any surprises.

Success Story of the Week – The Tufaga’s

April 12th, 2016

“I’m David Tufaga and this is our story. Cherish and I have been married for 12 years and have four handsome boys that mean the world to us.

Like most other families, we struggled with financial hardships. We went from working job to job two years ago, to getting unemployed for six months. We didn’t know how we were going to pay rent and all our bills.

We were the family that would say “hey as long as we pay our bills late, at least it’s being paid”, but at the same time we didn’t know how it messed up our CREDIT.

We also accumulated a whole bunch of debt at the same time. We had a couple of repossessed vehicles, back taxes, and also loans and credit card debt that all went into collection.

We pushed through and got through the storm. As parents we never gave up and always kept our FAITH and hoped things would get better.

We heard about 101 Financial and all the good things they have to offer, but my wife was always skeptical. We also thought we couldn’t do it being a one income family. We were wrong!

The 99 Program taught us to budget, save money (something we thought we could never do because we lived paycheck to paycheck), and manage our debt.

We joined the program October 29, 2015 and we paid off all our debt in February 2016 right before we joined the 101 Financial System. Now we are working on our credit through the smart banking that the 101 Financial System opened our eyes to.

Our biggest dream is to buy a home for our family. If we stick to the financial plan our instructors have given us our dream is within reach. We are truly BLESSED to be a part of this program!”

– David and Cherish Tufaga

 

Financial Literacy Month Action Steps (Part 2)

April 4th, 2016

April 1st started Financial Literacy Month.

Last week I shared 5 of my Top Action Steps for becoming Financially Literate.

Miss my last 5 Action Steps? You can view them here.

Today I’m bringing you the next 5 important Action Steps I recommend you take action on this week. Since the key to making these steps work for you is applying them in your life.

Let’s continue my Action Steps with…

Action Step #6: Organize and Automate Your Bills

If you sit down to pay bills, and you bring out a box of papers that is a mess, your first step is to organize that mess. These are really important papers you need to be on top of. Once you organize that mess, the best way I know of to stay on top of bills is to pay your bills online all in one place, or even better, set up automatic payments. This way your bills will get paid, on time, and you won’t have to scramble through a mess every month.

Action Step #7: Plan Ahead For How Your Income May Change

Some people get a paycheck every couple of weeks, or once a month. If this is you, your income is steady from month to month. But what would happen if your job changed, and you had to get another one that may not pay you as much? When you plan ahead, you will be prepared for “life’s little surprises” when they come your way.

Action Step #8: Take a Good Look at Where Your Debt Stands

Many people I know seem to ignore their debt. Which is why instead of getting smaller, these people see their debt rise and rise. Sit down once a month, and get the answers to these questions: Are you paying down your debt? Are you only making minimum payments? Are your credit cards maxed out? Do you pay bills late? Use credit instead of cash? How much do you owe? Knowing these answers is the first step to becoming financially literate. Ignore them at your peril.

Action Step #9: Identify Where Your Money Goes

This is as easy as doing a simple exercise. Get a legal pad and draw a line from top to bottom creating two columns. Label one column “NEEDS” and the other “WANTS.” Then think about what you spend money on regularly. For each item, write it down in the NEEDS column or the WANTS column, along with how much you spend on each item. Then add up each of these columns. If you’re spending more on WANTS than you are on NEEDS, it’s time for you to check your spending priorities, if you want to become financially literate.

Action Step #10: Set Financial Goals You Can Reach

It’s important to set short-term, mid-term and long-term goals for your finances. But just doing it casually won’t help you. Instead, make sure every financial goal you set is specific, measurable and achievable. Then take a look at your financial goals monthly to make sure you’re on the right track, or if you’re actually losing ground.

Take these Action Steps seriously. And take action on them today. (I’ll have 5 more Action Steps for you next week.)

When you do, you will have started down the path to not only becoming Financially Literate, you’ll set yourself up to eventually live a life of financial peace of mind.

Want to really know how your finances are now? This is the best way I know to find out where you stand.

