About Lynnette Khalfani-Cox

by Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach on December 29, 2009

Lynnette Khalfani-Cox Media Appearances


Lynnette Khalfani-Cox,The Money Coach®, is a personal finance expert, television and radio personality, and the author of numerous books, including the New York Times bestseller Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom. Lynnette once had $100,000 in credit card debt, before paying it all off in three years and turning her financial life around. Since then, she has appeared on such national TV programs as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil, The Tyra Banks Show and Good Morning America sharing her success story and teaching millions about proper money management.

Lynnette, an award-winning financial news journalist and former Wall Street Journal reporter for CNBC, has also been featured in top newspapers including the Washington Post, USA Today, and the New York Times, as well as magazines ranging from Essence and Redbook to Black Enterprise and Smart Money. She can frequently be seen as a guest commentator on CNN, FOX Business Network and MSNBC.



This Article Answered The Following Questions:

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My ex husband was told to pay the mortgage on our home until it sells in our divorce agreement. He hasn’t paid the mortgage and now that we have a buyer for the home he has 8 liens on the property in his name, which he won’t be able to removed. He has also filed bankruptcy. What can I do to get my name off the house, while he squats in it and goes into foreclosure?


Hello Lynette:
My husband and I did a short-sale of our house two years ago when he lost his job, and we were not able to refinance. Our credit report indicates that the main mortgage and second mortgage were paid in settlement and that the account was legally paid in full for less than full balance. There was a third mortgage (only under my name)with Bank X of $25,000 that was at 7% interest, that was not forgiven when the short sale took place. Bank X reduced the interest to 0%, and I have been paying monthly payments for this debt without being behind. The debt is now $15,000. Every 6 months Bank X want me to increase the monthly payments. Do they have the right to do this increase, if I am paying my regular monthly payments and I have never been behind? They have even asked me that they need to review my current paycheck to determine the increase of the new monthly payment. Do they have the right to do this? This debt was for the roof of the house that I don’t have anymore due to the short sale. Please advise. Thanks

The Money Coach

You are only legally obligated to pay to Bank X what you agreed to pay and signed on the dotted line to pay. If they agreed to 0% interest, as you stated, and a set monthly payment plan, then NO they don’t have the legal right to all of a sudden demand that you pay more. If, on the other hand, the fine print of your original agreement said that they can re-adjust your payment based on a change in your income or improved financing standing on your part, then YES, what they are requesting is perfectly legal. My advice: read and the re-read everything you signed in connection with this loan. If you didn’t agree (in writing) to any change in terms, then I would NOT agree to give them my personal paycheck information nor would I agree to any payment increases.

Courtney B

I am 23yrs old. Recently unemployed & currently living on my own. I have major credit cards bills, a car that was recently voluntarily reprocessed & rent 2 months behind. I have the option of going to live with my parents but I still have a lot of debt. Is my best option to just file bankruptcy???


Hi Lynnette,

I have been a little over 8 months in my current job. I won’t start my 401 k at my current job untill next year. Currently, I have a student loan about 9k which I’m still working to pay it all. I was wondering if with that loan and the current Economy situation,is it a good time for me to start investing in stocks and maybe start saving for retirement? What kind of adivce can you give me? Thank you

Saad Shaheed

Hello Lynette! I Just seen you on “The Talk” today with advice on witholding exemptions on one’s w-4 for extra money on a monthly basis. Now my question is this, how many or how frequently can you do this on 12 month period without it effecting your end of the year refund let’s just say your average refund from the IRS is $3-4000.00!now I’m sure if let’s say I put 4 exemptions on my w-4 and leave it there all year? If I leave that amount on I’m sure my refund would be smaller but would I take the risk of “oweing” money in the end instead of recieving a refund?? this is my fear, I know people that are let’s say “new citizens” and they say they do this often but they do it with crazy numbers like let’s say 18 exemptions, now to me thats got to backfire on you if you do that, but hey I dont know, In my situation I had Twins 5 years ago, so for the last few years I have seen an increase in my refund although me and my wife file/live seperately and each claim a child it is a nice refund to look forward to each year, the only time i increase my exemption number is when i work alot of overtime during such a pay period, then i will increase my number then take it back thinking that it would harm me at the end of the year at refund time. everyone knows if you work alot of overtime that it is taxed differently so i know this is wise to increase during these situations but again if i dont do it for that reason “how often would you recommend” doing this without hurting your end result??? would appreciate your advice…Peace


I am currently in default status on student loans and my wages are being garnished. I have contacted the Dept of Ed and they have referred me to GC Svcs-the servicer of the loan. Unfortunately, GC Svcs has not been helpful and refuse to negotiate. I need help. I am in a desperate hardship state and can barely afford to feed my son. What can I do?

