Simone's Blog: Money Magnet

As the Director of Affiliate Relations at HomeFree-USA, I’ve always been fascinated with how people handle their money. Like everyone else, I’ve had my financial ups and downs. In fact, it took me 32 months to pay off $32,000 in credit card bills and build up a six-month emergency fund. While that was a very difficult period, I am grateful – and wiser -- for the experience.

Through my personal experiences and working at HomeFree-USA, I’ve gained a ton of insight that I feel compelled to share. You’ll find those lessons here. Feel free to take the thoughts and ideas that resonate with you most and put aside the rest for later. I look forward to sharing my journey.

Leisa’s Unconventional Savings Tips

06/29/18

Throughout my life I’ve befriended many older women who've provided guidance in their area of life expertise. Leisa is my money and spirituality expert (I have money advisors and spiritual advisors. She’s the only one that blends the two). Leisa’s also a money coach, and offers a fresh perspective that may help those of you who find saving money to be a struggle.

 

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Is Fear Holding You Back?

06/22/18

I recently had a major Aha! moment: I’ve been working on a project for a while and kept wondering why it’s taking sooooooo long to finish. I also noticed that when opportunities came my way that could move things along (not to completion, but progress) I would often stall or just forgo them completely, hurting myself. Why, why, why would I do this???

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It's National Homeownership Month!

06/15/18

June is one of my favorite months of the year - it’s National Homeownership Month! If you pay attention to financial news you may know that affordable homes for first time buyers is tight, and the price of homes for sale is rising across the board. So is now the best time for you to jump into the market?

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How to Afford Being a Caregiver

06/05/18

During the final 10 years of my grandmother’s life, she was cared for by my Aunt Shirley, who did a fantastic job and kept her alive far longer than expected. This constant care took a toll on my aunt though, and she quickly had to put a few things in place to ensure she didn’t go crazy and broke caring for her mother. 

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Cut the Cost of Working Out Via Your Phone

05/29/18

It’s finally warm outside!!! Wearing lighter clothing has a way of reminding us to recommit to exercise and eating right, but suppose you have little time and even less money? Fortunately there are several apps that will adjust to your schedule and budget.

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What is mindfulness and what does it have to do with my money?

05/22/18

When it comes to money, we often spend either without thought or fueled by emotions.  Be aware of your where your hard earned money is going.

Uncover four insightful ways to be more mindful about your money so you can be a wise spender and supreme saver.
 

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What To Do If You're Burnt Out at Work

05/15/18

Let me know if any of these resonate with you:

- You dread going to work. Every day.

- Your job is so consuming that you feel like all you do is work and take care of your other obligations (barely).

- You feel you have no control over your work life.

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What Exactly is a Robo-Advisor?

05/08/18

Up until this decade, having a financial adviser was designed for wealthy people. One of the reasons for the saying “The Rich Get Richer” is because financial advisors were typically paid based on the amount of money they invested for their clients. 

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Your Credit Score May Have Just Gotten a Boost

05/03/18

If you haven’t checked your credit score lately, you might be in for a happy surprise. 

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Should You Loan Them Money?

05/01/18

It’s happened to all of us: someone close to us has experienced ongoing financial issues. We feel for them, and truly want to be of service during this difficult time. But should we actually loan them money?

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What Happened in Sedona

04/24/18

Earlier this month I visited Sedona, Arizona for the first time. I fell in love with the city!!! It’s a sacred space, one heavy in spirituality and homage to Native Americans (plus, the food was amazing! If you like vegan or paleo, that is). I went for work but it turned into a personal growth lesson/aha! moment when our trainer sent us on a mission.

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When You Can't Afford to be a Bridesmaid

04/17/18

You two have been through so much together, and you’re thrilled she’s found The One. In an ideal world you’d have enough to afford the best bachelorette party, bridal shower, wedding gift and everything else, but the truth is you can’t even afford the dress. Ugh! 

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Your Biggest Credit Questions Answered

04/03/18

I recently spoke to a group of incredibly smart women who were very concerned that doing one small thing could tank their credit for years to come. 

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I need to increase my credit score, save money and pay off my student loans before I can buy a house. What do I do first?

