Showing posts with label Debt Free Guys. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Debt Free Guys. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Debt Free Guys: 3 Ways to Become Debt Free Faster

By John R. Schneider, III & David Auten

Interest rates compound on themselves and the reverse savings and investing make is harder to become debt free. As a leading concern for the queer community, here’s what can be done to lower the cost of debt and become debt free faster.

We were paying about $10,000 a year on interest payments on $51,000 worth of credit card debt. That’s a few nice vacations a year, 400 $25 bottles of wine a year or 33 pairs of $300 jeans.

When we paid off that debt, we essentially gave ourselves a $10,000 raise. We mostly used the Debt Lasso below to stop paying high interest payments and put that savings towards our debt.

Lassoing credit card debt  

The Debt Lasso wrangles your interest rates down as low as possible, ideally 0%. Negotiating a lower interest rate on existing debt is possible, but hard. That’s why the second and most productive Debt Lasso step for credit cards is maximizing 0% interest rate promotions.

We first contacted all our credit card companies to lower our interest rates. Some agreed, even if it took some convincing.

Next, we took advantage of 0% interest rate credit card promotions with no annual fees. When we found such offers, we’d calculate the cost and consequences of a balance transfer. This meant reading a lot of fine print and understanding what we read.

Most 0% interest rate credit card promotions last between six and 18 months. We chose the longer terms to minimize balance transfer fees. Then, we hustled to pay off our debt as fast as possible. When one card was paid off, we put more money towards our remaining debt and repeated this until we were debt free.

Refinancing car loans
There are many reasons to refinance your car loan. The first is if today’s rates are lower than your current rate. Another is if your credit score has improved since you took out your loan.

To refinance car a loan, use a credit union. When we decided to pay off our two car loans, we looked everywhere for better rates and terms and nothing beat credit unions.

The credit unions we talked with were more interested in our personal situation and goals than banks were. Also, the credit unions were open to consolidating two loans into one.

Refinancing mortgage debt
Refinancing mortgage debt makes sense under certain conditions. People too often refinance mortgage debt and lower their month-to-month payments but pay more because of extended terms. Likewise, refinance fees can make refinancing mortgage debt cost-prohibitive.

With rates at historic lows for the last decade, only refinance mortgage debt if the refinance fees make sense and you can keep your term less than 15 years.

Once you’re debt free, don’t go into debt again. When we first paid off our $51,000 of debt, we went through a couple spells when we got into debt again – not $51,000 worth – but it took a few tries to stay 100% debt free.

Become debt free and stay debt free.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Debt Free Guys: 5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score in 2018

By John R. Schneider, III & David Auten

Want to save thousands of dollars? Improving your credit score could save you thousands of dollars over your lifetime that could be used for more important things than high-interest payments.

First, it helps to first know what a credit score is. Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) is the most commonly used credit scoring system. FICO uses a point scale from 300 to 850 to grade your creditworthiness. Your FICO score is a grade that tells lenders how likely you are to pay a loan back in full and on time.

The higher your credit score the better for you. The average credit score in the U.S. is 636 and the median score at 723.

How do you fix your credit score?

1. Pay your bills on time

By 35%, the biggest component of a credit score is payment history, that is how good or bad you are with paying your bills. Good payment habits show that you’re a good credit risk, so always pay all your bills on time and in full.

2. Lower your credit utilization ratio
Your credit utilization is the amount of revolving debt you have divided by your available credit. Borrowers who use less than 30% of their available credit are less risky. So, get your credit utilization below 30%.

3. Clean your credit report 

Because of identity theft, human error and robots, you might have inaccurate marks on your credit report. Fix these errors and your credit score will improve immediately.

Go to or call 1-877-322-8228 annually to get free copies of your credit reports from all three credit agencies (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian). Review each credit score for accuracy and contest errors, including misspelled names, incorrect addresses and false claims.

Proceed with caution. If you have a history of collection attempts, you may open the floodgates with debt collectors contacting you.

It’ll take time to receive your reports and file corrections, but it’s worth it when your credit report is clean and your credit score improves.

4. Don’t apply for more credit
Don’t open a new credit card account. Don’t apply for a loan. Don’t get a new apartment, and don’t do anything else that’ll cause your credit score and history to be checked for six to 12 months.

FICO is notified every time your credit report is pulled and too many pulls adversely affect your credit score. A six to 12-month hiatus will improve your score.

5. Get a secured credit card
Not to be done in tandem with tip four, open a secured credit card account, use it once a month and pay it off in full immediately. Although the fees may be high, this will improve your credit history. When your credit score is creditworthy, close your secured credit card.

