I just turned 30, so what have I done with my life?

I just turned 30, so what have I done with my life?

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When I was 17, my mentor Mike Watson asked me to write a list of all the things I wanted in my life. Here is what I wrote

-Get my own place.

-Get a car.

-Get a girlfriend

-Get a job and be able to support myself with out the help of my family.

By the time I was 18 years old, I had gotten these things. I had a little apartment in South Los Angeles, bought a 95 Acura Integra for $5,000 and met a pretty girl that I was with. I was working at Guitar Center in Lawndale CA as sales rep which was a step up from my last job working the burrito line at Chipotle. I went back to my mentor and told him that I had gotten everything that I wrote down on my list. He told me to go make another list, but this time dream bigger.

My next list looked something like this.

-Go to Jr. College.

-Move in to a bigger place.

-Make enough money to where I have some left after bills at the end of the month.

-Get a truck!

-Start a businessAEF

When I turned 20, again I finished these things. I enrolled at El Camino Jr. College paid for by a scholarship I won in a persuasive speech contest. I found a nice little house in Lomita CA I moved in with a couple of friends and started my first business, a clothing company called All Else Failed Ind. He told me to keep going, that I can have whatever I wanted as long as I put it down on paper and was willing to work for it. (So I did, but I went big on this one)

-Make 100k or more per year

-Transfer into a UC/CSU school to finish my undergraduate degree.

-Write a book

-Make an album (Im a musician)

-Buy a house

-Buy a nice Car

07 TravelsBy age 23, I published my first book The Rich Kid Syndrome.” I moved from Los Angeles to San Diego to buy my first home in Oceanside CA, and then transferred to CSU San Marcos after spending the summer of 2007 Studying abroad in Spain, Italy and France.¬†This was also my first $100,000 year and I earned quite a bit more the following year with my little brokerage firm that started in Carlsbad. I was doing so well, I decided to buy and new BMW, and I bought it with Cash ūüôā I also finally completed my first full-length solo album entitled The ¬†Midnight Songbook.”

As my 24th birthday passed, it seemed as if I could do anything. It was like every single year, I would just write a new list of things down that I wanted, and then I would get them. I felt unstoppable, and invincible. Then the year 2008 came and everything changed.

It only took about 6 months after the economy crashed to lose just about everything that I had worked for. Aside from the fact that I had lost all steams of income, I ended up being 160K in debt to boot.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I broke up with the girlfriend of 2 years, my dad went to prison, my mentor Mike (pictured above) died from cancer, my best friend screwed me over and I was conned out of my last $10,000 by a person posing as a roommate of mine who stole my identity and flew the coop. That’s what I call a bad year. I was so beaten down by all the loss in and around my life that it was hard to get back up and keep going. In fact some days it was down right direly depressing and some very bad thoughts entered my mind.

I realized that even though I had some major setbacks, and life threw me a couple of shit sandwiches, I had 2 choices. 1)Quit and kill yourself 2) Eat the shit sandwiches and make a list of things you want (as it has always seem to work before). So after a long day of gathering my thoughts and some  meditation at the beach, here is the list that I made.

-Finish college

-Publish my second book

-Find a new industry to work in

-Surround myself with better people.

-Climb out of the hole (meaning get out of debt)

So, I picked up the pieces of my life and got back to work. I was 24, in serious debt, couldn’t find a job that would pay me nearly anything I was making in the mortgage game and all my “friends” or at least the people who I thought were my friends seemed to disappear with the money, the girlfriend and the stuff. I literally just had to hit the reset button on my life and start over.

24-28I got in to Multi-level marketing, first with a company called Mona-Vie and then eventually in a company called RevvNRG. I always thought MLM was a scam but saw a lot of people making money in it. I figured if some barley high-school educated bozo’s from the Utah could make a couple million bucks on the Network Marketing game, how hard could it be? So I jumped in with both feet.