03/27/18

This was an actual question posed to me recently. Alana has wanted to buy a home for a while, but through various conversations and her own research she'd determined that the only way to qualify for a mortgage was to be debt free with perfect credit and 20% down payment. As a result of this misinformation she's been sitting on the sidelines renting an apartment she hates. First, I dispelled some myths, then I offered a few suggestions. 

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How to Overcome Financial Setbacks When You're Mentally Unprepared

03/20/18

Runners will tell you: only half of finishing a marathon is about physical stamina. The other half is showing up and believing you're capable of conquering those 26.2 miles.

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My Year of Joy and Purpose

03/14/18

I’m back!

It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me, so it’s time to catch up.
 

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Starting a business: One of the best and worst financial decisions

11/07/17

My parents haven’t worked for anyone since the 1970s; they consciously decided to be entrepreneurs. Although they have been successful, it’s important to recognize and accept that everyone is not designed nor equipped to start a business.

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The Four Agreements for Your Money

10/03/17

One of my all-time favorite books is The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. Primarily a spiritual book, the agreements are meant to be applied to all aspects of daily life, including how we handle money.

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6 ways to avoid identity theft

09/26/17

Let’s face it: phishing, hacking, or any other term used to describe people seeking your personal information so they can steal and use it, is real.  Although the threat continues to loom regardless of how much we protect ourselves, here are five ways you can mitigate identity theft:

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Always a member of the wedding party? Part Two

09/12/17

Last week was part one of our discussion on minimizing the cost of being in a wedding party. Below are a few more ways that I, my friend Latoya and others have successfully lowered the price tag on celebrating some of life’s most important events.

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Always a member of the wedding party? Part One

09/05/17

Don’t let that empty your wallet.

My friend Latoya has a litany of girlfriends, and truly enjoys sharing in their major life moments. Unfortunately, those moments seem to always happen at the same time. And all of them are expensive.

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Six steps to getting out of debt

08/15/17

I decided to get out of debt because I didn’t like the feeling of being indebted to a company with no real tangible benefits. My credit card debt was a glaring reminder of my lack of discipline, and I was willing to make sacrifices to get rid of it.

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Everything You Need to Know About Bankruptcy

08/08/17

Sometimes, when one's back is against the financial wall, especially when foreclosure is imminent, they feel like the only recourse is to file for bankruptcy. While that may be the best option for some, many don't have a full understanding of what it is nor its full implications.

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What millionaires do

08/01/17

There is a growing divide of the haves and have nots in this country, but it is not due to current or previous resources as you may think. Many simply don’t believe they have what it takes to become a millionaire - and they’re right. The truth is, if you don’t believe you’re capable of something you’ll never achieve it. But for those of us that do believe that we can have what we truly focus on and work towards, read on.

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We All Lose Control At Some Point

07/25/17

I LOVE food! It’s the one expense that I rarely skimp on. I do this both for my health and because I love the communal and cultural experience that comes through a good meal (which is why I gained 20+ pounds while living in Atlanta. I ate everything I could put my hands on).

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Think you want to buy a home, but not sure it’s for you?

07/18/17

If you make average income, have debt, and/or pay attention to economic news, it’s easy to feel like you’ll never be able to afford to purchase a home.

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Saving during a lazy, crazy, activity-filled Summer

07/11/17

You’re now in the thick of it: no school, many events and a whole lot of hot weather. All of that can make a budget a wish list item, as you do whatever is fastest, easiest, and the most fun. 

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Health Savings Accounts: Easy money you could be missing out on

07/04/17

It’s a fact that health care is expensive in America. It’s expensive even for those in great shape who rarely go to the doctor. They are required to pay as much as a co-worker who has an illness which requires ongoing medical care.  This has caused many people to drop their health plan entirely.

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To buy or not to buy travel insurance, that is the question

06/27/17

Summer is the biggest vacation season of the year, so I'm sure you've seen all the suggestions (or fear tactics) for protecting your trip with travel insurance. Before you opt in, here's what you need to know.

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Mid-year resolution: Get out and move!

06/13/17

Summer's here y'all! We're halfway through the year and some of us haven't followed through with our commitment to workout regularly.

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I need to increase my credit score by 100 points in the next 30 days

06/06/17

How can I do it?

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Summertime Fine: Weight loss on a budget

05/30/17

It seems like when we pass a certain age everyone gets uber conscious of their body (men do it too, don't let them fool you). If I hear one more person say they're not drinking alcohol this week/month/year, have stopped eating..., or have signed up for some nutrition program, I may scream and throw myself out the window (especially because I do all of these).

