Archive for the ‘Money and Family’ Category

Tips to Protect Your Credit after a Security Breach

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

Breaches of personally identifiable information and credit data are making the news on what seems to be a regular basis. The magnitude of the security hack at Equifax, one of the big 3 credit agencies brought a new level of concern among Americans for securing their credit information. Alan Akina breaks down the steps you should take to protect yourself in light of that recent credit breach in this brief video.



You can also read what Alan has to say, below.

Alan Akina: Good morning everyone. I have a very important question for you. Do you know if your personal financial information was compromised?

Now, with the recent announcement of the mega security breach by one of the big three credit bureaus, Equifax, this security breach could go down as one of the worst of all time hacks. And I’ve been getting a lot of questions from people about what they should know and what they should do?

Here are two things that you need to do today. First, go to and click on the tab check potential impact. You’ll be asked to enter your last name and last six digits of social security number. Equifax will give you a determination at that point.

Now, if your personal account has been compromised or if it’s not, I still suggest that you do the following, a credit freeze. I strongly suggest that you put a credit freeze on your account at all three of the credit bureaus.

Now, what is a credit freeze? A credit freeze allows you to lock up your credit report and have you become the only one that can access your credit via a pin number that only you know. Now, what this does is it adds another layer of protection if someone tries to open up a new credit card, a loan or a mortgage in your name.

Even if they have your Social Security Number and your personal information, they will still need the pin to obtain credit. A freeze will have no impact on your existing credit accounts and you can continue to use them the same way you have been.

To setup a credit freeze, I suggest that you go to Equifax, TransUnion and Experian and click on the credit freeze tab.  I did these for each of my three accounts, Equifax was free, but Experian and TransUnion charge around $5.

I hope this helps you to sleep better at night.

Incoming search terms:

  • machineefx

6 Ways You Can Get A Raise

Friday, September 8th, 2017

6 Ways You Can Get A Raise

Imagine what your family would say when you come home from work and proclaim… “I just got a big fat raise!” They would be happy for you, and happy that you are able to support them even more.

How would you like to get a raise? Most people will immediately say YES! If you work for a company as an employee, one of the fastest ways to bring home more cash is to ask for a raise.

However, many people are afraid of asking for a raise, because they might get turned down. Well, you may be surprised to learn that 75% of those who ask for a raise get it, according to

Want to increase your chances of getting the raise you want? Well you can, when you use these 6 Ways to Get a Raise:

Getting a Raise Step 1: Know how much to ask for.

If you don’t know the fair going rate for your position, then your plan could backfire. Do your research by turning to websites like GetRaised, Comparably, and PayScale to get salary information on related positions.

Getting a Raise Step 2: Document your results.

Keep detailed records of how your actions have helped to increase the bottom line of the company. This will help make your case for a raise. It will also remind your superiors how valuable you are to their company.

Getting a Raise Step 3: Don’t be afraid to negotiate.

Research the best ways to negotiate a raise, then practice your negotiation skills with a family member or friend. The more you practice, the more your confidence will build. The key to effective negotiation is to approach it with confidence.

Getting a Raise Step 4: Be friendly and easy to work with.

The old saying goes, you’ll attract more flies with sugar than vinegar. The fact is, bosses like to hire, work with and promote people who are fun. The best work environments are made up of team players who are friendly with each other as they pursue a common goal.

Getting a Raise Step 5: Be positive.

With confidence comes a positive outlook on your life and your job. Never approach asking for a raise by begging or giving a sob story about your bad situation. Start the conversation on a positive note and support your request with reasons why you deserve a raise.

Getting a Raise Step 6: Get the job done every day.

Prove your worth through your work ethic, professionalism and great attitude each and every day. Show through your actions that you are a team player and get the job done every day. For many employers, considering giving you a raise comes down to your personal production and how you help the company profit and grow.

Follow these steps and you could find yourself getting the raise you want. Congratulations! Yet, be careful after getting that well deserved raise, that you don’t squander your pay increase. Instead use it wisely, to pay off debt, invest or put away in your rainy day savings fund.

