Week End Round up #71

Happy Friday! Welcome to our week end round up #71. So looking forward to flipping the calendar to March this weekend, just the thought of being done with February makes me smile! We are attending our daughter’s performance of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” this weekend. Her High School is performing on Friday and Saturday. We attended opening night and it was a wonderful production. The material still holds up after 60 years.

Enjoy your weekend!

What’s your weekend plans?

week end

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

25 Simple Things You Can Do to Start Paying off Debt NOW @ Frugal Rules

New Game: “Things I can afford when ____ is gone!” @ Budgets are $exy

Following My Passion for Storytelling! @ Budget and the Beach

Early Retirement Extreme isn’t Our Goal @ Simple Cheap Mom

How Rich People Go Broke @ Club Thrifty

Here are some of my favorite blogs:

Pass the Debt
pftwins
Prudence DebtFree
the frugal millionaire
Dear Debt
Moneyminiblog
The Frugal Farmer
brokeGirlrich
Enemy Of Debt
The Broke and Beautiful Life
Club Thrifty
Squirrelers

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

Please e-mail me for more details.

Have a great weekend!

Helping Others

As I’ve mentioned before one of my passions is helping others with their finances. I know this is a common feeling for many after getting their own act together with their money, but for me it’s a little different. For a period of time in college I considered teaching as a profession. I’ve always been interested in technology, computers, video and film making. I worked as a teaching assistant at my former High School for three years while in college, helping a former teacher, teaching student television and video production. If I was going to teach this was going to be the subject I want to focus on. After doing some research I could see that the opportunities to teach within this subject were limited because many schools didn’t have the budgets to support video production. With that in mind I never perused my teaching certificate.

I still work in the technology field today and have opportunities to cross train others. Being a dad to three children has always given me the opportunity to teach over the years and for years to come. Driving lesson to two sixteen year olds start soon. Yikes! Getting our own financial act together took a bit of soul-searching and a lot of self-education. In the process it sparked the teaching bug again for me. Seeing how common sense many of the personal finance topics are I wanted to share my new-found knowledge with as many people as possible. I’ve started small, working with family and close friends. I gave Dave Ramsey’s “The Total Money makeover” to my co-workers as a Holiday gifts one year. I often talk about our success with our money and if people ask how we did it I’m more than happy to explain. Now feeling more confident with my own knowledge and having 109,000 reasons why I feel I’m an expert on the topic of I’m ready to move on to bigger things.

Committee Member

As I mentioned recently I join a Graduate Qualities Committee within my local school district with the goal to help spread financial literacy. The goal of the committee is to graduate well-rounded students. This was a good first step for me getting myself out there in front of others who are unknown to me, and selling the financial literacy agenda. I have 8 more meeting to get that accomplished. Wish me luck.

helping others

Financial Wellness

For months I had a an e-mail composed in my mail box and every few days I would look I over and edit it a bit, just waiting for the right moment to click the send button to my companies CEO. Finally last month I pulled the trigger. In my mail I explained to my CEO a bit about my family’s history with money and how we worked our way out of debt. I wonder how many others within our company were struggling with the same issues we had, living pay check to pay check. Living or dying with pay increases or bonus announcements, taking their frustration out on the company because they didn’t have their financial lives in order. Maybe some of these same employees have financial responsibility for the company. I asked what if we could educate those employees to help them with their own finances, so that if the company changes the policy on merit increase it doesn’t have that big of an impact on the individuals. Well within 45 minutes I had my answer, our CEO love my ideas and thanked me for thinking of my fellow employees. He put me in touch with some staff within our HR and educational departments and the ball began rolling. Fast forward a month later and the company has announced the Financial Well Being program. The will be adding self-study classes to our internal web site, making financial planners available to employees free of charge and other financial educator to meet one on one with anyone seeking help. Mission accomplished!

Not letting a two letter word stop me

So feeling good about the first two leaps outside my family and friends I was hopeful the third would go just as smooth. I pitch financial literacy to a local community group who supports school and community efforts in the tri-state area in the Northeast. There focus is STEM. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education. At this time they don’t believe that financial literacy falls into the STEM curriculum. Math education, anyone? So I ran into my first no, but I left the call feeling good. Now that I understand more about their focus I can be better prepared for my next pitch. I’m going to go do a little homework and be back in touch with them soon.

What I’m learning through all of this is that it doesn’t hurt to ask. The worst I can here is no and I can move on, but look at what has happened so far. Joining the committee I have the ability to impact a few hundred students, the financial Well Being program will be offered to move than 10,000 employees, and although I swung and missed with the community group its reach could be well over a hundred thousand.

I have several other things in the works, nothing is too big or too small. I’m working on my plan B, trying to incorporate teaching others about finance into a money-making opportunity. I ‘m in contact with several other organizations with similar goals of spreading financial literacy, hopefully that will lead to additional opportunities, these are busy but exciting times.

What passion are you working on?

