A Bodey in Motion

Building momentum, one step at a time

Don’t Be Lazy! Get Up and Make Your Money Work

I’m starting a new series of posts today. I’m calling it the “ABCs of Personal Finance.” The word for the letter A is Action, because succeeding with money in your home requires action. Your financial situation isn’t going to get any better while you sit idly by and ignore it. So, it’s time to get moving and make some changes. Ready?

He sure looks comfortable, though. Poking him with a stick might be a bad idea. Like irritating my wife before her morning cup of coffee.

  • INCOME – GET TO WORK. Everything worth doing is going to be hard and take a lot of effort. If you want a career that gives you a sense of purpose and pays you well, you’re going to have to take action.
    • Truth: Any job that you can get with a 10 minute interview in a booth at a fast food restaurant is unlikely to pay a lot, and will never be a great career. If you want a bigger paycheck, you have to make yourself more appealing to better employers, and that takes work.
    • First Step: Start Reading. Read books written by the best in the business you want to be in. Read classic business books. Read books about how to get a better job.
  • BUDGET – MAKE A PLAN. Having any income is great, but paychecks have a nasty tendency of looking bigger than they actually are, and spending more than we make has become a national crisis. Planning is an essential part of winning. Even if this month’s budget fails, you learn and fix what failed next month. If you’re not budgeting, you’ve robbed yourself of that opportunity to improve. Take action and give every dollar you make a purpose.
  • GROW – SET GOALS. Once the income is coming in and the bills are all covered, it’s tempting to breathe easy and relax. That might work, if all you ever want to do is just cover the bills. If you have bigger dreams, if you ever want something more than what you have right now, you have to make conscious decisions about how to get there and set some goals. You have to take action.
  • FIGHT – DON’T GIVE UP. Remember, everything worth doing will be hard and take a lot of effort. It’s going to be tough, but as long as you’re breathing, there is always hope.
    • That job may be all you can get right now, but it’s not forever.
    • That budget may be so tight it scares you, but it’s a start.
    •  That goal may seem so out of reach, but you’re still growing.

What do you think? What parts of your finances could use a little less conversation and a little more action? Did I cover it all or miss something important? And what should be my word for X? Let me know in the comments below!

[image from publicdomainpictures.net]

September 17, 2013 Posted by | Work and Money | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Don’t Be Lazy! Get Up and Make Your Money Work

The Problem You’re Not Talking About

One of the issues when you’re known for being the “money guy” is that your friends will inevitably fall into one of two groups. The first will mum up entirely, and trying to talk to them about it will increase tension in the room.  The other group will not shut up about it. They’ll tell you about their income, what they’ve been buying, how they financed it, what they’re planning to invest in and do you think all of that is a good idea? In either case, I try to listen to what they’re saying (even when they’re not talking).

One family friend of ours has been struggling financially for a while. He and his spouse have ever growing debt, and occasional income problems. They’re not able to meet any of their financial goals. And while all of that is terrible, there’s a bigger problem that they’re not talking about.

The good thing is that he’s not in denial anymore. He recognizes that he has to start changing things to get out of the mess that they’re in. He’s been writing a budget for his family. They’ve sold some stuff. I can see the start of a plan forming in his mind. He could use some guidance and there are a bunch of hard decisions ahead, but there’s hope, right?

Yes and no.

When he shows his budget to his wife, she always agrees to it. I’ve never been in the room when it happens, but my gut is telling me that her agreement sounds something like, “That’s great, honey. Whatever you say.” And that’s not really an agreement. It’s more of an acquiescence. And she tries to go along with his  budget, but then a need or an “emergency” comes up and she has to go buy something to cover it, or commit financially to something that’s outside of what’s on paper, and all of his work is blown.

The cycle continues to repeat, and their problems continue to slowly grow.

Now, understand, what I described makes her look really bad, but that’s not the case. She’s just trying to do the best she can to serve her family, the same as he is. She’s plugging holes and meeting needs, just like he’s trying to do. Don’t judge her harshly, because this isn’t all her fault.

This problem belongs to both of them. It’s that core problem I mentioned earlier. They’re not in unison.

His plan is his plan. The budget he creates is trying to solve the problem he’s seeing. Which is great, but his wife isn’t really bought in, despite what she says, because that budget doesn’t address any of the problems she’s seeing. It’s not her budget, and it’s not her plan – it’s her husband’s. And when one of the needs she sees comes up, his plan drops to the wayside, and she meets the need.