It took me about 18 months before I saw my first $10,000 month. As it turns out, you really can make some money in MLM. The next 3 years of my life seemed as if I was getting back in to my groove. I was traveling around the country, building a huge organization, making great money again and speaking on stages around the world telling stories of success and rising back up once life had knocked me down. I graduated college, published my next book The Young Entrepreneurs Guide to Life.”

I felt relieved in a lot of ways. I felt as if I had a handle on things, life threw me some curve balls but I learned how to bend and fold in the situations and survive. As I was nearing 28 Years old, I began to reach my peak again. Now that I had the money game on point it was time for me to start living again, for me, this meant lifestyle.

What do I mean by lifestyle? Well to me “life” encapsulates all the things a human being has to do to live. Meaning we need to eat sleep, make a living, have friends etc. “Style” is a manner of doing something, so when you put those two together what you have is how a human being goes about living. I’ve come to understand that living life can be done many ways. Some people live very safe, they like a 9-5 job with benefits and 2 weeks vacation. Some people don’t even get that choice, they feel stuck in their life due to circumstances. Example: The man who worked as a mechanic his whole life because that’s what his father did and grandfather father did before him or the idea that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Well, thats all bullshit at least to me it was.

So I picked up a few new hobbies, and got back in to someones that I had neglected due my crazy ass work schedule. Here is what it looked like.

So I finished, college, published my new book, completely changed the people I surrounded myself with and found myself 5 years in to a promising industry that was allowing my to travel the world, live my dreams and crawl out of the black hole that I had lived in. I wish i could end the story here, because then it would be a happy ending, but there was one more twist that was going to happen to me before I hit the age of 30. But I at least got my dream trip of traveling around South East Asia and Surfing in Bali twice before shit hit the fan again. (see below)

And then I got back to America. in fact it was Early May of 2013 when I arrived home from Bali for the second time that year to find out the master distributor of the Network Marketing company I was involved in was trying to do an end-run on the distributor base and secretly move them in to another company all together. When I caught him in the middle of it, I blew the whistle (get that full story here). 

In a mad rush to try to save what was left of the company, I began negotiations to broker a buyout from another MLM company. In fact that is where I was last year on my 29th birthday. Even though we were able to get a deal done, it ultimately fell apart because as it turns out the owner of the company I was staying loyal to was scarred and greedy.

Fortunately, being down the “put all your eggs in to one basket” road before, I had some back up plans this time around. I had learned how to trade the FOREX market (read that story here) for some time and I had a little Tech-Start-up called Roommatefax.com that I had been working on for a little time. Although I though I would have at least another year of residual income to count on from my network marketing ventures, I didn’t so I had to execute that back-up plans a little faster and take some side consulting work to make ends meet till I got them off the ground.

That brings us to the present, and as I cross the threshold into my thirties, I took some time to reflect, and these are the questions that kept repeating to me in my head.

-Have I lived honestly and had the best intentions?

-Did I take all the risks necessary to pursue success no matter the cost and safety?

-Would those (dead or alive) who came before me and made sacrifices for me so I could get ahead in life be proud of the man I have become?

-Will I be able to look my child in the eyes one day and proudly tell him or her about the choices I have made?

-If I were to die tomorrow, did I accomplish everything I set out to do? and when some of those things failed, did I see them through till the end and learn something from the experience? 

-Have I lived with Honor, Integrity and loyalty?

-Was I a good son, brother, friend and human being?

I can honestly and confidently answer yes to all these questions, and that makes me grateful. I always thought by 30 years old, I’d have a million dollars and today I’m 30 and ¬†I don’t have a million dollars, in fact, I’m far from it, but what I do have is something that money can’t buy. What I have is something a lot of rich men spent their entire life chasing but could never seem to find. It’s the thing that most people live their whole life trying to find but it eludes them. What is it? Love. I’m surrounded by it and all the things that happened to me in my life were for a reason, they were to keep me safe from people, places and things, and sometimes from myself. I had lots of guardian angels that came in the form of people and circumstances.

