How to get a loan when you are self-employed or don’t have steady income with Bald Thought’s Lee Huffman

Lee Huffman Instagram

When Lee Huffman needed to visit his mom while she was receiving treatment for cancer, his car broke down and he had to get a new one immediately. But without steady income, he could have been out of luck, if it weren't for one key thing he had going for him. 

In Lee's money story you will learn:

  • The perks, as well as the setbacks, from being self employed

  • What he decided to do when his trusty truck became not so trusty anymore while he was on his way to see his mother who was having surgery for breast cancer

  • Why he decided that a new car was better than just fixing his old truck

  • The problem he ran into with banks when trying to get a loan

  • How his great relationship with Bank of America and his great credit score helped him to get approved for a car loan

“Because I have taken really good care of my credit.. I was able to get approved for a loan with almost the lowest rate I was able to find anywhere"

In Lee’s money lesson you will learn:

  • How your credit score can be a very valuable asset and can actually create opportunities for you

“Focus on your credit score.  It can be a wonderful asset that can open a lot of doors of opportunity for you”

In Lee's everyday money tip you will learn:

  • The importance of having local currency when traveling. If you don't have the local currency, you can stop by an ATM. Some banks don't charge the fee to use another bank's ATM or simply reimburse you for it later

"Before you start earning miles in any of the different airline programs make sure that those miles are going to get you to the place you want to go to"

In My Take you will learn:

  • How you can avoid paying for water in the airport by bringing a metal water bottle with you when you travel in airports- but remember to keep them empty

  • Lee talked about how he loves using credit cards to get miles and free stuff. All good. But don’t go too crazy with that. You do you. If you don't travel much, you may want to look into a credit card that offers different kinds of rewards

Episode Links:

Lee's podcast We Travel There

Lee's free email course "7 days to your dream vacation"

Check out Lee's websites -

www.BaldThoughts.com

www.WeTravelThere.com

Follow Lee at BaldThoughts!

Follow Lee at We Travel There!

 
When Lee Huffman needed to visit his mom while she was receiving treatment for cancer, his car broke down and he had to get a new one immediately. But without steady income, he could have been out of luck, if it weren't for one key thing he had going for him. In this Financial Grownup podcast episode Lee tells us how he was able to get approved for a car loan when he needed it and shares how we can save money while traveling. #TravelTips #TravelHacks

When Lee Huffman needed to visit his mom while she was receiving treatment for cancer, his car broke down and he had to get a new one immediately. But without steady income, he could have been out of luck, if it weren't for one key thing he had going for him. In this Financial Grownup podcast episode Lee tells us how he was able to get approved for a car loan when he needed it and shares how we can save money while traveling. #TravelTips #TravelHacks

 

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

Transcription

Lee Huffman:
I was about 90 minutes into the drive, and my check engine light started flashing and flashing and flashing at me. I had to turn around, and I was really upset that I wasn't gonna be able to be there for my mom.

Bobbi Rebell:
You're listening to Financial Grownup with me, certified financial planner Bobbi Rebell, author of How to Be a Financial Grownup. You know what? Being a grownup is really hard, especially when it comes to money. But it's okay. We're gonna get there together. I'm gonna bring you one money story from a financial grownup, one lesson, and then my take on how you can make it your own. We got this.

Bobbi Rebell:
Hey, friends. That was our guest, in a bit of a panic because his car was breaking down while he was on his way to visit his mom, who was battling cancer. He needed a new car immediately, but he had just started a business. And as you guys are probably already guessing, as I say this, he had no proof of income, because he didn't necessarily know what his income would be. He did not have a W-2 job. So, the loan to buy that car that he needed was not a sure thing. We're gonna get to how that story evolved in just a moment, but first a welcome to everyone. New listeners, thank you for checking us out. Please subscribe so you don't miss any future episodes. Make sure to do the custom settings. If you're using iTunes, set it to auto download, so you don't miss any episodes, as I said. And if you have a moment, I'd love to know how you found us. DM me on Instagram at BobbiRebell1, or on Twitter, @BobbiRebell. Our email is hello@financialgrownup.com.

