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If You’re Not Challenging Yourself, You’re Not Living

For my entire life (ok, 18 years), soccer has been an enormous part of who I am. I spent most of my weeknights practicing or competing, and all other nights were dedicated to more fitness and train…

Source: If You’re Not Challenging Yourself, You’re Not Living

How Much Do You Make?

Yes – the issue of talking about money, salary, income, or particularly, how much ‘we make’.

Source: How Much Do You Make?

What If One Dollar Was Worth One Use?

I want you to imagine a world in which you seriously thought about every purchase you made in your life.

Source: What If One Dollar Was Worth One Use?

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Paul Vasey of Cash Crunch Games

Cash Crunch Games entrepreneur Paul Vasey just shakes his head. As a teacher of personal finance in the U.K., he heard—loud and clear—that teaching personal finance was difficult because of the mat…

Source: Entrepreneur Spotlight: Paul Vasey of Cash Crunch Games

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Paul Vasey of Cash Crunch Games

Cash Crunch Games entrepreneur Paul Vasey just shakes his head. As a teacher of personal finance in the U.K., he heard—loud and clear—that teaching personal finance was difficult because of the mat…

Source: Entrepreneur Spotlight: Paul Vasey of Cash Crunch Games

My new hobby

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I am proud to say that I have taken up surfing and loving it. Originally, I watched a load of surfers and came to the conclusion that it was a lot of effort for very little reward.

You have to get up early to catch the best waves, otherwise the winds can affect the quality of the wave.

You have to paddle out against the waves, which can turn out to be quite a work out.

You sit on your board waiting for a wave you are happy to get, paddle like crazy and stand up in one movement.

As soon as you stand up, you are lucky to ride the wave for 10 seconds.

You are back in the water and paddling out for another wave.

Repeat!

A lot of effort for very little return. Or so I thought.

Surfing is far more than just catching a wave.

When getting up early , you are soon rewarded with the stillness and beauty of the beach.

Watching the waves and picking when to paddle out in the calm between the sets of waves.

When you are far enough out, you sit on your board and take in what is going on around you.

Dolphins swimming, Pelicans dive bombing for fish and the tranquility that clears your mind.

Then a wave appears, it’s the right one for you. You paddle hard, you feel the surge of power by the wave as it takes you forward. You do your best to place your hands at the side of the board, your feet on the board, toes touching the board and then in one movement spring up.

As a beginner it is not as easy as it looks. My back foot drags and I end up with a foot and a knee on the board. The wave dissipates and I paddle back.

Another wave comes along, my hands find the side of the board, my toes are on the board and with a spring, I am up and the wave takes me for about 3 seconds and I fall off. Those three seconds are in slow motion and it might as well have been 30 seconds.

The joy. Who knew that those 3 seconds could be so joyful.

I find myself paddling back out. This time the waves have subsided, a surfer paddles past, a nod of the head and “good mornings” are exchanged.

Before long, it is time to go in. I look for that last wave and ride it in (the best I can in between kneeling and standing). I have caught my wave today. Next time I surf, I plan to tighten up on my back foot.

But it is not just about the actual wave catching, but the experience that goes along with it.

After surfing, I am now in the office. I have had a work out, cleared my head, found an appreciation of my surroundings and I am ready to start my workday.

My experiences with surfing can apply to a lot of different situations. Perseverance, patience, learning, adaptability, preparation and so on, but today I want to focus on personal finance.

Earlier I said that there is a lot of effort for very little return. The truth is, it is like saving. In order for something to be worthwhile, you have to put the effort in and also be willing to sacrifice.

Your paycheck or any money that you receive should not be your budget. By this I mean you should not spend it all. Put some of it away for different uses. When you put money away, you have money for later. If you feel that you do not have enough and are always struggling to make ends meet at the end of the month, try taking 10% of the money you earn straight out of your bank account as soon as you get paid, and place it in a savings account. That way you don’t realize you have that money. I bet you would learn to manage on the money that you have available to you.

Like my surfing, this will be difficult at first, but through adapting, learning and perseverance, it won’t be long before it becomes second nature. The more you practice, the better you get. Over time your money will grow and in the right savings account, you will even get interest. The concept of compound interest will actually apply to you. In surfing, my efforts are compounded as my skills in the water grow. It won’t be long before I am riding a wave for its entirety and my three seconds of joy will not be an achievement, but a minimum standard.

As Warren Buffet says “Don’t save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving”

By doing this you will grow your savings or as some call it your Emergency fund. Next time you have an unexpected bill, you will have the money to pay for it. If there is something that you really want or want to do, you have the money to pay for it.

