Couple Money

Interview with Scott Bilker from Debt Smart

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As a member of the personal finance community, I’m amazed at how many people are a part of it. Unfortunately that often means that I can’t always keep up with everyone. It’s a shame because there are some wonderful bloggers with their stories and advice on handling finances responsibly and with fun.

To counteract that and get the word out on other bloggers, I’ve started the Sunday Blogger series. It’s my hope that you’ll discover some new voices in the series.

This week Scott Bilker was kind enough to answer my questions. For those who don't know, Scott Bilker is the founder of and author of several personal finance books.

Why did you start 

I was aiming to create a syndicated column in 1998 but that faded as fast as print newspapers. It changed to a magazine and eventually to a website and email newsletter. All geared to help people save money on their credit cards and debt.

How long have you've been involved with finance and blogging? 

I've been working hard to find great deals for myself and others since the late 80's. I consider myself a financial author and publisher more that a blogger however, I'm sure that meets the criteria for being a blog. Maybe I'm just old school. 😉

I noticed that you're an expert on getting out of credit card debt. What are some of the biggest mistakes that you've seen people make with them? 

Either too much buying or not using credit cards to their advantage. You can use your credit cards to get out of debt! Don't cut them up! Don't go a spending spree. Also a mistake, not calling credit card banks to negotiation lower rates. People feel they can't, but they certainly can. That's why I wrote, “Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt,” where I recorded my phone calls with the banks to use to train us all on how to beat their game.

How do you handle your own finances? What system do you employ with: budgets, investing, and career?

I have tracked EVERY transaction in my life with Quicken and Quickbooks. I mean EVERY one! I can tell you how much I spent at McDonalds in 1991. I also use custom worksheets which I go over in my book, “Credit Card and Debt Management.” I have money in the market (ROTH) however, it is a gamble since you never know the future. Career wise I'm always trying to grow and learn new ideas.

What's the biggest financial mistake you've ever made? What did you learn from it?

Putting all my eggs in one trusted basket. Plan for the future but be sure to keep your personal, individual money, secure.

What are your goals this year and beyond with 
I'd like to create an online course to help understand how to manage their credit and finances. Something that will be entertaining and educational, but most importantly, start making/saving money for people from day one!

If you’re interesting in being interviewed as part of the Sunday Blogger series, please email me.

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