Thursday, February 27, 2014

Interview Series: Reach Financial Independence

This is an guest post from the Personal Finance Blog Debt Discipline:

This is the Seventh in a series of personal finance blogger interviews with fellow personal finance bloggers. Today’s guest is Pauline from Reach Financial Independence.

Who is Pauline?  
Pauline: I am a 33-year-old French girl born and raised in Paris. After college I decided to go see the world and have since lived in Guatemala, Spain, the UK and Morocco. I came back to Guatemala a couple of years ago, and bought a little house last year that I am turning into a guest house. I blog at Reach Financial Independence about early retirement, lifestyle choices, achieving your goals and deliberate living. I also own Make Money Your Way where I talk about ways to make money with investing, real estate, improving your career and side hustles. I love to travel, run, swim, cook, read and try new stuff.  

Why did you start your blog?  
Pauline: I had written for travel blogs for four years, was burned out and wanted to write about personal finance and my lifestyle, which is not really the norm. Reach Financial Independence was born 18 months ago, and Make Money Your Way a year later.  

What are your favorite Blogs? 
Pauline: Too many to list! One of the first I really liked was I Will Teach You To Be Rich, as it mixed psychology with the money behavior and I found it fascinating to try to reason why you do the things you do.  

When did you first become financially literate?
Pauline: I guess as a kid. My dad lost his job and had us live like it was WWII, although he had a comfortable emergency fund and we were still going on holidays or to private school. I knew I always wanted to have a little more than enough, just in case. What was the last item you regretted purchasing? My laptop. The old one was dying, in Guatemala where I live choices are limited so I got a basic replacement and it is so slooow. I plan on donating it to the local school and buying a new one next month.

If you died today, would your family be OK?  
Pauline: They’d be sad, but they know where my will is, and no one depends on my income, so that’s a yes.  

What are you teaching (or will you teach) your kids about money?  
Pauline: I don’t have kids, I hope to teach them independence. From a parent, learning to earn your own pocket-money from an early age. From a day job, learning to diversify your sources of income and always keeping a cushion. From the consumer world, learning to buy only what you need, and never on credit unless it is a house.  

What’s your dream job?
Pauline: I thought it was travel writer and after doing it for over four years I was burned out. Now I run a guest house, which was also one of my dream jobs, and am learning that it is not all rainbows and unicorns. I am lucky because I have held those two dream jobs of mine, and don’t really need the income they generate so the day I get bored I can stop and look for something else. Again we’re back on the topic of independence that is really dear to me.  

What’s next? (write in question)
Pauline: Well at the moment I just bought a third blog which is taking quite a bit of my time, I have been running the guest house for a couple of months, and I am developing 90 acres of land in Northern Guatemala. Those are my main areas of focus for 2014. It is tough to get motivation when working for yourself but those are three things I truly enjoy for now so it makes it much easier.

If interested in participating in a future interview, please contact me.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Gambling Money Away

This is an guest post from the Personal Finance Blog Debt Discipline:

As I was recovering from the fact that football season is now over, having to wait almost 6 months until the next NFL football game, and cleaning up the carnage from our little Super Bowl party I got to thinking about money I seem to just throw away. I think it had something to do with the fact that I had just tossed my losing Super Bowl pool boxes in the garbage. I made a $35 investment that could have won me as much as $1050, not bad considering all I had to do was hand over my hard-earned cash. Well like many years past the $35 investment yielded me no return. It did however leave a bad taste in my month for coughing up my dough. I don’t want to be a sore loser because there have been years when I have won, but the losses have been far greater than the wins. As I trying to move forward without football and $35 for now, I wondered about other gambling money habits that I have taken part in over the years.

gambling

Bad Habits

 

Super Bowl Box – As mention above, I usually get in at least one pool a year.  

Powerball – Anytime the jackpot reached over $100 million my office takes up a collects and we play. For a $2 donation you get to split the jackpot with 40 other co-workers. Odds of winning Powerball 1 in: 175,223,510. For the record my wife works with someone who hit Powerball. She took home a little over 5 million.  

Lottery Scratchers – They are sometimes call instant games, these are the tickets that range in price from $1-$20. We used to buy these often for Birthday and Christmas. Since we have been paying our debt we have basically stopped.  

Gambling – I have been in a Casino or two in my life. I haven’t been in probably 15 years. When I did go I would play blackjack. The first time I ever gambled I won, probably not a good way to start.

