FIRE the Imagination

I had quite the imagination and curiosity when I was younger. I can remember daydreaming about all types of things which shaped my world into limitless possibilities.

I loved movies and stories that made me think differently which challenged my curiosity to imagine a world beyond what I thought could ever be possible. 

As a young boy, my imagination fueled a sense of optimism untethered to physical limits, practicality, or man-made rules. Anything was possible, and nothing could stand in the way.  It was hard to understand why adults didn’t have the same sense of hopefulness.

Fast forward decades later, I sit here today thinking about where that boy with his boundless imagination and optimism have vanished to.  Read more

Better Spending Decisions

If you want to be financially independent, you need to focus on the magic number: your savings rate. You must increase and defend this magic number at all costs.

How do you improve savings rate?

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Couples Budget: An Equitable Approach

All you need is balance

Perhaps a happy money relationship isn’t about being equal, just equitable! 

My wife and I long ago decided to split our expenses 50/50, right down the middle for things like rent, food, electricity, etc.

We maintained our finances separately and any money left over to spend after the 50% split was discretionary.

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How to Build a Better Budget in 3-steps

A budget is your financial compass!

How do you decide who to pay after you get paid? 

Some may say: “Well, I have a budget.”

Sure, a budget may be the obvious answer.

Before that, though, what was your thought process leading up to creating your budget?

If you don’t have a budget, the same question still applies: How do you decide who gets your hard earned income and why?

Whether you have a formal process or a simple flexible mental exercise (aka no process), the only right answer is the process that works for you.

Just the thought of doing a budget can seem tedious. The goal is try different methods until you find one that sticks, and eventually make your own.

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Cut the Slack, Pocket the Savings

Cut the Slack, Pocket the Savings!

So here’s how I put $3,380 back into my pocket this year and forever with minimal work.

Let’s talk about ‘bills’ for a second. I’m talking about those pesky periodic bills.  Yes, everyone has them. Some bills are necessary and to some degree inevitable and an unavoidable part of life (i.e. utility, taxes, insurance, etc.). On the other hand, we all have those often unnecessary bills that siphon away our hard earned cash like clock-work, often paid automatically and forgotten.

In the past, I didn’t mind paying for certain creature-features that I perceived to bring me comfort: like cable, cell phone, internet, car, dining, memberships to this or that, you name it. I worked hard so I wanted to enjoy it. Comfort, however, comes at a price in the form of a monthly bill.

Shortly after the time I nearly inflated my lifestyle, I took a good hard look at my monthly spending. I reviewed every bill I paid to see where I can reduce or eliminate.  I knew that if I want financial independence I had to shift my priorities. I had to reduce my level of consumption. It was simple math. Read more

Take Control of Your Personal Finances

Truly a powerful tool!
Truly a powerful tool!

The first desktop computer I bought myself was a Sony Vaio. It came in this really hideous color with a large CRT monitor and tower.

It ran Windows ’98.  Like all store bought computers, it had its fair share of bloatware—which is pre-installed software you don’t ask for.

One software in particular that I took the time to figure out, though, made my financial life so much easier: Quicken–a personal finance and budgeting software.

That was years ago and I still use Quicken to track my finances to this very day.  I use it to keep track of income, expenses, investments, payments, net-worth, and budgets. I also use it to reconcile my bank and credit card statements every month. Read more

Credit Good, Debt Bad

Credit Good, Debt Bad

I first learned about credit just after high school. First credit card I ever opened was a secured credit card for a $100.

A secured card was the only thing I could get approved for at the time, since I didn’t have established credit.

By using a secured credit card, I was able to safely build my credit history just like a regular (unsecured) credit card.

The only difference was that my limit was set by how ever much I deposited to an account at the bank.  I decided to start at the minimum of $100.  This gave the bank assurance in the event of a default. 

For example, Read more