How To Get Grant Money As A Single Parent For College

Back to School How To Get Grant Money As A Single Parent For College

The following is a guest post from Jon Haver, Blogger at PayMyStrudentLoans.com.  It is difficult to come up with the money required for college as tuition has increased at a faster rate than inflation or even health care. In fact, since 1978, the cost of college has increased 12x. Being a single parent and looking at today’s College Tuition can make it seem utterly impossible that you could provide for your family while being able to further your education. This article is meant as a resource to help single parents understand what grants are available to them and how to apply for them. [Read more...]



How Marketing Tricks Can Stress Your Credit Score and Bank Account

TAC Blog Pixel Template 1024x681 How Marketing Tricks Can Stress Your Credit Score and Bank Account

The following is a guest post from Glenn Sosa, Author of  SOLD: Don’t Go Poor and Miserable Being Sold Happiness.  To find out how you can guest post, read my guest posting policy and contact me through the page.

ESPN recently aired a 30 for 30 documentary titled Broke. The documentary featured the stories of several formerly prominent athletes who went from millionaire status to bankruptcy. The stories poignantly showed how someone’s inability to control spending can destroy their net worth – not just  financially but also emotionally.

Since the original airing of Broke, I’ve had a few discussions with college counselors at prominent universities that produce a lot of professional sports talent. These counselors are responsible for teaching their student-athletes the life skills that can help them avoid the fate of the players featured in Broke. It was interesting to hear how those curricula, for the most part, focused on explaining financial products.

Marketing Tricks and Gimmicks

There was no indication that any of the curricula dealt with the root cause of spending problems and what leads consumers to feel that “wants” are “needs”, and that root cause is marketing.  Without an understanding of the marketing tricks and gimmicks that organizations and salespeople use and how those techniques tug at emotions, consumers will remain very vulnerable.  This is true  regardless of whether you are an average consumer or a superstar athlete.

Yes, it’s smart to understand how credit works and it’s wise to have a budget (there’s no questioning these two personal finance tools), but credit histories and family budgets of all sizes have been blown out of the water by a well structured sales pitch or marketing promotion that pushes the right buttons.  So how can you protect your credit score and your bank account? Here are three tips:

1. Understand the difference between “wants” and “needs”

All good personal finance authors, especially when dealing with budgeting and consumer credit, will help consumers understand that needs come before wants. But what is a “need?” You’d think that these would be easy to agree on; food, a place to live, and clothing are some commonly noted needs. And yes; consumers need to eat, live and sleep somewhere suitable, and clothe themselves adequately as well.

But what if you think you need a $500,000 McMansion versus a more modest $150,000 2-bedroom house? Or you argue with your spouse about needing a late model Lexus rather than a practical, attractive, and reasonably-priced Ford?

You are not going to find a one-size fits all definition for consumer “needs” and “wants”. The differences will vary from person to person. It’s up to you to figure out where “needs” end, and “wants” begin. A written budget will go a long way toward helping you figure this out. The sooner you do this, the easier it will be to manage your spending moving forward.

2. Learn about the marketing techniques that are used to sell to you

I gave a talk on the traps of wants versus needs and I asked everyone who attended whether they have ever had to sell something and whether they were trained to sell that something. Almost everyone raised their  hands – that is; everyone who had worked in sales, quite naturally had been trained to sell.

I then asked the same group whether they had ever purchase something. Of course, everyone raised their hand. The next question was the most interesting; “Who here has received buying training?”  No hands went up; not one.  You see, buyers are at a disadvantage. You need to equip yourselves with an understanding of how organizations and sales people sell to you.  That’s why I wrote SOLD: Don’t Go Poor and Miserable Being Sold Happiness; to be a consumer guide to help level the marketing playing field.

3. Have a buying process

Knowing how not to be sold is great. And knowing the difference between wants and needs is also important. But when you have a true need and go to the market place to buy it, how can you do that in the best way possible? You need a simple buying process.  Fortunately, my book covers this as well.  From step 1, “Realize a Need”, to step 7, “Purchase and Experience Ownership”, you’ll learn simple tools on how to avoid the most common pitfalls.

Don’t repeat the mistakes that so many superstar athletes have made!  Learn how to handle the root cause of credit and budgeting problems and by understanding how marketing tricks and gimmicks lead you to believe that wants are really needs, when they’re not!

Glenn Sosa is the Author of SOLD: Don’t Go Poor and Miserable Being Sold Happiness

For weekly tips, you can follow Glenn on Facebook or connect with him on Google+



What Does Your “Credit” Resume Say About You?