I did my best to put Love out in the world, to give it when I could and try to keep the faith that it was there even when I couldn’t see it. I found hope, even when good people died or went to jail. I make hard amends to people I disliked, and let go of hatred for those I could justifiably hold resentments against. I found out what kind of man I was when life got hard, and saw what I was capable of when surrounded by the right people and situations. I learned to have a thick skin, be fearless and most importantly, not take life to seriously.

So all that’s left to do is make a new list. The list will probably have some things like get married, have kids etc. For me, it’s an open book. A big blank canvas waiting to be filled with life, love and memories. Fortunately, I’ve got quite a bit of experience now and I believe my best years are ahead. My 20’s were the minor leagues, and now its time for the major’s and I can’t wait to start playing!

Thanks for all the love and support! See you at the top!

-Steve Wolf

 

 

Turning 30 might be the greatest thing to ever happen to you or me? (Part 1)

Turning 30 might be the greatest thing to ever happen to you or me? (Part 1)

3072834In about a month (June 13 to be exact) I am turning 30 years old. It seems that even though I have arrived at this point in my life with a nonchalant free-spirited attitude not giving any real weight, worry or concern to the¬†age milestone, people around me seem to think that it is a huge life changing event. I never really understood the phenomena of people getting anxious each year they grow older. For me, I have always believed in the buddhist ideology that our body started dying the day we were born and more importantly that this (life) is all temporary. I also did most of my radical changing in the early parts of my 20’s. Meaning that from where I am sitting today, I have direction, purpose and drive and I am not nearly as impressionable as I was at 22.

Before I go off on a philosophical¬†rant about my metaphysical beliefs in modern Tibetan Buddhism, lets just agree that it’s impossible to get younger, all we have is the body were given, and one day, like it or not, I am going to physically DIE! I cannot change these things no mater what I do, therefore for me to get upset that my body is getting older is about as crazy as crying because the sun keeps coming up every morning.

So why is turning 30 such a big f&^%ing deal. Well, depends on who you talk to me. For me, the only real mile stone that I set out to accomplish by 30 years old was that I would stay sober (as I have been since 16 years old) and that I would be a millionaire. Fortunately I am still sober after 13 years and counting, but I haven’t quite made my first million dollars yet, but I’ve done ok. Perhaps just because we’re 30, we fill its high time we get our shit together. All my friends seem to be getting married, having babies and doing the things “adults” do. There is nothing wrong with that. Some of my friends refuse to do this as for me, I have always been open to it. In fact I look forward to getting married and having kids of my own to indoctrinate in to mini me’s! For fun I took a list that I found on Buzzfeed.com entitled “30 signs you’re turning 30.”¬†and added my own twist ūüôā Enjoy.

You get carded, and your first instinct is, “AWESOME, then your annoyed.

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Instead of drunken party photos, your Facebook friends are all about the baby pics.…and marathon times.

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You have 10,000 business cards from old jobs that you have no idea what to do with.

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You find celebs who are in their early thirties and think, “There‚Äôs still hope, or it’s time to switch careers.”

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You’re getting increasingly scared to check your credit score.

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You’re seriously thinking about getting a dog. No, having a baby. No, definitely getting a dog.

Bud Light

When you do drink beer, it’s not Spuds choice, it’s Imported or micro-brewed locally from organic hops.

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You‚Äôd rather pay a little more for a ‚Äúnice, clean‚ÄĚ hotel room than cram into a hostel with 12 of your friends.

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Everything cool is being marketed to people younger than you now.

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You’ve definitely lost the enzyme that lets you digest Taco Bell.

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There’s an increasing number of musical artists you haven’t even heard of.

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You realize your parents were your age (or younger!) when they had you, and you start cutting them some major slack.

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Teen slang words like “YOLO” makes you viscerally angry.

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An 11-year-old has to show you how to do something on your smart phone.

When you watch teen movies/TV shows, you find yourself siding more with the parents than the kids.

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The Punk-rock scene is truly done.

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¬†ok. No that we have had some fun, let’s get real. Continue on to part 2 for the epic conclusion to this blog ūüôā

 

Turning 30  (Part 2)

Turning 30 (Part 2)

(You are reading part 2, to see part one, click here.)

