Interview With Jon Dulin of Money Smart Guides

Tell my audience about yourself. What made you want to start your website

I started MoneySmartGuides because personal finance is not taught in schools. As a result, most of us learn personal finance from our parents. If they weren’t great with money, chances are we won’t be either. By taking some time to learn the basics of personal finance, we can take control of our lives. I try to teach my readers some of the basic ideas so they can handle money wisely.

Please name some quick and easy ways for a person to improve their credit even if they’ve recently been through a divorce or some type of financial calamity?

The easiest way to improve your credit is to pay your bill on time each month. The second would be to keep your debt levels under control, since your debt to credit ratio is an important factor too. These aren’t sexy, but surprisingly, personal finance isn’t either. Anything that claims to fix your credit in 5 minutes is a scam. Like everything in live, it takes some time to improve your credit.

When a person walks into a car dealership what are some credit questions you recommend that consumer ask the salesman or finance manager?

You want to know what the current offers the dealer or manufacturer are offering. Ideally, you should run your credit BEFORE going to dealership. That way you know what your score is. Some sleazy car salesmen (not all, just a few) will tell you that your score isn’t good enough for the special financing. Always ask to see the report they run.

How long does the Credit Restoration process take? Generally, it takes 7 years.

If a person can’t purchase a vehicle in cash, what’s the ideal down payment you recommend they have? Does a larger down payment mean a shorter loan and APR? You should put down enough of a down payment so that you can afford a loan no longer than 5 years. If you have to go out farther than that, you can’t afford the car. With that said, don’t just focus on the monthly payment. Negotiate the overall price of the car. A salesman can get you to “afford” almost any car when you tell him you want a monthly payment of X dollars. If after negotiating the overall purchase price, you can’t afford the monthly payment of a 5 year loan, you either need to put more money down, or you just can’t buy the car.

If you’re a first time car buyer and you’ve never shopped for insurance before, what are some tips to get the lowest rate possible?

What are some questions you should ask your insurance agent to know your getting the best possible deal? You should shop around a few different agents. Once you get one quote, show that to the next agent. You want to make sure you are comparing apples-to-apples. Insurance policies can be complicated, so showing them your quote ensures they are quoting you the same coverage. I would urge you to steer clear of the state minimum coverage. The point of insurance is to cover you should you get into an accident. If you only have the minimum coverage and get into an accident, the insurance company will only cover you so much. The rest is your responsibility. If you don’t have enough money to pay out of pocket in the case of an accident, then you need to get more coverage from the insurance company.

Besides what are some of websites/blogs you would recommend our visitors visit while trying to improve their credit?
I personally enjoy reading, the finance forums at

Jon Dulin of Money Smart Guides

This is our twenty-fourth interview in our “1000 Interview Challenge” If your interested in an interview, please contact me.

This interview was conducted by Shane McC. Shane currently is attending RISD studying computer programming. He enjoys traveling and plays hockey. He played for the Boston Junior Bruins of the EJHL during the 01-02 season. You can follow him on Google+

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