Hope for your financial life and beyond

The Best Advice From God About Playing Video Games

I have a confession to make – I LOVE playing video games. In fact, even today at age 43 – I have to keep myself from playing them because it’s so easy for me to get sucked into their grasp. I can still play all day if I let myself go.

Technology propels society forward perhaps like nothing else. I came of age in a decade where the video game industry saw leaps and bounds like never before. I was seven in 1980 when perhaps the greatest video game of all time was released. Want to take a guess which game that was?

That’s right – Pac-Man.

But the 1980s saw even greater innovations that propelled the numbers of kids and adults playing video games to new heights.

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5 Tips for Negotiating Residential Rental Disputes

Nobody envisions a major conflict when they sign a lease, whether they’re the landlord or the tenant. The relationship always starts out with high hopes and positive feelings. However, it can quickly turn sour depending on how both parties act and communicate over the course of the living arrangement.

It’s in the landlords’ best interest to remain responsive to tenant complaints. It’s also in the renters’ best interest to obey the terms of the contract and notify ownership of any issues in a reasonable manner. Proper communication and understanding of situations is the best path to landlord-tenant harmony.

However, most likely disputes will arise. What are some courses of action landlords can take to negotiate residential rental disagreements and get back on track with business? Here are 5 suggestions that landlord and tenant can use.

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Want to Chase Your Dreams? This Is the Right Way to Win Big

I hope you have some big goals you are trying to reach. Setting the right type of goals is key for personal and professional growth. But have you adequately prepared for what is ahead as you chase your dreams?

Our family faced a situation several years ago when my wife was facing a professional identity crisis. She enjoyed teaching math to high school students and was quite good at it. Although she loved the students, teaching wasn’t leaving her personally and professionally fulfilled.

So we began to discuss a big goal for her – making a career change that would take her from classroom math teacher to CPA. Those initial discussions were exciting. But, they were also filled with some indecision, apprehension and a little fear about how to accomplish the task.

chase your dreamsThe point here isn’t to be a discouragement as you chase your dreams. By all means, find your passion and go for it. However, many people have a tendency to jump before they think. That’s a mistake. You have to plan for the drawbacks and unforeseen situations that will arise as you chase your dream. The better you can prepare for those ahead of time, the easier they will be to deal with when they come.

We faced our share of issues during my wife’s transition. The great thing is we dealt with them and she eventually reached her goal.

Could it have gone smoother? Absolutely! That’s why I’m sharing five hints today from our experience that I hope will help you chase your dreams and reach that goal. You have to think these things through ahead of time and know how to deal with them if you want to win big.

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8 Bible Verses About God’s Love You Should Never Forget

Ever wonder where our capacity to love actually comes from? It’s pretty clear that our ability to love is something that was given to us by God. In fact, the Bible verses about God’s love that I read tell me He is Himself the essence of love and has passed that on to us.

verses about God's loveGranted it’s not always easy loving others. Often times we choose to love others based on how they act towards us. But that’s not how it is with God.

God’s love towards us is unconditional. That means He loves us no matter what. We can’t do anything to reject, or bypass or disown His love. He can’t help it – love is part of His nature. He loves us – all of us – equally and without hesitation.

If you doubt that, just look at these verses about God’s love found in the Bible.

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Is Your Perspective On Life Limiting You?

Enjoy this guest post from Don who writes for Breath of Optimism, a personal development site that helps readers to be the best person they can be.

How do you see things in life?  Through a glass half empty or a glass half full? If you are one that tends to see the negative side of things, I urge you to change your ways as your perspective can be limiting you in life. Maybe you aren’t where you thought you would be because of how you view things. If you could change your perspective, you could see a great change in your life.

Every Situation Has Two Sides

In life, we tend to only focus on one side of the coin, either the positive side or the negative side. For whatever reason, most of us are wired to look at the negative. As such, we go through life always focusing on the negatives, finding fault in everything.

When we view life in the negative, we have added worry, stress and unhappiness in our life. But when we view life in the positive, we have little to no worries and we live each day to its fullest.

For me, I’ve been someone that tends to look at the bright side of life. I can remember a big decision I had to make at a young age that illustrates this perfectly.

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Should You Invest in the Stock Market During a Trump Administration?

Last week the stock market was setting all-time highs as the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed 20,000 for the first time. Since the close of trading on Nov. 4th, the market has raced ahead by over 2,200 points to where it stands today. Of course it remains to be seen whether this market can sustain the momentum or not under the leadership of our new President, Donald Trump.

stock marketJust typing that last sentence seems surreal, for people in both parties. We hardly could have imagined this two years ago. Whatever your political views, you have to give him credit for doing what no one thought possible. It’s something we haven’t seen in the history of our government.

President Trump is still an unknown quantity. By his own words, he is new to the political scene. We do not fully know how he will proceed with matters of national policy or foreign affairs because he doesn’t have a long track record for us to parse through. But we do know one thing about him. President Trump is a businessman through and through. He has done well for his family and the thousands of people he has employed.

Will this expertise be good for businesses across the country though? And will it translate into upward momentum in the stock market? Should you invest in the market during the Trump presidency, be it four or eight years? Let’s try to find out.

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3 Principles from the Bible that Will Help You Build Wealth

The following is a guest post from ESI who blogs at ESI Money. He’s a 50-something early retiree who has amassed a multi-million dollar net worth by following three simple steps to build wealth — earning, saving, and investing (ESI).

As most Christians know, the Bible has a wealth of information and advice about handling money and the ability to build wealth. The book of Proverbs alone provides enough guidance to fill many personal finance books.

build wealthOf course the Bible doesn’t focus on becoming wealthy for wealth’s sake, but to bless others. That said, if you apply the principles in the Bible, you can’t help but become wealthy.