Turning 30 isn’t going to be all that bad. I’m not dreading it, I am embracing it. There are so many great people who had success after 30.

The Entertainment Industry. 

Sylvester StalloneThe Oprah Winfrey show didn’t debut until she was 32. Sylvester Stallone didn’t make Rocky until he was 30, and was in a porno to make ends meet while shopping the script around. Dick Van Dyke and Gene Hackman didn’t get their first major roles until their mid-thirties. More recently, ¬†The entertainment industry recognized Jon Hamm, J.K. Rowling and ¬†Tina Fay’s talent all after they hit 30. Vincent Van Gogh had his first art exhibition at 32.

Business.

Suze Orman¬†started out as a waitress and held that job until age 30. And she didn’t publish her first financial book until age who_kroc_image44. Nowadays, she’s sittin’ pretty as one of the most-trusted voices in the world of personal finance.¬†If¬†Ray Kroc¬†had quit pushing the ideas of serving a billion Big Macs world-wide, McDonalds wouldn’t exist. If he quit trying before the age of 52, he never would have created one of America’s best-known restaurant empires. He kept at, working day in and day out at his restaurant until he died.¬†While¬†Dave Ramsey¬†thought he’d figured things out in his 20s with his $4 million real estate portfolio, he lost it all by the time he hit 30. A few years later, he found his passion in financial counseling, and today his books and radio show have millions of dedicated fans.

When it comes right down to it, Age really is just a number. I believe I am going to live to 100 anyway so who cares, Im 20 years from my half way point with so much life to live. I get sad when I come across people who have thrown in towel because they feel like they missed their window or something in their 20’s. It’s so far from the truth.

Sure, if I could go back, I would have made some different goals knowing what I know now. Who wouldn’t? Making a million dollars seemed really cool at 22 but I never understood or¬†realized all of the liability and responsibility that comes with that. I would write that goal much differently now, something like “make enough money so I don’t ever have to be in debt or depend on anyone to support myself having enough left over to help friends, family, and people in need when possible.” Despite all¬†of my shortcomings, or what I should or shouldn’t have done, the goal now is to create enough abundance to be happy and get my time back.

Regardless of what you have or haven’t accomplished, it’s not over. The journey truly is just beginning. I would take years of experience over raw talent and crazy ambition most of the time these days. I sacrificed a lot of relationships in my 20’s chasing a dollar and losing sight many times about what was really important. The last 3 years of my life have been the most gratifying years so far and they are nowhere near what I set out to do 10 years ago. In fact, if you told me 10 years earlier where I would be now, I would have gotten upset, and depressed because the only way that I measured success was by the size of my bank account, and if what ever life you told me I would have had didn’t involve me being filthy rich, I would have gone a different direction.

So what now. Where do we go from here. 

Well I know what I am going to do. They’re wont be all that much of a change for me. I am well on my way to doing some incredible things in my life. I have great business opportunities that I have started in the last year. The first one being my tech start-up (Roommatefax.com)¬†and the second has been learning to trade the FOREX market.¬†¬†As far as hobbies go, I have always maintained a work-hard-play hard mentality, So I picked up skydiving 2 years ago as well as training MMA (Krav Maga).¬†I am in the best shape that I have ever been in my life. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I eat healthy and I exercise regularly.

After living a little here on earth for a little while, I have come to understand some things about life. Most of which I recently published in my latest 9781935723486_p0_v1_s260x420book The Young Entrepreneurs Guide To Life. I just want to live my life to the fullest. I want to experience and see as much as this world has to offer while I am alive and kicking. I will never stop seeking. To me, business is just another adventure. I have had jobs here and there but they were always stepping-stones to get me to a place where I would take my life back, live it how I wanted too. As an entrepreneur, I get bored and need to switch projects it seems about every 2 years. This is very bad for job security, but great if you love starting new things.

