The Toxicity Caused by Today's Politics

I stay away from these issues on my blog, but the climate has become toxic and something needs to be change.

I recently visited relatives in another state. This was days after the midterm elections were over and done with, but many campaign signs still remained visible.  

The first one to catch my eye was for county sheriff.  The incumbent won; Many people I spoke to voted for him. Their decision was solely based on his position on gun control; Not whether crime went down, or he cleaned-up the streets. His effect on crime rate apparently had no bearing on the opinion of many voters.

Another one that piqued my interest was one for a congressional hopeful.  It seemed that the only thing many knew said candidate was their opinion on abortion. Not much more about their platform; not that they could tell me.

These topics have been hot-button issues for quite some time and were usually deciding factors, discriminators so to speak, but as of now it seems that these are the only issues that matt…

My Solitary Journey Towards Financial Freedom

One morning I woke up and realized it, so I just packed up my stuff and moved out.  It was over; she knew it and so did I.  Hit me like ton bricks;  no fight, just a long and deafening silence.

If I had to pay someone else’s mortgage, at least help with it, then it would be family. So I moved into the unfinished and long forgotten apartment. Finished it up and all parties ended up quite happy. They now had rental property and I had a place to live at a very reasonable, actually below market rate.

The time to put my needs first, ahead of others' wants had finally arrived. I was not becoming selfish or  irresponsible; I simply prioritized and really got on track.

Working 40+ years so that I could finally retire had always seemed rather pointless.

I had started contributing the maximum allowed by the IRS into my 401K and soon thereafter learned that I could actually retire at the age of 59 ½ and start withdrawing from the plan without incurring any penalties. That became my goal. To not …

Get Started, One Step At A Time

When we finally decide to manage our financial situation  and get out of debt we often feel lost, or how to get started. There are so many things to consider. Most of us cannot tackle them all simultaneously. Many end up putting it off and never actually get started.  Just like walking, one foot in front of the other.

You can accomplish your goals by attacking one task at a time.  

Erasing credit card debt, paying off your car early, taking on a 15 year mortgage instead of paying it off in 30 are not easy tasks and may even seem unachievable, but paying off one credit card or adding an extra $50 into your savings account this month are achievable goals.

Create a budget. This is your starting point whether your goal is to achieve financial freedom, saving for the down-payment on a house, funding your retirement or simply becoming debt free.

This is accomplished by listing all your income. Take into account every dollar that comes in. Then list all your expenses. Do not forget to include t…

Stop Throwing Your Money in the Trash

There are many ways we needlessly throw away our hard earned money. Whether it is because you only live once or I will never get to do this again mentality it is not a good idea. We may not know better.  

Sometimes we don't even realize it. We can avoid this from happening. These steps may not seem like much, and are fairly simple, over time you will see how the savings add up.  

This is not about depriving oneself of anything, only modifying spending habits and changing the mindset. Completing just some may be good enough.
Forget the corner coffee shop with the “fancy” coffee you drink every morning, drop it. That one cup of coffee can set you back $4. If you buy one every weekday, you spend more than $1,000 a year. Some don’t just buy coffee; the muffin or scone is a must. This is real and it is worse than you may think. Read on and see for yourself. Brew your coffee at home instead and add flavored creamer if you must.
Replace the single-serve plastic water bottles with a reusable…

3 Cautionary Tales, The Sad Money Stories

These are all real. The names have not been changed to protect the not so financially savvy. We all know someone who is in this situation, maybe in it ourselves. Quite easy to fall into the trap.  Not so easy to get out.

Carlos and the Mini Mansion
About 15 years ago my friend Carlos received a promotion  and a very nice raise came along with it, so he bought a bigger house. He did what many of us do: run to the bank with the pay stub and ask "how much can I get?"  He bought as much house as the bank said he could! A beautiful four bedroom, three bathroom house with a huge backyard. He lives in a gated complex within a larger gated community where he pays two separate maintenance/security fees.
His only son is away at college and will soon get married. Carlos and his wife are now empty nesters and have no wish or opportunity to have more children.  They have that huge house all to themselves.
The complex has tennis courts, a large swimming pool and many other amenities that e…

We Should All Have A Credit Card

Whenever we turn the TV on, open up a magazine or visit the internet we get bombarded, or so it seems, by credit card offers. They are everywhere and they are relentless in the pursuit of new clients.  
My mother took out a small loan early last year, and she started to receive one or two credit card offers every week. Same with my son soon after he applied to college.
Credit card usage is today seen as a negative by many. Some belive in only having one in case of emergencies and others do not believe in having any at all. To recommend using one has become almost irresponsible almost evil advice.
Using a credit card to buy things you can't afford or even need is certainly not smart and somewhat irresponsible. The interest charges can pile up over time. Why do you think minimum payments exist? Finance charges and the compounding interest add up.
There are also pluses to using credit cards and zero, yes no drawbacks when used correctly.  I believe in smartly using credit cards. Oth…