Transcript: Thanks Alan. We’re talking with Darius Norman, a native of Birmingham, Alabama who currently lives in Conyers, Georgia. Darius is a social worker and motivational speaker with 10 years of experience working with individuals, families and communities. He obtained his BA in Religion from Morris Brown College in 2003.
Went on to obtain his graduate degree in social work from Clark Atlanta University in 2005. It has been his mission since he overcame his own financial ups and downs to empower others with an educational tool to assist them in taking control of their financial and credit issues so that they can have a secure financial future.
Darius, a pleasure to have you.
Darius Norman: Thank you, sir. It’s a pleasure being on.
David Brower: By definition, you’re a Certified Credit Repair Specialist, is that right?
Darius Norman: Absolutely. Certified Credit Repair Specialist/Consumer Advocate. I like to create educational tools to educate the average consumer in terms of how to deal with the ups and downs of their credit and ongoing other financial concerns they may endure going forward.
David Brower: Very good. It seems like any time is a timely time to talk about this, but for some reason to me, it seems like a very timely time because of everything that’s going on in the world. People wondering about home values, credit card issues. There’s just financial concerns all over the place. I’m sure a lot of people are scratching their heads and they’re glad you’re on the podcast today.
Darius Norman: Oh, wow. Well, thank you, definitely so. Finances is the pinnacle point in terms of how are you going to progress financially? You have to stay on top of it. You can’t look to our political system. You can’t look to state and local governments to give you the strategies to maintain a secure financial history.
David Brower: Depending on the generation, I think, I may be wrong on this, but depending on the generation I think some generations have been educated from early on at least how to balance a checkbook and consider financial issues and those kind of things. I certainly never was, but my kids were, so you run into generational concerns too, I would think.
Darius Norman: Absolutely, because now the millennials, as well as the X generation, they have the internet, whereas the previous generation may not have the internet. The internet is a disseminator of information. You have that at your fingertips of your phone, your laptops, as well as your notebook pad. Millennials now are educated, in certain aspects, in terms of how to deal with their finances.
However, myself, and I could put myself in the millennial, X generation shoes, I’m only 37 years old and I’m like you, David. I grew up in a household, my parents were physically sound. Financially, they sent me off to college and I wanted to obtain my education; however, when I went off to college, I didn’t have the ring of forces back in college to help me maintain the life skill of the A, B, Cs of understanding finances like you said.
David Brower: You bet.
Darius Norman: Balancing the checkbook. I found myself, like many others who may not have the literacy, finding myself going down a downward spiral financially because of that.
David Brower: Absolutely. Been there, done that. Fortunately, got great advice from people along the way to be able to get us back into a very sound and solid financial position, but it takes a while when you’re down the rabbit hole. It takes a while to figure a way out.
Darius Norman: Absolutely. I agree with you. I wish our higher eds of learning would institute those life skills of understanding credit, understanding how to open up a savings or checking account. How to maintain your student loans once you graduate from college, because that’s really a key issue for millennials. Millennials, like you said, the generational gap.
Maybe your generation, they didn’t have to go to school and obtain all these student loans to secure a financial future; whereas the millennials and the X generation kids are coming out of school with $60, $70, and $80,000 worth of student loan debt. They are coming out of school unable to purchase a home, unable to start a small business, unable to purchase a car and obtain a competitive interest rate due to the lack of literacy financially.
David Brower: Yeah, well said. I met a young lady the other day, certainly the exception to the rule. I had such an interesting time talking with her. She just finished her degree, she worked at a fast food joint for seven years to pay her way through college, and she ended up with only $6,300 in college debt, or college loans.
For whatever reason, she was prepared, financially, to take on her own responsibility and to be prepared when she got out of school to have a limited liability so she could, indeed, do what you’re talking about, have a chance at a car, a credit card, whatever. I don’t run into people like that.
Darius Norman: Right and that is an amazing story because, like myself who like I said, I wish I had the literacy. Maybe she had grandparents, parents who might have educated her more.
David Brower: Right.
