Sunday, January 20, 2013

You Have to Have Hope

You Have to Have Hope

By Keith Bunn Jr.
January 20, 2013

Well I hope that everyone's week was better then ours! No matter how careful or detailed your plans are, life happens. And as we all know, life never goes our way 100% of the time. This past week was no different.

Our Plan

As some of you may or may not know. Over a year ago now, my wife Julie, step-son, and myself moved from White Cloud, Michigan to Grand Rapids, Michigan. The reason for the move was primarily because my wife got a better job in Grand Rapids (GR).The place that my wife was working at was bought out by the company she was moving to, so her job move was just a lateral move and she didn't lose any benefits or seniority. I had already been working just outside of GR for like 7 years prior to my wife getting her new job. One way travel time from White Cloud to GR is about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on weather and traffic. Round trip also consumed a quarter tank of gas and with gas prices going through the roof, it just made sense for us to move closer to both of our work places. 
Months later, a different position opened up at my wife's work. She applied and got the even better position. She was so much happier. She was helping so many people. I was even getting spurts of overtime at my work to top it off. Our finances were getting better and everything seemed to be all puppies and rainbows... until this week.

This Week

A month or so before Thanksgiving, things started to slow down at my work and I wasn't getting the overtime like I was getting, which was normal for that time of year. Things were also changing at my wife's workplace too. After months of her boss telling her how well she was doing and praising her job performance, almost on a weekly basis, her boss and other co-workers were now nit-picking her and her work. She wasn't doing anything different, in fact, she was always trying to improve herself after each criticism. The only thing that had changed was this. The reason my wife's position opened up in the first place was because another woman had taken another position. About a month or so after, the details around that position changed so she asked to have her old job back. Shortly after letting her return, was when all the nit-picking and criticism started. Julie was caught up in her workplace's politics with no way out and no way to win. No matter what Julie did, they weren't happy with my wife's work and this week they fired her for it. At first, she was really upset over the whole deal. Between her old job up north and the one here, she was just shy of having 24 years with the company. Now you don't get that many years in a single workplace if you don't get along with people or not being a hard worker. It was strictly workplace politics that got her.

Now What

With talking things over, figuring out what parts of her job she liked the most, we now know that she got the greatest joy from helping others out, we also, later that night, talked to a pastor and his wife, and they confirmed what we were already starting to think. That the whole reason my wife got that job and the reason she got fired was because God was guiding her in the direction that will help her to best serve and help others. And that is what she is looking into doing now. The very next day after being fired, she filed for her unemployment and started her job search. We know it won't take her long and she'll have a new and better job then before. God has a plan!

Our Finances

I'm not ashamed to say that my wife was making considerably more money than I'm making now, so by her losing her job, it has put a big dent in our finances. Even with unemployment, we won't be where we were at before. So what we're going to be doing is putting a bunch of stuff we wanted to be doing on hold for a while and cutting our budget even further. We won't be paying extra on our debts like we have been. We will be making minimum payments and only getting things we need.  One of the biggest mistakes people do when there is a loss of income in the household is they don't cut down their lifestyle. They always supplement the lost income with other means like credit cards or other types of debt instead of cutting their lifestyle and that is absolutely wrong and we won't be making that mistake. When there is a job loss or a decrease in income, you are smack dab in the middle of an emergency, and the last thing you need to do is to go further into debt.
So what I did to make up for the loss income was to ask my work if they could give me as many hours as they possibly could and the were gracious enough to allow me to work 12 hour days. I will be doing miscellaneous jobs around the shop up to the time my normal shift start and then I'll be doing my main job for 8 hours, until either they don't have anything for me to do or our situation improves. With continuous communication between my wife and I, knowledge of what we should do, hard work, planning, hope, and God's guidance, we will survive this temporary set back. We've done it before and we'll do it again!