Money comes and goes. I have learned that it is a tool, that’s all, it’s only emotional if you don’t have enough of it. If getting it ruins your relationships, you’re doing it wrong. I’m looking forward to enjoying what I have now. The potential of marriage, kids one day soon. Seeing places in the world I have never been too and accomplishing things to better myself physically, spiritually, and in business. These are all things that I am looking forward too.

So all in all, turning 30 is going to be great. I have done a lot of big things in my 20’s. I failed in some areas, and absolutely dominated in others, these days I just want to enjoy the journey, and go for happy instead of being right or “winning.” Remember that the only thing to dread or fear comes from your own inability to accept the reality of your situation good or bad, and then doing something to better it or make it worse.

Go lose 10 lbs if it will make you feel better. Take a trip to South East Asia if you have never been. Buy a nice car if you have never had one before, but just be real about it. Honor those who love and support you. Remember where you came from and all the shit you have been through to get to where you are. Don’t lose perspective, gain it, be a wolf, go hard, and most importantly follow your heart. Fuck what society says or thinks you should do some random age, I’m trying to live more and more like a kid the older I get. I will never conform, and no matter how up and down the roller coaster of life takes me. I choose to have fun and a good attitude about everything as much as possible regardless of what type of shit gets flung at me. Maybe you should too! Stop worrying and start living.

So if you’re approaching 30, and you have some anxiety, don’t worry, there is plenty of life to live and I hope I have alleviated some of the worry and concern with this post!

Now let’s go celebrate!! Happy 30 everyone.

-Steve

America is high… not on weed, but on credit. I’ll show you how to get out of debt for GOOD! America

America is high… not on weed, but on credit. I’ll show you how to get out of debt for GOOD! America

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Being in debt sucks, you should get out of it. America is HIGH on credit cards, loans and just living way beyond our means in general. ¬†It’s got to stop because it’s simply a vicious cycle of madness, and will only end if you make the personal choice to do it in your own life.

‚ÄúWhen you get in debt you become a slave.‚ÄĚ -Andrew Jackson

It has been a long time coming for writing a blog on this topic. I write a lot about life-style and ways to accumulate wealth, but there is another side to the wealth coin and that side is DEBT. We all know what it is because at one time or another we have all been in it. For most people I meet, being in debt is a part of everyday American life that 99% of Americans live in day in day out. The other 1% owns all the wealth, and we can’t get to where they are because they are the ones lending the money ūüôā Imagine if we lived in a world where you couldn’t get a credit card or a loan. Think of how different the world would be, how much stress would be lifted off of you or your loved ones. What if you woke up tomorrow and you were magically at $0. How would that change your life? Here in America, we start getting credit card offers weeks before we turn 18 years old, with banks enticing you with instant gratification telling you to buy now and worry later. Sadly it has become a way of life here in the U.S. and I believe it will ultimately lead to our downfall. The powers that be do an incredible job keeping us in a constant state of denial, and for good reason too, because it’s hard to sell you on the idea of being ok with getting in to debt if they actually told you what you were really getting yourself in to.

Let me throw a couple of stats at you real quick on the US debt situation, then we will get in to your shit! * As of April 1, 2014, the official debt of the United States government is $17.6 trillion ($17,578,141,920,036).cols_ventura-39636 This amounts to:

  • $143,543 for every household in the U.S.
  • ¬†103% of the U.S. gross domestic product.
  • 559% of annual federal revenues.
  • $55,372 for every person living in the U.S. (not including Americans Individual’s personal debt which is indicated below.)

U.S. household consumer debt profile:

  • Average credit card debt:¬†$15,191
  • Average mortgage debt:¬†$154,365
  • Average student loan debt:¬†$33,607

