Raised Hand
FAQ

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

When it comes to money, there’s no shortage of questions.  When it comes to YOUR money, the answers to those questions can be lifechanging.  

The problem is, there are so many choices available.  Which path makes the most sense to take?  One of the most important– but difficult– things to do is to shield yourself from “sales agendas“.  There are a lot of them out there.

What’s the best way to do that?  Ask questions.  Then challenge the answers to ensure they make sense.  Verify everything!

The answers you get in response to your questions should have fact-based reasons behind them.  If the person, website, or service you’re communicating with tells you something but can’t back it up with a solid foundation of examples and facts to substantiate their position… well, maybe it’s better to look elsewhere— or at least get a second opinion.  You’d do that with your health, so why not do it with your wealth?

The section below is a collection of some of the most common questions we get asked by students, customers, clients, and candidates.  Click on the questions to see our answers.  If you have a question that isn’t listed below, feel free to visit our Contact Page and send it to us on our inquiry form.  We’ll get right back to you, usually within minutes to a few short hours…  not days.  Also, read more about our Financial GPS, or schedule a live phone or Zoom consultation by clicking the buttons below.

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:

Debt SavingsThere are many programs, courses, books, and videos available on the topic of becoming debt-free and/or building wealth.  Some of the more well-known celebrities in the financial field include Dave Ramsey, Robert Kiyosaki, Suze Orman, Tony Robins, etc.  Each of their programs (including ours) has similarities and differences.  Some of those differences are related to priorities and core values, while others are related to methodologies, resources, technologies, support structure, and overall regimen.

consumer debtAll of the credible programs and systems agree that consumer debt (such as credit cards) is toxic and should be paid off, never to be built-up and revolved on again.  When you start getting into asset debts, there are a few differences on the “right” or “best” approach.  Some address how the “rich” treat debt as a tool with a “good debt/bad debt” argument, while others say that the best debt is “no debt”.

At PSG, we believe that your first priority should be getting out of debt fast, altogether, before trying to use strategies “of the rich”.  You’ve heard the expression, “it takes money to make money.”  Well, putting it into context with someone who is burdened by heavy debt, that individual doesn’t have the money to make more just yet… so from a “stop the bleeding” standpoint, we prioritize getting out of debt first.  Then, as your cash flow improves and you have some security and financial reserves, you can decide to strategize using debt as a tool to hedge your asset investments, with the understanding of risks involved, and with enough reserves so you can “walk away from the table” without losing your retirement if the economy takes a turn downward.

Simple versus ComplexRealize this: The programs that are mainstream and famous for delivering results are mostly good programs.  They teach some universally good money concepts.  But understand that in order to make them work “for the masses” on such a widespread basis, they have to be universally “generic“.  What does that mean?  They do not take your specific, unique circumstances and lifestyle into consideration in their regimen to get out of debt.  They can’t.  They’re made to be “one-size-fits-all”.  Some people’s financial pictures (and lifestyles) are relatively simple, whereas others’ are significantly more complicated.  To be realistic, comparing the scenario of “a single mom with three kids and two jobs living in the high-cost area of Los Angeles, CA” with “a dual-income couple with no kids living in a low-cost area of Louisville, KY” is like comparing oranges and bananas.  They have different needs.  They have different resources.  They have different time commitments.  So fitting them into the same debt payoff strategy with “step one, step two, step three, etc” is either going to over-stress the single mom’s situation or under-optimize the married couple’s results.  It’s important to look at each scenario with the individual household’s picture in context with the solution.

Gazelle

Some call for self-deprivation, and with the intensity of “a gazelle fleeing its predator”.  Unfortunately, that’s not how most people live… happily.  At least not for long.  Treating debt payoff like a fad diet gets about the same results— after a quick run of it, they lose focus and fall back into old habits.  So PSG’s program is different.  We reach a much smaller audience, one household at-a-time.  We do it with individualized attention and laser-guided accuracy to customize a debt-payoff plan and wealth-building plan that applies directly to you.  We creatively and strategically tailor the way to pay off debt while still enjoying your morning latte.  And we’ll get you out of debt faster than any other plan, with coaching support along the way.

