Top 100 Books of 2010 List

I’m honored to have my first book, Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook, included in this year’s Top 100 Books of 2010 from Conversations.

Since 2008 Conversations’ “Top 100 Books” has been recognized for being the largest list each year that fairly gathers the best titles released by traditional publishing houses, small presses and even self-published authors worldwide of all genres and gives them the due they deserve. Cyrus Webb, the founder of the Conversations brand, has been an avid reader all of his life and has worked hard to make sure that there is something on the list for everyone.

Check out what other awesome books made the list

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From a Writer’s Point of View

I’m so pleased that I was selected to be the featured upcoming author at From a Writer’s Point of View for May for my first book Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook!

I have a great article posted about my work on the site. Typically, folks want to know about personal finance or my background in foster care. I can honestly say, this is the first interview I’ve done of it’s kind. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out.

Here’s an excerpt:

There’s nothing like having your book printed up and you’re holding it in your hands when you realize that you have a “its” when you meant to have an “it’s” and you think about letting it go. Then you realize that for some people this book will be their first experience with you. They won’t know that you’re a genius that has traveled to 9 countries, went to grad school for business anthropology, and usually has impeccable grammar and syntax. They’ll read your book and think, “What kind of idiot can’t use the correct form for it is”?

Check out the interview and leave a comment. I’d love to hear what your thoughts are.

PayDay Loans … ugh – 4 Other Options

If you’ve read Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook, you know how I feel about PayDay loans. I ran across this PayDay Loan Fact Sheet and I wanted to share it with my readers.

In case you’re not familiar with PayDay Loans here’s what the Fact Sheet says about them:

Typically, a borrower writes a personal check for $100-$300, plus a fee, payable to the lender. The lender agrees hold onto the check until the borrower’s next payday, usually one week to one month later, only then will the check be deposited. In return, the borrower gets cash immediately. The fees for payday loans are extremely high: up to $17.50 for every $100 borrowed(1) , up to a maximum of $300. The interest rates for such transactions are staggering: 911% for a one-week loan; 456% for a two-week loan, 212% for a one-month loan.

That’s crazy right? I know sometimes you feel like your back is against the wall and you have to do what you have to do to put food on the table, but please think long and hard before you choose to take a PayDay loan. Instead of taking this type of loan:

#1 Take money out of your Emergency Fund. These unexpected expenses are exactly what your Emergency Fund exists for.

#2 Clean house. You probably have tons of things in your house you don’t even use. Round those things up and take them to the swap meet. Ask others if they have old items you can take away for them. You’ll pay about $25 to rent a booth, but you’ll be in a place where people come to buy used items. The chances are good you’ll walk away with a few hundred dollars.

#3 Go to your credit union and ask if you can take out a small personal loan. This will provide you with the money you need while costing less and helping your credit score when you pay it off.

#4 Ask a friend or family member. Be clear about how much you need and when you’ll be able to pay it back. These type of loans can damage your relationship if they are not taken care of. Don’t lose a good situation behind money.

Emergencies are always going to occur. Plan ahead and keep at least $500 in your Emergency Fund. Whatever you do, please don’t take out a PayDay loan.

April is Financial Literacy Month – Credit Cards for Students

Since April is Financial Literacy Month I’ve invited a few folks to share their blogs with my readers throughout the month.

As we all know, the new CARD Act has a restriction that will prohibit people younger than 21 from applying for a credit card unless they have a co-signer that is older than 21 years old. That means that parents with students that will be heading off to college soon may want to co-sign for a card for their child to use in emergency situations, but how do you know which card is a good fit for a college student? This guest post from Digerati Life discusses some of the pros and cons of credit card usage for college students and which credit cards may be the best option for your student.

Don’t forget to purchase a copy of Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook at a 25% discount (use code XS8K4YGX). Spread the word that financial literacy is power! Buy a book for a friend and a relative.

Each one teach one.

College and The CARD Act

There are two real changes that have taken place for college aged youth.

– You will not be sent any pre-screened offers if you are under 21.
– You will not be able to receive a credit card if you are under 21 unless you can a) prove that you have sufficient income to pay the money back or b) you have a co-signer over the age of 21.

What does that mean for college students? It means that no longer will many college students have access to easy credit. That means that students will really have to buckle down and look at the bigger picture. Before you go to your parents and beg them to co-sign on a credit card with you, think about the potential implications of you racking up bills that you might not be able to pay and your parents becoming frustrated by your inability to pay. If you have a card together and you can’t pay it falls to the co-payer to foot the bill.

Many college students don’t even need credit cards while in college. Credit cards are a tool that can be used in emergency situations, but they tend to have high interest rates. I’d think long and hard before turning to credit cards to pay for my college expenses. Think about this, before The CARD Act, the average American college student graduated with a little over $3,000 in credit card debt. The average APR was 14%**. Paying the minimum balance, let’s say $50 a month, it will take you 9 years to pay off the debt. Instead why not be proactive and figure out what you want to spend money on and then come up with a plan to bring in at least that much money. Each semester students should:

Write down all income that you anticipate.
Write down a spending plan for all expenses.
Keep an eye on your credit score so you’ll be able to get a good job after you graduate.
Monitor your checking accounts closely to make sure you’re not needlessly overspending.

Get out of college, not into debt.

PEACE

* Undergraduates are carrying record-high credit card balances. The average (mean) balance grew to $3,173, the highest in the years the study has been conducted. Median debt grew from 2004’s $946 to $1,645. Twenty-one percent of undergraduates had balances of between $3,000 and $7,000, also up from the last study. (Source: Sallie Mae, “How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards,” April 2009)

** Average APR on credit card with a balance on it: 14.31 percent, as of December 31, 2009 (Source: Federal Reserve’s G.19 report on consumer credit, March 2010)

April is Financial Literacy Month – Psychology of Spending

Since April is Financial Literacy Month I’ve invited a few folks to share their blogs with my readers throughout the month.

The first blog is about the Psychology of Spending. I’m sure we all know that we shouldn’t spend more than we make and we shouldn’t purchase things based on emotion….. but sometimes that’s harder said than done. In that spirit here’s a great article with tips to help you use money wisely.

Don’t forget to purchase a copy of Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook at a 25% discount (use code XS8K4YGX). Spread the word that financial literacy is power! Buy a book for a friend and a relative.

Each one teach one.

Zahra’s Bookstore Meet & Greet

This Saturday, April 3rd I’ll be signing copies of Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook. Come by between 2pm – 4pm.

Bring your teens!

Youth development speaker and author Shay Olivarria will discuss the 5 things we should be doing now to master our money. Lecture will be followed by a Q & A session and book signing for Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook.

This free event should not be missed.

Zahra’s Books N Things in Inglewood from 2pm – 4pm.

Shay Olivarria has worked with Upward Bound, Orangewood Children’s Foundation, and several other youth organizations and universities. Her second book, “10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money” will be out May 2010.

Books available online at: Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and Powells.
Books available in store at:

Zahara’s Books
900 N. La Brea
Inglewood, CA

Smiley’s Books
22709 Avalon
Carson, CA

The Dock Bookshop
6637 Meadowbrook Dr
Fort Worth, TX 76112

Nubian Bookstore
2445 Southlake Mall
Morrow, GA

Malcolm’s Reading Room
404 17th St. North
Birmingham, AL