Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Dreaded Debt Collector

The Dreaded Debt Collector

By Keith Bunn Jr.
September 25, 2011

I can remember when I was going through my divorce years ago, I was doing a lot of emotional spending to “medicate” (not drug buying) my depression and since of loss. Needless to say, I was over spending and a lot of those purchases went to collections. I know, I know… All I can say is, I was young and dumb.
Anyway, I guess I was one of the lucky ones. I never had a really rude one call me. I just had the dumb ones. After a while, I just kind of had fun with them. To give you an example of one of the many phone conversations I had. Now keep in mind, I was living with my parents at the time.

Me: Hello?

Collector: Yes, may I speak to Mr. Bunn please?

Me: (I knew it was for me) Senior or Junior?

Collector: Hummm, I don’t know. It doesn’t say.

Me: Well, what do you need to speak to him about? Maybe I can tell you if you need Sr. or Jr.?

Collector: I can only talk about this matter with Mr. Bunn.

Me: Ok, Sr. or Jr.?

Collector: It doesn’t say here… Keith R. Bunn?
Me: Ok, Sr. or Jr.?

Collector: It doesn’t say. What’s the difference?

Me: One is older than the other. Do you have his age or birth date?

Collector: No, it just says Keith R. Bunn.

Me: OK, Sr. or Jr.?

Now, I just wore that collector out and many more after that one with that very same routine. Some of the calls lasting about 15 minutes.
But as I said, I was one of the lucky ones who never had a bad collections call. But some are not as fortunate. Some people get extremely rude collectors that will say anything to get money sent to them. Example, a friend of mine (we’ll call her Sue Smith) told me after the fact, that she received a call from a collector saying that she owed them $150. When my friend said that she didn’t owe that and that they had the wrong Sue Smith, the collector quickly came back saying, “Maybe so, but isn’t worth $150. to keep this off your credit report?”
I hate to say it, but she paid the $150. because she, like so many others out there, worship at the alter of the ‘Great FICO’. She was worried that her financial reputation was going to be tarnished. The point is, you have rights about how you are treated by collectors.
In 1977, Congress passed a law called the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that makes harassing calls ILLEGAL. What do I mean by harassing? When the same company calls you multiple times on the same day, calling you at work after you told them not to, when they are rude to you on the phone, cussing at you, or threaten you. A collector can only call you between 8 AM to 9 PM your time, not their time. A collector telling you that they are going to take your paycheck or garnish your wages before they have done a lengthy, legal lawsuit is also ILLEGAL (with the exception of IRS, or student loan debt). The Act also allows you to stop all calls from collectors except of notifying you of a lawsuit, which I don’t recommend except in horrible situations.
Remember, these collectors are idiots in cubicles hundreds of miles away. Their whole script is to make you angry and/or afraid because that’s when you are most vulnerable and make the wrong decision. If unsure what to do, seek the advice of someone you trust and talk to them about it before doing anything. Know your rights and don’t let these butt heads beat you up with your FICO score.

‎"The only people who don't believe debt is stressful are those who have never been debt free."
- Larry Burkett –

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Sunday, September 18, 2011



By Keith Bunn Jr.
September 18, 2011

Whether you have been following my blogs, Facebook, or Twitter pages, you have heard me mentioning about Emergency Funds. It is my opinion that the emergency fund is the most important part of a healthy financial plan and here’s why.
When life sneaks up and smacks us with an unplanned event like, the car needs repairs, your hot water heater needs to be replaced, someone gets sick, a job lose, etc… we get stressed and frustrated because you may not have the funds to cover these events. The thing is, these events, and others like them should not be considered unplanned events. Why? Because cars break, water heaters ware out, people get sick, and whether you’re in a good or bad economy, people lose their jobs. All these things happen; we just don’t know when they’re going to happen. And when we don’t plan for these events and we don’t have cash readily available to cover them, we go to other sources like credit cards, 401K’s/403B’s, your kids college funds, cash out investments, or borrow it from your family, friends or bank. All of which are not good choices.
Julie & I follow what is called “the Seven Baby Steps”. Developed by Dave Ramsey, baby steps 1 and 3 cover this topic. Baby step 1 is a starter emergency fund of $1000. ($500. if your income is under $20,000 per yr) and you should put it into a good money market account. There, it will get about CD (certificate of deposit) rates, but won’t penalize you for taking it out for emergencies. What this small fund will do is cover all those little emergencies that seem to be a big hairy deal when you don’t have the cash to cover them. Now here is the key. You need to sit down and make a list of what you (and your spouse, if married) would consider an emergency and you don’t touch that money unless one or more of those things on that list happen. Later, once you’re done with baby step 2 (paying off all debt except for your home), you move onto baby step 3, which you go back to the $1000. emergency fund and build it up to 3 to 6 months worth of your household expenses. For some of you, this could be anywhere of $10,000. to $20,000. Once that’s done, you can move onto other things like investing, saving for your kids college, paying off your home, and build unbelievable amounts of wealth and give.
Now I know your thinking, ‘This sounds good on paper, but real life doesn’t work that way.’  Well, the only thing I can say to that is, let’s work together on it and I’ll prove it will work for you. It’s not easy, but the peace of mind you’ll have, having an emergency fund is priceless!!

