Disorganization at Banks Causing Mistaken Foreclosures

by Paul Kiel, ProPublica – May 4, 2010

Allow us to make an introduction: Homeowners, local journalists. Local journalists, homeowners. We’d like to set you up.

Since last May, nearly 800 struggling homeowners from all over the country have shared their stories with ProPublica about their efforts to get a loan modification through the federal program. With their help, we showed the incredible delays and frustrations applicants typically face: mortgage servicers have repeatedly lost documents , misinformed homeowners , and denied modifications for reasons that run contrary to the program’s guidelines. Among the 1.1 million homeowners who’ve begun the program’s trial stage, which is supposed to last three months, hundreds of thousands have waited in limbo for six months or more.

We have no doubt that there are many more important stories to be told. By any account, millions of homeowners are facing possible foreclosure. Although we read every homeowner’s story, we can only use a fraction in our coverage. That’s why we’re offering to set up our readers with local journalists (with the homeowner’s permission, of course). Often, the media can be the most effective recourse for homeowners who have nowhere else to turn.

We’re calling our service ProPublica’s Reporting Matchmaker. Here’s how it’ll work.

Struggling homeowners, share your stories with us – and give us permission to share your email or phone number (or both) with a local journalist. Once you do that, a pushpin representing you will be added to our map. Your contact information will not be published on the Web nor shared without your permission.

Journalists, sign up here and we’ll put you in contact with struggling homeowners in your area who want to talk with local journalists. A quick look at our map will show you whether we’ve currently got a match. We’ll let you know if someone in your area wants to speak with a local journalist.























































































































Map data ©2010 Europa Technologies, Google, INEGI, LeadDog Consulting – Terms of Use

The service is free. All that we ask of the local journalists is that they cite and link to ProPublica in their story and send it along to our reporter Paul Kiel to make sure we catch it.

We know that news organizations don’t give up their sources to their competitors, but we’re a different kind of publication: We recently handed out copies of our stimulus data to anyone looking into government waste and fraud. Reporters Charles Ornstein and Tracy Weber gave away their reporting recipe for those investigating regulatory boards and other licensing organizations. Many reporters have participated in our distributed reporting projects, like the Stimulus Spot Check and the Super Bowl Blitz. We’re grateful for their help, and aim to reciprocate in ways that help the public good.

If you’d like to be notified of reporting projects like these at ProPublica – or if you’d like to be a source to us on other issues – please sign up for our Reporting Network.

div.info-window{ line-height: 1.1em; height: 180px; width: 200px; font-size: 9pt; }

Write to Paul Kiel at paul.kiel@propublica.org.
Follow Paul Kiel on Twitter.

Article published from ProPublica via Creative Commons license. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Financial Education Lecture Series at Southwest Center Mall

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Southwest Center Mall, and the Consumer Credit Service of Greater Dallas will host a Financial Education Lecture Series on Thursday, July 30, 2009 from 4PM to 6 PM.  The free workshop  on surviving a financial crisis is scheduled to help attendees:

  • Prepare a back-up plan in case of a job loss
  • Identify resources for financial assistance
  • Take steps in saving your home
  • Financial Stress Test

For more information, call 214-922-8885

SEMINAR LOCATION

Southwest Center Mall

3662 W Camp Wisdom RD

Dallas, TX


James Guess: The Legal Lowdown on Credit Cards 2009

BY JAMES “BIRD” GUESS

Credit cards do not put people in debt, financial decisions that people make is what put them in debt! On May 22, 2009, President Obama signed The Credit Card Holder’s Bill of Rights Act into law, which could potentially help people become debt free quicker.

This new legislation will dramatically help the roughly 50% of American consumers who have charged nearly $1 trillion, and carry an average balance of $8,000. Twenty percent of those who carry a balance are paying more than 20% interest on that balance.

Most of the new legislation will not become effective until early 2010, but it will finally use some common-sense methods regarding interest rates. For example, it prohibits lenders from increasing interest rates on existing balances (stuff you already charged) unless you are more than 60 days late on your bill.

And if you actually fall behind on paying your credit card bill and the rate is increased, the lender must restore the lower rate if you have paid your bill on time after six months. Also, borrowers are required to have periodic payment history reviews by their lenders and have their rates decreased if indicated by the review. This may be hard to actually enforce since it goes against the lender’s interest (no pun intended).

