5 Tips for Talking to Your Kids About the Family Finances

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The “Friday Five” features five items to help you in your journey to financial freedom. They might be 5 tips, 5 tricks, or just 5 ideas. In any case it’s Friday, so here we go!

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My parents never talked to my me or my Sister about our finances. To be fair, my Dad really didn’t talk to us about much of anything at all other than how terrible the Seahawks were (this was the early to mid 80s, and they were stupidly awful), his fleet of semi trucks, or the chores we still hadn’t done.

I’ll retract that statement almost immediately, because my Dad did talk to us about money. Here’s how it went:

“Hang on to that Sports Illustrated with Michael Jordan on the cover. That sucker is going to be worth money one day.”

“Hang on to that Bo Jackson rookie football card. That sucker is going to be worth money one day.”

“Hold on to that Coke bottle telephone. That sucker is going to be worth money one day.”

You know what my Dad never held on to?

Money.

I’m not bagging on my Dad at all. My Dad started a business at the age of 18, built it up and sold it in his 40s, then parlayed that into a business that grew in value in the millions before losing it all due to circumstances FAR beyond his control.

Now in his late 60s, my Dad owns several small businesses in my hometown and is a staple of his community.

That doesn’t mean he was necessarily good with money.

As a kid I never knew how we were doing financially. I saw my parents buying lots of things; spots cars, satellite dishes, pools, ATVs, etc., but I never really knew if we had money in savings, or if all of that junk was purchased on credit and we were teetering on the brink of financial collapse.

It’s understandable why they didn’t share any of this information with their kids. Their parents survived The Great Depression, and was a generation that tried to forget about finances in general, not discuss them openly. They sure as hell didn’t share with their kids during that generation, and so my parents never felt the need to be super open with us.

When our finances took a dump on our collective heads in January, my wife and I decided that we would start talking to our kids about finances. We did this not to freak them out or add stress to their lives, but because we wanted to start teaching them to be financially responsible so that they can hopefully avoid our mistakes and live a financially independent life of their own one day.

We’ve learned some valuable lessons about how to approach kids when it comes to discussing finances, especially if you’re in a bad way. Here are some of our favorites:Read More »

Potato Guns, Whiskey, and Regret – Camping In My Hometown

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The Thursday Think Tanks are semi-random thoughts that may not necessarily fall directly into the category of finances, but I still feel are worth sharing. Read at your own risk!

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I love to go camping. When I was young my parents used to take us to a 2 week long family reunion up in the mountain forest a couple of hours from my house. We’d spend the week playing in rivers and lakes, rafting, and cooking amazing food over an open fire pit.

Other times my Dad would just get a wild hair up his backside and decide that it seemed like a good weekend to take the camp trailer up into the woods and explore for a while. He’d call up several other families, and in a matter of minutes we’d be in our Chevy Blazer on the way to the market for ice, beer and hot dogs — an entire caravan of jacked up vehicles towing camp trailers behind us.

As an adult, I don’t get to camp as often as I do. We don’t have a camp trailer, and my wife isn’t fond of tent camping, so we just haven’t found a way to make it all click.

However on rare occasions, I travel back to my hometown and camp with old high school buddies. It’s usually two or three nights packed with games of horseshoe, music, and FAR TOO MUCH drinking.

One such trip resulted in a story that I will never forget…Read More »

Digging Out Blog: Some Key Milestones for the Blog

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Hi Everyone! Just a bit of a bonus post for this awesome Friday to celebrate some milestones for this blog, and to extend my heartfelt thank you for some of the awesome support I’ve received thus far. While the milestones achieved aren’t earth-shattering by any means, I’m pretty proud of them.

Before we get to numbers, I wanted to again thank everyone who has shared posts, posted links to the blog, or told friends about the blog. Please continue to share, because knowing that people might be getting some comfort or guidance from these posts is highly motivational for me, and will keep me chugging away!

I’ve got plans brewing for a possible podcast. For those of you who don’t know, I hosted a podcast for around 4 years, and I PROMISE if one comes to fruition I will make it highly entertaining. In fact, that’s frankly the delay, in that I’m not entirely sure I’d be able to keep a podcast of this nature from turning into a dry-mouthed slog fest that would bore the saddle off of a dead horse. Stay tuned!

Now about those numbers…

First of all, we hit 100 Followers today! I’d like to thank each and every one of you who have followed the blog, because it means you saw enough in my ramblings to want to read more of my ramblings. I really appreciate it, and if you’re reading this and you subscribe, it means you can tell all of your friends that you were one of the first hundred.

Note: If they stare back at you blankly or seem unimpressed, take that as a sign of  shear and total jealousy on their part and move on!

