A Bodey in Motion

Building momentum, one step at a time

Quick Hits of the Week

  • Is it OK to settle a debt for less than the amount owed? It’s legal to do it, and thanks to the recent recession a large number of people have learned how to game the system. Usually payments are stopped, and the credit score is sacrificed, to gain some negotiating power with the lender. Still, even though it’s legal and happens frequently, is it ethical? Is it something that followers of Jesus should be doing? As a finance coach, and a Christian, I never advise anyone who comes to me to not pay on a debt if they can afford to pay and still keep themselves healthy, safe, and productive. Honor your agreements, but feed your family first.
  • It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned the TSA, but a couple of juxtaposing posts by author Christopher Elliott made me want to bring them up again. First, he suggests that there are five things you should never say to a TSA agent. Then, after a bit of backlash from that post, he suggests that there are five instances that you should stand up to the TSA. I think the main thing Elliott is trying to point out is that attitude makes a lot of difference when dealing with these situations. I agree with that. My recent trip to Nashville required me to fly, and I got the chance to experience the new nude image scan devices. No, I didn’t opt out. Yes, I did ask for a souvenir print of the image. No, the agents didn’t respond to my request.
  • A Florida Sheriff’s Deputy claims he could smell marijuana in a car traveling 35 mph and with the windows up. They should consider drafting him into the Justice League. What happened after he used his super sniffer was described as “going a little too far” by the Deputy’s supervisor, but it makes me glad I don’t live in Florida, and it’s the kind of thing that makes me worry about our future.

Is there something valuable or important or cool or funny or weird or awesome out there I missed this week? I can’t hit it all, but you should let me know about it by dropping me a line or sharing it in the comments below! I’d appreciate the heads up.

August 30, 2012 Posted by | Quick Hits and Links | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Kick the Ends Out

As a man beginning the second half of his life, and as the father of young children, I’ve come face to face with the fact that some of the things I’ve been led to believe and live simply aren’t true. A couple of concepts have become a part of our culture in the last century and it’s time to call them what they are: Irresponsible.

Both adolescence and retirement have become twisted bookends on what should be a responsible and productive life. They make living a lot like preparing porridge for Goldilocks. This one is too young. This one is too old. You can’t be trusted with responsibility and freedom unless your age is juuuust right.

…we view young people through a lens that didn’t exist back then – adolescence – a relatively modern invention that establishes teen years as a moratorium on responsibility and prolongs childhood indefinitely. When a young man is passive and irresponsible, he greatly limits his freedoms, opportunities, and successes.

Stephen & Alex Kendrick, The Resolution for Men

My son will be 11 years old soon. I’m faced with the fact that in five years, he could be learning to drive a car. In ten years, he could be ready to be completely out from under my care and guidance. How can I guarantee that he’ll be ready for these challenges, and so much more? By having vision, and remembering the big goal when it comes to his life. I’m raising a young man, not an older boy.

Adolescence tells us that we need to protect our growing children from the risks and dangers of life before they’re ready for them. The problem is, that as we add more and more things to the ‘unacceptable risk’ pile, we necessarily cut our children off from the opportunities and rewards that come with those risks. Our spirit of fear keeps them from achieving their full potential. Our young men and women are capable of so much more, and we should be encouraging them and guiding them to assess and accept risks.

In addition to paying the bills, funding education, paying down debt, we also have the stress of squeezing out the funds to maximize our pension plans so we can quit working as early as possible. In reality, retirement is a twentieth-century phenomenon that has added stress to our lives. And it starts early.

Russ Crosson, The Truth About Money Lies

In 24 years, I will be 65 years old. That’s become a magic number in our society. Retirement. When you get there, you’ve worked long enough. You’ve paid your dues. It’s time to slow down and enjoy the good life. That’s what we’re told.

I don’t understand that. You’ve spent decades amassing skills and knowledge about your field. You’ve created a network of people whose expertise you can call on. All of that doesn’t become obsolete just because you’ve turned a certain age. What does the “good life” have that makes it worth leaving all of that investment behind?

