Hope for your financial life and beyond

Why I’m So Excited to Spend Money Again on Cable TV

cable TV

I revealed last week in “The Fear of Spending Once the Debt Is Gone” that my wife and I haven’t begun to wildly spend now that we have paid off all of our debt. It was a relief to know the discipline that drove us to pay off our mortgage early has continued to define our post-debt lives. We have no inclination to spend, spend, spend now that more money is available in our monthly budget

In all honestly though, we have loosened the reins on our spending a little bit.

We’ve brought back cable TV!

What? That’s blasphemy in the frugally-minded personal finance world. Cutting cable TV is always the first expenditure to go in those “10 Ways to Save Money and Pay Off Debt” posts. I’ve surely even said that before myself.

If cable TV is the first thing to cut, why can’t it be the first thing to bring back? Seems logical to me.

Needless to say everyone in the house is thrilled with this decision.

Short Term Cable TV Sacrifice For Long Term Gain

[Read more…]

The Real Secret to Developing a Work Ethic in Kids

Hidden Nuggets Series #41 – “Therefore, I urge you to imitate me.” I Corinthians 4:16

developing a positive work ethic

Like father, like son

The messages this week at Luke1428 have all centered around the benefits, both financial and emotional, that children can receive from doing work. My wife and I have been teaching our children that labor leads to profit and that if they don’t work they won’t get paid. Those are big messages and the sooner they learn them the better.

Have you ever wondered how a solid work ethic gets ingrained in a child? Is it something they are born with? Does it come through the hearing of verbal instructions given by adults? Or maybe it results as a reaction to punishment received for laziness or disobedience.

Those ideas have merit. However, I don’t believe any of them in and of themselves will ultimately produce a child with a strong work ethic. What will ultimately do it? The answer is simpler than you think:

[Read more…]

Why We Don’t Give Our Kids Allowance

My wife and I are not giving our kids allowance simply for existing. We’ve chosen a different path to reward them with money.

kids allowanceDoesn’t it seem our culture has lost the passion for hard work? I look around and see adults taking risky, unnecessary shortcuts in an attempt to get ahead in their career. I see people playing the lottery to get rich quick instead of choosing to build wealth over time.

Then there are those people in tough financial situations that won’t take certain jobs because they consider the position beneath their standards. Really? Must not be that desperate.

Our mindset has changed to thinking we should be given things simply because we deserve it. Someone else (like the government) will provide for me, right?  So why work?

Sad thing is, these attitudes are being scooped up by our young people. We have a generation of kids who bristle at the idea of doing a 30-minute homework assignment on a Tuesday night. Cuts into their Snapchat time. If they do muster the desire to attempt the work, they only put in half the effort. They shut down if the answer to a problem causes them to think for more than two consecutive minutes.

More and more kids are refusing to push themselves to work. They are opting out of excellence. And when they fail, someone or something else is to blame.

If we are going to succeed in life and with money, we have to clearly embrace a concept found in the Bible – “In all labor there is profit but idle chatter leads only to poverty.” (Proverbs 14:23)

That’s why we are not giving our kids allowance.

Giving Kids Allowance Doesn’t Teach the Value of Work

[Read more…]

Teaching Kids About Money: 4 Age Appropriate Lessons

teaching kids about moneyA major role of parenting should be teaching kids about money. For many reasons, parents drop the ball in this area and raise children who carry an improper understanding of money into college and adulthood. This leads to challenges as the grown children seek employment, earn an income and determine how to manage their financial lives.

What children should learn about money varies depending on their age. A five year old needs to hear different messages from the parents than does a teenager. However, there are three fundamental money lessons that every child needs to learn no matter what the age:

1) to save money for future needs,

2) to spend money wisely and

3) to give generously.

These three principles serve as the foundation upon which other money lessons build.

There are differing opinions about when to start teaching kids about money. Many say kids as young as three can start to learn the basics. In our home, we waited to get serious with money lessons until the age of five. We found that our children understood the concept of giving at an early age but struggled with saving and spending. By the age of five they were better able to grasp those last two concepts and understand their importance.

Teaching Kids About Money at Various Ages

Aside from saving, spending and giving, what should children learn about money and at what ages? Here are the four big lessons we are hoping to impart as we are teaching our kids about money:

Money Lesson #1: Enjoy It (Ages 5-7)

[Read more…]

How We Are Coping With the Family Rat Race

Father and baby handFour times in my life I’ve been able to experience the truth of this Bible verse:

“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” (Psalm 127:3)

Each time I was moved to the point of tears as that new life came into the world. To think I helped create a completely unique person was very humbling. More than that, it was overwhelming, knowing that a large part of who they would become depended upon my parenting skills.

Psalm 127:4 goes on to say that children are, “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior…” The thought about parenting here is clear…the warrior is me, the parent. Just like a warrior breaks the stillness of the air and sends his arrow toward the mark, so parents are to raise children so they fly straight and true to hit the target.

But what target do we want them to hit? And why? How will we get them there? Will I know if I’m succeeding?

Those type of questions often leave parents confused and prompt us to make some poor decisions.

I’m talking more about this today as I guest post for Cat Alford at Budget Blonde. I’m very excited for Cat who has just become a new mommy to twins. Visit her site now and read my article entitled:

“The Evolution of Parenting: Are We Pressing Our Kids Too Far?”