In fact, we can specify (using your exact numbers) the date that you can be debt-free, and the specific dollar amount (to-the-penny) that you can save in interest along the way.  Since the software our PSG Certified Coaches use is math based, it’s easy to make that kind of guarantee.  Take a look!  We’ll assign you a Coach for a free consultation and run your analysis at no cost.

Envelope moneyEnvelope budgeting is the process of putting cash in labeled envelopes to be used to pay bills each month.  It’s a method taught by several programs to avoid using credit cards or overextending your household’s budget.

Unfortunately, managing money like that actually costs you more.  Why?  It’s “idle” money.  Idle money gets no work done.  In other words, if that money were stored in a high-yield savings account instead, until it was needed to pay bills, it would be accruing compound interest in your favor, which could then be used to help pay down debt.

The programs that teach “envelope budgeting” do so to keep things simple, and we can appreciate that.  But there are simple ways to ensure that your money works for you and lets you track it at the same time, keeping your household economics cash-based but coming out further ahead in the end.  In The Financial Acumen Course®, our seminars, webinars, workshops, and Coaching sessions, we teach “simple” yet “powerful”.  And the archaic, outdated method of envelope budgeting is left behind so you can get ahead faster.

Our program differs from many of the other you’ll see.  Many programs are completely “anti-credit card.”  PSG, on the other hand, isn’t “anti-credit card“— We’re “anti-credit card debt“.  There’s a difference.  A big difference.  So let’s explain a bit further.

pay cardCredit cards can be used beneficially as a tool, or they can be used harmfully as an extension of your income.  That’s the danger.  So when it comes to using credit cards to live beyond your means, we say “very bad idea.”  But when it comes to using a credit card as a budgeting tool, then paying it off in-full before the due date so you use the bank’s money at zero-interest for a float period, while your money is earning interest in the bank…  well, that’s a good thing.

Credit CardsThe hard part is “staying out of the trap”, and our program helps you manage your money to do exactly that.  Interest float is a key financial strategy to get ahead.  You may have heard the term, “OPM”… (“Other People’s Money”).  When you can take some simple steps to use OPM to pay your bills, setting up auto charges and auto payments to streamline your household cash flow, you don’t need to worry about using your credit card as an extension of your income— because you never actually touch it.  You’re just using the bank’s money as a tool for yourself, at no cost to you, then automatically paying the bill in full each month.

Learn more about how to use this (and other strategies) in The Financial Acumen Course®.  Combining the powerful strategies of interest float, interest accrual, and interest cancellation are all built into the program we teach.  And it’s ridiculously simple…  It’s actually automated.  You don’t have to think about it at all.

So in comparison to using credit cards, debit cards offer no float period.  The also are a direct draft from your bank account without the same consumer protections of zero-liability in the event of fraud, loss, theft or misuse.  So given the two, we like the responsible use of credit cards as a tool versus the alternative of using debit cards.

Debt SnowballIn our courses, seminars, workshops, etc, PSG teaches about Debt Snowball and Debt Avalanche…  but we don’t teach people to blindly use either one.  Why?  Neither one is optimal for getting you out of debt.

Yes, there’s a big emotional triumph in seeing smaller debts get paid off soon with Debt Snowball.   And it’s encouraging to see those kinds of results from a tangible angle.  But those debts don’t have the highest cost to your debt picture, you end up paying more money to your lenders that could otherwise have been avoided.

Attacking the highest interest rate debt with Debt Avalanche doesn’t do the job either, necessarily.  Sure, it would seem logical that your highest interest rates cost you more than lower interest rates, but there are a few considerations to add to the mix:

    • If you have a credit card at 12% interest and a negatively amortized loan at 10% interest, one is simple interest (the credit card) and the other is compound interest (the loan)…  And if you focus on paying of the credit card first, you could very well be going deeper into debt with every payment you make.
    • If you have zero-percent promotional balance transfers on a credit card that accrues deferred interest over the promotional period, focusing on higher interest rate debts may initially be smart, but at some point, you’ll need to shift your focus to paying off your promotional balance before the deferred interest is added to your account…  Otherwise, you could easily take one step forward and five steps backward in trying to pay off your debts.

