A Step-by-Step Guide to Reducing Debt

5 Steps to Reducing Debt

Do you feel like your debt is holding you back in life? If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your finances, we’ve got a step by step process for you to start taking control of your debt today!

Step 1: Evaluate your Debt – All of It

The first thing you must do to move forward with a plan to reduce your debt is sit down and take a hard look at your finances and just how much debt you owe. Once you’ve got the details down, evaluate where your debts lie and understand that not all debt is alike. Some of your debt may be causing more of a financial strain than others, like credit cards with high-interest rates, so taking time to dig into your debt and prioritize what needs to be paid off first will help you to gain some control of your financial strains and begin your journey to debt-free living.

Step 2: Understand your Bills and your Budget

Have you done the math? If not, step #2 of your debt reduction plan involves evaluating your income each month along with how much you are spending. This is a great time as well to truly gauge your expenses and figure out where you are being frivolous. If your income does not outweigh your expenses, it may be time to consider asking for a raise at work, taking on a second job, or, adjusting your lifestyle to live below your means in order to focus on paying off your debt.

Step 3: Set Timely and Attainable Goals

While we’d all love to have our debts paid off immediately, setting unattainable goals to have everything paid off as quickly as possible can leave you feeling drained and like living debt-free is next to impossible. After you’ve taken time to evaluate your debts, your income, and your spending, design a plan that works for you to help get you out of debt.

Step 4: Make a Plan to Achieve Them

Now that you have a plan, how will you put it into place? Whether it be that you begin setting up auto payments or you choose to completely alter your lifestyle to cut out unnecessary spending, putting daily practices in place to help you achieve your financial goals is crucial. If this step feels like the hardest of all, remember that this is only temporary and is necessary to help bring you to financial freedom.

Step 5: Seek Advice from a Mentor or Financial Professional

If you’re still struggling with debt and financial woes and it seems like any plan you put in place isn’t working out, don’t be afraid to speak to a personal mentor or financial professional. Seeking advice from an expert and having a peer or mentor periodically check in with you on where you’re at with your goals can be an effective route to help you become debt-free.

If you’d like to speak to one of our financial professionals regarding your situation, click here to contact your local Inlanta officer today!

What a Year! Inlanta’s Highlights of 2017

What a Year! Inlanta’s Highlights of 2017

2017 was an eventful year at Inlanta Mortgage. We accomplished a lot thanks to the amazing employees we have on our team, as well as our valued customers and business partners. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support over the last year. While we look forward to all of the exciting things 2018 has in store for us, we’d like to take a moment to count our many blessings and reflect on our accomplishments from this last year:

 

Awards

In May 2017, Inlanta Mortgage was proud to be named a Top Mortgage Employer by National Mortgage Professional Magazine. In the same month, Inlanta was also recognized as a 2016 Platinum U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Million Dollar Lender. Inlanta closed out the year being named the #1 WHEDA Lender for the second year in a row and was named the #1 Wisconsin Based Independent Mortgage Banker closing the highest number of (loans) units in the state of Wisconsin.

Several individuals were recognized for their achievements as well. Nicholas DelTorto (President/CEO) was awarded for his service as the Chair of Residential Loan Production Committee by the Mortgage Bankers Association and Cindy Laffey (branch partner in Overland Park, KS), Jim Snyder (branch manager in Pewaukee, WI), Rob Stettler (branch partner in Sarasota, FL), and Yvette Clermont (branch partner in Lakewood Ranch, FL, and Green Bay, WI) were recognized as Mortgage Executive Magazine’s Top 1% Mortgage Originators in America.

Cindy and Yvette were also recognized as MPA’s Elite Women in Mortgage alongside Jean Badciong (Chief Compliance Officer) and Katrina Cole (Business Development and Marketing in Grand Rapids, MI). Last, we had 3 members of our team recognized at the Wisconsin Mortgage Bankers Association’s (WMBA) Best in Business Awards. Inlanta’s Production Services Manager, Rod Weis, was nominated as Best in Leadership for the Milwaukee Chapter, Branch Manager/Senior Mortgage Consultant for Inlanta Mortgage – Greenfield, Kip Warzon, was nominated as Best Loan Originator for the Milwaukee Chapter, and Inlanta Mortgage – Green Bay Processor, Samantha Gates, was nominated for Best in Processing for the Northeast Chapter. Congratulations again to all of our superstars!

