When you lose your spouse, you start again from scratch. How can we get back up again financially after the loss? In this episode, Kelly B. Hunter of Winning Financial Solutions shares some critical financial advice and guidance for widows and widowers. We need to get our bearings after losing our partner. As homeowners, we can get bearings through Mortgage Protection Insurance because there are options for paying our mortgage off. She clarifies that the widow’s benefits on their late husband’s social security get nullified if they remarried before 60 years old. Find more insights in this episode as Kelly Hunter financially guides you through your loss.
Thank you for viewing this post. I am not a licensed therapist or professional life coach.
I am sharing my experience of loving the same man for 32 years, a mother to two adult children, a retired military officer, a breast cancer survivor, and my connections with others.
Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should reach a suicide hotline or local emergency number in their country.
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Winning Financial Solutions: Critical Financial Advice And Guidance For Widows And Widowers With Kelly B Hunter
Our guest is Ms. Kelly B. Hunter. Kelly B. Hunter is a financial freedom strategist, financial literacy author, advocate, and educator, Board/FCRA Certified Personal and Business Credit Professional, Freddie Mac Certified Smart Trainer, and multi-state licensed life insurance, health, and annuity producer. She is the Founder and CEO of Winning Credit Solutions, as well as Kelly B Protects Me.
Ms. Hunter is the host and content creator of Winning Credit Solutions, a weekly podcast. The program airs on Redink Live. She serves as a Director of Financial Literacy Program with What About Us, which is a New York-based nonprofit that serves youth transitioning out of New York foster care systems. Ms. Hunter has written financial literacy curriculum for the largest foster care agency in New York City and is writing a curriculum for the SAAS training program.
Ms. Hunter also serves as a Treasurer of the Financial Committee Chair in the Monroe County Branch of the NAACP. Kelly is a mother, a grandmother, a cancer conqueror, a widow, and now the CEO of a thriving financial service firm. Kelly works predominantly with single-parent professionals and mompreneurs to help them design a non-judgmental, holistic five-step game plan to take their finances from flawed to freedom. In the sum of her unique life experience, Kelly’s willingness to share her triumphs through suddenlys of life, enabled this dynamic woman to coach her clients through the importance of being prepared, proactive, and protected. Let’s get into this conversation with Kelly B. Hunter.
In this episode, my guest is Ms. Kelly B. Hunter. Kelly and I go way back, but I’m going to let her introduce herself and then we’ll jump right into it.
As Tina said, I’m Kelly B. Hunter. Tina and I met in a widows’ group. I was there first and then Tina came very shortly thereafter. Before we started the conversation, Tina asked if I was okay with how I became Kelly B. Hunter, the financial freedom strategist. My husband’s passing was the catalyst for me wanting to start my business. The interesting thing was we had decided that my husband was going to retire that December in 2016. That was going to be it for him which took about two years for me to even convince him that it was time for him to retire. He wouldn’t retire with his full pension or whatever. I said, “Okay.” My son is off to college and I’ll have more time and I’ll need something to do.
Maurice purchased a business for me and I thought that I was going to be making these personalized children’s books, which were amazingly cute. I was making them for friends and family. Life changed and I decided that was not going to do it for me. Going through grief therapy, counseling, and meeting all of these amazing women who were in the same situation having lost their husbands, but they had been stay-at-home moms, they were home raising their children, taking care of their homes, and doing all this stuff.
I came to understand that my financial circumstances were very different than most of the other women that I had encountered. The way that Maurice and I worked, he made the money and I spent the money. It was my responsibility to be a good steward of the money that he made. I was very clear about where we stood financially, even with his passing. I also came to understand that that was not the circumstance for many of the other women that became widows or suddenly became widows.
They didn’t know anything about their finances. They didn’t have any credit in their name. They may not have had life insurance or they thought that the insurance policy of their husband’s job was enough and it wasn’t. That would’ve been an accidental death and dismemberment policy that didn’t pay out under the circumstances upon which he passed. They were losing their homes. Their homes were being foreclosed on. There was a lot going on. After being in therapy for a few years, I decided that was the work that I needed to do. That would allow me to serve in a way that would impact the greatest number of people that I could possibly and affect more change. Children’s books weren’t going to do it.
