4 Ways to Organize Your Money for a Happier Life

During our New Year’s Eve show today, I will be covering

  1. Some quick steps to take to determine how much you are spending, what money you are actually netting each year, where you can cut back or restructure to allow for emergencies, necessary insurances and just to have more fun.  
  2. Sally Baker, professional organizer, estate sale coordinator and owner of The Source, will be sharing some tips on organizing your system of keeping up with your money and your bills.
  3.  Attorney Wis Laughlin will be advising you of some important things to remember when you are putting together a family will or setting up your estate planning.    Wow—hang on to your hat—we are getting ready right now for an awesome New Year!

Subscribe at www.JoGarner.com so we can stay connected.  Let me know if you have a real estate or financing question or scenario that needs a solution.   I look forward to connecting with you!

To Your Success,

Jo Garner (901) 482-0354 jo@


Good morning, Memphis!  Welcome to our listeners across the 50 states! You’re on Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe. I’m your host, Jo Garner, Mortgage Loan Officer.  You can connect with me at www.JoGarner.com.   


Thank you to the Memphis Mortgage Branch of Evolve Bank and Trust  for sponsoring Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe today.   If you are looking for a successful mortgage career in the coming year, contact Chad Irwin at Evolve Bank right now (901) 260-1480.   

If you have a question or comment and you’re on Twitter, make them to #JoGarner or call me directly off the show at (901) 482-0354.  You can call us while we are live at (901) 535-9732 or outside the Memphis area (800) 474-9732 Today December 31st, 2016.

  1. During our New Years Eve show today, I will be covering some quick steps to take to determine how much you are spending, what money you are actually netting each year. 2. Where you can cut back or restructure to allow for emergencies, necessary insurances and just to have more fun.  
  1. Sally Baker, professional organizer, estate sale coordinator and owner of The Source, will be sharing some tips on organizing your system of keeping up with your money and your bills.
  1.  Attorney Wis Laughlin will be advising you of some important things to remember when you are putting together a family will or setting up your estate planning.    Wow—hang on to your hat—we are getting ready right now for an awesome New Year!

Attorney Wis Laughlin, the “Wizard of Wills and Estates and Trusts and Taxes Too.”  You’re the man to know.  Glad to have you back in the studio.   Tell us a little about yourself and what you do, Wis.

<Wis introduces himself and talks about what he does>

(Jo) The wonder woman of organization, Sally Baker of The Source Unlimited, is back in the studio again.  She has definitely changed my life for the better and has been an awesome help to my family coordinating an estate sale.  Sally, take a few seconds to tell us about yourself and what you do for your clients.

<Sally introduces herself and talks about what she does for her clients>

(Jo) Before we jump into our topic,  let’s take a backward glance at this year of thriller ups and downs in the real estate and mortgage industry for 2016. We enjoyed the best year in real estate sales since before the downturn in 2008 and 2009. Borrowers enjoyed mortgage rates at historic low levels not seen in years and then on Election Day and following we were surprised by mortgage rate moves upward  like we have not seen since spring of 1987. Mortgage Rates moved up rapidly, finally creeping down a little in the last 3 days of the year.  30YR FIXED – 4.25-4.375%; FHA/VA – 4.0%-4.25% range and the 15 YEAR FIXED – 3.375-3.5%.

But you can’t make a sure bet on rates opening the new year at these low levels. The last 3 day drop in rates was the result of the year-end bond trading environment.  If the rate works for your real estate purchase or refinance transaction, you may want to lock it now before the start of next week. MAKE YOUR PLAN. LET’S WORK YOUR PLAN. IF THE DEAL WORKS FOR YOU TODAY, LET’S DO IT TODAY!  But you have to talk with me personally so I can work with you.  You can connect with me at www.JoGarner.com or call me directly at (901) 482-0354

There are ways to set yourself up to profit in any market.  The first rule is to know how much money is coming in and how much money is going out of your bank accounts. I will be sharing a quick and easy way to do a financial year-end check up on money. Sally Baker, our professional organizing expert, what are some ideas you share with your clients for organizing the office at home so that bill paying is simple to process and track?

<Sally shares a tip for organizing bill paying and keeping up with mail and money etc>

(Jo) Year-end is one of the best times to give yourself a financial checkup.   I personally use a computer software program to keep up with checks I write and the specific categories of expenditures like advertising, phone, fax and internet service and more. And I use automatic bill pay on some accounts.  But Sally came over a couple of years ago and set up a system of paper flow in my office that really lassoed and corralled the stampede of mail and other paper hitting the desk.   Now the paper is dealt with in an organized manner as soon as it hits the desk. I am not as likely to miss paying a bill or attending to an urgent matter.  

