Financial Freedom and the 4th of July

Today, on its 241st birthday, the United States of America is a completely different place than any of our founding fathers might have ever imagined. Back in 1776 on this day, the world was just beginning to expand for America, stepping outside of the shadow of Britain and King George III to develop their very own path to independence. That path included political freedom and economic freedom that ultimately links to what financial freedom is all about!

Today is the 4th of July, the anniversary of America's independence. It's a day when we celebrate our freedoms, including goals of financial freedom.

When you seriously think about the road that we have traveled over the past two centuries (I’m a history major so I can’t help doing that), you will see the sacrifices that were made over and over again by people who started this great experiment in “freedom”. They have kept that process alive over every generation. It makes us proud to be a part of that process. Continue reading

Are You a “Real Contender” in Life?

We all have heard the stories of those special people that started life at the bottom of the ladder and yet somehow miraculously climbed from the bottom all the way to the top! It’s not only great to hear about those events, but it’s pretty inspirational, too. I mean, we know it’s tough to make it under good circumstances and yet some people overcome what seem to be insurmountable odds and gain such lofty heights despite those disadvantages. So how do they do it? The first thing that all those people do to get into the winner’s circle and become champions is that they have to become “real contenders”.

To succeed in life, you need to become a real contender. Here's more about the mindset to adopt and how it relates to your financial health.

An Example Both Fictional and Real World

If you’re a movie buff, you probably love the ones about the guy or gal who overcomes all the odds. Remember “Rocky” the 1976 film (and then the 1979 and 1982 etc.)?  Currently numbering 7 films in the series, they not only entertain but they really do make you think about an underdog who makes it to the top. Rocky may not be a real character, but the star, Sylvester Stallone is a real life “Rocky” all by himself. After all, he was basically an unknown in Hollywood when he wrote, produced, directed, and starred in a film that no one ever expected to be a success, let alone become a historic franchise about good ole’ Rocky Balboa and whose stories have grossed over $1.3 billion dollars worldwide over the past 40 years! Continue reading

3 Shameful Financial Problems You Fear To Talk About

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.

Sometimes financial problems are embarrassing and we're afraid to share them with loved ones. But getting help is better than trying to work it out alone.

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

Frugal or Cheapskate… Am I Just Too Damned Cheap?

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?”

There's a difference between being frugal and being a cheapskate. It takes some self-reflection to determine which you are, and how you got that way.

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

If I Had a Million Dollars, I’d Spend It Like This

How many times have you thought about how you’d spend a million dollars if it were suddenly yours? Like a zillion times? And that was probably just this past week, right? So here’s my problem. I really want a million dollars and I’m tired of just wishing for it.

Have you ever wondered what you'd do with a million dollars? I've given it a thought or two (or more) and here's how I would spend it.

Getting a Million Dollars

Back in the 1990’s, one of the biggest hit songs was The Barenaked Ladies singing “If I Had a Million Dollars”. Imagine, they probably made a million dollars just singing about that. Kind of ironic, isn’t it? So simple and yet why didn’t any of us do it? Continue reading

Do You Suffer From Fruguility (Frugality Guilt)?

Being frugal is an ideal that an awful lot of people follow these days and that number seems to be growing all the time. And there’s a good reason for that: things are really expensive. I mean if you’re looking to buy clothes and accessories, housing and furniture, cars and travel, we have to fight our urges to spend too much or else we may end up with guilty feelings.

Frugality is an admirable goal, but if you don't control your spending, you end up feeling guilty. It's important to strike a balance with your money.

Frugality and Its Challenges

Being frugal, that is being economical or thrifty with your money and your purchases, is a very worthy goal. There are so many thing that we actually need in our lives to not only survive, but to have some degree of comfort and satisfaction, that we must trade our money for things. We just can’t help that. Food, a place to live, etc. are requirements. But the vast majority of us go way beyond what is required and find ourselves involved with the attractive “wants” in our lives that are just so damned tempting and expensive. Continue reading

The Best and the Worst of Being Financially Successful

Being highly motivated to take control of one’s personal finances is a good thing. I think we can all agree to that. The idea of making a practice of the right choices and decisions to provide well for yourself and your family—of being financially successful—is really an ingrained idea in our minds once we are old enough to understand the concept. Again I say good for those who do just that.

Being financially successful is an admirable goal, but how you achieve it counts for more than the goal itself. Here's the best and worst of it.

 

It isn’t easy to put your nose to the grindstone and work so hard that at times you think that you may have given up too much. It may be at that time that the thought of being financially independent or wildly wealthy gets you through your second thoughts about the sacrifices you might be making to become financially successful. Continue reading

Money Mindset: Success, Greed, and Your Soul

For the Love of Money

Over the past few months, I have been thinking an awful lot about the complexities and more “abstract” points about money and its place in my life (and yours too). Our money mindset, if you will. After all it’s really such a huge part of everyone’s life. Let me try my best to explain what it is that’s going through my mind. Perhaps you have thought similarly or maybe not. In any case, think just for a bit about the following and humor me.

When your money mindset becomes an obsession, it isn't healthy. Your peace of mind and success is about more than just money.

I’ve come to the conclusion that money is the most talked about and thought of subject in life, not today specifically, but in summation of all the days of our lives. We talk about earning it, spending it, saving it, giving it away, winning it, losing it, investing it, and wanting it. We think we need more of it, deserve it, and we are usually jealous of those who have lots of it. We dream about it, or perhaps have nightmares about it, we scheme about it and some even steal it. Money it so very important in our lives even though we know that there are many other things that we should devote just as much attention to everyday. Continue reading

Common Cents: Common Money Issues That Worry Me

Sometimes when I’m just not centered in the right mindset about my personal finance, I start to wander off on tangents about money issues I am facing and how to handle them. I know that I worry about them even though I now have a solid base in my financial plans. I am always completely honest in my approach to what has to be done and when to do it. And then it hits me. I am not alone in my worries about money nor am I alone in the many ways that are out there to deal with the money issues that I, and in fact all of us, face every day of the year. These are common problems we all have and we need the required common sense and money “cents” to solve them.

Common Cents: Common Money Issues That Worry Me

So let’s break it down.  Here’s a few of the issues that I think we all worry about and what we can do to help us get through them. Continue reading