Bobbi Rebell:
Now to our guest. He is Lee Huffman. You may know him from his blog and YouTube channel, Bald Thoughts, his podcast, We Travel There, which I love because it's all interviews with locals for places that we travel to, so you get the local perspective. All right. If you are self-employed, or you dream of being self-employed, or you know anyone who is self-employed, you have to listen to this man's story, and then the advice that comes from it. Plus, his everyday money tip that's gonna be at the end is going to save all of us a lot of wasted cash when we travel abroad. So, stick with us to the end. Here is Lee Huffman.

Bobbi Rebell:
Hey, Lee Huffman. You're a financial grownup. Welcome to the podcast.

Lee Huffman:
It's great to be here.

Bobbi Rebell:
I am a huge fan of all of your many channels of information about travel. You are the man behind Bald Thoughts, "Travel More. Spend Less. Live Better," the podcast, We Travel There, and of course, you also have a budding YouTube channel, and probably a ton more stuff I don't even know about you yet. But I'm so happy you're here, Lee.

Lee Huffman:
Yeah. It's great to be here, and I'm looking forward to meeting all your listeners. I've listened to a lot of your episodes. It's really good information.

Bobbi Rebell:
Well, thank you. You provide a lot of great information, and not to ... I do want to also mention, by the way, you do this now full-time. But by the way, you left a $200,000 a year job to do this, so this is something you are truly passionate about. Writing about not just travel, but also early retirement, credit cards, insurance, lots of personal finance topics. For your money story today, though, we're going to be talking about travel, and how that led to an important credit card related experience. Go for it, Lee.

Lee Huffman:
Sure. Like you mentioned, I left my corporate job. That has a lot of pluses and minuses, right? This was a situation where it was a little scary, and a little bit of a rough situation. So, my mom battled breast cancer, and she beat it the first time about a decade ago. And unfortunately, the breast cancer came back recently. One of the benefits of me quitting my job and moving from California to Nashville is that I'm a short drive away. Well, short is eight hours, but it's a lot closer than California.

Lee Huffman:
She was going in for surgery. I said, "You know what? Being now not having to sit in front of a desk, that can work from anywhere. I'm just gonna go and spend some time with her." So I said, "Okay. I'm gonna drive my truck." And like a true financial grownup, I've had this truck for almost a decade. I stopped paying payments on it several years ago, and pretty excited about that. However, my truck had other ideas. So, I was about 90 minutes into the drive, and my check engine light started flashing and flashing and flashing at me. I'm like, "Oh, no."

Bobbi Rebell:
Oh, no. Oh, no.

Lee Huffman:
Yes.

Bobbi Rebell:
That's never good.

Lee Huffman:
Yeah. Check engine light on? Bad. Check engine light flashing? It's like, "Hey, stupid. Stop driving. Something really bad is going on right now." And so, I talked with my wife, and I had to turn around. And I was really upset that I wasn't gonna be able to be there for my mom, but I also didn't want to break down halfway in the middle of the mountains someplace.

Lee Huffman:
So, I came back. Went to the repair shop, and basically the guy told me that the repairs were gonna be worth more than what the actual truck was worth. I was like, "Okay, that's not good. It's time to get a new truck."

Bobbi Rebell:
And by the way, it should be noted ... So, now you have to buy a new car, but you are self-employed, and that makes things a lot more complicated.

Lee Huffman:
Absolutely. Because banks are really weird when they actually want proof of income, because they want you to be able to pay the loan back. Right?

Bobbi Rebell:
Well, that's not so weird, Lee. Let's be fair. That's not so weird.

Lee Huffman:
I know.

Bobbi Rebell:
I want to know, if I lend someone money, that they can pay it back.

Lee Huffman:
Exactly, exactly.

Bobbi Rebell:
[inaudible 00:05:31].