<Sally makes a comment here>

(Jo) When I was doing budget counseling for my church a few years ago, we worked with families who found themselves spending more money than they earned for a number of reasons due to a loss of work or expenses due to an illness in the family or legal bills. To get a reality check on what money is coming in and what is going out, get the last 6 months bank statements and credit card statements. If you have time review all 12 months bank statements.

If you only have time for 3 months, then use 3 months. As you go through each transaction, add the dollar amount into categories like utilities, food, gasoline, internet/cable, mortgage, car payment, entertainment, business expenses and so on. Take your latest pay-stubs and itemize the deductions like taxes, FICA, deductions for insurance and other stuff. The money that is left that actually goes into your bank account.  That is your net income.  Add to your expenses bills you pay once or twice a year like car tags, property taxes, homeowners insurance and occasional bills like that. Now you know where you need to cut back in order to have adequate savings.  Call some of these companies and see if you can get a discount on their product or services.

Attorney Wis Laughlin is going to share with you some good advice on putting together your family will and some things to keep in mind when you are creating a trust and doing some estate planning.  

<Wis starts his topic until we go to our first break at 9:15>


[2nd segment after 9:15 break: Our Look Back Memphis Trivia Contest is brought to you  by notable Memphis historian, Jimmy Ogle. Jimmy Ogle offers free historic walking tours downtown in the spring and fall.  For information about Jimmy Ogle, go to www.JimmyOgle.com .  The Look Back Memphis Trivia Contest is  sponsored by John and Jennifer Lawhon of Lawhon Landscape (901) 754-7474 the Lawhon’s can help you plan your landscaping if you have a BIG, BIG project or a smaller project . The Lawhons are giving away a $25 gift card to the first person with the correct trivia answer.  If you know the answer to our trivia question, call us at 901 535 WREC 901 535-9732.]

Jimmy Ogle gives free outdoor walking tours on the sidewalks and parks in Downtown Memphis during the Spring and Autumn of each year, but not during the Winter!  The D’Army Bailey County Courthouse Tour (indoors): Third Thursday each month at 12:00 noon –
Go to jimmyogle.com for the 2016 Spring Season schedule and locations.



I began on Peabody Avenue in 1972, moved to Beale Street (4 locations in 20 years) and now I back on South Main Street.  Who am I?


I have had the same “boss” for 43 years!


My areas cover shopping, food, arts & crafts and music.


 I produce the largest free festival in Memphis annually around Labor Day that includes music, dance, storytelling, food and more.

Final Hint:  

I am “all about” the culture of the Delta and Memphis.


Center For Southern Folklore.   The Center for Southern Folklore is located on South Main Street in Downtown Memphis in the Peabody Place development. The Center is a private non-profit organization dedicated to documenting and celebrating the people, music and traditions of the region. When one comes to the Center, you’re entering the home for what we love and treasure about the South. One can shop and peruse The Folklore Store to find unique gifts and works of art that speak to and about the South.  One can even have a cuppa coffee and Miss Ella’s peach cobbler then come back at night to have a beer and hear a band.  Judy Peiser is the Executive Director of the Center!

One can explore The Heritage Hall & Galleries and sit in our “media lounge” to view some of our documentaries about the South.  Come back later and you just might catch a band or host your own unforgettable event in our unique spaces. Every year during the Labor Day weekend we present our signature event: The Memphis Music & Heritage Festival.  It’s a family friendly, free festival that includes five stages of music, dance, storytelling, food and more – it’s the hootenanny that showcases the culture and traditions of the Delta region that we are pledged to “preserve and protect”.

Throughout the year the Center brings many of these performers (and a few more!) to you at its stages in The Folklore Store and in Folklore Hall for shows including blues, jazz, soul, gospel, rockabilly, country, folk, bluegrass, poetry, dance and the occasional surprise – check our calendar often!  Or, better yet like out Facebook Page to stay up to date. One can also catch many of these performers and crafts people during one of our “Cultural Excursions” – field trips and tours – for a more in depth and intimate experience of this corner of the world.  Create your own cultural event by hosting a meeting or party in our unique setting. 