 I do try to limit these activities now. I really want my money to be spent wisely and be used for paying off debt currently. Once in a while I can get caught up in the day-dream of winning the millions and quitting the day job. I think that's why so many people participate in these activities, the fantasy or the dream of dropping down a dollar and winning big. My mom in her mid 70's still plays Bingo twice a week. It's part social event for her and she has the money to lose. That is key, if you don't have the money to lose you should be participating in these activities. You can't expect to participate in any of the examples expecting to win. Using the rent money to try to win big is going to put you in a bad spot 99.9% of the time. I will control my daydreaming and continue to work hard on paying off our debt. I do think I’ll continue to make the office Powerball donation. I wouldn’t want to be the only guy left in the office after everyone else won the millions.

Have you ever participated in any of these? Do you have any other bad money habits that you know are bad but continue to do anyway?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Interview Series: Narrow Bridge Finance

This is an guest post from the Personal Finance Blog Debt Discipline:

This is the Sixth in a series of personal finance blogger interviews with fellow personal finance bloggers. Today’s guest is Eric Rosenberg from Narrow Bridge Finance.  

Who is Eric Rosenberg?  
Eric: A lot of my blogger friends know me as DenverEric (my Twitter name). I grew up in Denver and recently moved to Portland to follow a dream of moving somewhere that I chose myself. When I’m not at my day job in corporate finance or blogging, you can find me on my cruiser bike, DJing, planning flash mobs, exploring my city, or traveling hacking my way around the world.  

Why did you start your blog?  
Eric: I started my blog just after leaving my job working as a bank manager. I had already been blogging about politics, so it was easy for me to start my second long-running blog. I had lots of great, fresh information on how the banking industry works, and wanted to share my knowledge on banking, investing, mortgage loans, and general personal finance with a new audience. Over time, my blog has grown to include other writers and tips about all parts of your financial life. I have shared my journey of paying off my student loans, buying my first home, and aggressively saving for retirement.  

What are your favorite Blogs?
Eric: Well, my own of course! Okay, I know what you mean. When I’m reading other blogs, I like to read a lot about personal finance and travel hacking. I’ve become friends with lots of blogger by going to the Financial Blogger Conference (FinCon), and love to read my friends blogs first. I am a regular reader of PT Money, Beating Broke, Sustainable Life Blog, Punch Debt in the Face, Financial Samurai, and a lot of other quality blogs. When I’m getting an itch for travel, I like to read The Art of Non-Conformity, Nomadic Matt, Legal Nomads, and the Blond Abroad. The Points Guy and The Frequent Miler help me find new deals to travel free, or close to it.  

When did you first become financially literate?  
Eric: My first memory learning about personal finance was when I was about ten years old. My Grandpa Joe sat me down with a general ledger book and taught me to track my income and expenses so I would know how much I was making, spending, and the change in my assets. I didn’t think much of it for a few years, but that was the starting point of my interest in personal finance, investing, and my eventual career choice.

What was the last item you regretted purchasing?  
Eric: I try to live with a no-regrets financial lifestyle. I think it is totally okay to spend money on whatever you value and enjoy as long as you take care of the “have to” spending first. I also make myself wait for a few days before I buy anything expensive. I have a personal rule against buying anything expensive on a whim.

If you died today, would your family be OK? 
Eric: Well, they would be really sad. I hope! I don’t have any kids yet, and my finance does just fine supporting herself financially. I wouldn’t worry about anyone going hungry or homeless if I weren’t here. Once I do have a bigger family, I plan to get quality life insurance to make sure everyone is covered. If I were really smart, I would do it now while the rates are lower.

What are you teaching (or will you teach) your kids about money?
Eric: I’ll try to teach them the lessons my Grandpa taught me. I will teach them to spend less than they earn, track everything you earn and spend, invest for the future, and live with financial discipline. I always like to remind people that Warren Buffet didn’t get rich by spending all of his money, and I’m sure my future kids will hear that more than once growing up.  

What’s your dream job?  
Eric: For now, I have a great job that I’m lucky to enjoy and make plenty to cover my lifestyle. In the long run, I’d love to be a Fortune 500 executive or be 100% self-sustaining running my own business. I know they seem different, but to me they are similar. At the top of the ladder, you are really self-determining quite a lot of how your lifestyle works and can make big choices to run a company.  