3 Sites To Save On Summer Travel

April 4th, 2016

Before you know it summer will be here. If you are making plans to travel, you know it can make a huge dent in your wallet.

To help you save money on your summer travel, here are 3 websites you should know about:

#1: Skyscanner.com

This is the web service that powers Microsoft’s Bing Travel. With Skyscanner you can quickly compare millions of flights for free, with no hidden fees.

#2: Kayak.com/trends

This is great for checking movement on flights and hotel room prices. It will show you if the city you are traveling to is trending upwards or going down in price. They even have one of the best mobile apps and a cool price tracker service. All of this is free to use.

#3: Airfarewatchdog.com

Here you will find a bunch tips and tricks to save money on travel. You can also sign up for the airfare and hotel alerts, which automatically notify you when deals or low prices pop up for a specific trip you are planning.

Wherever you plan to travel, always look for deals. As the travel industry is notorious for sales. And choose your destination wisely.

Summer is the time for sky-high prices in some parts of the world, while other areas are heavily discounted during Summer.

Picking NCAA Teams Is Like Picking Stocks

April 4th, 2016

With 2 days left in the NCAA Tournament, do you know how many perfect NCAA basketball brackets are left? That’s right…zero, zip, nada!

Of the millions of brackets that were filled out, the longest lasting was from a 26 year old from Cleveland.

When asked what his secret was, he responded “nothing.” After his first two picks advanced he hasn’t watched a full game the entire year.

Now, picking winning teams is just as hard as picking winning stocks. There are so many companies to choose from. But how do you know which one will win in business and make you a ton of money?

Well, it’s almost impossible.

That’s why when it comes to investing in the stock market, I suggest buying low-cost mutual funds or ETFs (exchange traded funds).

A good example is the Vanguard 500 Index fund which boasts a very respectable 11% return since its inception in 1976.

In fact, Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said in a letter to investors he advised the executors of his will to invest in the same fund after his passing.

Success Story of the Week – The Keala’s

April 4th, 2016

The 101 Financial system has been the biggest blessing in my life and I couldn’t imagine my life without it.

I first heard about the 101 Financial System 5 years ago from a really close family friend. He had nothing but good things to say about it, but at that time I let my ego get the better of me.

My husband and I talked about it a couple times but I didn’t need or want anyone telling me how to spend our hard earned money.

I felt we were doing fine without the system, we were able to do the things we wanted and buy the things our hearts desired. We were able to afford 3 kids in the span of 4 years and I was able to stay home for 3 months unpaid for all 3 kids on top of paying $2,000 a month in rent.

I was the re-financing and debt consolidation queen. I thought we were living the paradise dream until one day I found ourselves drowning in $104k of debt.

All it took was a ten minute conversation with a co-worker who shared her success with the 101 Financial System to light that fire under me to jump on this program.

My husband was skeptical of me joining, but I felt I had to do it if we wanted to eventually accomplish our dream of buying a house. We had nothing to lose and had hoped to gain everything we needed.

May 2015 I attended my first workshop and was immediately hooked. I started my journey on the 99 Program and worked hard, doing whatever we needed to, in order to graduate to the 101 Financial System.

June 20, 2015 was my first 101 class in which we paid off a $7,500 loan! Yup that’s right, one class, two hours, I paid off $7,500 towards our debt!

Fast-forward 9 months later to March 20 2016, and we have been able to pay off close to $60k in debt!

Gone is the feeling and burden of living paycheck to paycheck. And saying hello to major financial freedom! Raising a family of 5 comes at no cheap cost, but with the 101 Financial System, life is so much easier and way more enjoyable.

Before 101 I used to worry about meeting my monthly minimum financial obligations. But now with the 101 Financial System, I “worry” about not being able to drop financial booms towards our debt.

Take that leap of faith into the 101 Financial System and don’t look back. Trust me, it will be the best decision you make!

– The Keala’s

 

Bootstrapping Your Million Dollar Idea

March 28th, 2016

Have you ever had a great idea that you thought would make you millions, but you don’t know where to start?

Today I would like to help you get started making the business idea you’ve had out of your head, and making you money.

