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Money and Happiness: Experiences VS “Plastic Crap”

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Artist: Crystal Johnson

Have you ever had the thought, “I wish I had something to look forward to!”? When that thought occurs, what are you really wishing for? Are you hoping for a fun experience, or are you hoping for a new toy?

A Trait of Happy People

Happy people buy experiences, not objects. “[A] wandering mind is an unhappy mind.”[1] Throughout your life, people will say anything to get you to buy their product. They try to lure you in by telling you their product is the latest trend, or the item most worth your money. When these thoughts come, remember that your money is your tool to living the life that you want to live.

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Experiencing Dinosaurs: I’m the Kid in the Blue Soccer Jersey

Some Professional Opinions

“If you’re a materialistic individual and life suddenly takes a wrong turn you’re going to have a tougher time recovering from that setback.”[2] Materialistic people who turn to shopping or other types of spending are “likely to [experience] even greater stress and lower well-being.”[3]

Individuals who focus their life on financial success are more likely to have problems adjusting to life and also are likely to have lower well-being.

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Klondike: Bobsled Competition for Boy Scouting
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Experiencing Canoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most Importantly, it affects our satisfaction with life. Ed Diener, Happiness expert and psychology professor at the University of Illinois said that “[materialism] is open-ended and goes on forever—we can always want more, which is usually not true of other goals such as friendship”.[4]

Basically, Spend your money where it counts. Material things are a necessity, but moderation can help you to live a more fulfilling life.

Need, Want, Luxury.

There is a simple scale called: Need, Want, Luxury. You need transportation to and from work. You want to drive a car. A luxury  for me might be to drive a 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage (okay, weak sauce, but that’s the car I want to drive. That baby gets like 42 MPG!) (Okay, it may not be a luxury topping out at about $8,000).

You may be able to fulfill your need with public transportation to work, maybe you live close enough to school or work that a bicycle will do. The Important part is that your basic needs are fulfilled.

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My Needs Are Filled: Everything Extra is Icing. Don’t Let Icing Distract You From The Cake

After that, your money is Discretionary. Carl Richards, of Behaviour Gap, asks if we really do connect what is important to us and how we spend our money.[5] What is most important to you? Why do you spend the way you do? Do your spending habits come from your community, your parents, or others? That’s probably a strong source of where your money discontentment comes from. How will you change that?

Spend money on things you value, but also on experiences. Valuable experiences can often seem to be counter-intuitive when considering the cost. I recently got a gym membership. I have a free gym at my school, It’s just as nice or nicer than the gym my membership is at. Why would I pay when I have a free gym? It’s worth paying for that membership because of the experience it is with my two childhood friends. The three of us go and have a good laugh, some good lifting, and a friendship that pays me not in money, but in physical health and friendship.

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Volunteering with Hot Air Balloons

 

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   Competitive Ballroom Dance

Science and Money-Happiness

You will be happier if you spend money on things you can experience, but people “still choose to spend their money on material items because they think they’re of greater value.”[6]

Experiences have the power to make us happier. According to researcher Mr. Killingsworth,

“Minds tend to wander to dark, not whimsical, places. Unless that mind has something exciting to anticipate or sweet to remember.” Doctoral Candidate Amit Kumar’s research showed “when you can’t live in a moment, they say, it’s best to live in anticipation of an experience. Experiential purchases like trips, concerts, movies, et cetera, tend to trump material purchases because the utility of buying anything really starts accruing before you buy it.”[7]

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Boat! (Or Getting Stuck)
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 Touring New York
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Pyramid On Top of a Mountain
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Visiting an Indian Reservation
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Removing 400 Cubic Yards of a Forest at a Women’s Shelter in Gore, New Zealand

My Story

I remember being on the beach in New Zealand, standing with my Samoan friend as we watched an airplane fly directly over our head, yet again. Old bricks from houses built during the Great War scattered the seashore. This was the happiest moment of my life. My time, my effort, and my money were devoted to the experiences I wanted to create. I had decided to participate in a ministry for two years. I was a volunteer, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I met with other ministers to try to grow religious involvement in communities, taught lessons and scripture classes with groups and in the homes of families, and actively participated in service projects – vandalism clean up, fence and trail repair, service in soup kitchens, and horseback riding lessons for the disabled were among the many service projects I participated in.

Aside from a green-stone necklace from a dear friend, a few lavalavas, and some Weetabix All Blacks collector cards, I’m not sure I have any tangible souvenirs from that experience; my memories of sitting on a beach with my Samoan friend and watching countless airplanes fly directly overhead offer me some of the greatest and happiest memories of my life.

If you’re going to devote your time, effort and money toward something, wouldn’t you rather it be an experience that may bring anticipation, excitement, and prolonged joyful remembrance? Consider that next time you’re about to buy what I call “plastic crap” or non-essential material things.

Next week I’ll talk about some techniques for crafting your own personal vision so you can start aligning your values and money and avoid the “plastic crap” mind-set.

Jacob Johnson
-Jacob is a fidget-er who is always changing things, He spends his time making vision boards, experiencing things, and perusing business cards from years ago. If you want to add to his business card collection, send him one!

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Articles:

Experiences Vs Crap Design by Crystal Johnson.

[1] Hamblin, James. “Buy Experiences, Not Things.” The Atlantic, 7 Oct. 2014, www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/10/buy-experiences/381132/

[2] Ruvio, A., Somer, E. & Rindfleisch, A. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. (2014) 42: 90. doi:10.1007/s11747-013-0345-6,
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/02/materialism-health-effects_n_4344056.html

[3] Ruvio, A., Somer, E. & Rindfleisch, A. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. (2014) 42: 90. doi:10.1007/s11747-013-0345-6
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/02/materialism-health-effects_n_4344056.html

[4] Diener, Ed. “6 Reasons Why People – Not Things – Will Make You Happier.” The Huffington Post, 2 December 2013, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/02/materialism-health-effects_n_4344056.html

[5] Richards, Carl. “Do Your Values Align with Your Money & Time?” Behavior Gap, 22 April, 2015, www.behaviorgap.com/do-your-values-align-with-your-money-time/

[6] “Proof That Life Experiences — Not Things — Make You Happier.” The Huffington Post, 3 April 2014, www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/03/life-experiences-happier-material-things_n_5072591.html

[7] Hamblin, James. “Buy Experiences, Not Things.” The Atlantic, 7 Oct. 2014, www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/10/buy-experiences/381132/

 

Here are A Bunch of other Experiences!

