Tag Archives: Finance


(Previously Published July 3rd Via Tumblr)

NOTE: The Landlord Chronicles are more lighthearted posts where I tell stories (good and bad) of property management. Hope you enjoy them.

How “SOME” Section 8 Tenants give “GOOD” Section 8 tenants a bad rap…

Now I thought if I slept on this issue, I would be a little less agitated than I was yesterday…. NOPE. DIDN’T WORK. I WOKE UP STILL AGITATED. Plus I had to be at the office by 8am. I drove by and checked on a property that a Section 8 tenant vacated (over the weekend) and once I stepped inside, became frustrated all over again. I hear people say all the time there’s no point in crying over spilled milk, the damage is done and all that BS…. UNLESS IT HAPPENS TO THEM and in my case: UNLESS IT’S COSTING ME MONEY. Before I get to the crux of my frustration, allow me to give you some background on how it began.

I’m a Landlord with 10+ years of property management experience. I’ve seen and heard it all when it comes to tenants but for some reason, seeing what I saw yesterday was like seeing it for the first time.

Case in point….

I have more than a couple of investment properties, and decided to put an additional property on “Section 8.” Don’t get “brand new” on me, but for those who don’t know what Section 8 is, Section 8 offers government assisted housing vouchers to low income families, the elderly and disabled individuals so they too have access to quality, affordable living. For some, the minute you utter the words “Section 8,“ the reaction is “OMG, I’d NEVER put my home on Section 8. I’ve heard too many horror stories.” Truth be told, any Landlord that has been in the business long enough will have tenant horror stories period, Section 8 or not (like one prior tenant who had a roach infestation so severe upon her vacating, after bombing the house TWICE, the only way to rid the home of the infestation was to call my exterminator.)

So let’s get back to why Section 8 Tenants get a bad rap at times. Two years ago, I decided to put another property on Section 8. Of course this meant going through the process of inspection, paperwork, etc., but, been there, done that, got a t-shirt, bumper sticker and shot glass. The property was nice in my opinion (3-2-2) and my philosophy has always been “Just because a tenant is on a Section 8 voucher doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be allowed to live in nice comfortable surroundings.” NO SLUMLORDING HERE. I purchase properties I would live in myself. That’s the difference between a “Landlord” and a “Slumlord.” A Slumlord would NEVER live in the properties they own. At any rate, I went to work. Well the contractors did. They replaced the carpet, painted the walls, retiled the floors, put in new blinds, gutted the bathrooms, the whole nine yards getting it ready for my impending inspection.


The house passed and I immediately found a tenant. Truth be told, I was hesitant to rent to her. There was something about her presence and the way she handled business that caused me to pause. I should have followed my initial instinct but didn’t and it cost me dearly. What some Landlords have to understand is talking to tenants is similar to an interview. Landlords ask questions. At least I do. I engage them in conversation. The more a Landlord knows about a tenant, the better equipped they are to make an informed decision whether that person may make a good tenant or if the union is a good match. There are always red flags I can spot immediately (however, I’ll save those for a later posting.) When I met this young lady, there was something about her that told me she wouldn’t win my “tidiest tenant” of the year award out of my renters (no, this is not an actual award,) but according to her current apartment manager, she was never late with her rent. She had a 16 year old son and a 9 year old daughter, so that meant no kids with sippy cups spilling Kool Aid on the new carpet or using permanent markers to draw on the freshly painted walls… Or so I thought. What I got was a helluva lot more than I bargained for.

I always offer an alarm system to my clients for their protection, and she “opted out” as I’m assuming the Ozarka drinking water dispenser she had in the house, which I know for a fact is more expensive than maintaining an alarm system, was apparently far more important. Priorities people. But apparently drinking purified spring water trumps being alerted any day of the week that someone is attempting to invade your home, but lets move on. My tenant moved in June 1, 2013 to pretty much a brand new, remodeled home and relinquished possession to me, July 1, 2015, BEAT TO SHIT! That’s the only way I can say it. I always encourage my tenants to schedule a “walk-through” with me before they vacate the premises and turn over the keys so there is no confusion should there be any damages (if any) assessed and deducted from the Tenant’s deposit. Not only did the Tenant not let me know she had vacated the premises 5 days prior to turning over the key, but the property was not secured during that time. Of course you already know who’s responsible for any damages that may have occurred during that period (and Honey, I guarantee you, IT AIN’T ME!) The Tenant was to return ONE front door key, ONE garage door key and ONE garage remote. What I received was ONE front door key and ONE garage opener. The missing key was no big deal. What was a big deal however, is what happened when I had the electricity connected yesterday (thank God for being a “Priority Customer.”) I stopped at the property BEFORE meeting her to pick up the key and the remote she had in her possession, but I couldn’t open the garage using the keypad code OR MY garage remote. WTH? The code worked and I heard the opener moving along the track but why wasn’t the door lifting? I had a hunch but couldn’t confirm until I got inside. On a whim, I check the second garage door. The bay wasn’t even locked so of course the door lifts right up. OH MY SWEET BABY JESUS! Please tell me crackheads have not invaded this property. If they have, this target practice I’ve been getting in at the DFW Gun Range is gonna come in handy CUZ I’M ABOUT TO CLEAR THIS JOINT OUT LIKE THE WALKING DEAD!!!

I step inside, locked and loaded… This is my initial expression:


Clearly I’m ready to choke somebody out. I’ll give you one guess who.

So before I start to assess the damages, What do I do? Gun in hand I began to clear each room. I didn’t think anyone was inside the home, but I couldn’t leave anything to chance (plus as mad as I am, I’m just looking for a reason to shoot at someone right now.) I’ve got to make sure the house is clear. So I move from room to room, “Bedroom one clear. Closet in Bedroom two clear,” Who the hell was I talking to? It didn’t matter, the house was clear so I pulled the safety latch on my gun. Now I begin to look around and am truly disgusted by what I saw.

She made NO ATTEMPTS to clean up. She didn’t even try. She didn’t vacuum. She didn’t mop. The stove was nasty, The vent hood was hanging from the top of the stove, I wouldn’t even put dirty dishes in that filthy dishwasher and let’s not discuss the bathrooms. After the initial shock wore off, I took out my phone and started taking pictures. I’m so glad I left my purse in the truck. I was already itching and surprised not to find all kinds of infestation. My handyman arrived (I don’t know what I’d do without him,) and began securing the windows THREE of which were unlocked, TWO of which were partially open. Someone tried to remove the peephole from the door leading to the garage, the door handle to that same door was bent severely, the carpet was originally a mauve color when the Tenant moved in, but was now a nice dark shade of smut. There was an area in one of her child’s bedrooms where it looked like someone took a letter opener or something with a sharp point and stabbed the wall several times. Ummm, Errrrm. I don’t recall any of the tenants having mental instability or on medication. The thermostat was hanging from the wall by its screws but thankfully still worked and why was it that every ceiling fan only had ONE working light bulb? That’s not even the half of it. As much as I wanted to cry out “Why Jesus!” and fall to my knees, the house was just simply too filthy to touch the floor or carpet for that matter and I was already itching from the moment I walked in. So I just stood there with a look of contempt.


Someone tell me how a home goes FROM THIS…..












I have but one question……

tumblr_inline_nqvxieQeSN1twnruc_540 IMG_7794


How in a TWO YEAR PERIOD does this level of dirt and filth happen? Clearly this is someone who has NO REGARD and NO RESPECT for other people’s property. I was a renter before purchasing my first starter home back in 2000 and I treated that townhome like I owned it. I kept the yard cut, the grass watered and I kept the house clean and tidy. And when it was time for me to move, I tried to leave it in the SAME CONDITION as it was when I moved in (with the exception of normal wear and tear.) Texas law requires the Landlord to return any deposits/sums due within 30 days of the Tenant vacating the property. When I vacated the townhome, I received my deposit the following week. The ENTIRE deposit. Wondering why? Because I cleaned the townhome from top to bottom BEFORE I moved out. I even rented a rug cleaner and cleaned the carpet. But my tenant did none of that. She put forth no effort whatsoever. If I picked up all the pennies that were strewn on the floor throughout the house, I would have AT LEAST fifty cents in my pocket right now.

After turning over the key and remote (at the 7-Eleven where she chose to meet me,) she had the nerve, the gall and the audacity to text me and ask when could she expect her deposit. I’m professional, so I had to compose myself after all suppressing all the expletives floating in my head before responding. I politely let her know under Texas law I had 30 days to return her deposit minus any fees for repairs and I would send her an invoice citing repairs and amounts due along with any remaining deposit amount. Her only response…“Okay.” What else could she say?

I’m not in the business of robbing my tenants, but I’m also not in the business of being taken advantage of and putting up with any foolishness or shenanigans. She will be assessed damages for what she has done to the property and will hopefully take this as an “each one teach one” moment regarding respecting the property of others.

The day is winding down and the best part about it was I went to the salon for my bi-weekly hair appointment. It was the highlight of my day because I’m loving this “sassy do.” of mine. I think I’ll keep it for a while. But as I look back and reflect on yesterday’s fiasco, This situation is truly sad. THIS is the main reason some Landlords shy away or simply refuse to deal with Section 8 Tenants. For some, it’s too much of a headache to deal with. Me? I believe that there are STILL good tenants out there on Section 8 vouchers who WILL take care of your property and who WILL treat it as if it belongs to them. We as Landlords always roll the dice and take our chances with ALL tenants, and because I have faith, I am preparing the property for my NEXT Section 8 Tenant.

~The Financial Hack ©2015.



This should be the last week of you tracking your spending habits for the month. It’s do or die now. Once you have tracked your spending, you can get a better handle on where your money is going. Remember the month I tracked my spending, $500+ dollars was wasted on “eating out.” Once this week ends, do the math and see where the bulk of your money is going. If you see that a considerable amount is being spent on non-essential items, it’s time to ‘get into position to make the completion.” Let me explain what I mean.

I’m a HUGE Dallas Cowboys fan. I’m a huge football fan in general, but for all practical purposes, I’ll use my favorite
team and favorite Dallas Cowboy Wide Receiver Dez Bryant for this illustration:


Before I continue, Yes, this photo is OLD. 2009 to be exact. Yes, I drag this photo out and post it on social media at the start of EVERY SINGLE FOOTBALL SEASON. This picture was taken around the time Dez had just signed with the Cowboys as a rookie and was temporarily living in the same suburb as myself. I met him at a local restaurant. He was walking around with a small entourage and everyone was whispering “That’s Dez Bryant.” I recognized him, stopped him and asked if he wouldn’t mind taking a photo. He was real cool about it. I thanked him and he said “Yes Ma’am.” MA’AM? Now hold on! I don’t look THAT old, not then and certainly not now. Anywhoo, that was six years ago and let me tell you. Dez doesn’t look anything like he does in this photo anymore. Let’s just say milk DOES DO the body good… and as always, I DIGRESS. Hold on while I fan myself. Whew!!! Okay. Back to illustrating my point.

When Dallas Cowboy QB Tony Romo calls a slant route where Dez is the intended receiver, Dez has to be in the RIGHT PLACE at the RIGHT TIME otherwise, he won’t be in position to catch/receive the ball. Here’s what a version of a slant route play looks like to the football enthusiast:


A slant is where a receiver runs straight then hits a 45 degree angle behind defensive linemen to receive a pass. Romo can throw a perfect pass but if Dez isn’t there to receive it, the Cowboys have lost a down or in Romo’s case, there’s a strong possibility he’s thrown an interception. Now let me tie this in to how this relates to YOU:

Financial independence requires DISCIPLINE. Financial independence requires PATIENCE and financial independence involves FOLLOW-THROUGH. These are the same techniques Dez uses on the field that allow him to make “the big plays.” If you want to make the “big plays” and achieve financial independence you must first be DISCIPLINED. That means you may have to sacrifice some things in order to complete the play. You will also have to incorporate PATIENCE into your thought
process. Financial independence doesn’t happen overnight (unless you win the lottery,) and even in some cases, the winners still manage to blow ALL their winnings leaving nothing to show. To make the “big plays” and reach your goal of financial independence, you must FOLLOW-THROUGH. You can’t give up on your goal. If Dez is running too fast, the pass may be thrown behind him, too slow and it may thrown in front of him, but if the timing is just right, he makes
the play, gains some yardage and may even score a touchdown. You don’t need the touchdown just yet. Right now, your goal is to complete passes and continue to gain yardage. Then you’ll complete more passes. And gain even more yardage. Keep completing passes, keep completing tasks, and YOU WILL score the touchdown!

Referee Signaling Score --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

I am so excited for those of you that have actually taken on the task to take charge of your finances by tracking your spending habits and even those who may have just decided to begin this process. It’s never too late to get on board. Touchdowns can happen at anytime during a football game. The same applies to the commitment you’ve made to yourself. The commitment to pull yourself out of debt, the commitment of becoming a better steward of your money, the commitment to make better decisions regarding your finances. The “end zone” awaits.


Consider this posting the “Pep Talk” you get before the “big game.” For those that intend to get in the game, make sure you bring your “A” game. Leave the B, C, D and certainly your “F” game at home.

I hope you benefitted from this posting and I do appreciate you reading it.Your commentary is always important so ALL FEEDBACK IS WELCOMED. If there is a specific topic you’d like me to talk about regarding “Financial Fitness Boot Camp” on this blog, feel free to shoot me an email at Andrea.Coleman@TheFinancialHack.com. Don’t miss a posting so be sure to follow me at http://www.thefinancialhack.com.


~The Financial Hack ©2015


(Previously posted via Tumblr July 22, 2015)


While those who still have 2 ½ weeks left to track their spending for the month, I thought I would share some financial hacks I use to keep me on track with my spending.

1. PAY GOD FIRST: As not to offend anyone, I say pay God FIRST (if applicable.) Not everyone believes in paying tithes or haven’t been taught to trust God with their first fruits, so again I say: PAY GOD FIRST (if applicable.) If this applies to you, you may choose to pay tithes based on your pay schedule. Some people pay tithes monthly as if they would pay their rent or mortgage, others bi-weekly or bi-monthly. Whatever method works for you, give Him what belongs to him FIRST. I guarantee the giving of your first fruits will help you to become a better steward of your money.

2. GIVE YOURSELF A MONTHLY ALLOWANCE: Depending on how much discretionary income you have to work with after determining how/where your money is being spent, give yourself a REALISTIC monthly allowance. It can be weekly or monthly. I prefer a monthly allowance. I withdraw the allowance I’ve set for myself from the ATM at the beginning of each month. Using reloadable Debit Cards work just the same. If that amount is spent BEFORE the end of the month, I’m SOL and have to wait until next month’s allowance. Anything I don’t spend is placed into a savings account. Keep in mind monthly allowances can cover items such as eating out, entertainment, manicures, pedicures, and non-essential items such as clothing, makeup, etc.

One of the things that works for me is using my reloadable Starbucks card. I allow myself $25 each month for my Grande (Venti depending on how late I stayed up the night before) Caramel Macchiato.


I usually save these as a treat and will stop on my way to work Saturday mornings. I always make sure to get a receipt so I know how much is left. NOTE: I NEVER HAVE A CARRYOVER BALANCE. This is a good system for me because at one time I was making Starbucks trips 3-4 times/week and that can add up. Remember…. Financial Fitness requires discipline (there’s that word again.)

3. KEEP YOUR OWN CHANGE: Although banks have the “Keep the change program,” I’ve been keeping my own change. If I grab a couple of breakfast items from the dollar menu at McDonalds, I use my allowance to pay for it. It’s a non-essential item because I could have easily scrambled an egg and made some toast before I left for work. If the cashier asks me in the drive thru if I have two pennies, I’ll say “No” because I want that .98 in change she’s going to give me back. Once my ashtray fills up, I transfer the change into my Crown Royal bag (don’t act like you don’t have one right now full of pennies) until I’m able to separate the change and put it in separate coffee canisters. Remember, I had $240 (well $238.88) I saved up from last year. We’ll see by July 2016 how much change I’ll have saved since I’m using cash much more than my debit card these days.

4. TAKE THOSE CREDIT CARDS OUT OF YOUR WALLET: Leave that Visa, MasterCard, Discover, AmEx, Diners Club Card etc. AT HOME! You don’t need all those cards in your wallet. It may be too tempting for some of you. If you’re bold enough, you’ll take them ALL OUT. Unless you have a reserve amount in your checking account/overdaft protection savings account that’s tied to your checking account, I don’t advise this. CARRY ONE CARD IN YOUR WALLET/POCKETBOOK FOR EMERGENCIES ONLY. You may not be ready to cut the others up, but if you’re serious about deleting credit card debt, you may want to consider it (but we’ll cover credit/credit cards as the weeks proceed as well.) If you have a gas card, leave it at home unless you’re religious about paying the balance in full at the end of each billing period. If you do pay your balance at the end of each month, that’s great. This can actually be a good system for couples who have gas cards issued from the same account. Paying the balance each month  also helps boost your credit score.

Some good advice my Dad gave me regarding credit cards, “If you can’t pay cash for it, then you can’t afford it.” Wise words to live by.

These were just a few financial hacks I could think of off the top of my head. I’m sure others I use will come to mind and I will share them with you as well. As always, I hope you benefitted from this posting and I do appreciate you reading it. Your commentary is also important so ALL FEEDBACK IS WELCOMED. If there is a specific topic you’d like me to talk about regarding “Financial Fitness Boot Camp” on this blog, feel free to shoot me an email at AndreaColeman@TheFinancialHack.com. Don’t miss a posting so be sure to follow me at http://www.thefinancialhack.com.


~The Financial Hack ©2015


(Previously posted via Tumblr July 13, 2015)


Hopefully you’ve started tracking now where your money is going by documenting EVERYTHING you’re spending your money on and recording HONEST, ACCURATE information. Don’t worry. It’s okay if you bought that pair of shoes you didn’t really need. Record it anyway. I downloaded three old school albums and a few additional songs from iTunes last week… but I documented it. Remember, the point of tracking your spending is to notice patterns/trends in your spending habits. As mentioned in my last blog, after a month of tracking my spending habits, I discovered over $500 was being wasted on “eating out.” YIKES!!! It’s under control now. TRUST ME.

If you have decided to track your spending habits for the month, here’s how you can get a head start on becoming “financially fit.”



Now you may be thinking, “How can I start trimming the fat if I’m not done tracking my spending habits for the month?”