The books were cute though. The books were adorable.
I still make them for my grandchildren on occasion. I didn’t do Easter books.
You’re absolutely right. I was like, “I could see that.” It is interesting how we met in the worst circumstance in life. Here we are, years later, you have taken your pain and made purpose out of it because there is a demographic of people that you can help. It started with helping women, but now, if I understand correctly, you help anyone that needs your services. Is that correct?
Yes. I was a stay-at-home mom for twelve years, but I had a career prior to that. I was an application support trainer. I ran a help desk for law firms. I’m very accomplished. My husband and I made similar money. The joke was about who was going to make more money than the other one in a particular year. We left Atlanta and came up to the Poconos and said to me, “Somebody’s got to stay home and it’s going to be you.” That’s how he said it. I said, “I am not staying home. You want me to give up my six figures to stay home and do what? Make beds and unload the dishwasher? I’m not doing that.”
That went on for a year. I went to church one Sunday and that was in July. We had a visiting pastor. My pastor was on vacation. Something said, “Go talk to him.” I went and spoke to him and said, “What’s on your heart?” I told him, “My husband wants me to stay home and be the stay-at-home wife and I don’t want to do that.” He said, “I’m going to ask you a couple of questions. One is, do you love your husband?” “Absolutely.” “Do you trust him?” “Absolutely.” “Do you think that he would ever tell you anything wrong?” I said, “No.”
He said, “What would be the harm in trying it? Even if you did it for 3 or 6 months and took a break from work, try it and see, if it’s not what you genuinely want to do, then you don’t continue. You can go back to work.” I went home. He didn’t go with me that day because we were battling about this very thing. I came in and I said, “I’m going to do it. Don’t mess this up.” I didn’t say that. I said something else.
Inside, you were screaming that.
It turned out to be the greatest gift that my husband had ever given me, but I couldn’t see that at the time. I was able to stay at home. My son was nine. I stayed home until Josh graduated from high school and went into his first year of college. That was the year that Maurice passed away, his senior year of high school.
What made it a gift?
Being able to be home with my son and take care of my husband. Essentially, as busy as housewives are, we’re not getting up or going to business as my grandmother used to say, my schedule was very much my own. I did the team mom thing. I participated in the school store activities. I was the PTO, football, basketball, and banquet mom. I had the opportunity to do all of that with my youngest son. It was an incredible gift. It truly was.
That is beautiful. Thank you for speaking about that. When you’re working with other stay-at-home moms that find themselves in a very different situation, you’re able to connect with them because you understand the life that they’ve been living and what’s been going on. What are some of the first initial conversations with a widow that may call you or someone who realizes their financial situation is not what they thought it was?
The first thing is it becomes like a hunt. We’re looking for things. Depending on how much information was shared between husband and wife, she may not necessarily know where the insurance policies are, or if she does know, then we’re looking at the policy to determine what is the level of coverage here if any. I always want to talk about do you have any individual savings, do you have any credit in your name, how are you guys positioned in terms of credit card balances, how is that being paid down, if at all, or if there are any savings. It’s a very in-depth, sometimes intense conversation, but I want to know where you are so we can get you to where you need to be.
If you’re a homeowner, do you have Mortgage Protection Insurance? A lot of people confuse PMI with MPI. They’re not the same thing. Mortgage Protection Insurance protects you as the homeowner. The PMI protects the bank. There’s so much information that’s unknown. We’re not taught these things and oftentimes we don’t find out until we’re in the middle of a crisis.
I try to stress being prepared, proactive, and protected and what that means at various stages of your life because it doesn’t mean the same thing at 30 that it does at 55. You need to look at your finances in a comprehensive way and a lot of the time, we’re trying to play catch up. The first thing is we need to make sure that you’re stabilized. What does that look like? We then need to move you as quickly as we can to where you need to be so that the threat of life changes drastically or even beyond the drastic that has already occurred with the loss of your spouse.
