Hope for your financial life and beyond

A Time For Choosing Freedom

Eerily, this man’s words, penned in 1964, are coming true on many levels:

American flag“Every lesson of history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement…[and] policies of accommodation…”

“If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand, the ultimatum…and what then?”

“…And someday when the time comes to deliver the final ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary because by that time we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally and economically…”

 But there is hope found through courage and sacrifice:

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How to Play the “Take This Money – No Thanks – I Insist” Game

Hidden Nuggets Series #46 – “But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” – II Samuel 24:24

I insistNo doubt at one point or another, you’ve been caught up in the verbal posturing known as the “Take this money” game.

The conflict in this game centers around one person’s refusal to take a sum of money being offered. The format can be played in two directions. In one scenario, you are the person offering the money. In scenario two, you are the person receiving the money.

In either configuration, the person being offered the money refuses it, thus leading to some tricky verbal exchanges:

“Here, take this.”

“No thanks.”

“I insist.”

“No really, that’s not necessary.”

“No, I have too…you went through so much trouble” (said while thrusting the money at the other party).

“I don’t want it…really, it was no trouble” (said with hands held head high and palms outward in the “stick-em-up” position).

“Here, you must…” (said with a hyper voice while trying to physically put money in the person’s hand or jacket pocket).

“No, please…I’m not taking it…” (tone starting to get defensive).

And on the exchange can endlessly go.

As a child, I watched several of these exchanges devolve into heated arguments. I never understood why either side would be so stubborn. More than anything, it boggled my mind that someone would refuse money of any amount being offered them. Why? “It’s money for crying out loud. Take it already!” I remember thinking.

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Bugs Bunny’s Quest to Beat Cecil Turtle Cost Him Dearly

Hidden Nuggets Series #43 – “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.” – Proverbs 28:20

Cecil TurtleOver a six-year period between 1941 and 1947, Bugs Bunny and Cecil Turtle engaged one another in three epic racing duels. Bugs was steamed upon learning the story of The Tortoise and the Hare in Aesop’s Fables. He set out to debunk the legend that a slow turtle could ever beat a speedy rabbit.

In their initial race, Cecil employs the help of his eight look-alike relatives/friends to serve as doubles. He positions them along the race path to confuse Bugs. Of course, one is waiting just past the finish line claiming victory when Bugs arrives.

In the 1943 rematch, Bugs builds an aerodynamic turtle shell that slips over his body. Cecil counters by wearing a rabbit suit. The not-so-bright Bunny Mob, who has placed all its bets on the rabbit, confuses Bugs for the turtle and prevents him from winning the race.

Four years later, Bugs gets one final shot. In classic Looney Tunes style this race would end with a dramatic twist.

Cecil Turtle Gets to Bugs

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How Shopping for Shoes Changed My Financial Life

shopping for shoesIt’s Financial Literacy Month and I’m pleased to be part of an awesome blog carnival today hosted by Shannon from The Heavy Purse. In case you are unaware, Shannon’s passion is all about helping parents raise financially confident and responsible children. Her perspectives on that issue are some of the best I’ve read. I highly encourage you to check out her site, especially today and see what all the other carnival participants are writing about.

The topic for her financial literacy blog carnival is our biggest money “A-ha” – that moment when you realized things had to change. Well, I’m in no competition with my fellow bloggers today, as I’m sure they will share great moments in time and lessons that spurred them to change. I’m pretty sure though none of them will be talking about this…

Shopping for shoes.

That’s right…my financial life really did change one while shopping for shoes.

My Life Altering Moment While Shopping for Shoes

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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

Spring Break: Glorious Rite of Passage or Undisciplined Waste of Money?

spring break

Having a blast on spring break?

This week and next, thousands of high school and college students will embark on the annual ritual known as spring break. They will fill hotels, crowd beaches and party in clubs long into the night. With the sheer number of young people present in these locations – the majority of which will be slightly to heavily inebriated – anything can happen.

That anticipation of the unpredictable defines the allure of spring break. And the alcohol…and the chance to “hook up.”

I’ve participated in three spring break trips in my life. The first was my senior trip in high school to a resort in the Bahamas. The next two were in college. One was with a group of guys (and my dad) to go caving in central Kentucky. On the other trip, I went with a co-ed group of friends and the future Mrs. Luke1428 to visit her father in south Florida.

None of those trips were to what I would call party central locations.

Each trip cost me hard earned money that could have been used for other purposes. I considered them worth it though for the memories they created. After all, isn’t the creation of memories a fundamental aspect of taking a vacation?

