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Tuesday, October 29th, 2013
2 years, 11 months.
In 4th grade, I had the privilege and honor of doing the cartoon for my town’s junior edition of the newspaper.
The movie Dick Tracy was in theatres the summer before, so I crafted up a clever (?) comic strip called Nick Tracy.
As you can see, Nick Tracy steps in to save the day, as a bully-looking character named Alan mentions to a more studious-looking fellow that he is thinking about quitting school.
(I wonder how old I intended the characters to be, because I sort of get the impression they were in 4th grade at the time, just like me.)
But when it was all said and done, the takeaway actually had less to do with staying in school and more about the reason why kids should not quit school: so they can get a job. I was only 10, but I was concerned about my classmates getting jobs.
You will always know me as the Dave Ramsey-endorsing, Robert Kiyosaki-following (author of the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad), credit card-bashing dad I am. Granted, it took me plunging into financial hades (I’m trying to avoid the cliche “rock bottom”) to be the budget-obsessed, debt-free parent I’ve worked so hard and deliberately to become.
So while there was a learning curve involved as I transitioned into my 30s, ultimately, as I rediscovered this old comic strip of mine from 22 years ago, I now realize: I’ve always been seriously focused on money.
What I never cared about was buying trophies with money. I laugh at the idea of a person being congratulated about a new car purchase: They’re simply being congratulated on having to make car payments.
I’m not impressed by anyone’s material possessions they can afford (or can give the illusion of affording, thanks to credit cards and/or loans), but I am completely impressed by people who actually know how to manage their own money. Because I am so eager to learn from them.
The irony is, I’m impressed by the fancy things people don’t buy, but could afford. To hear of a CEO choosing to drive his old Toyota instead of a new BMW, that’s a man I’m going to respect.
With that being said, the main thing holding me back now from the thought of wanting to have another child is the financial aspect of it. Robert Kiyosaki has trained me to see the world in terms of assets and liabilities.
In his book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, he recognizes children as financial liabilities. If I am looking at our family as a business unit, as I feel I should, then I have to be willing to remove the sentimentality aspect of bringing another child into this world and instead attach a dollar sign to your potential younger sister or brother.
As I learned from my editor in an article she wrote a few months ago called Will Millennials Be Able To Afford Children?, I found out that not even counting the cost of college, it costs around $240,000 to raise a child from birth to age 18.
You’re worth it, by the way!
But that would it take for me to feel comfortable (and passionate) enough to justify in my mind the expense of having another child?
Based on our current income and our plans to move to a better neighborhood so that we can get you into a good school system, I’d say… it would take doubling our family’s income, plus somehow miraculously being able to spend more time together as a family. Then I might be a little bit more ambitious when it comes to growing the family.
I’m not daring God at all on this. That’s just what it would take, based on where I’m at with it right now.
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budget, budgeting, Dave Ramsey, debt, debt free, family budget, finance, financial planning, money, Robert Kiyosaki | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, The Dadabase
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011
I’ve read that my generation (people who are currently around age 30) will be much like our great-grandparents, who lived through The Great Depression.
As history repeats itself, we shall become society’s new shrewd penny pinchers to our kids that our great-grandparents were to our grandparents.
We will remember back in the 2010′s when the only way you could sell your house was to basically pay someone to buy it from you. Back when we were anxiety-ridden anytime we had to pick up a sick child from daycare for fearing of jeopardizing our jobs.
Thankfully, there are talented financial gurus like Dave Ramsey to help us to simply and legitimately figure out how to manage our money. In my personal life, which has been dramatically featured here on The Dadabase, I have had to learn some tough lessons about money:
Buy an espresso maker and save Starbucks only for special occasions. Avoid eating out at restaurants as much as possible. Don’t move back to your hometown to be close to family when your first child is born because you nor your wife will be able to get a job there. You will end up blowing through your savings just to survive until you ultimately have to move back to Nashville. Just keep your good job in the big city and suffer putting your child in daycare.
You know; little lessons like that.
When it comes to life lessons about money, I have been shamed, I have been humbled, and I have been made a wiser person because of my uneducated decisions.
I have survived my own Great Depression of 2010 and now every single cent I earn has a place. I say “no” a lot more to people. I don’t worry about hurting feelings by doing so. I know if I don’t tell my money where to go, it will tell me where to go.
Just in time, Tommy Nelson Publishing has released the perfect book for us to help kids learn how to manage their money; from a very young age.
This is a book I definitely feel should be mandatory reading for all young children, but more importantly, it should be mandatory for all parents to read and discuss this book with their children… regularly.
The book is simply called Three Cups. I don’t want to totally give the story line away, but basically, on a boy’s 5th birthday his parents give him three cups. As he begins earning an allowance, he becomes responsible for deciding how much money he wants to give away, save for the future, and spend. Accordingly, the three cups serve as appropriate piggy banks for the three categories: give, save, and spend.
In the likeness of 25% of all of Brad Paisley’s songs, the book ends with the now grown-up boy reliving the story through his own 5 year-old son. It’s perfect.
Three Cups even comes with a Parent’s Guide to help us individually talk to our kids about the book’s lessons.
Needless to say, I strongly personally endorse this book. It couldn’t be more appropriate in every way. Even the illustrations are right on. I love the disappointed look on the boy’s face when he first sees that his parents got him three cups for his birthday.
Buy it. Read it to your kids. Give them three cups.
Here’s the website for Three Cups:
Of course, this wouldn’t be The Dadabase if I wasn’t giving a copy of this book away to one lucky reader… so you know what to do!
