After working in the construction and repair business Griff Hanning decided that he would rather help people repair their finances and construct their savings. He started his “upgraded blog” Financial Secrets 101. We emailed with him about his company, his plan and his hopes for the future.
YOUNG MONEY: Tell us about your company.
GRIFF HANNING: My company is called Financial Secrets 101. It is basically an “upgraded blog.” It is a blog that I frequently post to. I give personal finance advice about earning, investing, debt solutions, money management, my own experiences, giving, and lots of money saving ideas.
I try to write from the perspective of 20 and 30 year-olds so that most of the advice is relevant to that generation. I’m a big fan of combining the sound financial advice of the “old guys” who have wisdom and experience, with the advances in technology and automatic money management techniques.
The reason the blog is “upgraded” is that it also offers a free money-saving service. It is a customized savings plan based on your current situation. I came up with the idea when I was searching for money saving tips on Google and other various personal finance blogs. It was taking FOREVER just to find a few relevant tips. I thought, “Man, it sure would be nice to have a one-stop-shop for this information and be able to automatically weed out the irrelevant information.” Which is exactly what the 5G Plan is designed to do.
Through the blog and the 5G Plan, my mission is to: To teach, equip and encourage people between the ages of 18 and 40 years old to attain financial freedom.
I define financial freedom as this: The state in which a person is free from the control of money, and alive to use their time and gifts in a way that advances their life’s priorities and allows them to serve others abundantly. A person striving after financial freedom views money as a temporary tool where a sufficient amount is enough and an excessive amount should be given away.
YM: What is the 5G Plan?
GH: The 5G Plan is made up of two parts. 1) The 5Gs, and 2) The customized money-saving plan.
After a person registers (for free) on the site, they are asked a series of about 15 questions. These questions involve general information, such as “Do you own a car?” and “What kind of an investor are you?” After answering the short and easy questions the customized savings plan is produced. The user will receive a whole list information in an easy-to-read format. Each money saving tip is quantified with an “estimated annual savings value” next to it. As you go through the list, you can check things off as you do them in order to stay organized and see your progress.
The other half of the 5G Plan is the heart and soul of where the name “5G” came from. It is the backbone for attaining true financial freedom. In the user’s plan, they will get step-by-step instructions and suggestions on how to implement the 5G’s in their financial life. In a nutshell, here are the 5G’s:
- Set Goals. If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know how to get there? You have to define your “life’s priorities.” We encourage people to do this and provide a simple tool for getting started.’
- Gain Control. By automating your finances, spending less than you earn, and earning the maximum amount of money you can by doing what you do best, you will become more “alive to use your time and gifts in order to advance your life’s priorities.” We show people how to implement all three of these things.
- Get out of Debt. Getting out of debt is essential to being “free from the control of money.” We show people different strategies on how to accelerate their debt in order to experience freedom much sooner than they thought possible.
- Grow your Savings. Saving money is great, but making your money work for you is even better. Investing increases your chances of having a “sufficient amount” later on in life. We show people simple investment strategies.
- Give like there’s no tomorrow. Life is simply not worth living for yourself. “Serving others abundantly” brings joy and blessing, and is a sign of true financial freedom. We show people the most effective ways to give and inspire them with a few ideas.
YM: How has the recession affected your company?
GH: First of all, since Financial Secrets 101is just getting started my home improvement and remodeling business here in Colorado Springs (HOMEfix) is still paying the bills. The recession has negatively affected my home improvement business which in turn does not allow me to put as much money back into the new business.
But on the other hand, the recession has created a renewed interest in the minds of many Americans to save money. This, in turn, has giving me the opportunity to start the new business that may not have been possible otherwise.
YM: How do you make money?
GH: There are two different ways I make money.
1. Advertisements and affiliate links: Some of the banners and links to different money management or money saving products on the site will give me a few dollars when users perform certain actions.
2. Sell digital “How to” products: I am currently in the process of designing a few digital “How-to” products dealing with certain financial issues. They will be more valuable than just some ordinary financial how-to book you buy at Barnes and Noble because they will be interactive and always up-to-date with the most relevant information for current technology and generational issues. I hope to have one of these available for purchase by August 2010 and another one by December 2010. Stay tuned….
YM: Right now it’s hard for people to trust financial companies. How can people be sure that any “financial company” is not a scam?
GH: There are a number of things I try to do in order to build trust with my readers and members.
The first thing I do is to always be open and honest with them. By sharing my own struggles with money and not trying to make personal finance sound easy and fluffy I hope to gain their respect and be able to meet them where they are at.
The second thing I want to do is not always be throwing sales pitches in their face. I NEVER EVER want to even a appear to be anything like a multi-level type of company or website. I love providing my readers and users with free sound financial advice and suggestions, and every now and then, showing them a product or service they can purchase if they are interested. I figure that if I’m turned off by pushy salesmen, my users probably are too.
The third reason people can trust me is because of my passion and genuine concern for their financial well-being. This is hard for people to understand and even accept as truth because it is so rare. Most businessmen in the financial world are in it for themselves. When they see a client, they only see potential money. When I see a new member/client, sure I see potential money, but I also see the opportunity to help someone else maximize their ability to impact the world by improving their financial situation. I learned this from my dad. He is a very successful financial planner and knows that his success comes from the fact that he truly cares about his clients. I tell all of my readers that when it comes to investing, they have three choices: 1) Do it on your own, 2) Do it on your own with extra counsel from others, or 3) Hire a financial adviser to do it for you. Then I tell them that one of the greatest qualities to look for in a financial adviser is whether or not they care for your financial well-being.
The fourth way to be sure that Financial Secrets 101 is not a scam is go to back to the testimonials page and see what the current members are saying. They don’t lie.
For more information: http://financialsecrets101.com/
Young Money has not tried this product and is not endorsing it. This is an entrepreneur profile, not an endorsement.