Financial GPS imageThose are just two examples.  So our program addresses the actual costs of your debt in order to strategize and minimize the amount of interest you ultimately pay.  Translated, we teach you how to keep the most money in your pocket and get out of debt the fastest way possible, taking your lifestyle and priorities into consideration.  The software used by our PSG Certified Coaches provides a dashboard that shows you your progress along the way, so you have a 20/20 forward-looking vision in achieving debt freedom, rather than resorting to a cookie-cutter recipe (which is what Debt Snowball and Debt Avalanche ultimately are) and blissfully putting more money in your lenders‘ pockets.

First, let’s define it.  What is “algorithm-based software“?  Simply stated, it’s a program that uses artificial intelligence to make decisions based on information and data.

Financial GPSThink of a GPS, for example.  If you’re using a GPS to help you navigate, an algorithm checks to see what roads get you from point A to point B, then the GPS displays the path to your destination by choosing the most direct path.  The GPS can get a little more sophisticated with a more complex set of algorithms that lets you choose between the most direct path based on shortest distance (a condition), or the fastest path based on shortest travel time using speed limit data for each segment (another condition).  In order to do that, the GPS needs to measure mileage to determine distance, and it has to compare other paths based on speed limits for each stretch of road to determine shortest time.  Sometimes a longer distance along the highway will be faster than a shorter distance on slower backroads.

A really, super-capable GPS can use even more complex algorithms, making real-time adjustments to your selected route based on your actual travel speed (rather than posted speed limit data), and actual traffic conditions (taking into account road construction, traffic jams, accidents, etc.).  It can automatically update your path in the midst of changing, real-time circumstances as you travel.  If you take a wrong turn or decide to detour off the planned route, the GPS recognizes the change and automatically re-adjusts your directions to get you back on track based on the current conditions at that moment.

Our Debt & Wealth Coaches use algorithm-based financial software to help clients become debt-free and build a secure retirement.  The client’s financial picture is entered into the program.  The algorithms within the program look at how much debt they have to pay off… sort of like “reaching their destination”.  Then the program looks at the total number of debts to pay off (sort of like all of the available roads and side roads to get to the destination)… and all of the different types of debts that make up those roads and side roads, because some debts are like highways, some are like two-lane blacktop country roads, and others are like dirt or gravel roads that may appear to be more direct on a map, but in reality they’re a lot slower to travel.  Then the algorithm-based software chooses the path that gets to zero debt the fastest by considering the client’s financial “road conditions” and mathematical principal-to-interest ratio “travel speeds” along each stretch of those roads.Financial Destination

The program makes real-time adjustments along the way to their debt-free destination.  If the client has to detour because of an unplanned purchase, unexpected expense, or a change in income (which we’ll call “wrong turns”, “accidents” or “road construction”) … the software recomputes their fastest-path to zero debt and updates their driving directions.

Get more details on how it works by visiting our Financial GPS Page.

cortesPeople love to debate this one.  One school of thought is to cancel the accounts altogether…  You can’t go further into debt with them if they aren’t available.  It reminds us of a bit of history, when in 1519 Hernán Cortés (the Spanish during the conquest of Mexico) ordered his ships burned and scuttled so that his men would have to “conquer or die”.  This is kind of a “scorched earth” approach to eliminating future debt.  It’s a bit drastic and dramatic, and quite frankly not very sensible for a number of reasons.

cut cardsThe other school of thought is to cut up your cards (or don’t carry them with you in your wallet), perhaps all but one or two in case of an emergency.  If you don’t have them, they aren’t a temptation.  You get the same effect as closing the accounts, but without burning bridges (or ships) in the process.

Actually cancelling your accounts can have a very bad impact on your credit rating.  Since your amount of available credit drops when you close an account, your credit utilization ratio (your amount of debt compared to how much available credit your have) goes up.  So cancelling your credit cards can actually hurt your credit worthiness.