You should already know your monthly mortgage amount unless you have an ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage) and if you do, RUN TO YOUR BANK AND REFINANCE QUICK!!! I’ll cover mortgages as the weeks progress. I want to focus on household bills such as electricity, telephone, satellite/cable, and additional household services that can be negotiated. It’s a good practice to sit down and re-evaluate what amounts you’re paying for these services each year. Take your satellite/cable service provider for example. I believe bundle packages (cable, phone and internet) being offered is a great idea, but have you stopped to look at what you’re paying for? Think about it. Do you REALLY have to have the “premium channel package” that includes every movie and sports channel known to man when you only watch a handful of channels that are more than likely offered in the company’s “standard channel package?“ Is it necessary to have “turbo speed” internet connection? Is the information you’re uploading/downloading work-related which would require faster speeds when working from home? These are features that can save you money. I recently switched back to DirecTV and am paying a bill much lower than I was before I left them for Time Warner Cable. Take advantage of satellite/cable company offers. It’s been my experience there’s usually a 12 month commitment which I don’t mind since I don’t plan on going anywhere and if I move I can move the service with me thus, no interruption. By switching back to DirecTV, I am saving approximately $75/month. If you are satisfied with your current provider and do not wish to switch companies, you can always re-negotiate. My favorite line is, “I can’t afford cable anymore, is there anything you guys can do to help me out because I REALLY don’t want to disconnect my service but I may have to.” The satellite/cable providers DO NOT want to lose your business so trust me, they’ll do everything in their power to keep it. Customer Service Reps usually have a lot of leeway and can offer you lower prices on packages and services, BUT YOU WON’T KNOW THEY’RE AVAILABLE UNLESS YOU ASK. The same works with your electricity provider because you can negotiate a lower price per kilowatt hour, for example, lowering your price from 12.4 cents per kilowatt hour to 10.9 cents. It may not seem like a big difference, but every little bit helps. Try it. You’ll be surprised.

NOTE: I prefer to use “average billing” with my electricity provider. This way my bill is the same amount each month. I like to see consistent numbers with my monthly household bills. It’s just a personal preference.

Household services can be negotiated, modified or terminated if necessary. As much as I loved the cleaning service who came every two weeks, I knew if I wanted to save more money, I could no longer keep them. So guess who’s doing the cleaning now? The same person that was doing the cleaning BEFORE someone else started doing it for me. As far as the pool cleaning service I use, I couldn’t let them go however, I’m investing in a pool cover. This way I can save approximately $1200 each year. I should have done this when I first moved in my home, but I just recently started getting REALLY SERIOUS about building up a nice nest egg.

What about your landscaper? I don’t know what you call yours, but I call mine “the yard man.“ At one time, I used to cut my own yard and it looked just like professionals were maintaining it, but that got old pretty quickly. My current landscaper charges me $25 to cut the front and backyard (which is a lot of yard by the way.) But here’s the catch: He’s been my landscaper/yard man for the past 15 years. Bottom Line: Relationships are important. If you have a landscaper you’ve been using for a while, ask to re-negotiate. If you have a great relationship with them, they shouldn’t have a problem coming down on the price.

The household expenses mentioned in this blog were expenses I felt were most basic and necessary to discuss (and were based on my personal re-evaluation/re-negotiation.) Until you get a better picture of your spending habits/trends after the first week of August, you’ll be ready to trim even more fat. It’s gonna get ugly, SO GET READY!!! Let me know how the tracking of your spending habits is coming along. I appreciate the Twitter feedback from @whois_atiya regarding last week’s blog posting. I’m so glad I was able to offer information you found useful. Keep that feedback coming!!!

As always, I hope you benefitted from this posting and I do appreciate you reading it. Your commentary is also important so ALL FEEDBACK IS WELCOMED. If there is a specific topic you’d like me to talk about regarding “Financial Fitness Boot Camp” on this blog, feel free to shoot me an email at Andrea.Coleman@TheFinancialHack.com. Don’t miss a posting so be sure to follow me at http://www.thefinancialhack.com.


~The Financial Hack ©2015


(Previously posted via Tumblr July 7, 2015)


Now that you’ve calculated your net worth, if you’re serious about being financially fit, you need to know how and where your money is flowing. Is your only stream of income your nine to five and/or six to ten, or do you have what I like to call “side hustles” (which really aren’t hustles at all,) just another name I call for a multiple stream(s) of income. It could be anything from selling items on eBay, homemade pastries (cakes, pies and such) or even preparing taxes during tax season. Multiple streams of income could be anything that makes you money. NOTE: If you have a hobby, FIND A WAY TO MAKE MONEY DOING IT!!!

