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Finding Freedom – Financially – the wrong way

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Picking up from a previous entry – let’s provide an explanation of the commonly marketed methods for a person to get out of debt.

One method offered by companies that earn their income through the sale of mortgages is “consolidation”. The premise here is to roll all your unsecured debt (such as student loans and credit cards/things that have no collateral covering them) into your home mortgage. It has also been suggested to roll secured debt, such as a car loan into this consolidation.

This assumes your home has equity to borrow from. The theory here is that these funds, the money you previously paid to the credit card companies you will now pay to the mortgage companies, which is okay because then you can write it off on your taxes. The problem with this method is that while it may drop your monthly payments a little, and save you a small amount in annual taxes, you are no closer to being out of debt.

In addition, your student loans, credit cards and car loans are now part of a payment schedule that may actually have you paying them off longer than before, or longer than the car lasts. You have also given up the equity in your home, which is not a bad thing if it is part of an overall strategy to reduce the time in which you are in debt, but not a good thing if it is used as a quick fix to have more money to spend each month.

Another method highly marketed is ‘settlement’ or ‘negotiation’. In this case you enlist the services of a company that contacts your creditors for you and negotiates lower interest, a smaller monthly payment, freezing fees or any other method to help you to not have to pay. This method has fault on many levels.

“There is no doubt that debt settlement with any company does hurt your credit – it is the downside to the process of reducing your total debt using this strategy.“   an email response from a debt settlement company

Of immediate concern is how this affects a person’s credit score. Any company that agrees to a negotiated payment will enter this information into a person’s credit history. This information is now there for all other potential creditors to see. Landlords, retail stores, auto loan companies etc now know that you failed to pay back your debts as agreed. This can haunt you for many years to come.

In addition – negotiation may not work. Companies may not agree to new terms, they may agree to terms that are less than desirable, and this will still become part of your permanent credit history. The settlement company is also not in business to lose money and your fees to them must still be paid. I have heard horror stories of unscrupulous companies who were supposed to pay a client’s bills for them and just kept the money or held it for a time before paying it to collect the interest for themselves.

Lastly – where is the morality of not paying your debts? While there are instances of ridiculously high interest rates, and yes – today’s world seems to suck us into buying more than we need or can afford – how can we as adults accept an agreement to purchase something under certain terms and then squirrel our way out of paying for it? I came across a company which claims to have found a loop hole in banking laws and is using that as a way to ‘help’ their clients end all payments to bank provided credit cards.

When I asked what lesson he was teaching his children by sitting on a couch watching a television, both of which were purchased on a credit card which he now feels he does not have to pay back – he had very little to say.

In summary – consolidation, settlement and negotiation, while maybe the last resort for some, fail to effectively eliminate debt for ethically minded families.

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Musings

Things We Control #2

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2) Your Relationships. Humans are relational beings. The human heart craves connection. Why else would solitary confinement be such a cruel punishment or the unheld orphan lack basic mental and physical development. The strong independent person still needs a hug, a pat on the back, a warm handshake and an encouraging smile.

Without human contact we lack a sounding board for our thoughts and feelings, feedback to hone our appearance and personality, and comparisons to regulate our self esteem and confidence. But with human contact we encounter the toxicity of others, the lack of boundaries into our personal space and the cruelness of the human heart.

Our ability to control our relationships is one of the three primary controls we have in life. While we can’t pick our relatives we can control their effect on our lives. It is under our control to set up boundaries, choose friends and regulate the purpose and depth of any relationship.

Determining whether a co-worker becomes a personal friend or if ending a business relationship in order to save a friendship is something each of us must decide. Remaining in a relationship that pulls you down and stifles your growth is a choice, a choice that can be changed. Deciding who will enter into your circle of relationships and how far that relationship will go is under your control. Knowing this and exercising your control gives you the freedom venture into unknown territory, to ‘take a chance’ through opportunities to meet new friends and experience new interactions. When you fully accept that it is up to you and under your control you no longer have to hesitate or avoid uncomfortable situations because the discomfort is under your influence. You have decided to be where your presence is needed, and then you decide when it is time to exit. You decide when to say yes and when to say no. But with this understanding of your power to decide and to control comes the responsibility to consider the feelings of others. With compassion and concern, firmness and decisiveness, you can be a strong blessing to those you love and care about. Your confidence is growing and your self esteem is rising.

