Hope for your financial life and beyond

The Final Destination Is Worth the Pain of Starting Over

Today I’m guest posting and commenting at the personal finance blog Budget and the Beach. Click the link below to read the rest of this post.

Piece of paper reading No Pain No Gain

Image at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tonya, the owner of this blog and I share an affinity for physical fitness. Her go-to activities are beach volleyball and more recently running, while mine are biking and running. Neither of us train for competition at a world-class level. Our efforts are solely designed to fulfill our enjoyment, keep us fit and produce energy to tackle our respective daily activities.

Accept when they don’t…because we get hurt.

Her injury bug was a bum shoulder that kept her from playing beach volleyball awhile back. My most recent ailment was the dreaded…

Continue reading at Budget and the Beach

Next Post: Happy Anniversary! Luke1428 Enters the Terrible Twos

Prior Post: Debunking a Few Home-Buying Misconceptions

Give Me Your Guest Post Yearning to Breathe Free

ID-100223483A belated “Welcome to 2014” from Luke1428! And for you Chinese zodiac fans out there, welcome to “the year of the horse.” I trust your holidays were filled with many blessings and you are looking forward to the upcoming new year.

I’m sure by now you have read countless posts about New Year’s resolutions. Did you make any this year? Perhaps the better question is, have you already broken some of them?

I’ll be honest with you…I haven’t made any yet. That feels weird for me because I’m all about setting and pursuing big goals. I had a whole host of them I worked towards and discussed all of last year on this blog.

Despite my lack-of-resolution status, I have determined that 2014 will be a year of letting go for me.

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3 Big Victories, 3 Big Disappointments From My 2013

Times Square Ball

Adieu 2013

2013 is nothing more than a Times Square Ball drop from being in the books.

As excited as I am for 2014 to arrive, I’ve been thinking over the Christmas holidays of the incredible year 2013 was for myself and my family. As I’m sure yours was also, our year was filled with ups and downs. So today I’m going to conclude my writing for the year by sharing the biggest victories and disappointments I encountered this past year.

3 Big Victories

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Dealing With My Daughter’s BIG Milestone

Growth AheadMy oldest daughter, Miss LukeTeen28 (MLT28), is quickly approaching a major milestone. To be honest I’m having difficulty believing my wife and I have reached this point. It seems like only yesterday we were meticulously buckling her into the car seat at the hospital (as only newbie parents can), readying her for the first car ride home.

Boy, did I take that trip carefully.

Now 12 ½ years later, we are about to cross that invisible yet unmistakable line that serves as a right of passage for kids as they grow towards young adulthood. Most parents dread this moment because it signals their child is becoming capable of deciding his or her own path. While I will admit to a certain level of anxiety, I’m really looking forward to it. I want to see how all these years of teaching, training and modeling will play out as she makes decisions.

The right of passage to which I refer has nothing to do with my daughter becoming a teenager though. It’s a much greater issue that will provide her with great lessons as she matures into adulthood. What could possibly be this big a deal for an almost 13 year old?

Making her first BIG purchase with her own money. Here is what she wants:

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How Couples Can Stop Fighting Over Money

This is part one of three on how couples can resolve the constant fighting over money in their daily lives.

fighting over moneyTired of fighting over money with your significant other? You are not alone. Money related problems consistently rank as a top reason so many marriages end in divorce.

This should not come as a shock. When approaching anything major in life, the conversation must inevitably turn to the financial ramifications. Big-ticket items such as shelter, food, career, education, retirement, healthcare, and transportation all have money serving as the underlying theme in the discussion. And when all the minor day-to-day decisions are factored in, it becomes clear money is at the core of almost everything we do.

Many couples do not adequately prepare for the challenges money decisions will create. With each person bringing into the relationship a different background, personality and opinion, money can easily ignite a firestorm of controversy as these differences clash with one another. Before you know it, the continuing conflict can lead couples into thinking they were not meant for one another.

It doesn’t have to be this way though. Couples can implement a plan that will keep them from fighting over money. You can live in harmony together. Getting on the same financial page with your significant other should be a top priority if you desire to have financial success and create deep bonds of intimacy in your relationship.

Steps to Stop Fighting Over Money

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What’s More Valuable: Short or Long Term Goals?

long term goalsWe usher in October tomorrow which means that 2013 is rapidly coming to an end. Remember all those New Year’s resolutions you swore would be accomplished this year? How did those short and long term goals pan out?

Most likely you accomplished some and dropped some. That’s the norm for most of us. I’ve been able to finish two short term goals and two long term goals so far this year. I postponed one to be completed in 2014. The only long term goals I have left for this year concerns my running.