Furthermore, the law will require borrowers to receive at least 45 days notice before their interest rates are increased on new purchases, regardless if the customer is late or delinquent. This will help borrowers make better decisions and give them more time to create a plan before they are penalized with a higher interest rate.

Also, the notorious “pay to pay” concept will be disallowed. How are you going to charge me for paying my bill? No more will customers be charged for paying their credit card by mail, phone, or electronic transfer, except for live person or expedited services.

One of the most effective pieces of this law is the part that requires lenders to tell borrowers how long it will take, and how much interest would have been paid if only the minimum monthly payments are made.

Let’s face it! We live in a payment plan world, where most consumers do not care how much they pay for things, all they want to know is whether or not they can afford the monthly payments. Hopefully, borrowers will realize it is not worth paying for something twice and being in debt twice as long by making minimum monthly payments.

The Credit Card Holder’s Bill of Rights also has additional protections for students and gift cards as well. And no more over the limit fees, unless you decide you want to be allowed to go over the limit. Why would you? For more information and the complete bill of rights law visit www.govtrack.us and search for bill H.R. 627. 

Create Wealth, Enjoy Life!


James “Bird” Guess
President & Founder
$chool of Money & Wealth LLC

www.SchoolofMoneyandWealth.com
www.JamesBirdGuess.com
www.TheBlackEconomy.com

Gemna Holmes: If Tavis Smiley was White, Wells Fargo and “Ghetto Loans” would be Front Page News

I thought Gemna Holmes from Gemna Speaks had an interesting take in a recent post regarding Tavis Smiley. I thought I’d repost some of it here:

  • This is the third in a series of posts about Tavis Smiley and Wells Fargo, sponsor of the State of the Black Union (SOTBU). Everyone is in uproar about Wells Fargo employees calling loans to black mortgage holders “ghetto loans” and the disdain they showed for the customers they made the most profit from. But the media, especially black media, has been very silent about the role Tavis Smiley played in helping stack this ill fated deck of cards that has plagued the black community in several major cities.
  • When Mr. Smiley first partnered with Wells Fargo in 2005, he was a TEACHER of economic empowerment and assembled seminars around the country as the keynote speaker for wealth building. Press releases filled every major news outlet inbox and black newspapers were infected with faxes stating Mr. Smiley’s desire to teach the principles of home ownership as the key for breaking the cycle of poverty in the African American community. All this knowledge was given at no charge to trusting black folks. This was the golden ticket to obtaining the elusive piece of the pie via Mr. Smiley’s recommendations.
  • Mr. Smiley stated he was “thrilled” to help black folks achieve their dreams but now that many of them have found themselves in a nightmare, where is he? Has he spoken out against the “ghetto loans” statement by Wells Fargo employees? Has he demanded accountability that he touts must be part of helping President Obama be the best President he can be?
  • Has he applied that same scrutiny to Wells Fargo now that their sins of omission and commission have been exposed by their employees? Mr. Smiley’s messages are often woven with biblical terms to give his messages of empowerment a spiritual halo; so I will take a page from his book, has he washed himself in hyssop to amend for his leadership initiatives with Wells Fargo that has caused financial harm to people of color?
  • We should not be shy about asking these questions of Mr. Smiley. But why is black media afraid to question one of their favorite sons about the role he played promoting Wells Fargo to the African American community? Could it be they are part of the problem as well? I am keenly aware of the balance between the news and advocacy and recruiting advertisers and sponsors but we should not be ostriches when it comes to a story of this magnitude. For those who used Mr. Smiley’s conferences/events as promos to keep themselves in the mainstream media eye as “leaders” of the African-American community, they are eerily quiet on this subject. Many are giving the vibe that this is not their problem.
  • What’s that sound I hear from the media? Being a pest control operator, I know it all too well…crickets.

Read the entire post by clicking here.

Previous posts at Gemna Speaks about Tavis Smiley and Wells Fargo:

http://blacksnob.com/snob_blog/2009/3/17/strange-bedfellows-the-case-of-tavis-wells-fargo-and-the-naa.html

http://blackbloggers.wordpress.com/2009/03/16/tavis-smiley-holds-barack-accountable-but-who-holds-tavis-accountable/

http://genmaspeaks.blogspot.com/2009/03/roland-martin-of-cnn-interviews-ben.html

http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=109&STORY=/www/story/08-25-2005/0004094109&EDATE=)

http://www.wellsfargo.com/wealth

Game Sold Not Told: Madoff’s $65 Billion Ponzi Scheme

BY JAMES “BIRD” GUESS

Wall Street investor conman, Bernie Madoff, made off with billions of investor’s money and on December 10, 2008, he confessed to orchestrating an estimated $65 billion “ponzi scheme,” that is considered the largest act of investor fraud ever by a single person. On March 12, 2009, Madoff appeared in court and pled guilty to 11 felonies. He faces a maximum sentence of 150 years in prison, and will also have to pay mandatory restitution and fines estimated at $170 billion.

