LET’S GET STARTED…(Jo) (Good morning, Memphis! Welcome to our internet listeners and podcast listeners across the 50 states! . Today is January 6th, 2024. Call us in the studio while we are live at 901 535-9732.You’re on Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe. I’m your host, Jo Garner, Mortgage Loan Originator. You can connect with me at www.JoGarner.com. Our general topic: “Are You Racing to Buy a Home , But You’re Saddled Up with Debt? Bridle Your Budget Plan To Win YOUR Race.”


Mark Loden of MKL Monthly Budgeting Service. Mark, you have helped so many people and families get on an easy system of knowing where to put their dollars each month, so that bills are paid, the emergency fund is adequate and so they don’t run out of money at the end of the month and still have some fun money. You have even helped business owners keep their business books in the black. Take about a minute and a half and tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and what you do for your customers. (Mark has about a minute and a half to introduce himself and talk about the services he offers. )

Homeless Teenager Turns to What Brings Her Joy


(Jo) I was reading a story about a 15-year old girl who was homeless, hungry and feeling she would never find a life worth living again. When she was little, she had an opportunity to ride and care for horses and ponies. Being around the horses was the thrill of her life. Caring for the horses and bringing them happiness to them had brought happiness to her.

Then upheaval and dramatic events ripped her away from all that had made her happy and now she wandered aimlessly with no money. Everyday she went to the same. café and read library books about horses. The chef felt sorry for her and also found something for her to eat.

One day the chef told her he knew of a racetrack outside of town where his cousin needed someone to take care of the race horses. This young woman was motivated to live again. She found a room to rent near the racetrack and started budgeting her income. Gradually she built a life that brought her joy.

Mark Loden has about 5 minutes or until 9:15 am break

OUTRO: You’re on Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe. I’m your host, Jo Garner, Mortgage Loan Originator. What do YOU want to accomplish with YOUR mortgage? I can make the mortgage process EASY for you with the right mortgage. Connect with me at JoGarner.com When we come back we will be hearing more from Mark Loden, Monthly Budget Counselor of MKL Monthly Budget Service. See you back in just a moment.

2nd segment 9:18 am – 9:30 am

Our Look Back Memphis Trivia Contest is sponsored by Mike Aukerman, Home Inspector with National Property Inspections Before you buy, call Mike Aukerman at NPI- National Property Inspections (901) 674-6868 Mike is giving away a $50 gift card to the first person with the correct trivia answer. If YOU know the answer, call us in the studio at (901) 535-9732..

QUESTION: Whose brainchild was it to bring the 21 life-sized, beautifully painted horse statues to Germantown and the Memphis area?

About nine years ago, 21 life-sized, fiberglass horse statues where painted according to individual themes. One horse was adorned in pennies and given the name “Horse Cents,” the shiny and dull coins providing the animal’s shadowing. Another named “Champ” was painted more traditionally — with its Germantown Charity Horse Show blanket across its back — and stands on Melanie Smith Lane at Poplar Pike, welcoming visitors to the horse show grounds.


The fiberglass horses with themes ranging from gifts to cancer awareness to floral prints were part of a celebration of the 2008 Germantown Charity Horse Show and the brainchild of Tempe Chancellor.

Chancellor, in her travels with her husband, Jimmy, came across similar horse statues in Lexington, Kentucky; Oklahoma; and a few other places. She thought the idea was perfect for Germantown and its long-standing reputation for horse farms, the annual charity horse show and even a part of city logos.

“I just thought Germantown needed painted horses,” Chancellor said.


Questions for Jo’s Show Jan. 13thQuestion One: Mark, what do you do exactly and how can one accurately determine a monthly budget plan for their lives. With so many plans, what makes your budget plan unique?

Thank you, Jo. The Budget plan is unique because it is both very practical and offers exact information as to where people are financially with all of the income and all of the expenses that come about during the month.

We work to accomplish 3 goals every month with each family or individual: 1. Pay bills on time and correct a neg. cash flow (explain). Or they are behind on their bills. Both can be difficult to change.

2. Set aside for future needs like clothes, car maint. And Christmas or vacations if possible. Wouldn’t it be great to save their Christmas each month rather than spending their Christmas each month?

3rd. Pay down and/or eliminate debt.

Question 2: Why Mark is that so difficult? Isn’t that something that should have been prevalent early in our lives? Why so much poor budget planning in this country over all?