 I hope my posts inspire you to look at what you’re doing financially and if needed, make some changes that will cause you to win financially. I also look forward to reading your views on any articles or postings that I may post. For more money news, facts and ideas, follow me on Facebook, or Twitter. Thank you!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Let's Play Make Believe

Let's Play Make Believe

By Keith Bunn Jr.
January 13, 2013

Make Believe

I know most of the American people believe that the wealthiest Americans should pay and give more than the rest, making things more equal. 

So let's make believe that that day was today! We all magically had the same dollar amount in our bank accounts, right down to the last penny. Wow, that would be great! We are not broke anymore. We are 100% equal! No more lower, middle, or upper classes! We are now ONE CLASS!!

Now let's go a step further. Let's now make believe that all our debts are now forgiven. No more car loans, tax debts, mortgages, credit card debts, student loans. Heck, even that big monster flat screen TV you just bought on that in-store credit card, That's all gone! We all owe nothing and we get to keep everything! That's just too cool!!! We are ALL DEBT FREE AND ONE CLASS!!!


Now that we're all on the same page and have a clean slate to start our day, month, and year with. How long do you think it will remain that way? What I mean is, how long do you think it will take before the classes start to divide again? 

Because they WILL divide into the three classes again and if you don't think that would happen, you're fooling yourself. On top of that, people will start building up masses amounts of debt again. If for anything, just to keep up or build up their credit scores.

Why the Three Classes would Reappear

This is why I think it will happen. Study, after study, after study have proven that those who are not use to having large sums of money, don't know how to handle it and waste it. In fact, it has ruined people's lives to the point that they were better off before they received the money. Just looking at some of the people who won the mega lotteries and have lost everything within a matter of years after winning the money.

And why do I think debt amounts will go up again? Well, when all our debts were wiped clean, that severely damaged all of our credit scores. 35% of our credit score is based on our debt payment history. When a debt is not fully paid off because it was forgiven, it leaves a ding on your score. 30% of our credit score is based on our debt levels. When any one of us starts to become debt free and we pay off our debts, our debt levels start to go down, which starts to make our credit scores disappear. So by all of us becoming debt free, that put a huge ding on our scores. 10% of our credit score is based on the different types of debt we have. Again, because all our debts were forgiven, we don't have any debts. So again, we will all take another, pretty big hit on our credit score. If you've been counting, that's about a 75% smack to our scores.

Just by that example alone, people will start going back into debt. Because there are those of you out there that believe we can not live without a credit score. So those people will start using their credit cards like crazy, buying cars with loans, getting new mortgages, etc, etc, etc...

Now don't get me wrong. Not everyone would do this. There are those out there that would see and treat this as a huge blessing. They would save and invest their new found funds and NEVER go back into debt again. We would be one of them!!!

And thus, the 3 classes will appear again! Some of the people will shift around to new classes and stay there, but in my opinion, most will stay right where they were at the beginning. The lower class will be broke again because they won't know how to handle their new found wealth. The middle class will fall back into debt, worrying about their credit scores. And the upper class will become wealthy again because they know how to handle money, and they won't go into debt because they are not worried about their credit scores. They know that a high credit score is not what makes them wealthy, having money does! 


So my question to you is...

1) What would you do if your slate was wiped clean and you were 100% equal with everyone else?

2) How long do you think it will take before the 3 classes will reappear? 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, or not at all?

3) If the classes did reappear, what class do you think you'll fall into?

I hope my posts inspire you to look at what you’re doing financially and if needed, make some changes that will cause you to win financially. I also look forward to reading your views on any articles or postings that I may post. For more money news, facts and ideas, follow me on Facebook, or Twitter. Thank you!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

What Would You Say

What Would You Say

By Keith Bunn Jr.
January 6, 2013

If you could be in an auditorium talking about "life" in general, to a bunch of middle school to high school aged children what would you say? Believe it or not, this is what I've been thinking about for some time now. I think I've learned more in the past 10 years then I did most of my life. So what would I say? Here are 6 topics I've come up with so far.

