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Money Plan SOS

Money Plan SOS

Author: Steve Stewart

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Pay attention - not interest.

For most, that’s all it takes to get their money under control. That’s how Steve and his wife got out of debt completely - even the mortgage…and you can too!

Your host, Steve Stewart, shares his extreme-but-proven ways that money really works. The show isn’t just about making a Money Plan (aka: a budget). Steve also explains what’s really wrong with credit cards and credit scores (spoiler alert: It’s not what you think). You’ll also learn about rich habits, how various investing vehicles work, and how you can have no debt, no credit, and no problems!

The show is retired, but still relevant in today’s radically changing financial world. Begin with Episode 201, then go back and listen to the archives in your favorite podcast app!

Money Plan SOS is the response to the call for help with your finances.
201 Episodes
Welcome! If you are new to the Money Plan SOS podcast then sit back. I’ll share with you the 20 best episodes, 10 “staple” episodes, and the 13 worst episodes. I also share my journey through money over the past two decades. The full show notes are at
#200: The MoneyPlan SOS podcast is now retired with this final episode. It was recorded LIVE at FinCon15 with nine bloggers who learned about money while blogging about money. In this final episode, nine financial bloggers answer the question, "Have you learned anything about money since blogging about money?" Eric Rosenberg (Narrow Bridge Media) Emily Guy Birken (Wisebread, Book: 5 Years Before You Retire) Katie Austin (Writes for Todd Tresidder ( Stefanie O’Connell (The Broke and Beautiful Life) Athena Lent (Being Fabulous Has No Price Tag) Miranda Marquit (Planting Money Seeds) JD Roth (Get Rich Slowly, new blog Eva Baker ( _____________________________ The MoneyPlan SOS podcast is now retired #tear This was the final episode of the Money Plan SOS podcast. Why? Somehow, I became known in the FinCon community as a podcast guru (they even gave me a shirt that said FinCon Podcast Guru on the front). This pivot into a new career allows me to help others who podcast about financial literacy topics by editing/engineering their recordings. My new home-base is Thank you for being a listener. It's been a true honor to host this show and help anyone who will listen PAY ATTENTION - NOT INTEREST!
#199: Is tithing mandatory for Christians? Chris Brown and I discuss this to get to the root of the problem - which has little to do with ten percent. Chris Brown has been a pastor for several years, speaking to congregations and audiences all over the United States. Full show notes at He recently became on of Dave Ramsey's Speakers and now hosts the popular True Stewardship Podcast. In this episode, Chris and I tackle this touchy subject of tithing: • What is a tithe? • Who is called to give a tithe? • What about the "Old Testament vs New Testament" argument around giving a tithe? • Are we asked to give a tithe based on the gross or net of our paychecks?   Connect with Chris Brown online:   Also in this episode: Ponda from the Honda: If a Billionaire doesn't have to buy a new car then why do we?   Where is MoneyPlanSOS going? The MoneyPlan SOS podcast is retiring after episode 200. You can find all my new shows at
#198: OG (aka The Other Guy from Stacking Benjamins) joins me to share the 8 Great Mistakes in Investing Full show notes at   The 8 Great Mistakes of Investing are: Under-diversification  Over-diversification  Euphoria  Panic  Leverage  Speculating  Investing for yield and not total return  Cost basis dictating decision  Thanks to OG for coming over. You can find him at - my favorite podcast. Also mentioned in this episode: The Great Beanie Baby Bubble by Zac Bissonnette. Amazing stuff! Here's the Stacking Benjamins affiliate link: __________________________________________________ Steve Stewart's Budget Coaching Course on video:  __________________________________________________ Ponda from the Honda: SPEND IT ALL (sort of) __________________________________________________ Fractional and Automated Savings Accounts - are they a good idea? Deanna Richardson from Richardson Accounting and Consulting, PLLC @  asked “Have you heard of Digit? Seems like a great way to build up an emergency fund says it is free. Then their are bonuses for keeping $100 in it over 3 months. If I did my math right, the bonuses are over 2.5% interest (5 cents / week per $100). Would love to hear what you think.” I tackle these new fractional, or automatic, savings accounts: Acorns, Digit and Betterment’s SmartDollar Links: ACORNS Open an account:  or install the free IOS or Android app Listen to my interview with the creators of Acorns    DIGIT Open an account:  Testimony from Paula Pant (which kinda concerns me)    BETTERMENT'S SMARTDEPOSIT Open an account:  More information:  ______________________________________
