This Blog's Purpose

The purpose of this blog is help people improve their Mind, Body, Soul (relationships) and their Money.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Debt Free interview #4: Jay from the 1st Million is the Hardest

This week's interview is from Jay of the blog The 1st Million is the hardest.

1.       How did you get into debt? - I got into debt like a lot of people do. I didn't have or make a lot of money in college so I started racking up balances on my credit cards so I could do the things everyone else was doing at the time. 

2.       How deeply in debt were you at the worst point? What did it feel like? - Probably 5 or 6 thousand dollars at the worst point. Compared to a lot of people I know it isn't a ton, but it still felt like a huge monkey on my back. It was so frustrating that I just couldn't pay my cards off no matter how hard I tried. 

3.       When did you decide to get out of debt and why? - I always wanted to get out of debt, but it wasn't until I realized how much of each paycheck I was bringing home that was going towards my credit cards that I really got serious about getting rid of those balances. 

4.       How long did it take you to get completely debt free? - It took me about about two years from the point where I decided that I'd had enough until I was completely debt free. The accumulating interest makes it harder than I realized to get out quickly, but when I finally made my last payment it was the best feeling in the world. I finally felt like I had my own life and wasn't working just so I could pay someone else back. 

5.       What advice would you give to someone trying to become debt free? - The best advise I can give is to be patient. It's a long, frustrating road out of debt but once you get there it will all be worth it. Just stick to your plan and keep the end in sight. It can be done, no matter how much debt you find yourself in. 

- Jay

Friday, May 23, 2014

Debt Free Interview #3: Mike Polinsky - debt free

This week's debt free interview features Mike Polinsky - Mike is a debt expert and does online writing for various sites.

1. How did you get into debt?
The biggest reason why I got into debt was because of a job loss I experienced a few years back.

2. How deeply in debt were you at the worst point? What did it feel like?
At the worst point, I was about $15,000 in debt. It felt awful – it nagged at me almost every day.

3. When did you decide to get out of debt and why?
When that nagging feeling and the associated stress got to be too much, I finally decided to do something about it. I had finally had enough.

4. How long did it take you to get completely debt free?
It took me about two years to become debt-free.

5. What advice would you give to someone trying to become debt free?
My first piece of advice for someone trying to become debt-free is that you have to commit to doing something about it. If you approach it half-heartedly, you'll never succeed. If you're out of work, take any job you can find to start bringing in some money. Then, get yourself on a budget. Look at each and every monthly bill and use the Internet to find ways to save. Start using coupons to save on groceries. Stop all personal purchases (or as many as you can) and devote all your extra cash to your debts. Once you're debt-free, you'll have plenty of extra money to resume your old spending habits. Although if that was the cause of your debt, you might want to continue to monitor your spending.

Thanks Mike for your help!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

DO yourself a favor and Go outside:

If you're not sure watch this video...
 Then drop your tablet, laptop and leave your smartphone in the car + go outside.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Debt Free interview #2 - Stephanie from the Empowered Dollar

This week's debt free interview comes from Stephanie at the Empowered Dollar. An  incredible journey of debt freedom over a period of just under 4 years.

1    How did you get into debt? Student Loans from College.
  2   How deeply in debt were you at the worst point? What did it feel like? $34,579.
I now had the degree. But shaking the chairman’s hand while he gave me my diploma, I felt like I’d been entered into a deceptive contract: “Here’s your diploma. That’ll be $30,000, paid off in monthly installments for the rest of your life.” I felt like BU hadn’t fulfilled it’s end of the deal. At that moment, I had no income. The only money to my name was debt. I had no significant savings. I had no job prospects. Instead of feeling financially free and independent, I felt chained down by a mountain of student loans.

What had I gotten myself into and why hadn’t someone warn me?

I continued working as an intern after graduation, making $1,000 a month. At first, it was bearable. I lived in a cozy apartment with three other girls in a similar post-grad limbo. We would sit around our fold-out kitchen table late at night, commiserating about how unprepared we felt to deal with the real world.
In the meantime, I was beginning to rack up credit card debt. Any unexpected expense became a credit card change; I just didn’t have the savings or the cash flow to deal with it. I was also uninsured and struggled to consistently pay for my prescription medication. I looked for ways to cut back on my expenses. I stopped going out on weekends. I cut back on groceries, like fresh produce – significantly more expensive than the packaged variety in the freezer aisles of the grocery store. Meanwhile, the pressure of finding a real job was getting to me. I was cracking.

