Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dream a Little Dream

Dream a Little Dream

By Keith Bunn Jr.
March 31, 2013

the Opportunity Costs

Years ago, if I had money in my pocket and I saw something I wanted, I bought it. No questions asked. I never thought of the other things that my money could go towards, the opportunity costs. And by doing that, I have harmed the future for myself and my family. It took me far too many years to figure that out. 
"Children do what feels good. Adults devise a plan and follow it." This is a phrase Dave Ramsey says, as well as my other financial coaching friends, and it is absolutely true. We all need to have more patience when it comes to our spending overall. Some are naturally good at it, others, like myself, have to work on it on almost a daily basis.


I still go to the stores and go down the aisles that interest me, but instead of just grabbing the stuff I want, I remind myself that we have a bigger goal to keep, and that's mine and my family's future. My wife and I are not spring chickens anymore and we have to start think about how we are going to make it in our golden years. One of the ways to prepare for that is to become debt free while we're still able to work. Watching how much we spend and what we spend on is another way. We also have to have a back up plan in place, a.k.a. an emergency fund to catch us when 'life' trips us and we financially stumble. And finally, we have to save for retirement. We have to do this for ourselves, because our government sure isn't going to help us.
So in the mean time, when I go down those aisles, I just dream how cool it would be to have that thingy and not buy it. I also dream how cool it would be to be debt free and financially secure in our golden years and that normally wins between the two dreams. 
In a way, not buying the things I want now is like my self imposed punishment for not paying attention, not being patient and disciplined with my finances at a younger age. I know that doesn't sound very cool, but  if you think about it, either I do it to myself now when I'm able to do something about it and maybe fix it, or 'life' will do it for me when I'm not able to do anything about it and I'm just stuck.


1) Do you dream about what you can have now or what you could have in the future?

2) Are you preparing for the future?

3) Financially, do you struggle with being patient and disciplined? If so, what are you doing to become more patient and disciplined?

The main reason I'm doing all this is to give people hope and to try to inspire others. To make them think about their finances, whether they are young or old, so they can win financially.
If you have any questions for me about my posts or about your finances, you can call me at (616) 454-2046 or e-mail me at For more money news, facts and ideas, follow me on Facebook, or Twitter. Thank you!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

I Grew Up During the Video Game Craze

I Grew Up During the Video Game Craze

By Keith Bunn Jr.
March 24, 2013

Child of the 80's

As a child of the 80's, I grew up during the big video game craze. I use to ride my bike or took the bus to the local mall to just hangout and to play video games at Aladdin's Castle. I can't tell you how many quarters I pumped into those games. Towards the end of the 80's, the home version gaming consoles started to show up. Commodore 64, Atari, Nintendo, SEGA, etc...are just a few of gaming consoles that hit the market and since then, the numerous hours of game playing at home began by both children and adults. I know I have wasted tons of hours playing video games, especially during the time I was going through my divorce. On the weekends, I would pack up my PlayStation (the original) and go over to my friends house, and ate a lot of pizza, drank gallons of Mountain Dew, and played games, sometimes for days straight. So when a couple of co-workers, last week, were talking about how they couldn't wait to get home so they could play a recent and popular video game, I understood where they were coming from. However, I have learned in the past few years, playing video games for that many hours at a time is a horrible waste of time, unless you don't want to grow in any areas and remain where you are in your life.

Average Game Play

According to a recent study, the average American played 142 hours per person in 2012. I know this doesn't sound like a lot of time playing games but this is just an average. I don't know anyone who plays video games who just plays for 40 minutes a day. They play hours upon hours at a time. I did it too! But, when I realized that I wasn't getting anywhere in my life, my job, and my relationships I knew I had to make some changes, and one of those changes would have to be stop playing video games. Now I do have to admit, I did play one of my favorite a games last year, but it wasn't for very long because I really sucked at it. LOL! So I'm not against playing video games. I just don't think a person should spend all day playing video games. There are better things to do.


So what are some of things we can do instead of gaming? Here are just a few things I've thought up of what you could do.

1) LEARN: Learn about something that you are interested in that will improve your life personally or professionally by either reading books or taking a class.

2) Fix your finances: The average person spends more time on gaming, using social media, & watching TV than they do working on and fixing their finances. If we just took half the time working on and fixing our finances as we do all those other things, some peoples world would look a whole lot different. I know this isn't the most fun thing to do but being broke your whole life isn't fun either.

3) Be more social: Hang out with family and friends more. I'm not talking about spending a lot of money doing this. You can watch a DVD at home or at a friend's house, play a board game, go for a walk or bike ride, do something other than sit in front of a TV screen or monitor for hours playing games.

These are just a few things I came up with. I'm sure there are a ton more things you all can come up with. Again, I'm not against people playing video games and if you like where you're at in your life playing games hour upon hour, every day of your waking life, more power to you. But if you don't like where you're at, then make a change. You're only going to keep getting what you're getting if you don't.


1) How many hours a day are you playing video games?

2) What are some of the things you could be doing instead?

3) What are some other things you can come up with that you could be doing  that I didn't mention above? 

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. If you have any questions for me about my postings or about your finances, you can call me at (616) 454-2046 or e-mail me at For more money news, facts and ideas, follow me on Facebook, or Twitter. Thank you!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Marriage and Money

Marriage and Money

By Keith Bunn Jr.
March 17, 2013

The Vow

We've all been to a wedding before, so this part of a common wedding vow should sound familiar to all of us.

Pastor -- You, ___________ and ___________ have pledged your devotion to each other. It is not these words that have made your marriage real, but the God of love, who has welded your hearts together as one. He has said, "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall be joined unto his wife and the two shall become one flesh."

Did you catch it? Let me repeat it. "...and the two shall become one..."
When a man and a woman get married, they are no longer two individuals anymore, they are one couple. Which means, you are now sharing your lives. There is no his and hers, it is ours.
It will be 12 years this year that Julie and I have been married and from day ONE, I have shared EVERYTHING with her. What is mine is her's, and what is her's is mine. PERIOD!! If we do have certain things as individuals, such as an e-mail, or Facebook page, etc... we know each other's passwords and can get into those things without other getting mad or upset about it. Because keeping things like that separate to where the other can't get in and see what's going on, allows doubt to creep into the marriage, which can lead to far more damaging things to your marriage later on.

Marriage and Money

Now how does all this affect your money? Well, the day after you get back from your honeymoon, you and your spouse have some things to do.

1) You go and add each other's name on the bank or credit union accounts, as well as any kind of investment accounts (IRAs, 401Ks, stocks, etc...). This money is now both of yours. 

2) If you have Will's, and your spouse isn't already on it, you need to add them now. None of us know when our time will come and I'm sure you don't want to leave your newly wedded spouse high and dry, especially if there are homes, cars, kids, etc... involved.

3) Make sure your spouse is named as the beneficiary on any and all life insurance policies, for the same reasons listed above.

4) Just as all the good things about money gets joined together in a marriage, so does all the bad things. All of your DEBTS are now joined and they are now "OUR" debts.

If either one of you are not willing to do any of these things because you are afraid the other is going to take advantage of you, then you shouldn't get married yet. You are not ready to be husband and wife.
Now if you are married already and you have separate accounts, my suggestion would be to join them as soon as possible. What are you waiting for? If your spouse refuses to do that, then you have a different problem, a marriage problem, and you should start talking about getting some marriage counseling.
Listen, money fights and money problems are the number one cause of divorce in this country. If you can get that part of your lives under control, you are way ahead of most couples and the odds of you having a good to great marriage is good.


1) Are you and your spouse living as a couple or individuals financially?

2) What steps could you and your spouse take to make your marriage more joined than separate?

3) Are there issues in your marriage to where you need counseling?

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, March 10, 2013

Life Lessons about Money

Life Lessons about Money 

By Keith Bunn Jr.
March 10, 2013

Its all my fault!

I have told my kids for years, "You kids don't have a clue what the real world is like or what it costs!" And you know who's fault that is? Mine!
As parents, it is OUR responsibility to teach our children everything they need to know to make them functional citizens when it comes time to release them out into the world, and that includes teaching them life lessons about money.

Money Lessons

Here are a couple lessons you can do to help teach your children about money and how much life's necessities cost. One of these lessons we did and the other I learned later on.

1) The one lesson we did was we sat our kids down at the kitchen table and pulled out some play money. In our case, we used Monopoly money. We pulled out enough money to equal out our household take home pay. We then explained to our kids that, that money was what we received in pay for the month. Right then, I'm sure they thought we were loaded with money, but what we did next blew their minds. We began to subtract what our monthly bills, food and gas was at that time. It also showed them what was left, if we had anything left. It also proved to them that we weren't kidding when we said we didn't have the money that week/month for something they wanted or wanted to do.  

2) We've all seen this scenario if you have young to mid teenager in your home. They want to go do something with their friends and you say no. Which then leads to an argument and them not believing you that you don't have the money for that sort of thing. Or you've told them over and over again to turn off the lights when leaving a room, don't leave the refrigerator door open while making their lunch, shut the doors to the house when the heat and air is on, etc... you talk to your teens until you are blue in the face and they still don't seem to get it. Well that's because they don't get it. So here is something you can do to help them get it.
The next time you start paying your bills, whether you are still writing checks or entering the amounts through your bank's online Bill Pay. Sit your teen down and have them fill out the amounts on the checks or in Bill Pay. This does a couple of things. It gives them practice to do these things when they are out on their own. It also shows them the reason why mom and dad get after them for leaving the lights on when they are paying $200 a month for electricity.