 

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Parenting: Whats A Good Allowance? How to teach your children REAL money lessons.

When I was a kid, we didn’t get an allowance. Sure, we could earn some things from doing extra chores, or get a little bit of an allowance on vacation to buy a souvenir or something extra, but weekly or monthly just for doing things? Nope.

I want to give you parents some idea of what the typical American gives their children, what the typical American pays their children, and some ways to build an entrepreneurial and financially sound mind in your children.

My Dad is a business man. He has managed for JC Penny’s, Home Depot, Toys ‘R’ Us, and some other similar businesses. He’s also worked in sales, selling software and hardware solutions to governments and schools. Needless to say, he worked hard.

And we worked hard…

 

We weeded gardens, helped plant trees, I learned how to make straight rows, and we cleaned our entire house each week. The six of us children had the house organized into six ‘zones’ we would rotate cleaning. We had a rotating list of household chores too; sweeping floors, dust fans, take out garbage, wash dishes, set table for meals, mow lawn, etc.

This isn’t about cleaning though, this is about money, and how parents think about and use it. My friends at COUNTRY Financial whipped up this lovely little chart for me.

Chore U.S. Average
Mowing the Lawn $6.28
Cleaning the Garage $5.20
Doing Laundry $2.82
Cleaning a Common Area $2.72
(i.e. living room, dining room, kitchen, etc.)
Be Responsible for a Pet $2.66
(i.e. feeding, walking, cleaning up after it)
Vacuuming / Cleaning Floors $2.55
Cleaning Surfaces $2.20
(i.e. dusting or washing countertops)
Cleaning the Bedroom $2.07
Doing the Dishes $2.03
Taking Out the Garbage $1.90
Setting the Table $1.31
Making the Bed $1.18

Americans are pretty good about wanting to teach their children about finance, but they want to teach it for the wrong reasons.

68 percent of Americans believe children should receive an allowance for completing chores. Furthermore, of the people who are currently providing kids with an allowance, more than half (54 percent) did so to teach their children money needs to be earned. A further 22 percent wanted to teach their kids the value of money, while only 12 percent said it was to teach them financial independence.

A Proper Allowance

$0. That’s just a fact. I’m being honest! Don’t give your kids money just for the sake of money.

The best reason to create and utilize a chore / payment type system is to teach your children that money is earned and that they can be financially independent. I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t pay your kids to do their chores, but at least having them do chores will help you teach them.

Independence

Independence is a skill that is taught, much like optimism, cooking breakfast, or welding. It takes time, patience, and a good teacher.

I recently was listening to Radical Personal Finance and his podcast about what he’s planning to teach his children when they turn 8 years old. His ideas were great! Here are a few of my own ideas too.

Teaching Skills

Spend time teaching your kids employable skills. They can learn to pull weeds, paint fences, sew dresses, clean toilets, cut wood, rake leaves, mow lawns, trim trees, keep pets, and more. Realize that each skill is something a child can do to make a dollar too! My father from a very young age would point out to me things I did that others would pay me to do.

I loved computers, and learned data systems pretty quick. Dad paid me to use his client database online: updating his contacts, notes, follow up appointments, leads, and referrals. He’d email them to me in a big spreadsheet as frequently as needed. He taught me that I could make money with my skills.

My dad at the age of 13 took me to the Flying Wrench class on fixing small engines. The next several summers I brought several lawnmowers back from the dead, replaced blades, fixed carburettors, shear pins, broken oil tanks, and a million other small repairs. Dad’s $75 investment was worth it.

Teaching Entrepreneurship

You can cultivate the idea of entrepreneurship and business in a child. Who hasn’t done a lemonade stand? Let’s think bigger though. I read an article about a child who negotiated with his neighbours to talk their garbage out every trash day for a quarter. Talk about a business! If a 10 year old kid has 50 garbage cans, that’s $12.50 every time he takes out the trash! My dad taught me some valuable lessons about entrepreneurship.

When I was about 15, a fellow home-schooling family, which produced educational materials, had a shortage in little wooden catapults. After a short debate and a set on price per kit produced, a delivery of two-by-fours and wooden sheets arrived.

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The Ultimate Catapult

I hired my siblings and got to work. I learned to keep a time sheet, to negotiate work schedules (okay, I’m dreaming a little bit), to build positive relationships, to use saws, drills, and sanders, and how to mass produce for time efficiency. Thanks, Dad. I ended up making about $25 an hour based on how much we were paid vs how much we worked on our time sheet.

There are so many ways to make money! Joshua Sheats from Radical Personal Finance says to build the entrepreneurial spirit, why not pay your neighbour to pay your kid to clean their bathroom? Why not see if your kid will take all those extra apricots from your tree and sell them to neighbours? They can learn to negotiate, they can learn about selling. They can learn about commissions. Tell them that you get a cut because it’s your tree. Or you get a piece of it because you bought the lawnmower. My friend Flia from the guest post told me that her brother outright bought his own lawnmower. That’s an entrepreneur.

Cultivating a successful atmosphere

How do you create that success in your child? It takes some commitment as a parent. It takes genuine desire for your child to become great and independent. You have to give them a vision and work at it every day. You also have to be an example.

I’m not a parent yet, but I’m grateful for the example my mother is. My mother made her own way. She paid for school working three jobs and paid for piano, voice, guitar, and cheerleading on her own. What a REAL entrepreneur. She had a dream. When you have a dream, you can accomplish amazing things. She is an example to me by always teaching piano, guitar, voice, and volunteering her time to what she loves. Storytelling is her passion, and she started her own scary story contest, and her own Utah’s Biggest Liar’s CompetitionAnd she has 6 children.

Last Words

I’m calling for parents to look for ways to craft their children into financial freedom, independence, and the ability to find satisfying work that will give them optimism, control, and confidence.

Share with me how you’re doing that! Share with me what your parents taught you!
BradJacobJohnson@gmail.com

 

-Jacob Brad Johnson
Jacob is a student of Personal Financial Planning at Utah Valley University. He enjoys counselling fellow students at UVU’s MMRC, volunteering for the Timpanogas storytelling festival, and late night taco runs. He wears a pink tie to church every first sunday of the month, and loves to share his favorite financial tips, tricks and ideas weekly on his blog.

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Thanks Dad!

I love to collaborate on podcasts and projects!

-Thanks to many friends and family who weighed in on this post! I feel so supported by the amazing writers and bloggers I know!

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Guest Writer: The Envelope Budget And Running Away

From guest writer: Flia

Running away taught me a lot. It taught me a lot about trust. It taught me a lot about making my own decisions. It taught me a lot about budgeting my money. It taught me that what might seem like a terrible decision could be the best thing that I’ve ever done for myself.

WAIT! WHAT?

Back up a little bit!

It taught me about budgeting? Believe it or not, yes it did.

And that’s just what I’m here to explain.

I realize that most of you reading this do not know me and so a little background is necessary. Shortly after my 19th birthday, I ran away from home. I am not going to go into details as to why, because that’s not what I’m writing about.

Three days beforehand, I bought a train ticket from Indiana to Utah. That same day, I started cashing out my bank account. My specific bank would only let me withdraw $300 a day. Although you could get around this rule by also using an ATM that was not associated with a bank (such as an ATM at a Wal-Mart).

By the time I got on the train and left Indiana, I had about $1,500 in cash, my backpack, and my duffel bag. And I had a 48 hour train ride to figure out what to do next.

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Forty-Eight hours on a train

About six hours into the trip I was really bored and hanging out in the snack cart where I knew I would be left alone. Because of how bored I was, I was starting to become delusional. That was the point that I decided to budget my money.

It’s not that I’d never done any budgeting before, but all of my previous budgeting had been done on electronic day planners and such. I didn’t have any of that with me so I had to do a little creative thinking.

The first thing I did was brainstorm and write down a list of everything that I would need money for. My list ended up something like this:

  • Travel & Gas (for whoever would be picking me up at the train station)
  • Food (on the train)
  • Food (elsewhere)
  • Lodging (hotel or staying with a friend)
  • Non-Food Necessities (toiletries/clothes/medication)
  • Emergency/Extra

After I had categorized everything, I began to determine about how much (or what percentage) of my money needed to go towards what. Things such as gas money for the friend that picked me up at the station was relatively easy. I looked up the number of miles between his place and the station and back. Then I determined the average miles per gallon on the specific type of truck that he had, and figured in the average price of gas in the area. After I knew how much gas the trip would have taken him, I could effectively reimburse him. All of that math was probably not necessary, but like I said, I was delusional.

Every other category followed similarly.  Food on the train is ridiculously expensive, even the prepackaged snacks. I found the cheapest food with the most nutrients (which was kind of a joke by the way-it is a snack cart-it’s all garbage) and rationed that extremely carefully. Also, because I had spent a majority of my time in the snack cart, I ended up befriending the guy that ran it. He’s a pretty neat guy. And I ended up getting some free snacks out of it too. That was a bonus!

After I had figured out each of the categories and how much money I would allot to each one, I had to figure out how to separate the money physically. It would be much easier to spend responsibly when I could actually have a visual.

NOTE CARDS!

budget20-20istock_000041295790_largeI had a package of note cards in my purse! I never leave home without them. Each budget got one note card. I folded it in half, lined side inward, and on the outside wrote which category it was. The lined inside would serve as a ledger. Every time I spent money from that card, I would subtract the amount that I spent and write in the new total.

And I am not quite sure why I just explained that because you really should already know how to use a ledger.

Any leftover money that did not get spent would go into my Emergency/Extra fund. This money was kept in an entirely separate compartment of my wallet.

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Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Out of sight, out of mind. It would be used in case of emergency, depleted funds, of on something necessary that I would inevitably forget about. For instance, I had no cell phone. I ended up shelling out a little less than $25 for a burn phone and some minutes.

Although I was not out in Utah very long before continuing on to my next place, I still use this method of budgeting. I get paid through a paycard (a bank less debit card) and cash out 85% of my earnings every payday. Savings go into a tin under my bed (out of sight, out of mind) and everything else is separated into neat little note cards in my wallet.

So yeah, I guess you could say that running away taught me about budgeting.

Thanks to Flia for the guest post! The envelope is a basic budget that really gets stuff done. What do you do to keep track of your money? What is your story?

I always love to hear your money ideas, so email me at bradjacobjohnson@gmail.com

Flia is a college student studying forensic biochemistry. She is an avid artist and is currently working on multiple commissioned pieces. Although she is now residing in Kansas, she has lived a little bit of everywhere and isn’t overly attached to one particular place. In her spare time, Flia likes to read, practice new art techniques, and baby-sit for family-friends.

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Why you want a Certified Financial Planner, Why I don’t want to just be a “Financial Advisor”

Confidence comes through cognizance.

Now, everyone has heard the term ‘Financial Advisor’ before. However, did you know that not all terms mean what you think they mean.

Literally anyone can be a Financial Advisor. According to Investopedia,

“Financial advisor” is a generic term with no precise industry definition… What may pass as a financial advisor in some instances may be a product salesperson, such as a stockbroker or a life insurance agent. A true financial advisor should be a well-educated, credentialed, experienced, financial professional who works on behalf of his clients as opposed to serving the interests of a financial institution.

“Go to college;” I’m now a Financial Advisor by the legal definition. “Spend all your tax refunds on Pringles and Custom Baby-Seal Leather Boots;” I’m now a Financial Advisor. “Put that million dollars you inherited into this annuity;” I’m now a Financial Advisor and, depending on the company I work for, possibly $30,000 richer (assuming a 3% commission, some can be as high as 10%!).

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A well diversified Pringle portfolio
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Custom Leather Boots – Good Investment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on this link and print your own certificate of being a certified Financial Advisor from Last Week Tonight’s Financial Advisor Academy signed by John Oliver, the Dean of Financery! That’s how easy it is to say you’re a Financial Advisor.

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Boom – My dog is a Financial Advisor

The reason I want to be a Certified Financial Planner Designee is so that those served will be confident and secure the advice they are given is for their best interest. A CFP designation requires a LOT of work. Here are some of the many requirements

  • A Bachelor’s degree
  • Mastery of 100 topics of financial planning
  • Classes and credit hours in these areas:
    • Insurance Planning
    • Employee Benefits Planning
    • Investment and Securities Planning
    • State and Federal Income Tax Planning
    • Estate Planning
    • Retirement Planning
    • Asset Protection Planning
    • Estate Tax, Gift Tax, and Transfer Tax Planning
    • Financial Counselling
    • Capstone Course
  • Passing a 6 hour test with 170 questions about the application of the 100 areas including:
    • Two case studies
    • Mini-case problem sets
    • Stand-alone questions
    • This test has about a 42% pass rate
  • 3 years of work experience in all areas
    • Establishing and Defining Relationships
    • Gather Client Data and Goals
    • Analysing and Evaluating Financial Status
    • Developing and Presenting Financial Planning Recommendations and Alternatives (yeah. you can’t give one idea, but a cluster of them)
    • Implementing the choice
    • Monitoring the Financial Plan

Oh. And there are is more. There are ongoing requirements to be a CFP Designee.

There is a strict code of ethics involving criminal background checks and compliance to track everything you do. Every two year period requires thirty hours of ongoing continuing education.

Also, you CAN’T have a CFP Certification if you’ve had any of these.

  • Felony conviction for theft, embezzlement or any other financial crime
  • Felony for tax fraud
  • Revocation of any professional license previously (with exceptions)
  • Felony conviction for any degree of murder or rape
  • Felony for a violent crime in the last 5 years.
  • Two or more bankruptcies (with exceptions)

So, except for a violent crime lasting 5 years on your record, anything else is a permanent block from ever being a CFP Designee.

Who would you rather work with on creating your financial action plan?

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CFP Designees provide the best advice

Do you understand why it’s worth looking for a CFP with all of that under their belt, compared to just a “Financial Advisor” (I hope you printed that URL off, because if so, you’re an Advisor now, too!)

My interest in studying financial planning by becoming a CFP Designee is to help individuals feel aware, secure, and prepared for retirement. The peace that comes from knowing you are acting and achieving your own goals financially is  powerful and strong that builds real confidence to act. I’m also motivated to become a CFP Designee because it is something that is universal and needed for everyone; this field is a way to help all individuals and therefore families too, no exceptions. A CFP designation gives strong support to show I can do comprehensive planning, and have dedication to providing value and accuracy.  Attendance at finance conferences, Financial Planning Association meetings, and volunteer work through my school’s student financial counselling centre, the Money Management Resource Centre, are all ways I’m becoming as knowledgeable I can for the benefit of those I will work for. Individuals need help on a vision, and then they can make the wise decision.

I want to help millennial entrepreneurs, newlyweds, dance teachers, college students, and the active high paced people of today to understand how their money works and how to keep their wealth from slipping through their fingers. People are scared of money, or worried about money. If they are cognizant then they can be confident. My goal is to become a reliable counsellor; I will be a planner to help others make educated choices to feel confident and prepared to reach their vision: bear hunting in Europe, having a large family, creating a company from scratch, or planning 40 years in advance for retirement.

– Jacob Johnson is a student of Personal Financial Planning at Utah Valley University, He is a member of the student Financial Planning Association there and enjoys competitive ballroom dance.

BeforeMinistryByTree

– Thank you Rebekah White for the wonderful craftsmanship and help in editing and reviewing my writing. Thank you for helping me to be confident. Rebekah has a degree in Creative Writing and helps authors and individuals express their thoughts in more effective and clear methods using their own natural voice. * If you’d like contact to her please let me know!

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Publications from Searcy

While I was at Searcy Financial Services. I had the chance to publish several articles for Allos Investment Advisors. Here are some of the works!

I hope you can find people that could benefit from these to share them with! Please let me know if any of them catch your eye and your stories!

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Building a Credit Score, Things You Wish Your Parents Had Done

I’m currently being trained as a financial counselor at Utah Valley University’s Money Management Resource Center (MMRC). It’s a group designed to help students, teachers, and (soon) the rest of the community to understand and act on their financial situation. During tax season we volunteer to help with taxes. Outside of that we help educate on credit scores, surviving debt, student loans, budgeting, and prioritizing of debt/dealing with creditors.

They Key To Your Child’s Heart

In training, a friend of mine and I did a presentation about credit history. I was shocked when he shared during the practice demonstration that his credit score was over 800! That’s nearly a perfect score!

How had he done it? Simple. His parents had put a credit card in his name when he was a teen, and had paid for gas with it. They always paid it on time, and he used it for gas during high school. Eventually, of course, the son had a FANTASTIC credit score. He can buy a house at a lower interest rate, get an apartment easier, obtain lower auto loan interest rates, and, very importantly, receive cheaper auto insurance! Remember, building a credit history takes time.

The point is, you can help your child 10 years from now by putting a bill in their name and opening a bank account in their name. Just make sure the account is reported in their credit history.

Okay, so maybe it isn’t a key to their heart, but they sure will thank you later.

Parts of Your Credit Score

35% of your credit score is based on your payment history. Are you paying on time? If you aren’t, this is going to drop your score very quickly.

30% is the amount that you owe compared to your limit. Try to owe less than 25% of your maximum allotment. Basically this means that if your credit card max is $2000, then you should never have a balance greater than $500. But let’s be honest, you should just pay of ALL balances instantly when using credit cards. Use it, pay it off same day. This makes it a tool, and not a noose.

15% is the length of your history. This is where my friend had an advantage. Even though it;s only 15% of your score, it’s significant when I have 3 open accounts and each is 1-3 months old, as compared to my friend’s, who has 10+ years of history on one account, so they all seem longer. This has 2 parts, You want one account to be at least 10 years old, and the 2nd part is the average age of all credit accounts you have, which should stay above 3 years.

10% is new credit. Basically, don’t open a bunch of new accounts over a short time. Try to shop for cars or housing rates in a small time frame (about 45 days), because your credit score drops 5 points for every inquiry and stays there for 24 months.

The last 10% is the mix of credit you have. It’s good to have a mortgage, some sort of installment loan (personal, student, or auto loan), and then some credit cards (revolving credit). If most of your credit mix is in credit cards, that can be damaging to this part of your score. 

Now that you know a few basics, you can improve your credit score up to a perfect 850! or at least above 750 (which is the highest tier of credit scores) and help future generations to do so also.

What have your parents helped you to achieve financially? Share you story in the comment below!
-Jacob Johnson
Personal Financial Planning student at Utah Valley University
He enjoys ballroom dance, eating authentic mexican tacos, and  counseling fellow UVU students in the Money Management Resource Center on their student loans, and budgeting. He strives to become a Certified Financial Planner designee to help people capture and live their ideal life.