  • Wis is a tax and estate attorney with over 35 years’ experience.
  • He is an Accredited Estate Planner (only 16 in Memphis).
  • He is a former IRS attorney.
  • Wis speaks widely and teaches CLE classes for the Memphis Bar Assn.
  • He is on the committee over the MBA Estate and Probate Section  
What would happen to your estate if you were in an accident and ended up in a coma? What if you died?
  1. 25% or more persons become disabled during their lives. Who handles their finances?
  2. 2/3 of individuals don’t have living wills. Who will make medical decisions for you?
  3. Death is inevitable. What happens to your property.
    1. With a will, you face Probate Court – expensive, laborious. Legal fees $10,000+!
    2. Without a Will, Probate Court is even more expensive!
    1. ESTATE PLANNING: It means more than disposing of your assets at death:
      1. EP is about conserving your assets — avoiding taxes, legal fees & more.
      2. Caring for yourself and your family during and after your life.
      3. It’s best if handled by a caring, knowledgeable attorney who knows your goals:
    2. Will: Disposes of your property upon your death. Must be approved and supervised by Probate Court.  
    3. Revocable living trusts: A Trust is an agreement under which you, the Grantor, give assets to a Trustee to manage for one or more Beneficiaries.
      1. An RLT is a trust you create and can change during your life. You are beneficiary. You are trustee while you can. You select a successor trustee.
      2. After your death or incapacity, the trust protects your property and your successor trustee manages the trust according to your trust agreement. You have incredible flexibility, for example, when and how your trustee manages and when the trustee distributes your property to your beneficiaries. At what ages do they take.
    4. Advance Care Plan: tells your doctor to withhold certain treatments if you are in critical health. Names persons to make medical decisions for you.
    5. Durable Power Of Attorney: authorizes someone you name to act on your behalf in legal matters.
    6. Don’t do it yourself! Distrust form wills, trusts: You don’t understand the language and there is no one to look after your interests who knows TN law. A Shelby County Probate judge recently complained that many of these forms are simply wrong! ___________________________________________________________________________


Sally can organize
  • Your house, kitchen, garage, etc.
  • Your personal office—even your desk your files…tools…business storage your car—or any personal space, collections & accumulations of valuables, your shop…store…work area, large offices and work areas for any business, your furniture and layout—home or office.

Whatever the space, whatever the purpose, Sally Baker can get you organized fast!

  • Give us an example of an easy system to put in place in your home office for processing and tracking bills and financial transactions? (answer given on the podcast www.JoGarner.com )
  • Since it’s not long after Christmas, what are some quick and easy  tips you can share on how to take down and store our Christmas and holiday decorations? (answer given on the podcast www.JoGarner.com )
  • What do your clients like most about your estate sale coordination? (answer given on the podcast www.JoGarner.com )



  • What is the simplest but surest method for calculating how much money you net from your earnings and how much money you spend?

(I shared this in the first segment of the show)

  • What are some ways to cut back on your expenses?

Credit card debt is VERY expensive.  Call your credit card companies and ask for a lower rate. It is surprising how many times credit card companies will lower your interest rate if you just ask nicely!

If you are paying private mortgage insurance on your mortgage, call me and let’s see what you can do to get rid of it.  Private mortgage insurance doesn’t help you; it helps the lender.  There are ways to eliminate some private mortgage insurance early. Call me now while we’re live December 31st, 2016 at (901) 535-9732 or later at (901) 482-0354 or connect with me at www.JoGarner.com

Call your cell phone company, your internet and cable provider to see if they will give you a discount. This can help you save money! You have not because you ask not.  You might get a better deal just because you asked. 

  • What mortgage products are good for people who are down sizing or upsizing?

For homeowners over 62 years old sitting on a lot of equity in their homes but who do not have much in other assets, the Reverse Mortgage may be the Godsend you have been looking for.  The rules have changed over the last recent years making this loan much more friendly to the homeowner and his family.  Call me and let’s talk about his option for you or someone you know.

For people who are selling a home and have a large down payment to put down to buy a house, check with your certified financial advisor on your best option—to pay cash for the next home or get a mortgage and invest the profit from the sale of the other house in something other than the new home.

If you do not have a lot of money to put down, there are mortgage programs out there that do not require a lot of money down and sometimes zero down.  Call me and let’s talk. Especially if you’re renting.  Right now, in many cases, buying a house with a low fixed rate mortgage can allow you to buy a bigger house with a lower payment than the smaller place where you were paying a higher rent. A Sweet Deal! Call me and let’s look at the best programs and the amount of your payments and funds to close.  

The government Rural Housing program, the Veteran Administration loan and some down payment assistance programs and allow the home buyer to get in for zero or close to it.  



(Wis Laughlin has about 1 minute to 1.5 minutes to share a money-saving or time-saving real estate related tip)



  • Talk Shoppe offers free networking & education to anyone interested in real estate or in business. Talk Shoppe meets every Wednesday 9A-10A CT at This Wednesday Talk Shoppe  presents:

January 4th, 2017 “Simple Steps to Run A Business” with Phil Kruger, Phil Kruger Consulting LLC, 901-651-9655 | phil@philkrugerconsulting.com | Nova Copy, 7251 Appling Farms Parkway, Memphis, TN 38133.