Goals give us targets to shoot for and assist us in moving forward in life areas that we feel need improvement. When they are written properly, they serve to keep us focused and motivated. When accomplished, they give us an incredible boost of confidence and spur us on to create greater ones. I love the feeling of winning with my goals.

Bringing my goals into the public eye this year via this blog has been an interesting experience. It’s helped me develop a clearer understanding of goals and their importance in my life. Most notably, I’ve realized the need to establish a balance between goals that can be accomplished quick and those that will take some more time. Both types have value, bringing unique things into my life.

The Value of Short Term Goals

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A Trick to Stay Motivated

Hidden Nugget Series #11 – “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”  Galatians 6:9

stay motivatedTwo weeks from today several significant milestones will take place in the Luke1428 household. On Friday, Oct. 11th, I’ll be flying to Maryland to compete in the Baltimore Marathon over the weekend. That event will bring to an end my arduous 5-month training schedule that has seen its share of nagging injuries, post-run ice packs and more diet restrictions than I care to think about. (Can I please just have a soda?!)

That same day Mrs. Luke1428 will turn in her final grad school assignment in what has been a three-year vocational transition from teaching high school math to becoming a full-fledged CPA at a private accounting firm. We’ve already celebrated the completion of her CPA requirements and this last class wraps up her quest to secure an MBA as well. I’ve written extensively in my monthly updates how mentally and emotionally challenging this has been for the entire family. I really can’t believe we’ve made it to the end of our long, dark tunnel.

Anything of value worth seeking brings some kind of hardship. Invariably the intense pursuit makes it incredibly difficult to keep moving forward day in and day out. The end looms so far in the distance. Weariness sets in. Discouragement soon follows. And then the questions begin.

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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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Celebrating Victory: Reward Yourself For Life’s Achievements

reward yourselfI love celebrations! Especially when it involves my family or myself, either being the intended target or getting to help put the celebration on in some way. Call me selfish, call me self-absorbed but celebrations and finding ways to reward yourself are infinitely better when you have a personal stake in it.

Like the time my wife surprised me for my 25th birthday. We went out for dinner with another couple and came back to our apartment to have some coffee and play cards. I opened the front door to the dark apartment and was greeted with lights flipping on, the popping of balloons (which I thought were gunshots) and shouts of “Surprise!” from a dozen or so of our friends from church. The momentary shock contorted my face and caused me to curl my body into the fetal position. I posed like Lee Harvey Oswald being struck by Jack Ruby’s bullet.

Parties are great for significant birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and weddings. But we shouldn’t limit their usage to just those occasions. Perhaps the best time to throw a victory celebration is when you have achieved some personal goal in your life. The Luke1428 household reached a milestone last month that we’ve been working on for three years and boy, did we have a blast celebrating it this past Saturday night.

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July Goals Update: This Arduous Affair Is Finally Over!

Clock midnightCalls after midnight are never good and raise blood pressure levels immediately. Calls between 11 p.m. and midnight still pose some high risk. So when the phone rang at 11:35 Monday night, I sprang from my sleep anticipating the worst.

Oh no…it’s my wife on the other end. She is at church youth camp (with my 12-year old daughter) serving as a chaperone. This can’t be good.

“Hello” I said nervously, dreading what’s coming next. Boating accident? Broken arm from falling out of a bunk bed? Food poisoning? My mind races, preparing for the bad news.

“Everything’s fine,” she says. (Phew. Exhale.) “I wanted to call and say I just received an email from the Georgia Secretary of State saying my CPA license has been approved.”

If it hadn’t been 11:35 I would have screamed for joy!

Someday we will write about this crazy three year journey we have been on. For right now, I’m just thankful to God that goal is behind us. Way to go dear…You Rock!

Here’s my goal update for July:

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Will You Still Love Me If I Blog For Money?

blog for moneyIt’s a tad bit presumptuous of a post title, don’t you think? I’m taking a gigantic leap in assuming my readers love and appreciate the content they get at Luke1428. Furthermore, that they would continue to tune in day after day if there was an inexplicable directional shift in my blog philosophy – like if I chose to blog for money?

As it stands now, Luke1428 is growing. June and July have seen the best viewership to date in the little over a year the site has been up and running. Why risk ruining a good thing now?

Because I believe this space can be better. Maybe even awesome!

But let me ease any apprehension you might be having right from the start. I could never blog for money only. It’s not in my DNA.

Why I’m Here

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