5 Tips For Starting A Business In Your Golden Years

Monday, August 14th, 2017

5 Tips For Starting A Business In Your Golden Years

Are you retired or contemplating retirement? Have you been considering starting your own business to keep you busy in your golden years? Could you use some extra cash, in case you did not prepare for retirement like you should have?

Well, the best way I know of to earn a nice retirement income, besides being prepared with investments and savings, is to start a simple business you can operate from your home.

If you are retired, or will be retiring soon, and want extra income so you can live more comfortably…

Here are 5 Tips to consider before getting started:

Retirement Business Tip #1: Cover your basics.

Figure out how to pay for all of your living expenses during the startup phase. Be sure you have sufficient income or savings you can live on until you’re earning money. To help you get started, you can even pick up some part-time work until your business brings you the extra income you want.

Retirement Business Tip #2: Test your idea.

Just because you think starting a particular type of business would be a good choice for you, does not necessarily mean it is a good choice. Talk to your family and friends about your ideas. Start with a small group of people as a test first, so you can gather feedback, adjust your plan and build from there. You will want to start a business that is a good fit for you.

Retirement Business Tip #3: Leverage your experience.

Have you been working for a while and have developed valuable skill sets? Before considering a business which you don’t have experience with, think about leveraging your existing skills and use them to your advantage.

Retirement Business Tip #4: Bootstrap your business.

Try not to use much or any of your retirement and rainy day funds to start your business. Instead use as little money as possible. Bootstrapping has helped countless entrepreneurs launch successful businesses. This is where you start with a small amount of cash and do what you can with it to generate some kind of money. Then with the money you earn, repeat this process to create more capital, as you see your business methodically grow step by step.

Retirement Business Tip #5: Take care of your health.

You’ve worked practically your entire life either for yourself or at a job. Your retirement years are not the time to push yourself to the limit with your work hours. In the startup world pulling all-nighters and working 24/7 is the norm. Make your plans and ideas such that you won’t be required to work more than a few hours each day.

With these simple yet important tips, it is very possible for you to create a small, enjoyable and profitable business that’s based out of your home, which could provide all the money you’d need to live comfortably, without touching your savings, emergency fund or investments.

After all, you’re not getting older, you’re getting better!

Summer Financial Reading for Graduates

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Summer Financial Reading for Graduates

If you are the parent of a recent high school or college graduate, I’m sure you are very proud. I’m sure your students are proud too, and relieved to not have any more papers to write or homework to do.

However, now that they have graduated and are out in the real world, they may still have a rough time financially. Which is why I’m recommending that you give your new graduate some extra home work. That’s right.

You see, most graduates, even though they may have received an extensive education, most did not get an education in managing personal finances and how money really works.

Today I’m sharing three book suggestions to get your new graduate off to a good financial start. The first two will cost you around $14.95 each… and book number three is free, since you’re one of my Financial Fitness Magazine readers.

These books will get your new graduate off on the right foot, so they can avoid the financial heartache many families deal with every day.

Here are the three books on money that I have personally read, that I personally recommend, that will help people at any age.

“The Millionaire Next Door”

My all time favorite book on money is “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas Stanley. This book will help your graduate learn how real millionaires live their lives. If they pick up just a few tips from Mr. Stanley, your graduate will be much better off because of it. My favorite quote from the book is “Big hat no cattle.”

“Rich Dad Poor Dad”

Next I suggest your graduate ready “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. Mr Kiyosaki was born and raised in Hawaii and will teach your graduate the valuable concepts of cashflow management, business and real estate investing.

“The Super Duper Simple Book On Money”

The third book I suggest that your graduate read this summer is none other than “The Super Duper Simple Book on Money” written by yours truly. I wrote this book to help people take their first financial steps in life, no matter how old they are. This book can be read in 30 minutes or less and was a #1 Best Seller on Amazon. Your graduate can download the digital version for free at

6 Tips For Dealing With Debt Collectors

Saturday, June 10th, 2017

6 Tips For Dealing With Debt Collectors

Dealing with debt collectors can be a nightmare for you and your family. Some of the tactics they use are questionable and very annoying.

