Hope for your financial life and beyond

“I’m Rich!” – How to Handle a Lump Sum Payment of Money

I’m sure you’ve daydreamed at some point about how life would change if a large lump sum payment of money came your way. Say like a million dollars? We’ve all played this game and fantasized about all the good we could do for ourselves and others with that much money.

lump sum paymentBut let’s be completely honest. For most people, this will not happen. The better likelihood of a person becoming rich is that it will take many years of hard work accompanied by traditional saving and investing. That’s the more likely path to wealth and the financial freedom that comes with it.

However, people’s lives can change quickly because they receive a lump sum payment of money worth six or seven figures. How could this happen? Well, there are more ways than you might think. So, Ill detail a few ways here that are not get-rich-quick schemes. Then we will look at what you should do if ever faced with this situation.

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How to Resolve the What Career Should I Have Dilemma

Have you ever asked the question, What career should I have?  If so, you know the answer isn’t that obvious. Coming to a decision about what career bests fits you can be quite a dilemma, no matter if you are right out of high school or in your mid-30s looking for a career change.

what career should i haveIt sure was a challenge for me.

After I graduated high school, everyone wanted to know what I was going to study in college. I didn’t know. So I just told everyone I’d be taking my general education requirements first and decide on a degree track later. Seemed like the wise thing to do instead of getting into a major I didn’t like and then needing to make a change to something else.

In the end, I chose psychology and counseling as a course of study. I didn’t know where that would ultimately take me later in life. All I knew at the time was that it matched up with my personality, my ability to listen and my desire to help people.

My chosen field of study didn’t lead me to a counseling career per se. After grad school, I ended up in education, first as a teacher and then as a principal at a small private school. While I wasn’t counseling in the strictness definition of the word, my education did prepare me in a lot of ways for things you face when dealing with families and kids. But was it the right choice?

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Personal Finance Items You Must Evaluate Once a Year

When was the last time you took inventory of your personal finances? It’s so easy to get things set in place and then just ignore them. Who really wants to continually review all the facets of personal finance anyway? It takes so much time.

personal financeWell, here is the thing – the pace of life is fast. Because of that, it’s easy to let things slip by. When it comes to money, you may be missing out on opportunities to improve on the things you have in place and save money in the process.

And the more you save, the more you can invest and consequently, grow your wealth.

Furthermore, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t take as much time as you think to do a thorough review. It will be worth it compared to the consequences that might come should you miss something important.

The idea of taking inventory of your financial life is not new. King Solomon in the Bible was the wisest man who ever lived.  In the book of Proverbs he wrote this:

“Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds; for riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations.” (Prov. 27:23-24)

So, we cannot assume just because something was once a good deal, a smart investment or a solid financial goal that it will continue to be so. Our life circumstances change.  So we should be on the cutting edge of awareness about these matters.

With that being said, here are the five key areas of personal finance that my wife and I review at least once a year.

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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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