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Let's make this a summer to remember - Tons of activities and no debt

05/23/17

Sound too good to be true? Well, it isn't. It's all about focus.

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The trick to making money and removing stress in one word: De-clutter

05/16/17

I'm a natural minimalist, but the one thing that used to always trip me up were books and shoes - if I saw either that I wanted I was buying it. The shoes were (mostly) consistently re-used, but after one or two reads the books just sat on the shelf. A waste!

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Furnishing your house on a budget

05/09/17

I've had to furnish two houses from scratch, with very little money each time. I also don't love decorating or furniture shopping, so my innate desire is to buy the first set I see at the first store I find. Since that's a recipe for debt and dissatisfaction, I had to figure out a better way.

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The benefits of volunteering

04/25/17

It's been proven time and again that the more giving you are, the more you will receive, multiplied abundantly. Fortunately, most Americans agree, which is why as a nation we donate the second largest amount worldwide (almost $400 billion annually - with a B!). That's incredibly impressive, and something to be proud of.

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I can afford it, so why wasn't I shown that house?

04/18/17

Even though the laws are heavily enforced, housing discrimination is not only alive and well, but it's now far broader and more nuanced. Has it ever happened to you?

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When you're trying to pay down debt and just... can't

03/28/17

Here's the truth: most of us want to do better by our money, know what to do (save more, pay off debt, invest in a 401k, etc.), how to do it (spend less, cut up the credit cards, etc.) and even why it's important (freedom, a better life, the ability to retire early). The problem is, we can't seem to make it happen!

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The gym is for suckers

03/21/17

When I moved back to DC 5 years ago I got caught up in the hot yoga craze. As much as I, and especially my skin, loved it, I ultimately had to give it up because it cost too much.

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I need a new car but don’t have any money! What do I do?

03/14/17

This is a common problem, and something you can easily overcome. Let’s start with what you absolutely should NOT do:

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How to find a "gem" of a home

03/07/17

All homebuyers are looking for a great deal, but when you live in a high cost market it can be especially tough to find. Fortunately, HomeFree-USA is here for you.

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Who I listen to, Part 2

02/28/17

To recap last week:
"My mother, one of the smartest and most successful women I know, reads voraciously and raised me to do the same. As a result, I'm constantly learning and growing via books, podcasts, articles and even television shows.  If you're eager to grow in 2017 and beyond, here are a few things that keep me engaged and intrigued." And my list continues:

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Who I listen to Part 1

02/21/17

My mother, one of the smartest and most successful women I know, reads voraciously and raised me to do the same. As a result, I'm constantly learning and growing via books, podcasts, articles and even television shows.

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Healing from a broken heart when money is involved

02/14/17

I typically don't focus on celebrities' personal lives, but sometimes it's really hard! Recently, one of my favorite celeb couples broke up, and, I hate to say it, but I felt as bad as if they were my close friends.

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The feminization of money

02/07/17

Traditionally, men have been considered "better" with money, which has caused many married women to turn over the household financial decisions to their husbands and single women to seek partners who make more, wait to make major financial decisions until they're married, or generally not trust themselves when it comes to money. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

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Did You Read The Contract?

01/31/17

Last week I got to return to my childhood through BET’s New Edition mini-series. It was awesome! One of the major highlights was how these superstars, with songs that were sometimes more popular than Michael Jackson’s (this was in the early 1980’s so there was no one bigger than MJ), were still living in the projects. They were coerced into signing contracts that would pay their handlers millions, yet all they received was $500, a scooter and a royalty check for $1.87.

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Increasing your savings is (literally) a phone call away

01/17/17

It seems like there's always more to do than there is money left to do it with. While you may think it’s impossible to save cash without making huge sacrifices, here are some ways that you can save money on your monthly expenses by making a simple phone call.

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4 ways to avoid needing student loans

01/17/17

Student loans may be viewed as a necessary evil, but here are ways to avoid them.

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Can I write this off?

01/10/17

Tips for tax time


Ever heard the saying ’the only guarantees in life are death and taxes’? There’s no getting around taxes, but there are more opportunities to keep the IRS out of our pockets than we often take advantage of. Here are just a few:

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Resolve to Be Rich

01/03/17

Welcome to 2017!

