Week End Round Up #55

Happy Friday! Welcome to our week end round up #55. Happy Friday and Happy Halloween! We have another busy weekend planned. I’ll be the candy chaperone tonight as our three kids have varies plans with their different groups of friends. My wife is working until early evening and will be debuting her DIY Rock, Paper, Scissor costume with 2 of her co-workers. We have high school football and some shopping for an upcoming sweet 16 party that my son is attending to do this weekend. Enjoy your weekend!

What’s your Halloween/weekend plans?

Now on to some of my favorite reads from the week:

How Spending $3 Can Make Someone’s Day @ Squirrelers

Navigating The Pace of Debt Reduction @ Enemy Of Debt

How to Deal with Rejection @ Debt Round Up

Financial Independence Ruined My Live @ Messy Money

WTF Wednesday: Five-Finger Fresheners @ Budgets are $exy

Here are some of my favorite blogs:

Prudence DebtFree
the frugal millionaire
Dear Debt
Messy Money
Frankly Frugal Finance
The Frugal Farmer
Enemy Of Debt
The Broke and Beautiful Life
Club Thrifty

I continue to featuring Interviews of fellow Personal Finance Bloggers, please consider participating.

Please e-mail me for more details.

Have a great weekend!

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Interview Series: Couple Money

This is the twenty -third in a series of personal finance blogger interviews with fellow personal finance bloggers. Today’s guest is Elle from Couple Money.

interview series

Who is Elle?
Elle: I’m Elle – happy wife, mom, and blogger behind Couple Money and now a podcast.

Why did you start your blog?
Elle: I actually had another blog before and I loved the interaction. Unfortunately since it was about college and finances, I had written myself into a corner so to speak. I sold it and started Couple Money.

I guess the short answer is I wanted to have a place where couples can not only exchange money tips, but also have talk about the realities of working together. I believe that building up your marriage and net worth can go hand in hand. It takes work and compromise, but it’s well worth it.

What are your favorite Blogs?
Elle: It varies. Some favorites I’ve had are no longer maintained by the original owner. As far as personal finance blog, I’ve been keeping up with yours, Better Conversations on Money and Marriage, and Our Freaking Budget.

When did you first become financially literate?
Elle: While I heard the basics of finances for years, I would say things ‘clicked’ when my husband and I were engaged. We sat down and talked about our finances and it was an eye opener.

I had some credit card debt, a car loan, and student loans that would take years to pay off. He, on the other hand, had a small student loan that he had just paid off.

Awkward for me, but it also motivated me to pay off my credit cards before the wedding (and led me to write about it on my old blog).

What was the last item you regretted purchasing?
Elle: The first one that comes to mind is my old Jetta – mainly due to the size of the loan I took out. Considering I was a working college student, I should’ve passed on getting a car loan. When the dealer said I needed a co-signer, I really should’ve said no. But I was dumb and I still signed the papers.

It was another reason I felt so good when the loan was paid off early – my mother was off the hook.

If you died today, would your family be okay from a financial stand point?
Elle: Yes and that gives me some peace of mind. After our daughter arrived years ago, my husband and I sat down to update our will, adjust our insurance, and choose guardians for our baby.

I wouldn’t say it was a fun conversation, but a necessary one.

What are you teaching (or will you teach) your kids about money?
Elle: Since our little girl is three, we try to focus on the idea of having choices. When we go grocery shopping, she can pick out one item to buy. Sometimes she wants several things, but we tell her she can only have one.

Some days are harder, but she’s starting to understand that we won’t budge and she will pick one item.

What’s your dream job?
Elle: Hmm..that’s kind of tough. I do like what I’m doing (online content manager) because I get to work on different projects throughout the year and work from home.

If I could change things, I would like to streamline work so I could travel more and volunteer on projects for longer periods.

How is podcasting different from blogging? (write in question)
Elle: For one thing, while the topics are the same as my main site, how I approach and write for the podcast is a completely different animal.

Getting a podcast outline ready means I have to focus on what’s most important and to break things down into manageable chunks. The episodes are designed to be listened to during a commute so I shoot for 20-25 minutes.

My goal for every show is for listeners to take away one or two things to use to help their finances.

Writing for a blog gives me a venue to dig deeper and have one longer post cover several questions. I can also go back and update posts as new information becomes available and link to other resources that can help them.

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth.

Posted in Personal Finance | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Taking Action

Ever hear of the story of Frederick W. Smith the founder, chairman, president, and CEO of FedEx? I recently did. I never knew that Federal Express started as a concept in a term paper while Smith was in college. A paper his professor gave him a “C” for citing his concept wasn’t feasible. This really isn’t the amazing part of the story. In 1973 FedEx shipped its first packages, but soon began running into financial difficulties. The company was operating at a loss each month in the early days and with increasing fuel costs was on the brink of bankruptcy. Smith attempted to acquired more funding and credit to keep FedEx running but was unable to do so. Down to his last $5k and unable to cover next week’s plane refueling costs, he rolled the dice or in this case played some cards. Smith flew to Las Vegas and turned his $5k into $32k playing blackjack over the weekend. Taking action and gambling his last $5k was a much better option than just sitting idle. The additional $27k was enough to keep the planes in the air and saved his company. FedEx’s last earnings statement shows revenue of $11.7 billion up 6% from the previous year, nicely done Fred.

taking action

Other Gamblers

I’m sure you’ve all heard the stories of college drops outs Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and their success, but what about some of these other CEOs.

