Why Viewing Pet Ownership as Only a Cost is Short-Sighted

Why Viewing Pet Ownership as Only a Cost is Short-Sighted

I want a dog.

Until recently I’ve had a dog, even a couple dogs at a time.  I’ve had them since I was a little boy.  They’ve been there to catch tennis balls and run through various neighborhoods.  Dogs have listened to my stories of success as well as tales of woe.  Moments of crazy happiness have been had with them as well as calm reflection.

Growing up, I would often say I liked dogs more than people and that probably still holds true today.  I look around the world and see it full of ding-dongs who are making the world a lot less friendly for the next generation.

I miss having a dog around as I haven’t had one with me for almost eight years now. 

Like, I said I want a dog, it’s just that I don’t need one and that’s where I’m struggling.

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You Don't Buy Things With Money

You Don't Buy Things With Money

I was recently talking with a colleague who said he was close to retiring.  Gil (not his real name) is in his early fifties and slightly quirky.  He’s the type of guy who marches to the beat of his own drummer.  Although he works for a large, corporate-think company, he sports a long beard and tattoos.  He’ll freely talk about politics and other matters that most folks would shy away from.  With his wife, he lives in the country – far away from the hustle and bustle of society.

It had been a while since I talked with Gil so his mention of retirement was exciting.  I told him congratulations.  He said he was more than ten years ahead of what society had scheduled for his retirement, mostly because he’d been debt free, including his home, for many years.  He’s got a rental house which has some debt on it, but that payment is being covered by someone else.

I loved hearing he was free of consumer debt and asked him what led him to that point.  Almost everyone who is debt-free has a story about a moment of awakening to the soul crushing weight of financial liability.  Gil said he got himself into a position to retire, based upon some advice he was given when he was young.  Gil said once he fully grasped that concept, his life changed.

Being on a quest for knowledge that can help me grow, I immediately asked, “What was it?”

The advice, he said, was, “You don’t buy things with money, you buy them with time.”

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How Much Stuff Do You Really Need?

How Much Stuff Do You Really Need?

USA Today and The New York Times (among many others) have published articles about the Baby Boomer generation starting to pass down treasured heirlooms to their GenX and Millennial children.  Unfortunately, those trinkets and other items are being looked upon with some disdain.

We don’t want them.

We don’t value these items the same way our parents did or their parent’s generation did.

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How Drinking Cheap Beer Can Remind You of What is Important in Life

How Drinking Cheap Beer Can Remind You of What is Important in Life

“Life is too short to drink cheap beer.”

That was my mantra for a lot of years.  I’d proudly say that while ordering one of the latest craft beers that my favorite joints would have on tap.  Each time I’d visit I’d peruse the beer menu and take my time selecting.

No Hefeweizens for me, thank you.  I’d had more than my share while in the Army and haven’t really enjoyed them since.

And while I love Guinness, I’m not a fan of the craft versions of stout beer which are often overly heavy and just downright nasty.

Nope, my enjoyment rested with the Pales, the Reds and the IPAs.  I’d pick one, drink it and enjoy the hell out of it.  I wasn’t one of the ding-dongs who would drone on about the IBUs (International Bitterness Units) of the beer or if I knew where the hops were grown.  No, I really didn’t care that much.

I just wanted to drink a fancy beer and get a nice, hefty buzz out of it.

This behavior continued into my financial awakening.  Even when I would sit with a table of wine snobs for some event, cringing at their extreme douchiness, I would have a fancy beer in my hand.  I was half a step away from imitating their self-importance.  Had I uttered one IBU rating you could have handed me a membership into that overly-indulgent beer snob mob, the group that is as obnoxious as the wine crowd, but twice as loud.

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Amortization 101 - #3 - The Greatest Trick Ever Pulled

Amortization 101 - #3 - The Greatest Trick Ever Pulled

The Difference Between Residential and Commercial Loans

The majority of my previous two posts have focused on home loans and how the game isn't in our favor while most of the population is tuned out.

Guess what?   It's the same in the commercial arena and no one notices it there either. 

Here's the main difference between the two loan categories:  Commercial loans will be amortized over a certain period, 20 or 25 years, for example.   However, they typically require a balloon payment at some fixed point, way before the end of the amortization period.  10 years, for example.

Take that in to consideration for a moment.

In ten years, you either need to come up with all the money owed to the bank or refinance.  At 10 years, you will have paid roughly 70% of the total interest owned on a 20 year loan.  Time to refinance.  

Do you see the scam?

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How Getting Knocked Out Financially is Easier Than You Think

How Getting Knocked Out Financially is Easier Than You Think

When I was in my late twenties, I found myself with roughly $32,000 of debt.  The debt, mostly consumer, had been rolled into a second mortgage to ease the burden of the various monthly payments.  As things happen, I ended up divorced and that debt became solely mine as part of the settlement.  I’m not bitter nor blaming anyone.  It’s the way life goes and how I ended up where I am today.

I later remarried bringing this debt into that marriage.  Unfortunately, she also brought $14,000 worth of debt for a combined $48,000 worth of debt.

I made good money, but lived paycheck to paycheck.  It was frustrating to live that way.  I wanted more out of life, but couldn’t figure out how to get it. 

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Everyone Has a Journey

Everyone Has a Journey

Several years back, I helped run a Kenpo Karate school.  Part of my responsibilities were leading classes, both for adults and kids.  As I interacted with various students, I sought to understand their motivation for learning Kenpo.

Some of them were there to learn self-defense, an obvious goal due to the subject matter.  Others were there to increase their physical fitness, again, a somewhat understandable goal. 

However, there were those who sought the community aspects of a karate school.  They were looking to “belong” somewhere. 

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The King of My Castle

The King of My Castle

I’ve gotten a good handle on my personal debt.  For years after I climbed out of my debt hole, I didn’t use a credit card at all.  I really didn’t want one, again.  I no longer liked them.

When I became an independent contractor, however, I saw how a credit card might make my life easier.  Could I operate without one?  Yes.  It’s inconvenient, but it can be done.  However, I’m more disciplined now.  I use a credit card for my expenses and pay the bill in full at the end of every month.

There’s a level of satisfaction with having mastery over my credit card when previously I didn’t.  I usually abstain from silly purchases, those caused by emotion when my higher self is not in control.  I pass on those purchases that put me into a worse financial position due to forgetting the concept of “need versus want” and letting myself become overwhelmed by some desire. 

This is not one of those stories...

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