This is a rejection of long-term vision and responsibility. Don’t spend every day struggling at a job that you don’t even like because they pay is great and you can quit sooner. Look further than that. Your time is limited and your life is worth more. Seek out work that fills you with purpose, and it will offer you more life than the “good life” of retirement could ever weakly prop up.

George Washington was appointed an official surveyor at the age of 17, and was paid well for it.

Colonel Sanders founded the Kentucky Fried Chicken national chain after opening the first store at the age of 65.

Don’t let the ends of life go to waste. Kick out the stops. Raise your children to be responsible risk takers early. Look to your future with purpose and a plan. Start strong, finish stronger.

Questions: Do you think adolescence is good for children? How are you encouraging your kids to be more responsible? Are you planning to retire some day? Do you have a plan for those remaining years?

August 27, 2012 Posted by | Past and Future | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Quick Hits of the Week

  • I am not a coffee drinker. I love the smell of it, but you can’t add enough sugar and syrups to it to make me enjoy drinking the stuff. I married a coffee drinker, though, so that works out alright. It also makes me keenly aware what a few trips to Starbucks a month can total up to every year. If coffee is a staple in your house, like it is in mine, you might want to consider taking a few steps to save money on your daily fix.  Good luck with number five, though.
  • The world is going to end. No, really. At some point, this little ball of dust careening through the universe is going to be no more. Despite that, though, I can’t find a good reason to go about in a panic. Why are we always so eager to believe that the world is always on the brink of catastrophe? We’ve become Apocaholics. We’re addicted to the fear of a coming global apocalypse. We need to be more hopeful. Matt Ridley’s recent article about apocalypses warned but never realized is an excellent reality check.
  • I love it when my work is in front of me. All of the details have been worked out, and I can finally start producing a solution. That’s when the fun begins. The problem is, the “fun” part is only a small percentage of the total time I spend doing any task. Seth Godin points out that we need to be finding ways to improve our performance on the “boring” stuff, because it occupies up a bulk of our time.

Is there something valuable or important or cool or funny or weird or awesome out there I missed this week? I can’t hit it all, but you should let me know about it by dropping me a line or sharing it in the comments below! I’d appreciate the heads up.

August 23, 2012 Posted by | Quick Hits and Links | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Quick Hits of the Week

Finding Financial Peace

This week, we’re beginning a new session of Financial Peace University at one of our local churches. We already have about 30 people signed up, and I’m personally hoping for a lot to happen over the next couple of months. I’ve got a few reasons to be excited.

  • Dave Ramsey and his team have recently reworked the course. The last time they updated was before the housing crash, so I’m expecting some new information in regards to that. There are so many people hurting in this area because of their out of control house payments, and I hope that we can really offer a few people some help.
  • We have a few families attending. Parents are taking the time to make sure that their older children have learned the basics of handling money before they go out into the world. I love that.
  • The course is now nine weeks instead of thirteen. I’m going to miss some of the material that’s been cut, but a shorter time commitment probably means more class retention, which is a good thing. Also, we might be able to fit in an additional session every year, and that would be awesome.

Here are the nine lessons:

  1. Super Saving – Why you should save money, and why you need to start now.
  2. Relating With Money – Why families must work together to achieve financial goals.
  3. Cash Flow Planning – How to develop a monthly budget that really works.
  4. Dumping Debt – What myths we believe about debt, and how to become debt free.
  5. Buyer Beware – Why marketing is so powerful, and how to reduce it’s influence.
  6. The Role of Insurance – What insurance you need to have, and what to avoid.
  7. Retirement and College Planning – How to plan for the future.
  8. Real Estate and Mortgages – How to buy or sell a home.
  9. The Great Misunderstanding – Why you should live a generous life.

If you’ve never taken Financial Peace University, I highly recommend it. It’s a great first step for families who are struggling with money issues and don’t know where to start. If you’re in the Tucson area, and you’re interested in joining a class, let me know. Send me an email and I’ll see if I can hook you up.

Question: Have you taken FPU? What was your experience? What was the most important thing you learned? How did it change your life and your finances?

August 20, 2012 Posted by | Marriage and Family, Work and Money | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment