Archive for the ‘Personal Finance’ Category

#027 — Don’t Laugh, It’s Paid For!

March 16th, 2009


We paid off our car!

It is definitely tough economic times out there for everyone, so I wanted to share a bit of positive news on the home front.

While the Lovely Miss H has permanent employment, I have been working in project-based, temporary employment.  The bad news is that it is temporary.  The good news is I can work nearly as many hours as I want.  So the past few months I’ve worked a lot of hours.  I finally figured out how much we had spent compared to our February budget, and the surplus was enough to finish paying off my wife’s car, a 2004 Saab 9-3.  I just logged off of an internet chat with a bank representative confirming we had paid in full, and that the title will be mailed within 10 business days!

Consumer debt is gone

Just want to send a small thank you to Dave Ramsey and his debt snowball methodology.  Yes, there may be mathematical flaws within a particular snowball of debt, but the psychology of “quick wins” in reducing debt cannot be denied, particularly when you’re married and you need two people to consent to a financial plan!

After 26 months, through full employment & layoffs, over-spending & saving, emergencies & good times, our consumer debt is now gone.  We haven’t been the best at paying down our bills, but we remained true to the overall goals & financial principles.

So now you’re rich, right?

No, far from it!  We’ve got so much educational debt, that I think our student loans took out student loans.  A married couple both going through college and grad school without a financial plan will do that to you!

Our next step is to build up an Emergency Fund to a reasonable level.  My car has 185,000 miles on it, hers is over 100,000.  We both commute about 75 miles round-trip each day.  We will need those replaced at some point, so I’d like to be ready with enough money to pay cash for our vehicles.  Now that our vehicles are paid off though, it makes me want to drive my lovely 2000 Nissan Maxima until it dies.  Instead of impressing people with a nice car, I’ll be impressing myself with how long this car can stay around.  This shift in thinking is much easier on the pocketbook.

The Journey Continues

There are always hiccups, bumps, and bruises along the way, but we will enjoy this minor victory, and use it as motivation to keep focused on our long-term goals.

What about you?  Have you had any financial victories or setbacks lately?  Tell me where you are in your journey.

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photo by dreamweaver1619

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#024 — Homes, Cars & God: Creative Marketing During a Recession

March 11th, 2009

Hyundai Assurance Plus Program

It was Hyundai who first made big headlines by making an offer you can’t refuse:  if you buy a car from us and subsequently lose your job, you may turn in the car without any hits to your credit.

Now, they’ve upped the ante with their new Hyundai Assurance Plus program.

Under this new version, if the Hyundai buyer loses his or her job within a year of purchase, Hyundai will pay the vehicle loan or lease for 90 days during that year while the owner looks for work.  If the owner finds another job and keeps the vehicle during that 90-day grace period, Hyundai’s “got-your-back” payments do not have to be repaid.

Others following suit & getting creative

Here’s a few more that are now following suit with incentives to keep dollars circulating:

  1. From Hyundai to Honda. Baseball season is nearly upon us.  Vandergriff Honda, a dealer in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, now has the following promotion to entice borrowers:  Buy a new Honda from them between March 9-16, and they will pay your car off should the Texas Rangers win their first 4 games AND the New York Yankees lose their first four games.  That’s right, Rangers 4-0 + Yankees 0-4 = FREE Honda!
  2. Layoff Protection Program. Irvine-based Western National Property Management, Orange County’s (CA) second-largest landlord, will now allow a family to move out of their apartment with 30 days notice if the primary bread winner loses his or her job. The tenant would still have to pay that last month’s rent, but would not be liable for the balance of the lease.
  3. Homeowner Education and Loan Protection Program (H.E.L.P.).  For this recession-proof mortgage, the deal is simple:  If you loan or refinance a home with State Mortgage and involuntarily lose your job within two years after starting the mortgage, the company will cover six months of payments with no maximums.
  4. The Lord giveth… Churches and other religious congregations aren’t immune to hard times.  As they began seeking pledges to the annual stewardship campaign last week, church leaders at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis offered an unusual assurance to members:  Lose your job during the course of the year and the church would refund the contributions you’ve already made. “It transcends the money,” said Eric Hinkle, acting president of the church’s board of trustees.  “It’s about deepening the relationship between your community and your church.”

Your Opinion?

WOW, even churches are getting creative during hard economic times.  I for one think the more creative, the better.  Those who are willing to connect to their audience on an emotional and psychological level will be benefited with customer (and parishioner!) loyalty once we make it through the hard times.

Which ideas above do you like?  What ideas would you come up with to spur business?


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#021 — Texas Independence Day & Your Finances

March 3rd, 2009

Texas Independence Day

I was listening to the news yesterday morning, and I was reminded that it was Texas Independence Day.  On March 2, 1836, Texas formally declared independence from Mexico, citing reasons including:

  • The Mexican government invited settlers to Texas promising constitutional liberties and republican form of government, but Mexico reneged on these promises and established a military dictatorship.
  • Texas’ affairs were decided in the distant provicial capital of Saltillo, without much input or understanding.
  • The right to keep and bear arms was denied.
  • No system of public education was established.
  • The settlors were denied freedom of religion.

Your Finances

Each reason for Texas’ independence cited above reminds me of being stuck in an ever-increasing household debt load.  Sure, if the only problem was they felt their voice wasn’t being heard all the way in Saltillo, then maybe it was bearable.  But you add the denial of faith, guns, and education, and Texans had enough. 

In your personal finances, maybe one credit card is manageable, and adding a $400 car payment no big deal.  But once you add monthly payment obligations for another car, a boat, student loans, and a house — well maybe then you feel as if a military dictator has moved in with you!

At some point, you have to say “enough is enough.”  Take charge of your finances.  Declare independence from your debt, and map out a game plan to find success.

I know for me, the moment I declared independence from debt was when I realized my student loans would be around as long as my house payment would!  It was frustrating to see a lot of hard work result in decades of student loans, without a huge benefit in return.  Our household created a list of debts, and implemented a household budget.  We now save for trips and bigger purchases and pay for them in advance.  My hope is we can do that with our next car — hopefully our current cars will stick around long enough to make that happen!

Tell me the moment when you realized you needed a Declaration of Independence from Debt.  Leave me some comments below!

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#020 — Give Up Something Financial for Lent

February 25th, 2009

It’s Mardi Gras time.  Fat Tuesday was yesterday, and in most Western Christian traditions, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the forty-day long liturgical season of fasting and praying leading up to Easter.

Here’s Lent in a nutshell according to Spirit Home:

The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigour during Lent are prayer (justice towards God), fasting (justice towards self), and almsgiving (justice towards neighbour). Today, some people give up a vice of theirs, add something that will bring them closer to God, and often give the time or money spent doing that to charitable purposes or organizations.

Give UP for Lent

Most common vices people give up are alcohol, or sweets, like chocolate.  But I challenge you to sacrifice some of your normal spending.  It can be both a religious & financial reward!

Here’s a few things you could give up for Lent that are financially rewarding:

  1. Eating out at sit-down restaurants
  2. Eating out altogether
  3. Going to sporting events
  4. Going to concerts
  5. Getting a manicure/pedicure
  6. Buying more clothes
  7. Give up smoking or caffeine
  8. ??? (add something in the comments below!)

Add something for Lent

What can you add that could be spiritually and financially rewarding?

  1. A monthly household budget
  2. Join a website that uses personal finance software to categorize & track  your expenses)
  3. Read a financial related book (The Total Money Makeover or Automatic Millionaire)
  4. Take a financial course (Financial Peace University or Crown Financial Ministries)
  5. Read the book of Proverbs
  6. ??? (add something in the comments below!)

Give TO something for Lent

This is a no-brainer.  We should give to those less fortunate or to the organizations that help them.  But I also challenge you to give your time — it often costs us more, and certainly provides us more benefit and personal reward of being intricately involved in a cause.

What will you be doing for Lent?? What would you add to the above lists??

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#019 — Would You Upgrade to 1st Class?

February 23rd, 2009

This Wednesday, I’m headed to Southern California to be in my college friend’s wedding.  I got an amazing deal on the flight — $220 including fees & taxes, round-trip from DFW!

I don’t know about you, but all I usually hope to do is avoid any disasterous experiences when I’m flying.  Except the last time I flew to California.  That was the time I upgraded to 1st class.

I know, I know.  I didn’t need to fly 1st class, but I’ll give you my excuses justifications *ahem* reasons why I did it anyway.

My Excuses / Justifications / Reasons for Upgrading to 1st Class

I went out to California to visit family for Christmas.  My wife was already out there on business, so we met up out west and spent time with family.  We ended up booking the same flight home to Texas, except her company booked her a first class ticket, and I was back in coach with all the other riff-raff :)   Being the good husband that I am, I agreed to check into upgrading so we could sit together on the flight back home.  Turns out the upgrade was ‘only’ $100.

Could I have taken that $100 and paid down a student loan?  Sure.  But sometimes it’s fun to enjoy luxuries.  We’re very careful to pick and choose ours, and always make sure they fall somewhere within our budget.  It also fell within our allotted “Christmas Trip” budget-line, so we were okay with it.

The 1st Class Experience

I loved it.  By the time everyone else was boarding the plane, you were already stretched out and a chapter into your book.  Plenty of leg room for my 6′3″ frame, hot towels, a meal on an otherwise meal-free flight, and of course, free alcoholic beverages!  And no, I didn’t try to drink $100 worth of mixed drinks to make up for the price of the upgrade! ;)

The closest experience I can relate it to is going to a professional basketball game, and sitting court-side vs. the nosebleed seats.  You just never want to go back to the cheap seats after the experience!

Taste the Snowball

Our debt snowball will be rolling for quite some time.  A quick victory of knocking out a small debt can keep you motivated to continue snowballing the larger debts.  Every so often in little ways, I like to be able to have a taste of the good life; or “taste the snow” in my snowball.  It keeps me motivated to continue my debt snowball by reminding me that today’s sacrifices will pay off with future reward and security.

Sometimes you have to lose a battle to win the war.

What about you?

Well I’m back to flying coach this week with a smile on my face and even more determination to knock out our debt. 

Any comments on my choice to upgrade to 1st class? 

Have you lost some financial battles to win the war??

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photo by Richard Moross

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#013 — Lincoln, Darwin, Superstition & Romance

February 13th, 2009

This is quite a Thursday-Friday-Saturday combination of events.  Thursday was the 200th birthday of both Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin.  Today is Friday the 13th.  Saturday is Valentine’s Day.  Let’s get a personal finance quick-hit on each!

Abraham Lincoln:  Preserve the Union

Lincoln knew that ultimately for the nation to succeed, the Union and it’s ideals needed to be preserved at all costs.  In his judgment, both the Civil War and Reconstruction of the South were necessary to move forward.  Nearly 150 years later, our Union remains solid.

In our own lives, we have many trials.  Money mistakes, family break-ups, fights, competition, recessions — they all take their toll.  Take Lincoln’s advice and preserve your ideals.  What fundamentals are  you willing to fight for to preservation of your financial Union? Is it preserving your marriage by communicating on money issues with your spouse?  Paying down debt to enable you to weather the storms that lay-offs and recessions bring?  The tenants of your faith which prompt you to help those in need?  Teaching your children financial responsibility so the fundamentals of your Union are passed on to the next generation?

Charles Darwin:  Survival of the Fittest

Darwin was instrumental in documenting the theory of natural selection.   Favorable traits are passed on as a need for survival, while unfavorable traits die off as they can’t compete.  We don’t need to have a debate on the theory of evolution to take away one huge concept:  the world is vastly changing, and we need to adapt or we’ll be left behind.

So what are ways you are adapting to survive in these tough economic times? In our household, I do contract work, so I’m working as many hours as I can to bank up money.  These project-based jobs do not last forever, and who knows when another will come up?  With the sacrifice of longer hours comes extra income, which we can use to pay off debts, build an emergency fund, and overall reduce risk to our household should our household income take a hit.

Americans are saving more.  It seems that with this credit crunch crisis, we’re getting back to the basics of getting rich slow, building wealth moderately, and saving money.  Get prepared — put aside those unfavorable traits and survive!