Thank you. There are a couple of things you said that I’d like to circle back to. One is about credit card debt. If my spouse has credit cards in his name and balances, my name is not on it and I’m not a co-signer and he passes, what are my obligations with that? How does that work?
You are not responsible for that.
What does that mean?
This is a difficult question because when someone passes away, it depends on whether is there a will or a trust. There are things that need to be looked at in their entirety, but for all intents and purposes, if that debt was solely in your husband’s name, you are not obligated to pay that debt back.
That is very generic overall, not considering those other different items. That’s important for people to know and to have an understanding of that. As we’re having this conversation, we’re having a conversation in general scenarios. When it is specific to you and you’re saying, “After hearing this conversation, I have a few things I need to look at.” You want to reach out to Kelly directly and make an appointment with her and talk about the specifics of your scenario. Don’t read this conversation, go out, and start making decisions and doing things without allowing someone to look at your entire process. Now, you’re in Pennsylvania. If I live in Virginia and I try to reach out to you, would you be able to help me or do you have someone else in your network that would be able to assist me?
As far as credit, insurance, wills, and trusts are concerned, I can help you across the country. You just need to schedule an appointment. As Tina said, we take a comprehensive look at your overall situation to determine what the next steps should be. I like to caution people because it’s so hard in the midst of everything that goes on after, especially if your spouse’s passing was like mine. My husband went out to shovel snow and he had a massive heart attack. It’s completely unexpected like I’m cooking dinner and he’s shoveling snow and my husband never comes in to eat dinner.Take a comprehensive look at your overall situation to determine the next steps. It's so hard amidst everything that goes on after, especially if your spouse is passing. Click To Tweet
If it’s more of a situation where there’s an extended illness or in any way you can anticipate that this may lead to your husband’s passing, then there’s always time to put something in place. We might not be able to do the life insurance, but we could do a will and trust to protect the home, the car, and the retirement. Again, it’s important to look at the situation in its totality. As difficult as it is to remove as much worry as you can.
I know how difficult that is because when my husband passed away, the first thing I worried about, even though I knew he had life insurance, it was, “How long is it going to take for me to get this stuff? I have a mortgage to pay.” Even with that, we can make phone calls and I do that with my clients all the time. You don’t have to go with a loan is what I’m trying to say. Let’s take a moment, look at the situation, and figure out what the next most logical steps would be.
You explained to us what mortgage protection insurance is and mentioned a couple of other words like wills and trusts. What are those? Can you elaborate on that?
Mortgage Protection Insurance is protection that you can put in place. It’s typically a term because there are two types of life insurance. There’s total life insurance and then there’s term life insurance. The Mortgage Protection Policy is typically term insurance for mortgages that are 30 years. We would put the mortgage protection in place for the length of the mortgage or the loan. Should something happen to either husband or wife, that mortgage gets paid off. That’s one less thing that you have to worry about should something occur.
You have options in terms of Mortgage Protection Insurance. Depending upon what your budget will allow, you can cover the entire mortgage or a period of time. For example, if you can afford the premiums, you can cover the entire mortgage. If you cannot, then what I typically suggest is to give yourself 2 to 3 years. That’s enough to pay the mortgage for that length of time so you can get your bearings about you and figure out what you want to do. Do you want to try to stay at home? Do you want to try to sell the home? It doesn’t put you at risk of foreclosure. That’s so important.
This was something that I didn’t know about when my husband passed so I’m still paying for our home. Had I known my mortgage would’ve been paid off and that would’ve been one less thing for me to worry about. In terms of wills and trust, a will is a document that says this is who I want all of these belongings to go to. There are some additional documents that should be included, which should be a financial power of attorney, a healthcare power of attorney, and a medical power of attorney. Should you become incapacitated, the financial power attorney is the person who would be making those decisions for you because you’re not able. It’s the same thing with a medical and general overall power of attorney. We want to make sure that those things are included.