How Did You Make Your First Dollar of Side Income? (Write in question)
Eric: I am a huge proponent of building multiple income streams. Whether you have a full-time day job or you run your own business, you never know when something will go wrong. Having back up money sources is hugely important. I made my first money outside of my main job writing online. I was doing quite a lot of Wikipedia editing those days, and I found I could write for sites like eHow and make a few bucks for doing something similar to what I was already doing. From there, it wasn’t a big step to starting my own blogs and building up several related income streams including advertising and freelance writing.

Eric Rosenberg has been blogging since 2006 and is the owner and editor at Narrow Bridge Finance, a personal finance blog designed to save you time, money, and headache when dealing with your money. He has a B.S. and MBA in finance and experience working in banking and corporate finance.

If interested in participating in a future interview, please contact me.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hoston We Have a Puppy!

This is an guest post from the Personal Finance Blog Debt Discipline:

As I mentioned a few weeks ago we were looking to add a puppy to our family. I’m happy to announce we added MuShu this past Friday. He is a Shiba Inu. He is an amazing little boy. I realize it’s only been three days, but he is doing really well adjusting to his new home and family. We had a yellow Labrador for 13 years who passed away in July of last year. We have always been pet owners. Our family has had fish, rats and a guinea pig along the way. Growing up I had a number of dogs and cats and my wife was a dog owner. Our house has not seemed the same without a pet. So we knew we would add one soon.

We started looking at different breeds, we want a dog a little smaller than our Labrador. My wife has a co-worker who owns a Shiba and we went for a visit. Needless to say we fell in love. We began to research, looking at local rescue, pet shops and breeders. We filled an application out at a local Shiba rescue, but still have not heard back. We were not thrilled with the pet shop experience and recommendations from others, so we were set on finding a private breeder. Our lab was purchased from a private breeder and we were very happy with the experience. We found a few local breeders and sent out e-mails just before the Holidays. All responses came back with no puppies available at this time. On New Years Eve we received a response back from a breeder who was only 20 minutes from our house. We set up a meeting and we instantly fell in love. Four weeks later we are proud owners of a new puppy!

shiba inu shiba inu

Puppy Budget

Now I'm sure you are wondering what this has to do with personal finance. Well a lot. As it turns out Shiba Inu’s are not cheap. This was a major budget decision for us. Here’s the breakdown:
  • Puppy - $2000
  • AKC registration - $40
  • Crate - $99
  • Bed - $25
  • Collar - $15
  • Leash - $22
  • Puppy Food - $ 14
  • Bowl - $15
  • Toys - $26
So our grand total spent is $2256. Wow. Before your reply please note this was all done with cash and all debt repayment remains on track. This was one of those personal, personal finances decisions for our family. We were able to cash flow this purchase. Sure this was a want and not a need, but after experiencing the fun and happiness with our new pup this weekend I’m so glad we did it.

Have you ever spent this kind of money on a want? What the purchase worth it?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Interview Series: One Cent At A Time

This is an guest post from the Personal Finance Blog Debt Discipline:

This is the fifth in a series of personal finance blogger interviews with fellow personal finance bloggers. Today’s guest is SB from One Cent At A Time.  

Who is SB?  
SB: I am a personal finance enthusiast with a career in software development. I am an immigrant in this country since 2005, after being born and brought up in India. I am 30 something technocrat who lives and breathes personal finance everyday when ever I get time from my day job and job as a husband.  

Why did you start your blog?  
SB:I was regular personal finance blog reader, I read sites like Get Rich Slowly, Simple Dollar, etc since 2006, after I came to this country in 2005 from India on a work visa. I wanted to learn the financial system here and ways I could save money being in a foreign land. Slowly I realized I was a bit different from these bloggers, I grew up in poverty in a third world country and frugality was necessity there, not a choice. I thought I could add values by putting my approach to personal finance in public. Being in the software industry, setting up a site and starting with my own blog was easy for me, what took real time though , was to acquire the writing skills that might fit the readers here. It took real courage to start with OCAAT, having English as my third language. I was inclined towards better financial management since the time I was learning maths and languages, it was the trait my father possessed and passed on to me. Then, combine that natural liking with an ambition to put my voice in public. All these things contributed to formation of the blog One Cent at a Time.  

What are your favorite Blogs?
SB:There are many but the names that readily come to mind are Daily Finance, Wise bread, Financial Samurai and Mr. Money Mustache. My earlier favorite’s blogs like Get Rich Slowly and The Simple Dollar are now less appealing to me these days.  

When did you first become financially literate?  
SB:I can't remember but as I mentioned in my about page, I first bought shares with money in my piggy bank when I was still in elementary school. since I grew up seeing scarcity of resources, I grew frugal and all basics of earning more money and hold on to it for as long as possible, were almost my born traits.  

