Month End: March Snapshot

Over this past month, I’ve had the opportunity to pay off the Wells Fargo Line of Credit and utilize a zero-balance transfer option on my Barclay’s card to reduce the payment amount of my overall debt. My next target will be the Barclay’s card as I chip away at the Capital One card. It’s important to be flexible with your debt re-payment strategy. Set your sight on a balance and target it but be open to opportunities to reduce the debt faster, even if you utilize a promotional balance transfer option. A word of caution, when you do use a promotional balance transfer remember two points: 1) the offer is for a 12-month period on average (check your terms) and 2) you are charged a balance transfer fee (weigh the cost vs. benefit). In the end, a balance transfer can eliminate the high interest debt which can not only eliminate the payment but also create a lower payment overall which increases cash flow.

An increase in cash flow, creates more money to reduce debt, or to be used towards living expenses. In your journey, you’ll experience a lot of emotional forces at play which may encourage you to spend. The best process to fight these forces is to seek help from others, set up small reward systems to curb the spending, and grow your asset column. As I said in one of my earlier posts, I’ve gotten out of debt before, but when I did, I had no control over my spending and got right back in the hole again. Why? Because I didn’t take time to address my spending issue in the first place, and I didn’t grow my asset column. While you’re getting out of debt, see if you can create something which will produce money for you. The one thing we have which is absolutely fixed is time. At some point the clock will reach zero. Value your time and maximize your use of it.

This new year has been challenging, because of the wedding planning and the financial obstacles that present itself. Every obstacle creates an opportunity to trust God and those closest to you. You’re not in this process alone. There’s a four-step process that I do whenever I receive income, which I will share with you in a later post. This process has blessed me in my journey to debt freedom. I’ve included a short video clip from Joe McGee to help you turn an obstacle into an opportunity. Enjoy:

Turning an obstacle into an opportunity is about changing your vision and your thinking. Have someone to discuss your debt reduction strategy with, and if you need a financial check-up contact me.

The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

I believe in your journey to….

A Debt Free Me

March 29, 2016

As a reminder the articles below are just my opinion and observation, and I recommend using guidance by the Lord, your own sound judgement, and or financial counsel if you make any investing decisions. Below are short summaries for this week’s articles:

  • The next financial crisis could happen on January 1, 2018. There are two new rules slated to go into effect that will constrain lending ability and force banks to lend to only the best borrowers. The leverage ratio set by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and International Financial Reporting Standard No. 9, defined by the International Accounting Standards Board”. What these two rules will do is in essence remove the internal measures that banks have been using to assess risk, and force them to uniform under a standard. Businesses with lower revenues and higher leverage will need more capital from banks and with the requirement of having more in loan loss reserve, it’ll be harder for these businesses to get much needed capital. “It’s increasingly difficult for banks to help spur global expansion, no matter how low — or negative — benchmark rates are. But it’s about to get a lot tougher. Banks will tighten their belts and as they deleverage, so will the world. That means more bankruptcies, lay-offs and fewer jobs, which sounds very much like a recipe for a global crisis.” The opportunity appears for those businesses that don’t fit into banking standards but are able to lend funds to businesses and consumers. This article also highlights in my opinion the concept of paying yourself with interest. I’d prefer to borrow from myself and owe myself with interest. The borrower is slave to the lender.

  • By the author’s opinion, Chipotle is a great stock that can be bought at a seriously discounted price. He recommends buying a few shares and setting it aside. Other than the healthcare outbreaks, Chipotle had a sharp drop in first-quarter profits, and the chain had another norovirus outbreak in Boston. Here’s five reasons the author suggests Chipotle could be a good buy: people aren’t really concerned about the health issues at Chipotle, sales are already recovering, the big margin hit and first-quarter losses will reverse, Chipotle’s safety protocols seem to be working, and Chipotle has decent long-term prospects. By this article, Chipotle has the potential to operate 5,000 stores in the US and abroad, and they’re currently developing more restaurant concepts. In my opinion, when you invest in a stock be sure to follow the fundamentals of investing. Don’t invest emotionally, and be sure to have an exit strategy, if you’re not going to buy and hold forever.


