Category Archives: money

It started with a penny and turned into a fortune of wealth

 

I met my husband through a personal ad.  Yep,  honest.  Our first face to face meeting was at the St. Louis Science Center.  We met there to watch the movie Everest at the OmniMax.

After enjoying the movie,we walked around a bit and talked.  Okay okay, since it was 17 years ago this month, I can say we walked around and began the process of falling in love.  But while we were there Ben walked over to the squished penny machine and purchased a commemorative Penny.  (Big spender right?).

The next smashed penny we purchased together was at our wedding in Sedona, Arizona.  He made me close my eyes and he guided me over to the machine that he had previously spied.  And since that time we have made a habit of getting a smashed penny on pretty much every adventure.    I don’t know how much money we have spent on smashed penny’s as each one costs .51 cents.  But it’s  been a very wise investment.  Each serves as a reminder not only of the event where we make the purchase, but of the way it all started.  The way building our fortune began.

So let me tell you about our fortune.  Shortly after I had our first son, I was ambivalent about going back to work.  I was concerned that it would be problematic financially if I stayed off for an extended period.  Ben told me at that time in response to my worrying “Mary, we are the wealthiest people I know.”  He was referring of course, to the immense joy that had just come into our lives- a healthy beautiful baby.  We were both healthy, we had a roof over our heads and not much to complain about.  He was right.

Our fortune has continued to grow- both with our second son, and our lives in general.  We have relationships we value, the opportunity to laugh often, and Ben and I are both lucky enough to have work that we both feel passionate about.  Are we lucky?  Sure we are.  And we work at it; somedays more than others.  But more than the presence of any of these gifts, or the absence of any significant tragedy, is the presence of an attitude we both work towards embracing as often as we can.

Whatever is or isn’t we have control only over that, which we think and conclude about, what is and isn’t in our lives.  Every event that occurs is subject to interpretation.  You can feel victimized by events or blessed by them.  It’s always a choice.

Easy to do when the good stuff is happening.  Harder to do when its not.  But growth occurs in BOTH circumstances, and again, good and bad are relative terms, often arbitrarily determined by our own personal filters.  Bad is determined by “I’m not getting things to happen the way I want them to”.  But when we let go of insisting that life result in very precise circumstances as we deem appropriate, we position ourselves to just open up to whatever life actually is.  By removing the pre-determined outcome, we need not be thwarted because something didn’t turn out the way we planned.

This post is redundant if you’ve been reading for a while.  It’s not that I don’t have other things to write about, but rather this is an idea that I feel we all need frequent reminding.  The world is bombarding us minute by minute with the opposite message and so this one is easy to ignore.  Unfortunately, doing so results in our ignoring the tools for creating our own contentment.

I don’t always like Ben and he doesn’t always like me.  The house is often messy, something breaks, I lose my keys.  The kids fight with each other and skip out on their homework.  I don’t think anyone wants to make a reality TV show about us.  We aren’t that interesting.  That said, we are still, as Ben declared “The wealthiest people we know” and it began with one penny.

A guest post from Brad Tinnon- more on money and health

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Brad Tinnon this week. I hope you will enjoy Brad’s wisdom.

 

DOES WEALTH AFFECT HEALTH?

Dr. Mary Young recently guest blogged on our website about money causing fear and anxiety in people’s lives.

In relation to her blog, I want to discuss how money can interfere with balance in your life which in turn can affect your health (and possibly your happiness).

Money in and of itself is not the problem, but rather the love of money is.  In fact, those who love money will often times pursue it at all costs. You see, the pursuit of money is generally a very time consuming task so, let me make a bold statement:

If the pursuit of money consumes your time, it WILL likely consume your health!!

HEALTH, WEALTH, AND BALANCE

Health comes in a variety of forms: physical, spiritual, and emotional. If you don’t practice balance in your life in relation to these three areas, then you will not truly be healthy.  Let me give you a brief example of what I mean:

If you pursue money by means of being a workaholic, then your health will suffer in the following ways:

(1) You won’t have time for a proper nutritious meal (physical health will suffer).

(2) You won’t have time to exercise (physical health will suffer).

(3) You won’t have time to get a proper night’s sleep (physical and emotional health will suffer).

(4) You won’t have time to connect with friends, family, or God (emotional and spiritual health will suffer).

(5) You won’t have time for activities and interests that you enjoy (emotional health will suffer).

