Earnings & Finance - Business site

Saving advice for big spenders


First myth of personal finance journalism: That financial experts are great with money and always have been. Not so. Take Lauren Greutman, a popular financial blogger (this site) whose new book "The Recovering Spender" recounts her journey from financial train wreck to someone who dispenses money advice on programs like The Today Show and The Dr. Oz Show. Greutman sat down with Reuters to talk about her new book, to be released in September. Q: What is your personal money story?A: I was $40,000 in debt, mostly on credit cards, with an underwater mortgage and running a budget deficit of $1,000 a month. Q: Was it hard to put so much of your money mistakes on paper?A: People usually put the best of themselves out there; I wanted to put the worst of myself out there. That way I could engage with people who think that they could never possibly get out of their own financial mess.

Q: You say that being a spender is like being an alcoholic - always one purchase away from slipping into old habits?A: That is why I call the book the "recovering" spender, not "recovered". I did a lot of research on brain chemistry, and people with spending issues have a lack of activity in the part of the brain that tells you, 'Stop doing what you're doing!' As a result you have to learn your own boundaries, know what your weaknesses and triggers are, and trick yourself into doing the right thing. Q: Your book is not only about budget numbers and spreadsheets, but underlying issues like depression and anxiety. Why?

A: Spenders tend to feel depressed and anxious, and then feel happy when they spend, and then guilty when it is done. So it is a vicious cycle, and then they feel overwhelmed because they are stuck. Somebody has to step in and pull you out of that tornado, and that is what I want this book to do. Q: You outline a 12-step program for recovering spenders. What is it?A: Some of the steps include taking an inventory of your spending, making a list of all the people you owe debts to, confessing your spending to another person, admitting you have a problem, setting boundaries, creating a budget that works, and decluttering your life and finances.

Q: Any specific tips for spenders to actually stick to a budget, once they have created one?A: You have to give yourself a bit of wiggle room. So if you make $5,000 a month, you budget it all out, but then give yourself $20 a week to spend on whatever you want. You don't want to be too rigid, because the biggest reason people fail with budgets is that they don't give themselves any margin of error for fun. Q: Tell people about the 'fences' analogy that helped you get control of your finances?A: A budget is like a fence around your money. It is like the fenced-in backyard my kids have. It is not meant to take the fun out of everything, it is meant to keep you safe and secure. It is a boundary, so at the end of the day you know your money is in the right place. Within that fence, you can be stress-free and have fun. Q: What is the best way for spenders to change their perception of money?A: Make money a reflection of your value system. Maybe you want to spend money on a new purse, for instance. So weigh that desire against the consequences. Maybe you will be late on your mortgage payment, or not be able to buy school supplies for your kid. Those values are obviously more important, so you can't buy the purse. Spenders see what they want right now, but they don't always think about all the things they are giving up.

Trlpc kkrs trainline buy backed with 265 mln stg loan


US private equity fund KKR has raised a 265 million pound ($395.14 million) leveraged loan to back its acquisition of British rail ticket website thetrainline.com, two funds involved in the deal announced. KKR agreed to buy thetrainline.com from buyout firm Exponent in January, derailing the company's planned London stock market listing. The leveraged loan financing comprises a 205 million pound, seven-year term loan B (TLB) and a 60 million pound, six-year revolving credit facility, Ares Management and GE Capital announced on Monday. The TLB was provided by AIB, Ares, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bank of Ireland, Barclays, Commerzbank, Credit Agricole, GE Capital, HSBC, IKB, Mediterranean Bank, Mizuho and NIBC. 3i will also invest in the TLB, banking sources said.

Barclays and HSBC provided the revolver, the sources added. Ares and GE provided the largest investment in financing, totalling 50 million pounds, banking sources said.

KKR opted for a club of banks and funds as opposed to a syndicated loan deal, drawing on existing lenders to thetrainline.com as well as KKR relationship lenders, the bankers said. The club offered attractive terms for the borrower. The TLB pays an interest margin of 500bp over Libor and carries just one leveraged covenant. The previous financing, under the ownership of Exponent, was a unitranche loan that paid 750bp over Libor, with a one percent Libor floor that had call protection and four covenants, the sources said.

The commitment from Ares and GE is the first investment for the European Loan Programme (ELP), a 3 billion euro joint venture between the two institutions, which provides senior secured loans to larger middle market corporates, the announcement said. The ELP can typically lend between 50 million euros to 150 million euros per deal and looks for returns of between five to seven percent, banking sources said. Formed in 2014, the ELP is the latest joint venture between Ares and GE which also includes an $11 billion Senior Secured Loan Program (SSLP), which was founded in 2011 and a 1.75 billion euro European Senior Secured Loan Programme (ESSLP) which formed in 2012, both of which provide unitranche loans to middle market companies. Established in 1999, Trainline is the most downloaded travel app in the United Kingdom. Adjusted core earnings across the firm's branded businesses rose to 21 million pounds in 2014, up from 14.3 million pounds in 2013. ($1 = 0.6706 pounds)