I'm renewing my resolve to be rich.

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I'm (Finally!) Learning How to Control My Food Budget

12/27/16

I know I'm not alone in my love for food. More than just nourishment, eating can be an experience in culture, socialization, even love. And when there's a new food trend popping up every 5 minutes, holidays like Thanksgiving, anyone that calls for a cookout, or new restaurants opening constantly, it's easy to lose track of one simple question: can you afford it?

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Upgrade Your Home on a Dime with Little Natural Skill: Tips from an Interior Designer

12/20/16

It's incredibly important to me that my house is clean, welcoming, and comfortable. How to make that happen completely escapes me. Enter my secret weapon: Sofale'.

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Is it Christmas already?

12/13/16

This country has had a crazy 2016. We're finally at the last (and possibly most expensive) month of the year, the one which includes Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Yes, it's December.

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Don't cancel Christmas

12/06/16

I’ve been trying to cancel Christmas since 2003. I love spending time with, and money on, my family, but I always regretted spending so much. It took years to prepare and balance my spending to the point where I wouldn’t have to “detox” (aka not afford to eat) into the New Year. Canceling Christmas was the perfect solution to my over-indulgence.

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How to know whether you are spending too much (Part Three)

11/29/16

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve provided a series of blog posts to show you what you should be spending on different categories. First, I shared guidance on paying for housing costs. Last week, I provided insight on the many costs that eat up our budgets each month. Finally, I want to talk about the essentials.

 

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How to know whether you are spending too much (Part Two)

11/22/16

Is your spending on track?


Last week I introduced a series of blog posts designed to show you how much you should be spending on certain categories. I provided suggestions on what you might expect to pay in housing costs. This week, I’d like to talk about some of those other costs that tend to eat up our budgets and leave us without the financial resources we need.

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How to know whether you are spending too much (Part One)

11/15/16

Although budgets are meant to fit our personal financial world, I often wonder if the amount I’ve allocated in each category is considered too large, too small, or about average. Suggestions such as how much to save, give, and put aside for retirement can serve as a great guide when designing your monthly spending plan and preparing for future endeavors.

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How to save when there’s no money left

11/08/16

You hear it all the time, I’m sure: save and tithe 10% each, have an emergency fund of 3-6 months, max out your 401k, blah blah blah. These guidelines mean nothing if you feel you’re drowning financially.

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Week 5 of your Debt Payoff: Get The Team On Board

11/01/16

Your entire household must be on board with paying off your debts. Kids won't love being told no, but they can learn a lot from this experience. If your spouse isn't on board with doing all it takes to get out of debt, you have some work to do.

 

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Week 4 of your debt payoff: I deserve it

10/25/16

I hate saying no to myself!

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Week 3 of your debt payoff: Release the "Yes, but's"

10/18/16

Only 20% of financial success is based on knowledge. The other 80% is based on behavior.

 

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How to Become Debt Free for Life In Five Weeks: Week Two

10/11/16

Last week you began your debt payoff strategy by creating a vision for your life and committing to doing whatever it takes to fulfilling it. Recognizing that this journey is far greater than a bill or a material item, you're fully committed to saying a few no's now so you can say yes to life very soon.

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How to Become Debt Free for Life in Five Weeks

10/04/16

Americans are deeper in debt than ever. Fortunately, more and more are getting tired of owing others and have committed to ditching debt once and for all.
They just don’t know how.

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How to buy clothes: Insights from boutique owners

09/13/16

I'm a special breed. I don't like to spend a lot, but I'm also not walking out of the house unless I'm well dressed and have my hair and nails done. I also can't seem to maintain a consistent weight, so every few years I'm buying new clothes whether I want to or not. Plus, I'm not a natural fashionista, so I'm not skilled enough to take a drab Dollar Store dress and make it runway ready with only a few key accessories.

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How to determine if it's really an emergency

09/06/16

Every time the seasons change, new expenses crop up. This Spring, the air conditioner in my car only blew hot air. Some of my clothes from last year no longer fit. It was time to plant flowers, and my grandmother passed away so I had to unexpectedly take time off work and spend three days in Florida (think hotel, rental car and meals out.)

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Do you know how to fund retirement?

