Planning Your Financial Independence Day

It’s July and Americans are getting ready to celebrate Independence Day on July 4th! It’s a day with fireworks, great food, and gathering your loved ones together to appreciate all the good things we have here in the US and pay homage to it. Despite the headlines, we still know that this is the land of opportunity and we feel lucky to be a part of it. And so we celebrate our country’s independence. But have you ever thought about celebrating your financial independence day?

Planning Your Financial Indpendence Day

Financial independence (or FI as it’s known) isn’t a dollar amount you accumulate but rather a date that you have or will set for your financial freedom. Most of us think of it as a retirement date, simply because it will take some time to reach the goals for your independence. For some people it can come early in life, just ask Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. But for the rest of us, it’s a longer term goal and we get to it with good plans and habits. It’s what we want and look forward to, isn’t it? So let’s plan it right now: your financial independence day can come before retirement!Continue reading“Planning Your Financial Independence Day”

Abundance, Zucchini Fritters, and Pear Cake

A few weeks ago, in my roadmap to happiness, I mentioned knowing what is enough for you. In our consumer society, we always seem to want more and have a difficult time “settling” for what we already have. But having gratitude that we have enough—enough to eat, a place to live, health care when we need it, family and friends—can make us rich beyond our wildest dreams.

Abundance, Zucchini Fritters, and Pear Cake


I was reminded of this wealth during the past few days. My wife Suzanne volunteers at a food bank, and the clients there don’t always have enough. It is difficult to see people struggling for basic needs. Thankfully the food bank is able to provide them with a considerable amount of food. The donations they receive provide not only canned and boxed goods, but fresh bread, dairy, and produce as well as frozen meats. Of course when you have perishable goods, it can be a challenge to manage the inventory with the demand before they spoil. And that is why last week we received the unexpected abundance of a case of zucchini, several pounds of carrots, and a case of ripe pears.Continue reading“Abundance, Zucchini Fritters, and Pear Cake”

Are You Wasting Your Money?

In this day and age, perhaps more than ever, spending your money wisely is essential to keeping you and your family financially healthy. If you’re like me, you probably plan a budget and think about your big purchases long and hard before you spend any hard-earned money. You probably don’t think you waste your money, but sometimes our everyday habits leak money without our even realizing it.

Are You Wasting Your Money?

Are you wasting money? Take a look at this list to figure out what ways your money may be disappearing right out of your pocket.Continue reading“Are You Wasting Your Money?”

OMG, I Can’t Pay My Bills!

Maybe you’re in your twenties and you’ve been out and about enjoying life. You socialize with your friends most nights and you finally got that apartment you always wanted even though it cost just a little more than you wanted to pay. You have a job, but it’s not the one you really wanted. It’s a paycheck and some experience, but you really want something better. And now this…you realize that you just can’t pay all your expenses each month and you’re in big trouble! Trust me on this: you’re not alone. Many young people (and even not so young people) start out with the idea that everything will just fall into place once they’re on their own. They’re all about the fun of independence, their first apartment and job, and what seems to be a great adventure with sunshine and happiness ahead. But, the reality is you never had to manage your own money before. Mom and Dad probably helped you quite a bit and if a shortfall ever arose, well they put a bandaid on it with a loan or a gift. There’s nothing to be ashamed of here. It’s part of growing up and now that you are an adult, you need to figure it out on your own!

OMG I Can't Pay My Bills

So you can’t pay your bills…what can you do?Continue reading“OMG, I Can’t Pay My Bills!”

The Simple Truth About Retailers’ Integrity

After 40+ years of working in the retail world, and even more years as an astute shopper, I think I know that the intention of almost every retail establishment is very clear. Their goals are very simple. They want to make a profit (yes, it’s not a dirty word!) and to make you a happy, satisfied customer so that you will return again and tell your friends to do the same. There are “rules” to be followed in many cases (they’re also known as consumer protection laws), but mostly it’s a common sense approach to resolving issues and shopping mistakes.

The Simple Truth About Retailers' Integrity

As upfront as that sounds, things do occur that can prevent such simple goals from being achieved. What happens in reality often leaves a bad taste in the shopper’s mouth and prevents the goal of mutual satisfaction from occurring. Why? Well again, it’s not complicated. Sometimes an honest mistake is made by a store and its employees. Other times, it’s the chain of command and the retail staff feels the need to protect the store from being taken advantage of by customers (and that does happen sometimes), which can lead to tension and customers leaving unhappy. Here are some real life situations I’ve experienced and what I did to resolve them from both sides of the shopping transaction.Continue reading“The Simple Truth About Retailers’ Integrity”

Save on Energy Costs and Save Our Planet Too

Now that summer is upon us, and the days are getting warmer and warmer, the air conditioning is already starting to crank up. That’s why it’s that time again to look at ways to save money off your monthly utility bills.

Save on Energy Costs and Save Our Planet Too

I know saving on energy costs isn’t the sexiest money saving technique, but it can never be a bad idea to remind us all that we spend an ever-increasing amount on our utilities and appliances that “burn” our dollars almost constantly. In addition, saving energy will help in saving our planet by using less, polluting less, and keeping our own personal carbon footprint on the smaller side. That’s important to me and my personal philosophy to do so for the benefit of future generations.Continue reading“Save on Energy Costs and Save Our Planet Too”

Invest Like You’re Cooking Barbecue

Many people don’t know a lot about investing, and so they’re afraid to start. This can have a significant impact on your retirement savings and the growth of your wealth. Learning the basics of investing isn’t that difficult, and in fact, it’s a bit like cooking good barbecue. What? Yes, you read that right. Before you write me off as crazy, follow along and I’ll explain how a good basic investing strategy is like cooking good barbecue (with the disclaimer that I’m neither a barbecue nor an investment expert). Invest Like You're Cooking Barbecue   Despite my northern roots, I love good barbecue just as much as the next person. Brisket, ribs, pork butt, chicken…it’s all good. So last week, when the country pork ribs were on sale at the supermarket, I picked up a few pounds and my mouth started to water for dinnertime to arrive. While they were cooking, I had time to think over the process and how similar it can be to investing, and so here I present for your reading consumption: how to invest like you’re cooking barbecue.Continue reading“Invest Like You’re Cooking Barbecue”

5 Smart Money Choices for New Grads

We all have decisions we make every day and we seem to survive just fine with the vast majority of them, even when we are young or inexperienced. We can usually decide how to spend our free time and what to have for lunch and dinner without much difficulty, despite the number of choices out there. There’s very little stress involved and any choice we make won’t affect our lives too much (barring some foolish behaviors like excess drinking or drug use).

5 Smart Money Choices for New Grads

But when it comes to financial matters and money choices, it’s a whole different ballgame. These decisions can be very tough, especially for new college graduates who have little or no experience in making them, and can cause heavy-duty, brain-busting stress. Especially because the money habits we start as young adults can have benefits, or consequences, far into our futures.Continue reading“5 Smart Money Choices for New Grads”