Lee Huffman:
Yeah. So, I reached out to several different banks. Credit unions are usually some of the best to get car loans from, because they offer really good rates, and every one of them wanted at least two years' worth of tax returns, to be able to prove the income. But I had just left my job less than a year ago, and so my last two years of tax returns are not representative of what my situation is today. And so, I couldn't get approved.

Lee Huffman:
But luckily, because I've taken really good care of my credit, and I've really focused on keeping a high credit score for a lot of the travel stuff that I do, with the credit cards and miles and points, and the relationship that I've had with Bank of America over the last almost two decades, then I was actually able to get approved for a loan, with almost the lowest rate that I was able to find anywhere, and all based on keeping a good credit score. So luckily, long story short, I was able to get approved for the car loan, and able to get a new car almost in an instant, without any paperwork, any proof of income, based on having a 760-plus FICO score.

Bobbi Rebell:
And you were able to visit your mom, right?

Lee Huffman:
Yeah. She's doing really well now, and recovering, and back to her old ornery self.

Bobbi Rebell:
Okay. All right. Let's just move on from there, Lee. So, what is your lesson for our listeners from that story?

Lee Huffman:
Really, the main thing is that your credit score is one of your most valuable assets, that you can easily mess up. You know, missing payments, maxing out your credit cards, those type of things. But as long as you focus on your credit score and do the right things with your credit, it can be a wonderful asset, that can open a lot of doors of opportunity for you.

Bobbi Rebell:
I love the way you phrase that, because it's so positive. A lot of people think about their credit score as something that they're almost playing defense with, that it can stop you from getting things. But you talk about the opportunity that it creates.

Lee Huffman:
Absolutely. I mean, like you said, I focus on a lot of travel. I travel the world with my wife and children, and it's mostly free, using all the miles and points that I earn from the credit cards, all based on my credit score.

Bobbi Rebell:
Let's talk about your everyday money tip, because that also has to do with travel and being able to maximize your spending there, by not paying more than you have to when you change money. Or maybe not paying anything.

Lee Huffman:
Exactly.

Bobbi Rebell:
What's your everyday money tip, Lee?

Lee Huffman:
Exactly. When you're traveling, it pays to make sure that you have some local currency when you're going to foreign countries. Unfortunately, when you go through the airport or some of these other places, they want to give you money at a really bad exchange rate. So, you want to use an ATM machine from a bank, so you can get the money at the best exchange rate possible. However, ATMs also like to charge you a lot of fees. Luckily, there are a lot of banks now that offer one, the debit card that does not charge you a fee for using other people's ATMs. And then, some banks also actually reimburse you the fees that are charged by other banks.

Lee Huffman:
So I've been using, for the last probably decade or so, Charles Schwab. I'm not affiliated with them or anything like that, but I kind of keep them in my back pocket. I don't use them for every day, but I kind of have money go into that account every month. That way when I travel, I have a little bit of a slush fund, that I can withdraw money from ATM, anywhere around the world, and not have to worry about fees, and always getting the best exchange rates.

Bobbi Rebell:
Which gives you more money, ultimately, to spend on your traveling the world, and fun in foreign countries with your family. So, that's an amazing tip, and great for all of us. Let's talk more about what is going on at Bald Thoughts and We Travel There. You also have a new project that is coming out, and it's Seven Days to Your Dream Vacation. I already planned my spring break, so I'm upset I didn't get to this before then. But I'll be able to use it for the next one. Tell us about that.

Lee Huffman:
Absolutely. So, Seven Days to Your Dream Vacation is a free email course that basically walks you through the process of finding a location, being able to pick out the hotels and airlines, and finding ways to reduce those costs using airline miles and hotel points, so that way you can travel for as free as possible.

Bobbi Rebell:
What would be an example? Give us a little sneak peek.

