We’re spending the Christmas holiday in Hawaii, so we will be taking a virtual break until the New Year when we will return on Monday, January 4 with a December plan update. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season with family and friends and spend time on what is the most important. Also, I had another post planned about some little-known facts about reindeer, but Mental Floss beat me to it, so I recommend checking that out. Also, we were interviewed over at Even Steven Money so go check us out there!
Month: December 2015 Page 1 of 2
Yesterday, my dad drove up to his office with his briefcase in hand, went in through the back door, met with clients as usual, and when the day was done, he walked away forever. He hadn’t planned to retire for another 5 years, but someone offered to buy his small business earlier this year, so he did some calculations. He realized that if he carried the loan on the business and charged a low interest rate, the person buying the business would be happy with the low rate, and my dad could use the loan payments to retire five years earlier than planned. I’ve known about this for nearly six months and have had several thoughts since hearing the news. Here are a few of those thoughts:
2015 was the year of the Energy-improving house updates. I’m happy to tell you that WE’RE DONE with the Alaska Energy Rebate Program! It was an exhausting year doing nearly all of the work ourselves, but we’re proud of how much work it was. The hot water heater was the biggest project, but we managed to not blow up the house while rerouting gas piping, so that’s a major bonus! The windows were an ordeal as well, but not nearly as difficult as we thought they would be. Blowing insulation into the attic was the quickest and easiest of all the projects.
FLASHBACK: I’m eight years old. My mom and sister and I decided to be in the community production of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” I was a baby angel. Adorable, I know. We had rehearsals/performances every evening Monday-Saturday through Christmas Eve. It was fun and festive and everything always felt so Christmassy! But what about my dad? He couldn’t be in the play with us because rehearsals started before he was done with work. He came to several performances, but mostly, he was left to fend for himself most evenings leading up to Christmas. Christmas is about families and he missed us. Christmas morning arrived and we were all together. My sister and I came running down the stairs and saw the biggest load of presents around the tree I’ve ever seen! It turns out my dad spent his evenings buying us stuff… lots of stuff… to make up for not being with us. As the stuff pile grew taller and the wrapping paper pile got more out of hand, my mom got a bit tense. The following year my mom made a sweeping declaration: this wasn’t going to happen again.
Today, we’re going to return to the basics of finances. There is nothing new in this post, so if you’re already well on your journey to financial independence, you’re dismissed for class today. However, if you’re overwhelmed with the amount of awesome financial information out there, you’ve decided you want to be financially awesome, and you just want someone to tell you where to start, this is the post for you. If you’re in college or about to get your first job, you need to read about how simple your path to financial awesomeness really is before you do anything else.
Here are the basic steps to take to be a financially awesome person:
This post is part of a larger series of Personal Finance Messages in popular culture. Follow along on Twitter: #PFMessages.
A common story line in many well-known tales, especially those targeted to children, is the rags to riches story. At the beginning, there is a poor (usually a) girl that is kind and has hope despite her horrid circumstances. She then overcomes great odds to end up wealthy and happy at the end of the story (by circumstance, not by work), all the while remembering to be kind. These stories provide the message that hope and kindness are rewarded with wealth.
Yesterday, I finished the ice skating class I took at the university. My final included me performing a routine to “Shut Up and Dance With Me” (best song ever, by the way). Yes, I know, you wish you could have been there. But let me tell you that I was the worst one in the class. Don’t think I’m being humble. I’m just being honest. I’m a terrible ice skater. My final routine included mainly skating forward, doing one turn, and stopping while skating. The teacher told me to skip the other stuff. I did fall down in the first two seconds, but then I got up and did the rest pretty well.
Who are the first people you think of when I say “successful person”? Chances are, you think of the famous people: Steve Jobs, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Phelps, Tom Hanks, Adele, etc. Maybe you’ll swing back around to including a relative that isn’t so obviously successful, but more likely, you’ll think about the big names first. There is an endless amount of resources telling you about the habits, routines, diets, and life hacks of “highly successful people” so you can mimic them and be successful too. You’ll even find amazing stories of the failures of successful people that they overcame before they succeeded. But let me focus on the obvious element to success that we hear a lot: Successful people dream big.
When you set out on a bike ride, you may get out elaborate maps, check for construction updates, and chart an exact path from beginning to end. Or, you may hop on your bike and start riding. There are benefits to both approaches. However, if you choose to just start riding, you may have a great ride, but you’ll never get anywhere.
I took a film class where a whole section was on the American Dream. We talked about how, in film (and other mediums), the American dream is represented by a working father, children, a cute house with a yard and a white picket fence. Even after identifying those symbols and how they are a ridiculous representation of the American Dream, I still had those ideas ingrained in me as the symbols of success.