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Writers and Money Mondays
Today’s article; 3 Financial Tips You Can Use TODAY to Ensure a Healthier Future
I’m starting something new. You don’t typically see ‘money’ as a writerly concern on the blogosphere, but what concerns most writers the most (aside from getting published, etc.)? Money! Rent, groceries, car payments, kids, all the usual financial stuff.
So, hang with me just a minute for a little backstory.
For over thirty-five years I wrote, talked, taught, and preached about money and how the handling of it, and conversations surrounding it impacts relationships. In my long running advice column, Romance & Money I helped people navigate difficult questions about money and romance/relationships. In an interview on dating I did with MSN Money Magazine, I warned women about flashy spending men;
“Beware of the big spender.” Interview on MSN Money Magazine.
It’s important that the cost of the gift your date gives you matches what you know about his or her income, says Mindy Sitton-Halleck, a Seattle-based Credit Counselor and Mortgage Executive, author of Romance & Money; 12 Conversations Every Couple Should Have and a financial advice column for bridal magazines.
“If you’ve been together for a little while and you’re having a candlelight dinner, I would take a careful look at what the other person brings to the table,” Sitton-Halleck says. “If she buys you a Rolex, that would suggest she may not make good choices with her money, not to mention that she might be desperate. Or if he gives you three dozen roses instead of a single stem, that’s a big red flag. When someone is being a really flashy spender, that to me is a big neon sign warning you to be careful. You want the man who brings the less expensive bouquet.”
Halleck acknowledges that being level-headed when someone is trying to impress you is not easy.
“We all want to be swept off our feet by Prince Charming, but you have to ask, does the Prince really own that horse he came in on, or is he just leasing?”
In my non-fiction book (out of print) Romance & Money, I covered every topic from date spending, divorce, credit reports, money bandits to spendthrifts and identity theft between partners. All the experience packed into that book was derived from real life experience as a credit counselor and mortgage professional. Every example in the book was based on a real life instance, many happening numerous times.
Money, the lack of and the desire for what it could do for my life became a passion after I filed bankruptcy at the age of 28. I came from a financially unfortunate family who had no concept of the world of money, saving, investing, planning or preventing disaster. Frankly, what they had was a skill set that ensured the opposite came true.
I wanted more. So I set out to learn, and learn I did. Ultimately it became my career, my ongoing conversation, and the thing people cornered me at cocktail parties to talk about.
But then, around 2000 I changed course in life and told myself I’d never talk with people about their money matters again. I resigned from my career and turned to writing full time. The arts were all I was going to focus on. I grew dedicated to fiction writing and believed I’d left the financial advice world behind me.
Thing is, writers have SERIOUS money issues and I kept getting pulled back into those conversations. SO, and here’s why you hung with me for the backstory, I’m going back to what I know best, for one day a week.
On Mondays, I’ll answer your fundamental questions about money, finances, and how to succeed financially as a writer. Just the basics, no investing advice, lots of disclaimers, and don’t ask me how to get a cheap divorce, file bankruptcy or find an arts benefactor.
If you have questions about your credit report, an attitude toward money that may be keeping you from your dreams, or how to run your writing career like a business instead of a lemonade stand, then send me your questions and if I have something half-way intelligent to say, I will post your answer with (or without—up to you) your name and a link to your social media.
Tip One: Order your credit report annually for FREE at this site
Why? Even if you have a credit-bandit history and your credit wouldn’t get a loan for a pencil and pad of paper, you should do this because there are people (real bandits) who steal credit and identities all the time. There are people out there WAY smarter than you and me who can pinch your identity, scrub your credit report, build some fake credit and compile some very real debt that will be owed by YOU. So imagine this; because you never looked at your credit report so you didn’t know someone opened 6 department store credit cards with 29% interest in your name. You’re now $60,000.00 in debt. There is a very sad end to this story that could have been prevented by ordering a FREE credit report.
Do tip one ESPECIALLY if you have good credit. Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the world. “Identity fraud hits new victim every two seconds.” Javelin Strategy & Research
When I first started harping on my clients about this issue it was the mid 1990s identity theft was a rumor on the far off horizon–always happening to someone else. Back then, half my clients were attorneys, and attorneys think they can get out of anything –which is what I love about them. Four of my wise-all-knowing-barrister clients had their identity stolen and it took YEARS to prove they didn’t owe the amounts charged to them, and or that they never went to Puerto Rico, or that they never gave their ex-wives those credit cards. So, guard your credit with your life. Protect your future and your finances by ordering a free credit report. You are NOT too busy to do this – that’s the usual excuse. Just do it! And for god’s sake create strong passwords – ‘crazykat’ is not a strong password.
“FREE Credit Reports. Federal law allows you to: Get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company. Ensure that the information on all of your credit reports is correct and up to date.” https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action
Many writers believe they will never make money with their art, or they will never have or deserve good credit, or
that anything financial makes their heads hurt.
This makes me sad.
Why? Because we all have money/financial issues (good & bad) and because this attitude is often cell deep and
difficult to overcome. “Money is evil” “My family has always been poor” “Starving artist is my identity” “I don’t deserve…” or conversely and equally damaging “Money is everything!” “Credit is just a vehicle to more stuff” and so on.
So tip three is to check your attitude about money. What are your core beliefs? Find your money personality, check out this informative site at EruptingMind.com
Writerly tip: If you can’t or won’t deal with your attitudes about money, then transfer said attitudes to a fictional character and write about his/her first experiences with money and how those experiences shaped their beliefs. I’ll write more, much more, about these core beliefs in the upcoming Writers & Money Monday series.
Follow me on twitter, and sign up for my newsletter. See you next Monday!
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By Miri Elm
(re)Living History, with occasional attempts at humor and the rare pot-luck subject. Sorry, it's BYOB. All I have is Hamm's.
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