Financial Truths: Learn How to Budget & Get Out of Debt

Create a new future and achieve your goals quickly but changing the way you think about finances.
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  • Lectures 69
  • Video 4.5 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
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About This Course

Published 7/2012 English

Course Description

Come with me on a journey where you will create a new future for your money and achieve your financial dreams quickly.

****Over 1,900+ Students are already enrolled ****

COURSE UPDATED IN DECEMBER 2015

You're about to discover the best methods for managing your hard-earned money. These money management principles have stood the test of time. The best part is, it's incredibly SIMPLE. When the one thing getting thin is your bank balance, it's time to get HELP.

•Have you ever stayed awake at 3 am... worrying about money?

•Are you a slave to your debt?

•Do you work hard but always have a hard time making ends meet?

•Have you lost control of your expenses?

•Are your credit cards maxed out?

•Have you ever asked, "where did my money go"?

•Are you in fear of losing your house?

•Are you living with the shame & stigma that comes with being homeless?

•Have you considered filing for bankruptcy?

•How about the fear of never having enough money to retire?

If you answered, "YES" to any of these questions, chances are you are worried about your finances. Chances are, you worry all the time, about how you will pay your bills. Chances are, you worry that you're going to work for the rest of your life. You worry about retirement, you worry about your children's college education and you're scared for yourself and your family.

The question is what can you do?

Perhaps you've tried paying of your debt but started accumulating it again. You tried to be frugal but you were so miserable. If you've ever felt DESPERATE for money, let me tell you:

You CAN take control of your finances again. You have the power to change your financial future. You are filled with strength to make your financial goals a reality. You deserve the peace of mind and confidence that comes with having your financial life in order. You can earn more, payoff your debts, and increase our savings and investments. It can be done.

What you need is to commit to making small changes in the way you make, spend, save and invest your money. Before you know it, you will achieve BIG changes and BIG results. You see, when you make big changes drastically, your mind and heart will reject the drastic changes and you simply won't stick to them.

A doable, step-by-step guide will help you make small, yet consistent, positive changes with your money.

In this class you will learn

•How to change your Financial Mindset

•How to Getting Out of Debt and Staying out of Debt

•How to create a budget and stay on a budget

•How to choose a bank that fits your needs

•Ways of boosting your income using the internet

•Ways of growing your skills

•How to better manage risk

•How to plan for the long-term

•Basic ways of investing your hard earned money

•How to protect your identity

This personal finance course comes as a complete e-course with lessons, cheat sheets and worksheets. This means you'll absorb the lessons and implement my easy strategies no matter your learning style. You'll also get money and mindset worksheets that will help you understand and implement new behaviors.

Don't let another day go by. Subscribe to the course and start putting your financial life in order.

Money is one of the leading causes of divorce in our society. In addition, money is one of the top causes of stress. But you deserve to be free from fear! So if you want to learn how to keep more of what you make,

Join the Personal Finance Course today…..

•Over 1.4 million people in the United States filed for bankruptcy in 2009

•43% of American families spend more that what they earn

•The average household has $8,000 in credit card debt

Don't be another Statistic. You deserve to win, and enjoy the experience of financial peace and financial freedom.

Click the "take this course" button, top right, now ... every hour you delay is costing you money ...

Thank you, Keroy King

What are the requirements?

  • Make a personal commitment to apply the lessons learned.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Improved quality of life and stop being scared
  • Gain confidence that you will be able to provide adequately for your spouse and children. Leaving an inheritance for not only your children but your children's children
  • Having the liberty to choose when and where to retire
  • Achieve financial peace and financial freedom
  • Living a debt-free lifestyle

What is the target audience?

  • This personal finance course is intended for students who are struggling with managing their finances. Also, students who have never been taught about money will benefit greatly from the course.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: Welcome !!!
03:35

Helping you achieve your financial goals

03:20

We are addressing the mindset needed for successfully managing your money.

Ask yourself these questions:

Why am i determined to successfully manage my money? What is my ultimate goal? Do I have the needed skills or do i need to find help? Do I have accountability partners? Do I have timelines and parameters to measure and determine my success?

Section 2: Budgeting
Creating an Effective Money Map
Preview
05:50
6 pages

Creating an Effective Budget

The best way to acquire financial security is to have a sound budget. With a realistic budget, you can have more money to plan that vacation or buy that awesome big screen TV with the surround sound system. In order to indulge in these luxuries without utterly destroying your bank account, you need a budget.

Not to worry, though! It's not as bad as it sounds. It's actually quite simple.

How Much Do I Make?

The backbone of any budget is based on how much you make. Even if your income is lower than you'd like, you can still budget successfully, but it's important to know what you have to work with in order to create a balanced budget.

When budgeting, it's critical that you use your net income as opposed to the gross, that is, the amount after all deductions and taxes. Doing so will give you a more accurate representation about what you have today, factoring in what the government takes as deductions.

For all practical purposes, what is being deducted from your paycheck is money that isn't yet available to spend. Then when you file your tax return, treat the refund like a bonus.

If you have a variable paycheck, using a close estimate should suffice in most situations. A realistic estimate can be gathered by totaling your income from the past 3-6 months, and then divide by the income you received in that time.

What are my Fixed Expenses?

There's no way around it; we all have bills to pay. Some bills vary from month to month, but there are others that are constant. Many loans are structured so you pay the same amount every month. For example, your car or home payments are fixed expenses. Rent and cable bills are also usually the same amount every month.

Some examples of common fixed expenses are:

  • Mortgage or rent
  • Car payments
  • Car insurance
  • Property taxes
  • Home insurance
  • Loans and lines of credit

Take some time to make a list of your fixed expenses and total the result.

What are my Variable Expenses?

This is where making a budget gets a little bit tricky. Not every bill is the same amount every month. You don't always spend the same amount at the grocery store or on gasoline. It's easy with the fixed expenses, but here there is room for error. Use an average amount of each variable expense for your budget.

The good thing about variable expenses is that you can change them. As you'll see, reducing these variable charges is a great way to keep more of your hard earned cash.

Some examples of common variable expenses are:

  • Car maintenance
  • Gas
  • Food
  • Electricity
  • Heating

Take a few minutes to list your variable expenses and total the result. A good strategy is to go through your recent credit and debit card purchases to see where your money is going.

What are Non-Essential Expenses?

There will always be things that we want, but don't necessarily need. These types of purchases fit into the non-essential expenses. The difficulty here, is that we often confuse what we want with what we need.

A good test of willpower before making any purchases over, say, $50 is to ask yourself: “Is this a want or a need?”

If you can't answer that question honestly, then give yourself 24 hours to think about it before making a decision.

Some examples of non-essential expenses are:

  • Excessive amounts of clothing and shoes
  • Entertainment (i.e. DVDs, movies, books, magazines)
  • Video games
  • Eating out
  • Excessive gift purchases
  • “Stuff” you buy because it's on sale

Make a list of non-essential expenses and their total. Ask yourself: Do I need everything on this list? Is there anything I can cut out without losing the lifestyle I desire?

What are my Total Expenses?

Write down all your fixed, variable, and non-essential expenses and add up the total. This total will be your base expenditure for the month.

This is the bare minimum you'll need to make in order to have a balanced budget. If you make more, that's great. If you don't make more, then go back and look at your variable and non-essential expenses, like entertainment, new clothes, or even your grocery or electricity bill, and find ways to lower these charges.

Earn More Than You Spend

The only way to create a workable budget is to adhere to this one simple rule: Earn more than you spend.

Obviously your goal is to earn a whole lot more than you spend, but if the numbers are close, that's okay; you can still work with that, but a wide gap would be ideal.

Later in this course we'll talk about both cutting costs and boosting income.

2 pages

Creating a Budget - Cheat Sheet

  • The best way to acquire financial security is to have a sound budget.
  • The backbone of any budget is based on how much you make.
  • When budgeting, it's critical that you use your net income as opposed to the gross.
  • If you have a variable paycheck, using a close estimate should suffice in most situations.

Fixed expenses don't usually change, such as your mortgage or car payments, property taxes, and so on.

  • Take some time to make a list of your fixed expenses and total the result.

Variable expenses vary from month to month.

  • The good thing about variable expenses is that you can change them.
  • Take a few minutes to list your variable expenses and total the result.
  • A good strategy is to go through your recent credit and debit card purchases to see where your money is going.

Non-essential expenses are things we want, but don't necessarily need.

  • A good test of willpower before making any purchases over $50 is to ask yourself: “Is this a want or a need?”
  • Make a list of non-essential expenses and their total.
  • Ask yourself: Do I need everything in this list? Is there anything I can cut out without losing the lifestyle I desire?

Write down all your fixed, variable, and non-essential expenses and add up the total. This total will be your base expenditure for the month.

The only way to create a workable budget is to adhere to this one simple rule: Earn more than you spend.

Self-Reflection Questions:

1.How much do I spend every month?

2.What are my variable and non-essential charges? How can I reduce these?

3.What level of income do I need in order to earn more than I spend?

Action Tips:

1.Write down your income and expenses on a notepad or use a spreadsheet. Financial software, like Quicken, can be helpful in creating your budget.

2.Come up with as close a figure as possible for your variable expenses like groceries or entertainment.

3.Trim your variable and non-essential expenses until you're spending less than you make.

