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AmpleLife Aims To Boost Financial Literacy With A Little Bit Of Knowledge

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When Quienna Davis started her credit repair business, AmpleLife Strategies, in October 2019, it didn’t take long to figure out its mission, which she views as helping people build a positive relationship with money, by changing how they handle it.

“We really break down how you feel about bills, about financial decisions – are they getting you where you’re trying to go? If not, it’s time to take an honest look,” Davis said. “I’m letting them know, ‘I’ve been here, done that,’ and there is so much more freedom and prosperity on the other side, if you just make some different decisions. That’s what I push my clients to do.”

It’s a philosophy that comes from seeing how African-American households deal with money, which is often a nerve-wracking experience, Davis notes. “A lot of times, in our community, the first exposure to money is seeing parents stressed about a bill in the mail, or a bill collector calling. You walk right into the financial trauma of, ‘Oh, no, my bills are due,’ because you didn’t start with a strong foundation, and have a positive relationship with money.”

“This Is Not Working”
Davis knows the feeling well, as a young mother who gave birth to her first child, six months before turning 16 – followed by four more throughout her twenties. In that time, she dealt with all the pitfalls that accompany poor credit, from “buy here, pay here” car deals, to piling up credit card debt, and poor housing situations.

Eventually, Davis and the man she married moved in 2010 from Benton Harbor, to Atlanta, GA, hoping for a new beginning there. “Our credit was so shot, that we had to rent from private landlords that didn’t care,” Davis recalls. “Literally, they just wanted money. They didn’t care about things falling apart, and because of that, it made me start thinking, ‘We got to do something different. This is not working.’”

The couple began by moving into a smaller apartment by 2017, to cut costs. While Davis’s husband held two jobs, she began researching online, for tips to turn their financial situation around. She eventually joined Dream Catchers, a Facebook financial literacy page, and implementing its advice. By the end of 2018, the couple’s situation had improved enough to apply for a house, which also coincided with her daughter starting a real estate career.

“I promised my daughter we’d be her first customers, if she got her real estate license. We were able to get approved for a $300,000 home. She passed her test, and she became our real estate agent. By March 22, 2019, we were at the closing table – it was amazing. Once we closed, I had several people asking, ‘How did you do it? What should I do?’ And I started giving people advice,” Davis said. “I had clients waiting on me, because I had already shared my journey, so people were ready.”

Building A Stronger Community
Davis has opened an AmpleLife Michigan office at 201 Hilltop Road, St. Joseph, and plans to offer a mobile financial workshop, to help people drill down on topics like paying down debt, or preparing for home ownership. Her other projects include a second Facebook page, It’s The Savings For Me 2021, which encourages members to save $5 per day, and eventually, $1,825 for the year.

She’s also started AmpleLife Financial Strategies, Inc., a nonprofit that will focus on improving African-American financial literacy. One of its objectives is to have neighborhood book boxes, with financial literacy material for all ages, that people can share. She’s raised $800 to buy the first box, and materials, and is looking for a location to house them.

“My biggest objective for AmpleLife Michigan is to leave footprints of impact. I want to see mindset change. If you begin to change minds, before you know it, we’ll be building land, rebuilding homes, and beautifying our community. If you accomplish something, it really creates something inside of you, ‘I want to pursue something else.’ I just want to change the narrative,” she said.

Davis is also reaching out to young people, through a financial literacy class tailored for them – starting Friday, July 30, at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor, 600 Nate Wells Sr. Drive, Benton Harbor. Topics will include the basics of building credit, how to read credit reports, and protect against identity theft, which Davis will also cover on a private Facebook group that she plans to offer.

“We’re going to have reverse engineer in our community, honestly, because some of the parents – they’ve ruined their credit, or they’re redoing theirs right now,” Davis said. “So we need to get the kids to have stronger credit, and then, they can piggyback their parents a long way.”
“I Chose My Own Path”
That type of “reverse engineering,” as Davis calls it, is the first step in building a better relationship with money – so people can avoid familiar traps, like getting stuck in a cycle of paying double-digit interest rates on credit cards, or taking out payday advance loans. Davis charges $50 per month for her services, to make them affordable, and also, “because the people that need it the most, don’t know that they need it the most,” she said.
“Some people say, ‘I need to make more money,’ but if you’re having mismanagement with little money, you’ll have mismanagement with big money. Whether you work a part-time job at McDonald’s, or a full-time executive at Whirlpool, people at any position can live from paycheck to paycheck. It doesn’t matter,” Davis said.

But lack of financial literacy is just one problem that Davis sees. “Many times, it’s about prioritization. I’m seeing people that spend $150, $200, $300, for one day, on fireworks – they’ll say, they don’t have that money. So it’s not that you can’t do it, it’s just that it’s not a priority.”

Whatever the situation, Davis offers herself as a caring adviser, who’s ready to help with her own hard-earned knowledge. “I’m 46, and it just became to real to me in the last five years,” Davis said. “Mainly, I attribute it to a change in mindset. I chose my own path – I wanted to do things my way. Basically, I tell my story as empowerment. I don’t like to do a ‘woe is me’ type of thing – that’s not the whole point. My journey has empowered me, and I like to share with a vibe of empowerment. That’s very important to me.”

For more information about AmpleLife, visit amplelifestrategies.com, or contact Davis at (470) 699-4513.