Now back to the the money flow. Sit down and get comfortable, because you may be sitting for a while. Calculate your NET INCOME for the month. This should be fairly easy. Calculate ALL INCOME (including child support.) The only reason I would include child support is because obviously you are using that bi-weekly or monthly income on your child(ren) and not getting your hair/nails done and your weave tightened with Lil Timmy’s money. USE YOUR OWN MONEY FOR THAT. (I’ll talk about saving in a later posting.) Now that you have calculated how much you BRING HOME each month, let’s find out how much is actually GOING OUT each month. This may get a little tricky.


For many, this will require you to track your spending for an entire month. Of course we know the amounts of our mortgages/rent, utilities, household expenses, gas, child/daycare expenses, minimum amounts due on credit cards (hopefully,) etc., but what about the number of times you stopped at Starbucks on the way to work? Or the number of times you and your sorors went out to brunch last month, or those two pair of “Js” you just had to buy because “ya potnahs” got em too? You need to know where your money is going because you may find what’s going out far exceeds what’s coming in.

So how do you track your spending? You can do it the old-fashioned way and get a small notepad to write down amounts you’ve spent. If you’re not good at keeping up with receipts, there are phone apps you can download that can track those amounts for you (although it will take some effort on your part.) If you’re going to track spending, you have to track EVERYTHING from that 35cent pack of Juicy Fruit gum to the first round of drinks that was on you at Friday Night’s Happy Hour. To be ACCURATE, you’ve got to be HONEST. (There’s that word again.) I tracked my spending for one month and discovered I spent over $500 alone eating out. I had no clue I was spending that much money. When you’re single with no children, it’s easier to be frivolous with your money, but spending over $500 eating out is just TOO MUCH (for me anyway.) I put that in check REAL FAST. And to think I could have done so many other things with that money… LIKE LEFT IT IN THE BANK. Once you track your spending habits you will also notice patterns and will quickly be able to determine where you can begin to start “trimming the fat” which we’ll get into as the weeks progress.

So here’s your mission should you decide to take it…. TRACK YOUR SPENDING FOR ONE MONTH. Make a list of EVERYTHING that you’ve paid for during the month from household expenses to non-essential items to that $75 you loaned your Aunt that loves to play bingo Thursday nights: EVERY SINGLE THING. This is where exercising discipline starts. If you’re serious about becoming “Financially Fit,” you’ve got to start by knowing where your money is going. READY. SET. GO!!!!

I hope you benefitted from this posting and I do appreciate you reading it. Your commentary is also important so ALL FEEDBACK IS WELCOMED. If there is a specific topic you’d like me to talk about regarding Financial Fitness Bootcamp on this blog, feel free to shoot me an email at AndreaColeman@TheFinancialHack.com. Don’t miss a posting so be sure to follow me at http://www.thefinancialhack.com.


~The Financial Hack ©2015



(Previously posted via Tumblr July 3, 2015)

Today is July 3rd and I’m already TWO DAYS BEHIND!!! Well, not really because I’ve been working on this plan for a few weeks now and psyching myself up, but I am behind in sharing this plan with you. First off, before we get started, let me give you my disclaimer:

I am NOT a Financial Planner, nor am I in training to become one, nor do I plan on becoming one. My experience comes from trial and error (mostly ERRORS,) but that is how I learned. The information I am providing to you are methods that have proven beneficial to me as I have navigated through my financial journey and continue to do so. Hopefully they will prove beneficial to you as well. Understand, what works for one may not work for all so please bear that in mind. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way and you are dressed in your fatigues and combat boots and hopefully standing at attention, TEN HUT!!! Let’s navigate through Step One of Financial Fitness Boot Camp. This is ALWAYS the easiest:


