Hope for your financial life and beyond

How to Pass the CPA Exam On the First Try

Earlier this year, I wrote a post about how to tackle a huge looming project. Back in the summer of 2012 I was dealing with the biggest professional project of my life – studying for the CPA Exam. I’m happy to say that I now have my CPA license because I learned how to pass the CPA exam on the first try. Today I’m going to show you what I did.

Learning How to Pass the CPA Exam

how to pass the cpa examI read a ton about the CPA Exam itself before I started and while I was in the middle of it (and not at all after I was done). You have got to learn everything you can about it in order to pass. It’s important to learn from both the official source, but also from blogs and forums where people who are also taking the exam are chatting.

You’ll find out great little tips but also you’ll get the motivation to carry on when you get tired. Some places I looked at included:

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7 Financial Hurdles to Becoming a Stay at Home Dad

Today I’m guest posting and commenting at the personal finance blog Reach Financial Independence. Click the link below to read about the financial challenges my wife and I decided to check off our list before I became a stay at home dad. 

sprinters jumping hurdles

Image at Wikimedia Commons

So, you want to be a stay at home dad? Great! I’ve recently become one after several long years of planning and deliberation. Needless to say, it’s a decision that cannot be taken lightly.

In order to reach this point, my wife and I desired for several things to happen. First of all, my wife needed to REALLY aspire – out of her own conviction – to work outside the home. I didn’t pressure her or twist her arm to make this happen. In fact, on many levels, she wanted it more than I.

Secondly, there were of course financial matters to consider. Going from two incomes to one is no picnic. We both had to focus on…

Click here to keep reading at Reach Financial Independence…

Next Post: Back to School Savings I Don’t Care About

Prior Post: Celebrating a Milestone With My Top 10 Favorite Proverbs About Money

 

Tools of Motivation: Getting What You Need to Succeed

tools of motivationWhat do you need to stay motivated and succeed?

For my money, nothing beats a good tool. Those who have ever worked on a construction site or have completed a DIY home project know this to be true. The more specific the tool is to the need the better it is able to properly complete the task.

For example, you wouldn’t use a hammer to insert a screw. Well, maybe you could. However, that method is probably going to cause some damage and a ton of frustration. The right tool is needed for the right circumstances to help you achieve maximum results in the most efficient amount of time.

Interesting thing about tools is how they motivate me to succeed. There have been times when I was having difficulty with a particular challenge and a tool pushed me through a mental or physical barrier. In most cases, the tool cost me money to obtain but in the end it proved vital to my success.

So for that I’d say the right tools are worth purchasing to help you win.

My Tools of Motivation

Tools of motivation come in all shapes and sizes for all aspects of life. Here are a few areas where I’ve seen tools be effective in my life.

Electronics

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The Final Destination Is Worth the Pain of Starting Over

Today I’m guest posting and commenting at the personal finance blog Budget and the Beach. Click the link below to read the rest of this post.

Piece of paper reading No Pain No Gain

Image at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tonya, the owner of this blog and I share an affinity for physical fitness. Her go-to activities are beach volleyball and more recently running, while mine are biking and running. Neither of us train for competition at a world-class level. Our efforts are solely designed to fulfill our enjoyment, keep us fit and produce energy to tackle our respective daily activities.

Accept when they don’t…because we get hurt.

Her injury bug was a bum shoulder that kept her from playing beach volleyball awhile back. My most recent ailment was the dreaded…

Continue reading at Budget and the Beach

Next Post: Happy Anniversary! Luke1428 Enters the Terrible Twos

Prior Post: Debunking a Few Home-Buying Misconceptions

Finding the Qualities of Successful People in Yourself

The following guest post is from My Money Design, a personal finance blog that is all about developing your passion for success.

Andrew Jackson on $20 bill

MyMoneyDesign.com

When you think of famous celebrities or business figures, to what do you attribute to their success? Hard work? Talent? Or just the irrevocable notion that they got that way by being at the right place at the right time?

Sure we’d all like to believe that luck had everything to do with it. We also like to convince ourselves that we somehow missed the bus and could have been just as successful as these people if we had been in the right place as well. But that’s simply not true.

Developing the Qualities of Successful People

Although I’m no celebrity, I know that one of the best things I can do for myself is to emulate the qualities of successful people to get what I want. Everything I’ve ever gotten, I’ve earned through hard work and passion. I don’t owe chance anything for my accomplishments. I believe that success is less about being lucky and mostly all about creating your own luck.

Here’s another way I choose to look at it:

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Give Me Your Guest Post Yearning to Breathe Free

ID-100223483A belated “Welcome to 2014” from Luke1428! And for you Chinese zodiac fans out there, welcome to “the year of the horse.” I trust your holidays were filled with many blessings and you are looking forward to the upcoming new year.

