“Factoring in commuting time and the additional labor of managing a household without a stay-at-home spouse, Americans have never been so busy, nor simplicity so elusive.” David Yount

Attributed to Mark Twain “…work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.” David Yount 
 
“Work is for man, not man for work.” David Yount

“Your purpose in life may be exemplified in the context of your work or in your attitude rather than in the job itself.” David Yount
 
”Unfortunately we so identify ourselves (and value ourselves) by our daily routines that we feel uneasy with any break
in them.” David Yount
 
“Avoidance of risk is the greatest risk of all.” Henry Cloud
 
“Successful people do not hang on to bad stuff for long.” Henry Cloud

Listen to your heart’s desire (dig it up), eliminate negative forces (pull the tooth), choose the future by acting well in the present (play the movie, e.g., where will this take me?), take action and responsibility (do something!), take small steps to victory (act like an ant), hate the right things in the right way (hate well), give back better than you are given(don’t play fair), don’t have a need to be more than you are (be humble), don’t make decisions based on fear of others’ reactions (upset the right people).  Great ideas from 9 Things You Simply MUST DO by Henry Cloud
 
 
We'd love to hear your personal success story about winning with money.  Whether a small win or huge win, it's all good!  Please share your feat to encourage others to keep going at it!
 
 
My great grandfathers had fame for all I know,
Though I met them but once or twice,
A few old pictures are all that remain,
In a box in the shed with the mice

My grandfathers I saw more frequently,
And for me they always took time,
Still I can see their smiling faces,
Etched in this memory of mine

When I was nine or ten one grandfather died,
Then we moved far away,
By the time I saw the other one again,
He could not remember my name

My father the hard worker and little league coach,
Always early to rise, coffee, newspaper,
Who can forget the morning singing,
And how wherever he went, a friend maker?

My father still there when I was grown,
Always stopped by to make sure all is well,
No matter the next town or two states away,
Through ten feet of snow is the story I’ll tell

My life somehow now more busy than ever,
And my visits home ever more tardy,
My father pushing ninety and quietly sitting,
No longer the life of the party

I dread the day when my father is gone,
The last of the generation before,
He will be remembered the rest of my life,
And his memory the grandkids will adore

Soon I’ll be the old man at the family reunions,
My great grandkids to meet once or twice,
And after a few short years, all that I have done,
In a box in the shed with the mice

--Daniel Minteer
 
 
One of THE biggest money mistakes you can make is financing a new car.  Just who has tricked us into thinking that the standard way to live is to have one or two nice newer rigs with matching payments?  Now don’t get us wrong; there’s nothing necessarily faulty with buying a new vehicle - IF you can afford to pay cash for it.

So this is the simple rule for not squandering your future over vehicles along the way:  Only buy as much car as you have the cash to part with.  If that is a new car, great.  But if you can only afford to pay cash for a ten year old minivan, then be humble enough to accept that.

It’s all about living on way less than you make so you can save for your future.  Better to be teased over your faded minivan than keep giving a whole bunch of your money to the bank year after year for something that ends up in a junk yard.  Why let the bank take your future from you?
 
 
How many stories have you heard about people retiring then dying not long afterwards?  So sometimes people wonder why they should bother with all this money planning just to have it a little better when they retire when there’s no guarantee how long they’ll be able to enjoy it anyway. 

Well, here’s the thing.  Your planning with money can really give a lot of the benefit right now.  This is a true story.

My wife and I clawed our way out of debt in two years after selling virtually everything we owned.  With no debt (except the mortgage) we felt we could work any job we wanted.  But neither of us wanted to quit our job, just cut down on hours so we’d have more time together, for family, and for other interests.

So we both contacted our employers and asked if we could work less hours.  With no debt you can do this with the confidence that if you REALLY want to work less hours then you’ll move on if your employer won’t accommodate.  We were both pleasantly surprised to find out that we could indeed change our working relationship with our employers and work less hours.  Sure, this cost us money but now we had more TIME.