Mainly two reasons: 1. I think it is by design to keep us purchasing credit or loans. A good statistic out there is that Credit Card companies will allow you to spend 150% more than you can possibly repay. Not that they don’t want their minimum payment each month, but they never want you to pay off the balance!

2nd reason: We are not educating people on how to manage their money monthly. Our educational system is doing very little to make that happen. I have never formally been taught how to manage money. A friend told me about this method of budget planning and I sat down and designed a monthly budget plan for myself. From there, I told others about it and as they say: The rest is history.

Most budgets consist of people throwing their money into the checking account and that is the sum-total of what they know about their money. They have no idea how their money is being spent as a whole> They are just guessing without an accurate Monthly Budget Plan. Jo, if it has taken no plans to get in to financial difficulty or even a tight squeeze, it will take a plan to get out of mismanagement of funds. We all need to understand that: How we spend, manage and plan our money is how we spend, manage and plan our lives. If we feel that we are throwing our money away we feel that we are throwing our lives away. Why, because we swap our lives for money to buy goods and services and then when it is mis-managed we lose confidence in ourselves to manage our lives.

I notice that when my clients follow their own Monthly Budget Plan, I can see confidence exude from them. Finally, those married are finally on the same page. If someone is unhappy with parts of the plan, I have them settle the matter through rearranging the priorities to soot both parties. Yes, it can be done because people know that if they follow their own plan, with agreement, why argue?

Question 3: Is it difficult for people to come see you. I think they would flock to your office!

You would think that but not necessarily. This is new to most people in that it is hard to believe that a customed designed plan could be both practical and precise at the same time. Everyone knows what a carpenter does but not so with a Budget Counselor.

Being a Budget Counselor, there are certain legitimate concerns people may have like:

  1. They may be afraid that for what I will put them down or be displeased with them, in the way they have mismanaged their money. Men often feel shamed because they feel their leadership failed.

  2. He probably will take all the fun out of life. No cable, no football games, no vacations! Why would I do that? I know that when people come to see me because something is wrong with the way they are handling their money. A doctor doesn’t throw you out of his office because you failed to call them when you first saw signs of your illness. Neither will I!!

  3. They may be concerned that I will make them borrow from their 401K Plan or borrow from family members. No, NO, NO, I use the same income that they are using now to make their budget plan accomplishable. We will not borrow our way out of financially difficulty. If it took no plans in having financial difficulty or issues, it will certainly take plans to get out!

  1. Lastly, My office is a “NO SHAME” office. We will work to do the same 3 goals we started off with, which was: Pay bills on time, save up for future needs and pay down and/or eliminate debt. I make it simple by setting up their needs/obligations and all they do is follow their plan that they have created. I let them determine their goals and priorities. That’s why my budget plan is so appealing because I plan their money their way! They know there priorities better than I would!!!

Question 4: Mark isn’t that difficult and complicated to achieve?

Absolutely NOT! Its is simple because I do all the heavy lifting. They give me the information concerning their monthly income and expenses and the dates due. From there, I plan their money out based on when bills are due. ONCE that is determined, we now can plan the FUN STUFF after the bills are paid. It is attainable as long as the person really desires to make a change financially. That is one thing that I can’t do but they can. If they are moderately interested, then it probably would not work for them.

Question 5: Mark, what benefits have you seen with your clients?

  1. Harmony in the home. Those married often have a hard time getting their spouse on the same page financially. Opposites attract so one usually likes to spend while the other likes to save. I bring them together by putting together a budget plan that meets both of their requirements based on their expenses verses their available income. There is only so much money therefore, there can only be a certain amount of need. Also, one spouse can take advantage of the other spouse by making purchases and justifying them while the other spouse doesn’t agree. Putting a plan that is reasonable to one another makes the difference. Also, with my plan you can plot the accuracy of their goals and priorities. In my years of practice, I’ve had 5 couples that I know of that were preparing for divorce. All 5 of them changed their mind. Why, most marriage issues are financial. Once we have defined with each spouse their money concerns and address them, then both of their priories are validated. Meaning what? they can now build trust with one another more confidently each month as their plans are followed.

  2. The awareness and astonishment that as the months and years go by, they have something tangible for their hard work. Having worked with many clients as they begin their retirement years, they see, that because of their plan, a lot of expenses that are not there but would have been there without the budget plan. Things like: Cars, Houses or 2nd mortgages and credit cards. By this time if they haven’t paid these off, they will certainly be paid down to where they can be manageable.