I’m sure by now you have read countless posts about New Year’s resolutions. Did you make any this year? Perhaps the better question is, have you already broken some of them?

I’ll be honest with you…I haven’t made any yet. That feels weird for me because I’m all about setting and pursuing big goals. I had a whole host of them I worked towards and discussed all of last year on this blog.

Despite my lack-of-resolution status, I have determined that 2014 will be a year of letting go for me.

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3 Big Victories, 3 Big Disappointments From My 2013

Times Square Ball

Adieu 2013

2013 is nothing more than a Times Square Ball drop from being in the books.

As excited as I am for 2014 to arrive, I’ve been thinking over the Christmas holidays of the incredible year 2013 was for myself and my family. As I’m sure yours was also, our year was filled with ups and downs. So today I’m going to conclude my writing for the year by sharing the biggest victories and disappointments I encountered this past year.

3 Big Victories

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4 Ways to Punch Through the Scary Questions at the Start

ID-10083769Do you long to finish what you start?

Finishing is huge for our psyche. It wows and gives us confidence. It releases pressure and tension when we finally reach our goal. Finishing creates momentum and catapults us forward to even greater things.

But we don’t start at the finish…we start at the start; and the start can be a very confusing place to be. Remember what it was like in those moments when the dream was birthed in your mind? Wasn’t it exciting and scary all at the same time…and full of questions?

Can I do this?

Where do I begin?

Do I have adequate knowledge for this?

Who out there can help me?

What if I mess something up?

And the most paralyzing question of all – What will other people think?

Unfortunately, the answers we give stop us dead in our tracks. We don’t move beyond the initial stages of exploration because of fear, uncertainty and doubt. Our dream is brought to a screeching halt before it ever begins.

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That Moment When You Question Your Goals

Baltimore Marathon

2013 Baltimore Marathon finishers medal

Mile 18.

I’m deep in the heart of the most difficult portion of the Baltimore Marathon. My pre-race plan has worked to perfection, with two hours and thirty minutes of patient, steady running behind me. Just ahead though, I’m about to face multiple lengthy inclines, the kind that cut into your pace and can punish a runner late in the race. My legs feel good but I’m not looking forward to these climbs.

Every runner has to endure moments like this. It comes with the territory. There is no way I’m stopping with my goal of a sub-four hour marathon clearly in reach. I’ve been intensively training for the last four months and I’m not letting all that effort go to waste.

As a former psychology major, I’ve always been intrigued by our mind. What is it about the circumstances of the moment that trigger unusual, creative or bizarre thoughts? We think of things at the strangest of times. And as I began a slow and arduous climb in mile 19, I experienced this phenomenon, thinking of something I hadn’t dwelt on in a long time.

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What’s More Valuable: Short or Long Term Goals?

long term goalsWe usher in October tomorrow which means that 2013 is rapidly coming to an end. Remember all those New Year’s resolutions you swore would be accomplished this year? How did those short and long term goals pan out?

Most likely you accomplished some and dropped some. That’s the norm for most of us. I’ve been able to finish two short term goals and two long term goals so far this year. I postponed one to be completed in 2014. The only long term goals I have left for this year concerns my running.

Goals give us targets to shoot for and assist us in moving forward in life areas that we feel need improvement. When they are written properly, they serve to keep us focused and motivated. When accomplished, they give us an incredible boost of confidence and spur us on to create greater ones. I love the feeling of winning with my goals.

Bringing my goals into the public eye this year via this blog has been an interesting experience. It’s helped me develop a clearer understanding of goals and their importance in my life. Most notably, I’ve realized the need to establish a balance between goals that can be accomplished quick and those that will take some more time. Both types have value, bringing unique things into my life.

The Value of Short Term Goals

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A Trick to Stay Motivated

Hidden Nugget Series #11 – “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”  Galatians 6:9

stay motivatedTwo weeks from today several significant milestones will take place in the Luke1428 household. On Friday, Oct. 11th, I’ll be flying to Maryland to compete in the Baltimore Marathon over the weekend. That event will bring to an end my arduous 5-month training schedule that has seen its share of nagging injuries, post-run ice packs and more diet restrictions than I care to think about. (Can I please just have a soda?!)

That same day Mrs. Luke1428 will turn in her final grad school assignment in what has been a three-year vocational transition from teaching high school math to becoming a full-fledged CPA at a private accounting firm. We’ve already celebrated the completion of her CPA requirements and this last class wraps up her quest to secure an MBA as well. I’ve written extensively in my monthly updates how mentally and emotionally challenging this has been for the entire family. I really can’t believe we’ve made it to the end of our long, dark tunnel.

Anything of value worth seeking brings some kind of hardship. Invariably the intense pursuit makes it incredibly difficult to keep moving forward day in and day out. The end looms so far in the distance. Weariness sets in. Discouragement soon follows. And then the questions begin.

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