#197: Matt Ham is an author, speaker, and small business owner. Five words uttered by a nurse changed the way he looks at life - and inspired him to redefine rich. Full notes with links at   Takeaways from this interview: It’s not how much you give - it’s how you give it () We shouldn’t feel guilty to spend and, surprisingly enough, we feel richer when we give. Whole Life Matters Podcast:      __________________________________   3 important things to remember when buying a car This post first appeared on  Transportation is the third largest budgeting expense for most people. Housing and taxes can consume up to half of the average American’s income, with cars sucking up between 5-20 percent - depending on number of vehicles and if the consumer is carrying auto loans. However, you can greatly reduce your vehicle costs by remembering these three things when buying a car: It’s transportation It’s a depreciating asset It’s not forever The way we get the biggest bang for our buck when we buy a car right is when we buy it outright. Pay off your current car loan quickly, save what used to be your car payment for the next one, and pay attention - not a lease payment. _____________________________________   ‘Ponda from the Honda Free chips, salsa and bread sticks. What do they have to do with rising prices at local restaurants? _____________________________________   Are you tired of paying interest?  Do you want to get control of your finances?  Schedule a 30 minute consultation and let me help you make informed decisions on how you spend your values
#196: Jon Stein from Betterment and I discuss robo-advisors, why Betterment is so different, and what it takes to open an account. Use  to receive 30 days FEE FREE investing at Betterment Full show notes at   _______________________________________  M.J. Cossel wrote in about an article she read in the Dallas Morning News: Bad credit score can double insurance premiums in Texas  My response: Yes. Poor credit scores equal higher insurance premiums - but that’s only one consequence of not paying bills and debts on time. Make it a priority today to get your checkbook balanced, organize your finances, and pay attention - not ___________. If you want a sure-fire way to make every dollar work harder then get on a budget
#195: Do you know why stories of people with $.32 refund checks are in the news? Because they are so rare!  Most people want to get a big tax refund. Getting a huge refund is an extremely inefficient use of money - both for you and for the government. I recommend adjusting your withholding so you can bring more money home and put it towards your goals: High-interest rate debt Building up reserves Saving or investing Run a mid-year income tax assessment Making course corrections in August helps steer your tax withholdings closer to the target - which is to owe nothing or get a small refund.  It’s almost impossible to be exact, there are too many moving parts, but you can bring your tax-boat closer to the dock in the last few months of the year. Gather together the following items: Last year’s tax return Last year’s Schedule A (if you itemized deductions) Your last two pay stubs (include your spouse's as well) Note: If you have a small business or are an entrepreneur then you will need to run a Schedule-C calculation to estimate self-employment income. You may also want to see a tax professional. Also, you will want to estimate any: Child/Dependent Care expenses Expected bonuses Expected interest, dividends, etc I use tax preparation software to run my calculation but you could follow the prompts at the IRS website to complete a mid-year tax assessment:   If you expect a huge refund: You could choose to do nothing and continue giving the government more of your money, interest free, and get a huge refund April 15th. However, I recommend you increase the number of allowances  on your W-4 and give it to your benefits department or HR person. They will adjust your withholding to get you closer to zero. If you would like help running this calculation then contact me and we will run through it together.   Federal forms and resources mentioned in this episode:   In the Ponda from the Honda segment Only 5.5 more payments to go   $5 a week for 45 years at 10% growth is $228,000 See a chart in the show notes at   Try YNAB (You Need A Budget) for 34 days and receive 10% off if you keep it
#194: Although he has an entrepreneur’s heart, Ace doesn’t believe anybody should start their own business. It is much easier and profitable to buy an existing business, improve it, and sell it for a profit. Full notes at   Ace's book:  Find Ace at:  Or Twitter:  ______________________________   Don't worry about your credit score. Do what's RIGHT with your money. When it is time to prove your credit worthiness call on eCredable: (free monthly membership with this code: SOS)
#193: Many people are being lured by the attractiveness of directing their own retirement plans. The trick is to do it right and have an asset, business, or income-producing entity that makes sense for YOUR retirement planning. Kirk Chisholm is a Wealth Manager, Economist, & Principal at IAG. He is also an expert of investing in alternative investments in self-directed IRA / 401k. Full notes at   Key takeaways from our discussion: Self-directed IRAs are a great arrangements for making non-traditional items become tax-deferred investments There is no guidance for what you can put into a self-directed IRA There are some unusual things people have turned into self-directed IRA investments A 1031 exchange is not a self-directed IRA We learn where a wealth manager fits into an individual’s self-directed IRA plan There is no certification for someone to become a self-directed IRA administrator Kirk encourages you to pick things you know well   How taking one step back can make you feel a little bit richer <33:47> Stop Take a step backwards Close your eyes for 1 second Open your eyes  Imagine your life 10 years ago and tell me you don’t feel just a little bit richer   Ponda from the Honda <42:09> She blew $20k of college savings on clothes and a European vacation.
#192: Kai used to be responsible for staffing at a firm. She knows first-hand what companies use to check on an applicant's background. 