01 Worksheet Create A Budget
2 pages
Cultivating a Culture of Giving
05:27
Staying with in your Budget
07:21
6 pages

Staying Within Your Budget

Now that you've examined your income and expenses and created your budget, is it workable for you? The best budget is the one that works for you. As you use it, feel free to adjust the amounts in the expense categories according to your realistic needs.

For example, if you had designated $300 per month for gas, but the gas prices rise, you may need to go back and raise the amount in the budget. Keep your budget up to date so you can continue to enjoy its benefits.

Does your budget have workable amounts, but you find that you're still having difficulty staying within your budget? Try the Envelope Method to easily keep track of your spending in each category.

The Envelope Method

The Envelope Method requires you to move to a cash-only system. Although this may sound like a challenge, it's really easier than you think!

This technique is an easy 3-step process:

Divide and conquer. Each payday, cash your paycheck at your bank, then divide the cash into different envelopes for each expense category.

  • For example, label one envelope Rent or Mortgage, one envelope Groceries, one envelope Car Payment, and continue in that manner until you have an envelope for every expense. Include an envelope for daily spending money for things like lunch or parking.
  • To determine how much to put into each envelope, look at your monthly budget and then divide the monthly expense by 2 if you get paid twice each month or 4 if you get paid every week. So if you get paid every week and your grocery bill is $400/month, take $100 out of each paycheck and put it into the Groceries envelope.
Use cash for your expenses. Once your paycheck is divided up, it's very easy to keep track of your spending. That Groceries envelope, for example, is your grocery money for the week. Spend it wisely. Once you spend the money in that envelope, that's it for that week.

Effortlessly limit daily spending. Each day, put the cash from that day's Spending Money envelope into your pocket or purse. That's your spending money for the day. When it's gone, stop spending!

  • Making a separate envelope for each day's spending money helps you stay within your budget without having to keep a mental figure of your balance in your mind at all times.

Besides making it easy to limit your spending to the budgeted amount, the Envelope Method also gives you a better sense of your money.

When you pay cash, you're more likely to see the real impact of your spending, even if it's small expenses. As you'll notice, small expenses really add up!

Tips to Reduce Your Expenses

If you find that you're spending more than you make, you have two options:

1.Make more money.

2.Reduce the amount that you spend.

There are many techniques you can implement to bring in more money. These methods are discussed in a later module dedicated to increasing your income.

It's usually more difficult to reduce your fixed expenses, though it's not impossible. For example, if you rent an apartment and your lease is about to expire, perhaps you can find an apartment that costs less.

If your cable package features channels you don't use, inquire about changing to a less expensive plan. In the same way, you may be able to reduce your cell phone plan.

Most likely, you'll make cuts in the variable expenses. Things like entertainment, food, gas, and even energy expenses can easily be reduced.

Energy Savings

With energy, it's fairly simple to reduce your bill. Turn lights off when you leave the room and switch to more energy efficient bulbs. Unplug your electronic devices when they aren't being used, because they use energy even when they're turned off if they're still plugged in.

If you have some money tucked away, newer models of appliances – like washers, dryers, and refrigerators – are also much more energy efficient and can pay for themselves in energy savings within a relatively short amount of time.

Other expense categories, like food and entertainment, have more options when it comes to saving money.

Food Savings

Buying groceries is a necessary expense, but one that you have a lot of control over. A run to the grocery store can be devastating to your wallet if you let it, but it's also one of the best places to save money.

Here are some excellent ways to reduce the amount of money you spend at the grocery store:

Sales. Most grocery stores usually do a good job of putting everyday items on sale. If you buy the product on a regular basis, you might as well take advantage of the discounted price, and buy it when it's on sale.

  • The savings on each item may not be much, but you'll find that a few cents deducted here and there add up quite quickly.
  • Planning your weekly menu around what's on sale that week can turn into some significant savings.

Savings Card Programs. Plenty of grocery stores have implemented savings card programs, which give you a wider range of discounts to take advantage of. For many of us, groceries are one of our biggest expenses, so the more ways we can save at the store, the better.

  • On rare occasions, they might even have a blanket discount, like 10% off the total bill, at certain times of the year. Watch for these promotions so you can make the best use of them.

Coupons. Your most potent weapon against the grocery bill is coupons. You can find them in newspapers, flyers, and hundreds more online. These coupons can range from five cents to 100% off the cost of the item. You can't get better than free!

  • While a coupon for a certain product may limit you to one product per coupon, you can often pick up several of that item by simply using a coupon with each item. It's easy to obtain multiple coupons.
  • Some stores even double the amount you see on the coupon, so you'll definitely want to look into which stores have such a program because it can add up to big savings very quickly.
  • One thing you don't want to do is underestimate the power of the coupon! It's possible to buy two hundred dollars worth of groceries, hand them a stack of coupons, and only end up paying a tiny fraction of the price. Ask any cashier if they have customers who do that regularly, and they'll agree!
  • Reducing your grocery bill by hundreds of dollars with coupons is surely a quick way to balance your budget while still eating like royalty!

Stockpiling. Buying in bulk has become a trend when it comes to grocery shopping. Stores like Sam's Club and Costco thrive on selling items in bulk at a low price. When used in moderation, buying in bulk can be a great way to save money.

  • Be careful not to get carried away when shopping in stores that sell in bulk. Plan out what you may be able to use before the expiration date and shop accordingly. Keep in mind, also, the amount of storage space you have available in your home.
  • One of the benefits of stockpiling is that you don't have to go to the grocery store as often. Fewer trips to the grocery store saves you time, gas, and grocery money.
  • You can take advantage of buying in bulk even if you're single. Divide the cost and the spoils of your treasure trip with some friends. This way, all of you can save money and still avoid the inconveniences of stockpiling large amounts of stuff.

When you take advantage of these methods to save money on your regular expenses, it leaves room in your budget to increase your spending in other categories. In turn, staying within your budget becomes a whole lot easier!

3 pages

Maintain & Modify Your Budget- Cheat Sheet

The best budget is the one that works for you.

If your budget isn't realistic for you, then adjust it until it becomes realistic.

Keep your budget up to date so you can continue to enjoy its benefits.

The Envelope Method requires you to move to a cash-only system:

  • Each payday, cash your paycheck at your bank, then divide the cash into different envelopes for each expense category.
  • Use cash for all expenses. Once you spend the money in that envelope, that's it for that week.
  • Each day, put the cash from that day's spending money envelope into your pocket or purse. That's your spending money for the day. When it's gone, stop spending!

If you find that you're spending more than you make, you have two options:

  • Make more money.
  • Reduce the amount you spend.

Usually you can only cut variable expenses, like entertainment, food, gas, and energy expenses.

Energy saving tips:

  • Turn lights off when you leave the room.
  • Switch to more energy efficient bulbs.
  • Unplug your electronic devices when they aren't being used.
  • Upgrade to energy saving appliances, if possible.

Food saving tips:

  • Look through the flyers for the deals.
  • Plan your weekly menu around what's on sale that week.
  • Use loyalty cards and coupons.
  • Buy in bulk, when appropriate.

Gas saving tips:

  • Plan out your errands so you avoid extra gas guzzling trips.
  • Keep your car well-maintained.
  • Perform oil changes regularly.
  • Don't carry unnecessary weight in your car.
  • Rotate your tires and keep them at the correct tire pressure.

Self-Reflection Questions:

1.How can I reduce the amount of energy I use?

2.Do my favorite stores offer deals, discounts, or additional savings on top of coupons?

3.Do I take advantage of the benefits of buying in bulk?

Action Tips:

1.Reduce your energy use as much as possible. This helps your wallet as well as the planet.

2.Sign up for savings card programs where you shop regularly.

Coupons are a powerful weapon against the grocery register. Find coupons for the items you buy all the time. Remember, the more coupons you have, the more money you'll save.

02 Worksheet Maintain & Modify Your Budget
2 pages
Contact Keroy
1 page
Section 3: Get Out Of Debt
15:27
  • Using the debt snow-ball to get out of debt
  • Debt consolidation
8 pages

Getting Out of Debt

While we all would ideally pay off our credit cards in full every month, that doesn't always happen. Plus, modern life often forces us into debt.

If you want go to college, buy a car, or own a home, you'll most likely take out loans to pay for these things. Even if you do keep your credit card usage in check, it's difficult to remain completely debt-free.

But fear not! While your mountain of debt may be daunting, it's possible to get to the top and clear your financial name!

First, let's tackle your credit card balances.

Credit Card Debt

Try these tactics to reduce and eliminate your credit card debt:

  1. Pay off more than you use. The only way to gain ground on your credit card balance is to pay off more than you use. If you make the minimum payment of $20 and then spend $50, you're not going to be getting out of debt anytime soon. Also, be sure to take into account the interest charge as well as other fees when calculating each month's total expenditure.
  2. The Debt snowball

This is where you list all your debts smallest to largest amounts e.g. credit card debt, school loans, auto loans, personal loans, money your borrowed from family etc. excluding the mortgage.

You pay down minimums on all debt and any extra monies are paid to the smallest debt. This process is repeated until all debts are paid off.

Considering this process is part of modifying behavior, successes along the way are a motivational factor thus allowing you to stay on track. Given human behavior, we are more encouraged and motivated by victories,

According to Dave Ramsey, “Personal finance is 20% head knowledge and 80% behavior”. Surely if this was a math problem, we wouldn't be accumulating debt in the first place. Personal debt is usually a sign that you are living over your means.

