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Northern Expressions

Northern Expressions: The Right Investments

Investments in marriage, family, and success at work are almost certain to pay off.

Happy Friday, friends!

Today’s Northern Expression comes from Helaine Olen & Harold Pollack in The Index Card:

Your time is valuable. Your happiness and economic security depend on your marriage, your family, your success at work and in your relationships. Investments in those areas are almost certain to pay off.

Every choice you make with your money or your time is an investment. If you invest too much time into something, you inevitably neglect another. Make sure your life asset allocations align with your priorities.

It’s possible to be economically secure AND happy. This balance requires prioritizing. You vote for your priorities with your time and your money. Vote wisely.

Love, Maggie

The future is full of hope

The Future is Full of HOPE

We’re going to start off with a little riddle:

A father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies instantly, and the son is taken to the nearest hospital. The doctor comes in and exclaims ‘I can’t operate on this boy!’
‘Why not?’ the nurse asks.
‘Because he’s my son,’ the doctor responds.
How is this possible?

An old one, for sure. Do you remember the first time you heard it? I do! I was still a kid. Of course the answer is “The doctor is the boy’s mother.” Duh. And I remember saying: “Oh duh! (probably with a forehead-to-the-hand smack)” but I totally didn’t get the answer. It was, indeed, a riddle. You could blame this on my upbringing, except I was raised by incredible, feminist parents that instilled very young that I could do anything I wanted to do even though I was a girl. So, I’m blaming society as a whole. We knew women could be doctors. We even knew some female docs, but they were usually male.

This week, I told this riddle to my children.

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November 2016 Plan Update

November 2016 Plan Update

What a roller coaster of a month! I’m happy to report that things are going great inside the Stock house. The kids are at great stages right now and our house feels very merry and bright! Outside our little house and in the big, big world, I can’t say I feel quite as safe and happy. The hate is coming out of the closets and seemingly taking over the world. It’s important to be kind and as Mr. Rogers said:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’

(Mister Rogers has always been my favorite!)

This Christmas season, we’re making an increased effort to be those helpers!

This month is BIG for the blog. Coming soon: we have a very exciting Christmas post that’s definitely out of the ordinary. (Mr. T and I spent hours putting it together and you’ll LOVE IT. I promise!) In two weeks, I’m introducing something BIG and I’m super excited about it… details coming Monday, December 19th! YAY YAY YAY YAY! Ahem. Okay… what you came here for…

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Making the Most of Missed Opportunities

Roth IRA Challenge: Making the Most of Missed Opportunities

I can’t express how excited I am to have Ms. Our Next Life on the blog today. She blogs over at Our Next Life and has one of the best, most grounded, reassuring perspectives on the journey to early retirement out there! Seriously, if you’re not already a fan of Our Next Life, it’s time to figure out what all the buzz is about! Go! On top of that, though we’ve never actually met in person (yet!), she’s one of my real friends and I’m delighted to feature her and a bit of her journey here today…

Before we dive in, I just have to share with you guys that Maggie is one of our very favorite humans in PF blogland. She will never tell you herself how awesome she is, but it’s true. I’m especially grateful for her friendship and support since our blogs were both baby blogs – and, of course, all the Clueless GIFs. So needless to say, I’m thrilled to be here.

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Is it Time to Quit Your Job?

Is it Time to Quit Your Job?

In the book Born for This by Chris Guillebeau, he recommends setting a date to resign from your job each year. On that date, you commit to resigning if your job is not the best fit. This exercise forces you to re-evaluate every year with an ultimatum. Are you miserable? This is quitting day! Things going great? Reset the calendar reminder for next year and carry on.

What if?

Many advocate that if you prepare for the absolute worst case scenario, you’ll get over your fear. So, what if you lost your job tomorrow? What is the worst that could happen? Your family goes hungry. You lose your house. Jobs are scarce. Keep the thought experiment going. What would you actually do?

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The Privilege of Being Santa

The Privilege of Being Santa

Thanksgiving has been devoured and that is the official start of the Christmas season in the Banks house. My kids are dancing to Christmas music and throwing stuffed snowmen back and forth as I type this. And they look forward to the coming of Santa Claus, as most children do.