A trust is a little bit more comprehensive. Inside the trust, you can put your home, life insurance policy, and various other financial instruments for a greater level of protection. Everybody doesn’t necessarily need a trust. Again, it depends on your personal situation, but there are two options depending on what is most important to you. The other thing that I want to touch on is guardianship for minor children. The reason for that is this. Everybody has a plan, either it’s your plan, the one that you design for yourself or it’s the government’s plan. If you don’t put a will, trust, or guardianship in place, who is going to be making those decisions for you in your absence or in your incapacitation, especially when it comes to our minor children?
If there was a bitter divorce or whatever, and if that’s not where you want your children to go should something happen to you and you don’t designate guardianship before something happens to you, then a judge is going to be making all of these decisions. 9 times out of 10, they’re going to look immediately to the other parent. That wouldn’t be your first choice, but if you don’t establish guardianship ahead of time, there’s going to be a fight there.
That’s a good point. As you spoke about the government’s plan versus your plan, how does the word probate fit into that same concept?
If you don’t have a will, a trust, or any of these things together then you’re going to have to go through a process called probate. Depending on where you live, that could take whatever period of time. You do have to hire an attorney to do that. You do have to go through the court system and pay court fees to get that accomplished. We all know that if it’s not our plan, we’re not going to be happy with it, or most likely, we’re not going to be happy with it.
As difficult as it is to have these conversations, make these decisions, sit down, and put these things in place, it is the best thing to do. I say to my clients, “Once it’s done, it’s done.” Should life change as life lifing all the time, almost daily and sometimes minute by minute? The great thing about having this in place is you can call me and you can say, “Kelly, we’ve moved into a new home. I want to make some changes to the trust or will.” “Great. I’ll do that. You pay me one time and we do an annual review every year by default.” If we don’t do an annual review, that means that you’re calling me and saying, “Something about my life has changed. I need to make changes to my plans.”
The fact that I can offer that service to my clients for me has been amazing because people don’t want to sit down with an attorney to do this. Up until now, that was the only option. You had to hire an attorney and who knows what he or she was going to charge you. Every time life happens, you’ve got to pay them again. I love that I can offer this service to my clients because it’s the one thing that we don’t do. We may do all the other stuff. That’s a big may. We might do the life insurance and the retirement in place, but when it comes to that will and trust, we hesitate like putting the pro in procrastination all across the board and don’t get the thing done.
It’s so much easier for me to sit with you. It literally is a conversation. I ask you questions about family and who would you want to be your financial power of attorney. This is funny because families always start with those who they don’t want to do certain things. It’s helpful to me in terms of being able to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together.
This has been coming up so often when we talk about why, as women and particularly women of color, don’t have the level of financial acumen, any of the things that we should have, or some of the things that we should have but not all, and why we hesitate to do these things. I am of the opinion and belief and my clients bear this out, we’ve been miseducated in terms of our finances. It’s not about financial literacy, it’s about financial illiteracy. That is epidemic.
You can’t focus on one thing. It can’t just be, “I’ll get my credit together and then life is grand. I get the life insurance and life is grand. I have six months of savings.” No, it is all of it. You cannot focus on one thing. It has to be a holistic comprehensive in-depth approach to putting all of the pieces together for you and your family, and what that needs to look like for you. Everybody’s goals and objectives are not the same in terms of their finances, but you can’t look at one thing. You have to look at the entire picture.
That is extremely true. We do suffer from what we don’t know. One other piece is in what you’re discussing if I’m a husband, my wife passes and we had different roles. I stayed home and took care of the children. She was making those six figures and she passes. What does that look like or how does Social Security play into that process?
This is another thing because Social Security is quick with it. If the two of you are collecting Social Security and one passes, one of those checks goes away. It’s usually the lesser that goes away. The remaining spouse will continue to receive the greater amount of the two, but here’s the problem. It goes away immediately so you don’t have a moment to gather yourself. If you based your lifestyle on those two incomes albeit Social Security, how do you now handle the finances with the one? If there’s no additional pension, no retirement plan, and all of the things that we’re suffering from in this country or your 401(k) took a huge loss and you haven’t looked at it because you didn’t feel that you needed to look at it and realized you lost $30,000, $40,000, or $50,000 in your 401(k), “How do I put this together?”
