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Digm Piece (Op-Ed)

My Financial Bounceback!

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They say that experience is the best teacher. When it comes to credit, that’s been true for me.

Today, I’m an established banking professional and personal finance expert who understands credit and how it works. And while my business experience has developed this knowledge, my personal struggles with credit early on help to remind me how painful it feels to face credit problems.

An Unwise Decision

At 18 years of age and still living with my mother in a small two-bedroom apartment, I used credit irresponsibly. Since I didn’t learn about credit or personal finance in school, I treated credit cards as if they were free money. My credit score and ability to obtain credit plummeted when I purchased things that I really didn’t need – and couldn’t afford.

Big Spender

My first blunder was buying a 40-inch TV and a DVD player with surround sound (back when DVD players were new and expensive) all on credit and with no plan for paying it back. Let’s just say that I used this setup to entertain my friends in my way-too-small bedroom in my mother’s way-too-small apartment. The irresponsibility cost me dearly. By 21, my credit was shot – so much so that I couldn’t even get approved for a department store credit card. My first car had to be leased in the name of my girlfriend (who, by the way, is now my wife). And when it was time to get an apartment, we had to leave my name off the application so we wouldn’t get declined.

Turning it Around

After the embarrassment that came along with not having good credit (and with pressure from my wife), I knew I had to make big changes. By changing how I dealt with my debt, I became a homeowner by 25 and was finally able to obtain financing for a car on my own, get a major credit card with a high limit, and begin receiving daily credit offers.

By using secure credit cards, keeping my credit card balances low, and focusing on paying my bills on time, I was able to rebound from my earlier mistakes. I also made sure to not close any credit card accounts that had a good history, and I applied for additional credit only as I needed it. I saw a big jump in my score and found myself on a path to financial freedom. This financial bounceback has kept me financially and emotionally motivated!

Have you ever experienced a financial “L” (loss) that you had to bounce back from?

Ash Exantus aka Ash Cash is one of the nation’s top personal finance experts. Dubbed as the Financial Motivator, he uses a culturally responsive approach in teaching financial literacy. He is the Head of Financial Education at BankMobile and Editor-in-Chief at Paradigm Money. The views and opinions expressed are those of Ash Cash and not the views of BankMobile and/or its affiliates.

Digm Piece (Op-Ed)

Are Americans Undervaluing Paid Time Off + Quick Trip Tips

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It’s August, which for many Europeans means taking almost the entire month off. So why is it difficult for Americans to take even the little vacation time they receive? A recent piece in The Economist states workers in the U.S. are doing it all wrong by going on short holidays which can add even more stress or taking none. Instead, it’s important for employees to recharge their batteries. It’s also beneficial for companies to have a consistent holiday month during which junior employees can head to the beach and managers can take stock of things, says the report.

While many Americans may not receive paid time off, especially those that only work part-time, even those who receive it generally don’t take all of it. What we don’t realize is that not taking a vacation is like giving money back to your employer especially with companies that have a use it or lose it policy. Which should encourage employees to use their time but unfortunately it does not. According to recent polls conducted by Bankrate, nearly 2600 US adults say they plan to take a quarter of their vacation days while 4% are not planning to take any vacation time at all.

Time off is a valuable perk, to the tune of millions of dollars! Just to bring the point home in 2017 Americans gave up 212 million days off that amounts to $62.2 billion dollars in lost benefits! So, take your vacations and follow the tips below to not break the bank while taking time off:

  1. Take a Staycation – Stay local and vacation somewhere that is less than a day drive away, this helps save gas, mileage, and spending on lodging. Look for local attractions, vineyards, interesting museums and landmarks or even travel to your closest big city and be a tourist for a day. You would be amazed at how much you can discover and learn by staying local and all on the cheap! It’s a bonus if you have friends in the town your visiting they can serve as a tour guide and let you stay over for free if they have the room.
  2. Book Flights Off-Season – July 4th, Memorial Day and Labor Day seem like a great time to go on vacation, unfortunately, everyone is planning to take time off during those busy weekends and ticket prices are through the roof because of it. Book flights after major holidays and during the week you will generally find that they are cheaper than weekend flights
  3. Take a Road Trip – Road trips are fun and cheaper than taking a plane especially if you must rent a car when you get to your destination anyway. Plan cool stops along the way and find interesting places to eat that way you can make the journey part of the vacation.
  4. Plan to Eat In – Food adds up on vacation so pack food and making one or two meals in your hotel can keep you under budget.
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Digm Piece (Op-Ed)

Top Ten Freshman Money Myths

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Starting college is one of the most important and exciting times of your life. Now that you’re all “checked-in,” enjoy your college experience without worrying about where your next meal will come from by chasing away these common freshman money myths. (more…)

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Digm Piece (Op-Ed)

Do What You Love for Free – Here’s Why

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This is ParadigmMoney.Com, right? So, speaking about a paradigm shift should come as no surprise. In science and philosophy, a paradigm is a distinct set of concepts or thought patterns, including theories, research methods, postulates, and standards for what constitutes legitimate contributions to a field. When speaking about money, most believe it is something you work for and not something that works for you. In all truth, the one percenters understand this concept quite well. In order, to wake up and do what you love, you too must shift your thoughts when it comes to finances.

Doing what you love for free allows you to create freely. You can come up with disruptive, out of this world, never seen before creations that will rock this planet. Take Elon Musk from South Africa, founder of X.com which went on to become PayPal and sold to eBay for 1.5 billion dollars. Musk is also the CEO of SpaceX which designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets. You may say, of course, he can do this, he is a billionaire and co-founder of Tesla.

Not true. PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX are all products of Musk doing what he loved. As a child, he was an avid reader and taught himself computer programming leading to the creation of X.com. He dropped out of college to start a company with his brother and here’s what he had to say about that PayPal deal… “My proceeds from the PayPal acquisition were $180 million. I put $100 million in SpaceX, $70m in Tesla, and $10m in Solar City. I had to borrow money for rent.” Elon Musk’s current net worth is estimated to be at about $13.3 billion. No bad at all.

The reality of the matter is the less you are attached to money the more money flows to you. Pay more attention to creating things that move the culture forward. Starting at doing what you love with ultimately position you for financial success and happiness.

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