To sum this up, the love of money prevents you from living a balanced life. And as a result, your physical and spiritual health will deteriorate, your relationships will be broken, and you won’t get that needed time away from work.

HOW TO FREE UP TIME

Maybe the pursuit (or love) of money is not your vice, but perhaps “being too busy” is. And many times it seems we are too busy with the wrong things.

I often times wonder how I can free up my time to focus on the things in life that are important.

IDEA #1

One way to do this is to just simply say “no” to things. If your plate is already full, stop taking on new responsibility when somebody asks you to pitch in and help out. You will never please everybody even when you say “yes” to things.

IDEA #2

Another way to free up time is to stop trying to be an expert in everything.

We all know people who are a jack of all trades.  They fix their own car, do their own taxes, handle their own home improvements, etc…

There’s nothing wrong with these things unless you are horrible at them of if they consistently take you away from spending time with family, friends, and God; preparing or eating a nutritious meal; exercising; helping someone in need; having alone time; etc…

There’s also the aspect that you could end up costing yourself more money in the long run because you perhaps don’t have the necessary training to tackle certain tasks. After all, “you don’t know what you don’t know”.

I’m not saying that you have to turn over every aspect of your life to a professional.  But if you have a task in which you lack the time, desire, or knowledge to accomplish, then I challenge you to consider allowing someone to help you out.

In summary, there is nothing wrong with working and making money.  However, too many people go to the extreme and pursue money at all costs.  It’s helpful if you just look at money as one part of your life and recognize that there are many other parts of your life that need your attention as well.

I encourage you to live a more balanced life and spend your time wisely. And if you do this you may also find that you are more healthy and happy.

Please feel free to share any experiences or comments you may have.

Brad Tinnon is owner of B.E.S.T. Wealth Management and has been in practice for 9 years. He currently holds the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist™ designations. Brad specializes in helping individuals and families with their personal financial planning and investments. In addition, he specializes in helping small businesses with their company sponsored 401k plan. Brad is married and has two girls who are ages 6 and 2. He welcomes any sympathy you may have.

 

 

Let’s be honest

I’ve referred to a book before called Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. It’s an old book that I still highly recommend. While the exercise the authors prescribe is annoying and tedious, it is incredibly illuminating. It will make you take a hard look at how you spend your money. I mean really spend it, rather than how you think you do and equally useful, how much of your life are you giving up to support those expenditures.

I did the exercise formally a number of years ago. I was divorced, going to and paying for school. I discovered that I was spending about $2400 per year on Starbucks. Yes $2400 American dollars; that was not a typo.

Now, truth be told, I’m still spending that on Starbucks. In fact, now that I’ve bred a couple of little green label addicts in my own home, the dollars may be a little higher. But here is the difference: I can actually afford to spend that now. Starbucks is about the last known major vice for me and I have no plans of giving it up soon-Although there have been a few windows of time in recent years when for a number of reasons, I’ve done without it for a few weeks or months at a time.

In my earlier life, I really didn’t think about what it was costing me. I only saw the 4.00 expense in the moment and thought it wasn’t “that bad.”

But this post isn’t about money or Starbucks. It’s another about time. From recent posts you can conclude I am feeling pressured about the lack of enough time in my day, as I’m confident, many of you are as well. So I started using the Robin and Dominguez approach to look at how I was spending time.

I have been aware for a while now that email is a major drain on me. Along the way I had subscribed to a number of crafting blogs. I’ve since eliminated all but one. I’ve also become far more efficient with using my Junk mail folder. I can now scan in a few seconds what used to eat up minutes at a time in my day. I’ve started planning meals a month in advance to try and reduce both shopping time and the waste that comes from a lack of planning ahead. But this is the interesting find for me:

There is a little word game app on my phone. While I did succumb to candy crush back in the day- I escaped at a much faster rate than most do. I’m generally not that susceptible to game apps in general. But word games can hook me. I used to play 7 little words. It took about 3 minutes of my day to do the daily puzzle and I was done. I learned a lot of words that way. It was under control- I was content.

And then along came Word Scramble.

It takes only 2 minutes for a round of Word Scramble. I started playing it while I was in line waiting for something. Then I started playing it at night just before drifting off to sleep. Then I started playing it…. Well you get the picture.

One feature of the game is “stats”. So I recently looked up my stats. I don’t know how long I’ve been playing Word scramble, but I know that I’ve played nearly 1200 rounds. I’ll do the math for you- that equals 40 hours. Sure, it’s only 2 minutes a time but its 40 hours of my life gone. Just like a measly 4.00 cup of coffee turns in to 2400.