While a company may check credit reports, they do not review credit scores. Once again, this is proof that the bare minimum to succeed in America is to simply pay your bills and debts on time. If you don't have any debts and don't have credit cards, you won't have a credit score. However, you will have a clean credit report - or no information for a credit report to be built upon. This does not prevent you from getting a job. UPDATE: My wife and I paid off our last debt, the home mortgage, in December 2015. Within 2 years, I no longer had a credit score. Does that mean I couldn't get a traditional job in corporate America? Of course not! Let my story be your testimony. Spend more time on your personal finances and less time trying to build your credit. In our conversation we discuss: Why Americans allow themselves to become trapped in debt How much responsibility do we place on the education system to teach children and young adults about financial literacy The truth about employers pulling credit scores or credit reports The 5 Dangers of Buying Cheap and “Splaving”  For full notes, visit
#191: Heather van der Hoop from comes on the show to offer these suggestions for creating an income - and many of them involve stretching your boundaries as a teacher. 1. Teach English as a Second Language’ 2. Teach Abroad 3. Sell Your Lesson Plans Online 4. Work at a Summer Camp 5. Drive for Uber, Lyft or Sidecar 6. Rent Out Your Driveway 7. Rent Extra Space in Your House 8. Become a Local Tour Guide   Destination Debt Freedom Alan Steinborn and Jackie Beck are spearheading this effort. They came on to explain the benefits and process for how the process works.   Top 10 Financial Oxymorons I asked the Facebook Group Debt Freedom Fighters what they thought the Top 10 Financial Oxymorons were. The answers are hilarious.   Full show notes can be found at
#190: Jason Hartman only wants mortgage debt - and he will take out as much as he possibly can. Full show notes at   Jason Hartman has been investing since he was 20 years old and learned how inflation is the enemy of home equity but the golden goose of real estate income property owners (my words, not his). We first have to understand how inflation plays into this investment strategy: Jason says he is playing the same game as governments and central banks to win the investing game.
#189: Are you a Pessimist or Opportunist? Take this quiz to find out! Full notes at   Topics covered in this episode: Pessimists, Opportunists, and the Half-Glass Investor Quiz    How a GOOD credit score is all you need Ponda from the Honda   Cool resource for your email: Wisestamp (support the show by using this link)
#188: Leah Bell shares her story of growing $32k in student loan debt - and why it makes her angry! Upcoming webinars: July 1st: Get more out of your money by Spending Our Values June 23rd: Premium Podcast Player Showdown In this episode: Leah Bell, The Angry Grad, did what she thought everyone does: Goes to college to get a degree. What she didn’t know was her chosen major narrowed her options just before the recession of 2008.  Leah is now on a mission to educate others about education. We also check in with Jason from @Phroogal on #TheRoad To Financial Wellness (first appeared on Episode 186). John Beidel, from Episode 172, wrote a really funny article about Taxes. Yes, funny. Full notes at
#187: An informed consumer is a better consumer. This episode will show how Credit Cards make money from processing fees.  I also give a few tips for reducing fees and a new way to send a friend money for free. Full notes at     Infographic with credit and debit card statistics:   How Counting Can Work Even When Budgets Aren’t Accurate:   Ponda from the Honda: Fight Big Business by Cutting Up Credit Cards
#186: What could be better than taking a 30-day journey across the U.S. in a van? Full notes at   Jason Vitug from Phroogal is leaving for a 30 day journey throughout the U.S. to promote financial wellness. Visit to find a location near you Also: Debit cards, auto-pay, bill-pay, and checks: There are multiple ways money can come out of our accounts. It's more important than ever to balance our checking account every month. I give 7 reasons to balance your account and 3 tips to make it easier. Ponda from the Honda: There is no single "right way" to do something Did you budget your summer vacation? My Virtual Budget Course can help you prioritize spending and discover how much money you have left for your next financial goal.
#185: It's impossible to be immune to card fraud, but you can reduce the opportunities of being a victim. In this episode I share steps you can take to use your Debit card responsibly and reduce the chance someone will steal your card. More information and full show notes with links can be found at
#184: Identity theft is no joke - and it's on the rise! Should you pay for monitoring? Full show notes at   Keith Bunn of compared four companies to see if their services are worth the cost. Also in this episode:  'Ponda from the Honda - My mailbox is wasting a lot of energy Upcoming webinars and recent appearances Testimony from a listener who learned risk vs reward from an engineering book
#183: Dave Ramsey announced his new budgeting software - EveryDollar. It is awesome - and have many similar features to YNAB (You Need A Budget). Which premium budgeting software is best for you? Let's compare the different features and methods to identify the right one for you. Also: Holla from the Impala is changing. Listen to all the reasons you shouldn't buy a car from a long distance. For more information, visit the show notes at
#182: Carl Richards was a ditch-digger, fell into a securities job, became a Certified Financial Planner, then became the Sketch Guy at the New York Times by drawing financial concepts on paper napkins. He released his second book, the One Page Financial Plan, and shares with us his journey from ditch-digger to NYTimes writer.   For a more complete list of notes with pictures and links, go to
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