3    3  When did you decide to get out of debt and why?
July 15, 2009. It’s 1 a.m., and I can’t sleep....The real reason I can’t sleep has little to do with my accommodations or my hunger pangs. I’ve been crying off and on for the past three hours. I feel hopeless, worthless, and depressed. I’m $30,000 in debt. I’m making $1,000 a month. And I know I can’t survive like this for much longer.

     4   How long did it take you to get completely debt free? under 4 years

     5  What advice would you give to someone trying to become debt free? Stephanie has  5 strategies to crush your debt in no time...

a) Hustle "I honestly thought that I would be able to pay off all of my student loans in a year while earning $48,000. HA. HA. HA. (It’s okay, you can laugh, too). ....I began reaching out to companies doing interesting work and offered to work for them for free – which I later turned into paid consulting."
b) Negotiate - "How much did I earn just by asking over the last 4 years?
I earned $13,000 in bonuses and salary adjustments through negotiation."
     c) Allocate - "The biggest mistake I made out of college? I used my checking account balance as my budget. If I had $1,000 in my account, I felt like I had $1,000 left to spend. So before you start getting used to your fat paycheck, allocate what you need for fixed expenses and student loans in a quick, back-of-the-envelope budget."

     d) Prioritize - "If you want to tackle tens of thousands in debt in a few short years, paying off your student loans has to become one of your top 3 financial priorities – and that means ruthlessly cutting down on the things that don’t matter."

     e) Motivate - "Declare your intentions. Announce it to the world. Tell your family, friends and dog that you’re going to tackle your debt once and for all and you need their help staying accountable. The biggest motivation for me came from publicly declaring my debt goal online."

To Hear more about these strategies or Stephanie's journey from this point forward - please check out her blog

Friday, May 9, 2014

Debt Free Interview #1 - Vicky from Funny about Money

I reached out to some great PF bloggers and found some who are doing debt-free.
The first interview is from Vicky of - who once approached a million dollars worth of debt. Here is her story:

1.       How did you get into debt?

My former husband and I did not communicate well about money. He let me have no say in our finances and kept me in the dark to the extent he could. He was a corporate lawyer with a six-figure income who refused to budget or to let me budget and who had no qualms about leveraging debt. He would do things like borrowing from the firm to pay our taxes and then borrowing against his 401(k) to pay the firm -- around and around it went. At one point he agreed to give a personal guarantee for a loan the firm took out to buy its building. This was on the eve of the savings and loan fiasco, which may predate most of your readers' time. When the economy went to hell (the late Great Recession was hardly the first time in living memory), the bank called the loan.

Fortunately, one of the other partners' wives was wise to these shenanigans. She refused to sign the paperwork unless the bank specified that all the wives' sole and separate property would be exempt from collection. And fortunately, I happened to come into an inheritance that allowed me to make my escape.

2.       How deeply in debt were you at the worst point? What did it feel like?
One million dollars. How did it make me feel? It made me feel like divorcing my husband. Which I did. 
3.       When did you decide to get out of debt and why?

When I realized we were a million bucks in debt for which we had nothing material to show, that he had kept this from me, and that he had lied by omission in a number of other matters.

4.       How long did it take you to get completely debt free?

The length of time it took to get a judge to dissolve the marriage. The judgment said that my ex- agreed to take on the debt, although of course I knew it was community debt and there was nothing I could do to keep the bank and credit-card lenders from coming after me.

Actually, there was something: I had to keep him out of bankruptcy.

As the creditors were about to sweep down on him, I borrowed on margin against every liquid penny I owned, and so did his mother. Between the two of us, we came up with enough to beat back the Huns, and he was rescued from ruin. He agreed to pay me back at an interest rate somewhat higher than I had to pay on the margin loan, and so, in the end, I came out OK. He did pay it back -- it wasn't that the guy welshed on his debts, but that he managed his money foolishly and that he insisted on little-womaning the wifey. Since he earned a great deal of money, once he was forced to behave more responsibly, he was able to pay off the money he'd borrowed from me.

Meanwhile, after I became free I bought a house. I was to get spousal support until my ex- reached the age of 59 1/2, when supposedly I would have access to my half of the retirement fund (as it develops, this did not come to pass). By this time I had a significant other, who moved in with me and paid half the mortgage as rent. That strategy made the house an investment property, and so all the many repairs and improvements that needed to be done were tax-deductible. Eventually I threw the boyfriend out (he was abusive), doubling my living cost. Realizing the house payment was more than half my net salary, I decided to use the inheritance to pay off the mortgage. Even though my investment advisor strongly objected to this (he felt I was over-invested in real estate, since I also owned some REITs through TIAA-CREF, which were the only instruments TIAA-CREF offered at the time that were earning anything), I have never regretted it. And in fact, having paid off the house kept a roof over my head when I was laid off my job in 2009.