James Quin from financialscense.com ¬†writes:¬†“The average hard-working, taxpaying American has been enslaved in debt of such proportions that they will never be able pay it off. Your share of the $17.6 trillion National Debt is now $55,372, and growing by $4,500 per year. Your share of the future unfunded liabilities, created by the people you elected, is approximately $350,000. This crushing burden is in addition to the $13.8 trillion of mortgage, credit card, student loan, and auto loan debt Americans have accumulated in the last three decades of delusion. Forty percent of all credit card users do not pay-off their credit card every month and carry an average balance of $16,000 at an average interest rate of 15%. Good to see the Wall Street banks passing along some of their 0% borrowing windfall to their ‚Äúcustomers‚ÄĚ.¬†” So what does this all mean? Well it’s simple, as a country we’re F*&%ed. As an individual, you may have a chance for redemption if you choose to take the hard road and opt out of the vicious cycle, but it won’t be easy. In this blog, I am going to share with you some of the key ideological changes I underwent as well as the actions that I took to get my debt managed, and eventually paid the f%^& off. If you do exactly what I tell you to do in this blog, you will be well on your way to getting out of debt for GOOD! I will explain how to cut your interest rates in 1/2 if not more. Here are the steps.

stop-bleeding-save-your-own-life1. Stop the bleeding – Ok, if you are serious about doing this, it’s time to make some hard decisions. I don’t mean like you need to tighten your belt a bit and cut back a little, I’ll equate this to a obesely overweight person that needs their stomach stapled, and triple by-pass heart surgery to stay alive. This means fire sale time. You go through your house and collect everything of any value that you don’t use. My indicator is: unless it’s a seasonal item like a snowboard, if it hasn’t been used for 6 months, sell it, thrown it out or give it to goodwill for a tax credit. Anything you own two of needs to be reduced to only one, after all, why do you need 2 anyway? This includes big ticket items like cars, motorcycles etc. ¬†Next you need to look through your bank statement and find any subscriptions or monthly reoccurring charges that you don’t use on a regular basis. For example, expensive gym memberships, magazine subscriptions etc. Be vigilant, we are talking about things you don’t absolutely need, if you need your gym membership, I”l tell you how to save on that later on, but for now, just follow the directions. If your a person like my mom who needs to hold on to everything, than you need a close friend to help you through the process like a drug addict needs a sponsor to keep them in check, you can’t be trusted.

reality-check2. Reality Check –¬†Time to get out of denial and face the truth.¬†Gather all the statements of debts you have. College loans, car loans, credit cards, mortgages etc. Then start an excel spreadsheet to lay it all out. I’ve included the one I used that gave me a clear picture of what I owed and the percentage rates I was paying. (StevenEwolf.com Debt Worksheet). Once we have it all laid out on paper we have “THE¬†NUMBER” meaning the price you will have to pay for freedom. For me that number was $160,000 in 2010, and I got it under¬†control¬†without a bankruptcy or credit help bullshit company. It can be done, if I can do it, you can too.

3.Budget time –¬†Here is where you sit down with your loved one, or by yourself if your single and simply find out how much you are making imgres and how much you are spending. To get an idea of this, I strongly suggest you use a budget program like¬†Mint.com. I used¬†mint.com and still use today to mange my income, expenses and investments, it does all that for you in one simple program by collecting all your financial data and putting it in one easy place for you to see and manage. It will give you a snap shop of your current cash vs. debt as well as up to date information about every asset and liability you have. It will also allow you to create a budget based on your income so you can track and see exactly how much you are spending and what you are spending it (or wasting it) on. This can only be done once you figure out what your income is. If you are like me, and never had a constant pay check, this will give you data collected over a period of time to help you balance out your income as you receive it.¬†

Piggy-Bank-e13684380021284. Savings¬†Strategy¬†–¬†What is savings you ask, well that’s money that you don’t spend, something that is not a familiar practice to my generation. Here is what it needs to look like, I’ll give you an example for an income of $5,000 per month. (I adopted this practice from the book The Richest Man in Babylon & Secrets of the Millionaire¬†Mind¬† and customized it to fit my needs to get out of debt and build wealth)

*****Note, a tax savings account is necessary if you are a 1099 guy like me, if not don’t worry about, the government steals it from you already every pay period at your W-2 job. So for the sake of this example Red will indicate W-2 Person, and Green will indicate 1099 person.