Once we pay off one loan we take that money and allocate some, or all of the proceeds to the next bill to pay that off. Jo, I have several of my clients, me included, that are paying an extra Housenote every year by paying more on the principle. A small about of money, paid extra over a 30-year period or less, comes to quite a savings.

The sky is the limit on what people can do financially over a period of years because they plan for contingencies that come up all the time. Like car repairs, clothes for the kids when they start school, home repair to mention a few. Some people have 3rd or 5th week checks that occur during the year will bonuses. We put those into the plan as well, even if we determine that it goes toward savings. We automatically prepare each month for something to go wrong when we know things will break and need to be fixed.

Question 6: Any last words.

Yes Jo,

I want people to know that I do not ask nor do I need any Credit Card, Home mortgage, Bank Savings or Banking account numbers when we meet. I do not need that kind of information at all. I just need basic net income and expense Due Dates, information.

I want people to know that my fee can be included in the budget plan. Some wonder how much this will cost. It wasn’t a reasonable fee then I wouldn’t be in business all of these years. Don’t let that deter you from making an appointment. I also work some evenings as well to accommodate my clients. I also work at my office and also have consultations virtually all over the country. I am also a member of the Better Business Bureau. My website is: mklmonthlybudgetingservice.com and my office number is: 901.624.0052

I also work at my office and also have consultations virtually all over the country. I am also a member of the Better Business Bureau. My website is: mklmonthlybudgetingservice.com and my office number is: 901.624.0052

As I have heard you say before Jo, “Plan your work, then Work your Plan!

3rd SEGMENT 9:35 AM-9:45AM)


Your Credit, Your Debt, Your Mortgage


Not long ago, Ren (not his real name) called me and said he was finally ready to buy his first home. He announced that “I am going to use my money to pay off ALL of my bills before I come in to see you. Don’t you think that is the best thing?” My suggestion was, “Before you spend a dime paying anything off, Ren, let’s get a snapshot of where you are right now.”

Money Talks Loudest

Ren’s lease would be up soon on his apartment and he knew he needed a strong prequalification letter and a quick approval to be in the new house before he had to get out of his apartment. He was worn out with paying rent money every month when he could be investing in owning his own home. He had just enough saved to pay the 3% to 5% down payment on the house he wanted but knew he had some other debt too.

I truly appreciated Ren’s willingness to go the extra mile to help me get his loan file looking its best. But, the top priority with the mortgage underwriting software systems is to show an adequate amount of money available in the bank to make the down payment and pay some costs, and it always looks good to have reserve funds left for emergencies.

Good Credit Can Take You Far

The second important factor in making a borrower like Ren look good is to show a high credit score Ren’s ability to show that he pays creditors and only owes a small percentage on the credit lines available to him. I pointed out to Ren that a great credit score is a score over 780. An average score is around 700. When the borrower’s credit score is 650 or 640, then he can probably still get a standard mortgage, but some loan programs will cost more money to get the same mortgage rate.

Income-To-Debt Ratios-Can You Make the Payment

After looking at funds available and the credit profile, underwriters look at income-to-debt ratios. Ren’s income-to-debt ratio added the new proposed house payment including principal, interest, taxes, insurance, and mortgage insurance together with all the minimum payment amounts from credit cards, the car loan, and other installment accounts. This total divided into the gross income amount equaled the income-to-debt ratio. For Ren, his debt-to-income ratio –total monthly debt divided into his gross income— was around 45 percent. Not bad.

However, in some cases, the mortgage underwriting program could have prequalified Ren with a 50 percent income-to-debt ratio because he keeps more than enough cash available in his bank account. Ren’s prequalification letter was very strong. He was confident going into the real estate market to purchase his first home. We looked at some down payment assistance programs for Ren also.

Once the home appraisal and title work were done, Ren got all of his income and asset supporting documents into the file, then a human underwriter reviewed the information and made the ultimate decision. The three decisions underwriters make are to approve the loan, suspend the loan subject to further documentation or deny the loan. Approve is the goal.