These are just a couple of things you can do to help your kids to understand about money and what the simple things cost we all take for granted from time to time. Show your kids your budget. This will help them understand some of the things you tell them about money and how to manage it. It also gives you the opportunity to point mistakes out you did to your kids. Explain to them why they were mistakes so they don't make the same ones you did.


1) Do you have kids that could benefit from these lessons?

2) What other lessons have you done or can come up with to teach your kids about money or how much things cost?

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, March 3, 2013

Traditional Credit score vs. Alternative Credit

Traditional Credit score vs. Alternative Credit

By Keith Bunn Jr.
March 3, 2013

It’s a Shame

It just kills me to hear people who are already debt free say that they are looking to go into debt to build a credit score because it's hard to get stuff without a score. Or someone who is already going through financial hardship say that they are going to get a "kind of" credit card because they were told by others that it will boost their credit score so they can get stuff. To me, that is just CRAZY!!! If I knew back then what I know now, there would have been no way I would have gone into debt. In my opinion, for anyone to say that they have to have a credit score to get anything they want today is just another way of saying that they believe all the lies and myths that are fed to all of us on a daily basis, and that's just sad.

What the FICO!

Let's briefly go over what a credit (FICO) score is. The FICO was developed in 1956 to help lenders figure out if you are credit worthy or not. Your past lenders will report whether or not your loan was good or bad to FICO and your score will be broken down based on 5 categories. 35% of your score is based on your payment history. 30% is based on your debt levels. 15% is based on the length of time you've been in debt. 10% is based on the type of debt you have. And the last 10% is based on any new debt. That information is then stored at the three credit bureaus we use today. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Based on that information, your credit score could be anywhere between 300 (bad) to 850 (excellent). But the problem is, every one of those 5 categories above is based on debt. In other words you can't have a credit (FICO) score if you're debt free. It is impossible! So what does someone do if they have never been in debt or has damaged credit because of some bad loans in their past or someone who is getting out of debt and their credit score is starting to disappear? Well there is something today that can help everyone in those situations, and it’s called Alternative Credit.

Alternative Credit

Alternative Credit is information that is NOT reported to the credit bureaus. It is NOT credit or debt based; it is payment based information, like your rent, utilities, child care, etc... any kind of payment that you are making on a regular bases for a minimum of 2 years or more and can be verified, can be used to established your credit worthiness.

So I'm guessing you're thinking, "How can I use Alternative Credit?" That's easy. There is a company called eCredable that can help you establish an Alternative Credit score. It’s called an A.M.P. Credit Rating.  A.M.P. stands for All My Payments. And what eCredable does is, they take your 2 years or more payment information, verify it, and establishes a rating for you of A - F. A (really good), F (really bad). They will also help you by telling you what you have to do to establish the best rating possible. Now here is something important to remember. Every creditor is required by law to consider anything you present to them that asses your credit worthiness when they are using other forms of credit information, like FICO. That law is called The Equal Opportunity Act. If a creditor does not consider eCredable's A.M.P. rating as part of assessing your credit worthiness, it is a $10,000 fine per incident.

eCredable is a service, so you do have to pay to get your A.M.P. credit rating. If you're thinking, "I don't have to pay for my FICO score." Let me remind you that you have to go into debt and stay in debt to have a good to great FICO score. So in my opinion, with all the interest you have to pay while being in debt to have that good to great FICO score, you are paying far more to have and maintain a Traditional Credit score vs. what you have to pay to get and use Alternative Credit.


1) Do you believe that you have to have a FICO score to get things on credit, like a home?

2) Do you think Alternative Credit can be helpful for your situation?

3) What do you think of eCredable's A.M.P. credit rating?

4) Do you think you'll be looking into what eCredable can do for you?

5) Think as if you were the lender. Would you rather lend money to someone who has a lot of debt and has a FICO score, or someone who doesn't have a FICO score because they are debt free and makes all their payments?

Special Thanks!

I'd like to take this time to thank Steve Stewart from for helping me with the eCredable portion of this blog. I couldn't have done it without his help! Also, if you go to eCredable and use Steve's promo code "SOS", you can get an eCredable account for free! Thanks buddy!!

I'd also like to thank all my fans and followers from all my social media sites for their loyalty and patience. I know I haven't been on them much due to my kidney stone issues. The good news is that I'm going to have a procedure done tomorrow that will hopefully take care of all these issues. Thanks 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!