Author, Living Large for the Long Haul (2013)
Other books include Get Clark Smart and Clark’s Big Book of Bargains
Hosts the HLN TV show Evening Express seen by 5 million viewers per month
Talk radio host of the popular nationally syndicated consumer advocate program The Clark Howard Show reaching about 3.25 million people in 200 markets on 250 stations
Education: Bachelor's in Urban Government, American University, 1976, Master's in Business Management, Central Michigan, 1977
Married, two daughters, one son
Clark Howard: Manage Your Money Wisely
The 700 Club
CBN.com - LIVING LARGE...FOR THE LONG HAUL
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, this last period of economic recession officially ended in June 2009. However, most Americans continue to feel like they are in a recession and many people are still facing hardships with their money. Financial expert Clark Howard is still living by his adage, "Save more and spend less," and encourages others to do the same. He still likes to give practical consumer tips and offers creative ways to save money, spend wiser, and invest for the future. Now more than ever he wants to empower consumers by saying, “Don’t wait for someone else to provide for you…do it yourself.”
Clark says not only can we live large in the lean times – we can continue to live large for the long haul. One of the big messages in his book Living Large for the Long Haul is that people do have opportunities to get out of debt and work towards financial freedom. It may be hard work but anyone can do it. Clark says we must think outside of the box for solutions that move us towards financial freedom. In these last few years, Clark has heard many stories of how people did just that and have gained control of their money. Some of the stories Clark highlights are in the areas of entrepreneurship, credit, cars, and healthcare.
BE YOUR OWN BOSS
Necessity prompted the beginnings of the now successful businesses of Atlanta-based King of Pops popsicles and www.ooShirts.com. The inspiration of King of Pops started in Central America where three brothers took a vacation. During this vacation, they consumed a lot of the local treat, paletas (or Latin ice pops). Back in America they dreamed of bringing the taste of paletas to their home city of Atlanta. Then, the youngest brother Steven was a victim of a massive corporate layoff. Not long after that, King of Pops was born and is now a thriving business.
Raymond Lei came up with the idea of www.ooShirts.com while ordering T-shirts for his high school's tennis club. He was having a hard time finding products that were a good price and high quality. Raymond did some research and found that the T-shirts themselves were not expensive, but it was the way they were printed that made them pricey. Six months later, he decided to start his own company. His goal was modest – to sell T-shirts to other student clubs at school. Today, Raymond has exceeded that. His company now has six employees and an annual revenue of more than $3 million. One of the biggest lessons to learn from Raymond's success is that you don't need a lot of capital to start a business. Having few resources at the beginning forced Raymond to value efficiency.
IMPROVE YOUR CREDIT
Anthony Earl took much needed steps to raise his credit score 300 points during the worst time of the recession. He did it in part by paying down $30,000 in credit card debt while he was earning below $30,000 a year. He put the bulk of his money towards paying down credit cards with the highest interest rates and still made the minimum payments on his other cards. When he got his debt under control, Anthony applied for major credit cards to raise his credit score. (This move shows you can responsibly manage having a higher available credit limit, thus raises your credit score.) After four years, Anthony was out of debt and able to use his money where he needed to and invest for the future.
Clark says the costs of maintenance and gas are things we should consider with cars. This is an area where you can save a lot of money if you rethink how you use them. One example is the Johnsons. Robert and Cia went carless and began riding bicycles six years ago in Columbia, Missouri. Today, they continue that lifestyle in Barrington, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago). Because of this financial choice, they stay in great shape and have “become wealthy very quickly.” They have been able to pay $18,000 in cash for the final year of Cia's postgraduate studies, pay off $72,000 in other accumulated student debt in a year, and have the ability to pay off their mortgage by 2014.
Gerry Schram was a car dealer for forty years. In 2006, he was able to retire at age sixty-five without any debt.
Early in Gerry's career he saw the trap people would get themselves into by buying a new car every few years. Over the years, Gerry and his family lived within their budget and made sensible car purchases. They also drove the cars they had until the cars would no longer work before buying new ones. Now, Gerry and his wife have everything paid for and have for years while their friends of the same age are still making payments on things.
ALTERNATIVE HEALTH CARE
Willy Bearden is a sixty-two-year-old documentary filmmaker from Memphis, Tennessee. His arteries were clogged and he needed heart surgery that cost $300,000. Not satisfied with the expensive stateside medical options he had, Willy began to research medical tourism. He focused his research on India because it was a place he had never been before. Willy looked into various doctors and hospitals in India, made his choice, and traveled to India. The surgery was a success and only cost $9,000 (his airfare and hotel were an extra $2,000).
Clark says medical tourism can be an area for significant savings. You need to check with your insurer to see what your options are. Also you need to carefully research doctors and medical facilities. For general healthcare, there is the Joint Commission International (JCI). It has been around for awhile, is board certified, and makes sure doctors from around the globe are reputable. For major dental work, you also have the option of finding cheaper dentists abroad. Unfortunately, dentistry doesn't have the same safe guards as general health care does and there are different standards. In Hungary you can get major dental work done for 25% of the cost in the U.S. (it used to be 10%). Now Costa Rica is the up and coming destination for savings on major dental work.
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