  • When investing in a business, you’re ultimately investing in the person in charge. If you have access to the direct person in charge, then you’re going to need to know the person. A business doesn’t sell widgets to inanimate objects. A business sells a product to people. A business is personal. At the end of the day the funds of a business will pay for the business owner’s personal needs. So the question is, what is in the person’s heart? At Church of the Highlands, we learn that we are better together, and that relationships are spiritual. A relationship should be more than surface deep. Here are five questions to ask that will help you learn about a person’s personality: How would you describe yourself? What is your biggest accomplishment? Have you read any good books lately? What is your dream job? and Who is your personal hero? In my opinion we should be investing earthly riches to be able invest in the heavenly riches.

Please let me know if you have any prayer requests.

March 22, 2016

Below are the articles for the week with a short summary:

  • A study examined individuals in America between the ages of 31 and 62 and found that “Even the slightly-over-50% of households who did have retirement savings didn’t have very much: The median number is a terrifyingly low $5,000.” Don’t put off saving for retirement, and begin as soon as possible. If your work force offers a 401 K with matching bonus then take advantage of it, and find a way to cut unnecessary expenses. Here’s my argument if you’re already tithing you already have the inherent ability to save. If you already set aside the first portion to the Lord, then do the same process to save for your retirement.

  • Benjamin Graham is the founder of the concept of value investing, and his teachings have impacted many well-known investors such as Warren Buffet. The book referenced in this article is a small book but useful in understanding the financial statement, income statement and financials ratios. This article examines seven key points from the book: working capital ratio, current ratio, intangible assets, cash, notes payable, liquidation value and net current asset value, and margin of profit. I’ll mention two points of this article. The Working Capital ratio is calculated by subtracting current liabilities from current assets and this ratio shows if a company can pay its expenses in the near future. Margin of profit is calculated by dividing operating income by sales. This margin shows how efficiently a company is operating. When analyzing financial statements, the key figures to look for in determining the strength of a company are its earning power, asset value, how the company it compares to its industry and the company’s earnings trends over a number of years. The goal of “The Interpretation of Financial Statements” is to show the investor how to assess these factors, under the objective of achieving intelligent and reasonable results.”

Credit scores are a measure of past behavior. One of the major factors with your score is how much revolving credit you have vs how much you’re using. The smaller the percentage, the better your score will be. Ideally the percentage is 30% or lower. “To boost your score, “pay down your balances, and keep those balances low,” says Pamela Banks, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union. What you might not know: Even if you pay balances in full every month, you still could have a higher utilization ratio than you’d expect. That’s because some issuers use the balance on your statement as the one reported to the bureau. Even if you’re paying balances in full every month, your credit score will still consider your monthly balances.” Having multiple balances across many cards may hurt your score. The longer your history of paying debt on time, the better it is for your score. When you apply for credit it can cause a dip in your score that lasts a year. There is a system that calculates how the amount of credit inquiries will affect your score. If you plan on making a big purchase, then keep paying your bills on time to protect your score. “You’re entitled to one of each of your three credit bureau reports (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) for free every 12 months through”
Hope you have a good week. Please let contact me if you have any prayer requests.

James Hawk

“But those who want the best for me, Let them have the last word—a glad shout!— and say, over and over and over, “ GOD is great—everything works together for good for his servant.” I’ll tell the world how great and good you are, I’ll shout Hallelujah all day, every day.”
Psalm 35:27-28 MSG

“He is like a man building a house, who dug and went down deep and laid a foundation upon the rock; and when a flood arose, the torrent broke against that house and could not shake or move it, because it had been securely built or founded on a rock.”

Luke 6:48 AMP