Anyone can fix their credit score. The best way to repair a credit score is to prove your creditworthiness. So, pay your bills on time and don’t overextend yourself.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Debt Free Guys: How to Talk About Money with Your Partner

By David Auten and John Schneider, the Debt Free Guys

Now that we can get married, LGBTQ people see the need to talk about money with their partner. Why’s it hard to talk about money with your significant other and how can you overcome that?

Capital One found that 75% of Americans who have ever been in a serious relationship said setting financial goals with a partner is harder than going it alone. However, 63% prefer to manage household finances with a partner.

Let’s make talking about money easier.

Understand their money emotions

Before approaching a partner or spouse about money, understand that their feelings about money won’t mirror yours. Everyone carries baggage about how much money we earn, how much we have and what we can afford.

We tie our self-worth to our net worth and our income. If our net-worth or income is small or non-existent, we feel like we’re not contributing our fair share or that we’re a drag on the relationship.

Many of us grew up when it was bad to talk about money, suggesting that money is bad. We carry this belief into adulthood and pass it onto our children.

Approach the money talk with this understanding and empathy.

Blame Queer Money

To keep the conversation neutral, blame us. Tell your partner that you hear from us that couples should talk about money, that couples who manage their money together do better with their money.

If you bring up a recent incident with your financial situation or your current financial condition as the reason for this talk, your partner may not be receptive because they’re already upset.


When talking about money, focus first on the positive. People love dreaming and hoping for bigger and better things. Remember the last time you bought a lottery ticket? The best part was dreaming about what you’d do with your millions.

Start there. Share your biggest dreams. What is on your bucket lists? Where do you want to travel? If you could buy one thing regardless of cost, what would it be?

Beginning this way will start the conversation positively.

Talk about what you need to achieve your dreams

Once you’ve talked about your dreams, talk about what it will take to make them real. This exercise invites you to talk about what’s keeping you from your dreams.

Must you increase your incomes? Do you need to save more, spend less or invest more?

If approached properly, your partner will admit to or agree with the blockers keeping you from your dreams.

Figure out how to achieve your dreams

Finally, talk about what you’re willing to do to make your dreams come true. Even if you only work towards one dream, create a plan to move toward it. Start with small steps. As you progress and check-in with your partner, and then make bigger steps.

Talking about money shouldn’t be taboo or hard. As with marriage, the money conversation is new to us. That doesn’t mean we can’t do it.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Debt Free Guys: What Will Happen If You Don't Change?


Are you drowning in debt? Are you scared for retirement? What’s your credit score? The data show that the queer community’s struggling with all these questions and more. Statistically, this includes you.

What should you do? First, watch subscribe to the Debt Free Guys' YouTube channel. After that:
• Download their Hopes & Dreams Worksheet:

• Download their Financial Blockers Worksheet: • Download their What Are You Willing To Do? Worksheet:

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Debt Free Guys: 4 Keys to Winning the MidLife Career Change

It seems every generation wants a midlife career change earlier than the generation before them. A recent study shows that 73 percent of the 30-somethings want a new career, up from 64 percent in 2013. Another study shows that 80 percent of 20-somethings already want a new career. What should these job hoppers know? The Debt Free Guys talked with recent midlife career changer, Brian Thompson, about his switch from being a successful tax attorney to becoming a Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) for LGBTQ couples.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Debt Free Guys: Why ALL Queer People Need Life Insurance

On this episode of Queer Money, the Debt Free Guys talk about how today’s life insurance is not your father’s life insurance and why all queer people need it. They’re joined by Mark Sayre, Underwriting Product Manager for HavenLife, who tells us all we need to know to get the right life insurance.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Meet the Debt Free Guys


Despite having had thirteen years of experience working in financial services, the Debt Free Guys were financial messes. They were two thirty-something financial services professionals with $51,000 of combined credit card debt, living in a basement apartment. After reaching rock-bottom, they crawled out of debt and now use their personal and professional experience to help others achieve financial independence.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Meet the Debt Free Guys


Despite having had thirteen years of experience working in financial services, the Debt Free Guys were financial messes. They were two thirty-something financial services professionals with $51,000 of combined credit card debt, living in a basement apartment. After reaching rock-bottom, they crawled out of debt and now use their personal and professional experience to help others achieve financial independence.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Debt Free Guys: 4 Principles of a Debt Free Life in 4 Weeks