After prosecutors froze Madoff’s accounts and seized his business and personal assets, they accounted for only $830 million. Prosecutors are expected to investigate members of Madoff’s family as well. Former investors who contributed to Madoff’s investment funds, who profited and cashed out, may be asked to return some of their “false profits” to remaining investors in order to make them whole.

Despite the billions in losses, fines, and public outrage, Madoff did not implicate any other person who may have known or helped him pull off this sophisticated scam, instead he went out solo. What!! Are you telling me one man pulled off the largest investment scam in history by himself? Yeah right!

Federal investigators definitely have their work cut out for them, but I would not be surprised if some of them profited from it and knew the music would stop playing sooner or later. Beginning in 1992, The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) responsible for regulating the stock market and investment products, investigated Madoff’s firm eight times over 16 years, and his firm was cleared or paid small fines each time.

In 2005, financial analyst Harry Markopolos sent a detailed 17-page report to the SEC, accusing Madoff’s firm of operating The World’s Largest Fraudulent Hedge Fund. He even sent his report to the Wall Street Journal but editors declined to run the story. So lets not rule out that Madoff was aware of Markopolos’ report and could have compensated SEC investigators and editors of the Wall Street Journal to perpetuate his ponzi scheme.

What is a Ponzi scheme? It’s a scam named after Italian immigrant Charles Ponzi who in 1920 promised people 50% returns on their money in 45 days, and 100% returns in 90 days. The scheme operates by taking beginning investor’s money and using new investor’s money to pay off the beginning investors. For example, lets say I promised you that if you invested $100 with me, I would return $200 back in 30 days (100% profit).

Now all I ask is that you encourage more people to invest with me. Well, after you told your friend, he comes in one week later with his $100, and I will now use his $100 and the $100 you originally gave me to pay you the $200 I promised you in the beginning. Got it? I will encourage your friend to advertise for me as well and when new investors come in, I will use their money to pay him. Everything works so long as new cash continues to flow in, but eventually the music stops playing and the people who invested last will lose.


I can only imagine how the victims of Madoff’s ponzi scheme feel. So when it comes to your money, I strongly encourage you to always ask questions and continue reading and studying business, and finance so that no one can financially take advantage of you.

President Obama wants AIG bonuses back, Dow fizzles after mostly good news

President Barack Obama was very clear about how he felt regarding recent reports of bonuses paid out at AIG (American International Group), that surfaced over the weekend. “This is a corporation that finds itself in financial distress due to recklessness and greed,” the President said in remarks made at the White House with Secretary Timothy Geithner present.

Obama went on to talk about the money that AIG has received from the U.S. Treasury and the $165 million in bonuses the company paid out on contracts signed be fore receiving TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) money. “I’ve asked Secretary Geithner to use that leverage and pursue every single legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayer whole,” Obama went on to say.

Hear President Obama’s Remarks from the White House.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo sent a letter to AIG requesting who received the bonuses (sent out on Friday), their job description/title, and performance. Cuomo set a deadline of 4 p.m. on Monday as at deadline, but had not heard back from the company when the time came and went. He’s now in the process of issuing subpoenas.

There’s no doubt that AIG executives should make it easy on everybody and return their bonuses. A company who today was UP sharply to 83 cents should do everything it can to inspire confidence. As an owner of AIG, I hope these execs make the right call and give the money back.

AIG CEO Edward Liddy says there’s nothing that the company can (legally) do about the bonuses, yet as a leader he should be able to persuade these execs to give way to their true bosses – the American people.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was poised to end up for a 5th consecutive day, up triple digits at some part of the day. But just before the closing bell, stocks dipped, and the Dow ended down about 7 points. It was still another good day for the Dow as stocks in the positive outnumbered those that were down 3-1.

I was watching Rick Sanchez at Georgia State host an entertaining show on the economy and for most of the show the green arrow was pointing up. CNN is devoting the bulk of their coverage to the economy this week. Sanchez referenced letters/emails he’d received advising the station to cover topics that people want to see instead of catering to the “American Idol” crowd all the time.

