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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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Are Sallie Mae Student Loans Federal or Private?

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When you hear the name Sallie Mae, you probably think of student loans. There’s a good reason for that; Sallie Mae has a long history, during which time it has provided both federal and private student loans.

However, as of 2014, all of Sallie Mae’s student loans are private, and its federal loans have been sold to another servicer. Here’s what to know if you have a Sallie Mae loan or are considering taking one out.

What is Sallie Mae?

Sallie Mae is a company that currently offers private student loans. But it has taken a few forms over the years.

In 1972, Congress first created the Student Loan Marketing Association (SLMA) as a private, for-profit corporation. Congress gave SLMA, commonly called “Sallie Mae,” the status of a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) to support the company in its mission to provide stability and liquidity to the student loan market as a warehouse for student loans.

However, in 2004, the structure and purpose of the company began to change. SLMA dissolved in late December of that year, and the SLM Corporation, or “Sallie Mae,” was formed in its place as a fully private-sector company without GSE status.

In 2014, the company underwent another big adjustment when Sallie Mae split to form Navient and Sallie Mae. Navient is a federal student loan servicer that manages existing student loan accounts. Meanwhile, Sallie Mae continues to offer private student loans and other financial products to consumers. If you took out a student loan with Sallie Mae prior to 2014, there’s a chance that it was a federal student loan under the now-defunct Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).

At present, Sallie Mae owns 1.4 percent of student loans in the United States. In addition to private student loans, the bank also offers credit cards, personal loans and savings accounts to its customers, many of whom are college students.

What is the difference between private and federal student loans?

When you’re seeking financing to pay for college, you’ll have a big choice to make: federal versus private student loans. Both types of loans offer some benefits and drawbacks.

Federal student loans are educational loans that come from the U.S. government. Under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, there are four types of federal student loans available to qualified borrowers.

With federal student loans, you typically do not need a co-signer or even a credit check. The loans also come with numerous benefits, such as the ability to adjust your repayment plan based on your income. You may also be able to pause payments with a forbearance or deferment and perhaps even qualify for some level of student loan forgiveness.

On the negative side, most federal student loans feature borrowing limits, so you might need to find supplemental funding or scholarships if your educational costs exceed federal loan maximums.

Private student loans are educational loans you can access from private lenders, such as banks, credit unions and online lenders. On the plus side, private student loans often feature higher loan amounts than you can access through federal funding. And if you or your co-signer has excellent credit, you may be able to secure a competitive interest rate as well.

As for drawbacks, private student loans don’t offer the valuable benefits that federal student borrowers can enjoy. You may also face higher interest rates or have a harder time qualifying for financing if you have bad credit.

Are Sallie Mae loans better than federal student loans?

In general, federal loans are the best first choice for student borrowers. Federal student loans offer numerous benefits that private loans do not. You’ll generally want to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and review federal funding options before applying for any type of private student loan — Sallie Mae loans included.

However, private student loans, like those offered by Sallie Mae, do have their place. In some cases, federal student aid, grants, scholarships, work-study programs and savings might not be enough to cover educational expenses. In these situations, private student loans may provide you with another way to pay for college.

If you do need to take out private student loans, Sallie Mae is a lender worth considering. It offers loans for a variety of needs, including undergrad, MBA school, medical school, dental school and law school. Its loans also feature 100 percent coverage, so you can find funding for all of your certified school expenses.

With that said, it’s always best to compare a few lenders before committing. All lenders evaluate income and credit score differently, so it’s possible that another lender could give you lower interest rates or more favorable terms.

The bottom line

Sallie Mae may be a good choice if you’re in the market for private student loans and other financial products. Just be sure to do your research upfront, as you should before you take out any form of financing. Comparing multiple offers always gives you the best chance of saving money.

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Tips to do some fall cleaning on your finances

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Wealth manager, Harry Abrahamsen, has five simple ways to stay on top of the big financial picture.

PORTLAND, Maine — Keeping track of our financial stability is something we can all do, whether we have IRAs or 401ks or just a checking account. Harry J. Abrahamsen is the Founder of Abrahamsen Financial Group. He works with clients to create and grow their own wealth. Abrahamsen shares five financial tips, starting with knowing what you have. 

1. Analyze Your Finances Quarterly or Biannually

You want to make sure that your long-term strategy is congruent with your short-term strategy. If the short-term is not working out, you may need to adjust what you are doing to make sure your outcome produces the desired results you are looking to accomplish. It is just like setting sail on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. You know where you want to go and plot your course, but there are many factors that need to be considered to actually get you across and across safely. Your finances behave the exact same way. Check your current situation and make sure you are taking into consideration all of the various wealth-eroding factors that can take you completely off course.

With interest rates very low, now might be a good time to consider refinancing student loans or mortgages, or consolidating credit card debt. However, do so only if you need to or if you can create a positive cash flow. To ensure that you are saving the most by doing so, you must look at current payments, excluding taxes and insurance costs. This way you can do an apples-to-apples comparison.

The most important things to look for when reviewing your credit report is accuracy. Make sure the reporting agencies are reporting things actuary. If it doesn’t appear to be reporting correct and accurate information, you should consult with a reputable credit repair company to help you fix the incorrect information.

4. Savings and Retirement Accounts

The most important thing to consider when reviewing your savings and retirement accounts is to make sure the strategies match your short-term and long-term investment objectives. All too often people end up making decisions one at a time, at different times in their lives, with different people, under different circumstances. Having a sound strategy in place will allow you to view your finances with a macro-economic lens vs a micro-economic view. Stay the course and adjust accordingly from a risk and tax standpoint.

RELATED: Financial lessons learned through the pandemic

A great tip for lowering utility bills or car insurance premiums: Simply ask! There may be things you are not aware of that could save you hundreds of dollars every month. You just need to call all of the companies that you do business with to find out about cost-cutting strategies. 

RELATED: Overcome your fear of finances

To learn more about Abrahamsen Financial, click here

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How to Get a Loan Even with Bad Credit

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Sana pwedeng mabura ang bad credit history as quickly and easily as paying off your utility bills, ‘no? Unfortunately, it takes time. And bago mo pa maayos ang bad credit mo, more often than not, kailangan mo na namang mag-avail ng panibagong loan. 

Good thing you can still get a loan even with bad credit, kahit na medyo limited ang options. How do you get a loan if you have bad credit? Alamin sa short guide na ito. 

For more finance tips, visit Moneymax.

 

 

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