Sunday, September 12, 2010

SITS Girls Back to Blogging Challenge Day 1: The first post I wrote on FREEISMYLIFE

The First Blog Post I Ever Wrote is Better Than I Thought!

Back in August, I joined the SITS Girls Community and took the 31 Days to a Better Blog Challenge.  It was a lot of work, but also a wonderful learning experience implementing blogging techniques that hopefully made my blog better for my audience.  Well the SITS Girls are back with another challenge called the Back to Blogging Event where bloggers are assigned one blogging challenge to complete each day over the next 5 days.

My first Back to Blogging Event Challenge is to upload the first post I ever wrote and if I want to, rewrite it to make it better.  At first I was afraid of this challenge because I did not believe any of my first posts were all that good.  Also, I did not remember what my first post was about so I was really afraid to go look.  Sometimes the past should just be allowed to remain right where it is - forgotten!

But I put my fears aside and found my first post and - get this - I like it!  Actually, I love it.  It is from 2007 when money guru Suze Orman came to Detroit to speak at the Detroit Free Press Money 101 Seminar.  I remember I had so much fun at that seminar.  It was one of the first times I took some time for myself to do something for me.  My mom watched my son while I went to Burton Manor in Livonia.  Burton Manor was packed with people, but I was able to get a great seat to hear Suze because a wonderful family of 10 that I met that day took pity on me and saved me a seat next to them - right up front.

Suze Orman came out and totally captivated the crowd.  She answered every question thrown at her with great detailed financial information. She even gave us a secret from the book that she had just released that put an extra $100 in my pocket!  She was warm, genuine, and totally funny. Suze told us a funny story about how the Money 101 organizers had hidden her from the crowd in an office with a newly engaged couple that had come to Burton Manor to plan their wedding.  If you know anything about Suze Orman, then you know she believes in couples getting a prenup.  Since Suze was trapped in that office, that poor couple had to listen to Suze talk about the statitics of marriages ending and how they better get a pre-nup to protect themselves - I wonder if they listened to her?

Looking at my post now, I realize that I did a list post before I even knew what I list post was. I listed highlights of all of Suze's financial advise. Looking back, I realize I should have come up with a better title now that that I know catchy titles make people want to read the post.  I would probably change the title to "Suze Orman wows Detroiters with Cash Secrets!" - that title would definitely have got me better reader stats.

So here is my first post on FREEISMYLIFE from September of 2007. And thanks to Standards of ExcellenceWestar, and Florida Builder Appliances for sponsoring this SITS Girls Back to Blogging Challenge. Enjoy!

REVIEW: Suze Orman speaks at Detroit Free Press Money 101 Seminar"
Today, I went to see finance guru Suze Orman. Suze was the featured speaker at the Detroit Free Press Money 101 Seminar in Livonia. When Suze took the stage, the entire place got an energy that was amazing. I had a seat in the second row dead center so I was up close and personal. This woman really loves what she is doing. She was able to field any question on any money subject that people had. It was amazing to see her in action.

She told the audience that she could have retired long ago, but she loves educating people on the subject of finances. She gave everyone the "secret code" that was available in her latest book to get a deal on setting up an online savings account at TD Ameritrade. If $100 is deposited in the account every month for 12 months, TD Ameritrade would give Suze Orman followers (with the secret code) a special $100 bonus in the 13th month. Now that's a deal that I am going to jump on. It is not everyday that someone gives you money for attending a seminar.

My photo of Suze Orman at the Money 101 Seminar
What I learned at the seminar:

1. Don't believe everything you see or read. The Michigan economy is not ALL bad.

2. Check your 401k to see how the investments are allocated. Only 15% of the total should be in your company stock. If you have more, move out at little at a time until you hit your target.

3. Have common sense. Trust no one. Scams are everywhere. Check for a list of recent scams.

4. Your child may be able to get financial aid for college. The formula your finanical aid is based on 22% of your income, 3% assets, 50% of the student's income, and 25% of the student's assets.

5. Invest in a 529 account to pay for college. They have no income restrictions, low impact on financial aid, and state tax advantages. You can have multiple 529 accounts. If your child does not go to college, you pay a 10% penalty on the growth, taxes on the growth, and you get back the principle.

6. A low FICO score is less than 600. A high FICO score is between 760-850.

7. Closing down accounts can negatively affect your FICO score since 30% of the score is based on debt to credit limit. Leave the zero accounts open.

8. Paying your bills on time will raise your FICO score because it accounts for 30% of your FICO score.

9. Adding someone with a good FICO score to your score will increase your score.

10. Dedit Cards don't report to FICO.

11. The 4 must have documents are (1). Will, (2). Living Revocable Trust, (3). Advance Directive, and (4). Durable Power of Attorney. The Living Revocable Trust must have a incapacity clause. The Will will cover anything that is not in the Trust. The Advance Directive gives instructions in case you are on Life Support. The Durable Power of Attorney is used in case you are in the hospital.

12. Real Estate values follow the job market. Other people's misfortunes will affect your home value. 3 Trillion in adjustable rate mortgages are coming due this year.

13. One extra mortgage payment a year changes a 30 year mortgage into a 24.5 year mortgage.

14. Rolf IRA's are best investment if you qualify. You have already paid taxes on the money so you can take the principle without penalty if you need to. After age 59 1/2, all the money is tax free.

15. A good financial plan to follow is 1. Invest in 401k up to the company match. 2. Pay down credit card debt. 3. Invest in a Rolf IRA. 4. Write a Will. 5. Open a Trust. 6. Do a Advance Directive. 7. Do a Durable Power of Attorney 8. Pay off your Mortgage 9. Buy Term Life Insurance (don't insure children).

16. To make $100, go to and use the password 701. This will open a TD Ameritrade accout where you can invest as little as $50 a month for the next 12 months. In the 13th month, $100 will be deposited into the account. The account is insured, has no fees, and gives a 3% return. (This is a limited time offer)

17. Custodial accounts should be setup for minors.
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