One letter cited the ratings and overall media coverage John Stewart’s interview with CNBC’s Jim Cramer had received. The writer asserts that Mr. Stewart is actually using facts (something that the media is having to come to grips with) to call Cramer on the carpet.

Stewart also rightly argues that viewers are a lot smarter than these shows give them credit for, and should be more serious due to the fact that people are trusting their money to the advice of the hosts. I give Cramer credit for taking the heat for the entire TV Financial guru market.

This post was written based on stories from Yahoo! Finance, The New York Times, Associated Press, and Politico.

Filing Bankruptcy In Texas: What Can You Keep?

Guest Post by Community Supporter Higgins and Associates

Keeping your stuff is probably important to you. Faced with financial obligations that you are unable to pay, understanding the exemptions available in bankruptcy can help you take steps to preserve as many of your belongings as possible in a chapter 7 bankruptcy case.

In the State of Texas, both federal and state bankruptcy exemptions are available for those filing bankruptcy. There are some limits on certain exemptions such as equity that you have in a home or in a vehicle.

The law office of Robert A. Higgins and Associates, with convenient locations in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex has offered assistance to hundreds of clients looking for a way out of debt. Below is a brief summary of the exemptions available to those who file bankruptcy in Texas.

Homestead: Unlimited, although, property cannot exceed 10 acres in town, village, city, or 100 acres elsewhere (200 per family). Sale proceeds exempt for 6 months after sale.

Pensions: Tax-exempt retirement accounts, traditional and Roth IRAs to $1,095,000 per person, and virtually all pension and survivor’s benefits.

Insurance: Most life, health, accident or annuity benefits, monies, policy proceeds and cash value, due or paid to beneficiary or insured.

Miscellaneous: Property of business partnership; alimony and child support; higher education savings plan trust account; liquor licenses and permits

Personal Property: Includes items up to $60,000 in value for family, or $30,000 for single adult.

Public Benefits: Unemployment compensation; Workers’ compensation; Crime victims’ compensation; Medical assistance; and Public assistance

Tools of Trade: Tools, books, equipment and boat or motor vehicle used in trade, farming or ranching vehicles and implements

Wages: Earned but unpaid wages and unpaid commissions not to exceed 25% of total personal property exemptions

In a chapter 7 bankruptcy case the debtor is required to turn over to the trustee only the nonexempt money or property that he or she possessed at the time the case was filed. Since many nonexempt assets are liquid in nature and tend to vary in size or amount from day to day, it is wise for the debtor to engage in some negative estate planning. With the help of a qualified Texas bankruptcy lawyer, a debtor can legally minimize the value or amount of these liquid assets on the day and hour that the chapter 7 bankruptcy case is filed.

Contact us at Higgins and Associates for help and information regarding your Dallas or Fort Worth bankruptcy options.

About the Guest Blogger:
Rob Beard is a staff writer for Higgins and Associates. He specializes in legal and financial topics such as Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and Bankruptcy Law.

James “Bird” Guess: What You Must Know About Taxes for 2009

By James “Bird” Guess

What if I lost my job?
Over 3 million Americans fell victim to job loss in 2008. Unfortunately, losing your job may create new tax issues. Severance pay and unemployment compensation are taxable. Payments for any accumulated vacation or sick time are also taxable.

What if I am searching for a job?
You may be able to deduct certain expenses while looking for a new job in the same occupation, even if you do not obtain employment. Such expenses may include travel and transportation, copying, printing and mailing of resumes and employment/outplacement agency fees. Stay focused and keep “grindin”

What if my 401(k) dropped in value?

In 2008, Americans lost over $2 trillion in their retirement savings and watched their 401(k)’s be reduced to 201 (k). You cannot claim a capital gains loss on your retirement accounts since they are already receiving favorable tax treatment.

What if I can’t pay my taxes?

You can contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) at 1-877-777-4778. TAS, is an independent organization within the IRS whose employees assist taxpayers who are experiencing economic harm, and who are seeking help in resolving tax problems that have not been resolved.

What if I’m missing a W-2
If you have not received your W-2, contact your employer to ask if and when the W-2 was mailed. If it was mailed, it possibly could have been returned to the employer because of an incorrect or incomplete address. If contacting your employer does not resolve the issue and if you have not received your W-2 by February 17th, contact the IRS for assistance at 1-800-829-1040.