I know all of us have a million dollar idea floating around our brain somewhere. The problem is, most of us never take action on the idea because we think we need a ton of money to get it started.

When it comes to starting a new business remember this word: Bootstrapping.

Bootstrapping is the process of using as little resources as possible to get your idea off the ground, and making money.

You see, most startup business do not need hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans or investors to get started.

Instead, you can “bootstrap it” by using sweat equity (meaning your hard work) and your expertise.

Plus, you can do a lot to get your business off the ground with all of the free online tools available online. And don’t forget about leveraging social media for your marketing, and using simple word of mouth.

Once you can prove your business model works and it can generate cash, then you can confidently put more of your own money into it, or seek outside funding to grow your business into the business and money-maker of your dreams.

5 Steps for Becoming Financially Literate

March 28th, 2016

Financial Literacy Month Action Steps (Part 1)

Friday, April 1st kicks off Financial Literacy Month.

This is when we focus on how money really works, and taking simple action steps that help take control of your finances, and build a bright financial future.

The fact is, financial troubles are the #1 source of stress in our lives. And this stress can creep into many parts of our lives, bringing us even more problems with our family and our jobs.

So today I’m giving you Part 1 of a 4-part series on Financial Literacy Month Action Steps… which you can take action on to become financially literate, and get your financial life on track.

While you may have heard some of these tips before, today I want you to sit down and really think about each one. Are you doing each of these now? If not, why? Did you used to do these steps, but now think you no longer have to do them?

Take these Action Steps seriously. And take action on them today. (I’ll have more Action Steps for you next week.)

Here are my first 5 Steps for becoming Financially Literate:

Step #1: Decide to make your financial life better.

The first step to becoming financially literate is to break the pattern of finances out of control. This means you have to make a promise to yourself, that starting today you will put your focus on making your finances better, and stop doing the things that has made your life a financial mess.

Step #2: Find out where you stand now.

If you don’t know what your finances look like now, how in the world can you make your life better? The answer is, you can’t. An easy way for you to take a financial inventory of your life, taking into account your assets, your debt, your income and your expenses, is to [complete our Personal Financial Analysis here.]

Step #3: Review your credit reports for your score and potential errors.

You can’t go through life not even knowing your credit score. And you can’t ignore your credit reports. Inside these reports, you’ll see a report of your financial health. Plus, you’ll uncover potential errors that may be affecting your credit score negatively. Get your free credit report today, from AnnualCreditReport.com – Free CreditReport.com – CreditKarma.com… or get reports from each of the major credit reporting agencies at Experian.com, TransUnion.com, Equifax.com and FICO.com

Step #4: Get copies of your credit report every year.

In the world of credit, things can change. That’s why you can’t think your credit score will remain the same. Checking on your credit score yearly will ensure you don’t get any unpleasant surprises when applying for a car loan, a mortgage or any other large purchase that requires a good credit history. And you’ll always know how financially healthy you are.

Step #5: Organize your financial clutter.

It’s important that you keep receipts and financial records regarding large purchases, even smaller purchases where you’ll use the item you bought for a long time. It’s wise to keep records like these for 3 years, then discard them after that.

You also must keep any records relating to your taxes. These records, including your past tax returns and expenses, should be kept for 7 years. Then discard them after that, ensuring you destroy any documents with your financial and social security information. Organizing these records in a way that you can easily access any of them is a smart practice to adopt.

Get started on these Financial Literacy Action Steps today. I’ll have 5 more important steps for you next week.

How to Think and Grow Rich

March 28th, 2016

Of the millions and millions of books published every year, and all the books that were published over the past 100 years, few can have the impact on your financial life like “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.

If you have never read Think and Grow Rich, you’re missing out on some of the most important concepts that drive business, creativity, getting things done, and achieving financial success.

This best seller, that has sold over 70 million copies since it was written in 1937, describes in detail how to set yourself up to achieve anything you want, and become financially successful. Along with practical steps for actually doing it.

I’m bringing this important book to your attention today, because of the impact it will have on your thoughts. It will then help guide your actions to using what you learn to make a big difference in the lives of you and your family.