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Dave says: If you need a cosigner, you're not ready – Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

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How to improve your credit score in 2021: Easy and effective tips

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If you’ve ever wondered “What is my credit score?” it’s probably time to find out. Having a good credit score can make life a lot more affordable. If you’re about to buy a house or car, for example, the higher your credit score is, the lower your interest rate (and therefore, monthly cost) will probably be.

Your number may also be the deciding factor for whether or not you can get a loan and ultimately determine if you are even able to buy something you want or need.

So, yes, the goal is to have the highest possible credit score you can, but increasing the number doesn’t just happen overnight. There are important steps to take if you want to increase your score, and the sooner you start working on it, the better.

“If you’re trying to increase (your credit score) substantially to accomplish a goal, you’re really going to have to have as much lead time as possible,” said Thomas Nitzsche, director of media and brand at Money Management International, a nonprofit financial counseling and education provider that advises people on how to legally and ethically improve their credit score on their own.

If you have fair credit and you’re trying to improve the number for a house purchase, for instance, you’ll want to start working on it at least a year in advance, he explained to TMRW.

But even though that sounds like a long time away, you can (and should!) start doing things right now to bump that number up. Below, see seven things you should do — and not do — to help improve your credit score:

1. Review your credit report

Review your credit report and look for errors that might be hurting your score. Morsa Images / Getty Images

The first thing you’ll want to do is pull up a copy of your current report so you know where you stand. You can get free reports from all three agencies — TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax — at annualcreditreport.com. Nitzsche said it’s important to take a moment and understand the financial snapshot of where you are today and where you want to be.

You’ll also want to take some time and look for any errors on your report, which could negatively impact your score. “If your name is misspelled, that’s not going to hurt your score,” he explained. “But if you see a late payment or missed payment (that’s in error), or maybe you have an account that should be reporting but isn’t, then that’s a problem and that will impact your score.”

If there is an error, you should dispute it and try to provide as much proof as you can.

One other thing: You can also ask a creditor to remove an issue if it’s been corrected (i.e., if you paid off a collection debt). Nitzsche said it doesn’t hurt to ask and the worst thing they could say is no.

2. Have good financial habits

“The biggest part of your credit score is payment history, so the most critical thing is never missing a due date,” Nitzsche said. Set up a monthly autopay or add all due dates to your calendar so you never miss a bill.

You can also achieve a higher score when you mix different types of accounts on your credit report. It may seem counterintuitive to get extra points for having debt in the form of student loans, mortgages and auto loans, but as long as you’re paying them off responsibly, it shows that you’re reliable.

3. Aim to use 30% or less of your credit at any given time

Know your credit limit and aim to only use 30% or less of it for a better credit score.Tim Robberts / Getty Images

Know your credit card limit, and try not to use any more than 30% of that number each month, otherwise your score could lose points for too much credit utilization.

Another thing you can do is ask your bank to increase your limit. “That will give you more flexibility to spend more,” Nitzsche said. You could also pay it off twice a month to keep the balance low. But he does warn that you never know when the balance is going to be reported to the bureau. It can happen at any point during the month, so it might be the day after you make the payment or the day before. “You don’t necessarily want to use the card and pay it the next day because that doesn’t give the bureau the chance to know that you’re using it,” he said.

4. Avoid requests for new credit

If you’re looking to increase your score around the time you want to buy a house or car, you won’t want to open up a new line of credit, like a retail card, credit card or loan. That’s because “hard” credit inquiries like those can lower your score, and sometimes it comes down to a few points over whether you’re approved or what your rate will be, Nitzsche said.

“Soft” credit inquiries, like when an employer checks your credit or when you pull your own report, won’t affect your score.

5. Keep all accounts open, even ones you don’t use anymore

Even if you don’t use that credit card from college, it’s a good idea to just keep it open because closing it could hurt your score. Nitzsche explained that you’ll be dinged some points for each account that is closed. If you want or need to mentally break up with a card, just cut it up instead.

6. Build your credit if needed

If you haven’t established credit yet, you might not even exist … in the credit report space, that is! “If someone has never fallen in delinquency on any subscriptions or utilities or never had collections on anything and they have not utilized credit cards or loans in the past seven to 10 years, they may not have a credit profile at all,” Nitzsche said. “That presents a challenge when you want to buy a home.”

If this sounds familiar, you may have to get a secured credit card where you put down a deposit, he advised. “You still have to make payments and use it responsibly. Not all banks offer them but you can usually check with your local bank or credit union.”

7. Reach out for help

If you want personal guidance on boosting your credit score, make an appointment with a credit counselor.kate_sept2004 / Getty Images

There are many apps and credit-monitoring services that can help you stay on top of your credit score. You could also reach out to a professional credit counselor who can help you navigate your specific situation. (Here’s a good resource about finding a reputable service.)

One last thing: Nitzsche warned that everyone should beware of credit repair scams that claim to be able to increase credit scores for an advance fee to get accurate negative information removed (even temporarily) from credit reports.

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Lifestyle News | ⚡How J&G Credit Recreations Assists Individuals to Gain Financial Stability Through Credit and Homeownership – LatestLY

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Lifestyle News | ⚡How J&G Credit Recreations Assists Individuals to Gain Financial Stability Through Credit and Homeownership  LatestLY

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