It’s something to be aware of. If you don’t have any retirement planning, let’s have that conversation. I haven’t looked on the SSA.gov website but the last time I looked, it was only funded through 2066 or 2067. Who knows what shenanigans they’re going to play with that? If I can advise you in any way, it would be, don’t depend on it. Make sure you have your own retirement planning in place. Even if life insurance is offered through your employer, make sure you own your policy. I read an article the other day that AT&T was getting rid of the life insurance policies for their retirees.
This is something that, as an employee, they offer us a benefit and you pay into for however many years you worked with that company and then you retire thinking, “I’ve got the lay of the land covered,” and then all of a sudden, you don’t. How are you on a fixed income at a point in your life where earning is not a priority anymore? You did that already. What do you do? The best thing that I can advise is that you make sure that you own your own stuff. Own your insurance policies and retirement. 401(k) is not a retirement plan. That’s how it’s marketed, but it is not. Make sure that you have these things in place. If you’re not sure what you need to have in place, how you put it in place now, and what are your options then we can absolutely have a conversation.
There are a couple of things I want to circle back to that. Let’s say I’m 52 when my husband passes and I was the lesser breadwinner. I was told that if I wanted to draw his Social Security, I have to remain single and could not remarry by the time I turned 60. Is there truth in that?
There is truth in that because those benefits are widows’ benefits. You’re always a widow, but legally, you’re no longer a widow so you wouldn’t be entitled to his benefits anymore.
I want to make sure I’m clear. I’m always a widow and not conceptually talking about how the Social Security Administration sees it. I’m a widow at the age of 52 and I don’t remarry. What is the age that I can start drawing Social Security?
You can start drawing at any time, 62 or 65. I believe it’s 62.
I’m 52 and my husband passes. I’m now the age of 62 and I want to start drawing Social Security. I want to draw what he had because he made more than me. At 62. I remained a widow the entire time. I then can contact the Social Security Administration to start drawing Social Security.
Different scenario, he passes at 52 and I remarry at 60. When I turn 62, I contact the Social Security Administration and ask to start drawing my husband’s Social Security. They’re going to tell me no because I’ve now remarried to this person.
That is important. I have literally talked to people who will not get remarried until they have turned 62 and started drawing their late spouse’s Social Security before they were into a marriage. Some people don’t have, but Social Security when it looks as far as retirement. That is a huge thing for people to know. Some people are shocked when they go to Social Security and realize that the process of them getting remarried into that income.
You also talked about different things to have and we talked about the whole picture as far as what is retirement. You can’t lay out because you don’t know this person’s income or that person’s income, but what are some general ways of things you need to start thinking about? I want to preference at this. There’s a person reading this because their friend’s spouse passed. They’re a young couple and reading this financial awareness. What are some things that I need to start thinking about if we’ve gotten married and we’re not even on that part of the road of someone being deceased and we’re in the planning stage?
The best thing that I can suggest is that, regardless of whether you’re single, married, or widowed, make sure your personal credit is together because you never know when you may need to access your personal credit. That’s not to say that you need to acquire a bunch of credit cards and run them up because that’s not what we’re talking about. What we are talking about is having access and availability to credit should you need it because you never know what’s going to happen. That’s the first thing.
For young couples, you absolutely want to make sure that you have life insurance in place for both of you, especially if she’s staying at home and caring for the children. If something should happen to her, how are you going to now do all of the things that she does? You’re going to have to hire somebody to do that stuff. Is that coming out of your salary when it wasn’t coming out of your salary before? Depending on the age of your children, you may be paying tuition for them to go to daycare or primary school.
If there’s a life insurance policy in place, you can hire a housekeeper once a week or once every two weeks. You can hire somebody to help with laundry even if it’s for a short period of time. You want to make sure that you have life insurance in place for both of you, especially if both of you are working. You want to at least have your individual salaries. There are various ways to calculate how much life insurance is needed. You could do it ten times. There’s a DIME formula, which is your Debt, your Income, your Mortgage, and then Education. We put all of that together and figure out what that number is and base the life insurance face value on that number.
