Virtue # 5 – April Showers, Bring May Flowers!

My family and I relocated to North Carolina from Texas almost a year and a half ago, so for the past two years, my friends and I have attended Women’s Empowerment which is held in April annually at PNC Arena in Raleigh. This event brings women from all walks of life to hear their favorite gospel artists perform, shop with local business owners and participate in seminars from topics concerning credit, skincare, and real estate investing. The full day of activities on the main stage include a fashion show, panel discussion and have hosted celebrity speakers Taraji P. Henson last year and Michael Strahan this year.

This year, I decided to bring my daughter with me and she talked about her experience for days after the event.

One of the seminars that I attended talked about credit repair, which is a pretty hot topic. It reminds me of my college days when the credit card companies would sit in the area that us students would congregate between classes and have us sign up to get a free t-shirt. A lot of us were unaware of the headaches we would be setting ourselves up for.

Photo credit Pexels.com

Credit is a good thing when used effectively, so I want to share a few high-level tips to help you avoid some of the mistakes that I have made and have seen others make.

1. Know your score. You can get a free credit report from creditkarma or annually request a free copy from the credit reporting agency websites: transunion, experian, equifax

2. If you have any inaccurate information on your credit report, it can be disputed on each of the reporting agency’s website. You can also mail a certified letter to each reporting agency to dispute the tradeline inaccuracy. Credit repair is a marathon and not a sprint, so you can avoid paying someone for this service by doing it yourself.

3. Don’t bite off more credit than you can chew. If at all possible pay off your entire credit card balance each month. If that is not possible, at a minimum send in your minimum payment. A trick to help avoid credit dings or late payments is to set up an automatic draft of your monthly payment through your credit card company.

4. Keep your account utilization low. An example of this principle is when having a $1000 credit limit only using $200 of that limit at a given time.

5. Do not close old accounts. This can negatively impact your score.

6. Minimize the amount of inquiries or credit pulls that you have on your credit.

Credit repair is usually a topic of discussion when people are looking to buy a car, get a credit card or purchase a home. It amazes me that the things credit affects that you would not suspect. For example, interest rates on vehicles, credit cards, mortgages, and premiums on your insurance to name a few.

Photo credit Pexels.com

Now that Spring is in full swing, many people are looking to purchase a new home or refinance their existing mortgage to get cash out to take care of home improvements that they do not want to spend their savings on, or to reduce their monthly payment. So, what do lenders look at when you want to get a new mortgage?

1. CREDIT
2. Loan to value. This the loan amount that you are requesting versus the home’s value. An estimate of your home’s value can be found either on the county assessor’s website for the county that the home is located in or on zillow.
3. Debt to income. This a calculation of the items on your credit report such as student loan, home, car and credit card payments versus your gross monthly income.

Please keep in mind that this information is for educational purposes only. For questions specific to your situation, please contact your loan officer. Schedule a time to ask me questions concerning how to get the best bang for your buck when it comes to financing.

One last thing, Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers. If you are not a mother, you have a mother, so celebrate them!

About the Author: Grenata Vessel

Grenata is the owner of Virtuous Financial Group, LLC.

Website, LinkedIN, Facebook

Meet Grenata Vessel

Mom. Wife. Virtuous Woman. Founder of Virtuous Financial Group, LLC.

Virtue #3 – What is Stock?


What’s Happening?
Last month life was a little busy with the holidays, however, here is an update on Virtuous Financial Group. We are well on our way and I am excited about the growth that is happening thus far. The website, monthly newsletter and webinars are starting to pick up traction. If you have not subscribed to the newsletter, you may do so here. Last week’s webinar Naughty or Nice? Holiday Budgeting Behavior was a hit.


What is Stock?
Prospective client meetings have brought up the question many times “What is stock?”, so let’s address that question now. Stock is equity or ownership in a company. Stock can be purchased in a 100-share minimum through a brokerage account. Brokerage accounts are offered through companies such as Charles Schwab or TDAmeritrade. Imagine a pie that is cut into small slices. When buying stock, you are purchasing your share or slice of the whole pie. Stock is bought and sold on the stock exchanges. Investopedia explains it all here.


Death Preparedness Kit
A Facebook friend’s spouse died unexpectedly, at a young age, within the past couple of days. So, how do you prepare for the death of a loved one? Many companies train their employees on their emergency preparedness procedures, but many families forego preparing for an unexpected death in their households. When selecting coverage, many people choose a random number of coverage and forget to figure out if there is enough coverage to handle the expenses that are needed as soon as tomorrow. I truly empathize with my friend and her family, but this happens much too frequently. Death is always unexpected, so we must prepare and protect our families. Here are a few tips to get your death preparedness kit started.
• Update all beneficiary designations…no one wants an ex-spouse to get their money if that is not what they really intended to do.
• Set up a liquid emergency fund (in a checking or savings account and can easily be withdrawn) that holds 3-6 months income to handle expenses in case there is a delay in accessing burial funds.
• Have enough life insurance coverage either through work, outside insurance providers, or a combination of the two to cover at least 10 times the household income. An alternative to this method is to calculate the amount of coverage needed based upon the amount of household expenses to cover upon a family provider’s death.


Merry Christmas!
December is a very exciting time for me. I celebrate my birthday and Jesus’s birth. During this time of the year, remember the reason for the season, and give to those who are less fortunate.

Photos courtesy of www.pexels.com.

The information provided in this blogpost is for educational purposes only, and should not be considered advise. For individualized recommendations, consult your financial advisor.