  • Talk Shoppe events are free thanks to sponsors/advertisers/supporters  like Gwen Christensen of Builders Floors and Interiors.  Gwen can get your new floor covering installed for less than the big box stores with quality floors and attention to decorating detail   (901) 382-2155  www.buildersfloorsandinteriors.com    
  • For the podcast of real estate Mortgage Shoppe and more, go to
  • Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe was sponsored today by the Memphis Mortgage office at Evolve Bank and Trust.   If you know someone who wants start a successful career as a mortgage loan officer, call Chad Irwin at (901) 260-1480.  
  •  Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe reminds you that:
“Make your plan, let’s work your plan. If the deal works for you today, do it today!”





“All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.”

– Walt Disney

“If you want the rainbow, you’ve got to put up with the rain.”

– Dolly Parton



Rhena Lindsey, The Shaklee Chic    rhenalindsey@bellsouth.net
Joe Thordarson, Host of Geek Tank Radio 101.9KISSFM.com   



  1. Katie Gilliland of www.backuprx.com for your data backup and recovery solutions.  
  2. Peggy Lau—–Thank you for your support Peggy Lau, Independent Representative with World Ventures. She can show you how to immerse yourself in a one-of-a-kind travel community.  Make money AND have fun doing it  Call Peggy at (901) 289-0747.  www.ipoa.dreamtrips.com
  3. Gwen Christensen, Builders Floors and Interiors www.buildersfloorsandinteriors.com (901) 382-2155


Transitional Music: “Get Ready” by the Temptations; “New Year’s Resolution”  parody with Megan Trainor;  “Right Now” by Van Halen; “Memphis” by Johnny Rivers for Look Back Memphis Trivia Contest




Sally Baker

Professional Organizer, Event Planner, Estate Sale Coordinator

cell: (901) 258-4775





Harry W. (Wis) Laughlin, Attorney at Law
901 507-4274; cell: (901)218-7820

Do you realize how many thousands of dollars you have wasted on taxes and legal costs for yourself, your business and your estate. How can I help?

As a former IRS attorney with over 35 years experience, I will advise you, represent you, and teach you to stay ahead of the game. I specialize in successful businesses, landlords and highly compensated employees, providing you:

 1.  Professional tax return preparation.
 2.  My personally developed Tax Commenter© software (developed with Excel), shows you how to pay the lowest legal taxes.
 3.  Representation against the IRS (by a former  IRS lawyer ).
 4.  Win-win contracts negotiated by me that benefit both parties and avoid conflicts.
 5.  Caring and considerate estate plans, wills, and trusts.
 6.  A noted speaker and teacher for professional as well as lay groups.
 7.  Monthly updates by my WealthWISe e-letter.
 8.  A wealth of information at my website: www.wislaughlin.com
 9.  And in brochures.

*FREE 1/2 Hour Offer: Bring me a tax return or legal documents and get a 1/2 hour of advice plus valuable seminar materials covering your question.*

Wis Laughlin is a a public speaker. Contact him for your event!



Jo Garner, Mortgage Loan Officer
cell: (901) 482 0354



  Twitter: @jogarner

Jo describes her job description: As a mortgage loan officer, my job is to give my client the benefits they want from their financing terms– listening to my client and determine what’s of the most value to THEM–  What is their comfort level on a house payment, how much are they comfortable paying down, what type of financing do they need to get the house they want to buy or refinance. Different clients have different priorities in life—some are buying their first home with very little down payment funds.  Some are recovering from medical challenges, divorces or preparing to send children to college and some are embarking on a long term goal of buying properties to build rental income. Whatever their personal priorities are, my job is to put together a mortgage with comfortable terms that will help them achieve their goals.”

Jo Garner is a mortgage officer with extensive knowledge in tailoring mortgages to her customers who are refinancing or purchasing homes all over the country.  She offers conventional, FHA, VA or other loan programs for refinancing and purchases.  

Jo can help you look at rent vs buy, when it makes sense to refinance, how to get the best deal on your home  purchase financing.   

Jo Garner  has been in the real estate/financing business for over 20 years.  She got her start in Portland, Maine where she first began her real estate career. She received her real estate education from the University of Southern Maine  and was personally mentored in San Diego, California  by Robert G. Allen, author of Nothing Down, Creating Wealth and The Challenge. 

On moving back to West Tennessee in 1987, she went into business buying and selling discounted owner-financed notes secured on real estate.  In 1990 Jo went to work for a residential mortgage company and has been a mortgage loan officer for over 20 years.  Her goal is to offer excellent, affordable service to her customers, tailoring the loan programs to the specific needs of her clients.  

In addition to her work in the mortgage field, Jo Garner  is the primary sponsor and founder of Talk Shoppe in Memphis. www.TalkShoppe.com  She was also the editor of Power Shoppe, a free weekly e-zine designed for real estate professionals and others indirectly connected to the real estate industry and currently publishes on her blog www.JoGarner.com   

Photo Gallery of Today’s Show: