AYF 68 | Legally Changing Your Name

 

Are you investing in fundability optimization for yourself? If not or your efforts seem to cut short, then this episode is especially for you! Bringing in one of Merrill Chandler’s senior advisors, the CreditSense Advisor Team 1, he sits down with Dehlila Claire. Together, they talk about some of the personal choices Dehlila has made that highly impact her fundability. In particular, she tackles the topic about name changes—not only in its effect on your fundability but also on the process you need to take on. At some points in our lives, and under different circumstances, we are faced with the decision to change our names. Know what to do when the time comes that you are faced with this situation. Get your names legally in order without harming your fundability and, better yet, improve it.

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Legally Changing Your Name With Dehlila Claire

We’re going to be talking to one of my senior advisors, the CreditSense Advisor Team 1. Dehlila Claire is going to be joining us and we’re going to be talking about some personal choices that she made that are high impact choices on her fundability, etc.

In this episode, we’re talking about name changes. I’d like to introduce to you, Dehlila Claire, who is one of CreditSense’s top-up advisors. She’s been with us for years now. Anybody who’s reading, our Funding Hackers, our boot campers, our clients, you know Dehlila from years of faithful optimization and fundability coaching. We’re going to be talking about what we’re doing for others or how you’re serving others, but how you are investing in fundability optimization for yourself. Every one of our team members is being part of our team and part of the CreditSense team is to go through fundability optimization both personally. We recommend that people even do their own QFE, Qualified Fundable Entity. We’re going to cover all that because Dehlila is rounding third base on this for herself. Tell our audience a little bit about why I picked you for this particular episode about name changes. Give us a little bit of background.

I’ve been an advisor with an Advisor Team 1 for a couple of years now. As part of my divorce, I had an opportunity to change my full name. I saw that and figured it was time for a change for myself so I did that. You previously knew me as Catherine Galloway if any of my colleagues are reading.

It was for personal reasons. Remember, in every instance, a name change, legal or practical come for multiple reasons. In this case, you took the divorce model to the extreme. Instead of taking back your maiden name, you went to a name you want her to be known by for the rest of your life.

I’m a writer in my spare time and I had chosen Dehlila Claire as my pen name years ago and I decided, “That sounds good to me. I’m going with that.”

Her nom de plume is going to be your full-time name. Some of you are getting married, some of you are coming from a foreign country and coming into the United States that precipitates a name change. We had one client who had seventeen consonants in their last name and he wanted to change his name to something a little more intelligible to English speakers. The seventeen consonants ended up into Jackson or something. It doesn’t matter why you’re changing your name. What matters is that there is a protocol for doing so. That’s why Dehlila is on with us to reinforce.

I’ll be talking theory and she’ll be talking about how it translated and what the pitfalls were. There are a lot of people who call me a lot of things, but I have not formally changed my name. First of all, it was Catherine Galloway. Originally, we’ve been working for over a year and a half on the Catherine Galloway optimizing under Catherine Galloway. One of the first things we tell our clients and our bootcamp Funding Hackers is that the first step is to update your name with your creditors. Tell us about that because you’re not going from Catherine Galloway to Catherine Miller or whatever.

My maiden name is Mailer.

I didn’t even know that. Tell us about the experience and the kind of conversations you had. Mr. Jackson with seventeen consonants in his former name and one of my dear friends, Bree, is getting married in the summer. She’s one of our former advisors and she’s getting married and is wrestling with the change the name financially or not change the name financially. It happens for many of us for different reasons. You chose the name from your nom de plume, your pen name, then what did you do?

I’ve gone through this process a couple of times now. I changed my last name when I got married and then when I started with CreditSense, I updated my name format to show my middle initial. I’ve done every possible variation in this process.

Going to the Social Security Administration and going from middle name to middle initial.

I’ve done that. That process is way easier than changing your full name. Be warned on that. When I decided to change my name, pick the name, I got it put in my divorce decree as a court issue document. In order to legally change your name, you do have to have some court issued document or you have to go to court.

AYF 68 | Legally Changing Your Name

Legally Changing Your Name: People don’t seem to understand when you don’t have a middle name anymore. They think that’s not fair.