And, let’s look at some practical examples of why cancelling those accounts isn’t a good idea:fico

    • In an emergency, you can’t use resources you don’t have.  Need examples?  Consider the housing crash of 2007-2009; loss of a job due to COVID-19; death of a breadwinner in the family; etc.  We don’t advocate using your credit cards (or lines of credit) as an extension of your income.  But if you’re in dire straits and need to buy groceries, having credit resources can temporarily buy time while you sort out your situation.  You can’t use resources you don’t have.  So our position is: Ditch the drama.  Don’t go the “scorched earth” route.
    • Also, having one or more 0% interest offers with reasonable terms can make a huge dent in your debt picture.  By effectively “freezing” further interest charges (even temporarily), the hundred (or thousands) of dollars in interest charges that were being lumped onto debt balances month-after-month can be diverted towards paying down those balances, instead.

burn bridgeThere will always be the “financial fanatic” who “drinks the Kool-Aid” and takes a die-hard, “all-in-or-bust” outlook on the topic.  We’re not a good fit for that individual.  In our opinion, burning bridges and destroying financial tools (and resources) lacks rationality, isn’t money-smart, and demonstrates short-sighted behavior.  If they are closed-minded to that extent, they are likely not someone who will fare well with any program in the long-term.  We’d rather not waste their time (or ours) trying to “push a rope” in teaching financial skills that are constantly opposed with, “Yeah, but…” arguments along the way.  We wish them well, but we find extremism to be nonsensical when people are determined to paint themselves into a corner.

FicoIf anyone tells you that your credit score isn’t important, it’s time to talk to someone else.  We understand that you need a good credit score if you intend to borrow money (go further into debt), but that’s all it’s used for.

We agree that going further into debt is a bad idea.  So that’s not why you should protect your credit.  Having excellent credit also saves you money.  Lenders assign interest rates and credit limits based on your credit worthiness.  If you have a good credit score, it means lower interest rates and higher credit limits.  Don’t look at your credit limits as “spending power”, as the banks would try to persuade you to treat it.  Look at higher credit limits as widening the gap between your current debt and your total available credit.  The bigger that gap is, the lower your credit utilization percentage is.  Credit utilization makes up 30% of your FICO score, so the lower your credit utilization is, the higher your score can be.  Connecting all the dots, the higher your score is, the lower your assigned interest rates will be, which means the less money you’ll be giving away to your lenders.

If you use your credit for the purposes of interest float and grace periods as we teach in The Financial Acumen Course®, you’ll maintain a minimal, low threshold usage of your credit resources as a tool to get ahead financially.  Not only will you be using OPM (Other People’s Money), meaning the bank’s, but as your debt gets lower, you’ll save more money.

credit scoreIf you cancel all of your credit cards, your available credit resources (credit limits) go away.  This causes your remaining debt to significantly spike your credit utilization ratio, and as a result, your lenders are likely to start raising interest rates, calling your loans as due-in-full, and all kinds of other nasty things that cost you more money, dramatically choke your household’s cash flow, and severely restrict your available options to use credit resources as a tool to get out of debt.

Good credit scores lead to 0% balance transfer offers, which can further enhance your payoff schedule if used correctly (as your PSG Certified Coach will teach you).  The key to financial wealth, worth, and wisdom is to be smart about how you use your resources while not burning bridges along the way.

fix creditAlthough PSG is not a “credit repair” company, the concepts, practices, and strategies we teach will help you fix your credit score.  The Financial Acumen Course has an entire lesson devoted to improving and maintaining your credit.  If you follow the program, your credit should improve based on the minor adjustments you make to your money habits.

Good credit is also a determining factor for occupational considerations.  If you work with sensitive information or have a security clearance, for example, your employer may use your credit score as an indicator of fiscal responsibility or trustworthiness.  Follow the logic: Someone with a poor credit score may likely be in heavy debt, and therefore tempted to compromise their integrity; take a bribe; sell confidential material; or make any number of other poor choices out of financial desperation… so poor credit can have opportunity costs that you may not even be thinking about.  That’s not the intended purpose of your FICO score… but it is the reality of how your score may be used or misused.

Likewise, your credit score can affect your insurance premiums, the amount of rent you pay, the amount of any security deposits you’re required to make to utility companies, etc.  So, long story short, stop thinking of your credit score as a means to qualify for more debt.  Start thinking of it as a metric that companies and financial institutions use to evaluate you as a person in today’s economy.  Right or wrong, that’s the way it is.  It’s one of many readily-available data points that create the virtual picture of you in the world we live in.  So, yes, it’s important beyond money.