The Debt Free Guys can help you master the tools you need to increase your financial strength.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Debt Free Guys: 10 Answers to Help You Conquer Your Debt


On September 20th, Denver's Debt Free Guys hosted Experian #CreditChat where they shared their story of getting out of $51k in credit card debt and use 10 questions provided by Experian to help find the tools, tips, and tricks that will allow you to conquer debt.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Debt Free Guys: How to Become an LGBTQ Entrepreneur

By the Debt Free Guys

There are two reasons why you need to become an entrepreneur. The first is that 80% of millionaires are first-generation millionaires. The second reason is more altruistic than the first. We need more queer leaders in both the private and public sectors. There’s a lot of discussion about diversity and inclusion in the workplace today, and most of those debates are being led by those who haven’t had the same experiences and challenges as those of us who are LGBTQ.

How can you become an entrepreneur?

Become a blogger

Everyone today should consider starting a blog. Blogs are replacing resumes in some circles.

Blogs can lay the foundation of entrepreneurship. You can work out your ideas and develop your brand. Write to improve your writing. Your blog will introduce clients, customers and business partners to you. Your blog will make clear who you are and how you serve.

Join the Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce

You’ll want to join the Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce for two reasons. The first is that you’ll connect with local LGBTQ prospects and business partners with whom you may be able to partner or from whom may find other clients and business partners.

Secondly, local chambers of commerce have knowledge and resources, especially about local queer communities. Your other members will be useful resources for overcoming challenges.

Become a member of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce  

After you join the Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, join the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). Most local LGBTQ chambers are affiliates of the NGLCC. The Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce is an NGLCC affiliate. Therefore, you’ll get a discount on a national membership.

Connect with queer groups in LinkedIn & Facebook  

For some of the same reasons you join the Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce and NGLCC, join LGBTQ groups on LinkedIn and Facebook. Join entrepreneur and business-related groups and groups that have members who may be good business partners or clients. Keep it a two-way relationship. Engage with and support others before trying to do or promote your business.

Apply for LGBTQ-friendly business grants  

Some companies need capital-assistance to get started. If yours is a LGBTQ-owned business, it’ll be helpful to use business subsidies available to our community to start or support your business.

Do a Google search, and you’ll find numerous local, state and national-level grants., which partners with the NGLCC, shares updated queer-friendly grant information, as well.

Applying for and winning such awards isn’t easy, but because of the size of some grants, it may be worth it.

Don’t quit

Becoming an entrepreneur, queer, straight or otherwise, isn’t easy. There will be times when it’s downright hard. Don’t quit!

As motivational speaker Jim Rohn’s once said, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” Prepare for the struggle and don’t give up.

Now get started and join the entrepreneur-class.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Debt Free Guys: 7 Ways Queer People Can Add More Security to Their Relationships

By David Auten and John Schneider, the Debt Free Guys

We’re getting a lot of emails from readers concerned about their financial security and same-sex marriages under the current administration. As Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Brian Thompson of Brian Thompson Financial, says, “With so much uncertainty as to what the future holds for our marriage and civil rights, you need a comprehensive financial plan.” 

Below are extra precautions to include in your comprehensive queer money plan to protect you and your partner or spouse, especially at the end of your lives. These steps should be taken when you’ve decided with whom you want to spend the rest of your life, whether you learn that at 25 or 65.

Set up a joint tenant with rights of survivorship with your partner
Put all your assets with you partner in a Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship, also known as Joint Tenancy. Joint tenancy means that when one partner passes away, the other automatically and wholly owns of all their assets under the Joint Tenancy. A Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship gives legal protection from other parties’, such as surviving parents or siblings, claims to your assets.

Use Tom Doyle of New York City as a lesson. Because the proper legal measures weren’t taken, including marriage, Doyle may be evicted from the West Village home he and his partner, Bill Cornwell, lived in for 55 years. Doyle and Cornwell didn’t sign the legal documents that would’ve made them both equal owners of Cornwell’s house. Now Cornwell’s nieces and nephew are trying to take possession of their home.

Common law marriage may save Doyle, as marriage would have, but a Joint Tenancy would’ve provided extra protection should a party claim his marriage void.

Each partner should draft a will
Each partner or spouse should draw a will that details the owner of your assets should you pass away. 

Unless you agree otherwise, your wills should inherit your assets to each other.
In the unfortunate event that you both pass away at or about the same time, include a per stirpes clause. A per stirpes clause outlines the sequence of inheritors should the first heir not be alive. Per stirpes clauses are especially helpful for blended families with children from different relationships. 