Knowing that you saved the money and you don’t have to pay on credit, or worry about paying off your balance and being hit with interest , will take a huge amount of stress off you. In a  survey nearly 3 out of 4 adults said that they felt money-related stresses.

So by adapting your money habits, will you be one of those 3 out of 4 adults?

Simple Graphic Design for The Classroom

If you frequent any sort of social media site like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Google+, chances are you have posted an image or GIF to convey an idea, a thought, or a joke.  But using images t…

Source: Simple Graphic Design for The Classroom

The True Cost of Breaking the Rules of the Road Part 2

If you remember from Part 1, I was caught speeding 15 mph over the speed limit and was given a ticket. What followed ended up being the best part of $1000 in fines and increased insurance premium and the loss of my good driver bonus over 3 years.

dui taxi police car

Moving onto Part 2.

Every weekend across the country, there are instances where people decide to have alcohol or drugs and then proceed to get behind the wheel. The results are disastrous for that driver who is caught. Remember this post is from a Personal Finance point of view and how this can effect your pocket.

I know a couple of people who have recently lost their licenses because of driving under the influence(DUI). The results are disastrous.

  • Their license was taken away which means a huge inconvenience for loved ones who depend on transport from the driver or for them even getting to work. The alternative is Uber, taxis, buses and friends which can get expensive and strain relationships.
  • The court cost and other legal fees top $10,000 easily.
  • As DUI’s are felonies, there are a number of jobs that are not open to people. If you work in finance, such as the investment sector, there is legislation that does not allow” felons” to work in this space.
  • If you have a job, there may well be a clause in your contract that says if you are convicted of a crime, it is immediate grounds for being fired.
  • Depending on your job, if you lose your license, you will not be able to work and therefore lose your job.
  • Future employers, many colleges and universities also require that you disclose any convictions, which in turn could affect your chances of being successful in gaining employment or a place at college or university.
  • Your insurance may well be rescinded, or your new policy will be astronomically more expensive as you are a risk to other drivers.
  • If you plan to drive for a living. A DUI will stay on your license for 55 years which basically means your driving career is over.

So, the moral of the story, if you are having a drink, think of the consequences. Please also take into account that being “buzzed” when driving is also classified as a DUI.

Back to Personal Finance. You can only spend a dollar twice, and it is easier to spend it than earn it. Spend wisely and think of the consequences . It takes a long time to earn back the $10,000 that would have been paid out to defend yourself in court.

The True Cost of Breaking the Rules of the Road, Part 1

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A couple of years ago, my wife and I embarked on a drive from Los Angeles to Yosemite. We wanted to experience nature. But what I got instead were some life long insights into the true costs of breaking the rules of the road.

I had been driving 5 hours and everything was going beautifully. It was a sunny day, we were within 20 miles of our destination and the experience we had discussed and dreamed about for months. That changed instantly when out of nowhere those dreaded red and blue lights flashed repeatedly in my rear view mirror.

I was on an undulating road where the speed limits change frequently. Unfortunately, my driving speed did not.

I mentally prepared myself to receive a ticket. I recognized I was in the wrong. I was polite to the officer. The ticket was issued. The only thing I did not know was how much the ticket would cost. We went on our way. I tried not to think too much about it, until one day, about two weeks later, I received a letter in the mail from the issuing county office. Question answered. Fine $221. Wow! It seemed like a lot. I gathered myself from the shock and quickly realized I had three choices:

One, pay the ticket. Two, contest the ticket. Or, three, take a driving course which would reduce the cost of the ticket.

I considered the options. If I paid the ticket, it would be over. If I contested the ticket, it goes against everything I stand for and believe in. I would also have to become an “armchair lawyer.” The ticket was my fault. I had been speeding. No one was holding my foot to the pedal. Why not just take responsibility for my action. Or lastly, I could take the driving course. However, there was a catch. I would have to take the course in the county where the ticket was issued. That was 5 hours away, 10 hours both ways, plus the time and fee to take the driving course.

I chose to pay the ticket. $221. Finished. Done. Move on. Or, so I thought. It turned out it wasn’t over. The cost of the speeding fine wasn’t my only expense. More mail. This time I received a letter from my car insurer. My auto insurance had gone up. It increased an additional $170 per year. The increase was not for one year, but 3 years. That is $510. Furthermore, I was notified my good driver discount was being cancelled. When all was said and done the true cost of that 15 mph speed violation and breaking the rules of the road was close to $1,000, or just about 5 times more than the $221 cost of the ticket.

 

Coming Next: The True Cost of Breaking the Rules of the Road, Part 2

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