Even though you may be having financial difficulties, just know you do have rights. When you approach your debt problems the right way, you can make a bad situation better.

This means stopping phone calls from creditors at all hours, receiving certified mail that requires your signature, and putting an end to dealing with the shady tactics involved in this industry.

According to… when facing debt collectors, keep calm and follow these 6 smart tips:

Collections Tip #1: Get the information in writing.

Within 5 days of contacting you, a debt collector must send you a written notice with details of the collection. Ask for this letter before engaging with them.

Collections Tip #2: Dispute the debt in writing if you don’t believe you owe it.

Send the collection agency a letter within 30 days of receiving their notice. Either tell them why you do not owe this debt, or offer to enter into a payment arrangement.

Collections Tip #3: Keep a record of everything.

Make a log of your calls, your emails and letters with the collection agency. Proving that you have made an attempt to deal with them can help.

Collections Tip #4: Watch what you say.

Remember, they are trying to probe to see if you have the capacity to pay. Say little as you can and always stand firm when talking to a collection agency.

Collections Tip #5: Offer to negotiate your debt down.

Times are tight and debt collectors are looking to get whatever they can. Start out by offering 10 to 15% of what they say you owe. If you can work it out that you’ll pay 20% of what you owe, consider this a win.

Collections Tip #6: Get any deals in writing.

Think before you pay. Before you part with one dollar, make sure you get the pay off deal in writing. This way when a collector tries to pressure you for more, you have proof of the terms agreed upon.

The fact is, if you’re having trouble with debt, there may be other options that work more in your favor. 101 Financial helps families with personal finances out of control every day.

Getting the help you need is as easy as booking your free phone consultation with one of our 101 Financial Instructors.

6 Tips For Finding Last Minute Cash for College

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

6 Tips For Finding Last Minute Cash for College

Do you have students attending college this fall and it looks like you’ll be short on cash to cover books and tuition? Don’t worry, I have a few tips to help you.

You may know, college expenses can really add up. If you find yourself in this situation, consider these 6 tips for finding last minute cash for college.

#1: Special circumstance application.

Life is complicated. Sometimes family or personal circumstances can impact your student’s academic credentials. You can relate information about family or personal circumstances in most institutions’ Common Application. You may want to seek the advice of your student’s dean or advisor regarding special circumstances.
#2: Get tax credits.

The American Opportunity tax credit and Lifetime Learning tax credit can help ease the burden for parents. The American opportunity tax credit (AOTC) is a credit for qualified education expenses paid for an eligible student for the first four years of higher education.You can get a maximum annual credit of $2,500 per eligible student.

#3: Low-Interest Student Loans.

Student loans are another option, but I suggest you shop around for the best deals. Only take what you need and nothing more. Also watch out for “deferment” of college fees. This means your student can go to school without paying month to month. Yet, when they’re done, they will have a mountain of debt to pay back.

#4: Cancellations.

Have you heard of scholarship cancellations? Sometimes other students change their minds and may not attend the university they are enrolled in. This may open up scholarship money for that school at the last minute. It pays to check if there have been cancellations at your student’s school.

#5 Pay Over Time.

Ask for a payment plan. Some schools will allow you to make monthly payments on your tuition. It never hurts to ask. If you can make the payments monthly, instead of deferring them until they graduate, you can help you student avoid the burden of many thousands of dollars of debt.

#6 Have Your Student Work Part-Time.

By having your student work at a job part-time, they will earn cash for college expenses. Working part-time will also give your student life experience and much needed cash to live on campus.

Simple Rules To Remember When Lending Money To Family

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

Simple Rules To Remember When Lending Money To Family

“Should I lend money to a family member or friend?”

This is a complicated question, one that I get a lot. Before you do it ask yourself this question… “Will I get this money back?” The answer will most likely be… “Probably not!”

The next question to ask is… “Will this affect our relationship?” The answer is most likely…”Yes!”

The first rule of thumb for lending money is…If you don’t have money to lend, don’t even think about it.

Secondly, establish a personal policy when it comes to lending money to family or friends. When asked, you can be strong and let them know… “Our relationship is worth more than any amount of money.”

If you have a hard time saying no, try saying it a different way. For example… you can say “Sorry, but it’s just not in my budget right now.” Or “I have a personal policy that values relationships over money.”

Next, try to help them in other ways. You can help them set up a budget or review their finances with them.

If you have to lend them money, draw up a contract and make it official. You can find contracts online that are simple and easy to understand.

Finally, if you do have the money to give, then give it to them instead of loaning it to them. You’ll be much better off, since giving is a virtue. In occasional situations, it is “doing good.” Which is much better than loaning money that you may never get back.

Can You Really Make More Money By Sleeping Longer

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Can You Really Make More Money By Sleeping Longer

Have you ever heard the term “money doesn’t sleep” or “I’m wasting time sleeping?”

Well you are going to love this. What if you could actually make more money, by sleeping longer? According to research, you can.

Researchers have shown that those who sleep more, make more money, and have better career paths.

In a new study by economist Matthew Gibson and Jeffrey Shrader, they examined the correlation between a worker’s productivity and the amount of time they spent sleeping.

Here is what they found:

A one hour increase in average weekly sleep can increase your wages by 1.5% in the short term, and 4.9% in the long term.

These researchers also found that a one hour increase per night can increase wages by a whopping 16%.

Would you like to earn more just be sleeping more?

Here are 5 Tips for getting more sleep:

Tip 1) Set up a routine.

Go to bed the same time each night.

Tip 2) Forget the snooze button.

Instead, set your alarm for the exact time you need to get up, then get up when your alarm sounds.

Tip 3) Exercise regularly.

The more you exercise, the easier and faster that you’ll fall asleep.

Tip 4) Keep your room dark and cool.

This will let you relax and sleep deeper. Have you ever tried to sleep in a hot room with the lights on? You’ll never get a good night sleep.

Tip 5) No computers before bed.

Avoid getting on a computer or your cell phone before bedtime. Studies show that the light and radiation that come off a phone, tablet or computer display can effect your quality of sleep.

The moral of this story? Always remember, it pays to sleep.

7 Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

7 Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires

Do Millionaires know something you don’t?

When it comes to building wealth, learning from those that have done it before you is a great way to cut your learning curve.

The fact is, if others can become wealthy, so can you. It’s all about seeing what works for others, then making a plan to apply their strategies in your day to day life.

Here are 7 Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires, according to Entrepreneur Magazine.

Millionaire Secret #1: Decide to be a Millionaire.

You know this already, that if you want to do anything that will bring value to your life, you must make a decision to make it happen.

Millionaire Secret #2: Get rid of poverty thinking.

There is no shortage of money on this planet, only a shortage of people who think correctly about it. When you choose to view money differently, your open the doors to your life and income growing.

Millionaire Secret #3: Treat it like a duty.

Self-made millionaires are not driven by money. They are driven by the need to validate their contributions. In order for you to make a difference in people’s lives, and make this world a better place, connect your desire to help with your ability to earn more money.

Millionaire Secret #4: Surround yourself with millionaires.

You can’t learn how to make money from someone who doesn’t have it. They say, “success breeds success.” There is also another saying that goes… “You are only as successful as the people you hang out with.”

Millionaire Secret #5: Work like a millionaire.

They treat time differently. Wealthy people buy other people’s time, while the poor sell their time to employers. Choose to focus on your strengths and pay others to do what for you are weaknesses.

Millionaire Secret #6: Shift your focus from spending to investing.

The rich don’t spend money, they invest. They know the US tax code favors investing over spending. This is how great fortunes are made. This is also why I’m always advising you to save, instead of spending recklessly.

Millionaire Secret #7: Create multiple streams of income.

The really rich never depend on only one flow of income. Instead, they always focus on create multiple streams of income from different sources. Make it a point to sit down and see how you can create additional income sources to add to the income you earn now.

