What is considered a good credit score? How important is your credit score? 

Anything at or above 600 – 650 is considered a good credit score, but this is really the boarder line.  Everyone should actually strive to have a credit score in the 7-800’s in order to put yourself in a place where you have more command over the things that you’re trying to do in life, like making large purchases (i.e. home, car etc.).

Your credit score is to your financial life as air is to breathing.  In other words, in the world of finance and commerce, without good credit, it becomes extremely difficult for a person to accomplish simple everyday task.  Until recently in New York, it was important to have a good credit score to even obtain work (This is still a requirement for certain employers) 

Therefore, always striving to have and maintain a strong credit score will benefit consumers because it creates buying power for small and large purchases, it builds leverage for long-term important financial needs and it creates overall peace of mind, which helps in maintaining overall health and happiness.

 

1)How did you learn to be budget conscious?

As a result of my profession, and working in finance for the last 16 years, I’ve had opportunities to work with businesses and individuals where budgeting was a key element to their success. I’ve also had to learn the important elements of managing a tight budget within my own life.  Building an independent practice is the same as owning your own business, and it forces you to face the same challenges of any other entrepreneur, where finance plays an important role.   Managing your personal and professional cash flow is a critical element to your success.

 

2) What are your tips for funding higher education if you can't get a scholarship?

Start early, whether for yourself or for your children!

As soon as you know that higher education is the direction that you’re moving toward, begin setting aside an amount that you can manage to help fund your education.  If you’re an adult, consider where you can downsize and reallocate costs or unnecessary expenses toward whatever degree program that you’re pursuing.

Going back home and living with family if possible is an alternative strategy to taking out a student loan.  We are facing a critical crisis with the cost of education in America, and the more that you can fund your own educational costs up front, the better your chances of avoiding long-term debt obligations.

Of course this is not always possible, and student loans more times than not have to be explored, but the point is to start by looking at all that you can do on your own first.

If you’re planning higher education for your children, 529 and Coverdell education savings plans are two very popular types of accounts that can be opened for the benefit of your child’s college education.  Both accounts offer the ability to make tax deferred contributions, and allow invested assets to grow for the life of the accounts until your child is ready to go to college.   Invested assets are required to be used for the child’s education when they come of age. 

 

3) What should you consider about your financial status before you buy a house?

Your income stability is essential to a purchase as large as a house.  Buying a home for the average American normally has long-term financial obligations attached to it such as an ongoing mortgage, property and tax expenses as well as other maintenance obligations that may be involved.   Therefore, it’s critical to evaluate if you have the financial stability through your job or business to support this long-term obligation. 

 

Also, do you have reserves?  When entering into such an obligation, it’s important to go into it knowing that if your income suddenly changes unexpectedly, you will still have enough to pay the monthly bills until your income stream starts up again.  This is also closely tied to evaluating whether or not the home that you’re purchasing is within your means to sustain, based on your lifestyle. 

Most people dream of the large house with many rooms and all the related amenities, and you may very well have the start up capital to begin that initial purchase, but it is very important to consider all of your monthly expenses and evaluate what adjustments you’ll have to make so that you can manage that monthly mortgage payment.

 If you find that each month looks like it will be a struggle to maintain all of your related expenses (especially those expenses that are non-negotiable), then perhaps it’s time to consider a different house. Consider one that’s not as expensive, and provides a lower monthly mortgage payment so that meeting all you’re expenses, including your mortgage, is not as stressful.  In essence, avoid being “house poor”.

Finally, your credit score at the time that you’re ready to purchase a home is critically important.  With a strong credit rating, and a strong cash flow structure you will be in a better position to negotiate a lower interest rate on your home, and have the capital reserves to sustain it.

 

4) What happens when you file bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy for example, is one of the most common forms of bankruptcy that individuals may file for.

 In a chapter 7 bankruptcy, your assets are liquidated in order to pay off as much of your debt obligations as possible. The cash from your assets are re-distributed to creditors including any banks, credit cards or other creditors that you may owe money to.  Overall, it offers the option for a fresh new start.

Once you file for a chapter 7 bankruptcy however, the notation remains on your credit report for ten years.   This can place major limitations on a person in various areas such as reducing a person’s purchasing power, limiting ones ability to apply for a credit card and even jeopardizing a person’s ability to obtain employment within certain industries.

It is important to do your research to find out all the options that are available to you before deciding if you need to file for bankruptcy, what kind of bankruptcy you should file for and what it will mean for you long-term. 

 

5) What are some companies women should invest in?

An investment strategy is specific to each individual person.  Factors that drive how a person may invest can include, among other things, the amount of money that you are able to invest and how often, a person’s individual risk tolerance and how risk adverse they are, a person’s short and long-term life goals and their overall investment objective.  These are some of the variables that will drive how a person invests regardless of gender.

 

6) Do you think it's wise to finance cosmetic surgery? Why or why not? 

Investing is a very personal experience.  Along with all of the investor suitability variables that every person goes through with their advisor to determine their investment choices, most people also incorporate an emotional element to the companies and markets that they choose.   In many cases, investment choices are made based on ethical preferences that vary from one person to the next.

Like every other industry, if a person is considering financing cosmetic surgery, they should do their due diligence on the market and the particular stock or company that they’re interested in investing in.  

Consider the strength of the market and company, and then sit down with a financial professional who can evaluate their portfolio in greater detail to determine if that type of investment is right for them.

 

Author: Shurnette Henry, Managing Partner, Papillon Financial,

Securities Offered Through TFS Securities, Inc., Member FINRA / SIPC, a full service broker dealer, located at 437 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft, NJ 07738 732-758-9300 Investment Advisory Services offered through TFS Advisory Services a division of TFS Securities, Inc