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Thanks for editing my writing and helping it to look great Briana! If you need an editor, this is the lady for the job.

-Briana Beers graduated from BYU with a degree in English and editing. She’s currently a stay-at-home mom who moonlights as an editor in her rare spare time. When she’s not chasing her kids or cleaning three week old food splatters off the light switches, she enjoys reading, baking, and spending time with loved ones.

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I Got A Credit Score!

Remember my article “Seriously, No Credit Score?” Well. Guess who got a credit score?

 

This guy did!
Despite all of the suggestions and thoughts I had, I discovered that the process was a little bit harder than expected.

The Process

First off, applying for credit isn’t as easy as you’d think, I got turned down on a credit card before I wisened up and realized I couldn’t get the best card ever because of my lack of a record. So, I applied for a secured credit card and put about $50 bucks as collateral. MasterCard gave me a $200 limit against my initial deposit, which I intend to utilize for a few things here and there, and then pay it off immediately. This will give me a revolving credit style that is beneficial.

Second, I applied for a line of credit at my credit union. They offered me $100, $200, $500, and $1000 limits, depending on how much I was willing to take on in APR. I chose the $500 option, because I know it isn’t smart to utilize more than 25% of your credit limit. I could make a significant purchase on this limit and auto-set it to pay from my checking and savings at the end of each month.

The third thing that I did was apply for a Credit Builder Loan through my credit union. I locked up $500 of my own money, and I am paying my credit union back that same $500 (it’s basically a forced savings) at the end of the year. I get my $500 back plus most of the $500 I payed them, and I’ll have an entire year of credit payments on my account.

 

Thoughts about each option:

Credit Card: This one is the most fearful for me. If I’m late on payments, or never use it, I easily lose a lot of money, $50 plus $35 (explain these amounts), and it goes on my record. I still have this card in the envelope because I accidentally delivered it to my home address while I was living in Kansas City. I recently returned home, so I intend to start using it now. Cards like this have a VERY high APR, and the first time you mess up they slap you with a fee and your APR goes even higher. If you’re gonna get a card like this, pay it off immediately and put 12 reminders on your phone, your girlfriend’s phone, and your dog’s phone (Yes these exist. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2547788/Even-Fidos-got-dog-bone-Owners-stay-contact-pooch-using-video-phone-pets.html ), and put it on Autopay if you can. (Voluntary Automation :D)

Line of credit:. This is basically the same as the credit card, but because it’s with my credit union, it isn’t as expensive, and it’s linked to my account, meaning they have it on Autopay for the entire amount (or just a percentage if I so choose. Which I don’t.) I might act a little bit intense, but I’m big on not spending more money than I have.

The biggest pitfall with having a line of credit is feeling that you are able to live outside your means. If you do that, and only pay the minimum required payments, you are stuck paying huge interest on your credit cards. If you remember from previous articles, you should have an accountability partner who you can use to keep you from overspending.

Credit Builder Loan: This one is easily my favorite. It’s so simple that only took 15 minutes because it was through my bank . It’s super cheap,  you pay monthly and put it on auto-pay. I can pay early if I want or can pay off the entire balance at any time. The total cost to do this for an entire year is about $35 dollars.

zero-to-hero-graphic
My actions moved my score from zero to… almost hero

The Results:

Now on to the powerful part. I got myself that credit score. First credit scores are never amazing, and they have a lot of weak points. For example, my score shows that I only have 1  month of history reported. It shows that I have 5 or 6 inquiries onto my accounts. It’s also through Credit Karma, so it’s got some slight sway depending on what I want to use the credit for (http://www.goodfinancialcents.com/how-to-find-your-real-fico-credit-score-free/ Jeff Rose Has a good article about some issue with getting credit scores like this)

He explains in his article that he found his score in the 750’s, and went through a huge process to find a real credit score. After that, his intern figured out his score, and it was low 600’s, but he had no credit cards or credit history.

My issue is the same. I have 1 credit card, 1 loan, and 1 line of credit. Because of that I have a low number of accounts, my average open length of an account is very low, and the amount of hard inquiries that I’ve had in the last few months shows to be 3 for my credit scores. These can be bad signs and reduce my score.

BUT I HAVE A SCORE!

There we go! 669 and 664. 2 of the 3 credit bureaus.

What’s your story about your credit history? Share in the comments below!

 

 

-Jacob Brad Johnson is a Personal Financial Planning student at Utah Valley University who enjoys board games, West Coast Swing dancing, and helping his friends to save money on taxes. He strives to become a Certified Financial Planner designee and help the world to live their dreams and retire with confidence.

SFSJacob (4)

Shout out to Briana! Thanks for helping to edit and reformat this article!

-Briana Beers graduated from BYU with a degree in English and editing. She’s currently a stay-at-home mom who moonlights as an editor in her rare spare time. When she’s not chasing her kids or cleaning three week old food splatters off the light switches, she enjoys reading, baking, and spending time with loved ones.

 

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BehaviorGap: Internal Conversations to take care of ourselves.

Have you ever wondered how psychologists, and coaches keep themselves stable? They have stress like everyone else, they recognize their feelings, They take care of themselves like they take care of their clients, They don’t skip the boring daily steps, and they learn how to talk to themselves inside.

The principles in this video lecture series apply to everyone, but are specifically tailored to The Financial Planners of the world.

Carl’s ability to explain how Real Financial Planners are idea partners- individuals who help you create realistic expectations and act as a valve to release worry and calm fears- is a unique skill. In Carl’s four-part training on the internal dialogues Real Financial Planners need to have with themselves, you will learn ways to explain to yourself internally about the value of the service you provide. He demonstrates proper and powerful trust building with individuals in how to not be a defensive advocate of a plan you built, but rather to become a guide in a changing landscape of life.

Uncertainty Equals Reality
Don’t be a defensive Advocate of your plan. Be a Guide in a changing landscape.

What about the things advisers are never allowed to talk about? Carl, as vice president of unspeakable things, gives some powerful tools to planners to keep themselves mentally healthy, while constantly working to be a barrier between their clients and big mistakes.

Between you and the big mistake
Be a barrier between clients and big mistakes better by keeping your health in check.

The answers that are given aren’t “Fix-It-Instantly” or “Instant Results” methods, but long term plans for planners to create dramatic long term results. Doesn’t that sound like what we do as Real Financial Planners for our clients? His answers are unspeakable almost obvious things such as eating healthy breakfasts, having a person you can talk to about your stress, and getting up to move every few hours of the work day.