 

Tell us what the conversation was. Was it a judge signed it and sent it off to you? Sometimes we’ve had clients go where they had to substantiate the reason for the name change. That’s on the form. You didn’t even have to meet with a judge or a clerk or anybody else. They authorize what we’re doing. Follow her lead. You don’t have to go in unless they require it, but on the court documents, they do want an official reason as to why they have done that. To throw in a little bit of that, I said I haven’t done a name change but that’s technically not true. I’m not a junior. I share the exact same name Merrill Ray Chandler with my dad. We’ve had merge files over time. When I was building this entire part of the process, I went to the state government, the first to the federal government. I submitted a name change when I renewed my passport.

The passport said they will truncate the name to R instead of Ray if there was a good reason. I put out that the reason was that I was always confused with my dad and I wanted to adopt this particular name. I didn’t go to court, but I got it on the passport document. That is something that is possible for you guys as well. I took my passport to the State of Utah which gave me Merrill R. Chandler. I’m one of the few people who’ve got to change the driver’s license to Merrill R. because the Real ID Act, and formerly the Patriot Act, didn’t allow us to change middle names. That is a workaround. When you know the rules of the game, you can play the game to win. There’s one version and her version was to go to court, fill out the documentation as to the justifiable reason for doing so.

For me, realistically having the divorce that by itself was enough because they give people the option in a divorce to go back to their maiden name. You don’t have to use your maiden name. You can change it to whatever you want at that point. They don’t care as long as they know what it is and it’s on a court signed document.

You’re telling me if I get a divorce, I can use that as the opportunity to change my name to Steven Dan or any other thing that I wished.

I literally did that. I don’t even have the middle name anymore. I took out my middle name completely and changed it to something that has nothing to do with my maiden name, my married name, none of that.

You filed the documents, then what was your next step? What did you do next with those court documents because your credit profiles over here are under Catherine Galloway?

Once I had the signed court divorce decree, then the next step from that was to go to the Social Security Office, get my name changed on that and then it was the DMV. It was a lot of fun because I also moved at the same time. I also had to update my address for the driver’s license.

One of the previous episodes, we called it Names Have Been Changed to Protect the Innocent. That’s because we changed it from Are you F*able Podcast to the Get Fundable because we wanted to protect the innocent ears out there. You’re changing your name as a complete makeover of your identity to put the past behind you. Your end-game is to continue to be an author, continue to write and take ownership of that entire part of your life. We want our team members to always have an amazing outside of work experience because then you bring awesome to your clients, your students and to us. Were there any bumps in the road or anything at the DMV because you were having an address change as well?

That was a fun one. The Social Security Office took five minutes, whatever I had the court documents, they were cool with it. The DMV, or DLD in Utah for the driver’s license, I made an appointment ahead of time. I filled out the application with all my information ahead of time. I got to meet with somebody quickly. The first time I went in there, they got my name right on the temporary driver’s license. They got my address wrong. My current address is a different apartment number from my previous one. It’s a completely different address and so they messed up the address so then they had to reprint the temporary license again with my correct address on it. That time, I didn’t check to confirm my name was right because they had already had it right before, my mistake.

Remember, I failed my Wells Fargo. I failed to verify the information that they put down. Stop trusting anybody to do anything. Verify your documentation at least three times.

You have to make sure. You have to double-check everything.

They did your name wrong and got your address right.

Yes, for the second time. They got my first name as it used to be and then my correct current last name on the driver’s license. I was like, “That’s not right. I was Catherine Claire.” It didn’t work, but I didn’t realize that the name was wrong until about an hour later after I had gone to the vape store or something and I noticed my name was wrong. I was like, “Great.” They wouldn’t sell me vape products because this did not match my identity.

It happened to me. I failed to review the documentation. She failed to review the documentation. This is a cautionary tale. We’re telling you can’t believe or trust the document provision process, the DPP. You’ve got to make sure that you create the clarity, they’re only filing because then you got to change it. If there’s any reporting going on at all, it’s going to end up with additional aliases and names on your profile. It took three times. Tell us about the third time.

The third time I went back in, I asked to speak with a supervisor at the DMV because I did not want to go through waiting in line for another three hours because it was packed by that point. I was like, “I’m done.” The supervisor got to them. I was like, “I was just here for about an hour and my name is not right. Can we fix this? The address is right but we need my name to be fixed. There’s no middle name.” People don’t seem to understand when you don’t have a middle name anymore. They think that’s not fair. No one’s commented except for you on the way I spelled Dehlila. There’s that.

