Hope for your financial life and beyond

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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Is It Worth It to Be Inconvenienced?

Off Air

“Oh no! My favorite TV program isn’t on!”

What is the one modern convenience that you couldn’t do without? I see on many discussion boards people detailing the possessions they have sold or the services they have surrendered with the intent on using the freed up money to pay off personal debt. Ken Ilgunas even went so far as to live in a van to save money while attending grad school at Duke University. You can read his incredible story here.

Frankly I think we don’t truly appreciate our modern conveniences. I guess that is only human – our natural desire to take things for granted. We don’t give a second thought to getting a glass of cold water, pulling up a webpage or driving across town. In many parts of the world those things don’t ever happen.

Nobody likes to be inconvenienced. But I’m going to make the radical suggestion today that, on occasion, it might be good for us.

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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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What I Learned About Blogging From My First 50 Posts

Blog WorldWe can learn by reading and studying a topic, but nothing serves as a better teacher than experience. There comes a time in any endeavor when you are required to gain that experience by jumping in with both feet. I chose to jump this past July when I started Luke1428.com.

Last Friday, I wrote about the 4 things my first 50 blog posts taught me about myself. Today, I would like to share 6 things my first 50 posts taught me about blogging.

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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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God Places Us For A Purpose

Are you sick and tired of your job? Wish you could win the Mega-Millions Jackpot and escape to paradise, never to work again? If so, maybe some reflection and a new perspective is in order. Humans were endowed with the nature to work from the very beginning and they could not escape it, not even in paradise.

In Genesis chapters 1-2, we are told of God’s spectacular creation of the universe and all that it contains – the heavens, planets, stars, plants, animals and human beings. God was very pleased with his creation and when he was finished he commanded mankind saying, “…have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28). And then God did something awesome. He created a garden of paradise – in a place called Eden.

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All Work and No Play: The Importance of Rest

all work and no playPlease don’t fear…I am not writing from a snowed in mountain resort lodge. I have to admit that, until recently, I assumed the “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” proverb came from that Jack Nicholson thriller The Shining.

(Disclaimer: if you are reading this and under the age of 30 you shouldn’t go watch the movie to which I refer. And maybe if you are over 30, you shouldn’t watch either.)

Turns out the phrase “all work and no play” was originally published in Proverbs in English, Italian, French and Spanish (1659) and is attributed to a writer by the name of James Howell. I think this one turned out to be his most popular proverb. Can you name another one?

Of course the warning of this proverb seems clear enough…that if you don’t release yourself from the pressures of work from time to time you will become dull, boring, uninteresting, and unexciting. You will also probably find yourself completely bored with your life over time, as work becomes your sole focus day in and day out. No time for hobbies, family, friends, exercise, watching sports, reading, or just plain vegging.  That doesn’t sound like much fun to me.

All Work and No Play: Rest vs. Work Balance

I think maybe God knew a thing or two about this and tried to warn us. In the Bible Exodus 23:12 says:

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