Mike B.

Hello, Lynette:

I own a property that was my primary residence until June 2011. I was forced to relocate out-of-state for another job, having been laid off in March 2009. I now have renters living in that residence, I am staying with a relative and I would like to take out a home equity line on that home.

Is this a possibility?


My brother and his wife have been in a financial downward spiral for a few years. He has always been self employed and she a stay at home mom. The economy and bad decisions have forced them to sell their home and borrow enormous amounts of money from relatives, including myself. We recently advised them to claim personal bankruptcy. Upon seeing an attorney, they were advised that filing could put his new small business at risk. He opened a new business in March 2012 in an effort to get back on his feet but still has an interest in another one (no profitable) with two other partners. He rents space and the only assets are the stock in the store which is perishable food items.

My question is, what risk was the attorney referring to if the business is not profitable and what does that have to do with his personal filing?


Hi Help Desk,

I need advice:

Recently tried the Home Affordable Remodification Program and was turned down by my mortgage company. They said I made too much money. It doesn’t match up that you have circumstances that will not allow me to pay for my mortgage on a monthly basis.

I have an interest only mortgage that will increase by the year 2017. No one wants to refinance my loan and provide me with a 39 year fixed loan. Is there anything else that I can do. I feel like I’m over my head. I have credit card and loan debt which I’ve paid off a good $22000. I don’t know what else to do. Should I stop making payments on my house and pay on the debt. Please help.

My entire first check of the month barely covers my mortgage and the remaining funds are used to pay bills.

What to do?



My credit is SHOT from student loans, repo, s hort sale on home and perhaps other things that prevent me from getting a 1000.00 loan (min. amount – only needed 500.00 and would have paid 500.00 back immediately) from the HIGH INTEREST people.

What can I do to repair my credit? I am working and my auto is being finance my relative but I make payments ($200.00) monthly.

Christina Blincoe

I want to pay off $40,000 combined of my husband and my student loans that we have had for over 18 years. we want to be free of this debt. Is there anyway to negotiate a lower pay off or forgiveness of the capitalized interest. So far I am not having any luck talking with Sallie mae about this. Thanks

The Money Coach

The name of the site is Gazelle.com. They buy electronics of all kinds. You can sell stuff and raise cash fast. Good luck!

Nancy Black

If anyone receives a American Express Gift Card they will not be able to use it to pay on a loan. I called the number on the back of the card and they told me I could go shopping! No way do I want to shop, just to pay on my loan.

They registered the card to validate it and told me I could also shop on line.

Doesn’t anyone want to pay down on their bills& loans??

I too thought American Express Gift Cards could be used for loan payments but boy was I wrong.

I even tried my local bank and it wouldn’t work. Sighing over the short sightedness of American Express Gift Cards. They should have made it work for me after calling the company,but their policies are use it and shop.

I think if you just want to shop you would be 7th heaven but that is not my case.

Good Heavens what a conundrum this is.

Zach McFall

Are you going to do an updated edition of Zero Debt for College Grads or do you have a place on one of your sites that has the updated information?

The Money Coach

We have no plans to publish a new edition but we will start publishing more updated info on this blog.

Tracy Mobley

How do I find out if someone has used a SSN to file a claim or income tax return? Is there a number you can call to find out?


hi lynnette my name is maria and someone has claimed my taxes i wanted to know if there is any way that i can find out who they are?


I am paying 7.5% on my student loans which I consolidated back in 2000. Is there anything I can do to lower the interest rate? Is it possible to consolidate my loan with my ex wife’s student loan which I am paying in order to get a lower interest rate?

Alicia T.

Hi Lynnette,
I am engaged to someone with a growing $90K+ student loan debt. Finding work that pays his worth (or educational worth) has been difficult. He is paying the minimums on the loans, but with the rate of growth (non-changeable interest rates ranging from 6-12%) I am afraid his credit score, which is low will not rise or ever recover from taking this educational risk. He is thinking of joining the military in hopes that they will help pay down some of the debt and steady worthy pay. I want to marry him, but I need to know what I can do to protect myself and my credit and our future assets. I don’t want to inherit his debt, should something happen. Should I get a pre-nup or some like agreement? Can we set up joint accounts? What are the “to do” and the “don’t dos”? Thanks!
~Financially Scared to Love.


Hi, I have a pretty unique situation regarding student loan debt. I have about $100K in student loan debt. I did not find a job until about 8 months out of college and the loans were in deferment. The entry level position I obtained was not enough to pay my loans and I was playing catch up from the get go. The loans were then in forbearance and still are as I am not about to make $700 monthly payments. To top it off my co-signer filed for bankruptcy without me knowing and one of the creditors sold the debt and reported it as charged off and my credit is now terrible even though I was not the one who filed for bankruptcy.