Image at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Next Post: Pain and Suffering Is No Excuse to Quit Moving Forward

Prior Post: Spring Break – Glorious Rite of Passage or Undisciplined Waste of Money

How to Save Money and Cut Taxes by Hiring Your Kids

The following post is by Kim Fourman. Please note that this article is intended to discuss general tax topics. Consult your own tax advisor regarding your specific circumstances.

hiring your kids

Boy at a weaving station – circa 1908

One of the most overlooked ways for small business owners to save on taxes is by hiring your kids in the business.  Here’s how it works:

Consider What Work Can be Done

The first thing to consider when hiring your kids is the work that your child can do. Their work must be age appropriate and must be legitimate work for your business.

For example, having your child do household chores would not count as working for your business, but picking up trash and cleaning up the yard at your rental property would. The IRS has accepted employment by a child as young as seven. You do not run afoul of any federal child labor laws when you employ your own children, but make sure to check with your state department of labor.

You Must Do the Paperwork

[Read more…]

The South Ain’t Gettin’ Personal Finance

6009194059_94d611cfc8_zI happened to enjoy some extra reading time last week because Snowmaggeddon 2014 kept most of Atlanta captive to their homes. I ran across this article from Time Business and Money that talked about the plight of Americans and their money. In it, they cite the Assets and Opportunity Scorecard report from the Center for Enterprise Development. This report found 44% of Americans were living under “persistent economic insecurity that makes it difficult to look beyond immediate needs and plan for a more secure future.”

According to the article, this segment of the population has less than $5,887 in savings for a family of four. With credit scores also shot from the latest recession and housing crisis, they feel their only alternative to manage through emergencies is to resort to high interest credit cards or payday loans. As those of us deeply focused on personal finance know, these types of programs only serve to bring further damage to the individual’s financial state.

Being an investigative personal finance blogger, I decided to look up the full CFED report and find where my home state of Georgia ranked. A couple of clicks and…uh-oh…that doesn’t look good. However, the results showed an even more alarming trend as it relates to the entire U.S. South. Here are the ranks for states 42-51 on the list (District of Columbia included):

[Read more…]

The Value of Repetition – As Witnessed Through My Daughter

Hidden Nuggets Series #22 – “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” – Deuteronomy 6:6-7

ID-10057677Repetition is the key to learning.

Repeat things consistently, day in and day out, and patterns will develop that are extremely difficult to break. These patterns could be positive or negative depending on what has been repeated. Either way, they get hard wired into the brain and influence our behavior.

As a parent, I serve as the default pattern developer for my children. They will pick up on what I routinely say and do and begin to express those things in their life (both consciously and subconsciously). Nothing serves to be more encouraging and/or terrifying as seeing your children turn into you.

[Read more…]

Dealing With My Daughter’s BIG Milestone

Growth AheadMy oldest daughter, Miss LukeTeen28 (MLT28), is quickly approaching a major milestone. To be honest I’m having difficulty believing my wife and I have reached this point. It seems like only yesterday we were meticulously buckling her into the car seat at the hospital (as only newbie parents can), readying her for the first car ride home.

Boy, did I take that trip carefully.

Now 12 ½ years later, we are about to cross that invisible yet unmistakable line that serves as a right of passage for kids as they grow towards young adulthood. Most parents dread this moment because it signals their child is becoming capable of deciding his or her own path. While I will admit to a certain level of anxiety, I’m really looking forward to it. I want to see how all these years of teaching, training and modeling will play out as she makes decisions.

The right of passage to which I refer has nothing to do with my daughter becoming a teenager though. It’s a much greater issue that will provide her with great lessons as she matures into adulthood. What could possibly be this big a deal for an almost 13 year old?

Making her first BIG purchase with her own money. Here is what she wants:

[Read more…]

The Boy vs. the Blog – Exercises in Giving

Hidden Nugget Series #10 – “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”  Matthew 10:42

800px-Football_on_groundToo often my thoughts degenerate into believing that only quantity has value. In other words, I mistakenly believe that when giving, it needs to be done in great amounts. While there are times and places to give generously, perhaps even exorbitantly, I’m convinced that isn’t the norm.

Last week I’m seated one evening at our downstairs computer pounding out another Luke1428 blog post. I’m on a roll as each sentence is coming quickly. (Oh if it were only this easy to write every blog post.) Then half-way through my glorious blog-writing experience, disaster struck.

My 10-year old son peeks around the corner and asks me to throw the football with him.

Ugh. Major cognitive dilemma.

Do I go play with him and risk losing my train of thought? (It’s incredible frustrating to have a writing groove interrupted.) Or do I simply tell him “Sorry bud, daddy is working and can’t play right now?”

What would you do?

[Read more…]

Celebrating Victory: Reward Yourself For Life’s Achievements

reward yourselfI love celebrations! Especially when it involves my family or myself, either being the intended target or getting to help put the celebration on in some way. Call me selfish, call me self-absorbed but celebrations and finding ways to reward yourself are infinitely better when you have a personal stake in it.

Like the time my wife surprised me for my 25th birthday. We went out for dinner with another couple and came back to our apartment to have some coffee and play cards. I opened the front door to the dark apartment and was greeted with lights flipping on, the popping of balloons (which I thought were gunshots) and shouts of “Surprise!” from a dozen or so of our friends from church. The momentary shock contorted my face and caused me to curl my body into the fetal position. I posed like Lee Harvey Oswald being struck by Jack Ruby’s bullet.

Parties are great for significant birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and weddings. But we shouldn’t limit their usage to just those occasions. Perhaps the best time to throw a victory celebration is when you have achieved some personal goal in your life. The Luke1428 household reached a milestone last month that we’ve been working on for three years and boy, did we have a blast celebrating it this past Saturday night.

[Read more…]