4th segment following 9:45 am break about 9:48 to 9:56 am

REAL ESTATE TIP OF THE WEEK – Mark Loden has about 1.5 minutes to share tip

Jo Garner’s mortgage tip: Mortgage Rates have plummeted since Oct 26th 2023. The payment on a $250,000 loan would be about $275 to $300 lower today from where it was in October. Now is a sweet spot to buy a home. If you want to buy a home and you can afford to buy it, call me and let’s get the very best mortgage for you. I can make the process easy. If you wait until more people are jumping off the fence, it could happen that you don’t win by waiting.

Inventory of homes is still short. As more and more prospective homebuyers jump off the fence to run out and buy a home, that means more competition that you will encounter. The shortage of homes and increase on home prices tend to put upward pressure on home prices and less chance you find the house you want.

Connect with me at (901) 482-0354 Jo@JoGarner.com www.JoGarner.com


Talk Shoppe equips with education, engages by offering connection opportunities between business people and empowers businesses in a supportive community. Talk Shoppe meets every Wednesday 9A-10A CT at Concorde Career College 5100 Poplar Ave 1st floor Memphis, TN (Clark Tower).

Go to www.TalkShoppe.com and click the Events tab for the link to get into the event online. This Wednesday January 17th, 2024

Health Talk: End-of-Life Planning Speaker: Susan Crowson, Geriatric Consultant
Organization: Geriatric Planning Contact: 

Sponsored by MidSouth Home Helpers (non-medical assistance in the home) 901 414-9696

Powered by: Resource4Care.com Mary Lou Nowak

Talk Shoppe events are free thanks to sponsors like Manny Corless and Ben Hunter of Independent Planning Group where you get Investment Planning, Family Wealth Planning, Income Planning, and Insurance Services Connect with Manny Corless at mcorless@iplanninggroup.com and Ben at BenHunter@iplanninggroup.com .

3. Thank you to Keith Potts, business coach at Keith@evolvebusinesscoaching.net Keith can help you put a strategy in place for your business to grow.

4. Subscribe at www.JoGarner.com and you can get our weekly blog posts with podcasts conveniently in your inbox.




Mark Loden: If it hasn’t taken a plan to get into financial difficulty, it will certainly take a plan to get out of difficulty



  1. Ed Hill, Masters Roofing Memphis 901 273-6594

  2. Rob Draughon and Shelley Rothman of Griffin Clift Everton and Maschmeyer real estate attorneys 901 752-1133

  3. Pat Goldstein, Realtor with Crye-Leike Realtors West TN and North MS 901 606-2000

Transition Music: “Churchhill Downs Call to Post”; “:Beetlebaum” by Spike Jones; “It Ain’t Over” Bryan Adams; “Memphis” by Johnny Rivers


An essential guide for real estate professionals and their customers.

Now on Amazon and Barnes and Noble


(901) 624-0052

Mark Loden is the Owner and Founder of MKL Monthly Budgeting Service, for over 30 years. He has created his own budgeting tools to help families and individuals manage their monthly income and expenses in both a practical and accurate way. People need to know how much they are spending as it relates to their income. He wants them to know if they are spending too much in one expense and not setting aside money for a future expense. He directly answers the question: How is it possible to manage my financially life with the chaos of every day life?

Mark is married to his wife, Karen, celebrating recently, 43 years of marriage, with 3 children and 3 grandchildren.




www.JoGarner.com (901) 482 0354 jo@jogarner.com twitter @jogarner NMLS# 757308

(currently working with Cardinal Financial Company, Limited Partnership NMLS #66247 equal housing opportunity 2645 Appling Rd 102 Memphis, TN 38133 ) Online loan application https://online.cardinalfinancial.com/#/p/apply/jogarner

www.cardinalfinancial.org for licensing info www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org/EntityDetails.aspx/company/66247 “Whatever YOUR personal priorities are, my job is to help you get the mortgage terms that will give you bragging rights when you talk about it and help you score on hitting your goals .”

As a mortgage loan officer, my job is to help you get to the benefits you want from your financing terms. What is most important to you? I can help you find the financing terms that will help you get to what you want. What is your comfort level on a house payment? How much are you comfortable paying down,? What type of financing do you need to get the house you 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.”

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 25 years.  She grew up in West Tennessee and got her start in real estate 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 25 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 Jo Garner also host the radio show Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe airing on News Radio AM 600 WREC and iHeart Radio with podcasts and show notes published on www.JoGarner.com Pick up Jo Garner’s book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble “Choosing the Best Mortgage-The Quickest Way to the Life You Want”