If you have yet to subscribe, it’s super easy! Just look for the “Follow this Blog” image in the right hand column. I don’t think the right column shows up for people on some mobile devices, so if you don’t see it, try visiting from a desktop device.

Next, we hit 1,000 Total Visitors! The blog is just over 2 months old, so this is pretty rad as well. Thanks for dropping by, and please continue to share the blog if you enjoy what you’re reading. I will keep posting if you keep reading, and that’s a promise!

We also broke 2,500 total Views, which is pretty damn cool. 2500 pairs of eyeballs (or single eyeballs in some cases I guess) have read words put into these posts. I hope it has helped some, and provided comfort for others. Know that it has helped me tremendously, both emotionally and in terms of the knowledge I have gained from comments and emails received.

Finally, we hit 250 Likes, which means that 1 in every 100 views gets a like. Which means that not many people enjoy what I write. Wait… what the hell? That’s like 1% of you. NOW WAIT JUST A MINUTE… THIS SUCKS. WHY DO I EVEN BOTHER?

Nah… all of these numbers are fantastic. I have no frame of reference to know if this is poor/good/moderate growth for a blog, but what I do know is that I’m personally really happy with the numbers. The blog continues to grow, and I continue to learn new things from all of you. It’s WIN WIN!

As a little bonus “THANK YOU!” of sorts, I assembled many of the little sketches I threw together for the tops of the posts over the past 2ish months. Hope you enjoy!

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Thanks again to everyone! Please continue to spread the word, keep digging, and have a fantastic weekend!

You folks rock!

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Thursday Think Tank: That Time I Went to an Animation Festival in France

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The Thursday Think Tanks are semi-random thoughts that may not necessarily fall directly into the category of finances, but I still feel are worth sharing. Read at your own risk!

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I’m a big animation fan. I love all animated films, whether 2D or 3D, and there was a time when being an Animator was all I wanted to do.

For me it started young. I loved traditionally animated Disney films, and while I can draw a decent comic strip or two, I didn’t have the chops to be a Disney Animator by any stretch. So I collected memorabilia, went to Disneyland as often as I could, and drew little comic strips on the side to get me by. Here is an example:

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I actually got pretty good at in, and wound up getting a low-tier syndication contract offered to me, but that’s a story for another time…

Back to animation!

When “Toy Story” came out, I knew I had found the solution to my problem. I didn’t have to draw perfectly, as long as I could understand animation principals as they applied to things like timing and movement, I could do this awesome thing that was sweeping the world by storm called, “Computer Animation!”

So I enrolled in night classes at an art school, and 3ish years later I was hired into my first gig as a professional Animator in games at Microsoft.

One of the perks of working for Microsoft back then was that I got to choose one festival a year to attend. For animation there are several, but I figured I’d shoot for the stars and ask if they’d pay for me to attend the Annecy Film Festival in Annecy, France. This yearly festival takes place in a sleepy little French town that snuggles up to the Alps. It’s a stunning location, and one that isn’t cheap to get to or attend.

To my utter shock and surprise, they agreed!

I didn’t have any other animators in my group, and so I didn’t really have anyone to go with. I also didn’t have much experience traveling abroad, other than a short trip or two to the UK. Both of these bits of information came into play almost immediately.Read More »

How to Break Into Videogames Using Only a Single Hole in Your Stomach

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The Thursday Think Tanks are semi-random thoughts that may not necessarily fall directly into the category of finances, but I still feel are worth sharing. Read at your own risk!

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Stick with this post even if you don’t give a rip about videogames. It gets crazy towards the end!

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I was a kid who loved videogames. Keep in mind that I was born in 1975, and videogames were new and fresh at the time. You were a pretty popular kid if you had an Atari 2600 or a Commodore 64. I was fortunate enough to have parents who were not only in the financial position to afford both, but also felt that it was a worthy spend of their dollars.

I’m going to try to not get too “videogamey” with this videogame post, but let me get this out of the way for reference…

After my Atari, I had an NES, an SNES, a Genesis (with SegaCD and 32x), a Saturn, a Jaguar, a 3DO, and on and on and on. Like I said, I was a kid who loved videogames.

At a certain point, my Mom was fed up with watching my eyeballs shrivel inside of their sockets as I stared at Mario and Sonic and Pacman for far too long each day, and so she started using the line that every kid dreads hearing:

“Go outside and stop wasting your life on those videogames. You’ll never make a living playing games!”

Being from a small rural farming town in the middle of nowhere, I can fully appreciate her perspective. When a family is surrounded by dirt and mud as far as the eye can see and has never had a male family member graduate from high school, saying your child was going to have a career in videogames probably sounded about as plausible as saying your child was going to build the first Pizza Hut on Mars.Read More »