BONUS Millionaire Secret #8: Teach your children how money works.

One of the biggest lessons you can learn is to teach your family, including your children of any age, the value of money. When you teach them how money works, you will have the peace of mind of knowing they will always be able to take care of themselves financially.

Without coming to you for financial help again and again.

3 Tips For Staying Away From Non-Banking Loans

Friday, January 13th, 2017

3 Tips For Staying Away From Non-Banking Loans

A recent study put out by FINRA found that 26% of Americans engaged in non-bank borrowing in 2015, which I hate to see.

These types of loans include auto title loans, payday loans, or using pawn shops or rent-to-own stores.

Non-bank borrowing methods are likely to come with extremely high interest rates. When you are late on a payment, or default on these types of loans, you could pay sky-high rates and fees, plus risk losing your car on title loans.

These loans often attract those with poor credit, lack of access to more traditional sources of credit, or both.

Since you are one of my Financial Fitness Magazine readers, I know you’re smarter than that.

You know being smart when it comes to borrowing and banking is crucial to your financial success.

It is bad for your finances to put yourself in positions where you think you need to access these high-risk borrower credit sources.

Which is why I’m here to help you stay away from bad financial decisions like taking out loans from non-banking sources.

Here are 3 Tips for avoiding these non-banking loans, and getting more favorable loans from traditional bank or credit unions:

#1:  It’s all about cash flow.
This means managing your cash flow, by tracking all of the money coming in and going out of your pocket. I call this knowing your “Money In and Money Out.”

#2:  Build your credit.
The best way to avoid shady and high-interest loans is to be responsible with your finances so you can qualify for loans with reasonable terms. If you don’t have good credit now, or you have no credit history, I suggest you start small, by applying for a low-limit credit card. If you can’t get one, you might have to get a secured credit card to start the credit-building or rebuilding process.

#3:  Know your needs and wants.
The next time you find yourself wanting to go buy something, and you’re going to buy it on credit, think again. Ask yourself, “Do I really need this now? Or is this just something I want, that can wait until later, when I have the cash to buy it?”

Stopping to think about these 3 tips before you whip out your wallet or purse is smart. Do you know how much money you have coming in and how much you have going out? Do you need to build your credit first? Do you really need to make this purchase?

The bottom line is… Don’t borrow the money if you don’t need it. Ask yourself each time you make a purchase if it’s a need or a want. If it is a need, see how you can make the purchase in cash, instead of running up your credit.

5 Tips for Protecting Your Family with Life Insurance

Monday, December 12th, 2016


Life insurance is a subject many feel awkward talking about. Yet it’s one of the most important conversations you could ever have with your spouse or partner.

The first important question to ask yourself is… “Would your family be able to survive if you or your spouse suddenly died?”

Think about this for a moment. How would your family be financially without your income?

You see, an average of 1 in 3 households would have immediate trouble paying living expenses if the primary wage earner died, according to the 2016 insurance barometer study.

The fact is, 40% of people have not purchased life insurance because they don’t know how much or what they need. However, that is no excuse not to figure out these questions and make sure your family is protected.

Today I want to get you started thinking about this, and get you to take a few simple, yet important action steps.

Here are 5 quick action steps to get you moving in the right direction:

#1 – Review

Do an insurance review of any existing policies you do have. Find out if your coverage is enough for your current situation. This means at least getting enough coverage to pay off all debt and the mortgage, however much that may be.

#2 – Interview

Interview at least three different life insurance providers and find one that fits your needs. The biggest piece of advice I would give you is to not rush this process. Take your time and meet a few agents with a different companies.

#3 – Options

Look for either Term, Whole Life or a combination of both. If you’re not familiar with these choices, what they cover and what they don’t, take the time to educate yourself so you know which options are right for you.

4 – Necessity

In case you don’t realize it, insurance agents are salespeople. They are in business to make a profit, which is a percentage of the policies they have written. Don’t fall for sales pitches and unnecessary add-ons that insurance agents may try to offer you. Shop for what you need.

