An Interview With The Celebrity Credit Guru, James Hunt
James Hunt, a prominent business mogul based in Atlanta, is known throughout sports and Hollywood as the “Celebrity Credit Guru.” Over the years, he has solidified a powerful reputation due to his uncanny ability to repair the credit and financial woes of the biggest stars on the field, court, and on stage. Recognizing the history of professional athletes fumbling away their fortunes and falling into serious debt, he has made it his focus to serve as the figure who prevents NFL and NBA ballers from “dropping the ball.”
He has become a credit whisperer of sorts, privately and strategically guiding them on how to manage their millions, how to purchase their luxury homes and cars, and most importantly, how to avoid the pitfalls of debt and protect the wealth they have worked so hard to accumulate. He is the one they trust to protect their financial secrets, which is why he is at the top of his industry.
Hunt’s Instagram account serves as a source for credit information and financial advice, lifestyle content, client testimonials, as well as celebrity photos he shares to motivate his more than 1 million followers.
What inspired you to enter a career or finance and credit?
James Hunt: I was surrounded by family, friends, and associates who needed the services. They had issues with their finances and their credit, so, my career was basically birthed out of necessity. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.
As The Celebrity Credit Guru, what do you enjoy most about the work that you do?
James Hunt: The fact that it changes lives. When you have a person that is totally dependent on you to get that dream home and their credit will not allow them to get it- and you are the person with the solution to straighten their issues out, it is a great feeling. I can’t explain how rewarding it is to watch your clients be able to get the things that they need to live their best lives.
What memorable moments in your career can you share with us that gave you the most fulfillment?
James Hunt: I have so many examples, but I will give a few. My client, the singer Tank, came to me with a 400 credit score, and the owners of the house he was leasing wanted the house back. Although he makes a lot of money, his back was up against the wall. He had his new wife and his family there, and she really wanted to get their own house so they would no longer be renters. There was a tremendous amount of pressure on him, but I got his credit up and to be honest, I was probably as happy as they were on their closing day. To watch them now able to get the things they want and live the life they deserve makes me proud.
Likewise, clients like Young Thug and Bow Wow are able to get their exotic cars without even having to put any money down. They now understand the power of credit and how powerful their signature alone can be when they handle things the right way. That was a very teachable moment. Finally, I had a client who came to me with her credit scores in the 500s.
Now, one of her credit scores hit 755 and another hit 800 and she was absolutely thrilled. She texted me at midnight letting me know about the changes. Motivating her along the process, coaching her and finally getting her to exceptional credit and seeing how she values it was extremely rewarding. I know she won’t be back in debt in 6 months because she understands what it took to get there.
What tips can you share with us for those who need to repair their credit?
James Hunt: The first step is to get a copy of your credit report. You have to know what is in your credit report and what your scores are. Understand what your issues are. This is very important because you know what your issues are — this is equally important because you have to know what is holding you back from the credit that you need, and therefore, the life you desire.
What are some of your best qualities that keep you an in-demand entrepreneur?
James Hunt: I consider myself to be the best at what I do and I have worked my butt off to get to where I am, so I don’t take it lightly. I understand that because I am here if I don’t work 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, I can actually lose or not be as in-demand as I am. There is always this quest to always get to the top. I realize that getting to the top is one thing, but staying at the top is something completely different.
There have been many people who have gotten to the top as entrepreneurs and being on that level was only temporary and they fell from it. The goal and the drive is to get to the top and to stay there. Right now I see myself as in competition with myself. I am in competition with who I was yesterday.
What is a super fun fact about yourself that many may not be aware of?
James Hunt: I am currently working on decorating several different celebrity houses. People who have been in my home know that my home is basically a work of art. You can never come into my house without consistently seeing dramatic changes that were made. I have a passion for fashion and interior decorating. Now, because it is somewhat of a hobby, my celebrity clients are calling on me for those same kinds of services. They have been to my home and have seen what I have been able to do, and now they want me to add my swagger to their homes.
What is a quote that you live by?
James Hunt: “Thou shall not give up.” The 11th commandment. I made that up.
What do you want your legacy to look like?
James Hunt: I talk alot about legacy, especially with family members. I will be speaking at my nephew’s funeral and I am speaking to those in attendance about the importance of legacy there. I realize that my yesterdays far outnumber my tomorrows, so I am working on leaving a legacy of success through the books that I write and the work I have done. My legacy will be making life better for thousands of people, educating thousands of people, and equipping them to live the lives that they always wanted. It will be a legacy that served as an example of success.
More about James Hunt
Among his clients are NBA stars like James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Trae Young, Allen Iverson, Malik Beasley, Fred VanVleet, Michael Beasley, and Quinn Cook. On the NFL side, he has worked with Michael Vick, Bruce Irvin, Jason Allen, Laquan Williams, John Abraham, Bobby Hart, and many more.
“With a lot of our athletes, the issue they have is that they are not prepared for the highs and lows that come with playing in the NBA or NFL,” Hunt said. “They fall into believing that when they get these big contracts, the money will always be there, so they go out and buy these mansions and all of these cars — not realizing that if they get injured, traded, or if they get cut, their future can change in an instant. Too often they try to maintain the image that the public has of them.”
According to statistics from a Sports Illustrated study several years ago, up to 78% of NFL athletes fall into financial trouble within two years of retirement. While the numbers are a little better for NBA players the numbers remain very sobering — 60% falling into debt after being retired for five years. Many of these athletes are black.
Hunt emphasized that all athletes are not equal. While the financial status of a LeBron James, Kevin Durant, or Steph Curry may be solidified due to their global appeal and success both on and off the court with business and endorsements — most athletes, despite their success in relation to the general public, are not on that level.
“There is a big difference between a $100 million contract and a $3 million contract. Athletes have to be given the best financial advice and counsel for where they are, not where they see themselves and where they assume they are going to be because of what their agent told them,” Hunt said. “I consider myself like a weatherman. I have to be able to predict the rain.”
He continued: “Even though today is sunny and warm, I have to still whisper to them and let them know that rain is in the forecast. I have to warn them that there has to be something set aside…that maybe you should pay up on that mortgage, or make advance payments on your car note to give yourself a cushion.”
In the field of sports, many times young African-American star athletes from disadvantaged backgrounds are thrust into the spotlight and given huge contracts. Unfortunately, Hunt said, many have never been taught about financial responsibility and know virtually nothing about credit. He wants to change that. Additionally, he wants to show athletes how to truly capitalize on their financial status and leverage their credit in ways they never knew were possible.