 

Growth

2017 was certainly a year of growth for Team Inlanta. The company welcomed three new Regional Vice Presidents; Brain Jensen, David Williams, and Kevin Laffey, along with a National Training Manager, Jennifer Jensen aboard. Inlanta expanded into 5 new states and added 12 new branches as well.

Inlanta also invested in evolving technology strategies by embracing the #1 ranked LOS System by the STRATMOR Group, rolling out a brand new mobile app called IM home, implementing a new video series, and starting a preliminary apprenticeship program.

 

Community & Events

This past year, we enjoyed showcasing our new Home Office in Pewaukee, WI, to business partners, friends, and fellow members of the Inlanta family with an Inlanta Open House and ribbon cutting ceremony this past July. Several members of our Inlanta family were present at events in local communities including an Hablamos Espanol expo in Illinois and the National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America (NAMMBA) conference in Atlanta. Inlanta celebrated another great year of success at our Annual Sales Conference in Sheboygan, WI featuring an awards ceremony, top producers panel, motivational speakers, and more! Another highlight of the event included the presentation of the Customer Service Superstar Awards presented by Craig Pollack from Social Survey. Congratulations to Craig March, Dee Cayo, Yvette Clermont, Herb Lessmiller, and Jason Kupka for having the top customer satisfaction ratings in the company.

 

Philanthropy

Here at Inlanta Mortgage, we are always looking for ways to give back to our community. In honor of the many friends and colleagues who have cancer, have lost their battle to cancer, or know someone with cancer, we have made it our philanthropic mission to help find a cure. In July, a group of Inlanta employees participated in the Lombardi Walk/Run to Tackle Cancer in Milwaukee. The group asked fellow Inlanta employees, family, and friends to donate to the cause and raised a total of $1,500. They then spent the day at the Henry Maier Festival Park to participate in the Walk/Run. At our Inlanta Annual Sales Conference, our team also raised a whopping $24,541 for the Cancer Research Institute through raffle & silent auction! To learn more about the Cancer Research Institute, please visit www.cancerresearch.org.

In May, we had the privilege of meeting Bryon Reisch and hearing his incredible story at our Annual Managers Summit.  Inspired by his story, our employees donated $1,700 to the Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation, which matched & exceeded our company’s original donation of $1,500! In total, we’ve raised $3,200 to help find a cure for paralysis!

Inlanta held two blood drive for the American Red Cross in 2017, giving the employees a chance to come together at our Inlanta Home Office to save a total of 179 lives. Thank you to our donors!

In September, we held a raffle as part of our 13th Annual Sales Conference. We raised a whopping $24,541 for the Cancer Research Institute (CRI), an organization that provides funding for lifesaving immunotherapy research. This was the third year we raised money for CRI and we look forward to continuing our work with them.

Further, we wanted to help local families in need during the holidays. Our corporate office and Pewaukee branch participated in Inlanta’s second annual food drive competition. Each team competed to bring in the most food items to become the competition victors. The winning team, our Underwriting department, donated 606 items! In total, we collected 2,984 food items for the Pewaukee Food Pantry.

As the holiday season approached, we were grateful for the chance to give back to our Pewaukee community by participating in a “Tree of Giving” for local senior citizens from the United Community Center. Our Pewaukee branch also participated in a holiday gift drive supporting 21 children in need this year.

 

We are grateful beyond measure for another successful year in 2017 and look forward to a bright future in 2018, which marks 25 years of excellence for Inlanta Mortgage, Inc.!

8 Tips to Build and Maintain Healthy Credit

Building and maintaining healthy credit is important for a number of reasons. A good credit score can help you achieve some of your biggest financial dreams, like owning a home or even starting your own business.

If your current credit history isn’t flawless and the dream of a perfect credit score sounds as just that—a dream—don’t fret. There are plenty of steps you can take to begin building solid credit as well as strategies you can put in place to maintain that healthy credit.

Here are our top tips to help you build and maintain a healthy credit score:

  1. Swipe Responsibly

If you’re working on building solid credit, a good rule of thumb is to only borrow what you can actually afford to pay back. This means, only use your credit card if you have enough available in your bank account to pay the balance off right away. Avoid falling into credit debt by leaving your credit card at home if you’re heading out shopping or somewhere that may tempt you to spend.

  1. Stay Below your Limit

Experts suggest keeping your credit spending at about 30% of your maximum balance is best. Maxing out your credit cards regularly shows financial irresponsibility and can leave you stuck in debt for longer than you’d like.

  1. Start Small

If you are just starting to build your credit, the last thing you will want to do is open a number of new cards, creating additional debt to keep track of. Begin with just one credit card to use overtime and talk to a financial advisor when you feel you are in the right place to open a new account.

  1. Pay your Balance in Full

If you are starting to build credit outright, then the best way to begin is by charging small amounts on your card that leaves you with a balance far below your credit limit. This should make it easy for you to pay off the balance, in full, each month which will help to improve your credit.

  1. Never Miss a Payment

Missed credit card payments not only leave you behind in debt but also show to lenders that you have a track record of being financially irresponsible. It also suggests that you struggle to make necessary payments on time. This can greatly affect your future when it comes to, for example, wanting to purchase a home. When you begin the home purchasing process, a lender will review your credit score and credit history to ensure you are a viable candidate who will pay the loan off. They will then take this information to determine whether or not you will be approved for the loan. You are more likely to be approved if you have a healthy credit history and a higher credit score.

  1. Pay More than your Minimum

If you have had a credit card for some time now, you are likely to already have a balance on your card. Having a balance on your credit card is not necessarily a bad thing, though; making on-time, consistent payments every month will help you continue to build your credit. However, if you are unable to pay the balance in full, you will want to make sure you are paying more than the minimum payment due each month to help pay off your balance as quickly as possible. Not only will paying off debt sooner help your credit, you also won’t have to worry about pesky interest payments.

  1. Build a History

If you’ve just opened a new card, plan to keep it long-term to help you display a solid history of creditworthiness. Lenders appreciate at least a few years of experience in maintaining timely payments and the longer you keep your card, the more likely your credit score will increase.

  1. Regularly Review your Account History

What exactly are you spending money on? If you’re swiping your credit card every time you grab a latte in the morning, you likely aren’t using your credit wisely. Designate your credit card for emergencies or basic needs such as groceries and gas to help get you into good spending habits and avoid unnecessary shopping sprees. Also, keep an eye out for any types of fraudulent purchases; if you notice anything strange, notify your credit card company immediately to save yourself from financial distress.

 

Inlanta Named #1 WI Based Independent Mortgage Banker

Inlanta Mortgage, Inc. has been named the #1 Wisconsin-based independent mortgage banker in Wisconsin!

Inlanta Mortgage has proudly served Wisconsin residents for the past 25 years. Their dedication to Wisconsin families shows in the 2016 data collected through the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). Of all Wisconsin-based, independent mortgage bankers, Inlanta closed the highest number of loans (units) in the state of Wisconsin.

Inlanta received this news as they begin prepping for 2018, which marks their 25th anniversary of providing Loans for Your Dreams®.

“We planted our roots here in Wisconsin 25 years ago and have no plans of relocating our headquarters. One of the reasons Wisconsin homeowners trust Inlanta Mortgage with their home financing needs is because they know we are a locally-owned and operated company,” said Chris Knowlton, chief information officer of Inlanta Mortgage.

Knowlton continued, “As an independent mortgage banker, we offer a larger variety of loan options than most banks and credit unions while also offering competitive financing terms. We also manage the loan process from start to finish in-house. So, from the time you meet with your local loan officer to the time you close on your mortgage, your loan file is only managed by our team of mortgage professionals right here at our home office in Pewaukee.”

About Inlanta Mortgage

Headquartered in Pewaukee, WI, Inlanta Mortgage was established in 1993. The company has grown to over 40 branches in 20 states and over 250 employees. Inlanta Mortgage’s mission is to be the home financing partner that you trust to serve your family, friends, and community. Their team of dedicated mortgage professionals is committed to delivering an exceptional experience using honest and ethical lending practices.