Good Debt Bad Debt

This is one of those questions that polarizes people and causes arguments.  The arguments usually center around “what’s the best way to do things with your money.”  The problem is that each side of the argument makes the ignorant assumption that the other side has the same financial priorities and simply doesn’t understand “how to make the most of your dollars.”  It’s the classic “good” debt, “bad” debt argument.

The nature of the argument is fairly basic.  One side argues that it’s better to get out of debt (including your mortgage) first, then invest like crazy to build security once you’re no longer an indentured servant to the banks.  The other side argues that it’s better to invest their discretionary income into a higher rate-of-return portfolio rather than sink it into paying off lower interest rate debt like a mortgage, because their investment income will compound and they’ll end up gaining a higher net worth in the long-term.

Pause for a moment and think about the premise of each side of the argument.  They’re not both arguing on how to get further ahead in the end.  And they’re not both arguing about the peace of mind of becoming debt-free.  They are each having a different argument, related to money, but on separate topics: wealth versus security.  It’s actually an argument of “priorities and values”, not one of “the method to achieve the same goals”.

Essentially the advocate for the “good” debt, “bad” debt position is looking at using debt as a tool to free up investment dollars in order to build wealth.  There is definitely a time and a place for that, and yes, it’s very possible to use debt strategically as a tool that way.  It’s neither right or wrong… it’s a school-of-thought and risk-strategy.

Drowning in debtUsing debt strategically as a resource is an advanced topic that involves significant risk.  In his book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki makes the point that the rich use “good” debt as a tool.  The rich also use a lot of other tools, setting up corporations and tax shelters, as well as using bankruptcy as a tool.  In fact, Robert Kiyosaki has filed corporate bankruptcy before.  So has Donald Trump for that matter.  And neither of them are eating beans and rice, trying to get by.   In other words, corporate bankruptcy doesn’t mean you’re destitute.  Often times the rich treat bankruptcy protection as a strategy, not as a failure.  It’s different than personal bankruptcy.  Yes, the rich use a lot of tools.  But often times, to use the tools effectively to their advantage, they have to first be in a position where it’s actually feasible and realistic to do so.  That’s not where most people start.

Now, for a moment, let’s talk about the “not rich”.  80% of consumers in America carry substantial debt.  Before they can think about getting rich, they have to think about affording their next grocery trip.  If they’re earnestly trying to get out of debt, they’re trying to think about paying their credit card bills down so they aren’t paying ongoing interest of food they ate a year ago.  When someone is in that situation, they are several steps removed from “getting rich” by playing with “rich people tools”.  There’s a little re-prioritization necessary to get to that point.

If someone is very thirsty and you push their head under water to help them drink, their thirst problem should go away, right?  They have more water than they can possible ever need– all around them.  Except, before long something a bit more pressing gets their attention.  Air is nice, too.  If they drown because they can’t get air… well, some would argue, at least they didn’t die thirsty.

The moral of the story is twofold:

    • First, solving one problem by going about it the wrong way can create other, more significant problems.
    • And second, inundating and immersing someone with too much of something they need can drown them with the solution.

drowning in debtAnd that’s a loose parallel to the rift between the “get out of debt” people and the “good debt/bad debt” people.  In reality, there has to be a balance throughout the process of getting out of debt and building wealth with tools.  The problem in communication results when one side takes on a “scorched earth”, all-or-none approach to the exclusion of the other.  Some of the financial improvement programs on the market today promote a disturbing cult-like behavior and following.  It’s great to be sure of your course of action, but when a collective mindset takes on an “If you’re not with us, you’re against us” group-think mentality, the person with individual needs and unique circumstances either has to compromise their values to participate, or they get alienated from the group.  Instilling that level of devout loyalty is great for the marketing success of the program… but it’s at the expense of the individual success of the person the program is intended to help.  Finances are a personal thing, and each household’s individuality needs to be taken into consideration if a program is going to meet the individual’s needs.