Ultimately in comes do practicing what we preach. Doing simple basic things that we would tell our clients to do. Its enjoyable and refreshing to see how Carl makes important distinctions like the concept of Simple VS Easy, Sticking to a long term plan vs instant results, and the promise that doing consistent ‘boring’ things brings much more long term value than can be seen in 1 week. Truly keeping ourselves well and strong isn’t like a fad diet guaranteeing a six-pack in a week, or lose 30 lbs in 2 months. Carl tells us how to succeed, gives real examples of succeeding and reminds us that the excitement in life is a result of compound interest of doing the little things that seem to have no impact.

Compound Interest
Success seems boring, but like money it takes time to become exciting

Who is your confidant? Will you test the power of eating healthy and getting exercise? Will you do what you tell your clients to do by creating a plan of little actions to have big results? Don’t wait until you have a breakdown, end up in a hospital, or endanger your relationships. Let Carl’s new free workshop teach you how to get a release valve and keep you strong for yourself, your family, your company, and your clients.

Watch the 4-minute a day for 4 days series here. http://www.behaviorgap.com Put in your email and name in and Carl will send his Internal Talk training to you immediately!

-Jacob B Johnson
UVU student of Personal Financial Planning

SFSJacob (1)

 

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Financial AutoPilot: Why to Just Do It

When you have talked yourself into what you want, stop talking and begin saying it with your actions.

-Napoleon Hill

 

Ever heard of money scripts? Money scripts are the core beliefs and things that set off your “money button.” How does money make you feel? What role does it have in your life? Do you pursue money and think you can’t have enough? Do you wish money didn’t exist but accept that you need some? Psychologist Bradly Klontz made 4 general groups of people and how we respond to money.

  • Money Status: When you believe your net-worth equals your self-worth
  • Money Worship: Happiness is contingent upon having enough money
  • Money Avoidance: Money is bad, and it causes you anxiety
  • Money Vigilance: When you see yourself as your money’s Lord and carefully handle and direct its flow

Understanding your money script will help you see where some of your struggles lie. Everyone is weak, and everyone is human, but we also have some amazing strengths. We can recognize our weaknesses and find ways to avoid them, improve them, and sometimes overcome them and make them strengths. Key is: there is a struggle; people struggle to do things when they take a lot of mental effort and consistency. So, here’s the secret.

Put yourself on autopilot.

Let me say that one more time.

Put Yourself On Auto-Pilot

What do you think of when you think of an autopilot? If you saw something that was automated, perhaps driving or flying, without the need for constant human supervision, then you are on to something great.

As soon as your idea is strong enough to have a goal and a beginning action, don’t delay, put it into autopilot. Why do you struggle to wake up in the morning? Why can’t you stick to going to the gym? Why are you worried you can’t buy a house or go to college? It’s because you either didn’t start, or you didn’t follow through.

Here is how to put yourself on Autopilot, Financially:

1) Prioritize

First: Set your priorities. Where does your money belong? In 2-3 short sentences, or 5-6 individual words, summarize the most important things to allocate your precious hard earned Washingtons.

2) Where do you stand?

Second: List all of your obligations monthly. Figure out your debt, income, savings, and lastly, estimate how much you spend on different areas. Add it up. Does more money go out than in? Does more money get spent on areas you don’t want them to be?

According to Success.com‘s author Tom Corley, here is a standard budget draft you can think about to where you money goes and it looks something like this.

  • 25% maximum on rent/mortgage
  • 15% max on food
  • Limit entertainment (you know what that is) to 10% , Vacations should top out at 5%
  • No more than 5% on auto loans

In addition to these Guidlines here are a few more from my notebooks and practice

  • save 12-15% of your money for retirement (If you’re saving 10% and your company matches 3-5% then you’re good!)
  • Donate 10% of your income to charities that you love.
  • Get an accountability partner for your spending that you can share goals, numbers, and facts with

3) Auto Pay

Third: Auto Pay. Here is how many people try making their money work.
This is called “Mental Accounting.” It is a horrible thing.

The Real Slim Shady
Normal Person Mental Accounting

The problem with managing our money like this is all of your money is in the same place! We are normally poor at mentally accounting for our money. I won’t attempt an explanation of how, but the book, Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes by Gary Belsky & Thomas Gilovich will give you great insight to the many pitfalls of mental accounting, in addition to many other common money mistakes.

Alternative: This is called budgeting, and planning, and auto-piloting. It’s amazing! With mental accounting, if you have $500 (for simplicity sake) in your Selfish Money account for the month, then you know, I have that much money and it’s for whatever I want. When it’s gone, it is GONE. But I recommend going one step further, and this is called AutoPilot mode.

Establish separate accounts to be used. With your money in a different location it can’t be spent on what it isn’t budgeted for. Here’s how you can harness the power of Voluntary Automation (doesn’t that sound blissful?):

After Shady been slimmed
Each is it’s own account?

What if, when you got your paycheck, you set the money to AutoPay certain quantities to other accounts: 10% to retirement, $1400 for the mortgage, $500 a month for student debt, $200 selfish money, etc etc etc. The credit card in your pocket is only linked to the “Selfish Money” account, and the card you keep in your dash for fuel is linked to your car payment and gas money account. None are linked to the mortgage account, because the bank takes the money out of that account each month. I’m making this happen with several bank accounts and auto transfers set up.

Basically, the money is out of sight, out of mind (and you now have a license to be at peace. *Poof* Peaceful dust descends upon you).

There are many apps that can conglomerate multiple accounts so you can have a snapshot of how much money you have at any given point in all the accounts, or help you refine how much money you allocate to different accounts over time.

Then, once a year when you check your accounts, you can clear out the extra money to savings, more retirement, or maybe a surprise Christmas present.

4) Lastly: Stop checking your accounts daily! Stop checking your investments, your stocks, your 401(k)’s, your Roth’s, your {InsertYourAccountNameHere}. Just STOP. Although many want to argue differently- your human fear is going to have you selling things when they are dropping in value, and buying things that are rising in value.
The reason why is because of the Stair Effect. Over time stocks are going up, but experience highs and lows throughout the incline. This is because as you step up a stair, one foot follows the other, rising and falling, rising and falling, over and over and over. Walking up stairs doesn’t scare you, because you know you’re going to go up.
Investing should be like Christmas, or your birthday; best thought about for about 1 month a year, (all you people that play Christmas music in November… I’ve got my eye on you). Try this: pick the month (fine, semi-annually is acceptable) when you allow yourself to look at your accounts and mark it on your calendars.

