Three Funerals in Eight Days: Why Don’t We Live Life to the Fullest?

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Funerals have a way of making us think differently about life. They can be a strange combination of heartbreaking yet inspiring. Funerals give us a chance to step back from the day-to-day grind and reflect on what’s truly important in life.

I’ve often left funerals feeling inspired to make changes in my life to be more present, invest in relationships, and help others. Each of the three funerals that I’ve attended recently had a common theme to “live life to the fullest”. This can be a strong message when you (me) may not being doing so. Life is short, and sometimes it takes a swift kick to the gut to get us to realize this truth.

Three funerals in Eight Days

All three funerals were for individuals in different stages of life taken for different reasons. All were heartbreaking in their own way.

  • A young man who took his own life.
  • A sweet woman with medical complications
  • A mother of two young children with aggressive cancer

Continue reading “Three Funerals in Eight Days: Why Don’t We Live Life to the Fullest?”

How We’re Teaching Our Preschooler About Money

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Financial Literacy Month

With April being Financial Literacy Month, I wanted to share a few things we’re doing to teach our preschooler about money. These techniques are not new or groundbreaking, though already seem to be having a small impact after only a few months. I could go on about the benefits of financial literacy in general. It needs to be taught more in schools. And if schools aren’t going to make it a priority, then it’s up to us parents to ensure our kids grow up to be smart with money.

Our children will likely grow up much better off than me or my wife when we were younger. With all the positives that come with their situation, there are some negatives as well such as a lack of appreciation and entitlement. I want to give my kids a great life, but don’t want to spoil them. That’s why we’re trying to get an early start to teach financial literacy in our house. The following are a few examples of how we’re teaching our three year old about money.

Spending, Saving, and Giving

A few months ago we started paying our three year old a commission of five dollars per week to complete four chores every day. The chores include making his bed, feeding the cats, picking up his toys in the living room, and cleaning his room. Every day that he doesn’t complete a chore he is supposed to lose one dollar. Continue reading “How We’re Teaching Our Preschooler About Money”

Review of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University

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Financial Peace University

After following the Dave Ramsey baby steps for nearly seven years, my wife and I decided to take the Financial Peace University (FPU) course through our church. We completed our final lesson a few weeks ago (mid-March 2018).

We were introduced to the concept of becoming debt free from Dave Ramsey in 2011 by reading the Total Money Makeover. Even though we have been on this debt pay down journey for years it was refreshing to go back to the basics in Financial Peace University and see first hand how other people react to Dave’s philosophy.

Dave Ramsey has been more successful than just about anyone to encourage a diverse audience to eliminate debt and live a more purposeful life. There have been many conversations in the personal finance community about how to better reach the low to moderate income population. My suggestion would be to start with Financial Peace University. Dave is effective in rolling out basic personal finance principles such as budgeting in an inspiring way.

Dave uses a seven step approach to eliminate debt known as the baby steps.¬†Once you become debt free (baby step 2) and save up a three-to-six month emergency fund (baby step 3), people can usually start moving to more advanced personal finance guidance. For example, in baby step 6 the goal is to pay off the mortgage. Even though we have decided to pay off our mortgage, the same may not be best for others depending on an individual’s unique set of circumstances (my opinion, not Dave’s).

What is Financial Peace University?

Financial Peace University is an interactive 9 week course facilitated primarily by weekly videos featuring Dave Ramsey. While you can purchase the course material and take it on your own, I’d highly recommend seeking out a small group to go through the course together. The real magic of the course comes through the small group discussions which also creates accountability. It’s similar to the Weight Watchers approach¬† that creates a small community of individuals who hold each other accountable. After all, personal finance and weight management has similarities. The overall concepts are simple but the actual doing is hard. Continue reading “Review of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University”

Be Inspired to Leave a Legacy

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Leave a Legacy

Earlier this month we were blessed with the most perfect baby girl. Having spent many hours just staring at her has me thinking about what life may be like for her and her older brother when they grow up. I’m sure my thoughts are similar to most new parents.

Will they be more like their mom or me?

Are they going to hate me when they are a teenager?

How do I keep them on the right path in life?

And maybe the most important question, how do we leave a legacy for my kids and future generations?

To leave a legacy can mean different things to different people. For some of us it means raising happy, healthy, faithful, and successful children. For others it could mean making a lasting impact on an organization or cause. Regardless of our family situation, I believe we all have a desire deep down to leave our footprint in this world and make it a little better place after we’re gone.

I can’t help to think how lucky my children are to grow up in a family where we hopefully won’t have to struggle with money. At the same time, I question where the line should be drawn so they have to learn some money lessons the hard way. Nobody wants to raise little spoiled brats. The goal will be to instill strong financial principles they can carry over into adulthood. Continue reading “Be Inspired to Leave a Legacy”

Early Career Benefits of a 9 to 5

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The Benefits of a 9 to 5

Escaping the 9 to 5 job is a fantasy for many individuals in pursuit of financial independence. Many do not want to waste away in a cubicle staring at spreadsheets all day. And really, who can blame them? Why would you want to work for someone else’s dream when you can work for your own? If working for yourself is a dream of yours down then road this article will share a few advantages of starting your career at a 9 to 5.

Many organizations are starting to offer flexibility to align the traditional 9 to 5 with the up-and-coming gig economy. Organizations are realizing that millennials, who now make up the majority of the workforce, like to work differently than previous generations. Organizations who adapt to the changing desires of the workforce will be more successful in the long run simply by attracting top talent. Millennials tend to favor flexibility and purpose over job security and even money.

With that being said there are still many organizations where the 9 to 5 hasn’t yet adapted to the new generations. Regardless, there are several benefits that may make that 9 to 5 job worthwhile, especially early in your career.

Growth and Development Opportunities

There is a huge difference in the person I am now compared to 11 years ago when entering the workforce. Much of my growth during the past nearly 11 years can be attributed to on-the-job experience.

I came out of graduate school as a timid and inexperienced person with much to learn. A few of the skills I have developed over the past 10 years include: Continue reading “Early Career Benefits of a 9 to 5”