Let’s face it. Money matters. And saving as much of possible in this economy should be on everyone’s priority list. Nationally Recognized Financial and Affordable Lifestyle Living Expert Jennifer Streaks chats about the money challenges we all face, her book THRIVE…Affordably and some everyday tips to help grow your safety net.
Did your parents teach you about money or did you learn the hard way? Both. My father always told me to make sure I saved money. And when I started working at first, I did. But then of course there were raises and trips out of town and cars, the normal trappings of a young professional. Before you knew it, I had credit card debt. Thankfully, I had a salary then that allowed me to pay it off when I finally decided to right the ship! I rarely use credit cards now. I am very cash and carry.
- After 50 – It’s no secret on the steps to take to improve your credit but can you give some advice to a woman over 55 who has never owned a home, always rented/leased and relocated often and now is wanting to settle down before retirement and own a home. She hasn’t been the best with bills and her credit has taken a slight hit, does she have time to fix it and is it worth it? Two things. If she wants to own a home, then hunker down and do the work improve her credit and buy a home within her means. But I will say this, home ownership is not all it’s cracked up to be and it keeps a lot of homeowners –house poor. Between the mortgage, the renovations or maintenance, it can be a lot. If it were me, at that age and heading into retirement, I would get a very nice apartment and travel!!! I know older couples that have actually sold their homes and moved into doorman apartments and they love it! No work!
What has been your biggest financial regret and your biggest financial accomplishment? Regret- When I experienced that time period of credit card debt. I paid it off, but it took major resolve and I felt like I missed out on a few things because since I had to take money that could been spent on something else or saved to pay off the credit cards. Accomplishment- Not having a car note, having developed multiple streams of income and increasing my savings. I have been able to weather many a rainy day because my car is paid off or I know another check is only two weeks away. And increasing my savings just gives me peace of mind!
- Degrees and Debt- College students are still -even with all the advice not to- coming out of school not only burdened with school debt but credit card debt on top of that. What should be first steps for a recent graduate with student loans and credit card debt looming on graduation day? Wow! You are so right. I talk to many students that have serious debt to take care of. I think any student out there now should be thinking multiple streams of income. If you have student loan debt, think of a way to either get a payment that considers your true income or how to pay it off quickly.
Have you ever had a low point in your own financial stability to use as a reference point? And if not what is the main thing that kept you above the fray? I have had a low point where I lost what I considered to be my main source of income at the time. But understand that nothing knocks you down forever. Being strong and never giving up is key. I know it sounds trite, but really to make my dreams come true at one point I had two jobs (not looking for handouts or for anyone to give me anything). I put work into developing my brand and making it successful. People need to realize that you will go through ups and downs in life, we all will and do, the thing is to not let the downs be permanent and get up off your butt and get moving!
- Knowing When to Fold ‘Em – I hear stories often about people ending up in Bankruptcy or Foreclosure status. What I don’t hear about often is people making intentional decisions prior to the BIG one to prepare, like downgrading their lifestyle. While it may be the first thing a reasonable person thinks about when their money is low some people stay in a home until the cops come knocking. What should someone immediately do, singles and families included, when they first feel the tide change in their financial status? Whoa! That is a great question. I think a lot of people get caught up in the “shoulds” what are the “shoulds?” I should have this house; this shouldn’t be happening me. This is what I am used to, I should be able to continue with this. It can be hard to immediately pull the rip cord when things start falling apart, but you have to. It’s just like getting out of a bad relationship, the longer you stay the more time you waste and the more you delay getting to “the good.” Once you get the financial noose from around your neck, you will feel better, sleep better, live better, Thrive!
- What are some small ways to build credit when you have limited funds/income? Start off with a low limit credit card like $300-$500 and pay if faithfully each moth! Your credit will grow over time.
Tell us about your book, THRIVE. My book Thrive!…Affordably is full of tips on just the questions that you asked here today and more! It is a set up almost like a workbook so you can write down your financial hopes, dreams and yes, issues (you can write in the book)! I love it because it is different, I am not just talking at you, I give you the tools to set up a real budget based on how you truly live your life. I teach you how to spend. One of my favorite quotes is, “if you plan to spend, you won’t overspend.” It is like a vision board for your wallet.
Thrive!…Affordably takes the headache and guesswork out of financial management. The book offers tips, advice and financial management lessons geared toward helping you learn your strengths, identify missteps, and take control of your finances.
I wrote it because it is the little guy or as I call it “the middle guy” that is struggling with money. And “the middle guy” does not mean a certain amount of money either, I know people making six figures and more that have trouble with their finances.
Being that I have been writing and talking about finances and lifestyle for close to ten (10) years now, my money guide really tackles the issues people deal with most in everyday living. ( Get your copy today! Thrive! … Affordably: Your month-to-month guide to living your BEST life without breaking the bank. )
- Many small business owners start businesses while still employed elsewhere including obtaining start-up loans and then find themselves in a hole once they dedicate themselves entirely to their business. What is the right way to prepare to leave your job for a full-time entrepreneurial endeavor? First, don’t leave your job until you have at least two clients and a full year of true expenses saved. Really, it should be a year of your salary saved before taxes. If you can avoid getting a commercial loan. Ask parents, cousins and friends if necessary to invest, at least that way you have a conversation with them when money gets tight, extend the loan terms if necessary and it won’t affect your credit!
Did those awesome tips motivate you do take a hard look at your finances? Comment below.
More about Jennifer:
Jennifer Streaks is a nationally-recognized expert on money and affordable lifestyle living. She delivers practical and cutting edge information to help you face the challenge of getting and keeping your financial house in order. Due to her extensive background in consumer finance, she has been an on-air commentator for years and is an established financial columnist having written for The Huffington Post, Motley Fool and Black Enterprise. Jennifer has been featured on ABC, MSNBC, FOX Business, HuffPost Live and TVOne, her sought after financial tips show consumers that you can achieve an “affordable lifestyle” and that finances do not have to be a chore. For more information on Jennifer visit jenniferstreaks.com. Her book Thrive! … Affordably: Your month-to-month guide to living your BEST life without breaking the bank.
bly is available on Amazon.com now.
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