A New Season

So I’ve been pretty quiet on here lately… due to a big change that we’re undergoing, I haven’t been able to be as active on the blog as I normally like to be. I’m writing today to let you know about a new season that I’m entering, and explain how it will change things for my daily work and blog activities.

I began writing a few years ago as an outlet to share our financial experience and what we were learning as we were on the journey to debt freedom and how I help others do the same.  It was a chore at first, but I found writing about the knowledge and experience I’ve gained to be a fulfilling exercise.  Thanks to the feedback I’ve received on […]

By |September 28th, 2015|Faith, Life, Money|6 Comments

Tuesday Tips for Your Money [047]

It’s the start of the month; hopefully you’ve got that budget done for September!

– Budgeting is not just a limitation, telling you what you can’t do.  It’s also freedom and permission to spend!  A budget gives you freedom to spend on fuel, food, and fun without worrying if you’re spending the rent, light bill money, or insurance premiums.

– The longer you budget, the better you’ll get at it!  You won’t be good at it the first go-around; it will take a few months to get it all right!  The average family really takes about 90 days to get into the swing of budgeting.  Just because your first month is ugly, frustrating, and not on-track, don’t give up!

– When budgeting and forecasting your expenses, pull from […]

By |September 1st, 2015|Money|0 Comments

How to Select a Financial Advisor, Part 3: When to Run

By now, hopefully you’ve started to search for your financial advisor, and maybe you’ve even had a chance to ask him the questions I suggested.

For me, if we sit down at the interview and any one of the following things happens, I’m wrapping up the meeting and rolling outta there quick.  If he emails or calls, I’ll let him know we “went another direction.”

These are our deal breakers.  Maybe you don’t agree with all of these, but hopefully it will give you an idea of what to watch out for.

If Nancy thinks the guy is sleazy, we’re gone.  I believe they call that “women’s intuition.”  Trust it.
If he tries to sell me something or get me to put my money into something before ensuring that I […]

By |August 27th, 2015|Money|0 Comments

Tuesday Tips for Your Money [046]

If you’re new to money management, here’s where I’d recommend that you start:

– Before you can create a budget, cut spending, and make progress on goals, you have to figure out what’s going on first.  Are you running a negative cash flow, where you’re spending more than you bring in?  How do you know where you’re overspending, or how badly, if you don’t know anything about your finances?

– Use your bank statements to categorize your spending, or better yet, something like Mint.com will track your spending for you and help you categorize your spending so you know where your money is going!  Once you have an idea of where your money is going, you can start to modify that to make progress towards your goals.

– If […]

By |August 25th, 2015|Money|0 Comments

How to Select a Financial Advisor, Part 2: Questions to Ask

This is Part 2 of the blog series “How To Select a Financial Advisor” – see Part 1 here.

Once you’ve selected a few financial advisor candidates you think are worth greater consideration, you may go into their office or meet them somewhere mutually convenient.  I personally think getting face-to-face is important here.
2) Interview qualified financial advisor candidates
He’ll want to learn about you and some of your hopes, goals, and why you came in today.  He’ll give you his spiel about what he does, why he does it, the difference they make for their clients, etc.

But it’s an interview for him as much as anything.  When we meet, here are the questions I want full, clear, understandable and satisfactory answers to, long before I think about signing […]

By |August 24th, 2015|Money|1 Comment

How to Select a Financial Advisor, Part 1: Finding Candidates

I got a great question from a client the other day: How do I go about finding a good financial advisor to help me with this stuff? (This stuff: investing for retirement and college savings.)

That prospect can be daunting.  The financial world is a big one.  Do you go to your bank or your local investment brokerage?  Someone in a high-rise, or next to the country club?  Should I go with my buddy, or go to my dad’s “guy”?  Do they need to be a CFP, a CPA, a ChFC, a CFA, an MBA, or an RIA?

Is it okay if they’re more my age, or is it important to go with the “more experienced” gentleman who sits behind the big desk with the glasses low on […]

By |August 20th, 2015|Money|1 Comment

Tuesday Tips for Your Money [045]

“Well, if you use the cash envelope system for discretionary categories, how do you handle buying stuff online?” 

Here are three ways we handle this:

– I bought a book the other month.  It cost $15.  It was near the end of the month, so when I created the new monthly budget, I simply marked $15 from the blow money I would have received as “already spent” so I didn’t get paid out that money.  It stayed in the bank account to pay for the book I purchased.

– I bought a new holster the other day.  We’ve created a “to deposit” envelope just for these occasions.  I simply put the money for the holster into the “to deposit” envelope.  If we get to the bank before the end of the month, […]

By |August 18th, 2015|Money|0 Comments

You May Not Have Thought About This Recently (or ever)

Note: I’m not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, just what I’ve learned, so it’d be wise to consult an attorney about your estate planning needs.

We sat down with our financial advisor to make some changes to our accounts recently, and he noted that we hadn’t designated a contingent beneficiary for our investment accounts.

That’s some jargon there, so let’s break it down.

Every investment account, brokerage account, retirement account, and some bank accounts require that beneficiaries be designated when the account is opened.  A beneficiary is the person(s) who would receive the money in that account if you were to die.

It’s vital that you designate beneficiaries for your accounts – most of the time that should be a person and not your estate.  Here’s why:

– Beneficiaries can […]

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

Tuesday Tips for Your Money [044]

– The place to get your truly FREE credit report, annually, as guaranteed by law is at AnnualCreditReport.com.  This does not include your credit score, but the report of what is in your credit file for each of the three credit bureaus – Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

– You can get your reports and scores elsewhere as well, but they’ll most likely cost you.  Experian will give you your Experian credit score for free through Credit.com, but to get or view your credit scores from all three bureaus over time will cost you a monthly subscription, or somewhere in the range of $40-60 one time.

– All that being said, I simply provide this information to you to help you address any irregularities in your credit that may […]

By |August 11th, 2015|Money|0 Comments

What do You Have in Your Hand?

We lose so much when we focus on our lack.  We lose our focus, we lose our trust, we lose the potential to do something great.  We even lose the chance for something great because we lose the faith that it can happen.
When God asked Moses to stand up to the most powerful empire in the world, he didn’t send him with anything great.  He didn’t send him with an army of rough rider angels to come against the King of Egypt with force.  The interaction between God and Moses is fascinating as God repeatedly gives Moses his task, and Moses repeatedly makes excuses.
One of those excuses we see in Exodus 4:1 – But Moses protested again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen […]

By |August 10th, 2015|Faith, Life, Money|0 Comments