:::EXAMPLE:::

Total Income $5,000

-20% ($1000) in to separate bank account specifically set aside for taxes.  Capital1 Р360 gives you free Savings and Checking account with no  Capital-One-360-Checking-Special-Offer minimums or ATM fees, that pays you a .75% yearly APR yield (5 times national average). If you follow this link to the right and you will get a $50 referral credit just for signing up through my link! (You see, pays to read my blog!) So do it NOW!

50% of whats left after taxes ($2,000) ($2500) Goes in to you spending budget. This is to be used to pay the mortgage/rent, gas utilities, car payment, food etc.

20% Goes in to savings. ($800) ($1,000) // This is money that you will invest in to something later, but don’t worry about that just yet¬†because¬†you don’t have any money yet, so just save it and if you are in serious debt, all of this money will go to pay off debt starting with high interest credit cards and loans ūüôā

10% Goes in to the “emergency/big ticket item fund” ($400) ($500) // This is money for a new car or a trip, something you may want but don’t¬†necessarily¬†need so if shit hits the fan you can use the cash to get you out of a pickle, but the hawaii trip is not gonna happen this year as a result of it.¬†

10% Goes in to the “Play” fund¬†($400)¬†($500)¬†// This is your money to blow on what ever you want.¬†

10% Goes in to the “Charity/Education Fund”¬†($400)¬†($500)

budget-clip-art(3)4. Budget Review¬†– By following the example above you easily get a hold on your own personal spending, not lets cut some more monthly costs. Time to sit down, look at everything you decided to keep: memberships, subscriptions etc.¬†If they don’t fit in to your budget, you need to cut back even more.¬†It is however worth calling all of the entities and seeing if you can reduce the membership costs. I called my gym, they cut my membership rate in half, then I called some magazine I subscribed to, they gave me a year free, then the cable company, then my cell phone provider and so on. By the time I was done calling every single entity that I had a subscription with, I managed to hang on to one or two things I would have had to get rid of by just calling them and asking for a discount. Once you have accomplished getting this all together and knowing that you are at least not going negative every month, we can go to the next step.

credit-card5. The Credit Card Shuffle РOk let do some plastic surgery. First pull out that debt sheet that you have downloaded from above. Remember the one where you wrote down the total amounts you owe. Ok, now pull out all of your credit cards and start calling each one, here is what you need to find out, and do this exactly like I tell you to here!

1. Call the CC company and find out what you actual rate is on the card.

2. If you have balanced transferred money or have a promotional rate of some kind, find out the rate and when the promotional rate ends and then indicate it on the sheet just like the example I have set out.

3. Ask the customer service agent if they can lower your rate. If they say no, ask them if they can waive this months interest charges as a courtesy. Most companies will do this at least once per year.

4. Ask them if they have any promotions on Balance transfers, don’t do it yet just find out if they do. (It’s usually 0% for 6-12 months or 4.99% for 18 months. They will charge you between 2%-5% to move the money)

5. Repeat this step until you have called every single one of your credit cards and recorded the information on the sheet provided. Now that you have an idea of how badly you are being raped by finance charges, we can start the shuffle. Looking at all of your existing credit left on cards, figure out if it would make sense to transfer balances to cards that have room.¬†Take in to consideration that it will cost you money to move the money, so if the¬†benefits¬†of savings don’t outweigh the costs to move the money or you simply don’t have enough credit left, you will have to choose another option. The main idea is to try to get any credit card balance to 0% or as close to 0% as possible. Some of you may still have good credit if that’s the case, use the following method, if not, read on, there is options for you. If you can swing, pay your highest APR% cards off immediately, meaning any card that only a couple hundred bucks or something on it, just pay it and check that one-off the list.

If you have a good credit score or are a home owner:

1. Ask each CC company to raise your line of credit, explain that you need the credit for business travel.

2. Try to move all of the balances ton¬†ONE¬†card so it’s easily manageable and at the lowest rate. If you have to spread this out over 2 cards, do it, but make sure it makes sense.