Revisiting the Bucket Lists

In 2013 I posted both my financial bucket list and my standard bucket list. Since some time has passed I thought it would be a good time to revisit the bucket list to see where we stand now. If not familiar with the term bucket list, it’s a term used to describe a list of things you’d like to accomplish before you kick the bucket, you know take the old dirt nap. I have no plans on going anywhere soon but do have plans on checking off as many of these list items as possible.

bucket list

Financial Bucket List

Here’s my original financial bucket list from 2013:

• Pay off all unsecured Debt in less than 5 years
• Establish Emergency Fund – save at least $60,000
• Establish vacation fund – save $3,000-$4,000 yearly for family vacations
• Build sizable college fund for my 3 children – college ain’t cheap
• Pay off Home Mortgage – will make the next 3 easier
• Save 1 million dollars for retirement
• Retire from current day job at age 55
• Buy Retirement home with Cash – No Mortgage

The first three are now complete and here’s the revised list for 2015:

  • Build College funds for our 3 Children
  • Build retirement saving
  • Pay off Current Mortgage
  • Build second and passive income streams
  • Buy retirement home with cash

Having almost a year and a half of more education under my belt since I original wrote these lists I have better perspective on how important being debt free and wealth building is.

Bucket List

Here is my standard bucket list from 2013:

• Take my family to their first NFL football game – I have been to many with my dad and brother.
• Attend a Super Bowl.
• Take the family to Niagara Falls – I’ve have been there as a kid with my family
• Teach my son’s how to Scuba dive.
• Write another screenplay – I have complete 5, but have not written in years.
• Director a film – was my goal out of college to work in the film industry.
• Take the family on 7 day or longer cruise – we’ve been on a 4 day and it was one of our greatest vacations.
• Drive cross-country and sight-see – have done the drive before in 5 days.
• Take my wife to Hawaii – we never really had a honeymoon.

As you can see many of the things listed cannot be accomplished without a little financial wiggle room. As I reviewed this list now I’d still love to accomplish any and all of these things, but the details are not as important to me now as long as I’m spending time and making memories with those that are important to me. The location, time, and event really doesn’t matter, so I won’t be providing a new list, but will be adding one new entry for this year as far as those important to me and making memories. In April we will be taking a family trip to celebrate our son and daughter’s sixteenth birthday. A week-long trip to some amusement parks in Orlando, we are all looking forward to the trip. That’s what my bucket list is about now, having financial freedom to make these things happen.

What’s on your bucket list, financial or standard?

How to Pay a Mortgage Off in just 10 Years

Please enjoy this guest post from Liam Edwards.

If you have ever tasted the air of rented places, then you have also probably considered taking a loan or a mortgage to buy your own place. Renting an apartment or a house is what most of us do when we are in our twenties or even thirties. But as we grow older and start a family, our everyday life demands a more serious approach. Having a baby and being exposed to capricious or whimsical homeowners is not an option. That is why the real estate market is so strongly bonded with family life and the overall economic situation. Once you have gathered all your courage and made a decision that you are going to get a loan from the bank, you feel that you are finally going to settle down. However, this is a real Occam’s razor and it can develop in many ways.

Slow and steady wins the race

The best option is when both you and your partner have steady jobs and uninterrupted monthly incomes. No matter whether your mortgage is signed to ten or thirty years, some professions secure less stress and mess and more relaxed mortgage payments. Still, you should never relax too much, since the global economy has been is currently unpredictable. Paying off extra while you are on the winning side, is imperative to early mortgage repayment. If your monthly installment is $400, try to pay back at least $500 a month. It is not a huge difference to the bank account, especially if you are married and you both work. However with less loan each month comes less interest repayment and more principle payments.

Rocky feet, shaky wages

The first paragraph does not describe an average John Doe in his or her pursuit of getting a home. Most of us strive to gather the money for our monthly duties towards the mortgage loan. The burden of this long-term commitment often kills the joy of living in your own place. It is not yours until you pay the last installment. Consider the added payments to your loan with an additional ‘part-time’ job. If doing so, the most important thing is that the additional money you earn is not wasted on intangible things, but saved and used for paying your mortgage installments and even adding more than the contract demands. With each new amount of money above the proscribed minimum payment, you will feel less obsessed with it and closer to the state of really possessing your home.

mortgage

More years, higher payments

It’s no secret – the longer your term, the more interest you will pay. It’s often better to pay the mortgage off before investing elsewhere. Taking out a longer term loan and paying the amounts that would suit a shorter one, would be one way to maximize principle payment and reduce the amount of interest you will pay. Some banks will let you do this, others will not. For instance, you buy a house in wonderful suburbia and get a 25-year mortgage. However, you make your own calculation and see how high an installment for a 10 or 15 year loan would be. Then, you just pay that amount every month. In case you earn more money, you are able to speed up the whole paying process by transferring larger amounts of money onto the bank’s account. On the other side, less fruitful months still leave you the option of paying the contracted sum.

Mortgage and home maintenance

Many of us commit their lives to mortgages and banks. In fact many after paying of one house (or even before they do) invest in another house and rent them out. The major difference in this case is that you slowly require more and more property management, which can be costly, but it’s a great way to delegate a job most people do not like:

  • Ensuring rent is collected.
  • Managing the property’s tenants and getting the selection right.
  • Ensuring the property is professionally cleaned after tenants leave.

In any case, paying your mortgage off in 10 years is not an easy road and renting a property out is often a more expensive way of doing this. It can take hard work and dedication to do and it can lead to neglecting the reason why we took the mortgage in the first place. That aside, in the long run we can all benefit from living rent free, it might just take some solid dedication in the process. That is the risk we accept when taking a mortgage in the first place.