I can remember my spring break trips with perfect clarity…a hilarious photo of my high school friend sunbathing next to a gorgeous woman in the Bahamas…the onset of panic when one of my stout college buddies became stuck in a tight crawl of a cave…Kim and I enduring the ear shattering buzz of an air boat ride as we dodged alligators in the Everglades.

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Choosing the Right College Starts by Answering These Questions

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What questions about college should I ask?

Choosing a college at 18 years of age presents a daunting challenge. For most high school students, the decision represents the most difficult one they’ve ever made. With so many choices, it’s easy to lose a few hours of sleep trying to sort it all out.

Information from the College Board shows there are approximately 4,000 private and public, two or four-year colleges and universities in the United States. Whittling that number down to a manageable few is some task. How can a high school student narrow their list so they can select the right school?

I did it by asking questions.

The questioning process wasn’t easy and didn’t produce a quick decision. However, the answers to my questions helped reduce my list to six schools. That group was subsequently lowered to three, of which I selected Cedarville University in Ohio. In retrospect, the selection proved to be the perfect choice for me.

There are many factors and dimensions of a college to consider. The following questions, focused in specific areas, will serve as a filtering mechanism to develop and narrow the list of schools based on your needs and desires.

Location

Ask these questions when considering the physical location of the school:

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Stubbornness Cost Me Four Months of Running. What’s It Costing You?

Plantar_fasciitisThat twinge on the bottom of my foot sure didn’t feel good. One minute I’m running fine and the next minute I was praying “I hope I’m fine.” That was August 2013 when, after running about 1,200 miles in a year and a half, my left foot gave out, right between the heal and the arch.

Problem was that I didn’t know what it was then and quite frankly, I didn’t want to know. I had the Baltimore Marathon coming up in mid-October and had already completed two-thirds of my training. If I could endure the pain and run through it, then I’d rest afterward. No doctor’s diagnosis was going to stop me now if I could help it.

So that’s what I did. I taped my foot during training, kept running and completed the marathon in a personal best time.

Four months later I’m still paying for it.

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Why Does Toys R Us Want My Phone Number?

No“Your phone number?”
“No, thank you.”

“And your zip code please?”
“No, thanks.”

“Can I get your email to complete the transaction?”
“No.”

“And would you like to save an extra 5% today by signing up…”
“No…GAAAAWWWW, can I just give you my money and go home!?”

I don’t ever say the last one…out loud. But at the checkout line, I’m usually thinking it and feeling just like this screen shot of David Tennant from Doctor Who.

Is it just me, or is it getting harder and harder to complete a simple transaction anymore? Why can’t I just pay and leave with my stuff? Why does Party City want my zip code? My email I get…they just want me for their mailing list…but my zip code? And what’s up with asking for my phone number? Toys R Us does that ALL…THE…TIME.

Am I just being too sensitive? Maybe I’m turning into a cranky old curmudgeon.  “Hey kids, get off my lawn.”

Turns out, stores can learn quite a bit by the extra piece of information that you volunteer at the checkout line.  I’ll admit — my initial motivation for not giving this information was just to get out the door faster, but now that I’ve read about it, I’m not going to be giving personal information at all anymore.

Why Stores Want Your Personal Information

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Is the Debt Snowball Method the Best Way to Pay Off Debt?

debt snowball methodSnowballs are fun, except when it comes to debt levels snowballing out of control. Credit card after credit card, loan after loan, missed payment after missed payment and the debt skyrockets upward, seemingly with no end in sight.

Until one day, a light bulb flashes and you wake up to realize that debt is creating a stranglehold on your life. It’s decreasing your chances of retiring wealthy and living a stress free financial life. So you decide to focus with intensity and develop a plan that will get you out of debt.

But which debt do you pay off first? You’ve accumulated so many.

Two Methods: Opposite Sides of the Track

There are two basic methods to paying off debt, the Interest Rate Method and the Debt Snowball Method.

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An Open Hand: The Most Powerful Money Visual Ever

Hidden Nuggets Series #20 – “…you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need…” – Deuteronomy 15:7-8

money in open handGiving is especially on my mind as we enter the holiday season.  I recently talked about why people give for the wrong reasons and how dangerous that can be. I followed that up on Wednesday by describing the five step giving plan my wife and I use to decide where our money goes.

What I’ve realized is that personal finance is all about making intentional and wise decisions with your money. Giving is no different.

Through it all, there has been one common theme related to giving – our attitude.

Several years ago I heard someone speak about our mental attitude in relation to how we view money. This person used a powerful visual that has stuck with me ever since. I’d like to share it with you today because it has revolutionized how I think about money and the opportunities I have to give.

The Open Hand Symbolism

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