Click here to go to the first piece in this three part article
Click here to go to the third piece in this three part article

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Musings

There are Only 3 Things I can Control

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Three things. When you boil it all down there are really only 3 things that each of us controls in life. And that’s only true if you live in the privileged and affluent parts of our world. For some it is only two or one.

Like the primary colors of red, blue and yellow combine to make the whole rainbow it is these primary factors alone that we have the ability to control. All else is a combination of the three.

Your Emotions. To feel is to be human. When a person is unable to feel sorrow, joy or fear there is often a psychological blockage that needs to be worked through. Avoiding situations that touch us in a deep way – like the death of a loved one, the thrill of an adventure or the risk of reaching out in friendship – can limit the depth that we as humans are able to experience life in its fullest.

Controlling our emotions is not about controlling our feelings. It is a matter of controlling how we respond and react to any given situation.

Between action and reaction, cause and effect, there is a moment of time for the human species in which only thought exists. Animals don’t share this opportunity. Their reactions are instinctive, they respond. But for a human, how we respond to a stimuli is always preceded by an opportunity to consider what our response will be.

Do I lash out with angry words when I am cut off in traffic, or consider the possibilities of what the other person may be facing. When the fire alarm goes off do I run for the door or look around and offer assistance. When an offer for intimacy comes do I consider all the repercussions before replying.

It is in that millisecond of time when I insert thought and logic that I become fully aware and fully in control.

Click here to go to the second of the only 3 things you control
Click here to go to the third of the only 3 things you control

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Manhood

Why I Coach Men

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Because we need it. We don’t think we do, of course not. We were taught to be strong, self sufficient and independent. Suck it up, quit crying, get back up on the horse, you can do it. For some of us those words were spoken in an encouraging tone, for others the tone was harsh, condescending and frightening. And so we sucked it up, quit crying and got back up on the horse. We learned to hide our failures and shortcomings, denying them to others as well as ourselves. Some of us learned to be little men before we had a chance to be boys. Many of us are men who haven’t left the little boy behind yet.

Coaching isn’t about psychology, therapy or an intense exorcism of our past. We are where we are right now because of a myriad of factors. What we do going forward and how we do it is what counts the most right now. Our past will always play a role in those decisions, but will it be a positive influence or a negative anchor? Will our past give us clarity or confusion, will it guide us or control us?

Coaching is another pair of eyes on our life. Have you ever been given the advice to “have someone take another look at it”, “Look it over again in the morning with new eyes” or “See what the others think about this.” Too often our own perception and perspective inhibits our view of the answers we need. It takes another set of eyes to help us uncover the truths we seek, the places our life has gotten off track or out of balance.

As your coach, I journey with you helping to formulate the plans and design the strategies to get things back on the path that leads to your goals and re balance the life you were meant to live. I am your cheerleader, encourager and sometimes offer a gentle kick in the pants.

What is unfortunate and makes little sense is that the stars of our day recognize the need for coaches and readily enlist their services. Top athletes and corporate giants have performance coaches and consultants around them always. But regular guys, whose dreams, goals and needs are just as important and often more so, wait till things are falling apart before seeking help. Coaching is about making bad things good and good things better and better things great!

Mature men recognize that the western male mystic of strong independence is a hoax and that as men we do better and enjoy life more with friends, coaches and companions.

Why do I coach men? Because I know how my life is made richer by the friends I have and coaches I use. I coach men because my passion is to help other men find their passion, find their balance and become the leaders they were created to be. Men who lead their personal lives responsibly, their family life lovingly and their work life ethically.

 

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