Over the past 25 years I have applied three simple steps to become wealthy. At the same time, my knowledge of what the Bible says about money has grown. Somewhere along the way I realized that my actions mirrored what was in Scripture. And even better, as I changed my actions to better reflect the Bible’s teachings on money, I prospered even more.

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Should I Retire Early? – 9 Questions to Help You Decide

What do the numbers 61, 65 and 73 have in common? You might guess they are the home run records set during various Major League Baseball seasons by Roger Maris (1961), Mark McGwire (1999) and Barry Bonds (2001) respectively. However, for our purposes here those numbers represent peoples ages. Specifically, the age they may be looking at to mark the beginning of their retirement. In fact, we could also put in numbers like 55, 50 or even younger as even people at those ages are asking could I or should I retire early.

should i retire earlyLet’s just get this out of the way right at the beginning…clearly a person can retire at any age they choose. However, to receive full financial benefits from the Social Security Agency will require a person to work until a certain age (based on when they were born). For example, I was born after 1960, so full retirement age for me isn’t until age 67 according to the Social Security website.

I could begin to receive benefits as early as age 62. However, those benefits would come to me at a reduced rate. The calculation used by Social Security is based on the number of months once I retire until full retirement age is reached. In my case that would be 60 months if I retired at age 62.

Retiring early at age 62 sounds great. However, it would really cost me. It would turn a potential $1,000 benefit into only $700, a 30% reduction. $300 dollars a month would go a long way. The Social Security website has a great chart showing all the ages and reduction percentages.

So the choice to retire early isn’t a no brainer. In fact, there are many other things to account for aside from the financial considerations.

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Is Investing in Bitcoin a Good Idea?

Once Bitcoin was a blip on the radar. It emerged in 2009 as a trail-blazing digital currency that was created and held electronically. The purpose was to disrupt the ways we paid for things and exchanged funds.

It seemed as if its biggest proponents were a little ahead of themselves. We are living in an increasingly tech-centric world but the idea of an online currency that was essentially invented out of thin air taking over our financial systems always seemed far-fetched. Many believe it still does.

The question now isn’t whether Bitcoin can supplant conventional currency, but whether it can exist alongside it with enough value to be a worthwhile investment. This is the way more people seem to be looking at Bitcoin. This new outlook begs the bigger question: is investing in this pioneering cryptocurrency a good idea?

For those who might be interested here is a break down of some of the pros and cons.

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Always Plan a Budget Around These 5 Expenses First

The first time I sat down to plan a budget with my wife, we didn’t know where to start. There were literally dozens of expense categories popping into our head at once. The whole process seemed a bit overwhelming.

plan a budgetAt some point it dawned on us that we needed some clarity about the process. We needed to narrow the field and focus on certain priorities in the budget. By doing that, it became obvious what areas of the budget we needed to focus on first.

What we found was that there are five fundamental expenditures to focus on when you plan a budget. Without them, any person would have a difficult time surviving. Coincidentally, these categories will also be some of the most expensive budget items each month. Those two reasons alone – basic survival and cost – should justify why it’s important to start with them when you plan a budget each month.

Five Basic Categories When You Plan a Budget

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Simple Investment Strategies Everyone Can Try

Being wise with your money is easier said than done. Even if you are someone that excels at saving, it only takes one sudden emergency to drain out your account and force you to begin from scratch. While it can be disheartening to think about your financial future, it is also important to consider the ways that you can make more money.

Investing can seem like an overwhelming practice if you are not familiar with the intricacies of the industry. There are easy steps that you can begin with. Take a moment to look over some of these points on how you are able to invest in simple ways.

With enough research, and a bit of courage, you will be ready to get out there and start making your bank account look the way that you had always hoped it would.

Where to Start?

Often, most people are slow to enter the world of investments because it can come across as an area where you need a lot of money to see success. While it is always more helpful to invest with a large sum of cash, you can begin with any amount.

An easy way to start is opening an account tied to your checking account. You can usually set up an automatic transfer to your account on a regular schedule. Although this seems easy, not dipping into savings takes a decent amount of discipline.

If the temptation is too high, another option is to open an account at a different bank or credit union. It is a good idea to start your transfer amounts at a reasonable point and slowly increase how much money you are transferring over the course of time. This will help you to grow your investment fund in a healthy way.

Consider Your Retirement

One of the biggest investments you will make is how to save for your future.

Retirement might seem like it is in the distant future, but it will come much quicker than you anticipate. If you are not currently saving for your retirement, then you absolutely must start looking into the option now. When the company you work for offers retirement options and a 401(k), you need to be sure to take advantage of these opportunities.

If your employer offers matching contributions, be sure to contribute at least the amount offered. This matching contribution calculator can help you figure where to begin. You’ll be surprised at how significant the difference is when taking advantage of the contribution.

And it’s easy to set up automatic transfers into your retirement account through your employer—it’s deducted directly from your paycheck. When you do not have to actively worry about transferring funds, it becomes much easier to make a difference in your investments.

Educate Yourself

No one is able to make every financial decision alone. There are going to come moments on your investment path where you need the expertise of professionals.

The internet is a treasure trove of information from online courses at KhanAcademy to Fisher Investments review of finance books of finance books to real-time market information from MarketWatch. You can also search for relevant information shared by financial experts in order to get an idea of what you should do next.

If your circumstances warrant, you can even look for a qualified financial advisor.

There are many considerations for you to explore when saving for your future. Making smart investments is all about commitment. If you are commit to transferring your funds on a regular basis into a retirement account or investment account, then you will be putting yourself ahead of the curve.

Do your research and discover other useful ways for you to invest your money and you will be well on your way to financial security for your future.

Questions: What’s your best tip for someone looking to invest? What investing mistakes have you made and what did you learn from them?