I had the privilege of sitting down Joe Plemon of Plemon Financial Coaching. Joe is a Certified Financial Counselor through Dave Ramsey and also writes for The Southern Illinoisan’s Money Section. I admire Joe’s no nonsense advice when it comes to budgeting and other personal finance related topics. Joe has agreed to guest write for my blog and I wanted to give my readers a little insight on what makes Joe Plemon click.
Joe, First tell me about yourself and your financial upbringing.
I grew up in a family of eight; I was one of six children. Both parents worked full time and things were tight, so we learned to work for any spending money we might need. None of us ever thought this was unfair in any way, and we all learned how to work. I also learned the value of a dollar because it represented the work I put into it. It was only natural for me to do a good job of managing any money I might have.
What was the experience or experiences that changed your views on financefor the better?
Staying in the context of your last question, I would say that my first paper route helped form my views on finance. I was a 12 year old business man with a bicycle. If I couldn't collect the payment from my customers, I didn't get paid. I learned about generous people and about people who would not answer their doors when they saw me coming. I learned responsibility and perseverance. This was many years ago, but I still cherish those memories of being out on my bicycle at 5:00 AM, relishing the early morning quiet while I made my deliveries.
When working with folks, what's the most common mistake that you see most people make financially?
Borrowing money for cars they can't afford. These are major purchases that plummet in value. The average new car payment is now over $500/month. If people would pay themselves that same amount for 10 months and then pay cash for a decent car, they could avoid all that huge debt, obligation and dropping value. Investing that same $500 over a working lifetime would build to around $6 million. Those are some expensive cars! People have somehow forgotten how to sacrifice today so they can win tomorrow.
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What is one thing you could suggest that everybody could do immediately to help them financially?
Have a plan. The average family earns upward of $2,000,000 in their working lifetime and yet never once sits down and thinks about what they are trying to accomplish with their money. Is it becoming debt free? Is saving for a down payment for a house? Is it saving for your kid's college fund? Or planning to retire with dignity? Of course any plan will need a monthly budget so the plan can actually be carried out by doing the right things each month. But even discussing and writing down your goals is a great start. Most people simply don't do it.
I see you are a Dave Ramsey certified counselor, tell me a little more about that.
My wife and I were stumbling through life sort of like the family I described in the previous question when I started listening to Dave on his daily radio call in show. I was captivated by his no nonsense practical advice, so I bought his book, “The Total Money Makeover” and both of us read it and started applying his principles to our lives. In less than two years, we were debt free and loving it. I was so enthused that I wanted to be able to help others experience the same thing, so I took Dave's training and became a Certified Financial Counselor in June of 2006. I have been operating Plemon Financial Coaching ever since and have loved the experience of helping others break out of the bondage of debt and get control over their money and their lives.
In writing your Money column for the Southern, what ideas do you try and bring each week?
My Dollars and Sense uses real questions for many of the columns: questions from clients, from unknown email readers and from friends. I also read and try to stay current on any ideas that I think could be helpful. I consider myself a consumer advocate, so I am always trying to write about common sense ways people can achieve financial peace.
What prompted you to start Plemon Financial Coaching?
Two things: I am passionate about helping others win with their finances and I see such a need everywhere I look. I have recently arranged for the Anna Jonesboro High School to use a Dave Ramsey curriculum as part of a “Resource Management” class, required by every Senior. My desire is to make a difference in the world around me and challenging these Seniors is a good start.
Thanks Joe for taking the time to sit down with me at Good Financial Cents. Please be sure to check out here for more of Joe's articles. You can also find those articles in the Thursday Money section of The Southern Illinoisan or on his personal website www.plemoncoaching.com.
Joe can be contacted at:
Plemon Financial Coaching