08/23/16

Retirement is inevitable, we hope, yet many don't know where or how to start saving. Here are a few ways to do so:

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In the absence of light, there is light

08/16/16

We all go through periods of darkness. Whether we had a hand in it or tried to do everything right, it's still gone wrong. Things happen. There are various ways of handling struggle, and here's one of the hardest:

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Why you're still broke

08/09/16

Some of you have been watching your spending but still feel broke. What gives?

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I just spent all my money

08/04/16

Believe it or not, I have a serious issue with spending all the money in my account. There are a few reasons for this, but the bottom line is that when I have access to it, I typically spend it. Here's how I remain a Saving Money Magnet who continues to build wealth in spite of this annoying habit:

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What to do when you’ve been fired

07/26/16

Regardless of your field, there's always a chance that you can be let go without warning, and sometimes it really isn't your fault

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Yeah, you can rent that

07/19/16

Usually, when people think of things they can rent they only consider cars and homes. But as the sharing economy grows so too does the opportunity to "borrow" things that are either unaffordable or unnecessary to own outright.

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Be magnanimous with your material losses

07/12/16

mag·nan·i·mous
maɡˈnanəməs/
adjective
adjective: magnanimous
1. very generous or forgiving, especially toward a rival or someone less powerful than oneself.
Source: Google

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Things Nana taught me

07/05/16

My grandmother recently passed away at 104 years old. She was an amazing woman, full of energy, spunk and love. She was also the most generous person I know, and in spite of working as a housekeeper until her late 70's, always had enough money to take care of her family and help out others.

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Teachers: A rare & special breed, so is their money

06/28/16

I so admire educators. I've never met one who doesn't invest 150% into their students, and takes as much pride in their success as any parent. They're uniquely gifted, and so is their pay structure.

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Money lessons from TBDE, aka the best Dad ever

06/21/16

My father has been the most influential person in my financial life by teaching me how to let go of fear, focus on what's most important, and make money. Saving and budgeting is extremely important, but if you put all your hard-earned money under the mattress or in a savings account making 0% interest, you're holding yourself back from building wealth.

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Grind Like A Girl

06/14/16

Last week was epic for women. Serena Williams is officially the highest paid woman in sports, Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez, Black and Latina respectively, won the California primary and are running against each other for Senate.

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5 Crippling insurance mistakes people make

06/07/16

Insurance ranks right up there with taxes in terms of things Americans can't avoid.

Whether it be life, health, auto, homeowners or another type of insurance, you need to have some to protect yourself and your family.

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If you have a brain, you have a bias

05/24/16

Your unconscious bias about money

It's cool. We all have them.

The problem is when we don't recognize it and make assumptions that hurt us and our money.

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Interviewing The Experts Series

05/17/16

Tamika is like the fun girl in school who went to all the parties yet still managed to get straight A’s and go to a great college.

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To freeze or not to freeze

05/10/16

Freezing Your Credit May Be The Best Financial Move of 2016

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It’s raining Purple Lemonade

05/03/16

Last week was a doozy. Between Harriett Tubman being placed on the $20 bill, Prince’s untimely passing, and the unveiling of Beyonce’s Lemonade, I was spent! In the span of a few days, we paid homage to a woman who carried so many to freedom, celebrated the life of an incredibly talented artist who played by his own rules and were taken in by another entertainer’s visual album about turning lemons into lemonade. Whew!

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Helping retirement age parents who can't afford to retire

04/26/16

The 2008 economic downturn had a huge impact on the entire country, especially baby boomers. There were massive layoffs and forced retirements, a drop in the stock market, a return to employment possibly making less money, and for some, a housing market that still hasn't recovered. Although the unemployment rate is back to prerecession levels, many of our parents remain unable to retire at the planned age.

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HELP! I just inherited a property and don't know what to do

04/19/16

Every day people pass away and leave their home to relatives or loved ones. The problem: the recipient may not know anything about homeownership OR they have to decide what to do with the property in conjunction with people they don't see eye to eye with. What do you do when someone's largest financial asset in now in your hands?

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J. Money's Story - Part 2

04/12/16

J. Money, one of my favorite financial bloggers and podcasters, bought a home on a whim that he wasn't ready for. Fortunately it led to a greater awareness of what was most important - like family, savings and Craigslist (he's made tons of money selling things on there that I would've considered junk!)  Check out his website and podcast M.O.N.E.Y on iTunes for more details.