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart." - Helen Keller –

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Do you really deserve it?

Do you really deserve it?

By Keith Bunn Jr.
September 11, 2011

The excuse or reason, I hear the most of why someone bought or splurged on something is, ‘I deserved it’. But do you? Let me explain…

You DON’T deserve to retire solely on a broken system called Social Security because you didn’t plan for retirement.
Your kids DON’T deserve to take on the burden of possibly taking care of you in your golden years because you dwindled your money away for decades and didn’t plan for the future.
You DON’T deserve to pay for that vacation, furniture, clothes, etc… for decades because you were too impatient to save up for it and you put it on a credit card.
You DON’T deserve to take a tail kicking on the deprecation of a car you bought on payments, you couldn’t afford anyway.
You DON’T deserve to be all stressed out when an emergency comes your way and you have no way of paying for it because you don’t have a plan in place just for emergencies.
You DON’T deserve to have your marriage hanging on by a thread because of money issues.

What you DO deserve is to retire with dignity because you planned for it at an early age.
What you DO deserve is the peace of mind that your kids don’t have to worry about how you’re doing financially and hopefully learned from your example and are doing well themselves.
What you DO deserve is to enjoy your purchases because you have lived within your means and paid for them in cash.
What you DO deserve is not taking a tail kicking on the deprecation of a car purchase because you bought a reliable 1 to 2 year old car with cash.
What you DO deserve is the peace of mind that if an emergency does rear its ugly head, you have an emergency fund in place to cope with it.
What you DO deserve to have a better marriage because you both are working and planning your finances together.

“Credit buying is like being drunk. The buzz happens immediately & gives you a lift. The hangover comes the day after.”  - Joyce Brothers –

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Some Do’s and Don’ts with Money

Some Do’s and Don’ts with Money

By Keith Bunn Jr.
September 4, 2011

Here are some quick do’s and don’ts I’ve learned about handling money. Some of these might be common sense to some of you, but something new to others.


Husbands and wives need to be on the same page with one another when it comes to their money. It will not only reduce stress in the relationship, but it will also increase communication and make your marriage better.

Diversify your investments into four types of mutual funds. Growth, growth and income, aggressive growth, and international.

When it comes to life insurance, term insurance is the best buy. Get ten times your income worth of insurance so when you pass away, your spouse or heirs can invest the money from your policy and replace your income.

Save up for things you want and pay cash for them. The less you owe others in payments, the easier it will be to build wealth.

On your 60th birthday, buy long term care insurance. The odds of you needing some kind of long tern care after the age of 60, go up drastically. Whether its for a nursing home, assisted living, or in-home care.

Use the power of cash when making purchases. Tell them and show them your cash and ask for a bargain. If they won’t give you one, walk away and try it somewhere else. This country is the only country that doesn’t negotiate for things we want. The worst thing they can say is ‘No’.

Give to your church or favorite charity. Giving makes you less selfish. It is also a proven fact that those who give are more prosperous in both their relationships and in wealth. Besides, its just plan fun to give!

When buying a home, have at least a 10% to 20% down payment and get a 15 year, fixed rate mortgage that is no more than 25% of your take home pay.

Use interest rates or rate of returns to your advantage. Going from 6% to 12% is not doubling your returns, its WAY more than double!

Live on the income you make. If that’s not enough, get a part time job or a better first job.


If you are married, never have separate bank accounts. On your wedding day, the preacher said, “and now you are one”. Act like it! You are not on a joint venture.

Never buy single stocks, gold, or savings bonds for your long term investing. They are extremely risky and make horrible investments.

Never get whole life, or cash value insurance. They are more expensive than term insurance and upon your death, your spouse or heirs only get the face value of the policy. The money you put into the savings portion of those policies, the insurance company keeps it.

Never buy things you want by making payments on them. If you want to build wealth, do what rich people do, pay for it with cash.

Never buy cancer, accidental death, or mortgage insurance. These are nothing but rip off policies

Never buy anything you don’t understand. Whether its insurance, investing, or some gadget at the store. Learn about these things before you buy them from someone who is willing to teach you about it.

Never give with the motive of getting something in return.

     Never get an adjustable rate or interest only mortgage or keep a mortgage to use as a tax deduction. Bad idea!

Never invest using borrowed money or invest purely for tax savings.

Never live beyond your means. That is a sure fired way to becoming poor.

These are just a few things you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to money. But it all comes down to what you want out of life. If you want to build wealth, find someone who is wealthy and copy what they’ve done to get that way.

“Personal finance is 20% head knowledge and 80% behavior.” – Dave Ramsey –

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