Your wills should designate an executor to manage or oversee the division of your estates. Unless there’s a reason not to do so, each partner should be the other’s executor.

Establish and annually confirm beneficiaries
Update all the beneficiaries on all your accounts to match your will unless you and your partner or spouse agree otherwise. Beneficiary designations trump wills. Therefore, your will designating your current partner or spouse as the heir to your assets does not supersede beneficiary designations you assigned before your current relationship. 

This technicality catches many people by surprise. Therefore, we recommend verifying and updating your beneficiaries annually, as necessary, when you file your taxes and check your fire alarms.

Buy life insurance
We often only think of life insurance when we start families, but today’s life insurance does more than help partners, spouses and family members when we pass away.

One of many ways life insurance can help is that it protects against creditors.
Debts won’t disappear when you pass away. Depending on the type of debt you have and your financial situation, your partner or spouse be left repaying your loans. Help them by getting life insurance to help pay off your debts after you pass away. 

Another valuable way life insurance can help is with your medical care.

Healthcare can take as much as 30% of one’s retirement savings. Queer people who haven’t saved appropriately are at risk of not having enough money to pay for end-of-life care. Life insurance with an accelerated death benefit rider provides payments to cover medical care in certain “critical” circumstances. 

Consider purchasing long-term care insurance
While we’re on the topic of insurance, most LGBTQ people should consider purchasing
long-term care insurance(LTCI). LTCI is one of the more complex parts of medical care because it requires the physical labor of others. LTCI can range from help at home with basic needs, such as cooking and eating, to assisted living to help with a person's day-to-day physical well-being.

Talk with your financial planner or healthcare provider. 

Designate powers of attorney
Partners should designate each other as both financial and medical powers of attorney. A financial power of attorney appoints an agent, your partner, to manage your financial matters. A medical power of attorney designates an agent to take care of your medical needs. 

Both powers of attorney will be either durable or springing. A durable power of attorney authorizes your partner to immediately act on your behalf, including if you become temporarily or permanently incompetent or incapacitated. It does, however, cease when you pass away. 

A springing power of attorney authorizes an agent to act on your behalf only if you become permanently incapacitated, as determined by a medical doctor. It, too, ceases when you pass away. 

Establish living wills
Both partners should establish living wills. Living wills outline medical wishes, including end-of-life wishes, if you can no longer speak for yourself. Your living wills should include whether you want to be resuscitated or designate DNR for “do not resuscitate.” You may, also, include specifications on the use of feeding tubes, respirators, dialysis and blood transfusions.

Gifting your partner or spouse clarity on your end-of-life wishes will make any end-of-life decisions they must make a little easier.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Debt Free Guys: How Can I Attract More Money?


Ever wonder how you can attract more money into your life? If you found out would you be willing to follow through? This Queer Money episode will show you how. Are you willing to do it?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Debt Free Guys: 4 Keys to Winning the MidLife Career Change


It seems every generation wants a midlife career change earlier than the generation before them. A recent study shows that 73 percent of the 30-somethings want a new career, up from 64 percent in 2013. Another study shows that 80 percent of 20-somethings already want a new career.

What should these job hoppers know? The Debt Free Guys talk with recent midlife career changer, Brian Thompson, about his switch from being a successful tax attorney to becoming a Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) for LGBTQ couples.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Debt Free Guys: Small Changes


This highlight clip from Queer Money Episode 3 shows how small changes are the best way to make big changes financially.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Debt Free Guys: Better Living Through Podcasts

Check out the Queer Money Podcast, the only show designed to help our LGBT community do better financially and become successes in all areas of our lives.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Debt Free Guys: 4 Keys to Winning the Mid-life Career Change


How do you prepare for a mid-life career change? Here's a few suggestions. Check out the full episode for much, much more!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Debt Free Guys: How to Talk with Your Partner about Money When It's Hard to Talk about Money


Do you struggle to talk to your husband or wife about money? If so, you're not alone. The Debt Free Guys had that question from a listener to our podcast and take the time to answer his question and give you two tools to help kick-start the conversation.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Debt Free Guys: How to Plan for Retirement When You’ve Delayed Planning for Retirement

By John R. Schneider, III & David Auten

In its 2012 LGBT Financial Experience Study, Prudential reported that LGBT respondents about their most pressing financial concern, the most common response was “retirement.” Respondents to Prudential’s 2016-2017 Study were “less likely to have started saving or investing for retirement . . . than those surveyed in 2012.”

