I’m FICO FREE!

Yesterday I got an email from Experian notifying me of the sad event they recently discovered. “…we couldn’t… update your FICO Score… this month…” because
1. You don’t have enough accounts
2. You have no recent activity
3. You have been reported as dead

At the end of 2017, I got out of debt and started living within my means. I set a goal to have a “0” FICO Score. That meant if I wanted something I would have to save up for it and pay cash for it.

It has taken almost a year to achieve this goal; a “0” FICO Score. Mostly because Experianand FICO want me to have a score so they are loath to report to me that they don’t have any data to create a FICO Score for me.

So today I celebrate the email (see below) from Experian stating the sad news, but to my delight,

I’M FICO FREE!

On my journey to become FICO free I’ve learned many interesting things. Things everyone needs to learn about themselves.

1. I can do hard things.
a. I can live on less than I make.
b. I can save more than 10% of my income for retirement. In fact, I have now saved more than double what I was in debt for. I can hardly believe it.
c. I can have more than one income stream. I currently have four. I’ve goaled to have 7+
1. My day job (which we live on)
2. My night job (which we mostly save)
3. Interest from my emergency savings (baby step 3) (which is small) and
4. Interest from my retirement fund.
d. I can save and pay cash for large expenses. So far, We’ve saved and paid cash for two, new to us, used cars.
e. I don’t have to borrow money for the things I want and I no longer have financial emergencies. I have savings to cover most inconveniences that happen. Where 69% of Americans have less than $5,000 saved let alone enough to cover a $10,000 emergency, I’m feeling very good about my accomplishments.

I can do hard things.

2. What millionaires do.
a. Millionaires always achieve their goals
b. Millionaires always learn new things. They read and learn. They don’t watch TV/Netflix/Game excessively
c. Millionaires use their time wisely
d. Millionaires don’t carry a credit card balance, even for miles or points
e. Millionaires don’t have a car payment. They pay cash for all of their expenses
f. Millionaires invest consistently
g. Millionaires don’t pay bills late, they are responsible adults

3. My Future is bright
Now that I am in charge of my life and I can learn new things, my future is as bright as it has ever been. Though it took a long time for me to first, get fed up with the mistakes I’ve made along the way, and, second, to make a plan and make it happen, I now know from all those trials I am stronger than I ever knew.

Probably equally important, I now know those things millionaires do to become successful. I can do like they do and ignore those who say different. After all, they aren’t millionaires, so their opinion is just static that is to be ignored.

4. I’m not dead yet
Sorry, Experian. I’m not dead. Rather I choose to make myself a millionaire, over time, not to fund you and the bankers’ vacation homes and hi-rise office buildings.

I have learned that all of the ploys you’ve developed, all of the advertising you’ve created are to make you money, not to help me be more responsible with my money.

• When 2/3 of the 90-Days Interest-Free schemes aren’t paid in 90 days and you’ve learned that it is another profit stream so you advertise heavily that as a good option, I question your motives.

• When the average home mortgage length is 5-7 years and they’ve scheduled the bulk of all mortgage interest payments to occur within the first 7 years theirr plan isn’t designed to help me get a home but to make themselves millions on the sly, I question their motives.

• When 31% of credit card rewards aren’t ever redeemed and the credit card companies use this incentive to make big bucks not to reward users, I again question their motives.

• When 91% of credit seaeme credit card holders  keep a credit card balance, the credit card companies hi-five, bank the profits and rub their hands greedily, I know this isn’t really a good plan for you and me.

• When the average new car payment is $508/month, I’ve learned it isn’t wise to buy a new card, especially when the average millionaire never buys a new car and drives a 5-year old car on purpose, I question, what do they know that I don’t? Oh, that a new car looses most of its value within the first 4-5 years. I ignore new car ads.

Being FICO Free is Freedom
I can’t believe the freedom I now feel. I don’t have the worries I had when I had no money, when I was financially dependant on my credit card and loan balances to make a wanted purchase. Now I have the financial discipline to accomplish anything I desire. It may take a while, but I can do it. I can save for that which I want.

I hope that the lessons I’ve learned the hard way will make it easier for you to create your own successes sooner than later. To achieve financial freedom do what the wealthy do, not what the culture says is a good “life hack.”

My simple advice learned the hard way is:
1. Learn the habits of the wealthy. “When you find yourself on the side of the majority [know] it is time to pause and reflect.”(1)
2. Read from the best books. (2) Here is a short list of financial books.
a. Everyday Millionaire by Chris Hogan
b. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley 
c. Thou Shalt Prosper by Daniel Lapin
d. Five Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me by Richard Paul Evans
e. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki to begin with.
3. Your education is in your hands, not the hands of a college or university. Learn what you want to learn. Do what you want to do. Never listen to the naysayers.

How many success stories do you need to hear before you’ll make your own?

PS: If you are not good with money you are not acting like a grown-up. You are acting like a child and need to admit you have a behavioral problem. Adults act responsibly and manage their money. Children do whatever they feel like doing… damn the consequences. The results, one always has money, one never does. Which will you be?

Excuses steal successes. Excesses create weaknesses.

(1) Mark Twain quote
(2) D&C 88:118

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