 

Now you can kick back, relax, and go back to your beautiful life with one less item of stress going on in your mind. What ideas have you used to put yourself on Auto Pilot? I’d love to add to this list of ways to put yourself on autopilot! If you have an ideas, or critiques please let me know in the comments or email me:  https://jacobbradjohnson.wordpress.com/contact/
If this is helpful let me know also!

— Jacob Johnson is a student of personal financial planning (PFP) at Utah Valley University. He enjoys Oreos and Bacon with the occasional bowl of muesli and wakes up to read Napoleon Hill as a start to his day. He is an adept listener of Behavior Gap radio by Carl Richards, loves the blog of WorkableWealth by Mary Beth Storjohann, and ponders Jeff Rose the Finance Warrior’s blogs also.

— Our guest editor is Rebekah! She is a phenomenal editor with a degree in creative writing. She is such a blessing and help in defining what the purpose of a writing is, and helping individuals to craft language to not be redundant (well, at least in my case). Thank you Rebekah!

 

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Saving, not owning, up to yourself

One of my friends who is now a “gym-rat” was telling me about how his brother tagged along with him to invigorate his body with some work outs.

My friend has been at it hard for several years now, and I’d say though he’s definitely not Arnold Schwarzenegger, his bod is mod. He was expounding how his brother was quite upset after a few weeks. I can imagine the conversation going like this.

“Ugh. Why do you lift so much more than me!” the newcomer said.

The response, from my practical and no-need-to-hide-truth friend to his brother: “I’ve been at this for two years. How can you expect to be as strong as me after two weeks?

How can you expect to have as much savings as your friend who dragged you along to visit their CFP® counsellor. How can I expect to have as much experience and knowledge as the man who hired me as an intern for the summer? He has 40 years of experience. The principles of finance are the same as weight lifting. Judge yourself based on where you are now. The best place to start, is where you are currently standing.

Resisting the impulse to compare yourself to others is a difficult one, and one that requires a ton of practice, patience, and of course failure from time to time. It’s like learning to ride a bike; you start with training wheels and, if you’re me, still end up falling off the monsterous thing and splitting your chin open on that random rock that’s in your driveway (I’m still bitter about that if you can’t tell).

Speaking of bitter, you can’t hold past mistakes against yourself either. You made a bad choice in taking out that auto-loan. Fine! You’ve never had credit in your life and can’t even pass a check to get an auto-loan. Fine! You’ve tried four fad diets and *shocker* none of them worked.  Fine!

Here is where you start: Stop comparing yourself to others! Start comparing you to yourself and others who are at the point where you are.
Example: In my financial counselling class, where am I compared to these other kids with similar experience?
Bad Example: Walking into a room of M.D’s, where am I compared to these professionals with 30 years of brain surgery under their belt about identifying which nerve may or may not completely paralyze the patient permanently?

Let’s compare this to our financial selves. You’ve heard a thousand times that you need to start saving for yourself… I wrote down 10 of them when writing and then deleted them; you don’t need to hear it again. Why? Because you don’t need to own up to anyone else except you for your actions.

Napoleon Hill said it best,

“The right sort of actions require no embellishment of words. One of the most common mistakes is making excuses to explain why we do not succeed. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people in the world —those who do not succeed — are excuse-makers. They try to explain their action, or inaction, with words. When you succeed, accept the congratulations of others with good grace; when you fail, take responsibility for your actions, learn from your mistakes, and move on to more constructive things. When your actions are appropriate in every circumstance, you will never feel the need to explain them with words. Your actions will say all that needs to be said.” -Napoleon Hill (NapHill.org)

If you are doing the best you can, no explanation is needed. But just like building a credit score, it is time to start building your financial experience. You choose how you are going to start saving, then start doing it!

Remember, the best time for change is when things change for you.

New college student: I’m going to build my credit score by dropping $50 on a secured credit card so I can have revolving credit go on my record.

Go out of state for a summer internship: Start working on them biceps and fat legs with that special Planet Fitness $1 down $10 a month deal you saw. (This isn’t much to do with finance, but it’s so true for me right now)

New job after graduation: I’m going to open a second bank account and put 10% of my wages into that so I’m saving.

Job change: I’m going to do better by maxing out my company 401(k) contributions  that they match.

Moved across the country with your three children: We are going to start putting aside that $400 a month we’re saving on rent and save it for our children’s tuition in a 529 Savings Plan.

Shia LaBeouf proclaimed it best,

Don’t let your dreams be dreams
Yesterday you said tomorrow
So just do it
Make your dreams come true
Just do it

Some people dream of success
While you’re gonna wake up and work hard at it
Nothing is impossible

You should get to the point
Where anyone else would quit
And you’re not going to stop there
No, what are you waiting for?

Just Do It

Start saving, Just Do It. Start dancing, Just Do It. Step toward your goal and feel alive, Just Do It.

When you make a choice, don’t explain it to anyone. Don’t own up to anyone.

Own up to yourself.

 

 

-Jacob Johnson

Student of Financial Planning at Utah Valley University
Member of UVU’s student chapter of the FPA Association
Intern with Searcy Financial Services

  • Guest editing and creative writing advice from my good friend Rebekah White! Look forward to more of her powerful skills in making writing legible! Maybe next time I’ll even put some of her contact information in here.

 

 

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So, I started a Website Today (Welcome to my site!)

Today was a typical Saturday. Slept in, tried to cook something but ended up eating nutter butter’s instead. Complained to my girlfriend about how fat I am. Tried to read that book for the fifth time but haven’t actually cracked the cover.

But, Here I go.

Blog Opening -

The purpose of this website is so people can see what I can offer for them. You need to think, what is this guy all about? He is alive and knows things, but what things does he know?

I’m going to show you a bunch of knowledge that stays in my head that can move to your head! Hopefully we’ll both be the better for it.

Catch my Resume page to see some things about me, where School is, home is, certifications, goals, aspirations, that weird business I started as a kid, and maybe I’ll even get descriptive about that weird mostly faded birth mark on my upper left thigh, who knows.

