Moving From Two Incomes to One

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My wife made the call to her principal last week. “I’ve decided to take a few years off work.”

After a 30 second phone call it started to become real. We were officially moving from two incomes to one.

As a tenured middle school teacher in a good school district, this decision did not come easy. There were many discussions in our home leading up to this moment. We went out to dinner a few weeks back. Kicked back a few drinks and discussed the pros and cons.

If possible I’d love to be the one to take a few years off. However, we’re not in position yet where we could live off just her salary. My wife went back to work a few weeks ago to finish out the current school year. I was fortunate to be able to defer some of my paternity leave until she went back. For two weeks I had the opportunity to drop our pre-schooler off every day, then my new little buddy and I ran all around town together. It was both exhausting and rewarding. I loved every minute of it and am glad my wife will have the opportunity to do the same during the next several years. Continue reading “Moving From Two Incomes to One”

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”

Overcome Fear by Asking One Simple Question

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Overcoming Fear

I have struggled with fear my whole life. I’m not sure where I picked it up. Maybe it’s something that is hard wired in me. If fact, I think fear is hard wired in many of us. Those who have overcome fear have had to work really hard at it. Up until my mid to late 20s I believed that failure under any circumstances was unacceptable. This limited my willingness to take reasonable risks in life, weather personal or professional.

One of the great things about reading books and blogs is you get to learn from the life experiences of others. A common theme emerged once I started reading about successful individuals. Almost all had gone through at least one significant failure in their lives. While this is common knowledge to me now, I was mind blown at the time. How did I not realize this?

Famous Failures

There are so many famous failure examples. Thomas Edison was once told by a teacher that he was “too stupid to learn”. Oprah was fired from her first TV job. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Imagine if these individuals would have given up and quit. How many people destined for greatness actually have given up and quit in the face of failure?

My change in attitude towards failure occurred right around the time I started taking an interest in personal finance in 2011. Coincidence? Probably not. I’m sure there was overlap as I started reading more books and listening to podcasts on related topics. Continue reading “Overcome Fear by Asking One Simple Question”