Inside this groundbreaking book that you can pick up on Amazon for less than $10, you’ll hear accounts from Hill’s 25 years of research into the minds of some of the greatest and most successful people in America. This book was created from interviewing people like Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and others.

Discover the 13 proven steps to riches, as revealed by Napoleon Hill. When you read this book again and again, and apply what you read, you will be on track to attain anything you desire. And enjoy a level of financial peace of mind you’ve only imagined.

Success Story of the Week – The Miyamoto’s

March 28th, 2016

After my initial 101 Financial orientation workshop, my first impression was, “this is too good to be true.”

The presenter was very informative and taught us about different types of debt and how the interest on your debt can take its toll on your bottom line. However, in the end it sounded to me like a lot of hype, especially because nothing was revealed regarding exactly how to accomplish debt reduction.

Fast forward a few months later, when I happened to meet someone who recently started 101 Financial and was able to pay down a huge chunk of his mortgage in just few months.

This is when I started to think that maybe there is something to this after all.

My wife Joyce and I decided to “have faith and take the plunge.” Fortunately, Master Instructors Ana Magarin and Rochelle Inouye showed a lot of patience teaching old students like us the 101 Financial way.

We learned we did not have to produce more money or necessarily cut back on our expenses in order to get ahead and pay down debt. When we learned the small fee would result in us saving over $250,000 in mortgage interest, this decision was a “no-brainer.”

We knew we made the right choice.

Even with two girls in college, we have been able to pay down our mortgage much more than we ever have, and were also able to purchase a Kula property that we normally would not even consider. I tell everyone that this simple, yet powerful system is something that everyone needs to know and learn.

I also tell everyone that my only regret is that I did not start 101 Financial sooner.

I would like to thank Ana Magarin for changing our lives. Starting from her advice years ago to invest in the 529 college savings plan for our girls, to the exciting world of 101 Financial, Ana has the desire and passion to help others get out of debt so there will be no financial stress.

Lastly, I am very excited for our investment potential in the future. I like the fact that after debt is paid off, 101 Financial has the tools you need, mentors for one on one advice, and the higher education available to be able to position myself in a way that I can invest in entities I would not otherwise be able to do.

Thank you Alan Akina for sharing your wisdom through 101 Financial and for making a profound difference in our financial future.

— Dr. Michael and Joyce Miyamoto

 

3 Tax Preparer Scams To Avoid

March 21st, 2016

Tax season is upon us, with all of the advertising and sign waving on street corners to get your taxes done.

Before you get your taxes done, here are 3 tax preparer scams to avoid.

Scam #1: Making you pay to get your taxes done when you qualify for free tax services.

If you make $62,000 or less, you qualify for the IRS Free Filer’s software and free e-file service. If you make more than $62,000 you can still get it free using the free fillable electronic versions of the paper form. Just go to www.irs.gov/freefile.

Scam #2: Refund Anticipation Loans.

These loans will give you your money right away, but the interest charged can be in the triple digits. Instead, use the e-file option and choose to have your refund direct deposited to get your money faster.

Scam #3: Beware of the bad apples.

Most tax preparers are great, but there are some that are not trained properly and are just plain incompetent. These preparers can end up costing you more, or even flagging you for an audit when they make errors, mis-classify things or falsify your return.

Getting your taxes right is serious business. Take the time to make sure you’re using a reputable tax preparer or CPA. You could save yourself some major headaches later on.

7 Tips For Starting A Business and Keeping Your Job

March 21st, 2016

Are you thinking you may want to start a business of your own? Well that’s a great thing to do, if you want to be in control of how much you make, and where and when you work.

While it’s great that you have this big goal in mind, I recommend you keep your full-time job until you’re making more with your business than your job pays you.

Plus, there are other important things you must consider before making the move to business owner.

Here are my top 7 Tips for starting your own business, while keeping your job:

Tip #1: Identify your passion.

What can you do, that you would do even if you were not getting paid to do it? Write down 3 ideas and how you can make a business from each. Then figure out which of these ideas would make the most sense for you. What’s great about doing what you love is, you won’t get tired of doing it, and you won’t feel like it is work.