What was the last item you regretted purchasing?
SB:The 2009 BMW 528i that I purchased in September. I cold have saved $10,000 and put it in my retirement fund instead. But overall I plan to sell it off in 3 years with a monetary loss (as cars are depreciating properties) of around $1000 per year which is equivalent to any other car.  

If you died today, would your family be OK?  
SB:Yes, the day I got to choose my first health insurance, I made sure that my wife gets 8 times my yearly gross salary as insurance amount. I have saved sufficient amount to go back to my home country and live happily retired. So in case I die, even without insurance money my wife can live her life without any monetary trouble.  

What are you teaching (or will you teach) your kids about money?
SB:Money is like the seed of a fruit, save it, plant it, nourish it, water it - at the end you'll get many more fruits. Even if they don't understand I'll take them (my to be kids) along whenever we set budget, we buy a big ticket items - like car, taking investment decisions or even while paying our bills. Even if they won't understand a bit of it, in their subconscious mind it'll register. And most importantly they would be interested to learn, interested to understand my moves. Giving practical lessons to the kids are far better than telling them not to buy things on credit when you don't have money. As much as they see their parents' frugal practices, they'll get it automatically. Seeing parents do their budget is to me the best financial lessons we could impart on our kids.  

What’s your dream job?  
SB:As I said earlier, I could retire now if I wish. But I love my job which is challenging and rewarding. I'd like to stick with the job till I find it interesting and worth it. Sure, being promoted here would all be my dream position. Director, Vice president, Senior Vice president are all I aspire to become. I am not looking for financial freedom. As I love to continue with my day job. I strive in company of other people. Earning passive income while having vacation is not something that inspires me a lot. I can only think of a job of investment banker and working for NGOs to help people in need as other jobs, besides what I am currently doing, as my dream jobs.  

One liner best financial advice (write in question)  
SB:Spend less than you earn

One Cent At A Time is a blog dedicated to all round well-being for everyone covering topics that include: saving money, smart spending, profitable investments and successful retirement planning, with extra touch on improving earnings.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Financial Complaints

This is an guest post from the Personal Finance Blog Debt Discipline:

We have tried to remain extremely positive over the long haul (43 months) during our debt repayment. We understand that the tightening of our budget and cutting back on wants will only be for a period of time. We understand getting a $109k debt monkey off our backs will be a spring-board for better things for the entire family. With that in mind we kept the financial complaints to a minimum. I started this blogs in hopes to share our story and hopefully inspired and help someone else struggling to get their finances in order. This was not always our way of thought; it took many years of mistakes and ignorance before we made a change. The changes happened for us when we hit rock bottom and began to educate ourselves about personal finance. This was done on our own, partly because we were tight-lipped about our finances for years and didn’t want to discuss our mess with anyone and partly that we didn’t want anyone to tell us how to manage our money.

Financial Complaints

Now that we have seen the light, we regularly talk about our success, we are proud of the turnaround and the progress we have accomplished. We try to share the information we have learned without being pushy. I gave all of the co-workers in my department Dave Ramsey’s “The Total Money Makeover” book as a Christmas Gift in 2012. No strings attached, I just explained to my co-workers how the book helped me. I sat down with an extended family member to review their budget and help point them in the right direction. I have helped my brother get on the right financial path after some trouble. My wife and I have pointed friends in the right direction with offering them a book to read a blog or web site to check out. Then there are those people who not matter what advice, or information you provide continue to complain about their financial situation. They complain and complain but never take any action. I have a few in my life today and the drive me crazy.

 

Financial Complainer Profiles

To protect the identity of the complainers, I will call them complainers one and two. Here’s an overview of their current situation.  

Financial Complainer One – As least once a week tells me he has no money, or can’t afford things, or is broke. I know the income for this complainer is at least $100k. The complainer often gambles, plays fantasy sports for money, eats out multiple times a week, spouse does not work, and drives a new car.  

Financial Complainer Two – Had to move out of their primary residence due to a pay freeze at work and could not afford mortgage. House is currently being rented. Living rent free at a family members house to save money to hopefully return to own home. Spouse does not work and still drives a new car. I agree these profiles are very different.