Friday the 13th — my 13th Post!

Well it’s my 13th post, and it falls on Friday the 13th!  I wish I could take credit for the stunning coincidence, but I can’t.    So is having a 13th post on Friday the 13th the digital equivalent to crossing the path of a black cat, breaking a mirror, or stepping on a crack?  Stick around and find out!

Do you have any superstitions?  Share them in the comments below!

Valentine’s Day

Yes, I made that heading red on purpose :)

With the big day of romance tomorrow, the pressure is on.  Do you have anything planned for Valentine’s Day?

Actually, the Lovely Miss H is taking a few single friends out to hang with tomorrow.  She’s a great friend, isn’t she?  Also a great wife, because I’m off the hook for coming up with plans!  We’ll have dinner out tonight and keep it low-key.  Besides, every day is Valentine’s Day with me, right H?

Any Valentine’s Day plans?  Do you feel like your significant other places unhealthy expectations on this holiday?

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#010 — What We Learn From Tragedy

February 7th, 2009

Happy 30th Birthday, David

My friend David would have turned 30 years old today.

On September 22, 2005, David was tragically killed in an automobile accident, leaving behind a wife and three young children.  The following, which I posted on his memorial site, is a glimpse of how David’s life has impacted mine:

David was my first friend ever. My memories of David seem too numerous to write down. They range from swimming at his aunt’s pool as little kids, spending the night what seemed like every weekend at his house when we were kids, watching his high school football games, and meeting up with him in between the times we were away at college.

David was passionate, and never did anything half-hearted. He worked harder than anyone I’ve ever seen – be it in school, on the job, or even in a hobby – he was always motivated and driven to accomplish more. He never was satisfied with sliding by on his natural talents. He also played harder than anyone else, always willing to live life to its extremes. He would light up and bring life to any room he entered. David also cared for and loved all those within his reach. His sphere of influence seemed to grow with each passing day. David was truly most happy when he was able to serve others.

For David, there was no middle ground. He simply did not live a lukewarm life. It brings me great fulfillment to know that he took the struggles life gave him, and channeled them for the glory of God. His life is a great testimony of what the Lord can do through you when you make the decision to surrender your life to Him.

I reflect back and feel lucky that God blessed me with David’s friendship for a season of our lives, and I feel most fortunate to see his story unfold from the beginning. He has had a profound effect on my life like few others have. I see bits and pieces of his character in myself and all around me nearly every single day. He simply made those around him better, and when around me, he made me a better person too. The only way to repay God for the wonderful memories is to pass along his love, passion, and drive to others. To do anything less would do David a disservice.

What I’ve Learned

There are many emotions that surround a tragic situation or unexpected loss of a loved one.  With time & perspective come an opportunity to learn from such an unfortunate event.  Here are a few things that come to mind given who David was and how his life was cut short:

1. Pursue your passion.

David was a passionate, all-or-nothing type of guy.  What do I take away from it?  Follow your passions and work hard to see them through.  To do less is a disservice to those that came before us, and those who didn’t have a chance to see their vision completed.

2. Fundamentals!

I enjoy — really enjoy — talking about all things money.  It is so intertwined into all we do and a representation of who we are and what values we possess.  I find it fascinating.  But money is only a medium, or a conduit, for goods & services.

It is important to take a step back from bailouts, financial struggles, and budgets, and remember the fundamentals of life do not involve greenbacks or stuff you bought with that money.  Rather, what’s fundamental to life are those relationships we have and seek with others. Relationships — with God, family, and friends — are what make up who we are and what values we possess.  Money is a mere reflection of your values, but it is not a fundamental value of life.

3. Practical Applications:  Be Prepared for Tragedy

Life Insurance

By virtue of happenstance more than methodical planning, David’s company – a local bank – had a life insurance policy on him.  It wasn’t millions of dollars, but it was enough to cover the costs on the home David’s family had just built.  With young kids to take care of, David’s wife is in a position financially where she was not reliant upon an immediate income, but could stay home and care for her children.  If you are married, have substantial debts or assets, or have children — you need a responsible amount of term life insurance.  Do not wait until it is too late.

