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Building a solid foundation

September 14th, 2011 at 07:34 pm

Building a solid foundation is an important step in the construction of any building. If the foundation is not solid the building will collapse. The same goes with your finances. If you do not know the basics then its going to be an uphill stuggle
I specifically want to talk about building a foundation for your kids to learn about money. My feeling is that the earlier you teach them the basic principles the much better off they will be in the long run. (And they won't live in your basement when they are 40)
My son is 6 years old and like many young kids, they always want something new each week. A couple months ago we decided that it was time to start teaching him about money and how it works. We ordered Dave Ramseys Financial Peace Junior kit and a bunch of other products for kids. He really enjoyed listening to the stories and he really loves his giving, saving and spending banks.
Now each week he has a small lists or chores that he does to earn his money. And he has been really good about doing his work. A few weeks back he actually saved up enough to buy a small $7 toy for himself. We took all of his change and went to the bank to get dollars for it and off to the store we went. I let him pay for it himself also and I think it was a great learning experience.
Its simple things like this that build a strong foundation for other things in life. My goal is to save him from at least some of the stupid mistakes the my wife and I made with our finances early on in our marriage.

Comfortable Misery

December 28th, 2010 at 08:09 pm

What is it that makes us humans not want to change our habits and behaviors? Are we scared or have we just gotten used to living in comfortable misery?

Speaking in terms of your personal finances do you like where you are at? If your answer is "no" then I think its time to change a few things.

We complain about having so many credit card bills, but we keep on charging on them. And if we ignore the problem it will go away. If you dont like where you are at then change your situation. Sitting around and hoping your debt will go away on its own is crazy.

I challenge you for three months to get yourself on a plan to start paying down your debt. If you don't like getting out of debt, then by all means go back to the way you were and have fun. But I am sure you will enjoy living on a plan and with a purpose much more.

Try something different and challenge yourself to get out of your comfortable misery.

I am more than willing to help anyone get themselves back on track.

Statistics of the typical millionaire

July 9th, 2010 at 03:29 am

The following is a list of the common characteristics of the typical millionaire. This information is found in the book The Millionaire Next Door

1. They live well below their means. In general, millionaires are frugal. Not only do they self-identify as frugal, they actually live the life. They take extraordinary steps to save money. They don’t live lavish lifestyles. They’re willing to pay for quality, but not for image.

2. They allocate their time, energy, and money efficiently, in ways conducive to building wealth. Millionaires budget. They also plan their investments. They begin earning and investing early in life. The authors note that “there is an inverse relationship between the time spent purchasing luxury items such as cars and clothes and the time spent planning one’s financial future”. In other words, the more time someone spends buying things that look good, the less time they spend on personal finance.

3.They believe that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status. The authors spend far too much time beating home this point: usually millionaires don’t have fancy cars. They drive mundane domestic models, and they keep them for years. (There’s an entire 31-page chapter devoted to how millionaires shop for cars. It’s tedious. It may be the worst chapter I’ve ever read in any personal finance book. And the authors go on ad nauseum about the average price per pound of various vehicles. There’s even an appendix showing the average price-per-pound for the most popular models.)

4.Their parents did not provide economic outpatient care. That is, most millionaires were not financially supported by their parents. The authors’ research indicates that “the more dollars adult children receive [from their parents], the fewer they accumulate, while those who are given fewer dollars accumulate more”.

5.Their adult children are economically self-sufficient. This chapter is fascinating. The authors clearly believe that giving money to adult children damages their ability to succeed.

6.They are proficient in targeting market opportunities. “Very often those who supply the affluent become wealthy themselves.” The authors discuss how one of the best ways to make money is to sell products or services to those who already have money. They list a number of occupations they feel have long-term potential in this area.

7.They chose the right occupation. “Self-employed people are four times more likely to be millionaires than those who work for others.” There is no magic list of businesses from which wealth is derived — people can be successful with any type of business. In fact, most millionaire business owners make their money in “dull-normal” industries. They build cabinets. They sell shoes. They’re dentists. They own bowling alleys. They make boxes. There’s no magic bullet.

Using an envelope system

July 2nd, 2010 at 09:39 pm

Using envelopes to keep track of your spending each month is a great way to not overspend. The concept is simple just keep your money in envelopes for things like groceries, gas, clothes etc.

I'm going to use food as an example. Lets use a family of 4 spending $600 a month on food. What you do at the beginning of the month is take $600 out of your checking account and put that money into the envelope. That money is to be used for food only. And once that money is gone its gone. If you spend it all in 2 weeks there is no taking more money from somewhere else to add to the food unless you go back and re-figure your budget.

If you are paid every 2 weeks you can fund your envelope twice a month. Even if you are paid every week you could do $150 a week into the envelope. Whatever is easiest for you as long as your not going over your budgeted amount.

Food is one of the hardest categories to estimate how much you spend. So the first few months I would over fund it. Keep track of all you spend and over the next few months it will start to become natural.

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Where did my money go?

July 1st, 2010 at 10:08 pm

I suppose this is a question a lot of people ask themselves at the end of the month. Where did my money go? It happens all the time. Money comes in and money goes out, but where does it go?

This is where a good budget comes in handy. By writing everything down that you spend you can see exactly where all your money is going. When we started doing a budget it felt like we got a raise. We had categories for everything and it kept us from going to the ATM and taking $20 here and there. During the month it can add up to a lot of money that is wasted on stuff you can't even remember.

A budget might sound like a scary thing but all a budget does is tells your money where do go, instead of wondering where it went. Also using an envelope system for you cash purchases each month is a great way to stay on track.
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Marriage and Money

June 30th, 2010 at 03:13 am

When two people become married the money becomes both of theirs. There is no more "His Money" or " Her Money" Its "Our Money". There is no hiding money from your spouse or spending money without first discussing it together. I have known couples who each have their own separate checking accounts. That seems really weird to me.

My wife and I do not spend even $1 without letting the other person know what we are doing. Not taking the time to do a budget together and discussing the finances is a good way to bankrupt your bank account and marriage.

The number 1 cause of divorce today is money fights and money problems. Don't become a statistic. Do something about it today and start working with your spouse on the finances. It will pay off in the long run.

I don't want to work hard. Im going to win the lottery.

June 28th, 2010 at 08:21 pm

I have heard many people say "If I could just win the lottery everything will be ok" I'm just going to say that your NOT going to win the lottery. The lottery is a tax on people that can't do math. Haven't you ever seen the kind of people playing the lottery? Yeah I have too. You are more likely to be struck by lightning 5 times and live than you are to win the lottery.

Go stand on your roof with a metal rod in lightning storm and see if you can get struck 5 times and live. If by some miracle you live, go buy a ticket and you might win (probably won't though)

Heres a better idea. Save your money and do something useful with it. You will have a much better return on investment if you just save and invest it.