Darius Norman: Like you said, the millennials have the education. You have apps now on your iPhones or your Androids, which will allow you to create a budget plan. Also, there are apps and information, I hear, where if you want to invest your money with minimal amounts of money, you can do that. Kudos to her. She sounds like she had a profound story. However, like myself and many people that I encounter, I’ve seen a lot of people who have a hard time purchasing a car because they have poor credit or they can’t purchase a home because of the lack of credit or no credit, you see what I’m saying?
David Brower: Yeah. Absolutely right.
Darius Norman: It’s pertinent. It’s a pertinent step.
David Brower: It’s fascinating to me, and you mentioned it a few moments ago. It’s always fascinated me how important financial responsibility is, but unless you have a unique family where your parents modeled that for you, high schools don’t do that, colleges don’t do that, junior colleges don’t do that.
Darius Norman: No.
David Brower: It would seem to be just a natural place to house that kind of education.
Darius Norman: Absolutely, because they are the so called higher ed of learning and they’re shaping the minds of the next leaders and the next forerunners of their generation, so you would think with our financial system how it’s set up based on a credit system, it’s set up based on banking institutions. You would think for us to be astute financially, our educational systems would put those life skills, training courses, in the classroom to make sure we’re getting the A, B, Cs to maintain a secure life.
David Brower: Well, there’s your next job opportunity, man. Open up a traveling financial credit course and travel the world.
Darius Norman: Absolutely. That is my next move. You’re right on the post. Oh my god, I have such a passion for new college graduates, post college graduates, because, like I said, a lot of college graduates are coming out of school with $80,000 worth of debt. They’re unable to maintain student loan debt. Also, with our changing economy, the job market is great based on the institution or the setting that you’re going to be working in or the industry.
A lot of industries if you’re not basically in healthcare, if you’re not into education, or it may be even retail, it’s hard to come out of school and find a career that’s going to help you maintain a lifestyle. A lot of our college students are graduating and they’re unable to find a job. The millennials as well as the X generation have to be innovative and become more entrepreneur minded. You’re right on the post of-
David Brower: Yep. How do they reach out to you or do you reach out to them? How do you find people to work with and help improve their financial life?
Darius Norman: I have a website and it’s entitled, Rewriting Financial Rules, LLC. On that website, you can learn all about my services. I also wrote a book entitled ‘Rewriting Financial Rules’. It’s giving you the A, B, Cs of understanding credit, how to utilize credit as a leverage to put yourself in a different place financially.
David Brower: Yeah.
Darius Norman: It’s on my website and I give details. It’s a simple how-to book. It’s an educational tool. It’s not only limited to college students, however, it’s geared to individuals and families who want to make the next step as well as I consult other people. They can reach me on my website at RewritingFinancialRulesLLC.com.
David Brower: You’ve got your book available at Barnes & Noble, on Amazon, and you also have a Kindle version, it looks like.
Darius Norman: I do. It’s available, right. You can purchase it right there at the click of a link. Like I said, if you would like to consult with me I have my business and the phone number on there as well as my personal email if you’d like to consult with me one-on-one to review your credit and figure out ways if you need to boost your credit scores.
If you need to repair your credit, because based on the Federal Trade Commission, [inaudible 00:11:50], they said that 79% of Americans have some type of inaccuracy or discrepancy that it’s not accurate onto their credit reports. With that staggering number, David, if you have some negatives item on your credit report per se, that can make a world of different in terms of how much you pay or how much you save per year.
David Brower: Absolutely.
Darius Norman: If you’re purchasing a car. Things of that nature. It’s important to monitor your credit.
David Brower: The thing my wife and I have talked about, in fact, we have this conversation periodically because fortunately she’s much more practical and much more financially astute than I am, which helps us both. We ran our credit reports a few weeks ago through the three primary agencies that you get that stuff from because we consolidated some bills, got rid of some credit cards, did that kind of stuff, so we wanted to see where our credit was. There was some stuff on there, it wasn’t damaging, per se, but it was curious. There was like, Barclay credit card. Never heard of Barclay in my lifetime.
Darius Norman: Exactly, okay.
David Brower: Different little things that wouldn’t really hurt our credit but kind of caught us off guard. Now, with the, what seems to be, ease of people to steal people’s identities and tap into their credit, man that’s got to be … Do you deal with folks that have to deal with that kind of … That’s just darn scary.
