We are in unprecedented times. The world is in shock and awe as this terrible virus swirls around the globe with the President of the United States declaring a national emergency, unlocking billions of dollars to prevent America from falling into desperate times.

For every person in America, there is immediate concern and stress that has come over each one of us almost over night. Where did this come from and why can’t I get my normal life back?

Each one of us has a different set of concerns. How do I prevent from getting sick? Should I just sit at home and cut myself off from society? What just happened to my 401k plan and now what? Will I have a job tomorrow? What should I be doing now to protect my financial future?

These are unprecedented times and they don’t come with detailed instructions. So what am I to do? We wanted to attempt to calm everyone’s nerves here and provide some tips on what to do financially given this sudden outbreak and global pandemic that has completely uprooted our lives as we know it.

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About a year ago, I was on the look out for other interesting avenues to invest money into. I tried out several of these companies that were either giving away free money or free stocks as incentive to sign up for their service.

After a number of services gave me free money or free stocks, I started to fall in love with the concept that one of these services provided.

Have you ever been to a store where they ask you if you are willing to round up your purchase that you make and they will give the change to a local charity that the store is supporting? This service does the same thing, except that it’s for every one of your purchases and guess what, it’s not going into a charity, but rather it’s going into your investment fund.

Why is this a brilliant idea? Well who thinks about the change anymore when making purchases right? If you go buy lunch and it comes to let’s say $7.67. Would you care if that lunch actually cost you $8? Probably not.

What this service does for you, is detects that you spend $7.67 in your checking account and it comes in and takes 33 cents out of your account to round that purchase up to $8.

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When I was younger, no one sat down with me and explained the world of investing to me. I remember when I was a teenager, wondering about what these things called mutual funds were, but I never actually figured it out until much later.

To further that, I figured at the time that I never had enough money when I was young to make a dent into the world of investing. This was dead wrong and the thought process a lot of people get pulled into and they shouldn’t.

I wish someone had explained investing to me because the earlier that you invest your money, even if it’s not a significant amount of money, the more compound interest you have the opportunity to earn in your lifetime.

Speaking of compound interest, I wrote a post last year called How to Get Rich & Retire By Age 50, where I show you that even setting aside $1000 a year can fill out a very nice retirement fund by the time you are 50 years old. The key to making this happen is to started investing early, even if the investment each month is not very much.

In these examples, I am only suggesting you invest a whopping $84 a month starting at the age of 18. If you do just that, at an aggressive growth stock strategy and watching what you are investing in, you could have over $2,000,000 by the age of 50.

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With being a parent, I feel great responsibility to teach and ensure that my kids don’t make some of the same mistakes that I made when I was young.    I will admit, I was a pretty good kid growing up, but you can’t get everything right.    My mom was a banker and my dad was in insurance, so with hearing about finances and risk growing up you would think my finances would have been in order by age 20 right?  Not quite!

It took years to really learn and appreciate the world of finance with both the pain and great success that it can deal out to you.  I have a 16 year old son and a 12 and 9 year old girls.  They are my world and I want the best for them.   My son is starting to get to the age to where I feel compelled to begin the process of shaping him for the real world.  I mean he is driving and he recently got his first job. He has to understand some things about the real world.

In steps super finance obsessed parent (me) with a plan.   So it’s really simple and the earlier that you start this in life, the more you will achieve with this easy method to build wealth.   It’s not rocket science, but it amazes me how many people just don’t learn more about this until it’s too late.

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This is a fun and simple way to challenge yourself to save money, and with the way I do it, you can accomplish this without even knowing it’s happening.  Here is how I do it.

You may have read my previous post about how we “bucket” money in our household and we do it automatically.   We do this through Capital One 360, although there are plenty of other banks where you can setup the same thing.   We take a set amount of money on a regular set frequency and setup an automatic withdrawal from our primary checking account to a savings account at Capital One 360.

Here is my challenge to you.  Setup one of these account and setup one new savings account and call it “My $20 Challenge“.   Setup the connection between your primary checking account where you paycheck goes and this new savings account.   Then setup an automatic withdrawal of $20 to occur every Friday (Before the weekend happens!).    Set it and forget it.[Read More…]

According to the latest United States Department of Agriculture in their latest release last month of “The Cost of Raising a Child'”, they note that it will cost on average between $12,350 – $13,900 a year to raise a child born in 2015.   When you add that up, it’s a whopping $233,610 from birth to 17 years of age.  If you are in a higher income bracket, that cost might sky rocket to $372,210 per child.  If you have kids, did I clear up why it’s so hard to save for retirement?

We have three kids and my oldest is 13.  Over those 13 years it’s been both a battle of paying off debt, properly raising our children and taking our best crack at putting away some money into a retirement fund, but it hasn’t been easy.  Then after you raise your children, then there is college which is expensive and then they get married which is expensive as well.   How will we ever pay for it all?  The way to start paying for it is to plan for it now.

Here are our steps for paying for it all:

“Bucket” our Money

Take a look at how we “bucket” our money to see one aspect of what we do.  Every month we automatically put away a certain amount for weddings because we know we have 2 girls and a boy who will eventually find Mr. or Mrs. Right.   You may say Drew, your crazy…  It’s going to be another decade before any of your children think about getting married.   I will tell you I know and that’s the point.   I won’t have to take a loan or dip into our retirement to fund this grand celebration, the money will just be there to support it.   No stress!

If I save $75 out of every paycheck (Twice a month) into a interest bearing account, I will have well over $18,000 ready to go before my oldest even thinks about taking that first step into marriage.   Or I can just wait and figure out how to get almost $19well ,000 10 years from now.   Which way would you go?[Read More…]

I admit it, I have done some silly things in our attempt to get out of debt.  Things that sound so logical at the time, but with further studying and common sense you can escape these ideas that are not only silly, they can be forever damaging to your financial future.   They sound on the surface to be great ideas, perhaps even a short term fix that brings down the stress level that debt seems to cause.

Here are my 5 money myths that I am about to debunk

Myth #1 – Pay off your mortgage ASAP

You are determined to pay off your home.  I mean you are paying thousands of dollars in interest per year and that can’t possibly be good right.   I mean it’s impressive to see someone paying extra money each month on their mortgage or perhaps paying an additional principal payment each year.   That’s great, but here are some things to consider before you go all in on paying extra on your mortgage.[Read More…]

I have to say I LOVE Starbucks and more so than Starbucks, I just love coffee.   I can’t think of a world where I wake up and not have coffee every morning, sometimes multiple times.  It’s probably up there as one of my top things in life and top priorities.  OK, you got me I’m an addict, but I tell people all the time that it’s really not the caffeine that I am addicted to because I love decaf just the same.  Well almost the same.   None the less, my favorite thing to do is to make it over to Starbucks for a Salted Caramel Mocha which in my town costs $4.95 for the Grande size.

I mean what else would you rather pay $4.95 for than a rich and wonderful warm toast than a Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha.   I mean what else would you rather do?!?  Nonetheless, let’s be honest, $4.95 is pretty steep for a cup of coffee and one that is probably filled with plenty of sugar and other things that probably are not tremendously great for me from a health perspective.

Let’s just say for a minute if I was able crack the habit and eliminate that daily intake of coffee.  Say goodbye to that wild and wonderful cup of Salted Caramel Mocha….   It’s hard to imagine, but let’s just say for minute that’s what I did.[Read More…]