Tuesday Tips for Your Money [024]

- If we say that giving/saving/investing are priorities for us, let’s start acting like it!  In your budget, set your giving/saving/investing goals first, then build your lifestyle around that, instead of the other way around.  Pay yourself first!

– That may mean you have to start amputating some stuff.  Car payments, cable, gym memberships, online subscriptions, restaurants, entertainment and so forth.  You may have to cut back some of those things to do the things that are really important to you.

– Your checkbook will reflect your true priorities.  What does yours say about you?  If you’re unwilling or unable to cut back your lifestyle to give, save, and invest, the only conclusion one can make about your priorities is that your lifestyle choices come first for you.  Let’s put our money […]

By |March 24th, 2015|Money|0 Comments

How We Are Preparing Financially for a Baby

When we paid off our house, we had a few people ask, “So is it time to have babies now?”

We laughed and replied, “No, not yet!”  Truthfully, our financial goals and our family dreams were never tied to each other.  I say, when it’s time to have babies, it’s time to have babies.  While you might not be where you want to be yet, you shouldn’t base your decision to have kids on your debt load, net worth, or another financial benchmark.

When Nancy did get pregnant, some 21 months after we paid off the house, I started thinking about the financial implications within the first few hours.  We began discussing, researching, and learning about the various costs of bringing a little one into the world, and […]

By |March 23rd, 2015|Money|1 Comment

When You Can’t Do It All

So I screwed up.  I’ve been strong in my regular Monday, Tuesday, Thursday blogging schedule this week, but the end of last week and this week I’ve been weak sauce.  On top of that, I’ve been downing myself over missing my blogging goals, because it’s an integral part of my strategy.

Wednesday night around 10:45 Nancy said, “You don’t have to get a post up tonight, the world’s not gonna  end.”  I actually replied, “I know the world won’t end, but my business will!”

#dramaqueen.  Puh-leeeze.  Gag me.

I’m back in the saddle, and will do better next time, but getting behind and failing at catching up to my man-made standards made me remember a few truths.

1) I’m thankful for the Gospel.  That’s what it’s all about.  We can’t measure […]

By |March 20th, 2015|Faith, Life|0 Comments

Tuesday Tips for Your Money [023]

- The only way to get out of debt is to change the behaviors that got you into debt, and sacrifice to win.  Or win the lotto (not gonna happen!).  This has interesting implications for a number of questions I get regularly.

– No, I don’t recommend debt consolidation loans.  You’re not going to get out of debt by consolidation!  Your payment is smaller because you’re going to be in debt longer!  That means being in debt longer, more interest, and – the worst thing – you feeling like you did something because you were “smart” and consolidated, yet still not making any progress.

– You can transfer a debt to a zero-percent-interest card if you want, but that’s not going to get you out of debt.  I won’t deny it can save […]

By |March 17th, 2015|Money|0 Comments

Tuesday Tips for Your Money [022]

Let’s talk about housing. 

– When we’re thinking about purchasing a home, we first have to realize that rent ≠ mortgage. Just because your rent is $800 doesn’t mean that you can afford a home with an $800 mortgage payment.  On top of that payment, you have taxes, insurance, HOA dues, increased utilities, and maintenance to worry about.

– Renting is buying housing services – and patience.  If you don’t know how long you’ll be somewhere, have a likelihood of being transferred, or are in the midst of life transition, renting is a perfect solution.  It’s not ideal long-term, but it can be a great short-term fix.

– Before you purchase a home, you should be free from any other debt, and have money in the bank.  We’ve all […]

By |March 10th, 2015|Money|0 Comments

So We’re Pregnant. What About Insurance?

On September 25, 2014, Nancy sat me down and gave me the big news: “I’m pregnant!”  We enjoyed the day and celebrated.  The next morning, however, I pulled out our insurance policy and started reading.  I wanted to know – what’s all this going to cost?

Over the next few weeks, I got into it pretty deep with our prospective healthcare providers and our insurance company.  I called Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC multiple times, and, to their credit, all of their reps were very helpful.  Finding out about real costs, however, was a challenge.

I’m gonna be real transparent here: I’m not, nor have I ever been a fan of Obamacare/the “Affordable Care Act.”  I’m not going to get into a political discussion, but it’s not making things […]

By |March 9th, 2015|Money|2 Comments

10 Ways to Love Your Wife Financially [Part 2]

Today we’ll continue with Part 2 of How to Love your Wife Financially.  See Part 1 here!

6) Work hard to provide at least what’s needed for the family’s necessities. 

In the excellent book His Needs, Her Needs, Dr. Willard Harley outlines what he has discovered from multiple decades of marriage counseling.  He explains that in all of the marriages he’s seen break down, there was a failure of one spouse (or both) to meet a fundamental need in the other.  One of those needs for wives is financial security.

From Dr. Harley’s extensive experience, he states that most women don’t mind helping to supplement income if it allows the family to live at a higher standard of living.  But, he says, most women do not want to be the one providing for the […]

By |March 5th, 2015|Life, Money|0 Comments

10 Ways to Love Your Wife Financially [Part 1]

Valentine’s Day being last month got me thinking about how to love my wife better.  Being wired as I am, I began to think about how I can make Nancy feel loved by the way we handle our money and make financial decisions.

Men, we can make our wives feel loved on so many different levels – not just by hugging her and saying, “I love you.”  We can love her well by how we communicate with her, how we act, how we work, how we interact with our children, even in how we care for ourselves and manage the money entrusted to us.

So I began to think, how do I show Nancy that she’s loved by the way we handle our money?  And I asked […]

By |March 4th, 2015|Life, Money|0 Comments

Tuesday Tips for your Money [021]

Today’s Tips focus on investing, something we all should be working towards.
– Stock is effectively a tiny piece of ownership in a company.  You can own tiny pieces of Apple, Google, Home Depot, Kroger, or any number of companies.  Those companies are traded on the stock exchanges.  The value of a stock goes up or down depending on a number of factors, but it primarily reflects the value of the business.  Historically, stocks have returned an average of around 11% annually.
– Bonds are debt instruments, where you lend money to a company or government entity, and they pay it back with set interest.  They are considered less volatile than stock investing, meaning they go up and down with less intensity.  Historically, bonds have returned an average of […]

By |March 3rd, 2015|Money|0 Comments

Why We Get Out of Debt BEFORE We Invest

If you’ve paid any attention to Dave Ramsey’s financial advice, you may be familiar with the Baby Steps:

1) Save for a $1000 starter emergency fund
2) Pay off all debt but the mortgage using the debt snowball
3) Build a full emergency fund worth 3-6 months of expenses
4) Invest 15% of your income for retirement
5) Save for your kids college
6) Pay off your home early
7) Build wealth and give

I want to draw your attention to two of those steps, ones that sometimes get switched around and out of order.  Take a look at Baby Step 2: Pay off all debt but the mortgage using the debt snowball.  Then, see #4: Invest 15% of your income for retirement.

Those are in that order for good reason!  You’ve got to follow the plan […]

By |March 2nd, 2015|Money|0 Comments