Karen Kaplan – Starting as a receptionist for the ad agency Hill Holliday in 1982, she work weekends to hide her lack of typing skills. Stumbling upon a piece of paper showing the salaries of the company’s management team motived her to achieve more. She is now the companies CEO.

Larry Ellison – The co-founder and chairman of Oracle Corporation, and according to Forbes the third wealthiest man in America, Larry has always had a passion for yachting. Donating his own time and money he helped Team USA win the 2013 America’s Cup.

Chet SimmonsSimmons left NBC sports to become president of ESPN. A new 24-hour sport network the debut in 1979. Chet was the driving force behind the popular “SportCenter” show and in three years he turned the unknown network into a juggernaut in the industry.

What’s Your Excuse?

This story got me thinking of times that I didn’t take action. For years I stuck my head in the sand about of growing debt problem. It took ten plus years to accumulate $109k worth of debt. I just never did anything about it. When we decided to take action and clean up our mess up it took just over four plus years to get rid of our debt. Once we were able to organize our finances it spilled over into other areas of our lives including:

  • Health
  • Career
  • Finances
  • Relationships

We began to cook more at home, and eat out less and our health improved, we communicated more frequently as a family improving our relationships. There was no need to chase the next pay increase at work to pay the increasing credit card bills. Taking action in one area improved others by default. We look back now and wish we would have taken action sooner. If we did we would have reduced stress in our lives, and built greater wealth.

So what items are lacking action in your life that needs attention?

Posted in Career, Education | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

20 Years

This week I’m celebrating 20 years anniversary with my company. I’ve mentioned before that I oversee a department for an IT operations team. Wow where has the time gone? 20 years, or 7,300 days, or 175,200 hours, or 10,512,000 minutes, anyway you look at it, it’s a long time. A typically work week for me is 40 hours or 2080 per year. That’s 41,600 hours spent at my job so far. There have been some vacations over the years and some 20 hours days too. I have been promoted four times over those 20 years and the number I like the best is the 757% increase my salary has seen over that time. IT was not my first choice, I had a real interest in television production and film in High School and College. I really hoped to work in Hollywood. I have written several screen plays and for a time had an agent. I settled in on a technical role that still deals with streaming media, so I partly filled my goal of working with film. My work is interesting because the technology is always changing, so there is consistent learning and problem solving. Being in operations and managing a 24/7 team can be taxing over the long hall. Expectations are high in this role with after hours and weekend work often, but the compensation is high which helps balance the time commitment. I have begun to think about how long I’d like to work general speaking. Certainly want to base it on financial independence. So I’m beginning to run some numbers, lots of variables to consider given a family of five. Just hoping the next 20 years are as good as the first 20.

20 years

Old School Thinking

I’ve been surrounded by family who has worked for a single company their entire career. My dad worked for the same company for thirty plus years before retiring and collecting his pension. He never had a 401k. I grew up thinking I would do the same. I never really considered changing companies after a few years when I began my career. I have seen the mindset shift first hand as I interview and hire people in my role at my company. I see many resumes of candidates with 2-3 years of work experience with companies before they move on to a new one. It my early days of interviewing and hiring candidates it was looked down upon to change positions so frequently. The impression was that you were unable to meet the requirements, adapt to changes or get along with co-workers. Today I may see someone with 5 or 6 companies over a 15 or 20 year span. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the median number of years a worker had been with their current employer is 4.6 years. This varied greatly by age the median tenure of workers aged 55 to 64 is 10.4 years more them three times that of workers 25 to 34 which was 3 years. It’s clear times have changed. Younger workers do not fear job hopping. It’s possible the changing jobs frequently can lead to faster career development, and finding better job fulfillment. Many companies have changed their policies and phased out pension, and have added more self managed retirement plans as well as workspace flexibility. Give employees options of working from home more frequently.
So it seems like both sides employer and employee are adapting well.

As I reflected on 20 years so far I’m happy with the career choice I have made. I do feel a bit like a dinosaur being with a single company for my entire career. It has provided well for me and my family. It still offers a challenge each and every day. If I ever had to leave for any reason I’m sure I’d be asked when interviewing for my next position why are you leaving now or why did you stay so long? I know if I was interviewing someone with a 20 year position on their resume I’d ask that question.

How long have you been with your current company? How many companies have you worked for over your career?

Posted in Career | Tagged , , | 26 Comments