#5 – Take Action

Don’t spend so much time interviewing and weighing your options, that you still don’t take action and commit to a policy. Get something. At the very least, get a low cost term policy. Then look at upgrading when your term expires. Right now, anything is better than having nothing.

Remember, this is about your family and their well-being after you pass. It’s too late to protect your family when you’re gone. Make it a priority to get something in place as soon as you can.

Do You Have Financial Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Thursday, November 10th, 2016


Do you ever get stressed out over your financial situation?

Do you feel overwhelmed and don’t know what to do?

If this sounds familiar you might be experiencing Financial Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

According to a recent study by, 1 in 4 Americans and 1 in 3 Millennials suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder-like symptoms caused by financially-induced stress.

The study found that the psychological and emotional levels of stress over money are closely related to those found in individuals with PTSD.

This speaks volumes, since PTSD is usually experienced by service members who go off to war, or civilians who have experienced some type of violent crime or accident.

The folks at believe that stagnant incomes, non-existent savings, high debt levels and financial ordeals like defaults or evictions contribute to the symptoms.

Can you relate to what they’ve found in this study? Have you experienced physical or psychological feelings related to carrying around a mountain of debt, or having a substantial financial crisis in your life?

If so, don’t worry. Here are three ways to help you overcome these feelings and start down the path to living a normal, happier life:

#1:  Make a commitment that you will focus at least 30 minutes a day on your financial life.

It’s a fact, when you take action to correct a situation you are worried about, your fears and worry diminish significantly.

#2:  Keep a budget that projects ahead at least 3 months.

Being proactive about your finances is another way to keep your stress levels down. When you have a budget and know how much you can spend in different areas of your life, you’re less likely to get into a stressful position that you feel you can’t get out of.

#3:  Seek the help of a qualified financial professional.

When in doubt about what to do about your financial situation, it always helps to get assistance from someone who is an expert.

I have been helping people fix their personal finances for many years. Most people find that my free online personal finance training gives them the answers they are looking for. They also report feeling much better afterward.

You can watch my free online personal finance training here.

Personal Prosperity Books To Read With Your Family

Friday, October 7th, 2016


Having time off during the upcoming holiday season is a great time to catch up on some reading. It’s also a great time to educate your family on what it takes to manage personal finances properly, and live a life of financial peace of mind.

By reading with your family, your children, you can start them off in the right direction in life, which could lead to them becoming adults who are prosperous and understand how money works.

Today I’m sharing 5 of my favorite books about success and prosperity that I think every family should sit down and read with their kids.

Prosperity Book #1: The Millionaire Next Door.

In this book your family will see who the wealthy really are, that it’s not who they think they are. The authors of this book studied the habits of the wealthy, and even broke it down to the type of car they drive.

Prosperity Book #2: Rich Dad Poor Dad.

I love the way Robert Kiyosaki takes complicated accounting and business concepts and uses visuals to make it easy for all to understand. Which is why this is a good book to read with your family.

Prosperity Book #3: MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom.

Author Tony Robbins interviewed 50 of the most legendary investors in the world and included their best advice in this book. Your family will get insights from many different successful people, each with their own take on the path to prosperity.

Prosperity Book #4: Think and Grow Rich.

This is a true classic. Napoleon Hill spent over 20 years researching the attributes of 500 of the most successful people in business. Most successful entrepreneurs today got their start with the concepts in Think and Grow Rich.

Prosperity Book #5: The Super Duper Simple Book on Money.

Yes, by yours truly. I wrote this book to help people of all ages take their first financial step in life, or fix a life of poor financial moves, so they can go on to live prosperous lives, without being shackled by the stress of debt.

If you don’t already own them, head over to Amazon today and purchase each of these timeless books. Then make it a point during the holiday season to sit down and read each with your family. They will gain a world of financial knowledge. Plus, you may just learn something, too.

Paying For Chores Teaches Valuable Financial Lessons

Wednesday, 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!

5 Financial Fitness Tips for High School Graduates

Wednesday, 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.

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

Thursday, 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

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 to Know Before Buying Your First Home

Thursday, 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.