They need unity.

His plan needs to change and become their plan. His budget needs to become their budget. When that happens they’ll be in actual agreement, it will build trust, and they’ll come to find they can depend on each other. It’s amazing how much less of a struggle life is when you’re working together.

April 22, 2013 Posted by | Marriage and Family, Work and Money | , , , , , | Comments Off on The Problem You’re Not Talking About

Quick Hits: Start the year you want now. Freedom looks different in each state. Never stop playing.

  • Quick hit logo repeat week. Travel means no Photoshop.Happy New Year! Alright, I know it’s not January, let alone the first day of the year, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make a fresh start beginning  today. Last year, I pointed out that each one of us should celebrate our own New Years Day on our birthday, turning a reminder of age into a celebration of growth. Maybe that doesn’t appeal to you, but the point is, no matter what time of year we’re in, you can start doing something with it. Just because it’s April and you haven’t kept any of your resolutions, or reached any of your goals, or done anything amazing yet, that doesn’t mean that all of 2013 is worthless. Don’t waste another day. Start over right now.
  • The grass always looks greener on the other side, doesn’t it? For example, if you want to be free to use grass, even medicinally, then you might want to move to Alaska. Maybe California, but not necessarily if you’re looking for an open labor market to move into. Each state, in it’s own way, opens a gate, or tears down a wall, or finds some way to get out of the way of its occupants and lets them live without interfering. Arizona trusts each resident with the freest gun laws in the country. Oklahoma is a great state to homeschool your children. South Dakota has the lowest tax burden. What do you love about the state you live in? What would you change?

April 12, 2013 Posted by | Quick Hits and Links | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Quick Hits: Start the year you want now. Freedom looks different in each state. Never stop playing.

Quick Hits of the Week

  • If you’ve set a goal, but you don’t make a plan, you’re just daydreaming. If you want to get out of debt, you have to create a monthly budget and plan how you get there, or you just won’t. If you want to operate your own small business, you have to craft a business plan so you understand how profits are made and reinvested, or you won’t be in business for long. Teachers plan curriculum for the coming semester. Engineers design before they build. And on, and on. Don’t fail because you lack a plan. Jesus touches on this in Luke 14, and Joseph Sangl does a good job of covering the topic of how any goal (especially financial) requires planning to come to fruition.
  • Monday’s post was about our trip to Phoenix Comicon last weekend, but I didn’t get to throw in all of the cool things we got to see. So, here’s a list of the extras:
    • Skullastic – Creator of awesome school supplies (who wouldn’t love a ‘Planner of the Apes’), and owner of their very own Short Bus Mobile Store. Lots of fun stuff.
    • GameChurch – It looks like these guys have modeled their ministry after Craig Gross’s XXXChurch, which is a great place to start.  I’ll be keeping an eye on these guys.
    • Poorcraft – “The essential comic book guide to practical urben and suburban frugality!” You know I have to love that. There’s even a quote from Matthew 25 in it. My son has been reading it daily since he got back from the show.
    • Blunderbuss Wanderlust – I wanted to highlight some of Chris Herndon’s work, since he was so good with my little girl.  “Colonel Vector has a blunderbuss gun with a peculiar recoil.  When he shoots, he gets kicked back in time 600 million years[…]  With each subsequent shot, Victor moves through geologic time” and if you like time-traveling and strange beasties, this is for you. It looks like a story worthy of Commander McBragg himself. Quite.
  • The idea of immortality here on earth has always been a subject of fantasy and horror. There are stories about vampires (yes, even sparkly ones), and movies like Highlander. Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “Oh, if we could not die, it would be indeed horrible! Who wants to be chained to this poor life for a century or longer?” Is an extraordinarily long life really worth having? Ronald Bailey comes at it from the naturalism point of view as he reviews Immortality by Stephen Cave, discussing how pursuing a longer life results in civilization (and how science could apply to the concept of the soul). At Revolution Church, we’re starting a mini-series about heaven, hell, and the afterlife this week. Obviously, I believe in an infinite life through and with Jesus, and that my life here is a only a part of His story, but it’s interesting to see how people who don’t follow Christ struggle with the ideas of eternity and legacy.

May 31, 2012 Posted by | Quick Hits and Links | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Quick Hits of the Week