Hope for your financial life and beyond

6 Shocking Things Your Broke Friends Need to Hear You Say

If you’ve ever gotten into conversations with broke friends about money, you know how hard it is to determine if they actually want your help. There are several ways to figure that out and perhaps lead your discussion to a deeper level. If that happens, you’ll learn more about your friend’s financial struggles and perhaps be able to offer some counsel.

However, the counsel part is when it gets really tough. If you’ve had success with money, the answers seem obvious. You know what must be done.

broke friendsChange your habits.

Spend less and save more by following a budget.

Get out of debt.

Invest, invest, and invest some more.

The sad thing is your broke friends might not want to hear any of that. They are in financial trouble for a whole host of diverse reasons. And those reasons have a grip on their life that will make it hard to break free.

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Teaching Kids About Money to Get the Best Results

teaching kids about moneyA major role of parenting (and one that is often neglected) should be teaching kids about money. For many reasons, parents drop the ball in this area and raise children who carry an improper understanding of money into college and adulthood. Unfortunately, these children then face challenges when they go to seek employment, earn an income and determine how to manage their financial lives.

But what is a parent to do? How do you go about helping kids develop a proper understanding of how to relate to and handle money? It seems like such an overwhelming process, especially for those parents who don’t handle money well themselves.

The good news is that it’s not as difficult as you might think. For starters, what children should learn about money varies depending on their age. A five year old needs to hear different messages from the parents than does a teenager. However, there are three fundamental money lessons that every child needs to learn no matter what the age:

1) to save money for future needs,

2) to spend money wisely and

3) to give generously.

These three principles serve as the foundation upon which other money lessons build. Stick with these and you will see the best results when they are consistently applied over time. Let’s see what that practically looks like.

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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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A Soldier’s Pledge – on Freedom, Courage and Sacrifice

“America is depressing…mixed up…adrift…an afterthought.” Have you sensed these messages creeping into American culture and thought in the past few years? Our soldier’s pledge to keep our nation great remains strong, but a lack of pride in who we are among the general public seems to have blossomed. There exists less and less passion for greatness. And few believe America’s best days lie ahead.

a soldiers pledgeEveryday the news points out our flaws. Our economy isn’t right. We can’t resolve our racial issues. Our foreign relationships often teeter on shaky ground. American individual liberties are under assault.

Everything rises and falls with leadership – including a nation as big and powerful as America. So perhaps our attitudes can be contributed to the uninspiring and ineffectual leadership we see in our government, in our communities, in our churches and even in our homes.

For many it’s a bleak picture that seems to be spiraling out of control. But we don’t have to settle for this course. We can choose a different path. Nothing predetermines that we must feel indifferent or uninspired about America.

How do I know this?

Because of freedom. Freedom is the one constant that can again ignite our passion and love for this country.

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Interview with a Centenarian: At 100, My Grandfather Reflects on Life, Faith and Finding Purpose

Oh, to be a centenarian – 100 years of living. It’s simply amazing! Most of us would settle for 80% of that. It’s hard to fathom the changes and life events someone born in 1914 has experienced.

centenarian

Byron Miller – Preaching at 100 years of age

What will you be up to at 100 years of age? My grandfather, as shown in the picture, preached a sermon the day after he turned 100. His challenge to those who listened:

1. Practice Gratitude (be thankful)

2. Express Certitude (in the things of your faith)

3. Develop Fortitude (build the power to endure)

And he played his guitar and sang a short chorus at the end. The song’s message – “Just a little bit longer Lord…just a little bit longer.”

Not a dry eye in the house.

In the weeks leading up to his 100th birthday, my grandfather was kind enough to answer some questions about his life. I’d encourage you to take five minutes to enjoy this thought provoking read about a man who has experienced the Depression, the loss of siblings, financial challenges, joys and regrets and 60+ years of ministry.

Q & A With a Centenarian

1. What is the most amazing thing you have seen in your lifetime? Why did that stand out?

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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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How Much We Pay Our Kids For Chores

If you’ve ever wondered how much to pay kids for chores you are not alone. It’s a question my wife and I have wrestled with again and again. I’ve mentioned before why we don’t give our kids allowances. I’m not giving them money just for existing. It seems like that is what an allowance implies. Kids need to feel the burden of work so they can experience the joy of its rewards.

how much to pay kids for choresIn addition to earning some money, doing chores around the house is teaching them responsibility. The home is where they should begin to learn basic life skills. When I was in school, I knew some college freshman who couldn’t do their own laundry. All four of my children have been doing their laundry since they were nine.

Over the years my wife and I have adjusted how much we pay our kids for chores. The amounts started out small and increased as they got older. And then when we started having teenagers, specifically when they turned 16, we made another radical turn. Before I get to that though, here is some background information that helped us decide on how much to pay kids for chores.

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3 Reasons A Good Name Is Better Than Riches (Proverbs 22:1)

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold.” – Proverbs 22:1

Have you ever thought about the status of your name? Would you say it is good? Do you even care how those around you view your name?

a good name is better than richesJust to clear up any confusion, I’m not talking about your actual name. Mine is Brian. There is nothing fancy or unique about that as over 1.2 million people in the U.S. share it. It’s statistically the 29th most popular first name.

I’m talking about what your name implies. When people hear your name mentioned, what do they immediately think of you?

In this context, a “good name” really speaks to your integrity. It’s about your reputation and the character you possess inside. It identifies who you are from a moral and ethical standpoint. Essentially it is what you are all about.

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How to Manage Your Side Hustle and Family Life So You Don’t Go Insane

There may come a time in your life where you want to or need to create a side hustle to earn extra income. It can be many things depending on your skills and the depth of your need. Regardless of what you choose, it will be something you do on the side (apart from your day job) to bring in additional money to the family budget.

Side hustles can be a financial blessing. They can help you build up your savings account or pay off debt or meet any a number of financial goals you might have.

side hustle IIIHowever, while the additional income of a side hustle is welcome, there is a dark side that many are unprepared for. Side hustles, done improperly, can be a curse on family life.

It’s one thing to have a side hustle if you are single. I remember talking with a blogging friend who told me how he’d work his 9 to 5, take a 30-minute dinner (maybe) and then work till past midnight writing and networking. I’m not saying that’s necessarily an easy schedule but it’s not like you have anyone else to account for. It’s just you.

When a spouse and/or kids are in the picture side hustles take on a whole different dimension.

There is a tension that immediately surfaces the minute one member of the family begins a side hustle. What was a normal life is no longer normal.

You know the side hustle must be done to improve your financial life. But you also know family life matters. How can you manage it all and not go insane?

Here are a few strategies I’ve used over the years as I’ve managed a career, side hustles (my blogs) and family life.

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Kids, Money and High School Graduation Day

 

In a few hours, my firstborn child will walk across a stage and receive her high school diploma. It’s been 18 years in the making and now we are here. One of the milestone days any parent looks forward to.

It seems like only yesterday.

You hear people say this phrase all the time, “It seems like only yesterday.” Well, it’s true. Mom and dad are really feeling that today. I was just talking with a friend this morning about how quickly time passes. And I can vividly remember the day my daughter Kelly came into this world.

What a joy it’s been to raise this child. She’s been obedient…kind to her siblings…dependable and reliable…driven…generous…sweet.

And I’ll tell you something else she has been…costly. (Hey, this is a personal finance blog…what did you expect me to talk about.)

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