Lee Huffman:
Sure. Kind of like the Stephen Covey book. You know, Begin With the End in Mind? I love Southwest Airlines. They're one of my favorite airlines in the U.S.. However, if you want to go to Europe, or you want to go to South America, Asia, they're not gonna get you there. So, one of the most important things. Before you start earning miles in any of the different airline programs, make sure that those miles are gonna get you to the places you want to go to.

Bobbi Rebell:
In other words, be thoughtful, think ahead, and then you'll be in a better position when you finally are ready to take that trip.

Lee Huffman:
Absolutely.

Bobbi Rebell:
Tell us more about where can people learn more about you and your blog and your podcast, and everything you're up to, Lee.

Lee Huffman:
Sure, sure.

Bobbi Rebell:
So many things.

Lee Huffman:
Exactly. Bald Thoughts is all about airline miles, hotel points, trip reports, the latest in credit cards. So if you want to learn about miles and points, that's the place to go, there. Then, the podcast is called We Travel There, and it's all about having local interviews with people from around the world, to find out the best things to do in their city. Basically, I've always traveled, and whenever I do, I meet people. And I always [inaudible 00:10:44] their ear a little bit, and say, "Hey. What are some of the things that locals like to do here?" Essentially, the podcast allows you to be in on that conversation, so that way you can plan your next trip, or be inspired to go to some place that you may never have thought of.

Bobbi Rebell:
Well, you are certainly very inspiring. I hope we all get to travel to our dream destinations. Thank you, Lee.

Lee Huffman:
Thank you very much.

Bobbi Rebell:
Let's do this. Financial Grownup tip number one. Lee talked about travel. I want to add one more tip from him, that came up after we finished recording our interview. It's something that a lot of us kind of know to do, but we all could use a reminder, myself included, and that is to think about water. Think about water when you're traveling, because when you go through security, they're gonna take the water bottles that you may bring with you. Hopefully you'll remember to dispose of them before you go through security, but they're not coming through. So bring those metal ones or glass bottles that you can fill with water once you get past security, so you can avoid buying those super expensive water bottles once you're past security, because you know that's not a good place to be spending your money. Nobody wants to pay five dollars, sometimes even more, for water, especially when there's water fountains around. But especially if you have kids, or you just want to be able to carry the water with you, and not have to go back and forth to the fountain, bring those water bottles and fill them up.

Bobbi Rebell:
Financial Grownup tip number two. This is a bit controversial. Lee talked about how he loves using credit cards to get miles and free stuff. That's all good, but it's really important not to go crazy with that. It makes a lot of headlines. People talk a big game about how much free stuff they're getting. But the truth is, miles reward cards aren't the best for everyone. The best one for you may be a cash back card, or some other kind of reward card tied to your interests and need. Or maybe you have to carry a balance. This is a no judgment zone. So, maybe you just need to focus on the one that's gonna have the lowest interest rate. Don't get caught up in the travel rewards hype. Do what's right for you.

Bobbi Rebell:
Before we head out, I want to invite you guys to check out my new podcast with my friend Joe Saul-Sehy. You may know him from the Stacking Benjamins Podcast. Our podcast is called Money in the Morning. We share news headlines, we break down why they matter, and how you can use the lessons in your own life. And here's the best part of the podcast, and why we're having so much fun, and why I want you guys to join us. That is because we tape Money in the Morning live, in front of a Facebook Live audience. So, go to Facebook.com/istackbenjamins. That is the Stacking Benjamins Facebook page. Facebook.com/istackbenjamins. Set up an alert for live tapings. Join us. Insider secret, by the way, guys ... We do a lot of giveaways. So, I hope to see you guys there. Again, come with your comments, get ready to participate, and maybe your comment will get read on the air, and you'll be part of our podcast at Money in the Morning.

Bobbi Rebell:
Big thanks to Bald Thoughts' Lee Huffman, for helping us all get one step closer to being financial grownups.

Bobbi Rebell:
Financial Grownup with Bobbi Rebell is edited and produced by Steve Stewart, and is a BRK Media production.