Lending Money – Tips for Success

Some of us get into trouble by lending money to others. It's a common occurrence. We often see such requests coming from people who have trouble managing their own money, and we see it more often during challenging economic times. It can lead to uncomfortable situations between people, especially if you're not prepared. The trick is to have a plan to deal with the situation before it presents itself. When someone comes asking for money, you're better off if you're prepared to respond. Read more »

The Problem with Money – It Just Goes!!!

Whether it's a wad of currency in your pocket, a piece of plastic in your wallet, a jar full of coins, or paper checks in a checkbook, the main problem with money is it just goes! And, sometimes it goes quickly. Why is it that money seems to slip through our fingers so quickly? I believe the answer is found in the breadth of things one might spend money on. Whether it's a product, service, investment opportunity, real estate, housing, transportation, food, drink, or leisure activity, there is no end to the wide range of things that money can buy. And, the more money we have to spend in a discretionary manner, the more apt we are to make unwise and perhaps even reckless decisions. Read more »

Don’t Start Nothin’ Won’t Be Nothin’

The ability to make use of wisdom is often contingent upon our ability to identify with it. If we can identify with it, we'll feel much more comfortable about it because we'll have a better understanding of it. Often, this requires an emotional connection or a different perspective before an idea clicks with us. That's what I hoping to do, make something click. A dear late friend of mine, Deborah Hutchinson, used to say, "Don't start nothin', won't be nothin'." She usually reminded her friends and family of this when she perceived unwarranted criticism, teasing or harassment just around the corner. Often, just this gentle reminder would defuse a situation that could have easily led to regrets. Just the idea of the lasting consequences of getting something undesirable started was often enough to keep it from happening. It's a good thought to keep in mind, but that little bit of wisdom doesn't just apply to human interactions, it also applies to personal finance, especially the kind that can get you deep into debt. Let's take a look to see how we might apply this reminder in the financial arena to help avoid situations that could lead to regret. Read more »

The Other 99% Slogan

Several months ago I drove passed a home that had a large sign out in front that said, "We are the 99%." It was a curious sign, and I was tempted to ask what they meant by it. A month or so later I heard about occupy Wall Street and their 99% slogan, so I eventually figured out what that large sign was trying to convey. Great concept. After I started thinking about it, I remembered another 99% sign that I saw in a doctor's office. It read, "1% are misfortunate, the other 99% are misbehaving." Please excuse the misspelling in the slogan, but the point of the sign was to remind folks that whether they're trying to quit smoking, lose weight or make better choices in diet, there are roughly 1% who fail because of misfortune - the misfortunate - while the other 99% fail because they don't apply themselves in a deliberate manner - the misbehaving. Another great concept. Read more »

Weathering Economic Recessions – One Man’s Approach

Many of us are wondering when we’re going to punch our way out of this economic recession we’ve been wallowing in for the past five years or so. It’s anyone’s guess, but I’d say we’re going to be in it for quite a while, and perhaps it will get even worse, simply because so many of us only learn the hard way. It seems we insist on repeating failed behavior patterns largely because they’re what we know and are comfortable with. Failure to obtain different results by doing the same thing again and again apparently has no bearing on the matter; we do it anyway. Read more »

Staying Out of Debt – Ignore Your Wants and Respond to Your Needs

One of the biggest hoaxes we play on ourselves is seeing something we want and dressing it up as a need. If you asked people who are in debt to identify the single largest cause of their indebtedness, you'll probably learn that most people have spent excessive amounts of money on discretionary purchases instead of their needs. Getting what we desire is powerful, and we all want to feel powerful. The trick is not to be fooled by our desires, and find the power in being financially responsible. If we were to make a list of common discretionary spending, it would be a simple matter. Let's give it a try. Read more »

Financial Asset Management – A Different Perspective

Almost crayon level financial asset management

When it comes to my abilities in the arena of financial asset management, I don't consider myself to be more than a couple of notches above the crayon level. Although I've been free of debt for quite some time now, it's not because I'm a financial wizard, it's mostly because of my natural inclination to aim high and be financially conservative. If you listen to my sweetheart Ellen, she might also suggest that I have some sort of a crystal ball. Whatever the case may be, I'd like to offer a different perspective on wealth preservation in light of what I see as our ever-changing economic climate. I think you'll find much of this discussion to be applicable, regardless of where you might be in terms of debt. Read more »

Tough Financial Shape? Just Listen for the Call to Action

At one point or another, many us will recognize that we're in tough financial shape, and that becomes our call to action. We ought to be thankful we can hear the call when it comes, because for some of us, we don't "get off the dime" and act in our own best interest until it's absolutely necessary. And, some of us are financially hard of hearing. Recently, I've had the opportunity to peek in on the lives of others, through social media, and learn a little about their challenging financial conditions. I'd like to share some of my observations, and insights and suggestions, in an effort to get some value out on the table. I do this in the interest of helping others understand there are various indicators that we should recognize as a type of wake-up call. We ought to create insights regarding these indicators, and put them to work for us, so we sleep better at night. Read more »

Get Out of Debt – Focus on Big Chunks

Get out of debt by focusing on the big chunks

Okay, the term "big chunks" doesn't sound like it would appear in a magazine article or economics course textbook, but it should express the idea clearly for most of us; we need to focus on getting out from underneath those elements of our debt that are large and burdensome. In other words, the most serious of our concerns. Read more »

Stop Spending Money – It All Depends on Your Definition of STOP!

stop spending money

I've touched on the idea that our words influence our beliefs which in turn influence our actions. In this post, I want to discuss the words and actions of two couples who had trouble understanding that the word "stop" meant something other than quit, cease, end, discontinue, terminate, or bring to a halt. It's funny in a way. Who doesn't know what "stop" means - really, come on, you have to be kidding. How might you explain to law enforcement that the meaning of "stop" on that large red sign back there just wasn't abundantly clear in your mind? Read more »

It Adds Up – Financial Adages Help Us Learn from Others

I have a friend who likes to say, "It adds up." He says this when he's referring to saving a little money here and there. Well, of course it adds up, and when we're saving money, it seems to take forever to amount to anything appreciable. But, that's not the case when it comes to spending money, especially when we're buying things with a credit card. Read more »

Help the Needy – Not so Fast! Let’s do Some Thinking

help the needy

"Help the needy" is what we've learned since we were kids. But as Suzanne's recent post shows, sometimes our experiences as adults can cause us to rethink that well-worn expression. Who are the needy anyway? Sometimes it's hard to figure out. And, that's what can lead us to donate to a cause, lend money, forgive debts, and help others who have projected themselves to us as being in need. Read more »