Inlanta Mortgage was named a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplace in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Inlanta has been consistently recognized as one of the “50 Best Mortgage Companies to Work For” by Mortgage Executive Magazine and one of the country’s “Top Mortgage Employers” by National Mortgage Professional.

Inlanta Mortgage continually seeks branch managers and loan officers who want to grow their business. To learn about growth opportunities, please contact David Williams (Colorado and Texas) at davidwilliams@inlanta.com or 303-947-1960; Brian Jensen (Midwest) at brianjensen@inlanta.com or 630-927-0380; or Kevin Laffey (Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa) at kevinlaffey@inlanta.com or 913-645-4647. To learn about opportunities in other locations, visit www.inlantapartners.com, call 262-439-4260, or email partners@inlanta.com.

For full press release, visit http://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/01/prweb15054811.htm today 

 

Make These Resolutions to Become Financially Strong in 2018

Financial Resolutions for 2018

If 2017 wasn’t your year financially, don’t fret. We’ve got 8 financial resolutions ready for you to put in place to ensure you become strong in your finances in the new year.

  1. Make your goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely

The first step in setting financial resolutions for the new year is to take some time to sit and define what you hope to achieve financially in 2018. Rather than creating a vague, unmeasurable goal like, “I want to be debt free by 2019,” make your goal SMART. If you’d like to pay off your credit card, for example, you can declare, “I want to pay down my Visa card to $0 by January 1, 2019, and will contribute X amount from each paycheck every month to do so.”

  1. Prioritize Any Debt You Have

If you’re like most people, you are entering a new year while still bound to old debt. It is important to understand, though, that not all debt is alike. Some of your debt may be causing more of a financial strain than others, like credit cards with high-interest rates, so taking time to dig into your debt and prioritize what needs to be paid off first will help you to gain some control of your financial strains in the new year.

  1. Calculate your Income vs. Expenses

Have you done the math? If not, now is the time to sit down and evaluate your income each month along with how much you are spending. This is a great time as well to gauge your expenses and figure out where you are being frivolous. If your income does not outweigh your expenses, it may be time to consider asking for a raise at work, taking on a second job, or adjusting your lifestyle to live below your means.

  1. Make a Commitment to Pay Yourself First

What is the first thing you currently do when payday rolls around? Are you paying yourself first and foremost and investing in your own future? If not, this is truly an important goal to set for 2018.  Having a financial cushion set aside for emergencies or unexpected expenses can help save you from financial distress. Start by opening a new savings account at your bank and set aside money each month to help build your rainy-day fund.

  1. Invest in your Future with 401k

Do something your future self will thank you for. While investing in a retirement fund may not be the most exciting way to spend your hard-earned paycheck, it is crucial to ensure your future is secure. Think of it as very delayed gratification.

  1. Keep your Credit Healthy

Just as you are likely focusing on building healthy habits for yourself in the new year, building healthy credit habits is important too. Having solid credit can help you to achieve some of your biggest financial dreams – like owning a home of your very own! That is why it is important to build credit and maintain healthy habits early on like making ALL of your payments on time, keeping your balance low, and checking your credit score often to ensure you are staying on track. If you’d like more tips on how to build and maintain healthy credit, contact your local Inlanta Mortgage financial expert to discuss your situation today.

  1. Turn on Auto Payments

If you haven’t done so already and are struggling to save money, setting up auto payments that automatically transfer money from your paycheck to your savings account can help you build your savings. This may look like your account is taking a hit at first, but soon, you will adjust and be glad you did it.

  1. Follow the 50/20/30 Rule

Have you heard of the 50/20/30 rule? If not, there’s no better time like the new year to start a new tradition! The 50/20/30 rule involves using 50% of your income for “essential living” (this means paying your rent, utilities, groceries, car insurance, phone, credit card, etc.), 20% goes to financial goals (savings, retirement, investments, etc.), and finally, 30% goes to your personal spending (yes, you still get to have a life!). To learn more about this method and how to put it to good use, check out this article from The Penny Hoarder today.