Dehlila is not the biblical spelling even though she has biblical roots. I’m going to go with your chosen name. I’ve adopted it. I’m not pushing back anymore. 

I appreciate it. Although I did notice on your calendar it was spelled wrong. I finally got it right. I got the Social Security card within a week of ordering it. It took three weeks to get my driver’s license from DMV.

Did you have the gold star on it?

I did.

We’ve talked about this. We’re going to be doing an entire episode, Ms. Producer, on the Real ID Act. We’re going to be doing a podcast episode on what it means to you. We’re always checking. I haven’t gotten mine back yet. I haven’t gotten a star. I’m doing an experiment and we’ll do a podcast on when it is that I get a Real ID Act. The third time, they changed it, three weeks to get it back and it was real ID so she can now continue to fly past October 1st, 2020. What was your next step? 

I know I should have done this as my next step but it would have been my passport. It would have been the next step.

This is an instance of doing as I say, not as I do. 

I will get my passport updated but it hasn’t been updated since my maiden name and I lived in Wyoming at that point. I’m dreading that whole process. After I finally got my driver’s license, I got my Social Security card. My next step was to update my checking account, the one that I use the most.

This is personal banking traffic, etc. for her personal accounts. 

I bank with USAA, so I called them up. I was like, “I’ve changed my name as per my divorce. I’ve moved, I need an update with you guys with all my information.” I have everything with them, my insurance, my checking accounts, all of that. They started me with the auto insurance team and I had to send in the divorce decree, the driver’s license, the Social to the auto insurance, then my life insurance, and then my checking account and savings account. I had to send it to four different places all within the same bank because apparently, they don’t communicate with each other.

The same organization, completely different divisions, all of them holding their own records on this. When you’re sinking up a lender or when you were banking in a financial relationship, you can’t update the checking account, it’s what you’re saying, your credit card division, your business credit card. Everybody has to get on the same because they may not always have the same data points. That’s good to know. I’m glad you brought that up. 

I also did ask them to remove any previous address and name information they had on file for me. I wanted to make sure that this was my identity with them and they didn’t keep the record of previous names so that was cool. They were awesome about getting it all updated quickly. Once I had a financial relationship, financial responsibility, proof of everything, my next step was then to start updating credit cards, loans, all of that. That’s been fun.

There’s the theory of it. If you haven’t been to the bootcamp, go to GetFundableBootcamp.com and register. You’ve got to know the ins and outs. We go through this process of how to do all this. There are some tips and techniques you need to know because even knowing all the things you need to do, you coach on this to clients all the time but yet, it can still go sideways if we don’t know what to look out for. 

I find it hilarious and ironic in myself because I’ve been doing this for years, coaching clients on how to do it. I had never done it myself with my other name when I first started that. Going through the process now that I had legally changed my name and had to go through the process of updating everybody because otherwise, stuff’s going to hit the fan. It’s not going to be good. It’s not easy.

The more egregious the problems, the more worth it the work you go through it. Click To Tweet

We’ve been doing this for years with dozens of advisors. The thing is there’s a great deal of compassion that comes from being able to come from that space yourself. That’s why we make everybody go through the process. CreditSense advisors have to do the process themselves but changing from Merrill Ray to Merrill R is not the same experience as a married name, going back to your maiden name. In your case, a complete legal name change.

When I had gone through the process with updating my middle initial or even my married name change, it was nothing like this because they had no reason to believe that I was who I said I was anymore. My first name wasn’t the same, my lenders had no idea so they needed extra verification of everything which is why I had to submit the court-ordered divorce decree to everybody. My Social Security card went to everybody. I had to mail those and my driver’s license, I was sketched out. I was not excited about that but I did it so far.

Go USPS coming through with a snail mail version. 

I had called all of my lenders to update it. I had submitted all the documents online. I had done everything short of faxing it because who uses fax anymore? Apparently, lenders do. I submitted everything online. My student loans are still waiting to get back to me even though I submitted that weeks ago. Those are a nightmare.