Furthermore, Contrary to popular methods of getting out of debt, when using the debt-snow ball method, interest incurred on the debt is only consider if you encounter two debts of similar amounts.

Pay off small balances first. If you have a card with a balance of only a couple of hundred dollars, paying that one off first will quickly eliminate one bill altogether
Once a balance is paid off, use the money for that payment to pay off other balances. Knocking a credit card balance out is a major relief! It's one less payment you have to worry about and one less monkey on your back. Use this success as momentum to take care of the other bills.

Avoid skipping payments. If you do miss a payment, they'll add the missed payment to the next month's bill in addition to the interest, late fees, and maybe even over-limit fees. This could even cause your annual interest rate to increase. Once this starts, it's difficult to get out of the pattern. The charges add up quick and your balance will skyrocket.

  • Not only will this affect your balance, but the credit card company will also call you. Avoiding the call only makes things worse. You would think that they would get the point, but they don't. They call, and call, and call, and call. It's incredibly annoying and you're better off doing whatever you can to avoid missing the scheduled payment.

Debt consolidation can be your friend. Many times, it benefits you to consolidate several of your debts into just one balance from one creditor. Not only can you take advantage of a better interest rate, but you also eliminate several of your monthly bills. Often, the one payment on the consolidated balance is less than the total of your previous bills.

  • If you can get a loan from the bank, it can help you out. Using that money to pay off your credit cards will reduce your overall interest charges. When going this route, avoid using your credit cards again after paying them off. That defeats the purpose entirely and will result in your debt becoming worse than it was before you started.
  • Many credit cards offer a lower interest rate for the first year on a new card, and they invite you to transfer your balances from your higher interest cards to your new one. On these offers, be sure to read the fine print. Many things, including one late payment, can void the initial offer and result in an increased interest rate even higher than you had on your old cards.
  • Consolidating your debts can free up money that you can use to pay down your remaining balances. It's one more way you can get out of debt without using any more money than before you started.

7.Use windfalls to pay down your credit card debt. If you come across some extra cash, use the money to pay off as many of those balances as you can. In essence, your windfall is multiplied when you think of all the money in interest charges it will save you.

  • Plus, the faster you become debt-free, the faster you can use your money for whatever you want rather than just sending it all to your creditors!

Eliminating your credit card debt can bring you immense relief and greatly enhance your financial future. But what about other types of debt? Luckily, there are some effective methods you can use to save money and pay off these debts in record time!

IRS

If you owe money to the IRS, make paying them off your highest priority! With their many fees and interest charges, a debt to the IRS costs you even more than credit cards, including possibly your home, business, and any money you have in your bank accounts.

Yes, they can even go in and grab whatever is sitting in your bank account at any time! They can take your home or business and sell them to get the money you owe them. This is true even if your home is worth many times what you owe them.

Borrowing the money from a bank or charging what you owe to your credit cards is infinitely more beneficial than extending the time you take to pay whatever you owe to the IRS. Even refinancing your mortgage to get the cash needed to pay the IRS can be an option you may wish to consider.

Whatever you do, don't mess with the IRS! Pay them off immediately with whatever resources you can gather.

Student Loans

In many cases, your student loans have a lower interest rate than your other debts, so they may not be as high in priority when it comes to paying off your debt. Also, you can often stretch out the payment period over many years so the payments aren't a burden.

However, these payments tend to add up because there can be multiple loans for every year of college. Plus, the total balance can be astronomical simply due to the high cost of attending college.

Check into consolidating these loans to eliminate multiple payments every month. Contact your lender(s) and see what programs they have for combining the loans. You may be able to continue receiving a low interest rate while only having to make one payment that's less than the total of your multiple payments.

While consolidating can give you a handle on managing these loans, at some point, you'll want to finish paying these off also. Once you've eliminated your credit card debt, you may want to apply the extra funds towards this debt to get this monkey off your back as well.

Car Loans and Other Short Term Bank Loans

These types of loans also usually carry lower interest rates than your credit cards. Depending on how long it takes you to pay off your credit cards, which are a higher priority, you may find that these loans reach their term and disappear while you're paying off your other debt.

In order to prevent car payments that never end, consider saving up the money in advance and paying cash for your next car. A used car, even if it only has 100 miles on it, costs thousands less than a new one and the original warranty is still in effect, just as if you had bought it new. Shop around for your best deal, both locally and on the Internet.

Mortgage Loans

You can save tens of thousands of dollars in interest on your mortgage loan and pay it off 10 - 15 years sooner simply by restructuring your loan to an accelerated bi-weekly plan, instead of a monthly one. With a bi-weekly plan, you pay half of a regular loan payment every 2 weeks, instead of a whole loan payment once each month.

The secret is that, when you pay half a normal payment every two weeks, you end up making 26 payments in a year. This adds up to 13 regular monthly loan payments, instead of the 12 you would make on the monthly plan.

In order to set up your loan this way, you need to arrange it with your lender. It does no good whatsoever to just send in half of your regular loan payment. If you try this, the lender will either return it to you for sending in the wrong amount, or simply sit on it (with no benefit to you) until the other half of the payment comes in.

This method is especially easy for you to implement if you get paid on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. So make that call to your lender. The sooner you start, the more you save!

If you're getting a new mortgage loan or refinancing your mortgage, have them set up your loan this way in the first place. You'll be absolutely astounded at the difference.

Alternatively, you can send in an extra monthly payment each year and have the lender apply it to the principal. The total amount you save may be less than with the bi-weekly structure, but it'll still reduce the mortgage by years – and thousands of dollars – by paying it off sooner. The trick in this method is maintaining the discipline to send in that extra monthly payment every year.

You Can Do It!

Paying off your debt can be difficult, but it's very possible when you use these techniques. Not only do these methods make it possible for you to be debt-free, but they can also save you many thousands of dollars in interest charges, making your debt-free celebration date arrive years sooner!

When the going gets rough, just keep your eyes on your prize. Imagine what it'll be like to be debt-free. When you get your paychecks, all that money will be yours to spend as you please! No more mailboxes filled with bills for debt payments! No more harassing calls from creditors!

Those debts aren't the boss of you, so take control of your debt today and enjoy the freedom that a debt-free life can bring.

3 pages

Getting Out of Debt - Cheat Sheet

Pay off more than you use. If you make the minimum payment of $20 and then spend $50, you're not going to be getting out of debt anytime soon.

Pay off small balances first. If you have a card with a balance of only a couple of hundred dollars, paying that one off first will quickly eliminate one bill altogether, allowing you to reroute the money that would've gone towards paying that bill to one of the higher interest cards.

Avoid skipping payments. If you miss a payment, they'll add the missed payment to the next month's bill in addition to the interest, late fees, and maybe even over-limit fees. Once this starts, it's difficult to get out of the pattern.

Debt consolidation can be your friend. Not only can you take advantage of a better interest rate, but you also eliminate several of your monthly bills.

The faster you become debt-free, the faster you can use your money for whatever you want, rather than just sending it all to your creditors!

If you owe money to the IRS, make paying them off your highest priority! With their many fees and interest charges, a debt to the IRS costs you even more than credit cards, including possibly your home, business, and any money you have in your bank accounts.

Typically, student loans have a lower interest rate than your other debts, so they may not be as high in priority when it comes to paying off your debt.

  • Once you've eliminated your credit card debt, you may want to apply the extra funds towards this debt to get this monkey off your back as well.

Car loans also usually carry lower interest rates than your credit cards. You may find that these loans reach their term and disappear while you're paying off your other debt.

When it comes to your mortgage, you can save tens of thousands of dollars in interest and pay it off 10-15 years sooner by restructuring your loan to an accelerated bi-weekly plan, instead of a monthly one.

  • With a bi-weekly plan, you pay half of a regular loan payment every 2 weeks, instead of a whole loan payment once each month.
  • In order to set up your loan this way, you need to arrange it with your lender.
  • Alternatively, you can send in an extra monthly payment each year and have the lender apply it to the principal.

When the going gets rough, just keep your eyes on your prize. Imagine what it'll be like to be debt-free!

Those debts aren't the boss of you, so take control of your debt today and enjoy the freedom that a debt-free life can bring.

The Debt snowball

This is where you list all your debts smallest to largest amounts e.g. credit card debt, school loans, auto loans, personal loans, money your borrowed from family etc. excluding the mortgage.

You pay down minimums on all debt and any extra monies are paid to the smallest debt. This process is repeated until all debts are paid off.

Considering this process is part of modifying behavior, successes along the way are a motivational factor thus allowing you to stay on track. Given human behavior, we are more encouraged and motivated by victories,

According to Dave Ramsey, “Personal finance is 20% head knowledge and 80% behavior”. Surely if this was a math problem, we wouldn't be accumulating debt in the first place. Personal debt is usually a sign that you are living over your means.

Furthermore, Contrary to popular methods of getting out of debt, when using the debt-snow ball method, interest incurred on the debt is only consider if you encounter two debts of similar amounts.

Self-Reflection Questions

1.Which credit card or loan balance is costing me the most in interest charges?

2.Can I pay off some of these loans early without penalty?

3.How much am I spending in interest every month?

4.How can I cut my expenses to speed up debt repayment?

5.Can I move some of my balances to a lower interest loan?

Action Tips

1.Make a written plan for paying off your debts and then follow your plan.

2.Consolidate as much of your debt as possible. This will reduce the number of bills you have to pay every month, which is less psychologically daunting.

