Hope for your financial life and beyond

7 Unfortunate Reasons People Spew Hatred at Dave Ramsey

Dave RamseyIt could be argued that Dave Ramsey has become the most influential financial voice of this generation. His radio program draws nearly 8 million listeners every week, placing him third in the talk radio genre behind Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity respectively. Clearly he has developed an enormous following and has helped millions of people develop restraint, follow a plan and get their financial lives back.

Count me among those people.

Despite his influence and popularity, I continually read of people skewering Dave Ramsey for the message of hope that he brings. I’ve tried for the life of me to figure out why someone who has been so helpful would be the target of such outrage. In some cases, I’m sure it’s simply people taking a contrarian opinion to draw some attention to themselves. However, I think the main issue is much bigger than that and it’s something everyone says when it comes to the area of personal finance.

The Reasons People Hate Dave Ramsey

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March Madness: Avoiding the Budget Busters

2014-ncaa-tournament-bracketOur oldest daughter was born during the first weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament. At the hospital, my wife groaned through labor pains as the midwife who assisted in the delivery was tracking a Notre Dame game on the TV in the room. I’m not sure the midwife appreciated Mrs. Luke1428 telling her to turn off her beloved Fighting Irish when there was under four minutes to go in the game. But birth was only about 15 minutes away so I guess that took precedence.

Needless to say, my wife has despised March Madness ever since.

Basketball junkies like myself however, love everything about it. The drama…the intensity…the finality of it…and the upsets that bust up the tournament. Mostly though, this time of year means one thing – the tournament bracket. There’s nothing like putting a plan together and testing your knowledge of the teams in an attempt to pick a winner. If only I had a time-traveling DeLorean to find me a Grays Sports Almanac.

No matter how we think the tournament will progress, there are always upsets and surprises that bust our brackets. These usually come from the underdogs, the little schools that we are not really paying attention to.

Over the years, the same type of thing has happened with our budget. Small things we didn’t anticipate, ignored or simply loved doing would bust our monthly plan. After experiencing the financial drain of these on multiple occasions, we had to make some decisions so they wouldn’t disrupt our life any longer.

The following is a list of five things that used to bust our budget, along with the path we now take to avoid it from happening any longer.

Movies/Entertainment

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Price Limits, Blow Money and the 24 Hour Rule

24 hour ruleDo you have a 24 hour rule on big purchases? This strategy, plus two other strategies helped my family spend less and produce massive amounts of savings each month.

I’ve mentioned before how I’m a recovering spend-a-holic. In another life, I spent to my heart’s content, undeterred by any financial damage it would cause. I wrecked our ability to save and follow any semblance of a budget.

My wife and I would have frequent “discussions” about our my spending patterns. The discussions were mostly one sided, with me downplaying the extent of our my struggles. I got so good at deflecting any negativity about our my poor spending habits that I usually ended up getting what I wanted at the end of those conversations. Kudos to my wife for putting up with me…I was a mess.

Clearly I had convinced myself there was no problem.

It’s very easy for spending to spiral out of control. Much of the time, we do damage simply by not developing a system of checks and balances to monitor what’s going on. We end up waking up one day with a mess on our hands, wondering how we got there.

The biggest step that had to take place for my spending habits to change was a shift in my attitude. Thankfully for me, that did take place through a series of well-timed events that occurred at a point when my mind was open to improvement. Only after I willfully chose to get my act together and develop some discipline could my wife and I move forward with some strategic practices to curb spending.

Two such practices we implemented proved valuable for us. Those were setting price limits on spending and following the 24 hour rule.

Price Limits

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How Are Various Investing Markets Related to Each Other?

The following is a guest post by Troy Bombardia.

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Commodities: An oil refinery at dusk

In the world of investing we have something that is known as correlation. The basic definition of correlation is simple: how do changes in variable X affect changes in variable Y (oh no, more math!)?

Correlation and relations exist in the financial markets. Changes in the price of certain markets (i.e. stocks) will have impacts on prices in other markets (i.e. bonds, currencies, commodities). In this post, I’m going to examine how various markets are related to each other (their correlation).

Why is it important to understand the relationships between various markets? Because if you know how one market is reacting and what relationship other markets have to this market, you can predict what the future price of other markets will be (which equals more profits!).

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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

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18 Ways to Reduce College Costs, Plus One Huge Bonus Tip

In case you missed it, in Part I of this series covering college costs, I talked about the five most popular ways students pay for college.

college costsThe focus today will be on reducing the total college costs in whatever way possible. Of course things like scholarships, grants and military funding are all givens as I discussed in Part I. But what other practical things can a student do to bring down college costs?

I’ve divided the cost cutting topics into three categories: things that can be done in high school, things that can be done in the preparation phase and things that can be done while enrolled in college.

And at the end I’ll provide one bonus tip on how to dramatically reduce the cost of college.

Cut College Costs While in High School

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The Basics of How to Pay for College

how to pay for collegeIn my years as an educator, I’ve always enjoyed the months of February and March. Basketball tournaments are in full swing, winter mercifully comes to an end and spring (break) is right around the corner. These are also the months when high school seniors begin to solidify their plans and make THE DECISION on where to attend college.

It’s quite a relief to finally answer with certainty the two big questions everyone has been asking – “Where are you going to school?” and “What are you going to major in?”  I was never so glad to put those questions to bed and that uncertainty behind me.

However, the question nobody asks is probably the biggest of them all – “How are going to pay for that?”

Unfortunately, many high school students and their families haven’t adequately thought about how to pay for college. They’ve spent so much time on the other two questions they’ve left out the most fundamental aspect of going to school – the fact that it costs money. If they haven’t thought about it until the last minute it can be a very daunting challenge to figure out.

Heck, it’s daunting even if you’ve been planning for years. Have you seen the cost of a four-year degree recently? It’s enough to make even the most financially sound shudder. We started setting aside money for college when my oldest turned five and I still don’t know if there will be enough to cover the costs of four years for four children.

The Basic of How to Pay for College

Whatever your situation – whether you’ve been saving for years or have just begun to think about it – you have to develop a plan. With that in mind, here is Part I of two on how to pay for college and reduce the costs of a higher education. These are the six top things you can do:

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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):

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Defense Wins Championships (And Helps With Finances Too)

Lebron and DurantMy high school basketball team was not the most athletic in the world. My senior year, the tallest player was our 6′ 4″ freshman center. We didn’t have a deep bench and only slightly above average quickness. No one could come close to dunking a basketball.

We did have continuity though, with five seniors who had been together for four years. Having played together for so long, we had learned each others’ tendencies and developed some serious offensive talent. During my senior year we averaged over 80 points a game.

Our biggest advantage didn’t come from our skill. It came from our coach. He was a great motivator and we had learned to trust his instincts and understanding of the game. His wisdom about game situations proved valuable on many occasions, most importantly one winter afternoon as we competed for our state’s private school state championship.

Defense Wins Championships

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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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Will You Still Love Me If I Blog For Money?

blog for moneyIt’s a tad bit presumptuous of a post title, don’t you think? I’m taking a gigantic leap in assuming my readers love and appreciate the content they get at Luke1428. Furthermore, that they would continue to tune in day after day if there was an inexplicable directional shift in my blog philosophy – like if I chose to blog for money?

As it stands now, Luke1428 is growing. June and July have seen the best viewership to date in the little over a year the site has been up and running. Why risk ruining a good thing now?

Because I believe this space can be better. Maybe even awesome!

But let me ease any apprehension you might be having right from the start. I could never blog for money only. It’s not in my DNA.

Why I’m Here

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