They were government-backed. They’re checking against Social Security which was the first and easiest to update. The whole thing here is there are lots of ways that you can’t gain this. There are so many speed bumps and landmines in the process because they want to verify. They believe people change their names. We want to make sure that it’s not a process and they’ve made it a process that you can’t gain the system and like, “We’ll get to it in a second.” Updating the creditors and you’re still in the process of that. How many weeks, months has it been?

Since I finally got my driver’s license, it’s been about a month, but I was able to start the process a little bit before I had my actual printed copy license. I had a temporary one before. I was using that to update them at first, the after calling, sending in the documents online, then finally mailing them. My revolving accounts have finally updated my information and they’re sending me my new card. They should have those now. Loans are a lot trickier I learned. We coached our clients who update their revolving accounts in their installment loans as well, but I had no idea how much of a pain in the butt it is to update your installment loans.

Let’s talk a little bit in theory there. Do you know why it’s more difficult? Revolving accounts are open accounts and so the information was always open. An installment loan is a slice in time. You sign a document, that document goes over there and it’s done. It can be serviced by the same company or serves by somebody else. Who you pay your bills to or make the payments to may not necessarily be the same division that holds that promissory note, that installment loan in their hot little hand. You have to go back and amend the original loan document so that it’s legally binding for you to pay it and get credited to the right account. Otherwise, it’s Dehlila Claire sending $295 checks to some random lenders like WTFMF, “Where do we put this?” They have to update the original promissory note with hard copy amendments that you had to sign docs in that updating process. Is that correct? 

Yes. I’m leasing a Volkswagen. I have a co-signer on the Volkswagen. It’s awful. I called them and I was like, “I had this name change. I moved. I need to update my account with you with this information.” This woman on the phone, she listed off all of these different documents she was going to send me and told me I need to sign everything. It’s a Power of Attorney thing. You need to have your co-signer sign it. You need to go to the DMV. You need to get the title and all this stuff. I was like, “I’m leasing this car. What’s happening? I haven’t talked to my co-signer in three years.”

I got all those documents and stuff. They called me because my lease is almost up in a couple of months and they’ve got all these deals and stuff going on. I was like, “I want to keep the car mostly because I went over my mileage on it and there might be a couple of things in it.” With it being a lease, I’m going to have to pay back all that stuff in a loan. I knew that but I have an appointment to go in there, submit all the documents and stuff and hopefully be done with that and get the name changed and all that stuff is taken care of. Maybe even get it into a loan instead of a lease to date. That’s my plan.

Her fundability optimization for a personal installment loan portfolio is still in flux. We’re still working on it. Notice how we talk about updating your PBID and making it happen. What’s happening on your personal borrower profile? What’s happening on both of your credit reports and on the other financial relationships that you have? How is that getting translated into your profile? 

The cool thing is my PBID has pretty much one name, one address. All of that is synced up across the board with the bureaus. The problem is I can’t pull a report. FICO can’t verify my identity because I don’t have at least two revolving accounts into an installment loan reporting to them yet.

It’s only been a month since you’ve been updating it. They don’t have any real-time data under Dehlila Claire. That will be forthcoming, but isn’t this cool? 

It’s really enlightening. I’ve talked to clients all the time where they’re having trouble pulling their Equifax report or FICO is not reporting this or that. We have people who are credit builders who don’t have anything yet. Now I’m experiencing exactly what they’re going through and I have so much respect for you.

One thing to coach from the theory of it all. It’s another to be in the trenches with your clients and saying, “Move over, I’m in this trench too and we’re going to do this together.” It’s got to have created some extra half to your coaching. Sometimes CreditSense coaching clients are found and the progress slows down because they’re waiting a month for updates and stuff like that. Be patient, CreditSense clients, Funding Hackers, bootcampers, you’ve got to be patient. A long time ago, I watched a movie. I love this quote. It says, “The ox is slow but the Earth is patient.” Sometimes it takes time but the results are amazing. We’re doing a bootcamp coming up here in one of my office hour calls. We’ve got some amazing intel on what’s happening on a couple of clients now I get to translate to the bootcamp. Get to book at GetFundableBook.com if you haven’t gotten it. Go to GetFundableBootcamp.com and register. Whatever it is, find out more because it’s step-by-step to go through the process that you’ve already trudged through for the last 30 to 60 days.