3.Pay off the lower interest balances first in order to get out of debt as quickly as possible.

4.When a balance is paid off, reroute that money towards another balance to compound the effect and get out of debt even quicker.

08 Worksheet Get Out Of Debt
2 pages
04:18
  • Setting up an emergency fund
  • Eliminating credit card access
  • managing and maintaining your debt-snow ball
Debt Consolidation
03:04
Section 4: Banking
03:02
  1. Different between banks and credit union
  2. How to automating your finances
31 Banking Worksheet
2 pages
Section 5: Identity Theft
Protecting Your Identity
07:42
3 pages

Protecting Your Identity

Identity theft has become a greater challenge than ever with the advances in technology. Unfortunately, there are several ways that your identity can be stolen and abused by the selfish and greedy.

While the methods to steal your identity are many, there are also some solid ways to prevent others from obtaining your vital information.

Keeping Your Identity Secure

Follow these strategies to help keep your identity safe:

Shred all documents. Do you find yourself discarding your credit card bills or pre-approval letters without giving a second thought? While the credit card companies do what they can to ensure your privacy, it's still possible for someone to take your identity with the information available on each bill. Shred all mail that contains personal information.

  • Be thorough when shredding your documents. Simply tearing them in half won't do. An inexpensive electronic shredder will save you time and help protect your personal data.

Sprinkle and spread remains throughout the garbage. Much is made about how these identity thieves are willing to rummage through your garbage. When throwing away old statements, be sure to spread all the pieces of paper around to ensure minimal chance of reassembly.

  • Place a few pieces of paper at the bottom, add a layer or two of trash, and then put in more. You can even “sprinkle” the bills all over the bag and get them all mixed up with the rest of the garbage.
  • Also, add as much miscellaneous garbage to the bag as possible. The more they have to rummage through, the more secure your identity is.

Avoid suspicious emails. Email phishing is one of the most common ways for thieves to get your information. Most of the time, you can recognize it as the spam that it is. However, identity thieves have gotten better at hiding behind official labels.

  • Only open emails from people and businesses that you know and trust.
  • Avoid clicking on any links in your emails, particularly for banking sites or online stores you've shopped at. It's best to input known addresses into your browser and access websites manually rather than click a link in an email.

Keep your adware/anti-virus software up to date. One way that hackers can get your information is through spyware and viruses. Keep your software active and up to date to avoid this data theft.

  • Run a virus scan on your computer at least once or twice each week. If you spend a lot of time on the internet and browse many sites, it's a good idea to run a scan every day.
  • Regularly clear out all temporary files and your history and run disk cleanups to get rid of any junk that has accumulated on your hard drive.

Avoid putting personal information, like credit card or banking data, in emails that you send. Emails are a non-secure environment that can be easily hacked. If you need to send private information, put it into a locked PDF file and attach it to your email. Then give your reader the code to unlock it by phone, fax, or in person when you see them. Or just call it in, instead of emailing it.

Ensure you're on a secure site when giving personal information. A secure website will start with “https” instead of “http” and your lock icon at the bottom of your computer will appear.

2 pages

Identity Theft: how to protect yourself - Cheat Sheet

There are several ways that your identity can be stolen and abused, but you can prevent others from obtaining your vital information.

Shred all documents and mail that contains personal information. Be thorough when shredding these papers. Simply tearing them in half won't do.

  • An inexpensive electronic shredder will save you time and help protect your personal data.

Avoid suspicious emails. Email phishing is one of the most common ways for thieves to get your information.

  • Only open emails from people and businesses that you know and trust.
  • Avoid clicking on any links in your emails, particularly for banking sites or online stores you've shopped at.
  • It's best to input web addresses into your browser and access websites manually rather than click a link in an email.

Keep your adware/anti-virus software up to date. One way that hackers can get your information is through spyware and viruses.

  • Run a virus scan on your computer at least once or twice each week.
  • Regularly clear out all temporary files and your history.

Avoid putting personal information, like credit card or banking data, in emails that you send. Emails are a non-secure environment that can be hacked.

Ensure you're on a secure site when giving personal information. A secure website will start with “https” instead of “http” and a lock icon will appear in your web browser.

Self-Reflection Questions

1.Am I leaving myself open to identity theft in any way?

2.Am I shredding documents enough so someone can't piece them together later?

3.How do I protect my online identity and keep it secure?

Action Tips

1.Ensure that your anti-virus software is updated to the latest version.

2.Set your virus scanning software to run regular scans automatically.

3.Delete all spam emails and be careful opening suspicious emails.

4.Shred all documents beyond recognition to ensure that thieves can't reassemble them.

15 Worksheet Identity Theft
2 pages
Contact Keroy
1 page
Section 6: Income
02:29

Ways to reduce expenses

5 pages

Reducing Expenses

Entertainment, leisure activities, and lifestyle are often the first things to get cut when tightening the financial belt. It's unfortunate, but at the same time, this can save you quite a bit of money. Hobbies can be expensive, so it makes sense that this might be an effective way to reduce spending.

However, even though cutting yourself off entirely from your hobby (whether it be movies, books, comics, golf, or anything else) might be a good way to reduce spending, it may not be entirely necessary. In fact, leaving some money in the budget for relaxing activities is actually healthy and much-needed!

There are ways you can reduce this expense without depriving yourself of the things you love. If you keep your wits about you, you can savor the joy of indulging yourself without the guilt of thinking about how it'll ruin your budget. There are quite a few ways to go about this.

Preferred Customer Programs

Similar to the grocery cards mentioned in Module 2, these loyalty cards don't so much give you access to sale items (though they can often add an additional discount on sale items), rather they reward you with gift certificates or cards for spending a certain amount of money. The standard rate is usually around $5 for every $100 spent, though it'll vary from store to store.

Many times, the store will have some sort of event where you can earn double or triple points. Even if they don't, the points don't usually expire, so you can work at your own rate to get to your desired number of points and your money-saving reward.

For example, some bookstores offer a rewards program as well as a blanket discount for their preferred customers. This works in your favor on two fronts and if you can find a bookstore that has such a setup, it's a great way to save money on things that you were going to buy anyway.

Some loyalty programs will offer a discount of perhaps 10% off the price. Depending on what state you live in, this won't do much more than negate the sales tax, but money is money and it can add up to significant savings.

So look for preferred customer programs in stores where you spend your “fun” money. These programs can help you continue to enjoy your hobby while spending less.

Buying Used

A great way to save money on your hobby is to buy used items. Stores such as Wal-Mart or GameStop have sections reserved for used games or movies. Movie rental stores also sell used copies of movies and games. When compared to the price of a new item, there is usually a fairly drastic difference.

For the comic collector, many back issues can be found at a much lower price compared to the ticket price. There is also the option of trade paperbacks. Many comic readers have actually converted to that as it's often cheaper.

Book fanatics will also find that used bookstores are a boon when it comes to saving money on their literary addiction. Paperback books are fairly inexpensive in their own right, but a used one is even less. Spending two or three dollars as opposed to six or seven may not seem like much, but every little bit counts.

Online Shopping

Another way to save money is to buy things online. With popular websites like Amazon or eBay, you can often find the item you're looking for at a price much lower than the one you'll see in any store.

This also has the benefit of convenience as you don't have to go out to the store, saving you both time and gas money.

In addition to the low prices, Amazon will frequently offer items on sale. Most of the time, it's usually a couple of dollars (though discounts like that add up over time) but occasionally you can find expensive items for a drastically reduced price.

For example, recently Amazon marked down a bookshelf from $150 to $50. A trade paperback that was normally priced at $60 sold for a mere $10. Impulse shopping on the web can be a dangerous habit, but with markdowns like these and a healthy dose of willpower to stop while you're ahead, you can save a bundle.

Ration Purchases Over Time

There's nothing wrong with buying the things you want or indulging in a hobby. You work hard for your money, so of course you'll want to treat yourself right. It only becomes a budget issue when it causes you to spend more than you have coming in.

If you're a collector and you feel the urge to go out and expand your library of whatever your pleasure may be, a way to meet your wallet halfway is to buy these items at a reduced rate.

So, if you're a movie fanatic, rather than going out and buying five or six new movies a week, reduce it to two or three every couple weeks, or rent the movies instead.

If you enjoy going out on the town for entertainment, rather than going out every weekend, cut it down to perhaps once per month, and enjoy the company of family and friends at home on the other weekends. It could be your house or theirs. Vary it for a change of pace!

Maybe you have a gigantic Amazon wish list and you want to start putting a dent in that bad boy. Rather than whipping out your credit card and clicking compulsively until the card is maxed out, come up with a system where you pick items one by one.

Your system could be to allow one or two items each month, or you could decide to budget a specific amount, like $25 a month, for this one wish list. This technique has the added bonus of turning a variable expense into a constant one.

Even if you're a gadget junkie, you can still implement a similar system. Promise yourself that you won't go out and buy a high ticket gizmo until the one you just bought is paid off. This will keep you from getting buried in debt. It may take you longer to acquire the desired items, but you'll do it in a fiscally responsible way.

Implementing this kind of purchasing program is also beneficial in the long term. For instance, when you get a promotion or raise, training yourself to ration out the indulgences will allow you to keep more of your money and give you financial breathing room later on down the line.

2 pages

Ways To Save - Cheat Sheet

There are ways to reduce expenses without depriving yourself of the things you love.

Use preferred customer programs to save money at your favorite stores.

A great way to save money on your hobby is to buy used items.

Save money by buying items online, but shop wisely.

Impulse shopping on the web can be a dangerous habit, but with a healthy dose of willpower to stop while you're ahead, you can save a bundle.

Instead of buying everything at once, ration purchases over a period of time.

Decide to budget a specific amount per month on entertainment or hobbies.

  • This technique has the added bonus of turning a variable expense into a constant one.
  • It may take you longer to acquire the desired items, but you'll do it in a fiscally responsible way.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  • What indulgence do I spend the most money on?
  • What items do I feel comfortable with buying used?
  • Do I need to be spending as much as I do on the items that I buy? How can I save on these purchases?

Action Tips:

  • Devise your own system to spread desired purchases out over time.
  • Seek out used items for significant savings.
  • Check for online discounts before buying in-store.

Avoid buying another high end item until the previous one is paid off

03 Worksheet Ways To Save
2 pages
Should I Lease or Buy to Own a Car
03:01
04:22
  • Methods of earning extra income
  • Using the internet to earn extra money
5 pages

Ways to Bring in Extra Cash

Working the standard 9-5 job may get the bills paid, but it rarely provides the financial cushion that we wish it did. Luckily, there are ways to boost your income.

Boosting Your Income

Ask for a raise. Sometimes the simplest solution is the best one. If you have a good record and show that you're willing to work hard, most bosses will consider the idea of giving you a raise. Rather than make things more complicated than they need be, why not start with your primary source of income and see if they can throw a few extra bucks your way?

Find a bank with better interest rates. This won't provide immediate relief, but it will add a little to your balance every month. If you're saving for the long haul, this can have quite an impact. Online banks like ING Direct tend to have higher interest rates than those of the “brick and mortar” companies.

  • If you decide to look for an online bank, be sure to make sure it's FDIC insured so you know that your money is secure and that the bank is reputable.
  • If you're happy with your bank, look at other types of accounts. Money market accounts often offer higher interest rates than savings accounts while also allowing you to write checks. While there's a limit on the number of checks you can write, it's still pretty convenient to have the best of both worlds in one account.

Get a second job. Although exhausting, getting an additional job may enable you to pull in enough extra income each month to make ends meet. It doesn't have to be a glamorous job, and even a part time gig can help you get back on your feet.

  • Unless you really enjoy your second job, this is a tip that's only to be used temporarily for an extra income boost. Working yourself that much is ripe to burn you out and there are other things in life to enjoy besides making money.

Offer your services. A good way to pick up some extra income is to offer your services to others. Offer to babysit your neighbor's kids so they can go out, set up a lawn-mowing service in the summer, shovel snow in the winter, paint houses, and more. Some of these services may help you pick up a few hundred dollars extra every weekend.

Buy things at garage sales and sell them at flea markets. This can turn into a lucrative weekend pastime. You can find some real bargains at garage sales that provide great profits when you resell them.

Using the internet to Your Advantage

The dawn of the digital age has changed the way business works forever. Not only has it changed the way companies distribute goods, but it has also given people the power to go into business for themselves and advertise their services to a world-wide audience. If you're looking to make a little cash on the side, you have a variety of options at your disposal.

Sales. With sites like eBay and Amazon, you can now put money in your pocket by selling things you no longer need. Have an old television, DVD, or Atari 2600 that you want to get rid of? Someone on the web will gladly buy it. Sell all your unused stuff and clean out your clutter while making money.

  • If you liked the idea about picking up items at garage sales and reselling them for a profit, you can also use eBay as another place to sell your garage sale purchases.

Writing. The internet has given self publishers an excellent venue to showcase their work. You can easily write “how-to” books (even short ones) and sell them through Amazon or Clickbank.com. Amazon has a program called CreateSpace.com where you only need to upload the digital version of your book and they print and mail them out as they're ordered. This means no inventory since the books are printed on-demand.

  • You can also write articles and sell them. Some sites and business owners offer upfront payments for articles. AssociatedContent.com can get you started. You can also sell your writing services at Elance.com or WarriorForum.com.
  • If you're a stay at home parent, this is a perfect choice. You get to work your own hours, write about topics that excite you, and make extra money.

Virtual Assistance. There are several small businesses who would love to have someone help them maintain and grow their business. There are several tasks that small business owners need help with, but they just don't have the time to do it themselves. That's created a huge opportunity for virtual assistants (VAs).

  • Some common tasks include: answering customer support emails, updating and maintaining websites, managing social media accounts, bookkeeping, transcribing audio, creating presentations and videos, optimizing websites for the search engines, sales, and many other simple and advanced tasks.

Web Shows. The rise of internet videos has resulted in web shows. You could produce your own show on the internet. Some sites, like Blip.tv for example, offer payment for your videos. The pay is based on how many times people view your video.

  • Like any job, it has its fair share of stress, but it also allows for a lot of freedom and creativity. In all likelihood, this venue would only produce some supplemental income rather than a primary income.

Blogging. Surprisingly, blogging can become a lucrative business. When you put up a blog on the internet about a popular topic, you can monetize it with paid advertising, sales of your own digital products, and commissions from affiliate products.

  • Your set-up costs are minimal: A domain name ($10 at GoDaddy.com), hosting ($8 per month at HostGator.com) and blog software to run the blog (free at Wordpress.org).
  • You can find people to set up your blog for you inexpensively and then get all kinds of good tips for bringing traffic to your blog and making a profit with it at WarriorForum.com.

As you can see, there are many opportunities to bring in extra income. Use your creativity and talents to devise your own income stream. Don't let the confines of your current job keep you from boosting your income elsewhere.

There's always something you can do for extra cash. All it takes is a commitment to do it and the discipline to follow through with your plans.

3 pages

Make Extra Cash - Cheat Sheet

Ask for a raise. If you have a good record and show that you're willing to work hard, most bosses will consider the idea of giving you a raise.

Find a bank with better interest rates. This won't provide immediate relief, but it will add a little to your balance every month.

  • If you do decide to look for an online bank, be sure to make sure it's FDIC insured so you know that your money is secure and that the bank is reputable.

Get a second job. It doesn't have to be a glamorous job! Even a part time gig can help you get back on your feet.

Offer your services. A good way to pick up some extra income is to offer your services to others. Offer to babysit your neighbor's kids so they can go out, set up a lawn-mowing service in the summer, shovel snow in the winter, paint houses, and so on.

Some of these services may help you pick up a few hundred dollars extra every weekend.

Buy things at garage sales and sell them at flea markets. You can find some real bargains at garage sales that provide great profits when you resell them.

With sites like eBay and Amazon, you can now put money in your pocket by selling things you no longer need.

Writing. The internet has given self publishers an excellent venue to showcase their work. You can easily write “how-to” books (even short ones) and sell them through Amazon or Clickbank.com.

  • You can also write articles and sell them. Some sites and business owners offer upfront payments for articles.
  • AssociatedContent.com can get you started. You can also sell your writing services at Elance.com or WarriorForum.com.

Virtual Assistance. There are several tasks that small business owners need help with, but they just don't have the time to do it themselves.

  • Some common tasks include: answering customer support emails, updating and maintaining websites, managing social media accounts, bookkeeping, transcribing audio, creating presentations and videos, optimizing websites for the search engines, sales, and many other simple and advanced tasks.

Web Shows. You could produce your own show on the internet. Some sites, like Blip.tv for example, offer payment based on how many times people view your video.

  • In all likelihood, this venue would only produce some supplemental income rather than a primary income.

Blogging. When you put up a blog on the internet about a popular topic, you can monetize it with paid advertising, sales of your own digital products, and commissions from affiliate products.

  • Your set-up costs are minimal: A domain name ($10 at GoDaddy.com), hosting ($8 per month at HostGator.com) and Wordpress software to run the blog (free at Wordpress.org).
  • You can find people to set up your blog for you inexpensively and then get all kinds of good tips for bringing traffic to your blog and making a profit with it at WarriorForum.com.

There's always something you can do for extra cash. All it takes is a commitment to do it, and then the discipline to follow through with your plans.

Self-Reflection Questions

  1. How much extra money do I need to satisfy my needs?
  2. What can I do to bring in more money?
  3. Can I turn my hobby into an income stream instead of a cash drain? How?
  4. How can I use the internet to my advantage?

Action Tips

  1. Be bold! Ask for a raise at your job.
  2. Put an ad in your local community newspaper offering your services – babysitting, handy-work, dog-walking, etc.
  3. Explore online opportunities, such as writing, virtual assistance, blogging, and web shows.
09 Worksheet Make Extra Cash
3 pages
10:02
  • Finding your passion
  • Difference between career and job
  • Writing a resume and application
  • Job interview tips
  • Growing and shrinking industries
  • Taxes
  • Your paycheck deductions
32 Income Worksheet
2 pages
32 Income Projected Job Growth Worksheet
1 page
Contact Keroy
1 page
Section 7: Short-Term Saving
02:16

Short term goals are usually achievable in less than one year

3 pages

Short Term Savings

Saving isn't only for the distant future. While that's all well and good, sometimes you'll want to save for a more immediate purpose. Maybe you want to take a family vacation or buy a new computer. Whatever the case may be, purchases like this require some saving up ahead of time.

