Transcript: Thanks Allan, 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, and 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, it’s 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 anytime is a timely time to talk about this, but for some reason to me, it feels like a very timely time because of everything that’s going on in the world. People wondering about home values, credit card … I mean this is financial concerns all over the place, so 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 [inaudible 00:02:11] point in terms of how are you going to progress financially. You have to stay on top of it. We 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: I may be wrong on this, but depending on the generation I think, some generations have been educated from early on as at least how to balance a checkbook and consider financial issues and those kinds of thing. I certainly never was, but my kids were. 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 had the internet, so the internet is the disseminator of information. So you have that at your fingertips with your phone, your laptops, as well as your notebook pad, so millennials now are educated in some aspects, in terms of how to deal with their finances, however, myself, and I could put myself in the millennial, X generation shoes.
Darius Norman: 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 reinforces back in college to help me maintain the life skill of the ABC’s of understanding finances like you said, balancing my 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 a checking account. How to maintain your student loans once you graduate from college because that’s really a key issue for millennials.
Darius Norman: Millennials, like you said, the generation gap, whereas 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 thousand dollars 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 $6300.00 in college loans, and 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 unlimited liability, so that she could indeed do what you’re talking about, have a chance with a car, a credit card, whatever. I just don’t run into people like that.
Darius Norman: Right. 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, 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, which will 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. Kudo’s to her, she sounds like she has a profound story.
Darius Norman: However, like myself and many people that I encountered, 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: And so, 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 yet, unless you have a unique family where your parents model that for you, high schools don’t do that, colleges don’t do that, junior colleges don’t do that and it would seem to be just a natural place to house that education.
Darius Norman: Absolutely. Because they are so called the higher ed of learning, and they’re shaping the minds of the next leaders and the next [inaudible 00:08:21] of their generation. So you would think with our financial system, how it’s set up based on … A credit system is set up 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 that we’re getting the ABC’s 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. Well, that is my next move. You’re right on the … 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 thousand dollars worth of debt. They’re unable to maintain student loan debt. Also, with our change in economy, the job market is great based on the institution or the setting that you’re going to be working in or the industry.
Darius Norman: A lot of industries, if you’re not basically in healthcare, if you’re not into education, or maybe 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, so the millennials as well as the X generation have to innovative and become more entrepreneur minded. You’re right on the post of-
David Brower: Yep, so how do they reach out to you? Or do you reach out to them? Or 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 and on that website, you can learn all about my services. I also wrote a book entitled Rewriting Financial Rules, and it’s giving you the ABC’s of understanding credit, how to utilize credit as a leverage to put yourself in a different place financially, and it’s on my website and I give details.
Darius Norman: It’s a simple how to book. It’s an educational tool and it’s not only limited to just college students, however, it’s geared to individuals and families who want to make the next step. As well as, I consult other people and they can reach me on my website at rewritingfinancialrulesllc.com.
David Brower: And you’ve got your book available at Barnes and Nobel, on Amazon, and you also have a Kindle version it looks like.
Darius Norman: I do. It’s available, you can purchase it right there at the click of a link, and like I said, if you’d like to consult with me, I have my business 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 check out ways if you need to boost your credit scores, if you need to repair your credit, because based on the Federal Trade Commission data, they said that 79% of American’s have some type of inaccuracy or discrepancy that is not accurate onto their credit report. And what’s that staggering number? Yeah. And with that staggering number dated? A, if you have some negative items on your credit report per se, that can make a world of difference in terms of how much you pay or how much you save per year. If you’re purchasing a car, things of that nature, so it’s important to monitor your credit.
David Brower: Well, 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, but we ran our credit reports a few weeks ago, through I think the three primary agencies that you get that stuff from. 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, Barkley credit card, never heard of Barkley in my lifetime. Different little things that wouldn’t really hurt our credit but kind of caught us off guard.
David Brower: Now with what seems to be the ease of people to steal people’s identities, and tap into their credit. Man, that’s got to … Do you deal with folks that have to deal with that kind of … I mean, that’s just darn scary.
Darius Norman: Absolutely. Let’s go back to this point David. You just pointed out a valid point. But regardless, you saw a credit card on your credit report for a financial institution named a different name onto your credit reports, well, you know with the change in economy, a lot of these companies are being bought out. There’s hostile mergers that are taking place in our banking and financial institutions, so a lot of times, these banking institutions don’t have to give you any alert that they have been bought out, and if you’re not reviewing your credit report, you can look on your credit report and there’s a different institution, and so that could be a problem.
Darius Norman: Also, you know with the Equifax data breach, with 140 million American’s pertinent [inaudible 00:14:25] has been compromised, so your pertinent information, range from your drivers license, your current or previous addresses may be standing from five to 10 years ago, your date of birth, your social security number, as well as your other pertinent information such as your previous accounts open or not open, that puts you at a risk.
Darius Norman: So if you had decent credit, with identity theft, I’ve been doing a tour and I’ve been speaking on different platforms. It’s [inaudible 00:15:10] people how to protect themselves with this massive breach. If you want me to, I can give some steps.
David Brower: Yes. Please do. Absolutely.
Darius Norman: The first step would be to, I know Equifax institutions are offering credit freeze services for a way to secure and to protect your information from being breached or your identity from being used to establish … provided free for each consumer who has been affected by that breach for a year. However, I would not trust a institution who allowed my information to be breached to continue to monitor my credit, so 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 reports. The price to do that is between three to 10 dollars, which will allow you to protect your identity.
David Brower: Oh my.
Darius Norman: Okay. And also, you should enroll into the free services with your banking institution or your credit card if you have a credit card. You should enroll into a transaction activity service, which will … Most banks and most credit card companies provide those free services. Say David, if you went to the mall and bought a pair of shoes, well, if the purchase seems suspicious, then your 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’ve 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, you know.
Darius Norman: Right. To protect yourself. Another thing that I do, I would 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 your 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 opened. 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 generals office, as well as the consumer financial protection bureau. If you suspect any fraudulent activity transpired on your account.
David Brower: We have to be better informed, we have to be better educated, we have to reach out to people like you who can help us to understand the ABC’s of protecting our financial situation, helping us to improve our situation, helping us to clean up our credit report, I mean you are able through your experience and education, to help people walk through all of those financial saving steps. That’s a valuable, valuable service man.
Darius Norman: Yes sir, well I appreciate it. I want to continue to help as many as people as I can.
David Brower: That’s terrific. Darius, we’re out of time and I want to invite people again to go to your website, rewritingfinancialrulesllc.com all one word, rewritingfinancialrulesllc.com and you’ll learn more about Darius, you’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, thank you 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.