There are various ways to calculate how much is needed. Again, that’s an individual thing. Life insurance for both spouses and credit should be in place for both spouses. If you own a home, you want a Mortgage Protection Policy, as I said before, even if it’s for a shorter period of time based on what your budget can allow. You also want to make sure that you start planning for retirement early because there’s a cost of insurance always.
The younger you are when you apply for life insurance, the less expensive it’s going to be. Life insurance gets expensive as you get older. You want to make sure that you have a will and a trust, and if there are minor children involved, you want to have a guardianship plan in place. You need to fund that guardianship plan because if one or both parents are deceased, how are the children supposed to be educated? How are they going to be cared for until they reach the age of majority? All of these things need to come into play, but it’s a lot easier and less expensive to do when you’re younger.Life insurance gets expensive as you get older. Click To Tweet
Going back to the word procrastination. What do you find are some of the challenges that keep people from doing something like this and know that would benefit them? What are some of those hurdles that you have to deal with clients?
Sometimes it’s a challenge for me because my children grew up with me. They watched me go through life so they get it. My son is having his first son and we’ve had the conversation about making sure that there’s life insurance in place. There’s no resistance, no pushback, no nothing, but when I talk to other young people, they’re like, “I don’t need to do that right now.” “No, you need to do it yesterday because you are a day older than you were yesterday. Believe it or not, the cost of insurance continues to increase. It doesn’t get less expensive. It always gets more expensive. That’s something that you want to consider.”Get life insurance today because the cost of insurance continues to increase. It doesn't get less expensive. It always gets more expensive. Click To Tweet
When I’m talking with older people, depending on what their life experiences have been, they may have some predetermined ideas about what life insurance is. Sometimes I hear things like, “Nobody made it easy for me. I’m not putting anything in place, which I don’t understand.” The fact that nobody made it easy for you is exactly why you should put something in place. If you have the opportunity and the finances to do it, why wouldn’t you do it?
There are all kinds of policies with all kinds of premium amounts. I have sat and worked with clients and gone back and forth. I don’t believe in selling products. I believe in providing solutions. There’s a difference because I could work with one carrier whether that’s the right carrier for my client and their particular scenario and say, “Here you go,” I’ve never done that. It’s not ethical and it’s not in the best interest of the client. I work with a number of different carriers who provide various solutions.
I had a very young man, 38 and he’s a truck driver, which is a fairly dangerous profession. He weighs 400 pounds. The first policy that I attempted to get him approved for was declined. I said, “Let me get back to you.” I had to find another option for him. Fortunately, I was able to find another option. What people don’t understand is that there’s an approval process that takes place when it comes to getting life insurance. There are some factors that need to be considered.
Your personal credit comes into play. They also take into consideration any legal challenges that you may have had. If you’ve had a DUI or DWI or history of some drug abuse. That would only be documented through your physician. Your height and weight, and any meds that you’re taking might exclude you or if you are an insulin-dependent diabetic. These are called knockout questions. They’ll knock you out of the realm of approvability. It’s important that you know that when you’re applying. When we have the conversation, you’re being honest with me because they’re going to find out anyway and they underwrite your policy all along the way.
Along the way as I’m doing the application, they’re behind the scenes underwriting your application. At any given time, if they pull data that says something and the response that you gave me was not accurate, they’re going to decline you. Being declined multiple times presents a whole other set of issues. It’s important that people understand that you can’t buy life insurance. You must go through an approval process. 9 times out of 10, a broker like myself can get you a policy, but I need you to be honest with me and let me know what’s going on so I can determine who not to even apply ahead of time, but I can get you there.
He had been declined I don’t know how many times before and he was skeptical about even applying this time. I said, “I’ll find you something. It may not be exactly what you want but we will get you some coverage until you can drop the weight.” He was honest with me. He said, “I’m going to the gym. I’m eating better. The goal is for me to drop 100 pounds by next year.” “Great. Let me get you something and then we’ll work on the retirement because that’s a whole other situation.”