From the outside looking in FC1 seems like a wiener, someone who has the money to support these habits but just likes to complain, but FC2 has a really financial emergency that forced them to move out of their house. The common thread for both FC1 and FC2 is that they have not taken any action or made any changes to improve their situations. I never try to preach to others in need of help. I simply will talk about our success and see if the other person will inquirer how we succeeded. If they do I can point them in the right direction in a number of books, web sites etc. I never want to make some feel like I’m talking down to them. I have tried to offer help in both cases, books, web sites, etc. As of today I’m not aware of any change with FC1 or FC2. I struggle when I hear FC1 and FC2 complain, because I know change is possible. We were $109k in debt, we had max our 5 credit cards and we found away to dig ourselves out of the mess. I just don’t know how else I can help.

How do you help someone who doesn’t want help, but continues to complain about their situation?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Interview Series: Money Life and More & Adventuring Dollars.

This is an guest post from the Personal Finance Blog Debt Discipline:

This is the fourth in a series of personal finance blogger interviews with fellow personal finance bloggers. Today’s guest is Lance Cothern from Money Life and More and Adventuring Dollars.  

Who is Lance Cothern?  
Lance: I like to think I'm a regular person, just like everyone else. Professionally, I am a corporate accountant and I am a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In my spare time, I run two blogs, Money Life and More and Adventuring Dollars. I'm married to my beautiful wife, Tori, and we have a dog, Daphne. No kids yet!  

Why did you start your blog?
Lance: I started my blog because I love personal finance and I wanted a platform to share my thoughts on the subject. I had been reading blogs for years and I finally decided to give it a whirl. It has been a blast and I'm very glad I started blogging!  

What are your favorite Blogs?
 Lance: I'm more of a nomad when it comes to blogs. I read whatever looks interesting. I've recently discovered Out Of Your Rut and Hull Financial Planning, both blogs which regularly have great content.  

When did you first become financially literate?  
Lance: I'd say I started in high school with my first job. I saved almost all of my earnings for college and was lucky enough to graduate debt free. My wife, on the other hand, graduated with over $80,000 of student loan debt. Thankfully, it is now almost all gone!  

What was the last item you regretted purchasing?  
Lance: I can't think of anything in particular that I've really regretted purchasing. In general I almost always regret it when I buy a cheap item rather than a quality item. I spend more money replacing it than if I would have just bought the quality item to begin with.

If you died today, would your family be OK?  
Lance: My wife and dog would be OK, but they wouldn't be able to retire today. We're only in our mid twenties though with no kids, so I think that's OK. My wife could pay the house off and worry about getting her life together and finding someone new to spend the rest of her life with without having to worry about money in the immediate future.  

What are you teaching (or will you teach) your kids about money?  
Lance: Oh man, that's so far away, but I hope to teach my kids a ton about money! I want them to know the value of a dollar (or probably a $20 bill by then) and how to manage their money to live their lives they way they want to live, not how American culture tells them how to live.  

What’s your dream job?  
Lance: My dream job would probably change constantly knowing me. Ideally, I know I'll have found my dream job when work doesn't feel like work and I'm excited to get the job done!  

What one thing do you wish more people would think about in their daily lives? (write in question) Lance: I wish people would think about living life how they want to live, not how culture dictates we should spend our lives. Don't think you have to have a fancier car than your neighbors if all you care about is getting from point A to point B. Don't feel like you have to climb the corporate ladder if that isn't what drives you. Make a plan that can support yourself and your family and live your life the way you want to live. You can't have everything, but you can have what you want most if you put your mind to it.

Lance Cothern blogs at Money Life and More and Adventuring Dollars when he isn't working or wandering around town. Lance and his wife, Tori, are almost done destroying over $80,000 of student loan debt which he has blogged about extensively on Money Life and More.

If interested in participating in a future interview, please contact me.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My Parent’s Financial Story

This is an guest post from the Personal Finance Blog Debt Discipline:

I don’t ever recall my parent’s specifically sitting down with me to talk about the topic of personal finance. I do remember asking questions along the way when I was old enough and aware of money and the cost of things. Even thought we did not have a formal talk my parents did teach me about personal finance. This is my parent’s financial story.

We were the classic middle class family, I’m the youngest of five, and both of my parents worked. My mom was at home with us until I was old enough for school and then she went to work. My older sibling helped with me after school, until I was old enough to do so myself. My parent’s combined income was somewhere in the $40-50K range. We never went without, my dad was a good provider and would take on side hustles to help fund vacations and Christmas.