In my case, some of this extra time translated into writing a few rock and roll guitar tunes (my lifelong love).  After making demo recordings of them, my wife (somewhat impressed with what I’d accomplished one afternoon, something called
Spoiked) encouraged me to write a whole album worth of songs and record them.  Since we had no debt I now had both the time and money to make this happen.  And I did.  And some pretty good stuff came out of it – music I’d be proud to share with others, and enjoy playing and listening to for the rest of my life!  That was such a fun experience.  But it would have been very difficult to do while still a total slave to my job and the banks.

So…retirement smirement!  You don’t need to wait until then to enjoy the fruits of financial planning and sacrifice.  You’ll be able to pursue your lifelong interests NOW with the time and money to make them a reality!  Come on, do it!  It feels great.  What are your dreams?
 
 
Should you buy a vacation home with your siblings?

In some cultures multiple generations live together in the same household, sharing chores such as child care, cleaning, cooking AND sharing finances.  Did you get that last part?  It’s an efficient way for everyone to pool resources and get the most bang for the buck.  Families may be emotionally closer (than in our culture) due to the living arrangements.  And we would bet that feuding is dealt with differently.  It’s harder to go “independent.”  In these same cultures, families often work and share business ventures together too.

But in mainstream America we definitely have the independent attitude.  Our family structure and finances are strongly influenced by it.  Our lives are a lot more separated, as are our wallets.  So the real question here is, with families being independent as they are in our culture, should finances be mixed in any way - as in investing money in something together?

Finances should be totally “mixed” for married couples without a doubt.  But other than that it is not a good idea to “go in” with a family member (whether parents, kids, siblings, cousins, or in-laws) for investments of any kind, whether a business, land, home, vacation home or even a timeshare.  But if you have money you don’t mind losing, and truly won’t have hard feelings against the family members who didn’t put in their fair share of effort before the stuff hit the fan, then go ahead and invest away!  Otherwise, consider these two big reasons not to invest money with family.

First, when a family member has a financial hardship (which is a given) and needs some cash, they’re probably going to want to get that cash from selling their share of the investment that you all went in on together.  The problem is, unless others are well off financially (which probably is NOT the case – otherwise you wouldn’t have pooled your money together), they won’t be able to buy you out.  And that is when the resentments will start.  Family get-togethers and Thanksgiving dinners will never be the same.

The second problem in this independent, lawsuit-happy culture is...well, you can guess the possible outcome scenarios.  You never think a family will go to court against each other, but it is more common than you might think.  Here’s a truth:  When people are broke and desperate and money is on the line, they can get ugly - even with family.  We’ve seen it over and over.  That’s the last thing any family needs!

Please…don’t chance ruining relationships with your family all because you bought something together that none of you could afford to buy.  Instead, you can all go on vacations together, stay in seedy motels, enjoy sub-standard cleaning and lumpy pillows and still have a lot more fun!
 
 
We know how expensive it is to go to college, especially if you have a family and other financial obligations.  But that’s still no excuse to go overboard with student loans.  Here’s what we think about sinking into debt with student loans.

Don’t pick an expensive school if you have to borrow money.  If you HAVE to borrow money for college, then pick the most financially affording school.  The truth is, with few exceptions the school you attend will have little impact on what you learn, the job you get or how much you will make when you graduate.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s all about the school.  It’s not.  Instead t’s all about what you get out of it and your personal motivation.  Employers won’t care as much about the school as they do your character and the fact that you have the degree.

Don’t borrow money for college just so you don’t have to work while you’re getting your degree.  If you can’t do school with only minimal loans throughout (or better yet, none!), then you need to work more, sell a lot of your stuff, and/or live cheaper.  You, the student, may have to work full-time and go to school.  You are correct - that will be no fun (or worse).  But neither is debt that never seems to go away, even in a bankruptcy.

Most student loans will not go away in a bankruptcy.  You’ll be stuck with those for life.  Is the savings in interest rates really worth the added risk?  If you simply must borrow money for school, then get it through some other means than traditional student loans.  The interest rate may be higher but there is way less RISK to your financial future.

