Hope for your financial life and beyond

Snickers Isn’t the Only Thing That Satisfies

Around 3:00 pm this Thursday afternoon, I expect to be settling down into the leather reclining love seat in my living room for my annual post Thanksgiving Day meal ritual. Kids will be running around the house, there will be the noise of dishes getting cleaned in the kitchen and the CBS football analysts will probably be dissecting a helmet-to-helmet personal foul call.

Yes, there will be a lot of noise, but it won’t matter. I’ll have a really satisfied feeling. My body will need to allocate more energy towards food digestion which means less blood flowing to other parts of the body, including the central nervous system. With blood flow to the CNS decreased, I can foresee only one possible outcome…nap time.

We love food that satisfies. In fact, Mars, Incorporated in the 1980s developed an entire add campaign for one of their candy bars around this theme. C’mon…you know the tune. Sing it with me. “Snickers satisfies you!”

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Why the Rich (And Maybe All Of Us) Can’t Sleep

can't sleepSo, you have finally accomplished your financial dreams. Through sheer hard work and sacrifice you are now able to live comfortably. You have enough money stored up so that you can purchase anything your heart desires.

Your problems are over, or so you thought. Because now there is a new problem to face, one that keeps you up for all hours of the night. You can’t sleep.

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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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A Simple Answer to Election Results (and Other Life Decisions)

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama won a second term in the White House by defeating Republican challenger Mitt Romney. President Obama prevailed despite a laundry list of national challenges that were present in his first four years in office. Here is a short recap:

– Rising unemployment

– Expansion of national debt

– Higher gas prices

– Lower household incomes

– Controversial health care reform

– Government takeover/bailout of an auto company

– Soon to be higher tax rates

– Tense foreign relations (especially with Israel)

Logic dictates these challenges would not bode well for a sitting President. How did he overcome these seemingly devastating national issues? How was he able to convince 60 million Americans he was still the man for the job? The answer lies in a simple word: pain.

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Forget Me Not

“For the needy shall not always be forgotten; the expectation of the poor shall not perish forever.” – Psalm 9:18

It has been a horrific week in the northeast. In case you missed it, Hurricane Sandy ripped through New Jersey and New York, devastating the region. Many lives have not returned to normal as they are still lacking some basic necessities of life like food and shelter. Other lives will never return to normal as they have lost loved ones to this epic storm.

With power still not restored in some places and gas in short supply, the coming days will still present a high degree of challenge for those who are assisting in the relief efforts. But this week might prove to be even tougher for the affected residents of the east coast for an entirely different set of reasons.

America is moving on to a different news cycle.

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Of Marathons and Money: Recovery Week Edition

Recovery. It begins the moment you cross the finish line. First step, take the shiny, thermal blanket to stay warm. Then, keep walking…drink…eat…stretch. Once you are home, it’s hot tub soak…eat and drink some more…and Tylenol PM so you can sleep. The next few days means no running, maybe a massage, and lots of stretching to relieve muscles soreness. All in all, the physical recovery from completing a marathon takes about a week for most people.

The mental recovery will most likely take longer.

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Of Marathons and Money: Post Race Edition

Success! I completed the Atlanta Marathon Sunday morning in 4:07:54. That time ended up being a 9:23 pace per mile which I was really satisfied with. A 9:30 pace had been my goal. The weather was in the mid-50s and cloudy. We ended up running through several patches of drizzle but nothing to make one uncomfortable.

Overall I ended up 321st out of 982 finishers, placing 38th out of 113 in the 35-39 age group.

The biggest challenge of the race was the physical wall you hit about mile 20. I knew this was coming because I had read so much about it and had experienced it a little bit in training.

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Of Marathons and Money: Pre-Race Edition

When was your last life-changing day? We have these randomly littered at various points throughout the course of our life. Most life-changing days we never see coming…they just spontaneously happen. The day of that spiritual awakening…the day you get a proposal and a diamond…the day of a personal tragedy…the day we get fed up with __________ (fill in your blank) and decide to do something about it. It is the day we realize, “Huh…things are going to be different.” My most recent one occurred on October 15, 2011, the day I finished my first 5K race.

Something about finishing that race drove me to continue running. Now – almost 800 miles, 7,000+ minutes of running, and 3 half-marathons later – I am set to tackle my first full marathon this coming Sunday. 26.2 miles. Crazy…I know.

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Scary College Debt Statistics

In case you missed it, the cost of a college education is increasing dramatically. Public and private colleges alike are increasing tuition significantly, many because of state budget cuts. This has left many high school seniors in a bind. For years they have heard the media, their parents, their teachers and counselors say the best way to get a decent job with good pay is to earn a college degree. But now they wonder how they can afford it.

The Institute for College Access and Success’ Project on Student Debt conducted a recent survey that gives us insight into how students are paying for a college education. The results are astonishing and scary.

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Waiting Until Next Year Will Cost You Big Time (Part II)

Many of us are born procrastinators. We love to put things off until the last possible minute. When that moment arrives, we go into manic mode in a desperate, final scramble as our backs are up against the deadline. This usually involves locking ourselves in a room away from the rest of humanity and a steady supply of coffee (or other caffeinated beverage) so we can forego our normal sleep patterns as we pound out the final details of our project.

If you are like me, you don’t like it when you procrastinate and you vow each time to NEVER let this happen again. Or you may try to fake yourself into believing that it doesn’t matter – like it is positive character trait – by saying “I work really well under pressure.” If I am honest with myself, I hate the tension and frustration that comes when I put myself in that predicament. It highlights my lack of discipline. It reminds me of all the time I wasted. It makes me realize the truth of the saying, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

There is no hard and fast deadline when it comes to our personal finances. This project is very open ended as it lasts your entire lifetime. So procrastinators rejoice – you can delay dealing with your financial problems for years. But if you do, it will cost you greatly.

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Six Clues You Are a “Wait Until Next Year”-er (Part I)

The 2012 Major League Baseball season has almost concluded. Several teams are still battling it out to see who will be crowned World Series Champion. Most of the MLB fan base has moved on to be entertained by the NFL or college football or whatever as their team has officially been eliminated. The two teams I follow both exited the playoffs early, one to a blown infield fly rule call and the other to a blown 2-0 playoff series lead. (Seriously Cincy…how can you lose three in a row at home!?)

Each season ends in disappointment for 97% of all the teams and their fan bases. And in locker rooms, office buildings, bars, message boards and anywhere else across America people discuss what went wrong with this season, one phrase will be heard that gives hope to all who utter it — “Wait until next year.”

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