Net worth is pretty cut and dried. It is determined by subtracting WHAT YOU “OWE” from WHAT YOU “OWN.” This number lets you know whether you are operating “in the red” (meaning what you OWE EXCEEDS the value of what you own) or operating “in the black” (what YOU OWN exceeds the value of that in which you owe.) Any accountant can help you with this, but there are also net worth calculators online that will calculate the amounts for you. I normally conduct a net worth evaluation every 6-12 months depending on if I’ve set a specific goal for myself. It’s strictly up to you to determine how often you choose to do this. What is key to knowing your true net worth is being honest and as thorough as possible. For example, what you own can consist of Real Property (Real Estate,) Vehicles, Money in Savings Accounts, What you stuffed in the mattress, the fireproof safe, Money Market, Retirement Accounts (401K, IRA, Roth IRA, etc.) any stocks, bonds, investments etc. NOTE: When determining my net worth, I usually use the value of my Real Property, KBB Value of my automobiles (because they’re paid for) and any significant amounts in savings accounts and cut it off there.

An accountant will probably want to be more thorough to get a more clearer picture and have you include anything of value such as jewelry, watches (not the Bolex you bought from Ray Ray at the gas station,) designer handbags, furniture, computers/laptops, electronics and the like. When assesing value, be sure to assess MARKET VALUE. If you have a Louis Vuitton you paid $3500 for ten years ago and you got your money’s worth from it, don’t assume someone will be willing to give you the same amount you paid ten years ago. BE ACURATE WHEN ASSESSING VALUE.

When I was selling shoes (sz 9-11) on eBay a few years ago, I would have at any given moment 100+ pairs of shoes in stock. The value of that inventory is obviously an asset if the shoes are paid for. However, if I have an outstanding invoice to pay for those 100+ pairs of shoes, clearly, they become a liability (an amount that I owe) and cannot be claimed as an asset, until after I sell them. I don’t want to get too technical here but you get it. I’m just trying to cover the basics.

Liabilities can include debt of any kind: Mortgages, Car loans, Credit card debt, student loan debt and in some cases debt as a result of receiving medical care are major culprits. When calculating liabilities, be sure to also include any personal loans. Anything that is owed should be added to the list. LEAVE NO STONES UNTURNED.

Once you’ve created your column of assets and your column of liabilities and determined their value, subtract your liabilities from your assets. CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve just determined your approximate net worth. Some of you may be surprised at what you see. Whether you are operating in the red or the black, how you choose to manipulate that number is strictly up to you.

Hopefully after completing STEP ONE of Financial Fitness Boot Camp, you will know whether you want to “soldier up” and tough it out or “punk out” like a little girl and quit!!! Hopefully you’ll be back next week for more. I will tell you. If you’re going to COMMITT, you can’t half-ass this. Not when it comes to YOUR MONEY. Either you’re in, or you’re out. Vacillating in between won’t help you reach your goal(s) so LET’S DO THIS!!!

I hope you benefitted from this posting and I do appreciate you reading it. Your commentary is important so ALL FEEDBACK IS WELCOMED. If there is a specific topic you’d like me to talk about regarding financial fitness bootcamp, feel free to shoot me an email at AndreaColeman@TheFinancialHack.com Don’t miss a posting so be sure to follow me at http://thefinancialhack.com.


~The Financial Hack ©2015


FFBC Change

(Previously posted via Tumblr July 2015)

GEARING UP FOR FINANCIAL FITNESS BOOT CAMP: While some of you may be laughing, I just counted and am depositing $240 IN CHANGE into a savings account. I KEEP MY OWN CHANGE… And look at how it pays off!! Committing to “Keeping Your OWN Change” is a great way to start Financial Fitness Boot Camp.

~The Financial Hack ©2015