Thrive! Not Just Survive Series : Designing A Financial Blueprint
Ya’ll listen, I know the thought of money and dealing with the responsibility of money, especially a lack of, can be very stressful. I have been there and quite honestly still there. But I want so much more for myself and my family. I am beyond motivated to take control of my money and designing my financial life. Quite frankly, It’s time to make some changes so that I can thrive and not just survive.
More than likely, you are just like me. Fairly young, I mean age is just a number right. You have exquisite champagne taste. You dream of a fabulous life of vacations and gorgeously decorated homes and paying for your kids college tuition, right? Sad thing is, your pockets and your credit just isn’t matching just yet. Let’s just be a little real, you may be broke or one paycheck away from not meeting all of your bills. Don’t feel bad or beat yourself up. There are so many of us in the same situation. Good news is—we don’t have to stay there. Time, planning, confronting fears and most importantly actionable steps will give us the power to thrive in abundance and prosperity.
What I have learned over the years is that the key to thriving financially is controlling your money and not allowing your money to control you. Money should be viewed as a tool to afford us experiences and a lifestyle we deem fit for our individual tastes. Your lifestyle is viewed from your own perspective. Remember every one is different. Yet the foundation remains the same. An anchored financial life should be built upon good credit (credit is everything in America), an emergency fund, investments, and retirement (if you want to retire). Those are just the anchors— then we get into home ownership or a nomadic life, cars and luxury experiences. If you lack any of these or not in control of them, we must begin a plan of action. We must know where we are to know where we are going.
We need to work on thriving not surviving, if you are consistently pulling cash advances or payday loans for the four walls—housing, food, transportation, and utilities.
We need to work on thriving not surviving, if you look at your student loan balances every few months and you get depressed knowing it will take a million years to pay off.
We need to work on thriving not surviving, if you can’t get approved for any credit cards.
We need to work on thriving not surviving, if you find yourself cashing in your kids coin jars for gas between paychecks.
We need to work on thriving not surviving, if you don’t have one red cent saved, but you have a job. You can’t pay for a flat tire or car repair but you get paid biweekly.
We need to work on thriving not surviving, if you want to save for your kids’ college but don’t see how because you are struggling to pay rent or mortgage.
We need to work on thriving not surviving, you’ve have been dreaming of going on your girlfriends international trip but still can’t afford it year after year.
Let’s Begin Designing The Blueprint to Thrive! Not Just Survive
At this point many of us are “grown, grown” meaning many of the things that are essential in our lifestyle require some form of credit. Getting a job, buying a home, getting utilities, all require a good credit score or we will pay the cost meaning cash, higher down payments etc. Just about every financial resource or book begins at knowing your credit score. For our community here, credit will be where I begin and over the course of time, through feedback we will tailor the content to actionable plans and blueprints to where we are individually.
Shall We Begin, Sis?!
Do you know your FICO score?
Your FICO score is a three digit number that determines approvals and the interest rate you will pay on your credit cards, loans, and mortgages. It has now become so important that it determines whether you can get approved for a cell phone or even rent an apartment. Talk about critical to how fabulous you live or not. Your credit score is a guide to tell a lender how well you can handle paying back your debts. The lower your score the more you pay in interest rates. So let’s just say it is connected to your life. It’s so important to get in control of your credit if thriving is what you see for your life.
First things first : Get all three reports.
The first step should be obtaining all three credit reports from each bureau. We need to make sure everything reported is correct. The three credit bureaus are Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. You can get a free credit report annually. Be sure to check all three. Each credit bureau gets different information. Another thing, some lenders only report to one bureau. For example, your cellphone provider may only report to TransUnion and not Equifax or Experian.
Second thing: Correct your Credit Report
There are so many people who have errors on their credit report, hence we have a trendy business of those repairing and restoring credit. You can file a dispute with the credit bureaus or write dispute letters to the creditors. Here’s the deal, both the credit bureaus and the creditors listed on your credit reports have thirty days to process your dispute or challenge and get back to you with a response. You may want to file a dispute with the credit bureau first, give them the 30 days to process and make your next move. If they find the debt to be pretty legit, you then begin to challenge the creditor or business directly.
Third thing : Get your FICO Score
After you have your credit reports and cleared up any errors or mistakes, you are ready to get your score on www.myfico.com. Check your score on apps like Credit Karma also. Don’t be afraid or worried. If you have a lower score, remember we now have the courage to fix our current situation. We are the designers of our lives and can always turn this around.
THE FICO SCORE RANGES
After you have followed these steps, let’s take a look at where do we go next. Our blueprint needs to be reflective of where we are now. If you have a score of 500-619, we need to sketch out a plan to ensure that we are not staying in a cycle of bad credit. Our first plan of action is to see where we are on a credit report. Financial peace is knowing that if we have the credit for an emergency. As well as working on a little cushion to make sure we use our new lines of credit for emergency ONLY.
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