PSG Certified Coaches are trained to adapt approaches, tools and strategies to the unique considerations, priorities and values of each household.

Drowning in debtWhen someone is “drowning” in debt, it’s not just the amount of debt or the interest rate that’s causing the urgency.  It’s also the lack of cash flow, usually made worse by poor money habits.  In order to get their head above water, it doesn’t serve them well to immerse them in tying up all of their money.  They need to first work on freeing up some of their money to improve household cash flow.  Otherwise, they’re in a very precarious situation, financially.

Let’s look at an example:

    • Assume that a family of four has a mortgage of $220,000 on their home.  At a 3.75% 30-year fixed loan, their mortgage payment is just under $1020 per month.  Cars and credit cards included, they pay out a total of $4,200 per month in debt payments.  Once all of their other household cost-of-living expenses are paid, they’re up to $5,800 per month in outflows.  And let’s assume they have a net income of $6,200 per month.  That gives them $400 per month to “play” with as “discretionary” income.
    • As long as they continue to spend less than they earn, their debts will eventually be paid off with their current cash flow.  If they lived in a bubble without any external influences, we could argue “good debt/bad debt”.  To make it easy, we could punch the numbers into a computer and have it calculate what the $400 per month would do in the long term versus if we threw it at their debt.  Mathematically we’d have a reliable, objective answer.
    • Covid job lossBut then something like the COVID-19 Pandemic hits.  The income earners find themselves jobless.  Aside from a “nationwide toilet paper crisis”, now they’re faced with pulling money from their 401(k) with penalty charges, or using their credit cards to go further into debt so they can pay their mortgage, feed the kids, and not have the electricity shut off.  What was comfortably taken for granted just a few months ago is now a panic to not lose everything they’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Sure, you can argue that we don’t run into a situation like a pandemic very often.  How about a housing bubble popping?  A trade war with China?  An election year with nervous investors?  A terrorist act that causes investor panic?  An oil crisis?  Bottom line, there will always be something.

Your investment portfolio can lose value… quickly… instantly.  But your mortgage payment, car payment, etc. are contractually due on schedule… like clockwork…   even if you’re dealing with job loss, illness, death in the family, portfolio crash, or whatever other catastrophe might befall you.

help debtSo, at PSG, we look at the “good debt/bad debt” debate from two distinct vantage points.  If you’re in debt with no solid retirement accumulation and thin cash flow, priority one is get-out-of-debt.  Then later, once, you’re in a position to “gamble” your money in investments that may lose value, consider your options if you want to hedge a debt against an investment, as long as your foundation is secure and you can liquidate the debt with cash assets.  In the meantime, we’d priorities building “equivalents” (which we discuss in The Financial Acumen Course® to create residual income sources that perform the function of an investment portfolio without the expense… allowing you to pay down your debt and get an equivalent rate-of-return of 8% to 12% or more at the same time.

Get out of debtSumming it up, we see it that no debt is really “good” debt.  Some debts are just “less bad” than others.  The best debt is “no debt”, and to achieve it by working with equivalent assets is the smartest way to accomplish that, in our opinion.  The “debt-free” part of your plan makes unexpected “life happens” events an inconvenience, rather than a household financial crisis.  The “equivalent asset” part of your plan allows you to create residual income streams for a secure retirement (even if you’re starting a little later in life), without having to sink your discretionary income into stocks, bonds, or other financial products.  So, in a nutshell, with what we teach, it’s not a question of having to decide between “sending your discretionary income to debt” versus “investing it”.  It’s not an either/or situation.  Achieve both!

consolidateMaybe yes.  Maybe no.  It’s a “math and timing” question.  First, find out about any “origination fees”, “closing costs”, or “points” that a refinance or consolidation loan might cost.  Second, figure out the break-even point as to when those costs would be effectively liquidated by any savings in the new payment amount.  Then, once you’ve done the math, decide whether the costs and time savings (if any) are worthwhile for the resulting household cash flow change.

Make your decision based on the math, not the hype.  If you’ve received a solicitation or offer in the mail, it most likely paints a rosy picture with enticements like “skip two payments”, “lower your monthly payment”, etc.  The fine print on the loan terms may fly in the face of the glossy insert depicting a beach vacation with an umbrella drink.

In the event that the math is favorable, debt consolidation or a refinance might be a good tool to use in conjunction with other strategies to accelerate your success in becoming debt-free.  As part of your free analysis, we can run your numbers both ways and tell you exactly how a refinance or consolidation will affect your outcome.  Contact us for more insight.  There’s no cost to you for the answers.

Extra IncomeLet’s start by saying, “we don’t know.”   We need more information to be able to help you make that decision.  Anyone who suggests a course of action without knowing your individual circumstances is not working with all the facts.  Be careful about that if you’re asking around.

A free consultation with a PSG Certified Coach would shed some light on the topic.  Expect to discuss the “what’s” and “why’s” behind the question.  Are you in a negative cash flow situation?  Is it to pay down debt faster?  Is it to achieve some kind of personal goal?  Can you “find” the needed money within your existing budget by reducing costs and expenses?  Those are some of the basics that will lead to additional questions and exploration.

DecisionThe idea of taking on a new job is in a completely different league than starting a business.  They’re not even close.  The level of commitment is different altogether.  If you’re talking about a job, there are plenty of part-time or full-time options, some hourly, some salaried.  If you’re talking about starting a business, that can range from a side-hustle of a few hundred dollars of income per week up to an enterprise that involves tens of thousands of dollars (or more) in income per week.  So it’s not a “casual” question.

Spend an hour talking with a PSG Coach, free of charge.  At least gain some insight into your options and the various considerations you’ll need to address in your decision.  Schedule your appointment.  You’ll find it very worthwhile.

This is another “situational” question: It depends.  Home-based businesses are one type of venture model that can produce income, but within the category, there is a limitless variety of markets and options.  Keep in mind, there are other business models (such as online businesses and brick-and-mortar businesses) that are available, as well.

home based businessWhen people hear the term “home-based business”, it often conjures up a mental image of some kind of pyramid scheme or get-rich-quick scam.  (Those exist, too, so you have to be careful doing your due diligence in researching any venture you embark upon).  There are, however, hundreds of markets that can be legitimately served from a home-based environment.  The Financial Acumen Course® teaches ways to distinguish legitimate business opportunities from various schemes and scams.

If you are drawn to entrepreneurship as a way to create income while being your own boss, we’d recommend researching home-based franchises, networking businesses, and recurring services businesses as a few of your options.  You can also find profitable home-based ventures in blogging/vlogging, affiliate programs, and financial success coaching.  All things considered, work is something you do, not someplace you go.  If you can remain at home and make a living with a growing business, we find that to be a great option for many people.  It’s not necessarily the right option for everyone, though.

thinkingThere are many benefits to working from home: autonomy, convenience, tax breaks, daycare cost savings, comparatively lower startup & operating costs, and flexible hours.  On the flip side, there are several drawbacks: distractions, potentially limited technology and infrastructure, and perhaps some infringement on your “personal space” if you’re in a service-related field where you meet face-to-face with customers.

As we mentioned above, it’s not a trivial or casual decision.  If you are serious about starting and building a business, it should be for well-thought-out reasons and goals.  It shouldn’t be an impulsive decision based on hype, excitement, and the eager coaxing of your old “high school friend” who calls you out-of-the-blue one day with “the best money making business since sliced bread.”  More specifically, if you spent more time planning your last vacation than you spend putting thought into “signing up” into a networking venture with your mother/father/brother/sister/neighbor/cousin/friend, then it’s more likely you’re acting on a quest chasing the illusion of low-hanging fruit than truly being an entrepreneur.  Entrepreneurship is more than establishing a business.  It’s a mindset.

business ownerWe’ll take it a step further… It’s a trained mindset of ownership and accountability.  Whether you get that training from doing your own trial-and-error attempts and research, or you get that training from an experienced business success coach… or perhaps some combination, thereof… it’s important to realize that very few “wantrepreneurs” become successful entrepreneurs.  Wishful thinking never got anyone paid.  And in that regard, whether it’s a brick-and-mortar, online, or home-based business model, it makes no difference.