Tip #2: Do your research.

Before you get started with your business idea, you better make sure there is enough of a market to support the products or services you plan to offer. A recent report from Fortune stated that 42% of business fail because of a lack of customers. Don’t let this happen to you.

Tip #3: Know your skills and strengths.

What expertise can you bring to your new business to help it grow? While you need skills that will enable your business to operate and make money, it’s always best to leverage your natural strengths, and avoid activities that are a weakness.

Tip #4: Ask for help.

Do you have friends or family members with specific skills that you do not have but your business needs? They could be a useful part of your business. Just understand one thing… even though you may love your family and friends, sometimes it’s better to get help from others who are not as close to you. In some cases, working with family and friends may not turn out to be a good idea, once your business gets going.

Tip #5: Map your game plan from idea to cash flow.

How will your business earn revenue? What will your product and service offers be? Which market will you target? Which methods will you use to let your market know what you’re offering? How will your products help people? And how much income do you need to keep your business going? You must have answers to all these questions before you start your business.

Tip #6: Determine your legal business structure.

Setting your business up properly in the eyes of the law can protect you in legal and liability areas. Before you form your business entity, do your research and understand what the benefits are for each of these types of companies: S-Corp or C-Corp, Limited Liability Company, Sole Proprietorship and Partnership. Then consult with business friends or experts about which of these may be right for you.

Tip #7: Don’t quit your full-time job.

The beauty of starting a business while you are still working at your job is, you can live off of your job income while you’re getting your business going and growing. A good milestone to keep in mind is to wait to leave your job until you are earning as much or more with your business than what you earn with your paycheck. And your business is bringing you this income steadily for at least 4 to 6 months.

10 Things You Used To Pay For That Now Are Free

March 21st, 2016

The cost of living is constantly going up, but there is a bright side to things. Many products and services you used to pay for, are now available for free.

Here are 10 things that use to cost money but now are free.

1. Your Credit Report.

Instead of paying for your credit report once a year, now you can use sites like CreditKarma, CreditSesame or FreeCreditReport.com to get it free.

2. Online Classified Ads.

You can find just about anything online. You used to have to pay for a classified ad in a newspaper or magazine, when you were selling something. Now you can post ads for free on Craigslist. And there are many other free classified ad sites online where you can do the same.

3. Newspapers.

It used to be that you had to buy access to newspapers, and someone would come around your neighborhood and leave your newspaper at your door. Most newspapers now publish articles that can be found right online, for free. And if you want access to their “premium” content, it will probably only cost you $5 a month for access on your computer, tablet or smartphone.

4. Books and magazines.

Google Play has 4 million books and magazines to read, and half of them are free to access. Plus, using your trusted local library, you can check out any book and read it for free.

5. Money management software.

There are lots of great apps like Mint Money Manager to help you create cool looking budgets, and give you access to bill pay and even your credit score, all for free.

6. Music. All you want. Free

You can create up to 100 unique stations on Pandora. Services like Spotify let you create playlists based on your tastes, and even share these playlists with others. Then there’s the original music service, MySpace, with the largest online music library, all free to listen to as much as you want.

7. Long distance service.

We used to have to pay big bucks if we called a lot of people long distance. Now long distance is included for free as part of your phone’s service plan for anyone who lives in the US.

8. GPS.

Remember the days when we had to buy a device just for GPS? Now it comes on our phones and tablets for free. You can even access GPS navigation apps that are completely free to use, like MapQuest and Google Maps.

9. Cloud storage service.

With services like Google Drive or DropBox, you can store a a lot of data for free. The free amount is way more than enough for storing personal use items. Then there’s Picassa for storing your photos. And if you’re a techy, you can get an Amazon S3 account that will hold a computer full of data and stuff, practically free, with charges as low as 50 cents a month.

10. Yard sale announcements.

You used to have to buy a classified ad in your local newspaper or “penny saver” to announce your yard sales. Now you can advertise your garage sale or yard sale or free, using sites like FreeCycle.com, YardSaleSearch.com, YardSales.net and many more.