Tag: Giving

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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Kindness

On Kindness

Did you know that the incidence of psychopathy in CEOs is 4 times that of the general population? Apparently a lack of empathy and kindness is great material for climbing the ladder all the way to the top!

I’m a firm believer that your selfish vs. altruistic mindsets are firmly cemented the more actions you make. For example, if we spend all of our working years actively chasing early retirement and choosing not to give (after all, one donation could mean 2 weeks/months/years more work!), we’re not going to one day wake up and decide the time is right to start giving. On the flip side, if we get into the habit now of charitable giving, it will become a habit and doing good with money won’t be difficult later.

Just as I think giving money is a habit, kindness is also a habit. Kindness may not make you rich, but it will definitely enrich your journey. Today, I want to make a case for being kind. There is enough rhetoric in the world about how to be cut-throat, ruthless, step on the little guy to get a leg-up, and not looking down on your way to the top. The world doesn’t need more of that. And if that’s the requirement for being successful, I’m happy to be a failure.

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non-financial goals

An Update on 2016 Goals

Usually people catch up with a mid-year review in June or July… you know, mid-year!? But here we are, mid-August, and I think it’s time for a check-in. School started Monday for the kiddos, so it feels like a good time to re-evaluate and figure out what needs to happen in the next 4 months.

As I’ve mentioned in the past two plan updates, the financial goals may come up a bit shy. I talk extensively about that monthly, so today’s focus is on the non-financial goals I set in January:

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Peanut Butter Ball Inflation

With all the numbers we ran last week in the formulations of our new plans, I was reminded just how long is really left in our journey. I’m impatient by nature and would like to retire yesterday! As I made a batch of peanut butter balls, I realized the journey is worth it. The recipe for peanut butter balls comes from my great aunt, Joanie, who always knew that delicious candy could make the world a better place. These tiny bits of heaven are simple to make, but take quite a bit of time. After the peanut butter center is mixed, it has to be rolled into balls and chilled before dipping each one in chocolate. As I carefully rolled and dipped a batch recently, I started thinking about all the parallels to personal finance (geek alert!):

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how much we spend

How Much We Spend

This week, we’re doing an in-depth look at numbers and we’re kicking it off by taking a good, hard look at how much we spend. Annual expenditures are really the magical number needed to retire. We’re getting real (with charts!) and taking a look at 2013, 2014, and 2015. First up, 2013:

2013 Expenses

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Financial Ethics

Money is an interesting thing. While it is an amazing tool to help you reach your dreams, it is also the root of suicide, homicide, divorce, and family divisions. If you want to bring out the absolute worst in people, buy them a winning lottery ticket. It turns out winning the lottery is a horrible thing for most people. Money makes us crazy. 

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The Index Card Challenge: My Submission

Recently, Adam Chudy issued a challenge for several bloggers to condense all of their financial advice onto a single index card. It was a fascinating idea and I loved reading through them. Go check out the index card challenge entries if you haven’t already.

First of all, here is my entry. It’s a lot less technical than others’ advice (and includes a lot more color. Yay markers!), but I’m a firm believer that if you get the right mentality in place, you’ll be able to figure out the details because you’ll care enough to do so.

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Align Your Budget: Financial Date Night

One of the most important things for maintaining good finances in marriage is a plan that includes differences. Making a financial plan together is important, but it’s also important to consider that you are two different people and this will require a good discussion about priorities and compromising on what you find most important. Things also change as time goes on. This discussion needs to happen frequently.

Mr. T and I have always been good at making sure we’re on the same page. I do sometimes worry, however, as the outspoken one around here, that maybe he’s just going along with what I say because I say it (he’s a man of few words). Since this year we embarked on our plan to reach early retirement and we’re also approaching our tenth wedding anniversary, I’ve been looking for a new way to discuss priorities and finances as a couple.

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Darkness Cannot Drive Out Darkness

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Last week, Mr. T stopped by the library on his way home from work. Because of construction, the outdoor book drops were unavailable and he had to run in to return some things. He locked his bike, ran in and returned the books, and came out to find his bike was gone. In five minutes, someone had taken his bike and he was stranded at the library. (They were kind enough to leave him his water bottle.) Mr. T said the worst part was that he was only gone for such a short time. Because he mostly processes these things silently, I know he’s upset about it, but has moved on to “It’s Okay.”

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