I paid off the first car I bought in my own name by throwing every extra penny that came my way at the loan -- tax refunds, bonuses, rebates, every little refund, and whatever money I had at the end of any month during which I managed to live below my means. It took 18 months to pay off the car's five-year loan. After that, I set aside $300 a month to buy the next car, which, some years later, I was able to purchase in cash.
5.       What advice would you give to someone trying to become debt free?

If you don't have the money in the bank to buy something, don't buy it. I never run up a charge unless the money is sitting in an account to pay for it. Although I do charge all of my living and emergency expenses, I pay off the cards at the end of the month.

If you must get married (which I personally would not advise), always have a fund of money that is your sole and separate property -- be sure it is never mingled with the community. (This assumes you live in a community property state.) In addition, take out some credit cards in your own name -- not in yours and the spouse's name (I believe it's no longer possible for you to take out a joint credit card…but if it is, DON'T). If push comes to shove, you will need credit that is in your name and not encumbered by legal proceedings or credit reports entailed in a divorce. And if your spouse is not forthcoming about the community finances, run (don't walk) away.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Guest post: How to Achieve the Highest Level - By Corey Poirer


By Corey Poirier

As a Corporate Trainer, Professional Keynote Speaker, and Radio Show Host, I spend the majority of my time these days speaking to, and working with, high achieving professionals and individuals and sharing applicable insight on our Conversations With Passion Radio Show.

I spend the rest of my time interviewing and researching the common traits of high performers from across North American, including Grammy Winners, Television Personalities, Award Winning Comedians, Award Winning Business Leaders, Elite Athletes, Olympic Gold Medalists, and more, so that I have more exclusive insight to share with my corporate clients.

To perform at the highest level I believe it helps if you can learn what the majority of the high achievers do, and do likewise.

Yes, it’s true that some have achieved success by doing the opposite of what other peak performers do. Steve Jobs comes to mind. But there is only one Steve Jobs, and until one gets to that level, why ignore the fact that, in the words of the late great Jim Rohns, “Success Leaves Clues”.

An obvious question at this point becomes, what common traits do the more than 2500 high achievers I have studied share? I get that question more often than you can perhaps imagine.

I have determined the top 10 traits that these peak performers share, as a result of my personal research, and what struck me the most is the fact that 3 weren’t what most would expect.

Believe it or not, hard work, find a good mentor, enter the industry at the right time, have a solid cash flow, and so on, albeit important, and helpful, were not the most common traits, or actions.

One of the 3 traits I’m focused on today, or actions, in particular, really stood out, and it is in such direct contrast to the what the average person does, I felt it imperative to focus on that one trait, above all else in this very column.

That trait, or action, is tied directly to focus, but bigger than that, it is the action of removing all distractions from each interaction throughout one’s day.

At a time when the average person can barely take their eyes away from their I-Phone, Blackberry or Android, it really struck me that some of the busiest, high achievers in the world found a way, at least during my time with them, to silence their phones, and dedicate their full time and attention to the moment at hand.

Whether it was Chicken Soup Co-Creator Jack Canfield, Arlene Dickinson of CBC’s Dragon’s Den, former World Champion Trish Stratus, Olympic Gold Medalist Heather Moyse, Award Winning Singer / Songwriter Sass Jordan, The Food Network’s Chef Michael Smith, or Leadership Guru Robin Sharma; almost every single one found a way to make me feel like I was the only person in their world during our time together.

Again, this is so much in contrast to the actions of the average person today, I felt compelled to share this finding in hopes that it will help others rethink the focus they place on the person in front of them despite the many distractions battling for their time.

As a wise attendee at a talk I gave at a University in Alberta said, “When you wash the rice, wash the rice”.
It may be an old proverb, but it’s still as wise today – in essence, it means, when you are focused on one task, focus completely on that one task, and that task alone.

After all, that’s what the high achievers are doing. Hey, perhaps I should share that wise attendees’ wisdom in the monologue for the next episode of the radio show.
Until then, here’s to your continued success…

Corey Poirier is an award-winning speaker, entrepreneur, and a bestselling author. His Standing Ovations from Every Customer book was released in 2013. He has personally interviewed over 2500 Super-Achievers, he has presented at TEDx, and MoMondays, he has shared the bill with Deepak Chopra, he has be a high achiever at Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies, he can be seen on television, heard on radio and read in publications regularly, and he even had O’ Magazine ask to have his writing appear in one of their issues. You can sign-up to have advance notice when he releases the upcoming Science of Super-Achievement Guide at, hear his radio show at or learn more about bringing Corey in to work with your company at