Congress, American Culture, and Personal Financial Responsibility

With all the talk recently about deficit spending, the national debt, the need for a balanced budget amendment, and the western world operating largely on borrowed money, two things come to mind. This might be a good time to share my thoughts because there are lots of lessons for all of us who have concern about our financial condition – at home and on a broader scale. Congress is a Reflection of American Culture My first thought is that those in the U.S. Congress are largely a reflection of the “buy on credit and have debt around our neck” culture […] Read more »

Financial Planning for Retirement – Be Conservative, Responsible, Realistic, and be Successful

Not long ago I had the good fortune to gain insight with respect to one family’s financial planning that was centered around retirement. This had been a young couple with children, with both the husband and wife having lived through the Great Depression and bleak economic times surrounding World War II. Talk about a life lesson in stretching a dollar! What struck me as unusual was the constant focus, from the very beginning, on retirement and taking care of their children. It was unusual in a very good way. This couple knew that the future was coming. They knew that […] Read more »

Mortgage Free – Why This is Essential for Traditional Retirement

Who in their right mind would argue that being mortgage free is the only way to be if you expect to retire in some traditional way, with a house of your own? That would be me. As they say, "opinions vary" and "results vary." But, if you pay off the mortgage before you retire, that eliminates a large financial obligation essential for living - someplace to live. That's one of the big reasons it makes sense to me. From my vantage point, as an early self-retired individual, I see being 100% debt free as an essential part of having peace of mind when you retire, and I'm up on my soapbox to explain why. Gather 'round my financially fit friends and lend me your ears. Read more »

Media Deliberately Tries to Affect Our Personal Finances, so Here’s My Set of Defensive Measures

Photo Credit: beggs Today we’re getting deeper and deeper into a culture that is influenced by media, but thankfully it’s “selective media.” I don’t mean media that selectively reports things or gives you one side of the story. That’s nothing new at all. What I mean is viewers can be much more selective about what is watched, listened to, and read. With an ever-expanding selection of television programs, radio programs, print publications, and Internet websites, we have more to select from now than ever before. And, changes in the marketplace are reflected as more new choices. Large print media are […] Read more »

Teaching Kids About Money – Here’s What Helps

Photo Credit: Memory_Freak This is a guest post written by Clair Schwan. I can’t say that I have a lot of experience with kids, but I have a lot of experience with money, and part of my childhood involved what I thought was a good training program about the value of money and how it might best be handled. I had four of the best teachers I could possibly ask for – two grandparents who were young adults in the Great Depression, and two parents who grew up in it and struggled through the challenging economic times surrounding World War […] Read more »

A Contrarian View of Credit Reports and Credit Scores

Photo Credit: Adam_T4 Credit reports and credit scores are useful tools for those interested in estimating the credit worthiness of others. Many of us have worked hard to establish credit and keep our scores in the upper range so we’re viewed favorably. This indicates to others that we’re a good credit risk. It’s an important accomplishment because we know that having an undesirable credit rating can: adversely affect our ability to get a loan; result in being declined an offer of employment in certain job sectors; prevent us from qualifying as a tenant; and, interfere with being issued a security […] Read more »