Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Audition: “DraftKings” @ Cathi Carlton Casting.  This was fun and I had a great time in the room.  

Not the stuff I normally book or even get callbacks/avails for, so we’ll see.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Callback: “Lowe’s” @ Francene Selkirk Casting.  Wow, there is so much construction going on around this location that I could’ve driven back home and skateboarded back to the audition location.  …I finally found somewhere to park and skateboarded from my car…which I often do.

The moment I walked into the building I was ushered into the callback session.  I barely had time to put down my skateboard.  The callback went great!  I went in with 2 different groups.  I felt a real connection with the director both times.  I hope an avail comes next!

Today is the 17th anniversary of my arrival in Los Angeles to further my acting career.  I had my first audition the very next morning at…you guessed it!  Francene Selkirk’s office.  Francene was at the callback today and I got to share this with her.  Such a sweet lady and I’m incredibly thrilled that she still believes in my talent and gives me the opportunity to work in my chosen field.

Oh yeah, about that avail, lol!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Audition: “AT&T U-verse” @ RMB Casting.  I think this one went okay.  I’m not sure, I had a great wife in the room, but I’m not sure about my performance…

Monday, July 20, 2015

Audition: “Xerox” @ Cathi Carlton Casting.  This went great, it was super simple, but sometimes is hard.  I think I made “simple” easy today!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Audition: “Lowe’s” @ Francene Selkirk Casting.  Another one that I think I’m perfect for.  They should advance me to the next round…

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Audition: “BMW” RMB Casting. This was fun and I think I’m perfect for it so let’s hope they invite me to the callback next week!

I hope I’m not becoming too annoying by posting so much stuff on the topic of personal finance…yeah, I can be a bit much when I’m excited about something. I just feel that it could have made a tremendous difference in my life if I would have had ANY guidance in that area earlier in my life from family, a friend(s), school, a stranger, the wind, etc. So I’m just trying to give what I didn’t get myself.

Anyway, I was talking to the new employee, a 25 year-old, that I’ve been trying to help at work with his relationship with money. I wanted to revisit how he felt about me saying that buying a new car as soon as his current car was paid off was a great way too "stay broke” for the long-term, in a financial sense. I told him that I understood his reasoning that this new car would help him “get girls” (we laughed and I applauded his honesty, lol!), but that he had to do his best to live within his financial reality. Heck, I want to buy “shiny, new shit” too, just like anyone else, but that I have to live within the resources that I have at my disposal or create new resources.

He understood and has put that idea of purchasing a new car on the back burner for now…way back. I told him that his current car should become more and more shiny with each payment that gets him closer to it being totally paid off. At that point the car will be much more of a total asset of his and that will increase his net worth.

He perked up at the notion of actually having a net worth.

Honestly, he has a bit of a road ahead of him to get completely out of debt, but one HAS to start somewhere! When I was $15,000+ under the boat in debt, it felt overwhelming, but I had to start somewhere and 18 months later I had worked it all off and started to build a positive net worth for the first time in my life.

I suggested that he look at his current car in a very different way and REALLY take care of it so that it has its best chance to take care of him. Many cars, these days, will last 200,000 miles if maintained correctly. BUT boy do I ever understand how addicting that “new car smell” is!

The absolutely best part of this story, for me, (ALERT-long ass run-on sentence coming) is that when I was leaving work another, different, new and also young employee (who I had never discussed money relations with) approached me and said, “I overheard and liked what you said to "so and so” about his car becoming shinier with each payment closer to complete pay off”.

I was speechless! Why? Because I believe that becoming “the guy” at work who is known to have serious opinions on money relations is making a difference in my world. It’s a little bit of what I can do to make the world a better place. These are young people that don’t HAVE to wind up in a shitty financial place like I did. They are smart enough that if someone explains something to them, in a language they can understand, without judgement, they can get the lesson and make positive changes! And the beauty of it is that I’ve been talking about it long enough, and he’s proof, that I don’t have to speak directly to people to get the word out.

My hope is that in 20-30 years they can look back and remember that “skinny, older…ish dude” left them with something useful and positive.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Dude at work last night said to me, "Interest sucks, I hate it!"

I told him, "No, interest doesn't suck. What sucks is your current RELATIONSHIP with interest. We are going to change that over time by getting a handle on your debt and changing your attitude about money. Interest will become one of your best friends and, at your age, (25), COMPOUND interest will be like a family member. Just wait, you'll see...

Friday, July 10, 2015

While getting on the path to a better financial future I had a particular friend that I work with who I urged to join me. I urged and I urged...and I urged some more. Finally, about 3-4 years later she was ready. I offered to sit down with her, outside of work, and shared my story, in detail, and offer different ways to think about money.

That was 6-7 months ago and today she is like a whole different person. I can actually see that she stands taller. Our conversations are completely different! She's getting things in order and MAKING decisions instead of REACTING to "what had happened was...". She is moving things and she is shaking things! I'm SO incredibly proud of her!