If you do borrow money you’ll be tempted to defer payments for awhile after you graduate from college.  After all, you’ll be wanting other things – like to buy a house, some fancy new vehicles and other toys.  Deferring your student loans is another big financial mistake though.  Don’t do it.  The interest will just keep on compounding and adding to the amount owed.  Think about it – years of interest just added right on to the amount due.  Can you really afford that?

If you can’t afford to pay back your student loans right away (as in a year or two, maximum, after graduating) then you really can’t afford to get them in the first place.

So, to recap: DO pick an affordable school, do work while you go to school and “pay as you go” no matter if it takes a few years longer, and if you get loans for school do pay them back within a year or two maximum after graduating.

DON’T pick a fancy school just because it would be “cool” to go there or for some other snob factor, don’t be a student only (work too), if you get loans don’t get “student loans” but some other type of loan, and if you get loans don’t defer loan payments after you graduate.
 
 
We pretty much give it all to Caesar (the government) until April or May or beyond each year, right?  So here’s a thought.  Be a ceaser instead!  Stop paying so much.  We’re not saying to quit paying taxes.  Just quit paying more than you have to.

Here’s a trick that we wish we learned many years ago because it could have saved us a bundle on taxes.  This isn’t talked about a lot.  But it got us thinking, hmm…

If you give money to charities or other causes that are tax deductible and/or have other deductions (such as mortgage interest, property tax, other taxes) that are sufficient enough to push you from taking a standard deduction on your tax return to itemizing these things, then here it is.

After you have given/paid these tax deductible things throughout the year, if you have the extra cash then give/pay next year’s items too in December.  In fact, plan to have the extra cash to do this.  That way when you file your taxes you’ll have a whole heap more tax deductible items.

Then the following year, take the standard deduction.  Since you will have given/paid most or all of that year’s items the previous December, it’s likely that the standard deduction will be by far greater than whatever tax deductible items are left for that year. 

Get it?  You itemize one year and take the standard deduction the next.  Then itemize the next, standard deduction the next and so on.  The years you itemize you always do two years’ worth of deductible giving, interest, and taxes if you can.

But do the math first.  Plan it all out to determine just what the savings will be.  Yes, it will require some not-so-fun digging through your tax records.  But you really could save thousands for your efforts.  Once you figure it out the first time and have a plan, it will be relatively easy after that.

Just think of the possibilities of not giving it all to the government.  Maybe some causes near and dear to your heart can benefit instead.
 
 
Still in the red
Feeling quite blue
Your money still leaving
Your sanity too

So come to your senses
Get out of debt
Your banker won’t thank you
Your wife will I bet

Hope on horizon
Growing your stash
Your life getting grand
Even better with cash

Still in the red
Your neighbor blue too
A thump on their head
May be all you can do

(see video version)
 
 
A few years ago, as my wife Deborah was driving home from work she got rear-ended on extremely icy roads just a few blocks from home.  Luckily she was not seriously injured.  But her loyal friend “Red” was totaled, though it didn’t necessary look like it should be.  Because the roof and rear side panels were all one section, the cost of repairing the damage exceeded the book value for the then nine year old car.

It was not a good time to lose Red.  We didn’t have the money to go buy another car.  Besides, she was paid for and in superb condition.  Deborah had bought it new and had taken excellent care of it.  Red still looked like new inside and out and had relatively low miles as well, so there was lots of life left.  We knew it would be difficult to go out and buy that much car for what we might get from the insurance.

But here’s the kicker.  The car was not damaged so terribly that our friend mechanic couldn’t bang out the rear corner and replace the tale light assembly for about $400.  The car was valued at about $4900 and after we bought it back from the insurance company for $500 and paid our mechanical friend, we had a perfectly functional car and $4000 in our pocket.  We just had to live with the big, crinkled, rusty pimple on the back of the car.

We drove that car for another five years.  First, it was part of our “get out of debt” plan, then our “pay off the house” plan.  After that, at forty miles per gallon we just loved it.  Good thing I have a wife who wasn’t too proud to keep driving banged up ol’ Red around.  What a good reliable friend she turned out to be.  Deborah is pretty good too.
 

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    Get out of debt, I dare ya!
    Boiled down money goo guru, Dan

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