Hope for your financial life and beyond

How to Tackle a Huge Looming Project

Hard motivational quote

Step up to the challenge!

Probably the biggest hurdle to getting your CPA license is the CPA Exam. It’s pretty tough — there are four sections that must all be passed in 18 months and the current pass rate hovers around 50%. Each section is either 3 or 4 hours long.

I’m happy to say that two years ago I passed all four sections in about 5 months. I’ll talk about some of the specific things I did to pass in a later post. The general steps that I used can apply to any huge task that you may be facing.

Take a look at some of the suggestions below to see if they can help you tackle your next huge project.

Learn as much as you can about it

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There’s a Robber Stripping You of Wealth

Hidden Nuggets #19 – “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest; So shall your poverty come like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.”  – Proverbs 24:33-34 ID-10074458

Robbers are all of a sudden a common topic for my 5-yr. old son. Several weeks ago his well-intentioned 7-yr. old sister informed him that there are people who sometimes come and steal little children away. She’s trying to help him be wary of strangers.

Now all the shadows in his room at night have him worried. A little bit of fear has crept into his mind. He is realizing, perhaps for the first time, the world is not altogether safe and he’s worried about being separated from his family.

However, in his unsettled frame of mind, he is forgetting all the elements we have put in place at our house for his protection. Dead bolt locks on the doors. The monitored security system. Two skeptical dogs that bark at ANYTHING! An equalizer locked in the gun safe.

We’ve taken measures at our home to protect ourselves from thieves. We have also taken measures in our personal lives to protect ourselves from ever experiencing poverty. That’s a place we never plan to go, mostly because we are not letting ourselves become vulnerable to it.

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Even Jesus Had a Side Hustle?

Hidden Nuggets Series #12 Then He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ They immediately left their nets and followed Him.” Matthew 4:19-20

The title of this post makes me laugh. Who would have thought the words “Jesus” and “side hustle” could be used to communicate a personal finance idea?

side hustleUnless you’ve just emerged from a remote tribal region in South America, you’ve probably heard of this really good preacher named Jesus who lived several millennia ago, who many claim to be the spiritual Savior for all mankind. (Count me among that group.) But you may be unfamiliar with the term “side hustle.” Rest assured it has nothing to do with Pete Rose diving head first into third base or Paul Newman and Robert Redford conning their way to a fortune in The Sting.

Having a side hustle refers to someone pursuing a secondary stream of income earned aside from their full time job. So for instance, generating income from a blog on the side or delivering pizzas at night after work would be classified as side hustle money. Many times side hustles line up with a person’s passion and if hustled on long enough with success, could allow them to transition from their full time job into that hustle. At the very minimum, the extra money they bring in provides some breathing room in the monthly budget.

The potential side hustle ideas are limitless, only confined to the depth of imagination of what you could come up with to make money.  J. Money at Budgets Are Sexy has a whole series devoted to people who are creatively pursuing a side hustle.

I admit the idea of Jesus having a “business-on-the-side” is purely speculative on my part and may amount to doctrinal heresy. But the idea is not without precedent in the Bible.

Jesus and His Side Hustle

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How to Choose a Career: 6 Tips For Making the Right Choice

how to choose a career“So what’s going to be your major when you go to college?” The question annoyed and frustrated me as an 18-yr. old high school senior. I had no idea how to choose a career at that age. Nothing had ever seemed to jump out at me.

So, when asked, I’d sheepishly throw out a few ideas.  Then say I was just going to take the required core classes my freshman year of college to get those out of the way. Everyone seemed to think that was a good idea.

College did indeed open up a new world of vocational options for me – careers that I had never considered before. My first two quarters were spent getting adjusted to school and meeting new friends. Still nothing overly intrigued me. Business management? Optometry? Finance? Ministry? What direction should I go?

Then, to satisfy a general ed requirement, I took Intro to Psychology in the spring quarter.

I was hooked.

Learning about the intricacies of the human mind fascinated me – how it functions and how we interact with other people. “Plus, I’m a good listener,” I thought. “That should come in handy in that field, right?” So by fall quarter of my sophomore year I was a full-fledged Psych major with a dual emphasis in counseling and child and family studies.

Just to be clear in case you missed that – I made that decision based on one class and the fact that I was a good listener.

But was it the right decision?

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Labor Day Edition – Celebrate Yourself (Plus An August Goals Update)

Labor DayI’ve never quite understood Labor Day as a child. All I really cared about was that we received a day off from school. But what were we supposed to do on that day – more labor? Why do we need a day specifically telling us to work? What are we doing the other 364 days of the year? Resting?

The U.S. Department of Labor states that Labor Day “is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.” The first Labor Days were marked by parades, speeches by prominent leaders and community festivals to entertain workers and their families. Many of those activities have disappeared as the holiday has evolved over the years.

In fact, I can’t remember ever having been to a large scale Labor Day activity. Maybe a small family event at some point. Most of my Labor Days have been spent doing work around the house (which I will be doing today – final summer trim on the bushes and a pressure washing of the front porch).

So as you enjoy the holiday, don’t forget to pay tribute “to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.”

In other words – celebrate yourself today.