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J. Money's Story - Part 1

04/05/16

Like many financial bloggers, I started to take control of my money after going through a hellish experience which could have been avoided. J. Money, one of my favorite financial bloggers and podcasters, had a similar experience when he bought a home he wasn't ready for, on a whim. Fortunately it led to a greater awareness of what was most important, like family, savings and Craigslist (he's made tons of money selling things on there that I would've considered junk!). Check out his website and podcast M.O.N.E.Y on iTunes for more details.

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Experiences are everything

03/29/16

Milan is one of my financial heroes. A few years ago, while going through a period of feeling completely broke, she asked herself: what do I need to know to get beyond this? The answer that came to her: spend on experiences, let go of the rest.

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Establishing boundaries with your family

03/22/16

In most minority communities, families are taught to take care of their own first, especially their parents and grandparents. And when you have the means to do so, and know that the recipient is deserving, appreciative, and wouldn’t ask for it unless they truly needed it, by all means help them out.

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How to remain prosperous and productive with a long term illness

03/15/16

I was diagnosed with epilepsy almost 25 years ago. I’m extremely fortunate to very rarely have seizures, but for the last two years I’ve had to deal with other consequences of the illness. Although things have improved tremendously, that came in part because I finally accepted that my body simply would not allow me to do certain things.

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When a financial windfall comes your way

03/08/16

Definition of a windfall (Google): a piece of unexpected good fortune, typically one that involves receiving a large amount of money.

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What exactly is a housing counselor?

03/01/16

Well, it’s us at HomeFree-USA. Or at least that’s what the government and mortgage industry has termed organizations like ours. In truth, we are Homeownership Advisors, aka mortgage experts who advise anyone who’s buying a home. We also, very successfully, negotiate on behalf of those who have fallen behind on their mortgage. Similar organizations also advise renters who are concerned about their rights as a tenant, homeless people looking to transition back to stable housing, and seniors considering a reverse mortgage. In essence, we’re your one-stop housing shop.

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How to balance your relationship when she makes more

02/23/16

According to the Pew Research Center, as of 2012, the number of American women entering college immediately following high school was 71%, compared to 61% of men. And per Fortune Magazine, the number of female owned businesses grew 74% since 1997, with black women overwhelmingly leading the way with a whopping 322% growth! That’s astounding.

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Combining Money & Love: Merging your finances

02/16/16

I’m surrounded by successful marriages: my parents just celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary, and my grandparents were married 55 and 66 years, respectively. Although I do have divorced friends, for the most part, me and my loved ones have found their one to ride out with, through thick and thin, good and bad.

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For Men: Dating When Money is Tight

02/09/16

So, here’s the deal, guys: you’ve hit a financial rough patch and can’t afford to date like you normally would. Also, you’re not the kind of man that’s okay with continuously going dutch or having her pay. So what do you do? I surveyed a few of my smartest male friends and have come up with the perfect solutions:

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The Four Agreements for Your Money

02/05/16

One of my all-time favorite books is The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. Primarily a spiritual book, the agreements are meant to be applied to all aspects of daily life, including how we handle money.

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Don’t take HOA's lightly

01/21/16

One of the things that homebuyers are rightfully conscientious of is the lifestyle they want to maintain while in their new home. One level or two? Condo or single family? City or suburbs? Depending on the need, many will become part of a Homeowners Association (HOA), a group that has varying power over your home’s purchase and ownership terms.

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Embrace Your Vice

01/14/16

I LOVE food! It’s the one expense that I rarely skimp on. I do this both for my health and because I love the communal and cultural experience that comes through a good meal (which is why I gained 20+ pounds while living in Atlanta. I ate everything I could put my hands on).

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Want to up your financial game in 2016? One word: SMITY

12/30/15

Many Americans have resolved not to make a new years resolution, considering many of their previous ideas have faltered by MLK Holiday. Some are able to follow through with their goals though, and for one main reason: they construct a plan.

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When is a reverse mortgage the best option? Part 2

11/19/15

The housing crisis brought about a marked surge in demand for reverse mortgages, with many seniors viewing it as a great opportunity to decrease expenses and/or increase income via their home’s equity. Though this product is very useful for some, far too many are taking advantage of it when there are better, less expensive options.

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When is a reverse mortgage the best option?