Just be the first person to A) leave a comment on this post saying you want it and B) send me an email including your mailing address to email@example.com.
*Congrats to Brandy W. of Austin, TX for winning this book!
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Tuesday, September 20th, 2011
“Purgatory is the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment in which, it is believed, the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for Heaven.” -Wikipedia’s definition of “purgatory”
I’ve never actually met anyone who truly believes in purgatory, yet I feel that the general population is familiar with the idea of it.
On the final episode of Lost, the people from the Island who had ultimately lived their lives for the goodwill of others instead of greed and selfishness, reunited and reminisced in purgatory before entering Heaven together.
For those who are not Lost fanatics but like the band Coldplay, in their song “42,” some of the most memorable lyrics include the refrain, “You thought you might be a ghost; you didn’t get to Heaven but you made it close.”
Most of us don’t believe in the actual place, but for me at least, there is something pretty fascinating about the concept. I think it’s so easy in this life, in this culture, in this country, to feel like we are lost, or at least that we don’t belong wherever “here” is. We want to think that we deserve to transcend this lowly and boring situation, asking the question:
“What am I supposed to learn from this? Why am I here?”
My life has been filled with stretches like that. Even right now, my wife and I are having to adjust back to the busyness of our full-time jobs in Nashville, this time with a kid; which is a completely new balancing act for us. We are having to figure out and work out our new lifestyles and schedules, making time not only for the three of us, but for the two of us, as well.
It’s a purification process that is not easy; but it is necessary. We can see how natural it can be to let your kid consume your leftover energy and thoughts, slacking on making conscious efforts to keep the marriage relationship fresh and engaging. But we don’t want our lives to end up like Everybody Loves Raymond.
Ultimately, we are being forced to mature our marriage relationship. This “forced maturity” is sort of the whole point of purgatory. You suffer until you overcome.
Not that I am constantly immature or naive, or maybe I am (?), but I am always needing to grow in a way that I never could have without entering my newest purgatory.
But really, the more I think of the literary device we know as purgatory, the more it just seems like a straight forward yet abstract way to describe life itself; the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment in which, we are made ready for Heaven, at best.
We may figuratively compare our lives to hell at times, but really, hell is an eternal end; it’s never-ending loneliness and destruction. Purgatory is temporary.
I don’t mind viewing life as purgatory. Until I pass on in to the afterlife, I will always have much more growing up to do, more necessary suffering, and one more level of maturity to reach- even if I live to be 80.
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afterlife, Coldplay, culture, eternity, finance, God, Heaven, hell, LOST, meaning of life, purgatory, religion | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Must Read, Nostalgia, Spirituality
Sunday, September 18th, 2011
Let me be up front about what this post is not about. I’m not going to be talking about how, despite whatever amount of money we make as parents, that ultimately our value to our children is priceless. Instead, I’m literally going to be talking about the invisible dollar sign each one of us has floating over our heads. It’s that simple; and for me, it’s that deep and fascinating.
From December 2010 to April 2011, my wife and I were worth zero dollars. We had left behind our respectable jobs in Nashville and moved to Alabama to be close to my family and we were both jobless, yet desperately looking. Our education, professional experience, resumes, and determination carried no weight in this different town. Finally, I got a job, but it wasn’t enough for me to support my wife and son- we literally couldn’t afford to pay the bills.
So we moved back to Nashville in July. After returning to my old job, I began making over $15K more a year than the job in Alabama. As for my wife, her old position at Vanderbilt no longer existed, but she was instantly able to get a different job there paying more than I get paid now and more than she was paid before moving away (not to mention benefits for the whole family).
Oh yeah, and I have my sanity back now. I, for one, was in a very dark place there for a while. There was such a hellish, demonic, heavy feeling of worthlessness I experienced when I couldn’t financially provide enough for my wife and son, knowing that I was qualified, capable, and willing. If it wasn’t hell, it was at least purgatory with a broken thermostat.
For months, we had no income; zero. Now collectively, we make over two and a half times more than I alone made in Alabama.
It’s literally a case of “double or nothing.”
Granted, the cost of living is a bit more in Nashville. We are obviously spending a lot more on gas now. My wife’s 20 mile drive to work each day often takes well over an hour (thanks to traffic) and we recently had to buy a newer, more dependable car for her. Plus, our son is now enrolled in a wonderful daycare; as compared to free child care back in Alabama, when my wife was unemployed.
As a family unit, we spend much less quality time with each other throughout the week, as we earn our living. But I have to admit, the time I do spend with my wife and son on the weekends has never meant more to me. I savor every minute.
I had thought our valuable jobs skill and “big city job experience” from Nashville would have helped us tremendously in finding jobs in Alabama. But it didn’t, whatsoever.
Instead, the two of us are worth much more money in Nashville; despite the higher cost of living. I guess it’s just weird now to think about how it was only a couple of months ago that we couldn’t afford to pay our bills.
Today as I was thinking about all this, I reminded myself that finance guru Dave Ramsey actually went bankrupt twice; it was part of his necessary life lesson to became the expert he is today. And thanks to his teachings, my wife and I are able to put his practices into daily use.
Like he says, “Debt is normal. Be weird.” Trust me, I want to be weird, so badly.
My wife and I are now so dedicated to (and educated on) being the best stewards of our income, as we build back our savings, pay off our debts, and regularly tithe to our church and sponsor a child through World Vision.
I hate money. I wish I didn’t have to think about it. But it’s kind of hard not to when I have an invisible dollar sign floating over my head that increases or decreases when I cross the state line.
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