You want to make sure your personal credit is together, you have the life insurance, will, trust, and some estate plan. It could be a basic estate plan for the time being. If you have minor children, guardianship is an absolute must. We then need to figure out how we’re going to provide for those children should something happen to one parent or both parents.If you have minor children, guardianship is an absolute must, and then we need to figure out how we will provide for those children should something happen to one parent or both parents. Click To Tweet
That’s very good. Those are some things that will be helpful. When they start having the conversation, they’re not in shock. These are some things that we need to talk about and it helps with that planning. If my spouse died and I found out we don’t have any life insurance, I didn’t work, and I’m at the point of losing the house, what should I be thinking at this point from your perspective or things you know?
The first thing is you need to get on the phone with the mortgage company. Find out if they have any plans available to you and what does that look like. You want to start reaching out and making phone calls. That’s the very first thing that you want to do. You want help with that because sometimes it’s in the midst of all that’s happening, you may not know all of the questions to ask. Sometimes when we make those phone calls, people are speaking to us in a way that’s not very caring. It’s not with a genuine level of care or concern. I’m available to help you through that process if that’s something that you need at this point in time.
I do have a widow and she’s now taking her life insurance exam. That is something that I can offer to anyone who is trying to figure out, “I was a stay-at-home mom. I’ve got to make some money and I don’t want to lose everything. What can I do?” That’s an option. I can help you pay for your license. You have to do the work, but I’m here to help mentor, guide, and educate all along the way. There’s one young lady that’s doing that right now.
That is important to know because Kelly and I know all too well about that shock or that mental fog. There are people that are not always trustworthy offering to do things to serve themself and not to serve you. Is there an accreditation process or something for me to know how I can trust somebody to that level?
For me, when it comes to the credit side of my business, I am CROA compliant, a Credit Repair Organization, so there are ethics and values that I must abide by. I must operate my business in a certain way or I lose my accreditation. The same thing with my life insurance license. That’s life, health, and annuity in multiple states, you have a fiduciary responsibility to serve your client and not yourself. People ask me all the time, “Why do you spend so much time with your clients?” These are clients who I’ve sat with and whom we’ve had conversations with and who have called me at 2:00 AM and 3:00 AM in the morning because stuff is happening, they can’t sleep, or whatever the case may be.
If I’m up I will respond, and they say, “Why do you do that?” It’s because I’ve been where you are. I know what it feels like to be up in the middle of the night trying to figure it out. There’s nobody who understands because they haven’t walked in my shoes, but I have. I’ve been a single-working mom. I’ve been a divorced mom. I’m a cancer survivor. I’ve had some health challenges as well.
All of these are things that make it easy for me to relate to the people that I serve. I try to do it in a way that I would’ve wanted someone to be available for me going through that particular situation or circumstance that I did not have. I promised myself when I started this business that that’s the person I would become to honor my husband’s legacy.
I got no more questions about that. Thank you, ma’am. I checked it on my list. My question to you is, what would you tell younger Kelly many years ago knowing what you know now?
Younger Kelly was very different. She was coming in hot on a regular. Since I’ve had my grandchildren, the loves of my life, it’s important to me how they see me, view me, hear me, understand me, and feel me. I wish that I was this person several years ago. I couldn’t be because I had to go through all of the things to get here. I would give younger Kelly tremendous grace because she was operating with what she had and knew.
She knew some of this because I’ve been doing credit repair for 30 years. It wasn’t a business for me though. It was, “Kel, this is going on, what do I do?” I always understood how important it was. I always made sure my credit was together, but I would give younger Kelly grace and not be so judgmental, not be hard on her, and love her more. That’s what I would tell her.
That’s solid advice to give to anyone that is reading this conversation. They’re going, “I haven’t done any of this. What’s going to happen to me?” They’re freaking out. Give yourself some grace. You can only work with what you know. Now that you know this, you get to talk to Kelly B. Hunter and get a little bit wiser from all these things that she knows in credit solutions. This is empowering men and women to be able to leverage what they learned over all that time to be able to position themselves to be ready for life or start life. I know we talked a lot. Are there some things that you feel we may have missed or feel like there are some crucial items that you want to make sure we also consider?
