I have a brand-spankin’-new FREE SERVICE for which you can thank the current U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (and that's something nobody – and I mean NOBODY – ever expected to hear me say).
Okay, let me backup a bit…
My work as a financial coach has always been personally political.
I’m still pissed off about the mortgage crisis and the financial collapse of 2008 and I’m still anxious about the state of our economy (considering consumer debt keeps increasing with the cost of living because wages haven’t increased in decades).
I’m mad as hell that, culturally, we’ve been brainwashed into forking over some major moolah so that we can “live our best lives” only to be subsequently shamed for the economic house of cards that is our nationwide household credit card debt approaching the trillion dollar mark (not to mention the alarming increase of all the other forms of debt as well or that a student loan goes into default every three fucking seconds).
And I hold a special grudge over how millennials are mocked for all these burnout conditions well beyond our control. We’re mocked for our student loan debt. We’re mocked for our side hustles. We’re mocked for our entrepreneurial spirit. We’re mocked for our personal brands on social media.
We’re mocked for not being as financially satisfactory as the baby boomers who are so oblivious to the realities of our modern economy (even if it does make for an entertaining SNL skit).
Sorry, my bitterness is showing…
What I’m trying to say is that my attraction to financial coaching is rooted in vengefully righting these economic conditions and protecting my fellow consumers against the manipulative tactics of modern finance and excessive capitalist gaslighting.
Because, after my decade in consumer banking and subsequent corporate burnout, I know damn well how these financial products work.
I know how to read the barely-large-enough-to-be-compliant fine print, how to vindictively shop around for the best offers, and how to make financial decisions that ensure my money moves are aligned more with my personal values than a bank’s excessive profits.
And I want more people to know what I know so that these financial institutions don’t profit so greatly at the game they designed themselves because, for better or worse, I believe that every dollar is a vote.
And it’s kind of hard to vote against these slimy lending practices when you’re stuck paying one off in an economic environment that didn’t pan out quite the way you were told it would.
So what does this have to do with Wilbur Ross?
After furloughed and unpaid government employees were seen lining at food banks, DUDE SAID SOME SHIT:
“Banks and credit unions should be making credit available to them,” Ross said. “Now true, the people might have to pay a little bit of interest, but the idea that it's paycheck or zero is not a really valid idea.”
And while people on both sides of the political aisle piled onto him for the insensitive and tone-deaf nature of his remarks, I don’t think many of them quite “got it” either.
Because, the thing is, I actually wondered the same thing as Wilbur Ross.
With credit products so dangerously accessible to the average consumer – highlighted by how we carry over half a trillion dollars of credit card balances every month and how all consumer debt keeps rising every quarter for the past several years in spite of the mortgage crisis a mere ten years ago – why weren’t these people using ‘em?
Because there ARE so many affordable options out there (better than the 9% loans being charged to federal employees). They’re either just a really well-kept secret or we’re terrified of their unintended consequences.
Now, there’s a lot of stigma associated with debt and credit and there shouldn’t be.
This whole “debt is bad” thing never made any sense to me because – for better or worse (and no bank, corporation, or entrepreneur is saying “for worse”) – the health of our economy depends on a constant flow of consumer and corporate debt.
YES, there are risks that come with owing a lender money but that risk may be worthwhile for a special opportunity or an emergency situation.
YES, there are costs that come with paying interest, but it seems fair to pay a lender or investor for the convenience of credit.
But until incomes start rising along with the growing cost of living, we should have quality lines of credit readily available to us for emergencies or even that special opportunity.
Now, in order for these credit products to do more good than harm, naturally, they need to be balanced with mindful money habits. (That's the fun part!)
But if there’s going to be a stigma regarding credit, it should lie with predatory lenders, NOT WITH THEIR PREY.
In the past several years of my work as a financial coach, I’ve seen clients taken advantage of in ways I didn’t think were still legal in the post-collapse era. I'm talking 30%, 100%, or a-not-fucking-around-here 696% interest rates!
Now, of course, any commentator would mock these people for consenting to these terms, but I don't think consent is being left without any other known options.
Financial products are deliberately designed to be so unnecessarily complicated to the point that we’re willing to trust the party profiting off of us to determine what’s fiscally best for us… especially in our moments of vulnerable need or even pure desire.
This all makes perfect sense given the fact that 1. the terminology isn’t in any way intuitive, 2. the scummiest options are at the top of search engine results, and 3. OH YEAH – nobody ever thought to teach us this shit in school which probably wouldn’t have made a difference anyway because teachers weren't taught this shit either!
What I’m trying to say is this system sucks…
And yet there’s still an obnoxiously naive glimmer of hope in my heart that we can hijack this beast to save our finances, heal from capitalistic burnout, and – okay, this one’s really a stretch but – save the planet. (I’m an idealistic dreamer – what can I say?)
But if we could just start with fair and equal access to quality financial products so that we can use these products to invest in our “best lives” safely and sustainably – if not just survive a shitty season of life – perhaps we could sway the economy in our favor.
So, thanks to Wilbur Ross running his mouth (delightfully coupled with arguably every economic condition of the past 10-30 years), I created a new free service.
(There was literally a moment where I thought “Fuck it – I’m doing this for free” because even though I can’t pay my own personal cost of living with anti-capitalist vengeance, it is unapologetically satisfying.)
But, in all seriousness, I’m now offering FREE 30-minute credit clarity sessions.
I’m not so far removed from real life to not know that it takes 7-10 days to even get that new credit card you didn’t need yet or that you need your most recent pay stubs and tax returns to qualify for a loan or that it’s going to take at least a month to access the funds to tap into your home’s equity.
I’ve spent the past few years teaching my clients and community how to optimize their credit scores, design their own debt repayment schedules, translate financial contracts to plain English, and qualify themselves regardless of what anyone else says they can afford.
The credit products Wilbur Ross has access to (and the credit products I’ve learned to benefit from as well) are much different than what the average person is aware exists.
There is no reason for this information to be this difficult to find and yet here we are.
No one teaches us how to make well-informed and competitive credit choices because debt is treated with such shame. And when we feel shame, we isolate and turn to that Google bar with the slimiest page-one results.
I want YOU to use credit safely and strategically like an industry insider.
I’ll be honest: Since I’ve become solely self-employed, I’ve leaned on credit products to keep my lights on during months I earned less than my cost of living.
And rather than paying for that credit, which I’m more than happy to do at a fair price, I actually made money from it between sign-up bonuses, cash-back rewards, and 0% introductory offers. And while I’m content earning my $2,000/year in credit card perks and rewards, I’m not making a big enough impact to dismantle this system on my own.
Now, let me be clear: These perks are used to entice us into taking out debt we can’t pay off as easily.
When financial institutions lend money with such enticements, they have every expectation that they’re still going to profit off of us from late fees, accidental returned payments, and eventually, the interest on the remaining balances (if not retroactive balances) once the teaser rate periods expire.
Again, I have no issue with a bank making money from this – but not THAT much money and certainly not without our consent!
With the CFPB declawed and net neutrality on the chopping block, the only retaliation we have at this point in time is our own conscious financial action. No one is going to look out for us to make sure that we’re getting fair options but ourselves.
Whether you’re struggling to consistently pay off your debt, you want to make a smart credit plan to invest in something really important to you, or you just want to be prepared for an emergency – these 30-minute sessions are all about making sure you’re set up for the most empowering credit choices and won’t be taken advantage of by the Wilbur Rosses of the world.