3. ¬†If you weren’t able to get the CC companies to extend you more credit, try to get a personal consolidation loan. I used one of their and it drastically helped me get out of debt faster. The best company with the lowest rates is Lending Club. Lending club will beat any other lending_club_logopersonal loan service or big bank on unsecured debt consolidation loans. If you do this, you can get a secured loan for 3 years that can be paid off early with no pre-payment penalty. Otherwise, try a HELOC on your home or a refinance to wrap the debt in the equity if you can do it. ¬†If your debt is only a couple thousand it may be a good idea of doing a “used-car refinance loan” and wrapping some of the debt in to that if you have some equity in a vehicle.

If you have bad credit or have no home. 

1. See what you can do to move balances around to 0%. If the CC companies won’t extend you credit then try the personal loan from¬†Lending Club¬†like I mentioned above. They still have some great rates with people who have below Prime credit scores.

2. Get a copy of your credit report and find out exactly what you have going against you that is affecting your score.

3. If you can’t get more credit to move balances, and you can’t get a personal loan that makes sense it’s time to start playing dirty with your creditors. The following advice is the last option that you will before you have to start looking at¬†bankruptcy¬†as a viable option. (I will not be covering bankruptcy in this blog¬†because¬†if your¬†situation¬†is that bad, you need to get in touch with an¬†attorney¬†and¬†discuss¬†your options.)¬†

4. Credit card consolidation companies are bullshit. There is nothing that they can do for you that you cannot call your credit card company do yourself. They basically charge you money to “go to bat for you” but what they are really doing is serving as a middle man between you and the CC company and make a little money off of your hard ship. I’ll share my story explaining below at the end of the blog.

6. Sticking to the plan no matter what – The hardest thing that you will encounter when trying to follow these steps is the feeling that there is no end in sight. That you feel so far away from $0 that you want to give up or just say F%^&* it. Understand that it was that exact attitude and lack of discipline and knowledge that got you in to this situation to begin with. In fact, you have probably spent years getting your self in to this situation, so don’t think that this is going to get fixed over night.

What I am proposing here is a long-term and effective strategy to recognize and asses the problem, reconcile the damage done, and then install a system of ideological principles to live by. Taking all of the actions I have laid out here is a start but the ultimate idea here is that you change your mindset, and that you do it long-term because if you use what I gave you here to get out of debt just to do it all over again that we have failed. So, be brave, be sturdy, and most of all, find some gratitude and accomplishment in the fact that you are doing something about it. Just that is a huge step that you should be proud of.

Summary and a Personal Story.  

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Me in Bali living the life of my dreams. You can to!!!!

As I indicated before, this guide isn’t something I thought up last night, this knowledge comes from years of experience going through this myself. I have been through some very scary times, and if I could, I would love to help you avoid some of those pit falls in life. When the market turned in 2008 I went from owning a house, with a brand new BMW paid with cash to $160,000 in debt ducking creditors and conducting a fire sale with any assets I had left to try and cover the losses. I didn’t do it all correctly and I wish I had seen a blog like this one to help me out of that horrible situation. As my good friend Rob Guth says “ask me how I know?” I love the saying because it comes from experience, and it the experience of the good and bad that has allowed me to learn from my mistakes and come back from some dark times with hope and re-energized spirit to not only continue on when things go south, but to always have hope that tomorrow is a new chance an opportunity to turns things around if they not going well, or continue to rise if they are.

I hope that you take what I wrote here to heart because these nuggets of information have cost me years of my life and hundreds of thousands of dollars to obtain. Learn from it, apply it, and execute it in your own life and enjoy years of time and lots of money saved because you were wiser that I was to look. If this blog speaks to you, share it the information with your friends, family and people you care about. If you have questions, comments, concerns, feel free to post in the comments section or contact me via the contact page. 

I wish you the best of luck!

See you at the top.

Steve W.

Solutions Links as indicated above.

1. Debt Worksheet 

2. Capital 1 360 Free Savings and Checking account with no minimums or ATM fees. 

3. Mint.com

4. Lending Club

5. If you are looking where to go after this, check out my book that will begin to give some great insight on how to go in to business for yourself and build some wealth. 

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