Saving Strategies For Short Term Goals

These techniques can help you effectively reach your intended goal:

Plan ahead. The more prepared you are, the better. If you're planning a major event for your 20th anniversary, for example, you could start saving for it just after your 19th passes by. If you're looking to upgrade your home theater system, look at the price and determine how long it would take you to reasonably acquire that amount of money.

  • All you need to do is find the price of the item, decide when you want to make the purchase, and then divide the price by the number of weeks until the purchase date. The answer tells you how much to put aside each week.
  • Start planning for your special purchase well ahead of the event because the longer time you have to save, the less money you'll need to save during each pay period.

The power of the change jar. Did you have a piggy bank (or some variation of it) when you were a child? Piggy banks instill the idea of saving money in you at a young age. Little did you know that the same principle could be applied later on in life! Your extra change can be a very powerful savings tool.

  • At the end of each day, simply put your left-over change into a container and leave it there. It's rather brilliant in its simplicity. You usually round-up when you pay anyway, so as far as you're concerned, that money doesn't exist.
  • As time goes on, the container will fill up and that jar of change will turn out to be a pretty hefty chunk of money.
  • Roll up your coins and take them to the bank to trade them in. It may not be as convenient as those coin counting machines in the grocery store, but you'll save the 8% fee. Besides, you can make a game out of it with your kids!

Put off superfluous purchases. If you're saving up for a major purchase, a good way to speed up the process is to cut out any unnecessary purchases. You can always pick up the item after you get what you were saving for. Putting off unimportant purchases will make it easier for you to reach your goal – and your reward – that much sooner.

The electronic change jar. A lot of banks have implemented automatic transfer programs that mirror the change jar. It started with Bank of America's “Keep the Change” program, where any debit purchase triggered a transfer of the difference up to the next dollar. For example a $5.85 purchase would transfer $0.15 to your savings account.

  • Like the change jar, it's a great way to subtly put money aside. One of the great perks is that some banks match a small percentage and add it as a deposit to your savings account at the end of the year. It's like getting free money just for saving your change!

Using these short term saving tips will allow you to truly savor your end goal knowing that you paid for it in full. Imagine the pride you'll feel when you pay for your next vacation with the money you've already saved, instead of maxing out your credit cards. Then, it's even sweeter when you aren't deluged with bills when you get home!

Rather than spending the next year paying for last year's vacation (plus interest), you can get something else you want! And you can do it all by growing your savings in ways that don't make you deprive yourself.

2 pages

Short Term Goals - Cheat Sheet

Saving isn't only for the distant future.

Plan ahead.

  • Find the price of the item you'd like to buy, decide when you want to make the purchase, and then divide the price by the number of weeks until the purchase date. The answer tells you how much to put aside each week.
  • Start planning for your special purchase well ahead of the event. The longer time you have to save, the less money you'll need to save during each pay period.

Use the power of the change jar.

  • Your extra change can be a very powerful savings tool.
  • At the end of each day, put your left-over change into a container and leave it there.
  • You usually round-up when you pay anyway, so as far as you're concerned, that money “doesn't exist.”
  • Roll up your saved coins and take them to the bank to trade them in.

The electronic change jar.

  • A lot of banks have implemented automatic transfer programs that mirror the change jar.
  • Like the change jar, it's a great way to subtly put money aside.
  • Some banks match a small percentage and add it as a deposit to your savings account at the end of the year.

Put off unnecessary purchases.

Cut off any non-essential expenses in the short term in order to help you reach your goal.

Using these short term saving tips will allow you to truly savor your end goal knowing that you paid for it in full.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. What do I want to save up for and how much does it cost?
  2. In what time frame would I like to buy this item?
  3. What am I willing to do to save without feeling deprived?

Action Tips:

  1. Find a jar or container to store your extra change.
  2. Delay unimportant purchases until you reach your goal to speed up reaching your reward.
  3. Put aside a set amount of money from each paycheck to contribute to your goal.
05 Worksheet Short Term Goals
1 page
02:12
  • Tips to stop procrastinating and increase productivity
03:01
  • What is entrepreneurship
  • Advantages and disadvantages of entrepreneurship
03:43
  • Increasing your skills
  • Investing in yourself by having an education
  • Outsourcing
Section 8: Long-Term Planning
05:28
  • The power of compounding interest
  • Saving for college
  • Saving for retirement
7 pages

Long Term Savings

Along with saving for your short term goals and tucking some money aside for a rainy day, it's also important to implement long term savings.

Long term savings are typically used for funding your retirement or your children's college expenses. Establishing a plan for long term savings can seem like a daunting task at first, but it's one that you can accomplish if you put your mind to it. The great news is that, with long term savings, you can benefit drastically from the interest build-up.

Just as with short term saving, there are important things to consider in your long term savings plans. For example, the longer you have for saving up, the less money you need to allocate each month toward your goal.

The Power of Compound Interest

Let's look at an example of the effect of interest over the long term. If you start a retirement plan when you're 25, and put in $100 per month for 40 years, here are your results at an 8% interest rate:

Total amount saved: $353,855.46

Total Principle: $48,000 ($100/month for 40 years)

Total Interest Earned: $305,855.46

Compare the two figures above. It shows show you the power of compound interest. Over $305,000 of your savings is from interest alone! As your savings grow, you're getting paid interest on the interest you already received.

So it's in your best interest to take advantage of all the interest you can and start as early as possible on your long term savings.

Saving for College

With the price of tuition skyrocketing at unimaginable rates, it's very important that you have a plan to prepare for these costs.

Here are some strategies that can help you build a hefty college fund:

Start early. It's best to start a college fund in your child's first year, as that will give you as much time as possible to save the necessary funds. You can set up an account in their name, set up a savings bond, or simply open an account in your name and allocate it as a college fund.

Assemble a team. Try to get other relatives involved. Most aunts, uncles, and grandparents are happy to contribute to a child's education. It doesn't need to be a drastic amount, but every little bit helps.

  • Instill a good savings mentality in your child and let him put in his little piece into the pie. Regular contributions from your child, even if it's only a dollar, teach him the importance of saving, and this value will benefit him the rest of his life! It also increases the college fund. When he's ready to use it, he'll feel pride in knowing that he helped build it.

Seek security plus a higher interest rate. Browse around and find which bank has the highest interest rate. Online banks tend to have higher interest rates for savings accounts, but do your research and see which one pays the best rates.

  • As you deposit more money and the balance grows, so too will the amount that the bank will pay you in interest. A difference of even 1% can have a big effect on your total savings.
  • Many investment products pay more interest than a savings account at your bank. Look into using mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and other investments to increase your rate of return. However, as the interest rate grows, so does the risk. A college fund may not span enough years to tolerate much risk. So keep safety in mind as you search for higher returns.

Student Loans and Government Aid

Even with savings in a college fund, there's a good chance that you or your child will need to take out some form of student loan to help pay the bill, especially if they attend an out-of-state college or pursue post-graduate degrees.

You can apply for a loan through your local bank, but the federal government also offers financial aid should you need it. Federal student loans generally charge lower interest, so it may save you some money to look into it.

In addition, unlike most loans, federal student loans don't activate immediately. Depending on the terms of the loan, you can usually delay the start of payments until after your child graduates. This allows the student to focus on his or her schoolwork. After that, there's often a “grace period” of a few months before the bills start rolling in.

For more information on government based student aid, you can go to:

http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/index.jsp

Scholarships

One of the best ways a student can save money on college is to get a scholarship. These can be offered on an academic or athletic basis. Some offer a completely paid-for education, while others cover only a portion of the fees. Of course, some is better than none. With the cost of education as high as it is, any assistance is beneficial.

A major benefit of scholarships, of course, is that you don't have to pay them back!

When you do your research, you'll discover that there are tons of scholarships available! If you'd like more information, visit your local bookstore or do some research on the internet.

Also, once your child has decided on a college, take advantage of the college's financial aid office. This office gives you access to a multitude of scholarships available from the college's alumni association, as well as a host of other sources.

Saving for Retirement

Retirement is the big kahuna when it comes to savings goals and it's also the most important! The better you plan, the sooner you can reach your goals and retire free from financial stress.

While basic savings accounts may suit your needs for the most part, it's recommended that you look into other investment services that can provide a better rate of return on your funds. There are 2 basic retirement accounts that are the preferred method for most working people, the 401(k) and the Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

IRA's

IRA's are retirement accounts that you can open with your bank. They allow you to create a portfolio of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds that will provide a much greater return than that of a simple savings account. There are two general types of IRA's.

Traditional

The traditional IRA is the actual investment account. You can fund it with cash or cash equivalents, so while baseball cards and comic books can make great investments, you can't fund an IRA with one.

One of the perks of the IRA is that the money you deposit isn't taxed. Basically, when you siphon off some money into that account it's considered “pre-tax” dollars. This allows you to legally keep some of your money away from Uncle Sam, at least for a while.

When you hit retirement and start taking the money out, that's when they tax it and consider it your income.

If you're going to deposit money into a traditional IRA, ensure that you don't need that money at all. Taking money out of an IRA before you hit age 70 will incur penalties, plus you'll have to pay income taxes on it as well.

Roth IRA's

Roth IRA's are different from the traditional in that these aren't tax deductible. While the deposits are considered “after tax” dollars, it's much easier to get to your money if you need it with far fewer penalties involved.

There's a deposit limit of $5,000 per year into your Roth IRA account ($6,000 if you're over age 50). If you have both a Roth and Traditional IRA, than that number applies to both accounts combined. The limit is still $5,000 or $6,000; it doesn't double just because you have two accounts.

