A Bodey in Motion

Building momentum, one step at a time

Quick Hits of the Week

  • I touched on this briefly at the end of Monday’s post about paying stupid tax, but Seth Godin does a better and more succinct job of explaining why it’s so important to understand the opportunity costs. If we want to be more financially stable as a family, or in business, it will be vital for us to become more aware of the unseen costs of our financial decisions. If I say “yes” to that, what do I have to say “no” to?
  • Over 40 years ago, this country declared a War on Drugs. Over 10 years ago we declared a War on Terror. In both cases, our local law enforcement agencies are some of the primary combatants. It’s no wonder that they have, more and more, taken on a military posture and attitude. Even our small towns are being supplied with equipment that makes it hard to separate the policeman from the soldier. The problem is that, when the SWAT team comes knocking, it puts those of us who don’t wear the uniform into one of two categories: potential threat or acceptable loss. There are almost no hard numbers available to the public, but it’s estimated that a SWAT team raid occurs in the US every 12 minutes. This is a trend that needs to change, and soon.
  • Dan Miller posted a great image to his blog this week. It’s been asked, in manners both genuine and accusatory, why would a God that is loving and present ever allow his creation to suffer? If we had no history where we were broken by our suffering, then the gold of God’s redemption would have no place to go. Through our adversity we become more like him, and thus, more beautiful.

June 28, 2012 Posted by | Quick Hits and Links | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Quick Hits of the Week

Paying the Stupid Tax

I was born before the dawn of the interwebs and the cell-o-phones. Life was more dangerous, then. Cars didn’t have airbags, infant car seats were rare, and seat belts were optional. I rode a bike for almost 13 years before I ever wore a helmet. Making a mistake had some serious consequences and taught us memorable lessons.

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Back when you could count my age in months instead of years, I crawled under the card table my parents were sitting at and chewed through the lamp cord I found there. There was a flicker, a pop, and a baby forcefully ejected back into the open, followed by some expected crying. I was lucky to have lived through that, but it taught me to never do it again. Even today, you won’t find me gnawing on any electrical cords, no matter how colorful or tasty they look.

We can argue whether our more child-safe society is an all-around improvement or not. One thing is true, though. It’s hard to learn valuable life lessons when we’re shielded from the consequences of our stupidity. Fortunately, there is still one area of our lives where we are generally free to do stupid things and potentially suffer for it.

Money.

There are just about as many ways to do stupid things with money as there are people to do them. If you’re over the age of fifteen, you’ve probably done three of them or more. Maybe you bought your first home mortgage on a trailer, and while it’s fine for shelter, it isn’t worth half of what you originally paid for it. Maybe you invested your emergency savings in a hyped up IPO, thinking it was a sure thing. Maybe you got sold on a timeshare pitch because you thought it would make a nice vacation option for your young and growing family, and now the maintenance fee just sets your teeth on edge.

We can talk ourselves into doing some irrational things. Our desire to have something now overrides our willingness to take the time to make sure we’re buying the right something. We let comfort or excitement guide us instead of wisdom and experience. We pay for it, and we all regret it.

Now, while it’s inevitable that we will occasionally pay some stupid tax, we don’t want to be doing it all the time. What can we do to avoid making money mistakes? How do we make sure the next big purchase is a good one?

First, never buy anything on impulse. It’s alright to take some time and think it through. Wait overnight, at least. You want to give your mind a chance to feel the regret of that purchase before you make it. And if the seller says they can’t wait, then your answer should be no.

Second, explain it to somebody and tell them exactly why you want to buy it. By doing this you make sure that you understand the product or service, and that’s huge. If you don’t understand it, you shouldn’t be buying it. You’ll also be clarifying your reasoning for yourself, and you can keep from being swept up in the hype of the purchase.

Finally, figure out three to five other things you could do with the money you would be spending on it. Things that you would want to do. If you spend that money now, it means you will have to put those things off, or not do them at all. The cost of your purchase needs to include the cost of what you’re having to say “no” to.

We’re human, and we’re going to make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up too much for paying some stupid tax. We’ve all done it. Remember, though, that a lot of it can be avoided, and give yourself the opportunity to learn from other’s mistakes.

I’m still prying myself out from the decision to buy a timeshare. That’s my big stupid tax. What a waste of money. What stupid tax have you paid?

June 25, 2012 Posted by | Work and Money | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

100 Posts

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This is my hundredth post to A Bodey in Motion, since I started it just over two years ago.

Now, I’m not saying that 100 posts in two years is a big deal, and I didn’t want to cheat and take up today’s regular post with it, but I felt the milestone deserved a some small attention. So, to mark the occasion, I want to highlight just 10% what I’ve written here thus far. These are the ten posts that I really enjoyed writing, that got almost no attention from those five of you who regularly read here. Including my mom.

  1. Poke the Box – My review of Seth Godin’s book of the same name. I probably didn’t do it justice, but it was one of the best books I read last year.
  2. Two Ways [To] Have a Stronger Marriage – Apparently I’m a horrible editor. No wonder this one hardly got any traction. You should still read it.
  3. Small Cups and Broad Saucers – How the symbolism of the Havdalah service can instruct us how to be more generous. Don’t miss this.
  4. On Offers and Promises – Don’t offer free wifi if you can’t provide good wifi service…and what that means to the rest of us.
  5. Flipping the Numbers – Could you afford to give away what you normally save? How about the other way around?
  6. The Most Frightening Book in the Bible – It’s probably not the one you think it is.
  7. The Prodigal God – My review of Tim Keller’s book of the same name. It delves into the parable of the Prodigal Son, which we all can learn a thing or two from.
  8. If I Had A Million Dollars – What would you do if you received a million dollars, and what would you say if I told you we all do?
  9. It Isn’t Really For Free – Everything has a cost, and not recognizing that can have some very bad outcomes.
  10. 57 Channels and Nothing On – How our television quietly went away, and how it affected our home.

Thanks for joining me for the experiment, and I hope you’ll stick around for the next 100. Your regularly scheduled post will be up around noon, as usual.

June 25, 2012 Posted by | Past and Future, Top Posts | , , , , | Comments Off on 100 Posts

Quick Hits of the Week

  • LaRae Quy guests posts over at Michael Hyatt’s blog, sharing about spies and three ways to find the truth about life’s meaning. Her first point, about life assessment, is a great one that I’ve seen before.  It’s important to identify the areas of our lives where we’ve settled, and recognize that any area that we’re not completely satisfied with isn’t good enough. Her third point, about keeping a journal is also good. It’s part of the reason why I’m forcing myself to write here once a week.
  • Boredom is good for you. It’s a signal that you’re fighting to create. Mark McGuinness reminds us that facing our boredom head on is better than seeking out distractions.
  • I would love to say I’m above politics, but I’m not. There’s always a temptation to get controversial when I write here, because drumming out one of those posts is comparatively easy, and it tends to get more attention. That’s not what I’m trying to do here, though. I’m seeking growth, not division. Thom Rainer shared some really good thoughts regarding this, listing five reasons he avoids negative and controversial posts. I think number four is especially true. So, while I like the added attention, on balance I’d rather stay positive.
  • I’m not a big survivalist. I don’t even like hiking. Driving out among the pine trees and setting up a tent next to a campfire is about at close to “roughing it” as I like to get. The chances of me getting trapped in the wilderness are pretty slim. Should it happen, though, and my cell phone is damaged beyond repair, it’s good to know that I can use what remains as a signal mirror, compass, spear point, and fire starter.

June 21, 2012 Posted by | Quick Hits and Links | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Quick Hits of the Week