Estate Planning

I do not know if David had a will, or who was responsible for the household finances in his relationship.  What I do know, is that you need to be prepared.  Some basic things:

  • Get a Will — whether you seek out an attorney or buy a cheap-o online template, get a will.  It makes the financial transition smoother on those that survive you.
  • Prepare a simplified household budget, list of accounts, and usernames & passwords for all relevant accounts — banking, credit cards, retirement, e-mail addresses, online charitable giving accounts, etc.

How About You?

What are your thoughts?  Has a personal tragedy affected your perspective, financially or life in general??

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#006 — Goodbye, 20s (Hello, 30s)

January 27th, 2009

Goodbye, 20s…

Well, I officially only have a few hours left as a twenty-something, and while age (feeling old or young) hasn’t ever really bothered me, it gives one pause and provides time to reflect on the past decade of my life.  I don’t know about you, but my 20s have been very action-packed, and a whirlwind time in my life.  There was simply so much going on!  Here’s a sampling of life events to take place in the last ten years:

  • Met the Lovely Miss H through a friend of a friend just after I turned 20.  That means I’ve known her for a third of my life now.  Wow!
  • Moved away from home and went away to college.  I enjoyed the small, liberal-arts atmosphere, and met some great people there.
  • Worked for a politician who is now a United States Congressman.
  • Became an uncle.
  • Graduated college.
  • Experienced the death of my grandmother to cancer, and the untimely death of my childhood best friend to a car accident.
  • Moved to San Diego for a job on campus where I wanted to go to graduate school.  I was accepted & attended a year later.
  • Traveled the world:  Mexico, Canada, Korea & Japan.
  • Studied abroad in grad school for 10 weeks in Western Europe.
  • Married the Lovely Miss H in a hot but beautiful lakeside mountain resort with 200 of our closest friends & family in attendance.
  • Honeymooned on the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean.
  • Bought a house and moved from California to Texas.  Picked up 3 dogs, great new friends, and countless memories in the process.
  • Finished grad school and am still trying to figure out this whole career thing :)

To me it has seemed so action-packed.  A lot of moving, new friendships, loads of travel, numerous smiles, a few tears, and ever-increasing responsibility with each year!

Hello, 30s!

A new decade of my life makes me take a step back and ponder where my life has been and where it is going.  I do value all those experiences and events in my life listed above.  I value all the friendships I’ve developed, all the advice I’ve received, and all the opportunities to give back. 

Regrets? Nah.  My twenties were a wonderful adventure.  But to use some bowling terminology, there’s certainly been some strikes & gutters, ups & downs.


Personally, I really hit the jackpot with the Lovely Miss H.  I could go on for days about it, but just know that she’s everything I could’ve hoped for in a wife, and more.

Financially, I’m pleased that the personal finance bug has bitten me.  We went from wandering in the wilderness to pretty much on the same page together with a plan to pay off our debts and build wealth.


Personally & Professionally, I’d say my biggest gutterball is not figuring out what I want to do when I grow up :)   I have many interests and skills, but have yet to find my niche I guess.  For one that has always thrived on stability, it sure has been an unstable development of a career path for me.  Funny how life teaches you those lessons, eh?  I am looking forward to the continued adventure, however — and now I’ll get to write about it for the world to see!

What about you??

Have you taken the opportunity to reflect personally or financially lately?  What are your “strikes & gutters”?

Photo by clairity & tsschuel

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#002 — New Years Resolutions? It’s Never Too Late!

January 21st, 2009
It’s never too late to be who you might have been.
George EliotEnglish novelist (1819 – 1880)

The New Year has come and gone.  The world keeps on moving.  Headlines depict stories of airplanes landing in the Hudson and presidential inaugurations, and they provide us with fuzzy memories of those resolutions we vowed to uphold oh so long ago.  What, if anything, can we do about it?  Here are some tips & thoughts on New Years Resolutions.

The Bad News

Resolutions alone do not work!