11/12/15

The housing crisis brought about a marked surge in demand for reverse mortgages, with many seniors viewing it as a great opportunity to decrease expenses and/or increase income via their home’s equity. Though this product is very useful for some, far too many are taking advantage of it when there are better, less expensive options.

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When to outsource

10/15/15

I relentlessly study successful people. I’ve always wanted to learn the differences between those that rise to the top and those that languish. Many think that the financially successful are winning because they were at the top of their class, great looking, went to the best schools, grew up in a well to do family, just got lucky, or something else that is unattainable to the rest of us.

False.

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Travel the world for a fraction of the normal cost - Part 2

10/01/15

I recently returned from an amazing trip to Turks and Caicos! T&C is expensive but I made it work using some of the previously noted tips, as well as a few others we’ll discuss here. Tekeya Priester of Not Just A Getaway weighs in again with a few suggestions for how to see the world for less:

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Travel the world for a fraction of the normal cost

09/10/15

What I love most about modern times is how accessible the rest of the world is. My brother lives in China and we talk as regularly as when he was in the States. I feel as much a part of the lives of friends who live in different states and countries as I do those who are around the corner. Distance is no longer prohibitive.

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Always a member of the wedding party? Part Two

08/27/15

Last week was part one of our discussion on minimizing the cost of being in a wedding party. Below are a few more ways that I, my friend Latoya and others have successfully lowered the price tag on celebrating some of life’s most important events.

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Always a member of the wedding party? Part One

08/13/15

Don’t let that empty your wallet

My friend Latoya has a litany of girlfriends, and truly enjoys sharing in their major life moments. Unfortunately, those moments seem to always happen at the same time. And all of them are expensive.

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Institution of marriage not for you two? Read on.

08/06/15

This June the Supreme Court handed a decisive victory to the LGBT community nationwide, legalizing marriage. One of the reasons this community was so persistent in their efforts is because the financial laws of the United States are heavily favored towards married couples.

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To be successful, homebuyers need guidance

07/10/15

When it comes to buying a home, what you don’t know can hurt you.


The actions you take in the 12 months before closing can lead to 30 years of domestic bliss or a rocky path filled with financial uncertainty.

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Personal finance 101

07/02/15

It’s taken me a while to talk about something that many consider Personal Finance 101: credit. At its core, the credit scoring system is a ranking of how much debt you owe and whether you repay it on time. The more you engage in the wealth building method of paying cash, the lower your score can be.


I focus very little on credit because incurring debt is NOT what Money Magnets do.

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How to financially prepare for death

06/18/15

The last thing we want to think about is dying. But imagine passing away suddenly, leaving your loved ones unsure as to how they’ll afford to live now that your income has stopped, fighting over what to do with your money and possessions, or even keeping you on life support when you’d rather go.

It happens every day.

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Is it time for a financial advisor?

06/04/15

Hiring a financial advisor is often thought of as something only wealthy people do, and frankly many advisors prefer it that way. Fortunately more  opportunities exist for moderate and middle income families to access expert financial advice. Below are a few things you need to know about working with a financial advisor:

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How to responsibly spend like you got it - when you don’t

05/22/15

Who says you can't curve spending and have fun?!?!  Many suggest the best way to reduce debt and/or increase savings is to cut out many of the things that you enjoy.  That may be required, but it's also important to indulge.

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Your side hustle awaits

05/07/15

How to make more money when you’re already strapped for time

My friend Michael often says that there are so many ways to make money. He’s so right! Fortunately, the ability to generate additional income is no longer limited to a part time job that keeps you away from your home and family. It also doesn’t necessarily require an additional degree - or even a car! Below are a few excellent ways to earn extra cash:

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8 homeownership terms everyone ought to know

04/27/15

Regardless of where you are in the home buying process, there are certain terms that you must know. Below are 8 of the most important

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Turned down for a house or apartment you can afford?

04/04/15

You may have a case.

April is Fair Housing Month, marking the 1968 passage of the law which requires anyone offering housing to treat applicants in a fair and unbiased manner.

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Think you can’t afford health insurance? Think again.

03/26/15

Lack of health insurance can hurt your wallet as much as it does your body

The number one reason Americans fall behind on their mortgage is due to ill health.

The United States is home to one of the world’s most expensive healthcare systems. Something as small as falling on a sheet of ice can result in years of pain and soaring medical bills. A man I know recently had a minor operation and was sent a bill for $194,000!