It’s been a trip. It’s been really humbling. As an advisor, you go through the process with your clients and you think, “We’re waiting on this. I want to get you moving towards fundability, let’s go.” You experience it and you’re like, “No wonder it’s taken them six months to get through this.” That makes sense.

AYF 68 | Legally Changing Your Name

Legally Changing Your Name: Don’t change your name without knowing the rules of the game. Learn those rules first, then you can play to win.

 

The more egregious the problems, the more we got to work through but it is worth it. Has it been worth it?

I can’t say for sure yet.

We should have waited for this episode when we had at least one of your accounts reporting.

I will say it has been a cool experience to see what my consumer disclosures look like from the bureaus. Seeing that Catherine Galloway and Catherine Mailer don’t exist anymore. It’s completely gone.

If you’re looking to put a toxic relationship behind you, this is a great way to do that.

I went about it that way in my head. It’s a total life change, new everything in my life. That’s what it ended up being for me. Seeing all of that psychic drag on my consumer disclosure is completely gone. Name gone, the old address is gone from ten years ago, all of it. It was cool. I liked seeing that.

Here’s what happens because some things haven’t changed, they’re not going to change Social Security, her date of birth hasn’t changed. Those would be tough to get by a judge. You’d be like, “Your honor, I need a new birthday. I’ve decided to choose February 14th of 2020. I know I’m 30 years old, but I thought I’d choose that day for my birthday.” Some of the data points are going to stay the same. All of her credit, tradelines, revolving accounts, installment loans are ultimately going to make the transition. This isn’t a way to change your name and then dodge old bills and old things like that. That’s why they’re connecting the dots and make you re-sign loan docs, making sure that who you say you continue to be because they’ve got copies of your old driver’s license. They’re looking at your face there. The magenta and the pink hair over the green hair.

She is definitely our most creative advisor when it comes to personal style and we love her at the office. Love your style, love your contribution, love your smile. Just be aware, I say good luck but don’t even try it because there are too many data points that have to be correlated. All of our accounts are going to end up back here. The good news is that you’ve left the things behind that you want to leave behind, which cleans up our psychic drag. How many times have we talked about psychic drag and choosing to take the wins and leaving the backpack of rocks that we have accumulated over our lifetimes, leaving them behind and feeling freer to do so? Any parting sage advice to somebody who this is the first episode they’ve ever read. They have no idea what we’re talking about, “Fundability what?” Our Funding Hacker, bootcampers, our clients, what would you tell them about the value of this process? 

It’s been a great experience for me, not just for my overall fundability as an advisor and as a person. If you’re going through some stuff and you feel like you need a change, get a name change. It’s going to be a lot of work but it’s worth it.

“I went and read this Fundability Podcast and they told me to change my name and it sounds pretty good. I don’t even write books, but all of a sudden I needed a name change.” The value of syncing up your data and knowing the process, for me, as a high-performance fundability coach, training her and her teammates on advisor teams for CreditSense, our bootcamps, every word that comes out of our mouths is designed to make you fundable. You can’t be fundable unless you’ve got a dialed-in PBID, Personal Borrower Identity. It has nothing to do with your credit report. It’s the identifying data points that everybody is using now in automatic underwriting. 

The more synced up you get those, the better off you’re going to be and the more chance you have to get into automatic underwriting. I will add one caveat though. Don’t change your name without knowing the rules of the game. Learn those rules first, then we can play to win.

Getting a name change is going to be a lot of work but it’s worth it. Click To Tweet

That’s the advice I was looking for. Thank you so much for joining us. I have great people. I’m surrounded by amazing people. Thank you so much for the work you do with the CreditSense clients, with your contribution when you’re at the bootcamps, weighing in on the tech training and all the ways in which you show up. Thank you so much for being part of our team and the mad skills you have in coaching all the CreditSense clients. I’m telling you, keep bingeing, keep going. There’s so much to know and so clear a path to dodge the funding landmines. Making your identity fundable is one of the biggest minefields that exist out there. Make it happen. Thank you again, Dehlila.

Thanks, Merrill.

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About Dehlila Claire

AYF 68 | Legally Changing Your NameDehlila is a Senior Borrower Fundability Advisor who has been consulting clients for two years.

She is a mom and an aspiring author and spends her free time at the gym, playing with the kids, writing and sketching.

 

 

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