No. I just want to say thank you for the opportunity. These conversations are so incredibly important. They’re difficult conversations, but we need to have them more often. We need to be okay with having them more often. We need to be transparent about how we share this information. I talk to my children about this stuff all the time. My grandson is six but one of his mantras right now is, “Don’t swipe.” If he sees his parents using the debit card and they’re swiping, he’s like, “Grandma says no swiping. Where’s your cash?” My daughter will say, “I’m sick of you and him.”
However, you know you’re not supposed to be swiping. He’s telling you what you already know. That’s so important. Don’t hide money or finances and struggles from our children. Don’t do that. They need to understand this is the household budget. When you’re asking me for a $700 game system or whatever it costs, “It’s not in the budget. We can save for it. It’s going to take this amount of time. We may need to give up some other things. We might not be able to make the Chick-fil-A after the game every Saturday. We may not be able to get new sneakers. We may not be able to do those things. We need to learn how to prioritize our money.” Include our children in those conversations.Don't hide money and finances and struggles from our children. They need to understand it. Click To Tweet
That is great. I remember when our son was younger, he wanted whatever the latest game system was. I was like, “There’s no way I’m spending money for that with all the other different things and we were trying to save for college and do this and that.” I remember telling Alexander, “We cannot buy that but I can help you.” The help was anytime he had a birthday or Christmas, if he saved up the money for that, I would help him along the way in managing his savings. The savings were at home in a little jar, but it took him a year. He went to GameStop and had all those singles and all that money. He was pouring out to buy that game system. He took care of that game system.
I remember there was a woman coming back going, “Are you making him spend his own money on that game system?” I looked at her and I looked at the grown child that was standing next to her and she was pouring out her money. I turned away because I was like, “You’ve already made your decision.” He paid for that game system and one game. They then asked if he want insurance on the game system. He looked crushed because he had no more coins. There’s nothing left. He’s like, “I can’t buy it now.” I was like, “I will buy that insurance for you.”
It wasn’t that we could not have purchased the game, but that money that you have is extra. For him to take in that process was the beginning of him realizing it cost to be able to do stuff. His ability to take care of that game and do everything else came from him having some skin in the game. We do our children a disservice by not making them part of that process early on. Not that they have to. It’s not a burden but it’s a gift that we are giving to them and helping them to be able to learn and do that. Thank you for mentioning our children. I know you were doing Kelly B. Hunter Credit Solution. What are some other things that you are doing?
Winning Credit Solutions was the start of it for me. Kelly B Protects Me is the life insurance side of my business. I got licensed in 2019, a year after. I have a book coming out in May 2023. I participated in an anthology project. That very much speaks to why I started my business, how my husband and I met, our story, and our beginning.
That’s May 2023 and not May 2024?
Yes, May 2023. I have a new grandson coming also on May 9th, 2023 to be exact. It’s Grandma Chronicles part three. I’m excited about that. My son Joshua is having his first son. Strategic partnerships have been amazing in this first quarter. I look for some foreclosure prevention workshops, strategies, and things like that because there’s a lot coming down the pipe. I don’t want to see people losing their homes at the rate that they have been. That’s coming and some other things.
If I want to get in contact with you, how does that work?
You can call me. The phone number is (833) 946-9467 or (833) WIN WIN7. That makes it easy. My email address is Kelly@WinningCreditSolutions.com. My website is WinningCreditSolutions.com. Kelly B Protects Me is the same thing. It’s Kelly@KellyBProtectsMe.com and the website is KellyBProtectsMe.com.
Kelly, thank you so much for having this conversation. It has been wonderful.
Thank you, Tina. It has been wonderful.
That was very informative. Kelly and I are friends, but I wanted you to know Kelly the professional. I wanted you to get to see who she is and what she has to offer. She is also part of widowhood, so she understands the importance of the decisions that you need to make and the gravity of how they impact your life. I encourage you to look at the information, reach out, and contact Kelly, and help make your situation a little bit better every day. Thanks for being here. Talk to you soon.