Darius Norman: Absolutely. Well, let’s go back to this point, David. You just pointed out a valid point in regards to you saw a credit card on your credit report for a financial institution named a different name onto your credit report. Well, you know with the changing economy, a lot of these company are being bought out. There’s hostile mergers that are taking place in our banking and financial institutions. A lot of times these banking institutions don’t have to give you any alert that they have been bought out. If you’re not reviewing your credit report, you could look on your credit report and it’s a different institution. That could be a problem.
Also, you know with the Equifax data breach, with 140 million American’s pertinent information has been compromised, so your pertinent information ranges from your driver’s license, your current or previous addresses, maybe spanning from 5 to 10 years ago, your date of birth, your Social Security Number, as well as your other pertinent information such as your previous accounts opened or not opened, that puts you at a risk. If you have these [crosstalk 00:15:00]-
David Brower: Absolutely.
Darius Norman: If you have decent credit and with identity theft, I’ve been doing a tour and speaking on different platforms, it’s [inaudible 00:15:09] people how to protect themselves with this massive breach. If you allow me, if you want me to, I can give some steps?
David Brower: Yeah, please do. Absolutely.
Darius Norman: Okay. The first step would be to … I know Equifax institutions are offering credit freeze services for you, way to secure and protect your information from being breached or your identity being used to establish- providing it free for each consumer that’s been affected by that breach for a year; however, I would not trust an institution who allowed my information to be breached to continue to monitor my credit.
I encourage people to … There are some free services like Credit Monitor as well as Credit Wise that you can sign up for that will give you alerts and provide you free credit monitoring services, as well as, again, call all three bureaus and you can freeze your credit report. The price to do that is between $3 to $10, which will allow you to protect your identity.
David Brower: Oh my.
Darius Norman: Okay? Also, you should enroll into the free services with your banking institutions or your credit card, if you have a credit card. You should enroll into a transaction activity service, which most banks and most credit card companies provide those free services. Say, David, if you went to the mall and you bought a pair of shoes. If the purchase seemed suspicious, then you’re banking institution or your credit card company will either send you an alert via email or through text message to alert you or to ask you if you made that purchase or not. That’s a way to pad yourself.
David Brower: Yeah, my bank has been … They call my cell phone whenever something like that happens. It’s not very often, but it does happen.
Darius Norman: Right. To protect yourself. Another thing, David I do like to say, and I appreciate you for allowing me to speak, but I would like to leave this with your audience. One thing I would like to educate your audience about, the credit freeze does protect you identity from being stolen and new lines of credit being established in your name; however the credit freeze does not protect your current accounts that you have open. That still-
David Brower: Oh, gotcha.
Darius Norman: Yeah, you would need to protect yourself. That’s why I wanted to highlight the transaction activity service that you should enroll into, as well as there are some state and local government agencies that protect yourself against some of these cyber hacks. It’s the state Attorney General’s Office as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If you suspect any fraudulent activity transpired on your accounts.
David Brower: We have to be more informed, we have to be better educated, and we have to reach out to people like you who can help us to understand the A, B, Cs of protecting our financial situation, helping us to improve our situation, helping us to clean up our credit report. You are able, through your experience and education, to help people walk through all those financial saving steps. That’s a valuable, valuable service, man.
Darius Norman: Yes, sir. Well, I appreciate it and I want to continue to help as many people as I can.
David Brower: That’s terrific. Darius, we’re out of time and want to invite people, again, to go to your website: RewritingFinancialRulesLLC.com. All one word. RewritingFinancialRulesLLC.com and you’ll learn more about Darius. It’ll have his personal email, his phone number, you can order his book. Everything right there that will help you gain some confidence in this crazy financial world we live in. Darius, continue to be blessed, man. Thank you for the time.
Darius Norman: Thank you, sir. Thanks for having me on.
Alan: Until next time, don’t forget to download your free audio book at audibletrial.com/your20minutepodcast. That’s audibletrial.com/your20minutepodcast for your free audio book and thanks for listening to Your 20 Minute Podcast with David Brower.