401(k)

Another option you have when it comes to retirement is the 401(k). Unlike IRA's, where you sign up through your bank, a 401(k) is done through your employer. 401(k) accounts have an annual deposit limit of $16,500.

Much like an IRA, any contribution will not be taxed until you withdraw from it. Earnings made from the 401(k) are also tax deferred until the money is withdrawn. Also like an IRA, taking money out of your 401(k) before you reach the minimum age (60 in this case) will result in hefty fees and penalties.

One of the major perks of a 401(k) is that some employers match your deposits up to a certain percent. This will essentially put free money into your account and expand your nest egg quite significantly.

TFSA and RRSP in Canada

In Canada, you can get what's called a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA). You must be 18 in order to open a TFSA. You can withdraw money at any time without tax penalties. While the deposits aren't tax deductible, money made from that account isn't taxed.

Canadians also have what is called a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). This is much closer to America's Traditional IRA, only the deposit limit's much higher than that of America's. It also doubles as a 401(k) as employers can put money from your paycheck straight into the account.

Individual Savings Account in the United Kingdom

In the UK, you can get what is referred to as an Individual Savings Account. The ISA can be divided into two components: a cash component and then a stocks and shares component. It's possible to transfer funds from the cash to the stocks component, but not the other way around.

4 pages

Long Term Goals - Cheat Sheet

Long term savings are typically used for funding your retirement or your children's college expenses.

With long term savings, you can benefit drastically from the interest build-up.

The longer you have for saving up, the less money you need to allocate each month toward your goal.

Preparing to build a college fund:

  • With the price of tuition skyrocketing, it's very important that you have a plan to prepare for these costs.
  • Start early. It's best to start a college fund in your child's first year, as that will give you as much time as possible to save the necessary funds.
  • You can set up an account in their name, set up a savings bond, or simply open an account in your name and allocate it as a college fund.
  • Seek security plus a higher interest rate. Browse around and find which bank or investment has the highest interest rate.
  • Many investment products pay more interest than a savings account at your bank. Look into using mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and other investments to increase your rate of return.
  • Remember: as the interest rate grows, so does the risk. A college fund may not span enough years to tolerate much risk. So keep safety in mind as you search for higher returns.
  • There's a good chance that you or your child will need to take out some form of student loan to help pay the bill.
  • You can apply for a loan through your local bank, but the federal government also offers financial aid should you need it.
  • Federal student loans generally charge lower interest and do not activate immediately.
  • Depending on the terms of the loan, you can usually delay the start of payments until after your child graduates.

Preparing for retirement:

  • While basic savings accounts may suit your needs for the most part, it's recommended that you look into other investment services that can provide a better rate of return on your funds.

There are 2 basic retirement accounts that are the preferred method for most working people: the 401(k) and the Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

  • IRA's are retirement accounts that you can open with your bank. They allow you to create a portfolio of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds that will provide a much greater return than that of a simple savings account.
  • There are two general types of IRA's: Traditional and Roth.
  • With traditional IRA's, the money you deposit isn't taxed. When you hit retirement and start taking the money out, that's when they tax it and consider it your income.
  • If you're going to deposit money into a traditional IRA, ensure that you don't need that money at all. Taking money out of an IRA before you hit age 70 will incur penalties, plus you'll have to pay income taxes on it as well.
  • Roth IRA's are different from the traditional in that these are not tax deductible. It's much easier to get to your money if you need it with far fewer penalties involved.
  • There's a deposit limit of $5,000 per year into your Roth IRA account ($6,000 if you're over age 50).
  • If you have both a Roth and Traditional IRA, than the limit applies to both accounts combined. The limit is still $5000 or $6,000; it doesn't double just because you have two accounts.
  • Unlike IRA's, where you sign up through your bank, a 401(k) is done through your employer.
  • 401(k) accounts have an annual deposit limit of $16,500.
  • Earnings made from the 401(k) are also tax deferred until the money is withdrawn. Also like an IRA, taking money out of your 401(k) before you reach the minimum age (60 in this case) will result in hefty fees and penalties.
  • One of the major perks of a 401(k) is that some employers match your deposits up to a certain percent.

Self-Reflection Questions

  1. What financial goal is needed to retire comfortably?
  2. Does my employer match 401(k) contributions?
  3. What type of retirement savings account best suits my needs?

Action Tips

  1. Start saving now to allow earnings to compound and accumulate to a greater extent.
  2. If your employer matches 401(k) contributions, add the maximum percentage that your employer will match to ensure you get as much of a return as possible.
  3. If you put money into an IRA or 401(k), leave it there; taking it out results in penalties and fees.
06 Worksheet Long Term Goals
2 pages
Section 9: Refinance your Mortgage
05:32
  • Defining refinancing
  • Pros and cons of refinancing
  • Income tax deductions
  • Mortgage modification
8 pages

Should You Refinance Your Mortgage?

Refinancing your mortgage can be a smart move if the benefits you'll receive outweigh the drawbacks. Obtaining a mortgage with a lower interest rate or lower monthly payments can be very attractive and can even save you thousands of dollars over the course of the loan. On the other hand, there are fees involved in the switch.

What is Refinancing?

To get a clear picture of the benefits available to you, it's helpful to know the process involved in refinancing your mortgage. Refinancing your mortgage consists of paying off the loan you currently have and taking out a new mortgage loan. Your current loan gets paid off in the refinance when you close on the new loan.

However, it's generally easier to obtain refinancing than it is to acquire a mortgage loan in the first place. Depending on the amount of equity you have in your home, it's possible to make the switch without coming up with any cash up front other than incidental expenses, such as a new appraisal or title insurance. The closing costs, however, can all be rolled into the refinance.

Equity is the current value of the home minus what you still owe on it. Your equity increases each year as you make your mortgage payments and also from the increase in the value of the home.

For example, let's say you bought your home 5 years ago. The price of the home was $100,000, you put in a $20,000 deposit, and you took out an $80,000 loan.

If your home's value increased by $10,000 each year, it's now worth $150,000, five years later. In the meantime, perhaps you've paid $3,000 on the principal of your home by making your mortgage payments. (In the first few years most of your loan payments go toward the interest, rather than the principal.)

So, $150,000 minus $77,000 (what you still owe on the loan) = $73,000. You have $73,000 in equity on your home in this example. You started out with $20,000 in equity and, in 5 years, you've increased it to $73,000.

What Does Equity Mean To You?

Your equity is what gives you all kinds of choices in refinancing your home. The more equity you have as a percentage of the value of your home, the more advantages you have when you refinance.

For one thing, for refinancing the home in the example above, you're now searching for a mortgage loan for only 52% of the total value of the home, rather than the 80% you were looking for in the first place. This opens up a whole world of new lenders that would be willing to take on the risk of lending you the money.

Any time your equity is enough so that you're financing less than 70% of your home's value, it's much easier to find lenders that will compete for your business, even if your credit leaves a bit to be desired.

In addition to making it easier to find a lender with more attractive terms than your original mortgage, your equity can also make it possible for you to obtain a good chunk of cash, which you can use to pay off your high-interest debts or make a major purchase.

Cashing Out Your Equity

When you receive cash along with your refinance, it's called “cashing out your equity.” Keep in mind, however, that whatever equity you cash out in your refinancing process becomes part of the money you're borrowing with the new loan.

For instance, in our example above, you owe $77,000 on your current loan. When you refinance, your new loan may be closer to $87,000 if they roll the closing costs into the new loan. You won't “feel” the costs of the closing, because you won't have to pay them in cash, but they exist and get rolled into the new loan.

If you wanted to cash out some of your equity, but you still wanted to keep under the recommended 70% re-financing threshold, you would first figure 70% of your home's value. At a $150,000 value, you could finance up to $105,000. So let's say that the amount owing, plus the closing costs come to $87,000, ($77,000 is owed, plus $10,000 in closing costs), you could still cash out $18,000 and remain within your 70%. ($87,000 + $18,000 = $105,000)

If you have good credit, you could cash out even more of your equity and look for someone to finance 80% of the loan. This would give you another $15,000 in cash, but your new loan would be for $120,000 instead of the $77,000 you now have. Even with a lower interest rate, your mortgage payments would, in all likelihood, go up.

Refinancing your mortgage with an equity cash-out sometimes makes financial sense, even if you'd be starting out on a new mortgage loan for a higher amount than your current loan. You can pay off higher-interest debts or use the funds to make a cash purchase, saving yourself the interest you'd have to pay on taking out a loan for the purchase.

As long as you've gotten advantageous terms on the new loan and the payment is easily within your budget, you may find that you're able to significantly raise your credit score, too. Paying off your current debts and making your new mortgage payments on time will build some great credit! Plus, you no longer have to make multiple debt payments each month.

Even though starting over on your mortgage loan can seem disconcerting, if you set it up with the bi-weekly payment system, where you pay half the mortgage payment amount every two weeks, instead of the full payment amount once each month, you can still pay off this new mortgage in record time!

There are both pros and cons to refinancing your mortgage:

Pros

You can lower your monthly payments.
You can lower your interest rate, saving you thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan.
You can change from a variable rate mortgage to a fixed rate mortgage.
You can cash out your equity:
  • Use the cash to pay off higher interest debts.
  • Consolidating your debts in this way means one monthly payment instead of many.
  • You can pay cash for a major purchase instead of taking out a higher interest loan
You can raise your credit score.

