Hope for your financial life and beyond

Count the Cost: The Secret Step for Success at Anything (Luke 14:28)

count the costWould you like to have success at anything you do? Of course would. So would I. Nobody sets out with the intention to fail. However, many times we do fail and it’s often because we refused to count the cost ahead of time.

What do I mean by count the cost? Does that have something to do with money? Well, maybe but not necessarily.

Put simply, when you count the cost, you plan ahead. You take inventory of everything that needs to happen before you pursue a goal.

Now, you may not know every little detail that needs to be achieved in the process. But you can at least get a sense of all the big rocks that need to be accomplished in order for your endeavor to be successful.

This concept isn’t a new one. The term “count the cost” actually has its origins in the Bible. And Jesus used it with his disciples to prove a very important point about thinking and planning ahead.

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Should I Save For Retirement or the Kid’s College First?

I’m a very linear person. My default mode is to move in a chronological order, doing things step by step according to a predetermined plan. So it’s confusing when trying to decide whether to save for retirement first or our kid’s college.

save for retirementOn the one hand, it’s been drilled into me that saving for retirement is important. However, I know the costs of college tuition are increasing every year with no end in sight. I’d love for my kids to graduate from college debt free and feel an obligation as a parent to help with some of my own money to make that happen.

College is a nearer-term goal than retirement. That fits with my linear life narrative. Prepare for the financial situations that are coming sooner and push off financial decisions that can be made later. For most people, college costs will come before retirement costs so shouldn’t we be focusing on that first?

It seems logical to prepare for college first but I’m going to suggest today that we should do the illogical. The exact opposite should happen. Save for retirement first and college second.

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2 Milestones You Need to Reach Before Investing Money

investingWhen it comes to investing money in the stock market, time is your greatest ally and your greatest enemy. The longer you are investing money the greater likelihood you’ll generate great wealth. Shortening that time period by just a few years could significantly reduce the amount of wealth you’ll create.

That’s why it’s important to get started early – in fact, the earlier the better. Time is the most critical element in the investing equation. It doesn’t matter if you are a high school student making minimum wage at a summer job, a college student figuring out how to pay your way through school or married with your first child on the way. The earlier you start investing, even in small amounts, the more one can maximize big returns in the long run.

Don’t believe me? Read on and check out the following example.

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Does God Want Me To Attend College?

Every fall like clockwork, the same ritual happens during the months of August and September – students return to high school. Each year a special group of these students enter their senior year, excited about wrapping up one of the most exciting times of their life thus far. And chief among their thoughts as they start their final year of high school is this question, “Should I go to college or not?”

should i go to collegeFor people of faith, there is an underlying component to this question that sometimes factors into the answer to the college question. That element is this – “Does God want me to go? Does He really care if I attend college or not?” Mom and dad sure have made it clear they think it’s important. They’ve been pounding the table for months to get those applications finished.

But what about God? Does He even have an opinion on college?

To those with no religious inclination this may seem silly. Why consult a higher power at all about a non-spiritual issue like whether or not to attend college? I understand that line of thinking.

However, for those who value their relationship with God, it’s huge for several reasons.

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Life Insurance: The Most Important Things You Need to Know

The topic of life insurance is one that many do not like to discuss. The reason is simple – it involves death, most notably our own. And since death routinely shows up on lists of common fears, its obviously something we choose not to think about.

life insurance

Next to purchasing quality health insurance, I believe this is the second most important insurance a person should buy.This is because there is nothing you can do about it once you are gone. You can’t buy a life insurance policy after you are dead. You can’t provide any financial comfort to those left behind once you are in the ground.

See what I mean about life insurance? Even writing those sentences brought a tinge of emotion I’d rather not feel. That’s what makes it so easy to avoid dealing with this.

But we have to. Life insurance is a big piece of the puzzle to our financial lives – even if we, as the deceased, will never see any of the money.

What is Life Insurance?

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How to Be Sure Children Should Get Your Inheritance Money

The question comes at some point in everyone’s life – “Who will I leave my inheritance too?” If you are in your 20s, the thought probably hasn’t crossed your mind yet. But it’s most definitely been thought of by people in their 40s, 50s and beyond, especially those who have a family, money and other assets.

inheritanceWe all hope to live as long as possible. With modern science advancing at leaps and bounds, life spans are being extended to 100 and beyond more and more often. But, in the end, we all know these two realities of life to be true:

1. Our death will occur at a fixed moment in time.

2. Nobody knows exactly when that moment will be.

How interesting that death brings with it aspects of certainty (we will die) and uncertainty (when?). That dualistic nature of death is fascinating. Perhaps that’s why issues surrounding death and what will happen after we are gone remain difficult to discuss. We simply don’t like thinking about anything that relates to the end of us.