Credit Resume Post Picture1 1024x681 What Does Your Credit Resume Say About You?

Use to be when you got a job after graduating high school and college, you could depend on working and retiring at that job like our parents did.  Not anymore!  In fact, a Bureau Labor of Statistics news release published in September 2010 examined the number of jobs people born from 1957 to 1964 held from the ages of 18 to age 44.  Guess what that number was?   11 different jobs held from ages 18 to 44; that’s a new job for every 2.36 years!  If you are part of this statistic, think you need to make sure your resume is accurate and up to date?

You might be reading this post and currently be unemployed and looking for a job, or employed and looking for a better job to improve your economic reality.  You’ve got a resume; right?  Now imagine for a second that every bit of information contained in your resume was put there by someone else.  Would you want to make sure what they were saying about you was 100% accurate and true?  You better freaking believe it!

You would want to know things like “did they get my name and address right” or “did they have the correct dates of my employment listed”?  What if, god forbid, they put something derogatory in there that would stop you from getting that job or bettering your economic circumstances; would that piss you off?  I hope your blood is boiling at the thought of something like this actually happening…because it is!  Every single day…on your credit report!

Time To Grow Up

Let’s get something straight; if you don’t think your credit report is a resume, you need to change your mindset and become a better, more informed consumer!  Hell; let me take that one step further and say you need to learn how to become a Credit Adult!  This is exactly what Adam Levin pointed out in an article in the Huffington Post titled “5 Ways to Become a Credit Adult.”  In it, Adam states that a lot of people see credit — good, bad or indifferent — as something that happens to them, not something that can be nurtured and managed properly and, of course, protected.

He goes on to say something I’ve been pushing for years; no one has a greater knowledge of what you do, nor a greater stake in your financial security, than you!  So let’s go back to that resume question again; if every bit of information contained in your resume was put there by someone else, would you want to make sure what they were saying about you was 100% accurate and true?  What if you found errors and inaccuracies; would you want them fixed immediately?  Then why don’t you feel this way about your credit report?

Whose Report Is This Anyway?

Picture this scenario – but first FYI, while not blogging, I’m a realtor here in South Florida which actually pays the bills :).  I had a gentleman call me from a New York phone number who was moving here with his fiance and starting a new job on October 1st.  He told me he had already been in South Florida for 2 weeks and couldn’t find a place to rent.  Naturally, I asked him why he thought that was.  Any guess to the answer?  You got it; his credit!

So I asked him; did you think anyone would run a credit check on you? He answered yes.  To which I replied and….   He started explaining how this was wrong in his report , how that was wrong…  Here’s what I asked him next; did you use a resume to get your new job here in South Florida?  His answer was – yes!  I asked him if he checked the work of the person who created his resume for him to which he replied; what person?  It’s my resume – I did it!  If it sounds like he was getting a little annoyed with me, it’s because he was.  I asked him to bear with me a second because it was leading to a point he will use for the rest of his life.

So I then asked him if the credit report the realtors and landlords had pulled on him was his; to which he answered – of course!   I asked him since it was his report, how did it manage to have so many mistakes as he claimed, to which he replied; I didn’t create the report! My point exactly; you didn’t, someone else did!

LIGHT-BULB! What Does Your Credit Resume Say About You?

I asked him if he thought his resume gave employers an idea of who he was as a potential employee?  He answered yes.  So I asked him if he thought his credit report might create an economic reputation about him for potential landlords?  As Gru said in the movie Despicable Me; LIGHT-BULB!  The light bulb had just turned on in Mr. New York’s head and he realized something for the first time in his life; his credit report was his – but not created by him.  He needed to find out what was in it, what it was saying about him, and more importantly; if it was 100% accurate as the Fair Credit Reporting Act states it should be!

The moral of the story is this; credit report accuracy is first and foremost a consumer protection issue.  No one is a better guardian of your economic reputation than you so learn how to protect yourself!  You wouldn’t trust someone to create your resume without checking it, so why would you trust that the information being reported about you in your credit report is accurate and true? The answer is; you shouldn’t!  You might not have created the report, but the information contained in it is yours and will influence people to make decisions about you– just like your resume!

Ever have something like this happen to you?  Do you agree, or disagree, that your credit report is your economic resume?  Have you ever even thought about it in these terms?  This is a great topic to share with others so please pass it along by clicking on one of the social media buttons icon smile What Does Your Credit Resume Say About You?