5 Ways Clarity can Empower Your Small Business

Early on in Nancy’s photography business, we had a medium-sized stock photography outlet approach her about using some of her work in their stock-photography offerings.  They would compensate us, and it was tempting, considering the additional cash flow would have been helpful in a very young small business.

We thought about it, and came to the decision not to work with them.  We didn’t dislike the company; but after some discussion it became clear that the business, her business, was wedding photography, not stock photography.  That decision saved us lost time, frustration, and possible usage rights issues with her work.  It kept us from working on something that would not contribute to our ultimate goal – building an excellent wedding photography business.  If you’re been in business or leadership, […]

By |September 15th, 2014|Money|0 Comments|

The Key to Wealth

I’m afraid you may be disappointed at my answer.

The key to wealth, for the vast majority of people, is not something shiny, sexy, or secret.

It’s not an investment scheme known only to the wealthy.

It’s not a secret house-flipping plan that only real estate moguls know.

It’s not in becoming a rapper or a pro athlete.

It’s not in some business idea your cousin wants you to go in with them on.

And it’s not in the lottery.  Definitely not in the lottery.

No, the real key to wealth is in something much more simple.  It’s rather un-sexy, and a little old hat.  Ready for it?

The key is in self-control.  

That’s right, if you can get you to do the things that you know are going to be good for you, then you can […]

By |September 12th, 2014|Money|2 Comments|

Tuesday Tips for Budgeting

- Blow money doesn’t just cover your “fun” – it covers incidentals as well.  Maybe you had some parking expenses this month, but that doesn’t mean you need an entire “Parking” envelope next month in your budget.  Your blow money can cover the miscellaneous little things here and there that come up.

– A budget meeting’s purpose is twofold – it looks back (How did this month go?), and it looks forward (What are we going to do this month?)  So you look back at the past month, and look forward to the coming month.

– This has come up a few times, but the spouse who is less inclined to make the budget should change something on the budget when you review it together.  The “numbers […]

By |September 9th, 2014|Money|0 Comments|

Living (and Giving) Like No One Else

At the risk of sounding pretentious, I’m going to share something personal with you today.

The young man in the picture above is Horacio Giovani Vilchez Zamora (quite the mouthful).  He’s from the small city of Diriamba, Nicaragua, so his name is pronounced in Spanish “or-AH-see-oh.”

He lives in a poor community outside of town, and goes to the Donna Holland School there in Diriamba.  When we visited Nicaragua last year, we went to the DH School and saw the great work they were doing, educating and feeding large numbers of impoverished children, all because of supporters and sponsors.  We found out you could sponsor a child to go to the school, cover their tuition, a uniform, a backpack, and a pair of shoes.  All for […]

By |September 8th, 2014|Faith, Money|0 Comments|

The Poverty Heresy

Heresy?  What’s he talking about?

What is a heresy?  A heresy is a belief contrary to correct doctrine, where you take a little bit of truth and wrap it in a falsehood.  People adhere to heresies because of the tiny kernel of truth that exists in them.

An example of a historic Christian heresy was that Jesus was not really a man – he could do all of those miracles and rise from the dead because he was God, and just God.  People succumb to them because of the truth in them.

When people believe that poverty is more righteous than wealth, that’s a heresy.

On the other hand, when we believe that because we believe in God, we’ll be rich, fat and happy… that’s also heresy.

But I want to focus on the first heresy.  One […]

By |September 4th, 2014|Money|0 Comments|

Tuesday Tips for Budgeting

- I have some property taxes due this month (home & car), which could be representative of any kind of irregular expense you face.  Insurance premiums, annual dues, taxes, tuition and other things are similar.  One way to deal with these is to divide the total amount due by twelve, and save up 1/12th of the total each month, then pay the bill when it comes.  This helps establish routine and regularity for your budget.

– Alternatively, if you have enough flexibility and room in your budget, you can incorporate them into the budget as they come.  Bill for taxes?  Put it in the budget!  It’s fine to do this if you don’t mind the variability and have the ability to cover it as it comes without messing […]

By |September 2nd, 2014|Money|0 Comments|

The World is Open to You

Saw this quote recently, and loved it.  It’s attributed to David Brooks (not sure if it’s the journalist or the author).

I think it resonated with me because it encapsulated my personal view, which I’ve termed “optimistic realism.”  I’ve been accused of pessimism in the past, because I believe things aren’t as good as they perhaps could be.  But I see my view as simply a realist view – things aren’t as bad as they could be, but they’re not as good as they could be either.  Circumstances are what they are now – they might be good and they might be not so good – but they can be better, if you make it so.

The world we live in has no limits.  You can […]

By |September 1st, 2014|Life, Money|0 Comments|

Where You Should (and Shouldn’t) Save Your Money – Part 2

Check out Part 1 for my recommendations on where to save your money!

Last week, I covered recommendations for where to save money, but there are plenty of places where people save money that aren’t so great.  I’ll try to make quick work of them:

CDs, or “Certificates of Deposit” have been offered by banks for decades, and they have offered a guaranteed percentage rate of interest for your agreement to keep a certain amount of money in the bank for a specified term.  CDs are offered in terms anywhere from 6 months to 60 months, and individuals are heavily penalized on their interest if they withdraw the money before the specified term is up.

The reason these aren’t good investments is that your money is illiquid or inaccessible to you during […]

By |August 28th, 2014|Money|0 Comments|

Tuesday Tips for Budgeting

It’s time to make a new budget for September!  Review your wins/losses for this month, and knock it out before next Monday!

– Budgeting is the tool that enables you to do everything else with money.  You’ll save, invest, and pay off debt more effectively with a PLAN.

– Don’t over-complicate your cash envelope system.  You don’t need 24 envelopes for every possible scenario.  It may take a few months to work out the kinks, but you should be able to settle on 4-8 envelopes to run the cash-based portion of your budget.  We currently use seven (five of which are in our envelope system), aside from our blow money, which goes straight into our wallets.

– The use of cash will do two things for you: […]

By |August 26th, 2014|Money|0 Comments|

Where You Should (and Shouldn’t) Save Your Money

What are you saving for right now?

There are so many things to save for!  How do you prioritize, and how do you save for all of these different things?  If you want to live a debt-free lifestyle, you have to save for no less than the following (in no particular order):

– Emergencies
– Replacement car
– New furniture
– Retirement
– A down payment for your home
– Your family vacation
– Your kids’ college
– That thing you want to do one day
– Annual payments like insurance and taxes
– And much more!

The first lesson I heard from Dave Ramsey, over 7 years ago, was called “Super Savers,” and it outlined three things we save for:

1) Emergencies
2) Long-term goals like Retirement and College
3) Large Purchases

This lesson also referenced one of my favorite verses that […]

By |August 21st, 2014|Money|4 Comments|