Shay on Black Authors Network Financial Wellness and Awareness Discussion

In case you missed me on Black Authors Network’s Financial Wellness and Awareness Discussion, here it is. My portion begins at the 1.5 hour mark. I was featured for about 45 minutes.

There were two other authors, Ash Cash and Jennifer Mathews, featured on the show as well. I believe all our books can be found online at Amazon.com.

I’ll also be featured in Black Pearls Magazine in March.

Want to hear more radio shows featuring Shay? Visit Bigger Than Your Block and catch me on the Terryl Ebony Show, the Hollis Chapman Show, and the Cheap Cheetah Show (twice!).

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Preying on Weakness

I saw this today in San Diego and it really made an impression on me. How convenient! You can cash your check, for a small fee of course, and then buy all your drug accessories in one place.

How nice.

How much money would someone actually leave with after patronizing this business? This is one of the saddest things I’ve seen in a while.

SMDH

The Voluptua Project

I’m so excited about being featured on The Voluptua Project today!

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the site, here’s what it’s about:

“The Voluptua Project™ caters to voluptuous women of ALL sizes but chiefly those size 6/8-18/20 and the men that love them.We provide access to curve-friendly resources, promote HEALTH, spirituality and wellness in addition to a rock solid experience – online and off – to connect with one another.

Additionally, the project seeks to effect social change through community activism and support groups offering assistance with a host of empowerment and encouragement programs that address issues such as health/weight issues, self-esteem and an introduction to entrepreneurship.”

Take a look at my feature and browse the site. There are great articles about fashion, perception, and more.

Visit The Voluptua Project. It’s the site for curvy ladies and real gents.

Why You Need a Spending Plan

Have you ever pulled a $20 out of the ATM and two hours later you have no idea how you spent the money?

That’s why you need a spending plan. Most of us spend small amounts of money everyday on things that we don’t event remember buying. That $1 soda at work takes up $240 a year. How many times have you walked into a store to grab 1 thing and come out with waaaaaay more than just 1 thing? All this extra spending on small things is part of the reason you may be in debt.

Having a spending plan is a way to help you recognize what you’ve been spending your money on and what changes you may want to make. It works like this:

1) Go through your bank statements and credit card statements. Put the money you spent in categories so you can see what you spent your money on. I use a software program because it’s easier than writing everything down. Notice all the money that you spent on non-essential items.

2) Don’t freak out when you see how much money you waste every month.

3) Make a list of your fixed expenses; the bills that you have to pay every month. For example, your rent/mortgage, lights, water, gas, car insurance, credit cards, etc.

4) Make a list of your variable expenses; the bills that you have to pay sometimes. For example, your yearly payment for your magazine subscriptions, your quarterly tax payments if you’re self employed, etc.

5) Make a line on your list that says, “me”. You are going to start paying yourself every month just like you pay everyone else. Creating, or adding to, an emergency fund is one of the main reasons you need a spending plan. Take all that money you’ve been wasting and put it into an account that you can use when you’re in a jam. I suggest trying to build up 6 – 12 month’s worth of income. When an emergency comes, and there will always be an emergency, you’ll be ready.

6) Make a line that says, “retirement”. I don’t care if you haven’t even opened a retirement account and you can only put $5 in it. You’re going to start putting money aside for your old age. As your account swells with cash you can take time to think about where you’d like to invest it. The first step is to start. The more you put away now, the less you’ll have to worry later. Compound interest will make a huge difference in your retirement lifestyle.

7) Whatever money you have left, go wild! You know what your fixed expenses will cost every month, what your upcoming variable expenses will be, you’ve put money away for your emergency fund, and you’re started contributing to your retirement account. The money left over is called your “discretionary income”. Take this money and enjoy yourself knowing that you’re doing everything you need to be doing to become, or stay, financially stable.

If you find that you don’t have enough income to cover all your expenses listed on your spending plan, then you have two choices. You’re going to have to increase your income or reduce your expenses and no, cutting out saving for your emergency fund and/or your retirement fund are not options.

You are responsible for your life. You have the power to be financially stable, or not, by making smart choices…… and that’s why you need a spending plan.

PEACE

5 Steps to Raising Your Credit Score

There are 3 credit reporting agencies Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax and each of them has a credit file on you. These agencies pay very smart people to create complex algorithms to help lenders decide whether to extend you credit or not. These algorithms do NOT take into account your:
– Age
– Gender
– Income

There are 5 things that are weighted very heavily that go into determining your credit scores and they are completely under your control:

Bill payment history – Lenders are able to look at your credit report and see what accounts you have, debt amounts, and how often you have been 30 days, 60 days, and more than 90 days late. They can also see when your debts have been written off or transferred to a collection agency. If your bills aren’t paid on time it’s your fault and those notations will be taken into account.

Debt ratio – how much credit you are able to access divided by how much credit you have used. Lenders would like to see under 30% utilization.

Length of credit – The longer you have used credit, the more accurate the scores will be. Be strategic when choosing credit cards, store cards, loans, etc. Opening and closing accounts both take a toll on your score.

Types of credit – Lenders would like to see a good mix of types of credit. The two main types of credit are installment accounts and revolving accounts. Installment accounts are loans that the payment will be the same every month because both you and the lender have agreed on the terms of the loan. Examples of installment loans are mortgages and car loans. Revolving accounts are loans that vary from month to month depending your usage. Examples of revolving accounts are credit cards and store cards.

Hard inquiries – Every time you apply for credit cards, store cards, cell phones, etc. a “hard” inquiry is noted on your credit reports. Get enough hard inquiries and it will lower your score. You can look at your credit report, a “soft” inquiry, all day long and it won’t change your credit report scores.

Manage these 5 areas and your credit score will improve which will save you money on everything from loan interest rates to deposits for your utilities. To read more about how you can better manage your credit score buy Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook.