The Idea of an Economic Recession Makes Me Gassy

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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 nervous person by nature. I don’t think most people who meet me get that impression, as outwardly I think I come off as pretty self-assured and confident. Yet when it comes to things like playing my guitar in front of people, giving presentations at work, or speaking at conferences, I am a MESS on the inside. I’ve had a fair amount of experience in all of those situations, and yet every time I get insanely nervous!

When I get nervous, my stomach has a tendency to gurgle and bubble. Part of it stems from an old surgery I had on my small intestines many years ago, but the way it manifests is by bubbling and fizzing so loudly that it’s easy for people in the same room I’m in to hear it.

I’ve been in particularly stressful work meetings before where the presenter has had to stop and ask, “Dave, do you need us to take a break so that you can grab a snack or something?” thinking it was stomach loudly growling out in hunger. I usually don’t have the heart to tell them it’s not hunger, but the impending sense of doom I’m currently feeling. No sense in two gurgling stomachs in the room.

Another key area that affects this condition is stress over finances. In the time since we came to terms with our financial shortcomings, I have had many nights where my stomach sounds like a stinky bog “glorping” and “blooping” outside of a witch’s window as she dines away on small children. It usually really kicks in as I am laying next to my wife in bed, trying to shut my super-chatty brain off, as she is also attempting to fall asleep. This elicits one of the following responses:

“You’re thinking about finances again, aren’t you?”

“What has you stressed out now?”

“Things are going to be fine.”

“That thing won’t quit. Can you please go sleep in the guest bedroom?”

Over the last month or two, things have gone smoother as we’ve got our finances back on the right track, and as a result I’ve spent less nights in the guest bedroom. This is great, because the guest bedroom tends to be where our largest house spiders seem to congregate at some kind of giant-hairy-house-spider-key-party, which makes my stress levels rise, which makes my stomach gurgle so much that it prevents me sleeping due to the sound of the walls rattling. I hate spiders.

Seriously. I f*cking hate them.Read More »

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 »

Tuesday Tip Jar: Get Your Kids Excited About Investing

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Welcome to another “Tuesday Tip Jar” where I will share awesome savings and financial tips as I find them. I might not have something for you every Tuesday, but when I do, you’ll find it here!

If you’ve got a financial tip you think others would benefit from, please send it to me via my contact page at the top of the blog!

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My Dad spent every penny he earned.  If he earned 10 bucks, he spent 10 bucks. If he earned 1,000, he spent 1,000. If he earned 10,000…

You get the idea.

My in-laws are similar. They didn’t put any money into savings for most of their adult life, and struggled to make ends meet for many years.

So my wife and I were raised with that mindset, and thus spent many years ignoring savings, living for the moment, and in general being pretty silly with our income. The result is a mountain of debt, this blog, and a promise to ourselves that we will break this cycle with our kids.

My kids don’t get allowance. We’ve always been of the mindset that their allowance comes in the form of friends staying over and eating our food, them going to movies, us renting movies at home, vacations, and all of that sort of stuff. They do chores, but we explain to them that it’s all just part of being in this family, and working alongside mom and dad to keep things in order.

What we have done extensively however is helped them to hustle. They sell things in yard sales, on Facebook, or via side ventures, and they make a fair amount of money that way. My son just recently self-funded the purchase of a iPhone (a generation or two old), and some AirPods. Hell even I don’t have AirPods!

The agreement we have made with them however is when it comes to saving and investing. Our formula for them works like this:Read More »

Tuesday Tip Jar: An App for Teaching Your Kids to Invest

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Welcome to another “Tuesday Tip Jar” where I will share awesome savings and financial tips as I find them. I might not have something for you every Tuesday, but when I do, you’ll find it here!

If you’ve got a financial tip you think others would benefit from, please send it to me via my contact page at the top of the blog!

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Quick Tip Jar Follow-Up: A few weeks back I posted about a government run service that allowed you to search for and reclaim lost money. At the time I was somewhat skeptical, but today I got two checks in the mail for both of my claims!

So if you’re in need of a bit of extra cash (or even if you aren’t), go read that post and find out if you have missing money owed to you. All the credit goes to David Bach and his readers for turning me on to this rad site!

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Today’s “tip” is going to be a bit odd in that I haven’t actually even fully tried it out to see if it works yet as well as I hope it will. Here’s the story:

Part of the lesson my wife and I have learned being in debt is that we never want our children to find themselves in this kind of situation. While the goal is to be able to help them financially one day if needed, we’d very much prefer to instead just simply teach them how to never need help!

Part of this lesson comes in the form of teaching them to invest their money, and so I’ve been on the hunt for a good investment app that frankly skews a bit towards kids. Now obviously kids can’t go around buying stock in Starbucks or Tesla, and they need a parent or some other adult to do it for them. So you need what is called a “Custodial Account” where an adult buys the stock for the kid and helps them build a portfolio, and then when the kid turns 18, they get the investments turned over to them.

Kind of like the nerdiest beer purchase for underage kids of all time.

But not all apps allow for this, and the ones that do are often so dry that your average kid isn’t going to be interested in paying attention to their cold design. So I started asking around and doing some research, and it shook out to 3 frontrunners…

Read More »

Tuesday Tip Jar: Robinhood Investment App

Welcome to another “Tuesday Tip Jar” where I will share awesome savings and financial tips as I find them. I might not have something for you every Tuesday, but when I do, you’ll find it here!

Starting Credit Card Debt (01.01.19): $126,310.77
Current Credit Card Debt: $109,070.87
Total Paid Off: $17,239.90
Income Going to Savings: 2%

When people ask me what two skills on this planet I am probably the worst at, my answer is as follows:

  1. Investing Money
  2. Archery

So I figure it only makes sense that my favorite app for investing money is one named after a fabled deadeye archer, Robin Hood.Read More »