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What to do when you're behind on your retirement

03/12/15

Life happens while you're busy making plans.

No worries. You are not the first person who fears you will be working until age 90. Here are a few steps to get your retirement on track

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There’s an app for that

02/19/15

Time and money saving apps to kick your resolution into high gear We all want to make our money grow in 2015, and fortunately technology is here to assist. Below are a few great free money enhancing apps to consider

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Divorce: The ultimate split of love and money

02/12/15

The difficulty that comes with acknowledging that your marriage is beyond repair is unspeakable. Compounding the emotional pain is the process of financially separating yourself from your spouse

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You’re doing better than you think

09/29/14

Many people beat themselves up about the state of their finances and/or compare themselves to what we assume others have. This is not just related to material goods though. Good credit, great income, a healthy savings account, saving for retirement and living the good life is now recognized as the gold standard.

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It’s time to get paid for what you love

09/22/14

Americans are some of the hardest working people on the planet, and often leave little to no time for hobbies.

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Kids and money go together… on so many levels

09/15/14

Among the infinite number of things you must teach your child to ensure they become a successful adult is money management skills. From a very young age they’re watching you utilize money as an exchange for goods and services, yet they don’t understand what it is, how it comes to you, or how to manage it. Here are a few tips to making your child a Money Magnet.

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The lies we tell

09/08/14

I just left a class on storytelling, which got me to thinking about the lies we tell ourselves. ‘These pants are too tight because they were in the dryer too long’ or ‘if it wasn’t for … I’d have enough money to do…’ It never ends.

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What millionaires do

09/01/14

There is a growing divide of the haves and have nots in this country, but it is not due to current or previous resources as you may think. Many simply don’t believe they have what it takes to become a millionaire - and they’re right. The truth is, if you don’t believe you’re capable of something you’ll never achieve it. But for those of us that do believe that we can have what we truly focus on and work towards, read on.

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Failure: the primary path to success

08/25/14

This often happens with our finances; fortunately, money is neither created nor destroyed, only transferred, so today’s failure will become tomorrow’s success as long as you’re willing to get up and become fear-less.

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The financial ups and downs of Kim’s weight loss

08/18/14

I truly admire my friend Kim. After being overweight and diabetic for much of her life, she took control and has lost an astonishing 53 pounds in 9 months! Even better, her diabetes is under control and she looks and feels better than ever. While being overweight and/or unhealthy offers its own risks and costs, it’s surprising how much losing weight can cost.

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Preparing for homeownership doesn’t end at closing

08/11/14

After all it took to buy your home it’s easy to forget that it’s just the beginning of homeownership. Settling in can be as expensive as closing on the loan, so be prepared for the top 5 post-closing expenses.

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The importance of play

08/04/14

Success comes with hard work, but even the most successful say that non-work activities are essential to their productivity.

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Everything you need to know about bankruptcy

07/28/14

Sometimes, when one’s back is against the financial wall, especially when foreclosure is imminent, they feel like the only recourse is to file for bankruptcy. While that may be the best option for some, many don’t have a full understanding of what it is nor its full implications.

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Six steps to getting out of debt

06/24/14

I decided to get out of debt because I didn’t like the feeling of being indebted to a company with no real tangible benefits. My credit card debt was a glaring reminder of my lack of discipline, and I was willing to make sacrifices to get rid of it.

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5 ways to give that won’t cost you a lot

06/10/14

We never know how something small can impact another’s life. Recently, I avoided a health scare as a result of consecutive actions by others that they likely considered minute. One stranger held the door for me, another was genuinely kind and concerned and a third allowed me to go to the front of the line. The result of their actions: I was able to catch the last flight out of Atlanta. Had I missed that flight, I might have suffered a seizure because I would been away from home without my seizure medication.

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Starting a business: One of the best and worst financial decisions

06/03/14

My parents haven’t worked for anyone since the 1970s; they consciously decided to be entrepreneurs. Although they have been successful, it’s important to recognize and accept that everyone is not designed nor equipped to start a business.

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6 ways to avoid identity theft

05/27/14

Let’s face it: phishing, hacking, or any other term used to describe people seeking your personal information so they can steal and use it, is real.  Although the threat continues to loom regardless of how much we protect ourselves, here are five ways you can mitigate identity theft:

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