Is there anything that I can do legally since I was not the one who filed and my credit is now shot? I feel like $100K will never be paid off. I regret going to college! What do I do?!? PLEASE HELP!

Cheryl Belzer


I have read in your article about obtaining college scholarships while your kids are in middle school. I want to pursue this for my children who are in 5th grade and 2nd grade. Where should I look to find these opportunities. Is there a website or a list on such scholarships. Your Kind attention to this is most appreciated.

thank you

Cheryl Belzer


Thank you for taking time to read my post and helping me with my situation.

First off a little background about me: I am 37 years old and have been dating my girlfriend who is 33 for a little over a year. I am a healthcare professional and make a decent income, however while in professional school I amassed student loan debts and still owe right at 90k. My loans are about average for my profession and I have a plan in place and am on pace to pay those off ahead of schedule. While I use my credit card for all my purchases, to earn points, I pay it off in full every month religiously and never carry a balance. I am in a business that will most likely eventually require me to take out a large business loan so keeping my debt and credit in check is a big deal to me and I am meticulous about it.
About 10 months ago (4 months into our relationship) my girlfriend informed me she was swimming in a sea of debt. While she has never told me exact amounts, at the time she ball parked her student loans at somewhere around $100k (she was deferring them at that time and I assume she still is) and her Credit Cards were around $18k. She is a teacher so she has a stable job and a good career, but she doesn’t have the kind of income that can justify $100K in student loans. She doesn’t have a history of sickness or being out of work or any justification for so much credit card debt either. In fact her house was full of signs of frivolous spending on luxury items (large CD/DVD collection, three closets packed full of clothes, expensive new furniture in most rooms, concert tix… Etc). On top of her other debts she also had a house payment and a new car payment. At that time she told me she wasn’t able to pay much more than the minimum on her cards (and that’s with the student loans being deferred). In spite of her debt, I think she is a keeper and want to work with her to help resolve the debt, so I helped her formulate a plan to try and dig herself out of the hole she was in. From what I understand about student loans, one can generally only defer them for 36 months. The plan was to rent her house (after we unsuccessfully tried to sell it) and then have her move in with me, rent and utility free, in order to free up approximately $1400-$1500 a month to put toward the Cards and hopefully get those knocked out before the government came calling for their student loan money. We have been living with that arrangement for going on 8 months now.

So here is my Dilemma… She is a really great girl and we get along very well. She is very morally sound and I really think she is trustworthy. I just think she is really, really bad with finances. I love her parents and they are solid folks, but I don’t think they gave her much direction at all when it comes to money and she still seems to be clueless as to how to spend inside a budget. We are talking marriage and she recently picked out a 2 karat $12K ring. I have told her on several occasions over the past 8 months that for us to advance our relationship to the next level (engagement) I need to know exactly what she still owes, who it’s owed to and at what interest rates (info she has never given me and seems to tune me out when I bring it up). In turn I will provide her with the same info about myself. I still see her spending money on luxury items (shoes, trips and nic-naks like candles, etc…) all things I know she doesn’t need so I’m a little suspicious that she isn’t living up to her end of the deal on paying the cards. I don’t think she is doing it on purpose, I just think she has a spending problem and is in denial of her bleak financial outlook. Also I am sweating when the day comes that she has to start paying the student loans. At only 5% and 10 years (typical student loan interval) that payment will be $1061 per month, which is a little under half of her monthly income. Throw in the car payment and she is back to making the minimum monthly Card payments again even though she doesn’t have to pay rent or associated bills. I have worked very hard over the years to stay in the black with my credit cards but I know the reality is that if I want to stay with and marry my girlfriend I will eventually have to absorb some of this debt, most likely at least taking over her car payment. Am I being unreasonable to ask for full disclosure? I have already brought it up a couple of times and really don’t know how to do it again. I don’t want to be in a situation where I am breaking the bank for a ring and then find out that she is still $18K deep with a $1000 student loan payment around the corner. If you have any advice on how to handle this situation I would greatly appreciate it… Thanks again for taking the time to read this lengthy post.

Tiffany Bradshaw

FYI, another way to save on a funeral is to donate the whole body to science. They pick up the body, take all the tissues and organs they can for research, cremate it and send the ashes back with a list of the organizations that your donation helped out and it is all free! One company I used is “anatomical gifts registry”

The Money Coach

This is a good suggestion. We are talking about this topic on WAOK in Atlanta.