And this is how a life gets away from us. It’s easy to see the big things that come into our world. They come with a large announcement and a party. But it’s the accumulation of all the little waves that take us further and further adrift into a sea of chaos.

How about taking some time this week to look at the little ways that you may be unproductively losing time. If, like my Starbucks decision, you are okay with the consequence and you know where it fits- enjoy. On the other hand, if it is causing you to feel like it wasn’t worth what you spent, consider a change.

 

The Money Pit

To listen to the audio version click the link below- on a smart phone you may need to scroll down to find the sound icon- you’ll also need to return to the website if you would like to leave a comment- or you can  email it to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

…I’ve realized that loss creates an opening in our lives.  We can fill that space with fear, panic and anxiety.  Or we can let it be open for creating something new, something that didn’t exist before.  It can lead to something far better.  To experience something new, we have to let go of what’s old.  We have to remain calm in the face of setbacks.—art of being unmistakable

 

The house my husband and I owned prior to the one we currently live in was a house I really loved.  It had an open floor plan, a huge kitchen and a pantry, so large that when our oldest son was a toddler, he called it the “food room”.  There was an abundance of cabinets– so many that I could be careless about the space, never really filling them to their capacity.

It also had a Jacuzzi tub in the master bath that could easily be operated with a little button on the top of the tub and a sizable walk in closet.  It wasn’t perfect.  The lot was TINY and the next door neighbor had two GINORMOUS dogs that frequently rushed the fence in a threatening way whenever we went in our back yard.  And, it was in St. Peters.; a fact that did not please my husband.

One day he came home announcing that he would like to have a little more room to use for his business.  He wanted an out building or perhaps enough land to add a building.  And then, as if someone magically waved a wand, about 10 weeks later, we were living in the house where we still remain today.

I don’t exactly mean it happened by magic.  But rather that, it happened incredibly quickly.  We looked at houses for a couple of weeks, saw the one we wanted and bought.  We went home and put our house up for sale, and moved the closing to about 3-4 weeks out.  It wasn’t as if I wasn’t an active participant.  In fact, on a couple of the days, I went out with the realtor on my own and saw houses my husband did not.  When we walked into our final pick, I fell in love with a staircase.  I imagined it decorated for the holidays.  My kids fell in love with a pool.  My husband fell in love with 3 acres at the end of the lane.  Everybody had something to love….

Until we moved in.

Day one of the move I went to work.  I returned home to find my refrigerator in my new kitchen.  Only it wasn’t where refrigerators normally go.  It was stuck in the middle of the kitchen more or less.  It seemed it was a little too large to fit in the spot where it was supposed to go.

Not to worry my husband said “we’ll buy a new one.”  The only problem however, was that the spot for a fridge was made for a size that apparently no stores in St. Louis carried.  No problem my husband said.  ” I’ll cut the above cabinet out a bit and have it cut down.”  The only problem however, was that when the former owners retiled the kitchen, they grouted the cabinet stabilizer into the floor.  No problem my husband said.  I’ll cut it away and the top cabinet will come out with the stabilizer.”  The only problem however, is that once the cabinet was removed, it showed a large hole that had been caused by an obviously leaking shower from the bathroom above.  A hole that appeared to have started growing mold.

No problem he said, and I began to feel like Goldie Hawn in  “the money pit”, just not as cute.

My response was to cry.  And cry I did.  I cried that day, the next one and pretty much most of the ones after that for about 3 months.  And when I cried I said “what have we done to our lives?

the furniture didn’t fit

I had no idea what living with a well and sewer “off the grid” meant

deer ate everything and anything that resembled a flower

there were bugs everywhere since we live in woods, not to mention a snake or two

the sprinkler system groaned at night as if a dying body was living under the front porch

frogs croaked so loudly outside the window it was hard to sleep

the jacuzzi tub was small and to operate it, you have to get out of the tub to turn on the switch

the pool heater broke

every room was painted with sponge painting

and….. did I mention it has a really pretty staircase?

My poor husband was beside himself. He tried everything he could think of- short of decorating the staircase for Christmas in August, to make the house seem more enjoyable to me. But what finally came to me was the realization that I was comparing the new house constantly to the old house. Everything had happened so quickly, that I hadn’t really had time to process leaving the old one behind. And as a result, I felt not ready for the new one. I didn’t yet “live” there.

That insight provided a huge relief for my situation.