But we have to think about it for there is so much at stake. Mess up our death and it could impact those left behind for generations to come. Today we will look at one aspect of death you need to consider – whether or not to leave an inheritance to your children.

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How to Invest 1,000 Dollars at Age 18

A while back, I had a conversation with a former student of mine who is looking to invest in the stock market. He was in college and had some money sitting around that he didn’t need for school. He wanted to know how to invest 1,000 dollars and whether it was realistic or not at this time of his life.

how to invest 1,000 dollarsHis situation was similar to what many 18-year-olds face. They’ve worked full-time summer jobs since they were 16 and maybe even part-time ones during the school year. Their college expenses are taken care of either through scholarships or the bank of mom and dad. The money they have earned is just sitting in their savings account drawing little to no interest. Does it make sense for them to do something else with it, like beginning to invest?

The answer is “YES…it absolutely makes sense” but with a very big “BUT…”.

Before I get to the “BUT…” though, lets look at some assumptions about 18-year-olds that are going to impact how they invest and where they put their money.

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20 Flexible Part Time Jobs For College Students

Every fall about this time, parents are gearing up to send their kids back to school. In some cases, that means sending them to college. It’s an expensive proposition putting a child through college. But there are so many part time jobs for college students that can help bring in some extra spending money.

part time jobs for college studentsMore than likely, students have figured out how to finance college tuition, student fees and room and board. However, there are so many hidden costs of college for which students don’t prepare. These little incidental items can certainly add up. So, unless an endless stream of cash is flowing from mom and dad, students will need to secure some extra spending money.

The big question though is, what part time jobs can reasonably be done by college students? Yes, you could work a full-time job and attend classes but that’s not what most students are looking for. The average student just wants enough spending money to go to parties, put gas in the car and pay for their books.

With that in mind, here is a list of 20 part-time jobs and activities that could earn a college student a little bit of extra spending money.

Part Time Jobs for College Students: On Campus

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Secret Advice For Teenagers Who Love to Spend Money

You know who you are – teenager who loves to spend money like it’s going out of style. You spend money faster than it takes a Snapchat to disappear. Money comes into your hand one minute and flows out like water the next.

spend moneyAnd you like it that way!

If that’s you, I have some special advice today. It’s unusual, maybe even secret advice. I’m pretty sure you’ve never heard an adult say this to you before. In fact, your parents may hate me for saying this because it might go against how they have instructed you to handle money. So I’m actually running a big risk here.

But before I reveal this big secret about spending your money, you have to promise me something.

The promise I’m asking you to make is to read this entire post. You are going to love what I have to say about spending money but you can’t take it as stand alone advice without understanding the bigger picture. As they say, the devil is in the details. So I’m asking for five minutes of your time to help you avoid failure on this issue.

Ready for the big, secret advice? OK, here goes…

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What to Invest in When You are Scared to Invest

There are times when the stock market causes real fear for investors. It’s scary to see the markets and your portfolio value go down day after day. This is especially true for those closer to retirement. At times like that, it’s hard to know what to invest in or whether one should be investing at all.

what to invest in

You can’t discount the power of fear. Even the most seasoned investors get it from time to time. However, those who have been investing for a long time know something that perhaps a beginning investor doesn’t know – fear is not necessarily an excuse to stop investing.

But fear could be something that prompts you to reevaluate what to invest in. Market downturns are a great time to look again at your portfolio and analyze your strategy. Every time I’ve done that, it has actually served to calm me down. It reminds me that I am following sound investing practices that will serve me well in the long run.

There is good news if you are scared of the markets and don’t know what to invest in. There are a couple simple strategies to follow that can help you sleep easier at night. Here are several to consider that will help you put your fears to rest.

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How to Push Through the Scary Questions at the Start

ID-10083769Do you want to finish what you start this year? Maybe you have made a New Year’s resolution and aren’t confident you can do it. Or maybe there are simply so many unanswered questions and doubts in front of you it’s becoming overwhelming.

Finishing is huge for our psyche. It gives us so much confidence that we think anything is possible. It releases pressure and tension when we finally reach our goal. Finishing creates momentum and catapults us forward to even greater things.

Related Content: Winning is More Valuable Than Losing

Unfortunately, we don’t start at the finish and get those great rewards. We start our journey at a more logical place – the start.

The start of anything can be a very confusing place to be. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time. And the start is always full of questions like…

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