"The amount of Americans in debt seems to be increasing every year and that to me is a huge issue. We need to focus on spreading financial literacy," says 19-year-old Danny Singh. But this self-taught financial guru is making it his goal to prevent an emerging student loans crisis in America by educating students on how to best manage their finances.
And he should know. Singh has refinanced a house and a car at age 14, paid the family bills on time each month for eight years and achieved a pristine credit score for his mother – all before he turned 19.
He also raises concerns that the student loans crisis will cause a recession in America which could possibly be worse than the housing crisis, because unlike home loans, student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy and have exceeded 1 trillion dollars.
Singh is now providing expert advice in his finance book, Finance 101: The Whiz Kid's Perfect Credit Guide. He is also running his own independent and non-profit credit advisory agency called “Students’ Finance Success” from his home in East Orlando, helping families save homes from foreclosure, save cars from repossession, and helping them fix their credit reports.
Singh’s own story started when he took over his mother’s finances, at just 11 years old.
“My mother began working more than 60 hours a week, and she was working long hours too. She was overwhelmed by our financial situation and turned to me for help,” said Singh.
Rita Singh added her 11-year-old son as an authorized user on all of her accounts so the companies would release her information to him. A finance whiz kid, Singh was dedicated to the cause, learning everything he could by talking to the customer service representatives on the phone, diligently researching information on the internet, scrutinizing the fine print on account statements and quizzing his mother.
As a result, for the past eight years he has been successfully managing his mother’s IRA, paying all her bills and making sure the deposit accounts do not pass into the red. Singh established perfect credit record for his mother – all the while maintaining his own strong academic record.
“I worked with more than 30 different banks, who have each contributed to my skills. One major accomplishment was getting the interest rates reduced and the annual fees removed on several of my mother's credit cards,” Singh said.
He didn’t stop there. Singh increased the credit limits on his mother’s credit cards, linking them to checking accounts to prevent overdraft fees, which achieved increased credit scores. The 14-year-old ‘finance whiz kid’ was then able to refinance the mortgage.
“The mortgage interest rate was reduced to 4.86 percent fixed with a 30-year loan term. Then I set to work refinancing the car. I asked my mother to open a new credit card, which meant I could transfer her 7 percent interest rate car loan onto it and obtain a fixed interest rate of 3.99 percent for life,” he said.
To reduce the expenses of the car and house further, Singh negotiated cheaper premiums with the insurance companies, using his mother's new high credit scores.
While proactively reducing his mother’s debt, Singh’s financial diligence has also prevented some anomalies that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.
“When I was 18, I discovered my mother was being charged the wrong interest rate by a credit card company, so I simply contacted the corporate office. The bank confirmed it was their mistake and we were refunded over $1,300 in interest and fees,” Singh said.
When a fraudulent company was found stealing money from his mother's bank accounts, Singh reported the issue to the Better Business Bureau and the Internet Complaints Board, and then worked with the bank to return all her money.
Friends and family have also benefited from Singh’s help with their mortgage problems. He solved a credit issue for his grandmother, ensuring she was approved for credit after first being denied.
When Danny was 13, he made a financial mistake that later turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Danny had purchased his mother a $1,000 ring from a jewelry store as a gift for her on mother's day using the credit card his mother had given him. She was not upset and thought it was sweet but it was his responsibility to make the monthly payments. Danny successfully paid off the credit card and was never late but regretted paying interest. The experience thought him the importance of not overspending and using credit wisely.
Now aged 19, Danny Singh is working to raise awareness of credit issues amongst his fellow students at Seminole State College of Florida and further afield. His financial seminars at the college educate the students on the most effective plans to pay off their loans and other debts.
“I recommend students do the maximum number of classes at a community or state college to get into the least amount of student loan debt, and reduce financial stress,” he said.
Singh is donating all the royalties he receives from his book, Finance 101: The Whiz Kid's Perfect Credit Guide, to the Children's National Medical Center in Washington DC to support HIV research.
And while he is helping others with their financial dreams, Danny Singh has his own goal to achieve.
“I’m planning on having a role at Chase Bank as a financial adviser when I finish my MBA and PHD in two years. But above all, I want to ensure my mother is mortgage-free,” he said.
About Danny Singh
Singh is the grandson of late Narendra Singh, more popularly known as Bachcha Babu, famous for plying steamers between Palheja Ghat in Patna and Hajipur prior to the construction of Gandhi Setu. He has been taking care of his mother’s finances since he was 11 years old, is a first generation college student, and 2011 graduate of University High School’s International Baccalaureate program and is part of the Art and Phyllis Grindle Honors Institute at Seminole State College of Florida. His financial genius has attracted several news stations, Governor Rick Perry, First Lady Anita Perry, Seminole County Commissioner Bob Dallari, Florida State Representative Jason Brodeur, and Senator Marco Rubio – who have all recognized him as the ‘financial whiz kid’. It took 7 months to finish his book, Finance 101: The Whiz Kid's Perfect Credit Guide, which is available to buy on Amazon.com and other online booksellers.