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Money

Should you get credit counselling?


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Credit counselling is obviously one of the major alternatives to help people get out of debt. A lot of people may wonder whether it’s worth the money. Here is a little information about how credit counsellors work.

Credit counsellors are just middle men, right?

Technically, yes. You can definitely do their job yourself if you want.

What exactly do they do?

They work with your creditors on getting better payment terms. They might do this by either lengthening the amount of time you have to pay off the loan, reducing the interest rate, or even lowering the grand total.

In most instances they deal with credit card debt, since this is what most people deal with. But before you hire anybody, you should at least attempt to negotiate with your creditors prior to hiring a third party to do it for you. It can’t hurt, after all.

When should you get a debt relief counsellor?

If you are barely able to cover your minimum credit card payments, and don’t have the daily cash flow for the money you are spending. In this instance, you are a prime candidate. And if you are consistently behind in making your payments, then again this would be a wise decision.

How do you pick the right company?

It can sometimes be confusing when examining the different debt relief programs and companies. When comparing your debt relief options, there are several important features you should consider.

Here are three guaranteed ways to help you find the most effective firm:

1) Make sure they are accredited

This basically just states that they have the necessary credentials to deal with your case. If a company has this, you know they are legit. They should be part of the NFCC or AICCCA.

The reality is that there are a lot of scammers in this industry who just take your money and are never heard from again. But you know that if a company has gone to the trouble of getting this accreditation, they are the real deal.

2) Read online reviews

There’s no better way to tell how honest a company is than to see what their current and past customers are saying about them. This is particularly necessary if it’s a firm you’ve never heard of.

3) Look at their upfront charges   

Just make sure you avoid companies that require huge initial fees. Most legit firms charge nothing more than ten dollars for an initial consultation, so if it’s much more then avoid them.

When don’t you need a counsellor?

If you can pay all your bills comfortably, but just want better interest rates. In this instance, there is absolutely no reason for you to hire someone.

So this means you can’t get lower rates?

Not at all. Just negotiate directly with the company you are paying. If they won’t budge, let them know you will go with another company if they don’t come up with something better.

The bottom line: A credit counsellor may not be worth the cost for many people. But if you are drowning in debt, then it may be a sensible option.

 

Credit Repair- Getting Started

There are all kinds of credit repair tips out there. The reality is that if you have bad credit, there tons of simple solutions. It’s very possible to improve your credit and even completely fix it in a very short time period.

How? Here are four most of the most effective strategies:

1) Credit counselling

This will not only give you strategies for better money management, but the company will negotiate with the creditors on your behalf as well. In many instances they can reduce the amount you owe substantially.

Since they are very experienced in the industry, they have a much better chance of negotiating better terms for you than if you were to do it yourself. (More on this subject tomorrow)

2) Look for mistakes on your credit report

One very simple and easy method to quickly improve your credit is to just scan your report. Anyone can get a copy of their report for free at least once every 12 months, so it doesn’t cost you a dime.

What if you find errors?

Then just call up the credit bureau and let them know. They will investigate it. If they verify that indeed they made a mistake, they will erase it from your report.

This will instantly improve your credit score. And since mistakes are quite common, there’s a good chance of this working.

And don’t give up.

Even if they don’t remove something the first time, keep after them. It might take two to three months, but eventually you can get that erroneous late payment taken off.

3) Pay on time

This is one of the simplest methods to raise your credit. It’s so obvious it might not seem worth mentioning, but it’s one of the most important tips of all.

What if you can’t pay on time?

If this isn’t possible because you have too much debt, attempt to get a consolidation loan. This might reduce the amount you owe, and it also makes it easier for you to pay them.

4) Build up your investments

Instead of spending on things you don’t need, start putting a certain percentage of your money away every month for investing. This is easily one of the best methods to repair your credit.

But be wary of scams.

Remember, there are many firms that go after people with bad credit. They claim they are going to help them you raise your score. But often they just take your money and disappear.

How do you spot those companies?

Basically, if they charge you a huge upfront fee, you know they are dishonest. Also, if they say to dispute everything on your credit report even if it’s right, it’s certain they are not legit.

By implementing these tips, one at a time, you can improve your overall credit rating.

Money Matters: How to Systematize Your Business

Here’s an all-too-common scenario: A seemingly successful small business owner is hard at work growing her business. She’s working lots of hours, and her hourly rate is respectable. But her cash flow is dismal.

Why?

Because she’s working so hard that finding the time to actually take control of her money is impossible.