All a “resolution” does is merely promise to do something.  It is a declaration of intent; or a statement that you resolve to act upon something.   Especially when coupled with the New Year, resolutions are almost wishful thinking from the start if you examine a person’s attitudes — and I’m as guilty as the next guy!  Here’s some typical New Years resolutions (with their corresponding underlying motivation included):

  • I really should quit smoking; I know it’s bad for my health.
  • I need to lose some weight and eat healthier.
  • I need to start working out.
  • I gotta get a handle on these bills and start saving for retirement.
  • I’d like to spend less time at work & more time with my family.

The Good News

You will succeed if you create a Plan to follow through with your resolution.

A resolution identifies your wishes.   A plan adds integrity to your words by providing a detailed course of action.  A good plan will keep you on track and give you a sense of purpose.

Tips for Setting Goals

Like others, I advocate setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, where your goals are:

  • Specific — be particular about what exactly you want to accomplish
  • Measurable — make it something that you can tangibly evaluate.  Give yourself check-points or building blocks that you can use as markers of success.
  • Attainable — (see below)
  • Realistic — similar to Attainable, make it something within reach.  If a goal is too lofty to begin with, you will quit because you don’t give yourself the psychological boost of accomplishment.
  • Time-based — set a time by which you accomplish your goal; a goal with an open-ended time frame will put you back at “resolution” status.

However, I would alter the “A” to stand for Accountability.  When setting goals, accountability is key.  If you’re married, a spouse is the perfect accountability partner for your household finances.  Working out with a buddy is a great way to stick with your fitness goals.

My Financial Goals for 2009

In discussing this year’s overall financial outlook with The Lovely Miss H, we’ve come up with a few financial goals we hope to attain and we have a plan for success:

1.  Pay off H’s Car Loan

Back in 2006, we bought a 2004 Saab 9-3 on eBay (a post for another day!).  With an expected bonus, the remainder of this note will be paid off no later than February!  This is personally exciting to me, because this will be the final consumer debt remaining on our snowball.  Only student loans to go!

S.M.A.R.T. approved

2.  Pay off My Bar Study Loan

Balance-wise, it is a very small educational loan.  But we want to just pay it off to use the extra $50/month to add to our snowball!  Plan is to have done by February as well.

S.M.A.R.T. approved

3.  Establish a “tweener” Emergency Fund

If you are extremely focused and intent on paying off your debt in an 18-24 month period, Dave Ramsey recommends a “baby” Emergency Fund of $1,000 to protect you from falling off the wagon back into credit card debt.  Once this is paid off, you then fully fund your Emergency Fund with 3 to 6 months expenses.

Since our student loans are a little more long-term than the consumer debt we’re about to pay off, we want to establish a “tweener” Emergency Fund of $10,000 by July.  This would give us a little more cushion so we can begin to attack & pay down our student loans.

S.M.A.R.T. approved

4.  Pay off H’s Parent Plus Loan from College

A moderately-sized loan in our world, we took this loan back over from H’s parents after getting jobs.  We just thought it was the right thing to do.  We believe it is attainable to knock this out in the 2nd half of the year, and have it paid off by December.

S.M.A.R.T. approved

5.  Begin saving for future car

I drive a 2001 Nissan Maxima with 180,000 miles on it.  It’s been a decent car for me, but eventually we will need to replace it.  In order to avoid getting back into car payments, we need to start saving.  Unfortunately, this remains in the “resolution” department, because no specific time-frame has been put on this goal.  Just proves that even us cool kids on the Internet aren’t perfect either!

NOT S.M.A.R.T. approved

It’s Never Too Late!

The beauty of the New Year is that it makes a great marker on the calendar to begin anew.  But like the quote above says, it is never too late to get started!  If you have a Plan that puts integrity to your Resolution, any day is a great day to start!
What are your experiences with New Years Resolutions?

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January 19th, 2009

Welcome to, and thanks for stopping by to check out my site!  To a certain extent, my personal finance journey reminds me of our presidential election and the upcoming inauguration day.  Here are some parallels between the two that are at most funny, at least light-hearted and amusing, and no matter what, a little cheesy :)


Was this baby kissed by your favorite politician?
Was this baby kissed by your favorite politician?