If you’re not sure about which business model you’re best suited for, or if you’re unsure whether business ownership is a good fit for your goals, we recommend exploring the topics further with a PSG Certified Coach.  Take a moment to schedule a free consultation to learn more.  The more information you have, the better decision you’ll make for yourself.  And we at PSG wish you the best in success!

A couple of key points, here: They don’t work for free, and there’s no “catch”.  Now that we have that out of the way, let’s address the root of your question…

The Prosperity Solutions Group® was founded by entrepreneurs who realized and understood what makes a business successful or fail.  We often ask our entrepreneurial candidates what they think makes the difference.  In response, we get all kinds of off-the-cuff answers.  “Good products”.  Nope.  “Great service”.  No.  “Effective branding and marketing”.  Uh-uh… getting colder.  The list goes on.

SolutionConsider this: A successful business is one that is able to best solve one (or more) problems that customers either can’t, don’t know how to, or don’t want to on their own.  It’s that simple.  Customers seek solutions to their problems in order to meet their needs. To be a true solution, it has to be a good product, great service, and it has to have exposure… so all of those answers play into the mix.  To be the best solution, it has to be cost-effective… in other words, a worthwhile value to the customer for them to give it the time of day.  Otherwise, the customer seeks their solution elsewhere.

All-too-often, misguided business owners focus solely on profitability instead of being the best problem-solver to meet customers’ needs.  When that happens, success becomes very short-term and eventually greed gets in the way of growth.  Consequently, such a business “dies on the vine”.  In contrast, if a business owner identifies their niche in the market place and focuses on changing their customers’ lives for the better– and at the best value, the money will come.  It has to, because that’s the way free competition works in our market economy, based on supply and demand.

Therefore, PSG Certified Coaches invest their time with customers as qualified, experienced problem-solvers.  If they can deliver the solution that their student, client, or entrepreneurial candidate needs, the customer moves forward, accordingly.

One sizeAlso too often, people seek solutions from companies that only offer “one-size-fits-all” products or services.  If the only tool in their toolbox is a hammer, then every problem starts to look like a nail.  At the end of the day, one-size-fits-all ends up being “one-size-fits-none“.  When that happens, the company becomes agenda-driven in pursuit of profits rather than on truly meeting their customers’ needs.

PSG Niche SolutionIt’s a key point that PSG Coaches have a wide and diversified array of solutions to offer, depending on the customers’ needs.  Whether a product or a service, the right solution is often available from one or more various suppliers who are happy to profit-share with the coach if there is a good fit.  The result is a win-win relationship amongst everyone involved.  It keeps costs down, which improves value to customers.  Customers’ needs are met, because our mission and vision remain client-centric.  And the PSG Team gets paid by the supplier, rather than charging the customer for consultations and coaching services.  Everyone stays happy, and the resulting synergy makes for one heck-of-a great business model.  On the occasion (which does happen) where we don’t have the right solution for a customer, part of our standards-of-conduct are to tactfully “confess” that to the customer and potentially refer them to a more suitable alternative.  We call that “integrity” in doing business.  The customer always comes first.

Take a Closer Look!

The questions and answers above are fairly typical of what our new clients ask.  Keep in mind that each of the above topics works in combination with one another to create part of a synergistic and strategic “bigger financial picture”.  In other words, each topic stands on its own merit, but when we start combining the power of the individual strategies and behaviors we teach, the end result is “The whole is more than the sum of its parts”.  

If our answers to the questions above resonate with you and you understand & agree with our reasoning, call, text, email, submit, or send a carrier pigeon our way to request your own, personalized debt-payoff analysis.  Again, your assigned Debt & Wealth Coach™ will work with your unique situation.  See how soon you can be out of debt, and find out how much you can save!

Legal Disclamier:

The questions and answers herein are not intended to provide financial, legal, tax or investment advice.  In other words, we’re not telling you what to invest in, how to do your taxes, and so forth.  Everyone’s situation is different, so for that kind of advice you will need to talk to your accountant, attorney, or other professional who is familiar with your unique circumstances.  We have to make this disclaimer because we don’t know your specific individual financial circumstances.  Our answers to the questions above are opinions.  You can choose to use or ignore them at your own discretion.