She shared our meeting with another, much newer employee. I made the same offer to her. I didn't know her too well as we rarely worked together, but every time I saw her I'd ask her "what's up wit dem numbas?" We'd chat and laugh...a little. She'd ask when I was working next, and I'd say, "If you're at all serious about changing your situation we should talk outside of work...this needs our full attention."

A few weeks later she took me to lunch and we shared our situations. For starters, just so she would know where I was coming from, I told her that I come from a zero debt mentality as in NONE at all. Two hours later she seemed to feel that she could get a handle on things. I was thrilled!

A few weeks later she gave me the run-down on some of the changes she's made and just last night we spoke. Things are definitely on a much better track for her and she's telling her girlfriends about what she's doing!

In our conversation last night the thing that made me smile the most was the fact that she is no longer afraid to check the mail!

Personal finance has turned into my sport of choice!

What do the cool people say? "You go girl!

Sunday, July 05, 2015

So I met this new kid at work. I say "kid", because he’s like 25 or so. He probably thinks I’m a kid too…or maybe “kid adjacent”. NEWS FLASH…I’m no longer a kid, that ended like 5 years ago. Anyway, over the last week we’ve gotten to know a little about each other and, last night…we had "the talk". Yup, we talked about it.

We talked about "the birds", and we talked about "the bees”.

Now, you might be asking yourself, “What the heck does waif-like, Stephon, AKA 'the Black Kate Moss” know about the birds and the bees?”

Nothing, nothing at all.

Well, that’s not totally true. Stephon knows A LOT about the birds AND a lot about the bees. But he’ll spare you the details of that…for now.

The talk was about dollar$ and cent$. The kid, who has 2 full-time jobs, couldn’t figure out why he was completely broke and saddled with a crushing amount of debt. I asked him a few questions about his situation. Ya know, I wanted to see what his relationship with money was in general. His relationship with money was typical and not too out of the ordinary, especially for a 25 year-old. He saw things he wanted…and he bought them. The way he described it; it almost seemed like even bought things he DIDN'T want. It was like the money was actually “burning a hole in his pocket".

I told him that I’d been there too, maybe not THAT bad, but I could totally relate. I’d been broke, crazily in debt, had accounts in collections, not opening the mail, not answering the phone, through an IRS audit…just in a bad, nasty, stinky way. I was in a fog and had hit my financial rock bottom.


I was able to change my habits and turn things around. That attitude change, for me, literally happened in an instant. One moment I thought one way and the next moment I was a completely different person in relation to finance. That moment was when I loaded all my financial info into Quicken. I was able to see where I had been, in a financial sense, and sorta plot out where I wanted to go. The heavy lifting of actually getting the numbers to smell and look better, of course, took longer, but not nearly as long as I would of guessed. I told him that I was in no way an expert in the field, BUT I was ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY an expert in how I turned my person situation around. I gave him a quick "cliff notes” and he perked up and was super interested in my journey.


He approached me with a few follow up questions about how I did some of the things I did. We chatted briefly and I told him I’d give him more details when I finished my shift.

I firmly believe that most people can and will change their personal financial situation if they just have more basic information about how things work.

I explained to him why today will be the last day he has late payments on his credit cards. On time payments make up 35% of ones FICO score. We discussed credit utilization, another 30% of the score, and to NOT close the accounts once he paid them off.

He asked about the company 401(k) program and couldn’t believe it would help to lower his taxable income. He also asked if he could borrow against it. I told him, yes he could, but in my opinion, it’s almost always a bad idea. It’s a retirement vehicle that’s…for retirement. "Give that money a job and it’ll work for you in your sleep!” I suggesting he join the 401(k) program up to the company match, but his main focus should be building an emergency fund and tackling the double-digit interest credit cards and call the creditors to attempt to get the interest on the cards reduced.

I could see his spirit brighten with everything I suggested to him. He was formulating an outline of a plan of attack.

I suggested he think in terms of “assets & liabilities”, “wants & needs”, “profit & loss” and "risk assessment, etc.” He didn’t get in the situation overnight and he won’t get out overnight, but the sooner he starts the sooner he’ll begin building momentum and start to reclaim his life…and 25 years of age is a perfect time to start. I SO wish someone, ANYONE would have given me the low-down on how basic finance worked. "Do you really want to work too full-time jobs and have nothing to show for it?" Having a financial plan will give him options in the future and it will make it easier to experience things in life instead of being afraid of opening the mail.

The last thing he told me was that his car would be paid off next year and that he wanted a new Camaro. I paused and said, “Okay, but understand that decisions such as that will be a huge step in making sure that your financial situation, overall, has little chance of changing. He agreed.

I told him that it’s not about depriving him of anything nice that he wants in his life. It’s about getting in the driver’s seat and making sound decisions in the first place. I retired from being a professional consumer years ago and I currently have everything I need and many things I want.

It was a great way to end my shift! I think he’s like a lot of people; smart, ambitious, willing to work, just needs a little insight and someone willing to good information.

I look forward to being a supporter of his to move in a positive direction.