He worked for the local water company and would take overtime when he could. Being in the plumbing trade he would take side job and install water services into home that had well water. This was a family endeavor. My brothers and I were his crew. When I was very young I would assist by handing him tools or helping him measure cooper, etc., but as I got older I was helping digging holes, running copper, etc. My brothers and I would be paid after the job. My dad always priced the job based on the cost of materials and then added in the labor costs, some job needed a bigger crew and would cost more. I recall the calculations he did by hand to come up with the overall job cost. This side money always had a purpose whether it was used for vacations, birthdays, or Christmas shopping. My dad often worked overtime, weekends, overnights, and Holidays. He explained to me the concept of time and a half and double time and depending on the situation the type of overtime he would earn. He also returned to military service as some point. He service in the Navy out of High School (Korean War Vet) and went into the naval reserves. This was another source of income for the family. My mom worked in a factory type job, never earned a big income, but worked to help bring in some extra money.

financial story

I asked questions about the checkbook and how it worked when I was 7 or 8. They used to use it in the grocery store and I wanted to understand what these things called checks were. My mom explained how it worked and they the ledger kept track of the money in their account. It wasn’t until the mid-eighties that my parents had their first credit card. This was not their first experience with purchasing things on credit. I recall a man coming to our house on a monthly basis, he was there to collect a Fingerhut payment. My parents had purchased some furniture on payments. Fingerhut is a mail order company founded in 1948. They are still in business today. At some point in my childhood the Fingerhut man stopped coming around, I don’t even recall any crazy credit card stories growing up. I know they were used for renting cars or purchasing air travel. Our typically family vacations were camping trips in the Northeast, we visiting upstate New York, Vermont, and Maine. We drove to Disney world in Florida a few times. So I don’t ever think there was excessive spending because credit cards were not imbedded into the way of life-like they are today.

My parent’s cash flowed most of my college tuition. I had a few small scholarships and a small loan. My parents retired in the early 90’s when my dad was 55 and mom was 53. They sold their home in New York and moved to Sunny Florida. (State law requires this) In retirement they collected a pension from my dad’s water company job and earned an income from his active naval reserve service, until he retired and earn another pension. In retirement they began to travel, taking trips and cruises. Enjoying retired life for 18 years until my dad became ill and passed away in 2008. I helped my mom sort things out of after his passing. My dad had done a good job leaving life insurance, and each of his pensions would continue with my mom. She was now collecting social security, so she end up with 3 sources of income each month to live on. I help sort out her bills. I was surprised to see how many credit cards my parents now had open. There were 4, each with balances. They were paid off and closed. It took a couple of years for my mom to get settled, but she ended up returning to the northeast from Florida and is doing well today.

I share this story because as I look for answers on why I wasn’t better prepared to handle money when I entered my earning years it helps put things in perspective. My parents, managed pretty well from what I remember. They lived within their means for the most part, trying to earn more money at any opportunity they could. Any early bump in their financial road was Fingerhut, living beyond their means, they continue on a good track never spending extremely, taking modest vacations and always providing for their family. I own them a great deal of gratitude for funding my college career. In retirement they enjoy themselves, they let credit cards something new to them creep into their financial picture and accumulated a small amount of debt. All in all they did a good job raising 5 children on modest salaries.

What I’ve learned

 

To work hard and look for other earning opportunities – this was a key for my parents and has served me well.  

I need to do a better job preparing my children – my parents gave me the basic, I need to go above and beyond that for my three children.

Ignorance isn’t bliss – credit cards were new to my parents but not an excuse for abuse.

I grew up with a credit card in my pocket at all times. My parents gave me one for emergencies when I was in college that I used sparingly. As a college student I was able to apply for one in my own name and this is where the living beyond my mean began. I used it for all types of thinks early on mainly gas, and food. After graduating and landing my first job I increased credit card spending as I justified purchases by being able to pay the minimum payment. This snowballed when I got married and we purchased a house, we didn’t wait to save money to perform improvements we borrowed more. We justified it by saying everyone has a 2nd mortgage. After that credit cards continued to increase and with little things here and there. Once we knew we were expecting our third child a new mini van was in order. So in a matter of 10 years we racked up $109K in debt. Looking back now there were some help that we overlooked that may have help prevent us from racking up these bills.

A year or two after my wife and I were married, my in-laws gave us a Suze Orman Book. I don’t recall which book because I never read it. I wasn’t going to let my in-laws tell me how to manage my money with some book. Wow, what a big mistake that was. Who knows if I read that book what path it might have set us on. We finally woke up when we hit rock bottom in the June of 2010. Which I’ve talked about in a previous post called powerful information.

Did your parents set you on a good financial path? What are the most important things you’ve learned from your parents financially?