The Biggest, Most Foolish Financial Mistake I Ever Made!

If you’re anything like the typical guy or gal, you have stumbled into a few financial mistakes with your money over the years. It happens to an awful lot of people, usually when they are younger and less experienced in such matters. But have you ever made a big, dumb, crazy, stupid money decision that cost you thousands of dollars? One that you are mortified to tell people just how bad that decision was?

Everyone makes mistakes, but when I was younger I made a huge, foolish financial mistake. Those can be hard to recover from but it's important to move on.

Guilty! I have a real doozy in my financial past, and I am going public today to share it in detail with all of you. Not even my mother knew about this one, it was so personal and embarrassing that I just couldn’t tell her when it happened, or ever. The only person who knew how dumb and silly my actions were was the other person involved and my wife. Or should I say my ex-wife…hmmm, could there be some kind of connection there? Continue reading

6 Types Of Debts You Can’t Kick Out In Bankruptcy

Please welcome Stacy Barbee from Oak View Law Group for today’s guest post on debts you can’t discharge in bankruptcy.

“Today, certain people file for bankruptcy, business and individuals, and it no longer has the stigma it once had. Now it’s almost considered wise, a way to regroup and come back again.” – David Dinkins, former mayor of New York City


Bankruptcy, a popular debt solution, allows you to pay most debts and make a fresh financial start. But, there are a few kinds of debts that aren’t dischargeable. This means you can’t get rid of a few kinds of debts in bankruptcy. If you’re planning to file bankruptcy (especially without getting any help from an attorney), then it’s important to know about the debts that aren’t dischargeable. Otherwise, you might apply for bankruptcy unnecessarily and end up wasting time and money.

There are many types of debt that can be discharged through bankruptcy, but before you consider filing, you should know which types cannot be discharged.

Debts That Can’t Be Discharged

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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

Budgeting: The Ups and Downs and All Arounds

January 1st is over, so unfortunately it’s right back to reality. While the celebrating was fun and well deserved after a long year, it is back to basics at our house. What is most basic for us, and for that matter anyone else, is budgeting.

When budgeting, you have to deal with the annuals ups and downs the affect your income and expenses. Check out our budgetary changes for this coming year.

We hashed out our budget plan for 2017 in December, and we are set now to dig in and make this year a winner in what really is a war. Why do I say that? Just look at some of the stats and you’ll quickly see that for a huge number of us, our finances and economic wellbeing has suffered from a lack of personal income growth and increases in many of the basic costs of living. Continue reading

Financial Security for Women: Closing the Gender Wage Gap #WMWeek17

This week, January 1-7 2017, is National Women’s Money Week #WMWeek17 and there is no better time to learn about, discuss, and attempt to correct the disadvantages that women face in the world of personal finance and in their own financial future. I think we are all quite familiar with what is known as the gender wage gap, the fact that women earn less than 80% of what men do. Equal pay for equal work is an ongoing struggle that is making just small inroads at best. You may be surprised to learn that the wage gap itself is just the tip of the financial iceberg that hinders women and their abilities, and potential for financial security and independence. The vast majority of adults in poverty in America today are women.

 For National Women's Money Week, we take a look at the gender wage gap, what causes it, and more importantly what can be done to close it.

What causes the gender wage gap?

There are several reasons why women, even in the 21st century, are facing roadblocks to financial security and there is more to it than systemic sexism and discrimination (which certainly play a large role). Let’s look at a few issues first that are influencing women and their continued lack of financial equality in the workforce which hinders their overall financial wellbeing: Continue reading

Resolved: 2017 Is Going to Be My Best Year Ever!

This Sunday, it finally arrives. Out with the old and in with the new! Welcome to 2017. The year 2016 was, if nothing else, a year that will go down as very interesting. For a lot of us though it’s one we may like to just forget about entirely and try to move on.

Like everyone else, I plan to make new year's resolutions for 2017. Here's how to stay focused and accomplish your goals, not lose sight of them.