You can receive some nice income tax deductions:

In the USA, if you itemize your deductions on Schedule A, you can deduct interest payments on your home's mortgage. Credit card interest is not tax deductible.

Essentially, by using your equity to pay off your credit cards and putting that debt into your home mortgage, you've lowered the interest you pay on your credit card debt while, at the same time, making it tax deductible.

Cons

You're starting over on your mortgage, so it may take you longer to pay it off than if you had not refinanced it.
Your mortgage debt will be larger than before the refinancing, due to closing costs and if you take out some cash.
Your monthly payments may be higher if you cash out some equity refinance.
With the new mortgage, you may be subject to early pay-off penalties if you wish to pay off a large portion in the near future.

So the question of whether you should refinance your home depends entirely on your particular financial situation. It could do you a lot of good or it might not be to your advantage. Your best option is to consult with a financial advisor who can review your own unique situation.

How to Get Started

If you're considering refinancing your home, a mortgage broker can save you some time and trouble in finding a lender. You can usually get a good recommendation on a mortgage broker from a reputable real estate agent.

Your mortgage broker can work with you to find the most advantageous funding for your financial situation. Basically, you tell them what you're looking for in a refinance (lower interest rate, lower payments, or cash out) and they take care of the details.

Modifying Your Current Mortgage Loan

There are some situations in which refinancing your mortgage isn't an option. Unfortunately, with the recent downturn in the real estate market, many thousands of people have found themselves in an “upside down” situation with their mortgage.

If the value of your home has lowered since you first purchased it, you could owe more on your mortgage than the house is now worth. If this has happened to you, and you wish to obtain more advantageous terms on your mortgage, you might want to look into modifying your current mortgage loan with your current lender.

The government has instituted some recent programs that give lenders an incentive to help you out. You may be able to lower the interest rate, your monthly payments, or even the principal on the loan by modifying it.

However, most lenders have been slow to answer the call, and often end up foreclosing on the properties before they'll modify the loan. Most lenders won't even consider a loan modification unless you're at least 30 days overdue on your payment. Then they may tell you they'll consider it, taking up the time right up to the day they foreclose on it.

So trying to get a loan modification can be challenging, but it can be done. If you have a regular income and your financial situation is such that you would have no trouble making your payments if they were only a bit lower, your lender may be willing to work with you.

If this is your situation, contact your lender to apply for a loan modification. Then keep in regular contact with them by phone and fax.

  • Contact the department heads for the various departments you work with as your application progresses.
  • Send faxes to the specific departments requesting regular updates.
  • Record your phone calls, if possible.
  • Write down the name of anyone you speak with, the date, and a summary of each conversation.

The internet has many resources that can provide you with valuable knowledge for working with your lender. Just do a Google search for “Mortgage Loan Modification” and do your research for the full details on the loan modification process and how you can work with your lender.

With good communication and knowledge of how to make the process go smoothly, your loan modification can be a success.

If you're not upside down on your mortgage loan and you've built up some equity in your house, it's usually in your best interest to look into refinancing your mortgage rather than trying to modify your loan. Generally, refinancing is less stressful and more successful than a loan modification. Plus, refinancing also has a host of other benefits you may enjoy.

5 pages

Refinance Your Mortgage – YES or NO - Cheat Sheet

Refinancing your mortgage can be a smart move if the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

Refinancing consists of paying off the loan you currently have and taking out a new mortgage loan. There are fees involved in the switch.

It's generally easier to obtain refinancing than it is to acquire a mortgage loan in the first place.

Depending on the amount of equity you have in your home, it's possible to make the switch without coming up with any cash up front other than incidental expenses, such as a new appraisal or title insurance.

Equity is the current value of the home minus what you still owe on it. Your equity increases each year as you make your mortgage payments and also from the increase in the value of the home.

The more equity you have as a percentage of the value of your home, the more advantages you have when you refinance.

Any time your equity is enough so that you're financing less than 70% of your home's value, it's much easier to find lenders that will compete for your business, even if your credit leaves a bit to be desired.

When you receive cash along with your refinance, it's called “cashing out your equity.”

Keep in mind, however, that whatever equity you cash out in your refinancing process becomes part of the money you're borrowing with the new loan.

Refinancing your mortgage with an equity cash-out sometimes makes financial sense, even if you'd be starting out on a new mortgage loan for a higher amount than your current loan.

  • You can pay off higher-interest debts or use the funds to make a cash purchase, saving yourself the interest you'd have to pay on taking out a loan for the purchase.

Pros of refinancing your mortgage:

  • You can lower your interest rate and monthly payments.
  • You can change from a variable rate to a fixed rate mortgage.
  • You can cash out your equity to pay off higher interest debts.
  • You can raise your credit score.
  • You can receive some income tax deductions.
  • By using your equity to pay off your credit cards and putting that debt into your home mortgage, you've lowered the interest you pay on your credit card debt while, at the same time, making it tax deductible.

Cons of refinancing your mortgage:

  • You're starting over on your mortgage, so it may take you longer to pay it off than if you had not refinanced it.
  • Your mortgage debt will be larger than before the refinancing, due to closing costs and if you take out some cash.
  • Your monthly payments can be higher if you cash out some equity refinance.
  • With the new mortgage, you may be subject to early pay-off penalties if you wish to pay off a large portion in the near future.

So the question of whether you should refinance your home depends entirely on your particular financial situation. Your best option is to consult with a financial advisor who can review your own unique situation.

If you're considering refinancing your home, a mortgage broker can save you some time and trouble in finding a lender.

  • Your mortgage broker can work with you to find the most advantageous funding for your financial situation.
  • You tell them what you're looking for in a refinance (lower interest rate, lower payments, or cash out) and they take care of the details.

There are some situations in which refinancing your mortgage isn't an option.

Many thousands of people have found themselves in an “upside down” situation with their mortgage.

  • If the value of your home has lowered since you first purchased it, you could owe more on your mortgage than the house is now worth.
  • If this has happened to you, you might want to look into modifying your current mortgage loan with your current lender.
  • Trying to get a loan modification can be challenging, but it can be done. You may be able to lower the interest rate, your monthly payments, or even the principal on the loan by modifying it.
  • If you have a regular income and your financial situation is such that you have no trouble making your payments if they were only a bit lower, your lender may be willing to work with you.
  • The internet has many resources that can provide you with valuable knowledge for working with your lender. Just do a search for “Mortgage Loan Modification.”

If you're not upside down on your mortgage loan and you've built up some equity in your house, it's usually in your best interest to look into refinancing your mortgage rather than trying to modify your loan.

Generally, refinancing is less stressful and more successful than a loan modification.

Self-Reflection Questions

  1. Do I have a fixed or variable rate mortgage?
  2. Is the refinanced rate low enough to justify the switch?
  3. How much equity do I have in my home?
  4. How long will it take me to “pay off” the costs of refinancing and begin realizing my savings?
  5. Do I plan on staying in this house for a long time?
  6. Am I looking for lower interest, lower payments, or to cash out my equity?
  7. If I cash out my equity to pay off other debts, do I have the discipline to stay out of debt once my current debts are paid? What will I do with my credit cards?

Action Tips

  1. Research the terms of your loan to see if it's worth shaking up the status quo.
  2. Estimate your home's current value and determine if you have enough equity to give you some advantages with refinancing.
  3. If you're considering refinancing your mortgage, meet with a reputable mortgage broker to discuss your situation.
  4. After meeting with the mortgage broker, write down the pros and cons of refinancing your mortgage. This will help you make an informed decision.
10 Worksheet Refinance Your Mortgage
2 pages
Contact Keroy
1 page
Section 10: Investing in your Future
14:27

Getting yourself ready to start investing

  • Ponzi scheme
  • Types of financial markets
  • Buying & Selling stocks
  • Basic principles of the stock market
  • Types of funds
  • Diversification
  • Benefits, Expenses & Risks of homeownership
10:52
  • Why invest
  • Rule 72
  • Savings accounts
  • Certificates of Deposit (CD's)
  • Annuities, stocks, mutual funds, bonds
  • Real Estate
38 Investing Worksheet
2 pages
01:11
  • Pros of the Roth IRA
Section 11: Networking
06:17
  • Ways to Network
  • Elevator Pitch
  • Finding mentors
  • Using social media
36 Networking Worksheet
2 pages
Section 12: Insurance
Risk Managment
05:07
Calculated Risk
09:37
Insurance
05:13
Auto Insurance
03:15
Health Insurance
04:13
Section 13: Bonus Materials
1 page

Top 3 MUST Read Books

“Not All Readers Are Leaders, BUT All Leaders Are Readers”

Bible Verses About Money
1 page
Recommended Resources
1 page
2 questions

Investing quiz

Contact Keroy
1 page

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Instructor Biography

Keroy King, Financial Educator, Christian Women's Empowerment Expert

Keroy King is a Financial Educator, Podcast Host, Keynote Speaker, Christian Business Women's Empowerment Expert, residing in Los Angeles, California and Director at "Life Then Finance" a community where she coaches business women to overcome business and financial obstacles that are holding them back so they can quickly and effectively live a full-filled and purpose driven life. Even when they think the odds are stacked against them.

Keroy King has a Degree in Finance from California State University, Northridge (CSUN), and absolutely loves helping women reach the mark of their highest calling. She is also the creator of several personal finance and personal transformation online courses.

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