Being a dad has been the biggest responsibility I have ever had. After all, bringing a new life into the world and literally trying your best to help make that person the best kind of person they can be and fulfill their life’s real potential doesn’t weigh easy on anyone.
I sometimes get a bit misty eyed when I think about my two kids and I always miss seeing them when they aren’t right here with me. I think we all feel that way because after all they are so very important to us.
So a couple of years ago, I wrote a post about my thoughts on Father’s Day and it really came from my heart. I think the message in it says what every dad (and mom too) thinks and feels about a day like this. Even though the environment we live in makes us feel like honoring our dads and moms is all about buying gifts and making a big deal out of just the one single day a year, I can tell you from personal experience, that’s not what dads (and moms) really want from their kids. Continue reading
Discussing money—the nitty, gritty details—with our friends and families is a real taboo subject. You may be thinking, really? There are thousands of personal finance blogs around and libraries full of books about personal finances, money, budgeting, retirement planning, and I could go on and on here. But the truth is that we just don’t have any informal, detailed conversations with each other about these topics. Money talk is the last taboo.
Taboo Talking Points?
People will talk about their sex lives before they discuss their finances. Money talk and personal finances may be the most challenging topic to discuss with other people that there is. It begs this question: if no one is talking to each other about it, how do we ever find out what the beliefs and behaviors are of those who get rich and manage to stay rich as opposed to those who do not and never will? Continue reading
Planning your finances is never really simple. But when one spouse is many years younger than the other, there is often even more to consider. For example, instead of planning a typical retirement income stream of 30 years, it’s going to be more like 40, maybe even 50 years. Financial planning when there’s an age difference can be a bit more complicated.
For me and my wife Suzanne, this is that situation. I am currently 68 and she is just 47. To be honest, it didn’t really dawn on me as to what might make it very different when we are 20+ years apart in planning retirement life until just a few years ago. Having met her when I was working and just in my mid 50’s, I thought retirement was far off in the distance and never dreamed that I would “have” to retire early because of my health and that she would become disabled for health reasons too. That’s made me ask the question: “What do we do differently to deal with our finances when one spouse is so much younger than the other?” Continue reading
Being an older person (I’m 68), I know what the real world situation is when it comes to frauds and scams. Scammers tend to prey upon the elderly. Protecting yourself from fraud and scams would be a big enough job by itself, but you also need to protect your older parents from becoming victims of con artists.
These days, many of us no longer live near our parents, making this effort even more difficult. You may not be aware of what phone calls, emails, and letters they receive which may be luring them into financial ruin. It’s a growing problem for a number of reasons and the biggest one is that the older generation is a soft target, many with assets that are fairly accessible for everyday use from a checking or savings account. Continue reading
I definitely love being in love! I am so fortunate that I have found true love on my second time around when I met and fell for Suzanne, my beautiful wife, back in 2005! Not only is she all that and a bag of chips (am I dating myself with that phrase?), but we share a mindset about personal finances and that crosses off the list any arguments we might have about money. That is a problem that many couples endure and it can really damage a relationship.
Having said that, we both enjoy celebrating Valentine’s Day each year but we do it on our own terms. So it’s kind of a challenge to come up with some new ways to have fun, share our love, and still remain fiscally solvent. Here’s a not so short list of money saving ideas that can make your Valentine’s a “St. Frugaltine’s Day” of fun and frolic! Continue reading
The old adage used to be that parents were financially responsible for their children up to the age of 18. After that, they became legal adults and financially responsible for themselves. Years ago, many teens couldn’t wait for their independence so they could move out and strike out on their own. I know that was how I thought back then but things have changed significantly for parents when it comes to their adult child.
Fast forward to today and now many parents continue to provide their children with financial assistance in some form throughout their college education, and often beyond. There have been several reasons for that happening. Continue reading
April is Financial Literacy Month and it’s the perfect time to think about this subject and ways to help make you and your family more financially savvy! During this month, I have been asked several times by others in the financial world a simple yet personal question: “What do I wish I had learned as a kid about money that I wasn’t taught?” That got me to really thinking about the subject of personal finance in a little bit different way.
Almost everything I ever learned about money and personal finance as a child I learned from my parents. Schools just didn’t spend very much time teaching about that and surprisingly even today, some 60 years after I went to elementary school, they still don’t! Continue reading
Americans are well known around the world for certain things. One prime thing is our tendency to talk and even brag about our lives and our abundances. We are pretty proud of living in what we refer to as the “greatest country” in the world and we have good reasons to feel that way. If you are a bigtime world traveler, you are probably sending a clear message to everyone you meet: you have lots of money and you enjoy spending it freely. You probably stay at a fine hotel, eat at a fancy restaurant, travel at the height of the season, etc. and that is the message you’re sending.
The Art of Braggadocio
Speaking of bragging, we also have great fervor when spreading good news to others, especially our family and neighbors. We make it obvious so they will notice when we drive into our garage with that big new $85,000 2017 Land Rover that’s so perfect for those cross country trips and exploring the Gobi Desert, but will more likely spend its time parked at little Debbie’s soccer practices every Tuesday and Thursday! Continue reading
So I’m out having dinner with my daughter and the bill comes to the table. It’s my treat (of course, since she rarely has the money to pick up any tab) and I pull out my rewards card for the loyalty points and of course the coupon: “Save $10.00 off any 2 dinners with the purchase of 2 drinks”. And then it happens.
“Dad, do you always have to use a coupon? It’s so embarrassing, like can’t you just enjoy this without having that? Are you that cheap?”
It never fails to amaze me when that conversation begins, and it often does. I have tried most of my life to teach both my children about being thrifty, or frugal if you prefer! For some unexplainable reason they just don’t seem to get it. Is it being cheap to want to conserve my money? Is it being cheap to take my daughter out to dinner? A free dinner for her? Exactly what is it that embarrasses her? Continue reading
Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences you will ever have, which is only compounded by having to handle their final affairs and their estate. There’s no doubt that dealing with a subject like the loss of a friend or family member is emotional, stressful, and a cause of great despair. When you get to be around my age, you have probably dealt with this kind of event far too often, and frankly no matter how many times you have, it is never a comfortable feeling.
There are many details that must be taken care of to make this kind of event orderly and to take care of all of the important details that the decedent wanted. This only adds an element of anxiety and pressure to an already stressful situation. Knowing what needs to be done can help to ease your mind. Continue reading