Grant and Theresa's Life Prep

Making Plans and Achieving Goals

Category: Finances (page 1 of 2)

The Only Job I Ever Loved

I have had many jobs over my life.  Soccer ref, basketball ref, phone book delivery guy, machine operator, concession stand worker, concession stand manager (look out promotion!), building test equipment for hospitals, designing overhead electrification systems for trains, designing high-speed package handlers, engineering lift assist equipment.  A lot of these jobs were great and I certainly didn’t hate any of them.  However, the only job I ever loved was working at the UNCC Fitness Center.  That’s right the energetic personal greeter slash student ID card swiper.  That was my jam for three years during college.

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Cash Budgets Don’t Work

A cash budget means that you make all of your purchases with cash and never use a credit card.  This is a method commonly touted by financial gurus such as Dave Ramsey.  He calls it the “envelope system”.  You may have even heard of some of the studies showing the money-saving benefits of using only cash.  I was a big Dave Ramsey fan when I first started working “in the real world” and took all of his advice.  I tried going to all cash but found the system impractical, at best. Continue reading

New Year’s Resolution Update

We are now half way through the year so it is time for another New Year’s Resolution Update.  My original goals are here and my first quarter progress is here.  As always there have been some wins and loses but I’m learning and still pushing the ball forward.  Without further introduction let us begin.

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Why I Use 5% Withdrawal for Retirement

I wrote an earlier post about Why I’m Chasing FIRE (Financial Independence / Retire Early) and in it, I said that my definition of FIRE is when my investable assets are equal to 20 times my annual expenses.  20 times your annual expenses means you would have a 5% withdrawal rate in retirement.  This statement goes against conventional wisdom so I rightly got a few comments about being more conservative.  Most people recommend a withdrawal rate of 3-4% which is 25-33X expenses.  So why am I going against the flow on this one and going with a 5% withdrawal?

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Stop Mindlessly Going To College

It’s graduation season! I was recently reminded of this because I unintentionally planned my golf/beach weekend during “senior beach week”. This is the time of year when all the high school kids head to the beach for a week to celebrate their graduation.  For kids on the east coast, that means Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  (I’m not sure if “senior beach week” is really a thing all over the country, or not.)

Anyway, I was only there for one night but that still led to some interesting interactions with some rather intoxicated kids.  It seems that everyone goes to college but no one has a clue why or what they will study.  I did attempt to ask some thought-provoking questions such as “why that school” and was met with blank stares and “because my friends are going there”.  I considered putting together a powerpoint for the kids on “making good life choices” but decided against it.   Just not sure it was the right environment. 😉

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Embrace Pain For a Better Life

Your life will be filled with all kinds of pain.  The difference is in the intensity.  Since we can’t avoid pain we must embrace pain.

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.  The difference is discipline weighs ounces and regret weighs tons”  – Jim Rohn Continue reading

Why I Am Chasing FIRE

When we started this blog last year (2016) I had never heard of FIRE.  I actually had to google it to find out it meant Financial Independence / Retire Early.  Basically, there is this growing movement of people who are realizing you don’t have to work a 9-5 job your whole life and can go another way.  Two people that you have probably heard of are Mr. Money Mustache and Financial Samurai.  These two guys have gone about getting out of the rat race very differently but they have both been a huge inspiration for myself.

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5 Reasons To Pay Off Student Load Debt FAST!

college graduation

Taking out a student loan is a sad part of the college experience, these days.  The latest numbers for the class of 2016 have just come in and the average graduate owes $37,172.  This brings the national total to $1.44 trillion, spread across 44.2 million Americans.  Roughly 3 out of every 4 students leave college with some debt.  Oh yeah, and these trends are all on the rise as the cost of college keeps skyrocketing.  So what should you do with your debt?

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12% Rate of Return??

“I’m going to have over ten million dollars by the time I retire!”  I heard one of my colleagues proclaiming this to a few others sitting around the lunch table.  Myself being the resident money nerd had to walk over to listen.  I mean I want ten million dollars too.  We work for the same company so whatever he is doing I should be able to copy?  He was really excited talking about setting up contributions to a Roth IRA in addition to his 401k and how easy it was all going to be.  I listened for awhile without asking any questions but then I simply had to.

Me: Brian (not real name), what kind of rate of return are expecting?

Brian:  I am being conservative (literally said this) and using 12% rate of return.

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Pay Yourself a Car Payment

Cars are like a financial sink hole and can really put a damper on your journey to financial independence.  They are expensive, they wear out and they depreciate in value rapidly.  People also tend to buy way more car than their budget would allow because the payments are just so reasonable.  We bought a new (gently used) car this time last year and paid cash for it which I think everyone should do.  However, we are still paying ourselves a car payment every month. Continue reading

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