Success is still ours. What can younger queer people do today to prepare for retirement with time on their side? What can older queer people do when they feel they’re in crunch mode?

Pay off debt
The number two financial concern of the queer community is paying down debt. Debt anchors our future to our past, so don’t sacrifice tomorrow for today.

Many retirees today are finding it harder to survive on retirement savings and Social Security because they have too much debt. For example, 30% of Americans 65 and older had mortgage debt in 2011. In 2001, only 22 percent of Americans 65 and older had mortgage debt. If you’re young with a low-interest rate mortgage loan, it may not make sense to pay off your debt instead of saving for retirement. But, have no mortgage debt by retirement.

Likewise, the Government Accountability Office reported in 2016 that Americans 50 years of age and older are having Social Security checks garnished to repay long-held, defaulted student loans. To avoid future garnishment of your Social Security checks, make paying off your student loans a priority.

Grow your cash flow
Robert Kiyosaki, of Rich Dad/Poor Dad, says wealth is when you have enough investment income to cover your expenses. There are three ways to create and grow investment income.

First, there are paper assets: stocks, bonds, mutual funds. Second, there are real estate investments, whether paper assets through REITs or physical properties. Then, there are personally owned businesses.

Todd Tresidder of The Financial Mentor believes that with this three-pronged approach, even those who have waited until their 40s or 50s to prepare for retirement can adequately prepare for retirement.

Get a financial planner
If you don’t have a financial planner, get one. Prudential’s 2026-2017 study showed that fewer queer people use a financial planner than the general population. However, an HSBC study showed that individuals with a financial planner have nearly 29% more in retirement income wealth than those without one.

To be sure, having a financial planner won’t make you rich, but not having a financial plan may cost you thousands over your lifetime. A 2012 CFP (Certified Financial Planners™) Board study showed that “the more extensively households plan, the better prepared they are financially in terms of their likelihood of saving, investing, and managing credit card debt.”

If you’ve procrastinated on retirement planning, don’t procrastinate any longer. By focusing on these three areas, you can make your biggest impact on your financial future. Whether you’re younger or older, though, starting your financial planning now is always the best strategy.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Debt Free Guys: Take Pride in Your Money

By John R. Schneider, III & David Auten

Cities across the country are showing their Pride this month, as queer people embrace our pride. But, taking pride in who we are is more than one parade a year. It’s a 365-day practice taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally, mentally and financially.

As for the latter, our community has two concerns: the need to pay off debt and the need to save for retirement.

Missing our Financial Pride
Prudential’s 2012 and 2016 LGBT Financial Experience Surveys show that over half of the queer community consistently maintains $10,000 or more of debt, slightly more than the general population. Likewise, LGBT respondents to the 2016 survey were “less likely to have started saving or investing for retirement, to have insurance products, and to have a will or estate plan than those [LGBT respondents] surveyed in 2012 or general population respondents.”

How We Can Have More Money Pride 

It’s important for all LGBT people to take at least as much pride in our money as we do in being ourselves.

Build an Emergency Savings Account
If you don’t have an emergency savings account, save at least $500 before you do anything else. Once you do this, you’ll be better prepared to withstand unexpected emergencies or expenses.

When you do this, you’ll have money in case you miss work, get in an accident or exceed your data limit. This will benefit your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.

Get on a Debt Payment Plan
The most important step to take to pay off your debt, whether student loans, credit cards or another type of loan, is to get on a debt payment plan. Whatever interest rate you’re paying on your debt is too much.

Ways to pay down your debt include the Snowball Method, which says to pay off your smallest balances first and incrementally focus on larger debts. There’s the Avalanche Method that says to pay off your highest interest rate debt first. There’s, also, the Debt Lasso Method that says to gets your interest rates as low as possible, including 0% with some credit cards, and pays off your debt as fast as possible.

Contribute to a Retirement Account
Open a 401(k), 403(b), SEP or SIMPLE IRA through your company. These usually include a corresponding match of your contribution by your employer up to a certain dollar amount. Contribute enough to get 100% of your employer’s match.

Open a Roth IRA. Roth IRAs let you contribute up to $5,500 a year ($6,500 if you’re over 50 years old) with no lifetime maximum. Be careful of minimum balance fees.

Because of the additional and unique challenges the LGBT community faces, we must take extra care of ourselves and our financial lives. Pride is a celebration of who we are and a reminder of how far we’ve come. It’s, also, a good time to gauge how we’re doing individually and how we can improve in the next 365 days to achieve a whole new level of pride.