How do you want to be remembered

How do you want your dash to represent you? You know, the dash on your tomb stone between the date you were born and the date you died. That small dash represents your entire life, no matter if you only lived a few days or to a ripe age of 100. How do you want to be remembered? To give you an example; I want to be remembered as a good provider and a loving husband and father to my wife and kids, as well as a good son and brother to my parents and brother and sisters.  A good friend, someone that could be counted on when my friends needed help. A hard worked to my co-workers, and a teacher to others. I want to be remembered as someone who had integrity, and told the truth, even when it meant I was going to get in trouble. 
In a nut shell, that what I'm talking about. So if that is how you'd like to be remembered too, you need to start living it. Because there is no way you can act one way and be remembered another way.

Continue to learn

Never stop learning! This is so important! And in today's world, there are so many ways you can continue to learn. We have the internet, books, college, seminars, workshops, etc... Today's market place, your value is based on what you know, not what you can do. Sure, there are a few exceptions out there, but if you look at who is making the top dollar in the workplace, it is the person who has some knowledge in their pocket.

Consider the opportunity cost

Now what does that mean? Well to give you a financial example; If you invested a $1000, you can't take that same $1000 and go on a cruse. The same goes with your life, there will be many things that come up in your life that you're going to have to sit down and make a decision on, asking yourself  "If I do this, I won't be able to do that. So which one do I want to do more and is the wisest choice for me today and my future?"
As adults, sometimes we have to make those hard decision. Its just part of life.

Do what you love to do

What I mean by that title is, do what you love to do as a way of making a living and supporting you and your family. We all spend a good portion of our waking time working and life is too short to be working on something you hate. Find what your passions are and do that. Your passion may or may not make you wealthy, but you'll wake up every morning full of energy and excited to get your day started. You will find the old saying to be true. "Turn your vacation into your vocation and you'll never work a day in your life!"

Stay out of debt

You knew this was going to be in here somewhere. Don't go into debt for any reason! If I would have learned just this one thing, my life would have been so much simpler  So don't fall for the myths out there that you need a credit score to make it in today's world. I know, you will be told by many people that you will need a credit score to get a car, a house, a job, etc... That is simply NOT true. If you don't have a credit score, that means you have never gone into debt. So put yourself in the shoes of the car dealer, the person selling their home, or the employer looking to hire you. If you are debt free and have money saved to buy things with cash, it is a win, win for everyone. You get the car you want free an clear, and you get the home you want free an clear. As for the employer checking your credit before hiring you, they are checking to see how much of a risk you are to the company for possibly stealing from them because of your debt load. But if you explain to them that the lack of having a credit score is because you're debt free, that's a huge plus for you because they don't have to worry about you at all. And if all they are going by to hire you is a credit score and they still don't hire you, then you don't want to work for those stupid people anyways.

Don't let Good get in the way of Great

I've heard many people say that they are doing fine, good or OK when asked how their life is. Or they'll give the same answers when you show them ways they can improve their lives, "We're doing fine (good or OK), we don't need that." 
And you know, those people could very well be doing fine, good, or OK. But what goes through my mind when they say that is, "Wouldn't you rather be doing Great though?!" Please don't ever settle with just having a fine, good, or OK life! There are always ways to improve your life. Some of them by what we've already discussed in this blog. 
Chris Hogan said it best. Chris had a football coach that always told the team, "Good, better, best! Never let it rest until your good is better, and your better is best! 
That says it all right there!


1) What would you say to a bunch of middle school to high school aged children?

2) Give me 1 or 2 things you would do now based on what we discussed?

I hope my posts inspire you to look at what you’re doing financially and if needed, make some changes that will cause you to win financially. I also look forward to reading your views on any articles or postings that I may post. For more money news, facts and ideas, follow me on Facebook, or Twitter. Thank you!