Quote source: U.S. Dept. of Labor

August Goals Update:

 

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Is the Effort to Get Rich Worth It? (Proverbs 23:4-5)

Hidden Nuggets Series #5 – “Do not overwork to be rich; Because of your own understanding, cease! Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven.”   Proverbs 23:4-5

What’s the most hours you have ever worked in a week?

hard work to get richOne college summer, I regularly put in 80-hour workweeks shuttling between two jobs. I arrived at the construction site each morning at 7:00 and clawed my way through a grueling 9-hr. day until 4 pm.

In the next hour, I would grab a quick bite to eat, while driving to my night job as a lifeguard. From hammer to whistle, the norm that summer was 13-hr. weekdays. And, to top it off, I added more lifeguard time on the weekends.

The Effort to Get Rich

Was the effort that summer worth it? In retrospect, probably. I learned a lot about work ethic, time management and discipline. Plus, I needed the money for my car payment, work and school clothes and textbooks for my courses in the fall. And it was for only three months.

But there was a great personal cost for all my efforts:

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Bang On the Drum All Day: Find Your Passion

I’m not a drummer but this song makes me want to be:

Todd Rundgren wrote “Bang the Drum All Day” in 1983 and since then it has become the quintessential anti-work anthem played every Friday night as the factory whistle blows. Or Wednesday night. Or when the Green Bay Packers score a touchdown. Or whenever you feel like not going to work. Just cue this song in your iTunes library and dream how it would feel to have the reality of the lyrics become true in your own life.

I can see how this song gets a bad rap in some circles (especially the boss circles – note verse three). It seems to raise negative perceptions about a task (work) that is fundamental to our ability to make a profit and survive. I believe God endowed humans with a work ethic. It’s embedded deep in our nature to labor and exert ourselves to cultivate a reward. Why should we hate doing something that creates value in our lives and provides so many benefits – both personal and financial – as going to work? Isn’t work beneficial?

Absolutely it is. No doubt.

So is the pursuit of a passion.

The Power of Passion

I find these lyrics from the song teach me some pretty cool things about passion, about finding something you really enjoy doing:

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Ways to Pay For College – Should I Work or Do SAT Prep?

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the cost of attending college is spiraling out of control. It has led many to question whether a four-year degree is even worth it. Others are looking for ways to pay for college without going into too much debt.

These numbers published by the College Board in the fall of 2012 bear this point out:

“Average published tuition and fees for in-state students at public four-year colleges and universities increased from $8,256 in 201112 to $8,655 in 201213. The 4.8% ($399) increase in tuition and fees was accompanied by a $325 (3.7%) increase in room and board charges for students living on campus. At $9,205, room and board charges account for more than half of the total charges for these students.”

ways to pay for college

Spend more time studying and less time working

So that’s an average of $17,461 for room and board at an in-state, public four-year school. No wonder, the high cost of higher education has left many parents and teenagers frustrated and seemingly with just a few options on ways  to pay for college.

Many high school students take the logical step of securing summer employment to help them earn money  to pay for college. If a student can earn $3,000 – $4,000 over the course of the summer to put towards college that would help, right? It certainly would but I’m going to suggest today that you have another alternative that a) you probably won’t like because it requires studying, but b) will probably provide more bang for your buck than working at a summer job.

One of the Best Ways to Pay for College

Instead of working over the summer, study to improve your SAT (or ACT) scores and watch the money roll in.

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Every Job Teaches a Lesson

Lifeguard Tower“In all labor there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty.” – King Solomon, Proverbs 14:23

All labor brings a profit, as it should. We use that profit to provide the basic necessities for living, to purchase items we want and to create more profit by investing in the marketplace.  The desire to take care of ourselves and build wealth is a huge reason we work each day.

However, the term “profit” can convey more than just financial gain. We also use that term to describe how something is beneficial or will give us an advantage in some way. For example, it would not be profitable for me to drive in the wrong direction on the freeway. It would be deadly!

So in relation to work, personal profit could mean more than just money. Through work we can also learn about ourselves. We learn about relationships. We learn about influence, perseverance, and sacrifice. We learn, in many ways, simply how the world operates.

I’ve had eight jobs in my life and each one taught me a different, valuable lesson. So here are the life lessons I’ve learned from work, from my first job to my present one.

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Fall in Love With Work (Again)

Patched HeartAre you in love? Perhaps it’s that special someone you’ve chosen to share your heart and soul with for the rest of  your life. Or maybe it’s that favorite caffeinated beverage you must consume each morning to jump start your day. I’m sure others (not me) are completely in love with one of the two teams who will be pursuing the BCS Championship on Jan. 7th.

What about your work? Are you enjoying the daily grind of your career? That’s a tougher question for many people to truthfully answer.

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Have a Dream? You’ll Have to Change This

Daily schedules can be an exhausting grind. We wake up, hit the morning home routine and life doesn’t stop all day…kids to school…rush hour traffic…(some of you are worn out already)…hectic, mentally draining work-day…kid pickup from school…rush hour II…quick dinner…county rec-league sports practice…evening projects…10 minutes (maybe) talking to your spouse…your favorite late night show…repeat again tomorrow.

But wait, I missed a step in the daily schedule…a step that is crucial to us being able to “repeat again tomorrow.” Our bodies can’t do without it and, if truth be told, it is something we all look forward to everyday.

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