What new tax credits are available?
First-Time Homebuyer Credit: This is a fully refundable tax credit (a refund even if you owe no taxes) for first-time homebuyers that can be worth up to $7,500 and is based on the purchase price of the home. The credit, however, is actually a no-interest loan because it must be repaid to the government annually over 15 years ($500/year). Those who purchased a primary residence after April 8, 2008 will qualify. However, a new homebuyer tax credit worth up to $8,000 for the purchase of a primary residence between January 1 and December 31, 2009 will not have to be repaid as part of President Obama’s recently enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The IRS has stated they are working on implementing and announcing the changes within the next few weeks. Why not take this free money and put it to work by starting a full-time or part-time hustle?

The Recovery Rebate Credit: This credit is similar to last year’s Economic Stimulus Payment except the Recovery Rebate Credit amounts are based on tax year 2008 instead of 2007. Most people already received their full benefit in the form of the Economic Stimulus Payment. However, a taxpayer may qualify for the Recovery Rebate Credit, if, for example, he or she did not get an Economic Stimulus Payment, had a child in 2008 or had a change in income level. If you receive this credit, it will be included in your refund and will not be issued as a separate payment.

Earned Income Tax Credit: This credit is called the “earned income” tax credit because you must work and have earned income to qualify. You have earned income if you worked for someone who paid you wages or you are self-employed. This credit is for people who work, but have lower incomes. A quarter of all taxpayers that qualify don’t claim the credit. If you qualify, it could be worth up to $4,800 this year.

Where can I file my taxes
This year, electronic filing options will speed the payment of refunds to millions of taxpayers. Taxpayers who
e-file and choose direct deposit for their refunds, for example, will get their refunds in as few as 10 days. Compare that to the approximate six weeks it takes for people who file a paper return and get a traditional paper check. Taxpayers can begin filing electronically on
January 16, 2009 and can file their taxes online for free through e-file, if their adjusted gross income (total income minus allowable deductions) is $56,000 or less for 2008.

This information is provided for educational and informational purposes only. For complete tax credit information, laws, and eligibility requirements please visit www.irs.gov or consult with your tax advisor.

Source: www.IRS.gov

Kristin shares her JMJ Fitness experience with Dallas South

jazzy

In the last couple of months, the health posts submitted by guest blogger Jason Johnson have been very well received. Jason is a personal trainer and is the proprietor of JMJ Fitness.

Kristin (formerly known as Jazzy) who blogs at Because I Said So and serves as Co-Host on my Blog Talk Radio Show (Shawn P. Williams Now), has enlisted Jason’s services for a 6-week program. “I was a size 6 forever until I got married (almost 4 years ago),” Kristin said on her blog as she discussed her decision.” She went on to say “over a four year period I have packed on twenty pounds.”

I asked Jason exactly what the program will look like. “I have designed a time-efficient and effective fat loss exercise routines for Kristin.” Jason said. “She will workout 4 times a week and follow my online training exercise program and diet plan,” he says. She will also follow the diet plan for the full 6 weeks,” he said. Kristin’s program started on Monday.

snack
Kristin’s Day One Snack
Once or twice each week Kristin will update us on the progress of her weight loss journey. She’ll tell us what she feels like after workouts and how she’s taking to Jason’s presrcibed meal plan.
dinner
Kristin’s Day One Dinner

So continue to check in with Kristin as she sends in pictures and journal entries over the next few weeks. I’m sure she would appreciate your support via comments. Kristin you know I’ve got your back. I’ll be hitting the garage in the morning for a boxing workout in your honor.

GOD’s Financial Favorites

 

BY JAMES “BIRD” GUESS

“Remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth”

– Deuteronomy 8:18

gods-financial-plan

What does the Bible have to say about money? Many people may consider the Bible to be only a book detailing Jesus’ teachings and the principles of Christianity, while ignoring other real-life issues of money and wealth.

You may be surprised to know, according to Biblical historians Craig Hill and Earl Pitts, the New Testament contains approximately ten times as many verses regarding money and credit as it does salvation and faith.

The New Testament contains 215 verses on faith, 218 verses on salvation, and 2084 verses discussing stewardship and accountability for money and finance. It appears that money and wealth is an important issue addressed in the Bible, and must continue to be addressed by all Christians. Could it simply mean that GOD wants you to get your money right?

In these trying economic times, when we are asked to handover 10% of our income to support “GOD’s house,” some Christians may cringe when they have to dig deep into their pockets or pull out their checkbooks to pay tithes. You should consider tithes the greatest investment of all time because true enough, the more you give the more blessings you will receive in your life. What if you have been giving faithfully for a while and are still in a financial hole, having issues with credit, and living paycheck-to-paycheck? 

Congratulations! You are one of GOD’s Favorites. You are encountering financial or emotional hardships, but most importantly, you must endure.

There is a story about a young entrepreneur who was once homeless. After obtaining a job as a janitor, one night he found a copy of Think & Grow Rich in a dumpster and read it repeatedly. Twelve months later, after saving enough capital, he decided to start his first business; it was an immediate success. In fact, every business he created eventually became profitable.

Although most businesses fail within the first five years, he somehow made over one million dollars in that critical fifth year. He felt like a business genius and often referred to himself as a self-made millionaire. However, the following year was the most financially challenging he had ever witnessed, since being broke and homeless years ago.

Suddenly, the economy had fallen into a severe recession and sales of his products decreased almost 90%, as most of his customers loss their jobs and cutback on their purchases.  At first, he considered it a natural flow of the business cycle and expected it to pass after a few months, but once the months turned into a year and news reports continued to describe the economic forecast as the worst in decades, his financial fear grew.

With his business generating little revenue, he sold his luxury vehicles, moved into an apartment and raided his life savings just to stay afloat every month, hoping and praying for an economic miracle. He also attended church for the first time in years and told himself he did not have to pay tithes because his business was suffering huge losses.

After church service was over, he made his way toward the Pastor and asked if he could speak to him in private, the Pastor agreed. He told the Pastor how he started out homeless, pulled himself up by his bootstraps, and became a self-made millionaire in a few short years.

He also asked the Pastor that if GOD was all knowing, and loves us and we are considered GOD’s children, how could GOD allow his business to be destroyed, and for him to lose everything he had to show for over the years? The Pastor paused for a moment, smiled at him and stated “GOD’s favorites are the ones who have hard times.”

The Pastor then said, “you may have not realized it, but when you were referring to yourself as a self-made millionaire, GOD became jealous, for he is a jealous GOD, and decided to show you that if what you say is true, then become a millionaire again, this time without GOD’s help.” The young man had a puzzled grin on his face.

The Pastor started again saying, “GOD took everything from you, just so you and he both could see what was truly inside you! Some people accept GOD’s challenge, endure their situation, and they grow letting the world know that their success was due to GOD’s grace. While others think their success was all due to their money, intelligence and hard work and they flaunt those thoughts to the world not even mentioning GOD.”

“What should I do now,” the young entrepreneur asked. “Well, you must do what GOD asks of you, and that is to believe and have unconditional faith in his word,” answered the Pastor.

Several months went by and business was still slow. The economy was still in shambles, but the young entrepreneur continued to attend church and even borrowed money from his business credit card just to pay his tithes every week.

His business conscience told him he was crazy to go into debt without foreseeing a return on his money. However, his Christian conscience reminded him that the “more ye give, the more ye shall receive.”

Later that same night, he considered closing his business and possibly obtaining a “9 to 5” job again, something he promised he would never do after becoming a financial success. As he walked in the night, he looked toward the sky as a tear raced down his face, and began praying and telling GOD that he would never forget his grace, his love and his house again.

He promised that he would start another business, one he was passionate about and pay his tithes before his operating expenses. After praying, he simply walked home, read his Bible and fell asleep.

The next morning his cell phone rang. It was his business banker telling him that his $100,000 line of credit had been approved since the government recently passed an $800 billion stimulus package. “YES!” he yelled into his cell phone almost dropping it, “lunch on me next week,” he told the banker. He knew that was all he needed to start another business, and now that the economy was projected to rebound, businesses and consumers would feel confident and start spending again, especially since the government promised to create 2 million jobs previously lost.      

Six months later, the young entrepreneur had his new business up and running and business was booming. The local newspaper heard of his new business and since it was one of only a few that was profitable during the recession, they decided to interview him. The editors were amazed as he told his story of business success and told him they would title the column, Self-Made Millionaire of the Recession. 

His eyes lit up as he stared at them with a sense of disgust. He stood up and said angrily, “if you call it that, forget it!” “What do you suggest we call it,” the head editor asked. He looked at all of them as he thought for a moment and said, “GOD-Made Millionaire of the Recession!”

James “Bird” Guess is the President & Founder of The School of Money & Wealth, his email address is james@schoolofmoneyandwealth.com