Santa is Magic

As an adult, I tear up a bit when I’m talking about Santa Claus. For me, Santa is the embodiment of what I wish the world could do all the time. Santa is a worldwide agreement that for one night, everyone will help make the world a magical, wonderful place. When my kids ask me if Santa is real, my response will be: “We have the power to create magic and Santa is the perfect example. The actual person named Santa does not exist, but he exists everywhere and now you get to be a part of the surprise and help create that magic for your younger siblings and for others!”

In Alaska, Santa is VERY REAL. We have been to his house in North Pole (a pretty elaborate gift shop).

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Grateful Money Amounts

Grateful Money Amounts

I enjoyed the Halloween tweet-storm so much, I decided to do a Thanksgiving version. I asked people to give me one amount of money they are grateful for in 2016:

I thought about this a lot myself before tweeting it out and have an answer that fits in a variety of categories. For each category, I add my own answer and the Twitter responses I got that fit in that category as well.

Experiences

My $276 amount to see the second ever showing of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child would fit in this category. It was an amazing, historic experience.

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A Grateful Year in Review

A Grateful Year-in-Review

In preparation for Thanksgiving this year, we’re going to do a practical gratitude exercise. This is Thanksgiving week. (YAY!) Think about where you were last year at this time: how old were your kids? who was with you Thanksgiving week? where were you? what were you working on? what things were you wishing you were doing better?

Do not focus on the negative. Life happens. Maybe this year had a lot of bad things happen. Now is not the time to talk about those.

Focus on the growth. Pick (at least) 2 things that are better this year than last year.

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Max it out, no excuses!

Roth IRA Challenge: Max it Out! No Excuses!

Today, Ms. Montana is here to take the Roth IRA Challenge. She writes over at Montana Money Adventures and is currently in the middle of a year-long family sabbatical! Not only did Ms. Montana take the Roth IRA Challenge, she has annihilated the challenge! Remember how we’re failing on maxing out our Roth IRAs this year? What’s our excuse? Well, uh… Yeah. Now read all of the setbacks the Montana Family had. After this, I hope your resolve for 2017 is much greater (mine is!). Take it away Ms. Montana…

Mr. Mt and I wasted nearly 3 years before we started maxing out our Roth IRA. There were other things we felt needed taken care of first. Credit card debt.  Emergency fund. Student loan debt. Medical debt. Yeah, we had a lot of debt. $50,000 to be exact.

But now I regret that.

While it sounded smart at the time to tackle the high interest rate, urgent stuff first, in reality there will always be something “urgent” to put that money towards. There is no need to speculate what those things could have been for us. Here is a recap of all 14 years we have been married and all the things that could have prevented us from saving for retirement. You know, till later.

Excuses from before we started.

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Coloring Your Finances

Coloring Your Finances

Today we’re going to have a little drawing lesson. Don’t worry, even my 2-year-old can do this! For the purposes of this lesson, color=money!

*Special thanks to Mr. T for drawing our awesome moose-piggy bank for this demonstration!*

Coloring Your Spending

When you spend money, stay within the lines

When you spend money, you should “stay within the lines.” Only spend money that is actually in your moose bank. Think about this picture.

If you wanted to get the money out, you would have to break the moose bank (awwww… but he’s so cute!). Think of this cute moose every time you go to spend money. Does that mean you should never spend money? NO! But before you spend money from your cute moose bank, you need to get into the habit of pausing and thinking about it first.

Is this purchase worth breaking this cute little moose face? Ask yourself does this spending align with my goals? If it does, break that little moose face and go for it, but don’t spend more than is in there… looking at the picture, that isn’t possible, right? There’s no other money anywhere. Remember this. It’s really that simple. If the money isn’t in the moose, you can’t spend it!

Coloring Your Savings

When you save money, spread the color all over the place

Savings breaks all conventional rules. There’s no need to “stay in the lines.” The most important thing is to save. You want lots of color!

Imagine just dumping the color all over. Will some of it end up in your moose bank? Yes! Will some of it end up in emergency funds, retirement funds, brokerage funds, etc. Yes! We can argue about the nitty gritty details about which moose bank needs which colors, but that’s not important. Pour that color!

Until you increase the amount of color on your savings picture, you don’t need to worry about the details. If you’re pouring color, you’re moving in the right direction.

Mr. Moose Bank Says: “Stay in the lines for your spending, go crazy on your savings!”

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