I started to realize finally that I needed to say goodbye to my old house. It’s where we lived when we had our second son. It’s the first house we bought together and several other important memories. But at the end of the day it was a house, not our home. Our home was where we lived as a family, and that place was now no longer in St. Peters. I began to allow myself to enter the process of saying goodbye. And gradually over a few days, maybe longer, I began to open myself up to appreciating what the new house had to offer our family.

We painted. We disconnected the sprinkler. We had the hole over the fridge fixed. And we got a dog. Our beloved Snickers, who loves running in the woods around our house and chasing every rodent she can find. We met new people; some wonderful people.   We have a life here now and although we probably we won’t live here forever, it gives me great joy for now. My children are growing up here. They will most likely always think of this as the house they call their childhood home. And every Christmas, decorating the staircase still remains my favorite activity.

It’s very hard to enjoy the life you are in if a significant part of your emotional self remains living somewhere else. Are there places or people that you’ve had difficulty saying goodbye? Are there opportunities in your future that you have not yet created space for by letting go?

 

 

Butterflies are Free

For an audio version of todays post click on the link below- if you are listening on a smartphone, you may need to scroll to the bottom of the message and look for the sound icon.

 

 

 

I often say that you just never know when and where guidance will come from. But I never expected it to come from Ashton Kutcher. Well, actually Ashton was the messenger, but the real wisdom comes from Steve Jobs. Let me clarify.

A couple of months ago Ashton quoted a little piece from his movie in which he plays the role of Steve Jobs. So, Kutcher was accepting an award and he offered advice to his young audience he attributed to Steve Jobs.   By the way, The Jobs movie is surprisingly worth watching, but if you want the short cut version of Kutcher’s speech, this link will take you there.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fT-jbMHbiwk

“When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and you’re life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it… Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”

 

It prompts these kinds of thoughts for me.

How much depression is caused by the exhaustion of holding all of your potential locked inside? Or from trying to fit into a life that someone else decided the rules for?

How did the guy who decided to make a bunch of money picking up dog poop in other people’s yards deal with all the people that laughed at him when he came up with the idea?

Who stands to lose the most if you stop following all of the rules inside your head?

How would we be traveling today if Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers and others followed the status quo and did things the way they were familiar with? The ways people understood. The way people before them told them it was supposed to be.

What is the price you are willing to pay to color outside the lines and take a path or a project that no one else has thought of?

These are not questions to run through quickly. They require time to let you mull them around. But if you were willing to let yourself do something that doesn’t already exist, how might you change the world?

Changing the world doesn’t have to mean the whole world. It doesn’t mean your city, your neighborhood, or even your whole family. It just has to begin with you.

Have you heard of the Butterfly effect? I’m not talking about the movie, which ironically stars Ashton Kutcher. I am talking about a concept in chaos theory that took its name originally from a short story written in 1952 by Ray Bradbury. It’s called “A Sound of Thunder”. I won’t detail that story here because you can find it pretty easily online, or let me know if you can’t.   But the bottom line is that changing one small thing can have dramatic impact on much larger systems.

 

Translated it means making a change in the way you are “supposed to live as defined by others” to living in a way fueled by your own unleashed creativity can change things for years to come.

Admittedly, the world probably won’t be changed on its axis because you paint the walls in your house purple instead of white.

But someone one day, someone sounding crazy said “hey, I think we can talk to people all over the world instantaneously through electronic mediums. “ Another crazy sounding person said we could send a space ship to the moon.

Do you have some “crazy” ideas that you need to unleash?

So the next time you see a butterfly, remember it can change the world. And you are free to as well.

 

 

 

iphone apps

Today i’d like to suggest two apps for iPhone/ipad I suspect they are available in android as well.

The first one is  IthoughtsHD.  This is a great little tool that I use on my Ipad-  It is super for someone who has a big project and the thoughts feel very scattered.  It is a mind mapping tool.  The way to use it is to start on one section  and then let it take shape like a spider web linking everything together.  It makes sense once you start to use it.

The other really cool part about this app is that you can email parts of it to yourself and it comes out like a “to do” list in bullet point format.

mindmap

 

 

 

 

The second app is great for budgeting.  With the popularity of Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University, many people are back to using the tried and true “envelope” system for budgeting.  Only this is the updated- at your fingertips on your phone version.  I personally use this to keep track of certain areas that I want to be mindful of my spending…. like my crafting budget 😉

envelope

 

 

 

 

Hope you find these helpful!