Invoices don’t get sent on time. Past due balances are ignored. Taxes aren’t done. And maybe worst of all, she’s got dozens of recurring payments that go out automatically each and every month, and she has no idea what they are or if she’s even using the programs she’s paying for.

Sound familiar? Sadly, that’s exactly what a lot of “successful” businesses look like. When you work at home, and you’re accountable to no one but yourself, it’s far too easy to let these little things slide until, like an avalanche, they have a devastating effect on your business.

The good news is, cleaning it up is easy, when you take the time to put some trusted systems in place.

Start with your billing. Sign up for (and use) a system such as Freshbooks or Harvest, which will automate your timekeeping and produce an invoice with a single click of a button. Then put your billing day on your calendar as an unbreakable appointment.

Log into your timekeeping app, generate your invoices, and click send. You’ll be done in a jiffy. Not only that, but most billing systems automatically send follow-up messages for unpaid invoices, so you don’t have to worry about tracking down those slow pays.

For your expenses, use a single system. That might be PayPal or a dedicated credit card or even your business checking account. Whatever it is, be sure it has a reporting feature that will allow you to send monthly statements to your accountant. At the end of every month, bundle that up with your sales report and your receipts, and send it off. When tax time rolls around, you’ll be sitting back with your feet up while everyone else scrambles to find documents and update their accounting system.

If you do your own taxes (kudos to you!) then look for tools that will talk to each other easily. For example, you can download a Quickbooks file right from PayPal for super-fast reconciliation at the end of every month. That alone will save you hours of “doing the books.”

Just putting these two simple systems in place can easily save you 10+ hours per month, but the even larger benefit is that the money work will get done. And what that will do for your cash flow is priceless.

How to Get More Out of Your Card’s Rewards Program

For someone who’s savvy and knows how to work the system, rewards cards can be a stellar way to get free stuff. BUT there are many pitfalls. Ya, those pesky credit card companies are working against you, trying to get you to spend more than they give you in rewards.

How do you get the most out of your rewards programs?

==> Pay It Off Every Month

Rewards are given to you based on how much you spend, not how much you carry. You should try to pay off your rewards card every month rather than carrying a balance.

Rewards cards usually charge a higher interest rate than cards that don’t offer rewards. If you’re carrying a balance, the interest rate you have to pay on your credit card will often cancel out any rewards you’ll earn from the card.

==> Choose the Right Kind of Rewards Card

There are several different kinds of rewards cards you can choose from. You can get straight cash back, you can get frequent flyer miles or you can get some sort of product or merchandise. Read the information about each card carefully! What you think you see might not be what you will actually get.

Most people find that cash reward cards offer the greatest flexibility. That said, if you travel often, frequent flyer cards often pay the highest when it comes to rewards per dollar spent.

==> Be Careful of “Up To”

One common phrase you’ll find in credit card advertisements is “up to.”

What does it mean when a credit card company says you’ll get cash back “up to” 1%? That probably means you’re not going to get 1%.

Make sure that when you’re looking at credit cards, you know exactly what the conditions are to win rewards. If there’s a tiered system, figure out what tier you’d realistically fall under.

==> Put Your Rent and Other Large Payments on Card

How do you pay your rent right now? If you’re paying by check, see if you can put it on your credit card instead. Do the same with your car payments and any other large payments you have on your life.

Again, make sure you pay it off at the end of the month. Charging large payments to your credit card makes it easy to rack up a lot of points without having to add extra expense to your life.

==> Be Careful of Fees

Many rewards cards carry annual fees. Know exactly what these fees are when you sign up. If you’re not careful, the amount you’re actually saving through rewards can be eaten up by fees.

Navigating the world of rewards cards can take a bit of effort in the beginning. But once you have a system up and running for accumulating points without spending anything out of pocket, you’ll essentially be getting free stuff for the rest of your life.

Ask for What You Really Want!

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to get everything they want? If they want to go on an exotic vacation, they suddenly get their wish. If they want a promotion, it happens. So how can you make this same ‘magic’ appear for you?

The only true way you will actually get what you want is by learning how to ask for it and then take action! Nothing is magically going to happen, but you can start the wheels turning by putting things into motion. Here’s an example:

Are you waiting to be discovered so that you can be promoted to the next level? And you can’t figure out why you are always overlooked when a better position becomes available?

Here’s a couple of reasons for this:

  1. Does anyone even know that you are looking to be promoted?
  2. Have you demonstrated that you are capable of doing this particular job?

Most likely you are just sitting at your desk each day doing a wonderful job waiting to be noticed! Unfortunately, that method is not going to get you too far. While you may be fantastic at what you do, you need to take action so that others know what you are looking for.  If you don’t ask for the promotion you will never get it.

Now let’s look at what steps you might take:

First you need to make it known, to the right people, that you would love to be considered for a new opening. If the position is posted on your company job board then apply for it.

In the meantime, you should start demonstrating that you have the experience and knowledge to perform this particular job. Of course, you don’t want to start just doing the job, you want to get paid for it! But find some way that you can show that you have the skills to do it.

The worst thing you can do is to just ‘hope’ that you will be asked to fill any vacant position. Your supervisor is most likely aware of how well you do your current job, and they may think you are perfectly happy.

If you feel a little awkward about applying or even asking for a better position, then bring the subject up in your next employee review meeting. Most companies will give you the opportunity to ask questions. So make it clear that if a certain vacancy becomes available you would like to be considered for it.

So get out there and ask for what you want!

Monetary Identity Part One: Session 4

Monetary Identity is the relationship you have with the resources around you. It plays out in every facet of your life and is an intricate balance of knowing your resources and harnessing them into a manner that is consistent with your personal goals.

Money is only part of the whole prosperity picture. There are ten areas to Monetary Identity™ and each is important in its own right. What is working for you in these five areas? What needs improvement? Personal, deep learning is an investment in yourself that will pay dividends for a lifetime. You deserve this! Register now! Use code gap for a generous $50.00 tuition credit. Hurry–discount ends March 17.

  1. Core Values.
  2. How you use your networks.
  3. How your networks use you .
  4. Monetary investments.
  5. Debt relationships.

 

Monetary Identity 2017™ FAQs

What is it, anyway? Monetary Identity™ is our relationship to the resources around us, combined with our core values and personal goals.

A new skill set is needed for those who have worked to their natural potential and yet intuitively feel that the internal picture in their mind is not matching the feelings that are in their hearts. Creative problem solving is one way to look at it but it is far more complex- it is aligning your resources in a way that fits into your belief system to create a seamless road map of identity.

Creating a Monetary Identity is one of the most important things a person will ever do for themselves and for their family because it is the keystone for creating a prosperous lifestyle.

Each person’s Monetary Identity is unique, complex, and ever-expanding as they move through economic ladders. Getting a Monetary Identity takes a careful course of action to help you get from where you are to where you want to be. Rich Chicks™ will be here every step of the way.

So what’s it like, this class? Each of the six sessions builds on the next. So we start where you are now and go from there. Learning is in-person, with Skype available for those who don’t live in the Greater Twin Cities.

Session #1 Understanding the Gap. Poverty vs Growth Mentality. Describe your own gap by identifying old patterns and reward systems that no longer fit.

Session #2 Values Based Lifestyle.Identify your top 5 values. Sounds easy, and maybe you think you know your values already. Understanding the values that you absolutely stand by and applying them consciously to your life. Does your life reflect those deeply held values? Intense work!

Session #3 Life-Force Energy. Identify the importance of time in relation to your values. What resources are you pulling towards your values? Identifying your personal energy pattern.

Session #4 Monetary Identity, Part 1. Identify the multitude of monetary relationships and how your time, resources and values create a monetary identity.

Session #5 Monetary Identity Part 2. Create a holistic monetary identity that corresponds with your current values, resources and goals.

Session #6 Pulling it Together and Moving Forward. Generate a goal plan, a “gap map” for closing your gap by integrating values into your monetary identity. Start identifying 2% changes you can make. Register now.

Who teaches this class?

Mickey Mikeworth,(Mikeworth Consulting), Prosperity Leader, Chief Financial Officer Strategy, and a whole lot more

Mickey is owner and CEO of Mikeworth Consulting. As a consultant, teacher and creative lead, she’s the executive’s confidant — not to mention the inside source to new ideas in personal and professional wealth management strategy. If a project needs a little vision (or a lot, for that matter) and a fair share of planning, Ms. Mikeworth is the wealth wonder of the world. She has many resources at her disposal and is one of the most energetic people you’ll ever have the opportunity to meet. She will find a solution specific to your needs and make you laugh while she’s doing it. Mickey prides herself on being a light for many. And being a two-time winner of the Top Women in Finance, that light is pretty bright. You can guarantee that she knows what she’s doing.

Mickey has received many awards for her work in the financial arena, including receiving the Top Women in Finance award twice. This honor, which is hosted by Finance and Commerce Magazine, has been given to just twelve women in the history of the award, entering her into the elite Top Women in Finance Circle of Excellence. Out of 22,000 wealth managers in the state of Minnesota, Mickey ranks in the top 300, and received a listing in the Five Star Wealth Awards hosted by Mpls- St Paul Magazine.

Mickey’s approach to education is innovative, her information is up-to-date and informed, and her energy is contagious. You will want to be one of the people who catches the Mickey Mikeworth energy, enthusiasm and knowledge. Register now—class size is limited.

Assisting Mickey Mikeworth

Karen Karsten CPCC, CAC Executive Director, Rich Chicks, Creative Principle, Think You Can LLC

Karen is a writer, poet, recovering middle-manager, and best of all—a certified prosperity and creativity life coach. Karen has reinvented herself several times during her working career, both by necessity and choice. Each career was a building block that helped her create the life she has now as a coach, writer, executive director of Rich Chicks and creative principle of Think You Can LLC. She delights in helping others choose to find their own power and prosperity through personal growth and discovery—at every cycle of their lives. Karen has a wide background of active involvement in women’s issues and organizations.

Karen believes that it is never too late to be who you always wanted to be, and that you should try things even if you have been told you are bad at it (or maybe because someone told you that). She says, “Many people don’t dream enough, and are at a critical Dream Poverty Level. Dreams can be made real—so dream, baby, dream.” Register now—class size is limited.

Investment: Education: $294.00; Materials Fee: $35 Total 329.00    Payment plans available–ask us!

 

 

The Deep Dive. Monetary Identity: Prosperity from the Inside Out

This is a critical time to be an active citizen of the United States. And an especially important time to be a woman—trying to hold on to the important gains made in the past on our behalf and human rights not yet realized. Society is in a whirlwind of change, and we are in that whirlwind, trying to figure things out—what’s true, what isn’t. We do indeed live in interesting times.

How do we handle these “interesting times?” What I have noticed over the years that I have been coaching people, mainly women, is a lack of clarity in what they really want. Values clarification is an important part of that discovery process. Making a stand for what you believe in is easy when you know what is truly important to you.

Monetary Identity: Prosperity from the Inside Out is a great way to get in touch with your beliefs and values. The prosperity in your life is in direct relation to your beliefs and values.  Prosperity isn’t just about money. You have way more resources than you realize. Identifying those resources and how they fit into the total picture of your life is incredibly illuminating—shining light into those dark “money black holes” you have avoided. This six-week class starts March 22. Is it life-changing? Yes. And not just your own life. What you learn flows out to others and makes the world a better place for everyone. Don’t delay. Register now. This is the time for you to break out of old patterns and forge a path to where you truly want and need to go in your life. Take the dive into the deep end of the pool–we’ll be there to keep you afloat. Use discount code March to get $50.00 off the registration price.

Easy Peasy Budgeting

budgetBeen talking about getting a better handle on your finances? The best way to do that is to create an actual budget. You might think budgets are kind of a pain, but they don’t have to be. Make it Easy Peasy–think about the process as a spending and savings plan. Figure out your resources and then decide how you want to allocate them. Viola! You have the beginnings of a budget! Sometimes it’s good to start with the basics, such as the basic outline for a budget and the categories you want to include. Here are some tips to help you create a simple family budget.

Income

What do you have coming in? The first place to start in the outline of your budget is with your income. There will be some estimating here, no doubt; but make sure it’s estimation, not dreaming! The income area of your budget is not the place to write down wishes or maybes. Simply take a look at your net income over the last three months and estimate an average monthly income. Or you might have income that changes very little month-to-month; it should therefore be pretty easy to figure out your monthly income.

Expenses

Next up is expenses—all of them. It’s good to include enough detail that you have a grasp on things, but splitting your expenses into dozens of little categories will probably only frustrate you. Try to make your categories fairly general – “entertainment,” for example, is a more general category than “computer games, movies, cable, and DVDs” listed as separate categories. There will probably be more estimation here than in the income category.

As you break down your expenses into understandable categories and numbers, remember that charitable giving or any giving away of money should be also listed as an expenditure.

Actual Expenses

Estimation gives way to “real” numbers when you write down your actual expenses during the month. This is the last section of your budget plan. Keep a running tally of your expenses for several weeks, and then look at where you are. Are you surprised at the actual expenses you have?

Some Basic Guidelines

* Are your expenses actual needs or wants?  This can be a hard one, but it’s vital for a budget to function properly. Watch out here—don’t convince yourself that a want is a need when it isn’t – you may just be trying to find an excuse to buy the item. Real needs are things like clothes, food, and shelter; but designer clothes, gourmet food, and a palatial dwelling are more like wants!

* Duh! Expenses should not exceed income. You may find yourself surprised the first time you do a budget and discover that you actually don’t make enough money to cover your expenses. If you discover this, you need to look carefully at your income section and see where you can increase it, and look just as carefully at the expenses and see where you can make cuts.

Interview with Mickey Mikeworth on Monetary Identity: Prosperity from the Inside Out

This is an interview with Mickey Mikeworth, who teaches the Rich Chicks’ six class series Monetary Identity, which starts October 1, 2014. Interviewer is Sharon Leah

Smart Chick Discount until September 15. Click here to reserve your space!

Mickey Mikeworth

Mickey Mikeworth

 

What is monetary identity?

It is about your relationship to your resources and how to use those resources in a way that fits your fully-explored belief system.

 How did you identify Monetary Identity as an element in a persons financial makeup? 

Usually when I see someone hit a wall of why are they not moving up the financial ladder is when most people naturally look at their Monetary Identity. A new skill set is needed for people who have worked to their natural potential and yet these people feel lost like “this is all there is?”  People can intuitively feel that the internal picture in their mind is not matching the feelings that are in their hearts and their present life, but they just cannot add it all up in a way that makes sense. Creative problem solving is one way to look at it but it is far more complex- it is aligning resources in a way that will create a symphony, not a cacophony of grating sound.

If it is part of who a person is- how can learning about it make a difference in your workshops?

Rich Chicks is a prosperity-based education company and believes that education should reach every part of your brain. Our brains grow from experience and have to be trained to accept new information about old ideas and then to manage the difference between the two with positive action.

Our workshops are designed to work with people on multiple levels and to build on small pieces of growth. Monetary Identity helps give participants action plans that will work at the particular learning level that they are currently at. Monetary Identity is a class that our students may re-take every few years because they are now ready to access a new part of the message. They are now ready to manage the actions needed to grow and process information within the unique framework of their OWN core values.  It is a difficult task and one that many put off because it is REAL WORK to commit to your own identity. I have never met someone who could do that work without a guide.

 Can you give me an example of how understanding MI has changed lives?

I think the largest part of is understanding the wide spectrum of their resources that are NOT being used that is the biggest light bulb. Most people do not know how to create a life that has a bell ringing WIN (doing things that create happiness) on a daily basis. They feel a win is really only fate or chance when all the bells can ring. It is not about chance or fate–you can create a life where the happy bells to go off every day.

People hit many stages of Monetary Identity. From the day that someone figures out that BIG GIRLS do not fix a broken hemline or their car with duct tape, to a sales person who knows they cannot drive a rust bucket if they want to be thought of as TOP SALES materials, to a CEO who knows that time spent in the community working as a layperson is not negotiable if you want to be a great leader.

From our members that have taken this class I would say ONE thing that each person has in common is that they have nothing in common.  Everyone is there to get the insight that is fortheir own special needs and no one but them can know the answer.

Here are just a few from the last class:

  • One person figured out why she was constantly floundering as a business owner. She needed partnership to feel connected and without feeling connected and part of something BIGGER she was left feeling like a kid that was sent to their room to color but had no colors or inspiration.
  • Another person figured out that she was constantly shopping or running ONE MORE ERRAND while dragging the kids home from school and trying to get a meal on the table and what that cost her in sanity and parenting time. She got a plan and tossed a HUGE list out the window and sat down to dinner FIRST.
  • One person figured out that if they worked from home one day a week all the laundry would get done, she could pop a quality meal in the oven, rest her brain, save on gas, be home with NO KIDS, and she could go and play that night with loved ones with no guilt and do it 52 times a year.
  • Finding out that a having a job that pays REALLY-REALLY well is not a crime, but feeling like you had to hide it from your friends who make you feel like “YOU HAVE IT SO GOOD and I do not” was the real crime.  Time to get a new posse.

And old ideas about wealth need to be reviewed. The ten types of capital Monetary Identity teaches help people realize how little of the wealth they already have is actually used or even thought of as a resource. It is like eating carrots your whole life and thinking that was ALL the vegetables on the planet.  Living well is not hard if you are willing to honor yourself and the importance of taking care of yourself.

Thanks for chatting with me, Mickey–see you in October!