A presidential campaign has become a long and drawn-out process, hasn’t it?  Dozens of months before the actual election, politicians come out of the woodworks to test the waters.  They form their exploratory committees.  Pollsters are put to work and seed money is raised.  You take a trip or ten to New Hampshire to gain popularity with those voting in the “First in the Nation” primary in hopes your campaign gains traction.  Finally you declare your candidacy, attend debates, shake hands, and kiss babies. Other candidates drop out and your platform takes you to the top.  You win your primary, continue to campaign, and victory in the general election is in sight!

My Personal Finance Journey
Likewise, my personal finance journey has been a long, drawn-out process.  This quest and awareness really began about two years ago, and I’ve been soaking up knowledge and fundamentals on personal finance ever since.  I realized our family had too much debt, and wanted to right the ship before ten or twenty years went by and we can’t figure out where our money went and why we’re not achieving our financial goals.  This awareness hit me on many different levels, including family relationships, spiritually, and career-wise.  So I started to test the waters.  At first it was casually mentioning to friends about books I read or segments of radio shows like Dave Ramsey’s that I had heard.  Most importantly, my exploratory committee (aka my wife!) was on board with the campaign to get on track with our finances.

While I didn’t make any trips to New Hampshire, there are certainly many opponents faced in my journey.  But because our family has chosen to establish and execute a plan, we’ve been able to defeat our primary opponents that can prohibit financial growth – opponents like unemployment, income fluctuations, and consumer debt.

While the debt dragon is far from slain (pesky student loans!!), I’m on an established track that will lead to financial success, which in turn, bleeds into all areas of my life.  I have gained traction.  There are plenty of obstacles still to overcome, but we have won a significant victory in that our habits and mindset have changed.

Whether Republican or Democrat, both presidential candidates campaigned on change.  And in our finances, we voted for change – a change in the way we think, act, and relate to our finances.

Victory has been achieved!  The podium is yours.  Cheesy music like “Simply the Best” or “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” plays in the background as you enter the stage.

The candidate appears to the people (in Obama’s case, perhaps a million or more in person!), thanks supporters, remains gracious to opponents, and promises all constituents the best leadership and representation possible.

My Personal Finance Journey

***I enter the stage.  My political music of choice?  Let’s go with “Only in America” by Brooks & Dunn.  It’s Patriotic, inspiring, with just enough of a cheesy country music twist to be appropriate for a victory speech.  A country group may not do well with the East Coast demographic, so I’ll have to double-check with my pollsters.***

That's right, Brooks & Dunn would play my inauguration.  You know you're jealous!
Brooks & Dunn would play my inauguration. Don’t be jealous!

First off, special thanks particularly goes to my buddy PT from Prime Time Money, who has provided me tons of information and strategy on how to start a personal finance blog.  I also want to give a big shout out to Lance, Chief Creative PixelMonkey at, a great friend who has helped me with domain names and server setup.  And of course, my wife, The Lovely Miss H, who is with me on this fun choose-your-own adventure we call life.

I want to thank all of my readers, because without you, none of this is possible!  I hope you find it helpful, at least slightly entertaining, and something you can relate to.  Money and Personal Finance touch on almost every area of our lives, and I hope the chronicles of my ups & downs help increase your financial awareness in a positive direction.

After being sworn in, the new president begins his honeymoon phase where he settles into his new role.  Current issues such as unemployment, the credit crunch, and on-going War on Terror are on the people’s minds.  However, it is in these first 100 days where the president sets the agenda for the foreseeable future of his administration.  New and incomprehensible issues can and will pop up, but the tone and fundamentals of the administration begin to be set.

My Personal Finance Journey
Similarly, we do not know what will happen with any of our personal finances, including my own.  New issues can, and are as we speak, popping up that change parts of the equation.  However, there will always be fundamental personal finance issues we all deal with.  I have many post ideas and I look forward to setting the tone of this blog with these fundamental posts.  However, I also plan to give flexibility to this site’s path to allow for changes in my life and the readers desires. is a reflection of my personal finance passion, and I plan on following where it leads.  I look forward to interacting with many of you who join me for the ride!

I am Jason (at) MyMoneyMinute (dot) com, and I approve this message.

Baby photo by alopezc72

Brooks & Dunn photo by sergio_leenen

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