Hopefully this will become a growing resource of financial tools and thoughts you can use to navigate your personal journey. Perhaps this is for an employer scoping out to see if that tall red head could produce value. This website is the tool for you.

If you don’t find what you need, please. email me at BradJacobJohnson@gmail.com or give me a text at my personal number (801) 500-8710.

I want to create the tools and resources you need to be financially successful, so if you want to know something. I will find the answers for you, or I will die trying

Sincerely,

 

Jacob Brad Johnson

-Student of Personal Financial Planning, Utah Valley University
-Expected class of December 2017,
-Planned to sit for CFP Certification March 2018
-Committee of UVU Financial Planning Association (FPA) Student Chapter
-Lover of Ballroom Dance and West Coast Swing

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Seriously, No Credit Score

You’re that one college student. Your parents have the car in your name, you were a part of credit union so you still have joint-access on your bank account, you’ve worked jobs and they all have auto-paid to that account you have. To make matters worse, the background check your college apartment runs turned out with nothing on you, even though you’re twenty-two! You know the manager though and he’s going to be making money off of your and the 4 friends you have coming in to rent this larger apartment out so he lets that slide.

Fact of the matter is: you have zero credit history, and a FICO of Pointer={Null}.

Awkward story. This is Me, and I’m supposedly a student learning about Financial Planning. I can tell you about “Yield” and “Earnings Per Share” in stock markets, I can monologue about knowing when to refinance your home and fun software available to consumers to track your expenses and get on top of your budget. Determining when to file bankruptcy may be out of my league now, but I can certainly help you understand the major considerations to make before filing bankruptcy such as identifying secured debt and reminding you that student loan debt doesn’t leave you if you file bankruptcy.

But. I. Don’t. Even. Have. A. Credit. Score.

What do I do? Well, I’m a man with a plan, and I intend fully to get myself that credit score, dream of 800’s.

Where do I even begin? I know the basics and book learning: Never have more than 15% of your limit on credit cards, don’t pay your bills late,  Have accounts that are older than 10 years, have cycle credit and fixed credit that you pay regularly and on time (I.E. spending on your credit card for bills and paying it off, and having a mortgage or car payment).

But, I’m not starting from 0. I’m not even starting from 300! I’m starting from Value = Null!

Here are some Ideas I’ve heard and read about starting to build a credit score.

  • Get a secured Credit Card
  • Get a Credit-Builder Loan
  • Co-sign for a Credit Card or Loan
  • Become an authorized user on another credit card

I want to know what YOU did. I can do a google search or a www.ninja.com search (ninja’s don’t know anything about building Credit! Trust me, I’ve asked a ninja)

Ask a Ninja.PNG

Now, these ideas are ideas. I want action items. How does one actually accomplish this? Here are my honest thoughts, but to shake it up I’m going backwards, from dumb to least dumb

1.Co-Sign for a Credit Card or Loan –

Unless your parent is highly trusting of you, or intentionally wants to make themselves get in a rough place credit wise themselves if you ever mess up, this sounds like a bad idea. If you are late on a payment or lose your job and can’t pay or a variety of other issues, guess who has to pay? The person who cosigned with you. Maybe not financially and you can pay them back next month with the late fees on top. But it will damage their credit too.

Steps:    a) Go in with the Co-Signer to a credit institution
b) Fill out the application with them and sign their blood to your blood
c) pay on time every time or ruin the relationship with whomever co-signer is

Score on the Can-To-Should-Do scale is Probably-Not : 1/7

2. Get a Secured- Credit Card –

I’ll be honest. I wouldn’t know what this was if I hadn’t asked 3 Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) Designee’s and a couple of college professors about how to build a credit score and they shared this concept. Secured Cards are designed to build credit, break your way into the system and get that score. However, you have to give them the money equal to the amount you have “On Credit” and it isn’t given back until you’ve paid that amount. The benefits are that your money you are almost loaning from yourself is reported to Credit Bereaus! Really, it just seems like a cheap way, yes there is a fee, to get in on your own. #Independent

Steps:    a) find a secured credit card company, your bank probably has one or NerdWallet.com has reviews on secured credit cards
b) bring in a wad of cash and fill out the application
c) use it: pay tuition, buy noodles and ramen, or deliver your girl some cute flowers.
d) Make sure you set a billion reminders and auto pay to pay that on time! Don’t mess this up, its fool proof. You’re the fool, and the proof is in that you’re paying to use your own money.
e) close the account at the end and you should have credit now.

Score on the Can-To-Should-Do scale is Probably-Should : 6/7

3. Credit-Builder Loan

This is like a normal loan, but you don’t get any of the money from the loan. This forces you to save your money, and the payments get reported, so save on time. Not a bad way to force yourself to start saving! Then at the end, you get your own money back in the new account plus that credit score. Note that these do have fees. It may be good to consider Credit Builder Loans and Secured card loans to see what’s better, though I’d guess secured is better rates because you have to have the money in hand.

Steps:    a) Find your company: credit unions, and online lenders like selflender.com are options
b) link up that auto pay so you don’t hurt yourself, and set reminders!
c) wait a time frame, usually 1 year while making payments
c) get your money and credit score.

Score on the Can-To-Should-Do scale is Probably-Should : 5.5/7

4. Become an authorized user on another person’s card

I bet your parent, or sibling could work for this. If you can pull this off you get all the perks of their spending habits to build your history, but you aren’t legally required to pay for anything they do.  Check with the bank they use and make sure they will report it on your name if you become authorized.

Steps:    a) check that the agency you want to use will report on your record
b) Ensure that the person you want to use is reliable!
c) get your name on that card
d) wait a time frame, probably about a year and check in with them periodically
e) do nothing. You should have a credit score

Score on the Can-To-Should-Do scale is DO-IT-NOW: 8.4/7

 

Now, that you have all these ideas from my mouth. What has worked for YOU! Let’s move from theory to practice. I’m going to open some accounts and get my score moving and I’ll promise you some updates on how it’s working out next week!

Shouldn’t you be getting your score started now? Share your actions with me and join in the Credit Creating Revolution with me.

 

-Jacob Brad Johnson is 22 years old and a student at Utah Valley University (UVU). He is actively pursuing a degree in Personal Financial Planning and intends to prepare for and become a Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) Designee. He is involved in the Financial Planning Association at UVU and has been an intern at Searcy Financial Services. He’s competed ballroom dance at a national level and yes, he doesn’t have a credit score. Yet!