New Year’s Resolutions

Every year that I can ever remember, I always start out with the idea that things in the new year are going to be great. I mean, it’s a clean slate, isn’t it?  I think we all feel that way whether we verbalize it or not. It’s even in the images we see about the new year like when the beautiful little baby comes into the picture and the old man creeps off as the image of the passage of time drifts in our heads. And so it goes, we begin to think about some of things we’d like to change about “last year” and we make our resolutions and our goals for the new one. It’s the go-to move that we all seem to practice. It’s the time when we take that opportunity that can allow you to recharge yourself and plan for success. Continue reading

A Sweet Year Ahead Could Cost You a Fortune!

Good news. The world keeps right on spinning. That may be it when it comes to the good news! I see some very cloudy skies ahead in some of the most important categories of our everyday lives. We might have to brace for what I’m going to call the “reign storm” that may start to darken some of the financial skies beginning right now, about 3 weeks ahead of Inauguration Day 2017.

While some food costs actually decreased in 2016, we're looking at rising prices in 2017 driven by increasing vanilla extract cost.

For one, we just saw the interest rate hike that has brought mortgage rates to a level higher than it has been in the past several years, and there is more of that coming in 2017. I’m used to the ever changing things that are just part of life and that I have to adjust to every year. I said used to, but I’m not always happy about them. I guess that’s because I can actually remember the days, for example, when oh, I wasn’t put on hold for 45 minutes when I called someplace on the phone and then was told that “my call is very important and that they are experiencing a high volume of calls today”, just coincidently anytime I call! Continue reading

Gratitude & Kindness All Year Long

Being so close to our winter holidays, I’ve decided today to diverge from my usual financial topics to write about something closer to the heart: gratitude and kindness.

The holiday season tends to fly by in a rush each year, and then suddenly, before you can say “hot cocoa”, the holidays are here. Traditions and holiday moments can slow things down a bit, and so can moments of gratitude and kindness to friends and strangers.  But overall, the holiday season moves too quickly and in a flash, the winter doldrums takes its place.

As we approach the holidays, gratitude and kindness are in the spirit of the season. It's important to keep those going all year long.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Well, I mean the holiday season will still fly by, but once the holidays have passed doesn’t mean we need to let go of the joy. In fact, I’d highly recommend you take advantage of that age-old tradition of making new years resolutions (except replace resolutions with goals) to make sure that the rest of the year is as merry and bright. Continue reading

Our 5 Big Personal Finance Goals for 2017

I have to admit, there are a lot of times when I write about personal finance that I tend to leave out the “personal” parts. I talk about things that others should be doing and I just skip over what my wife and I should be doing about our own finances. Well, the fact is that I’d like to tell you that I’m just so darn good at this that I don’t need to improve, but I can’t lie! We have a lot of areas we can and want to change. There, I said it. Improvement only begins when you are being real and honest about your situation. Remember that please.

It's important to review your financial progress for the year, and make new goals for the coming year. Here are 5 of our personal finance goals for 2017.

Every year at this time, Suzanne and I sit down and talk about the upcoming year, and the financial goals we want to set for ourselves. It’s something we have been doing since we first married 10 years ago and it’s one of the big reasons that we’ve been pretty good with our money issues. I have always believed that planning ahead is the first step in achieving your goals and with finances, it is essential. Continue reading

Credit: How to Improve Your Credit Score and Rating

Here’s a simple fact. Your credit score is one of the most valuable assets that you possess. If you are the one in 10 million that rolls around in cash and that doesn’t ever or won’t ever need to have credit, congratulations! But while the 1% bathes in their pile of cash, the rest of us need to watch our credit. You see, to be real, you can never take for granted your credit score. It is always a big part of your life even when you don’t think it is. I’ll explain.

Credit can affect your interest rates, insurance costs, rental prospects, and even your job. Learn how to improve your credit score and maintain it.

To begin, your credit score is like your transcripts from school. It is a history, a report of your responsibility and track record of how you handle your finances just like your transcripts indicate your skills at academic endeavors. If you don’t have one, it is like applying for work and having no high school or college diploma. And if you do have one, it will follow you around either like a weight around your neck or like a life preserver to help make things safer and easier. A potential employer or landlord might check yours and it all has to do with what you have done, do, and will do! Continue reading