Life Lessons from the Military: What These Veterans Learned from Serving

I posted a question on Quora asking veterans if they learned any life lessons from the military.  Specifically, I asked the following:

For veterans and active duty military, what are some important lessons you learned while serving?

life lessons from the militaryThe response was actually very interesting.  I appreciated these veterans taking the time to share their experiences with us.

While I never had the privilege of serving myself, my wife and I both have family members and friends who served.  I can’t imagine what being half a world away in the middle of a war zone is like.  The closest thing I’ll ever come to witnessing something like that is on television or the movie screen.

Of course, that is nowhere near what it’s like.  These brave men and women risk their lives for us on a daily basis.  No matter what side of the political spectrum you fall, we all must respect that.  We want them on that wall, we need them on that all.  Sorry, couldn’t help myself!

With that brief intro, I wanted to provide with some of the best answers to the question on life lessons from the military.  Veteran or not, I believe we can all benefit from what these brave souls have endured.

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Successful Military Veterans We All Can Admire: John Lee Dumas, William H. McRaven, and Marcus Luttrell

Who here likes a good story?  I know I do.  I enjoy reading about successful business people and entrepreneurs.  It just pumps me up for whatever reason.  That’s why I thought it would be fun to dive into the lives of a few successful military veterans who have garnered my attention over the years.

successful military veteransThese three individuals represent the military’s attitude rather well.  Leadership by example.  Courage in the face of obstacles.  Taking initiative and answering the call.  That’s what these guys were counted to do while they served.  And it’s paying dividends in post-military life.

Before we get into who these gentlemen are and why I admire them (and you should too), grab a pen and paper.  Or open a note taking app in your smartphone.  You’re going to want to write some of these lessons down from these successful military veterans.  I guarantee it.

Let’s get to it.

John Lee Dumas.  Of all the successful military veterans, he truly is on FIRE.

If I could describe John Lee Dumas in one word, it would be action-taker.  No, I don’t know him personally.  Although, by listening to his podcast, you feel like you do.

JLD (as he likes to refer to himself) takes initiative, which is clearly the type of trait you want to have in the military.  He served in the Army and did a 13-month tour in Iraq.

But, this post is about what these guys did after they finished serving.  He left law school after one semester, worked at a start-up and tried his hand at commercial real estate, but nothing stuck.

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How Two Navy Pilots Saved $500,000

I’ll continue to sing the praises of Twitter for as long as I live. It’s allowed me to connect with so many like-minded people and learn about some truly interesting stories.  The latest one comes from Dan and Don of FlyByMoney.com.  These two Navy pilots saved $500,000 combined on government salaries.  I asked them to guest post to share their story with us.  I appreciate them being willing to do so.  Without further ado, here’s Dan and Don.

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navy pilots saved 500000Hey everyone! We’re Dan and Don, the owners of FlyByMoney.com. We were so happy to be asked by Dave to write a guest post for his blog!

Some background on these two Navy guys.

Formally, Dan is educated in Economics and Don in Civil Engineering. We both hold Bachelors of Science degrees from nationally recognized schools.

Neither of us drives a fancy car. Dan drives a reliable 2009 Hyundai Elantra he bought using the methods he’s written about here, while Don drives a 2007 Ford Focus he bought used.

Outside of our mortgages, Dan is the only one with debt, with about $1,300 left on paying his wife’s car off within 6 months of purchasing it. Both of us have invested and saved roughly $250,000 each, both within 6 years of graduating college.

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Military Workout: 6 Routines You Can Try at Home

military workoutAre you courageous enough to try a military workout? Even though I’ve run five half marathons and one marathon, these workouts are incredibly intense.  After looking at what some of the basic training routines require a person to do, it is no wonder the United States has the best military in the world.

The training is second to none.

Now, I haven’t tried these myself yet. Frankly, aside from the running, they’re pretty intimidating and I doubt I could get through even half of one session!  That said, it would be fun to give them a try.

I have 6 military workouts below that you can try at home. Here’s how it will work.  I’ll provide a portion of the workout below along with the resource article.  This way, if you like a particular military workout, you can check out where to get the full routine.

See if you have what it takes. Let’s go, plebe!

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How to Be Mindful with Money — Even When You’re Broke

Hey Run The Money fans, I have an awesome guest post coming at you today on being broke (but still being mindful about your money) from my friends at Chime Bank. This post was written by Kara Perez. She’s the founder of Bravely, a company that connects women and money. Kara freelances in the areas of personal finance and travel. Follow her on Twitter.

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being brokeBeing broke is literally the worst. It takes a toll on your mental, physical, and financial health. Living paycheck to paycheck is a hard way to live; every financial decision seems to carry consequences. If you decide to pay rent, when will you be able to pay the utilities? Maybe you have to make the last $100 stretch a full week until that next paycheck comes in.

When money feels like a burden rather than a tool, it might seem impossible to be smart and mindful decisions with your paycheck. I know I’ve been there- in 2014 I lived off of $15,000 for the whole year. I was totally broke, I carried student loan debt, and making money decisions that weren’t based on fear felt totally beyond my reach. Spending any money made me feel anxious because I didn’t know when I could replace it.

The good news is being broke doesn’t have to last forever. You can dig your way out. It takes time and work, but it’s 100% possible. Almost three years out from my brokest point, I’m debt-free with a healthy savings account and retirement funds. I’m no Bill Gates, but I don’t sob over my finances anymore either.

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Memorial Day Sales and Deals: 4K Ultra HDTVs, Patio Furniture, Vacations, Clothing, and Grills

We all look forward to Memorial Day.  The warmer weather signals the “unofficial” start of summer.  It’s time to jump in the pool and grill in the backyard.  However, it’s also a great time to score the best Memorial Day sales and deals.

memorial day sales and dealsBefore we jump into this, I want you to make sure you have saved money for whatever you’re going to buy.  After all, let’s face it — Memorial Day sales and deals are usually splurge items.  So, please buy responsibly and put little to nothing on credit cards if at all possible.

Unless, of course, you’re trying to be smart and you have the cash in the bank.  But, you still want the rewards points.  Good idea!

I compiled a list of Memorial Day sales and deals for patio furniture, televisions, vacations, clothing, and grills.  This is where I felt a lot of readers would be most interested.  If there’s anything you want to share with me to post, email me at RunTheMoneyBlog@gmail.com and I’d be happy to get it up there.

Bring on the deals …

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How To Start Running: 5 Tips to Help You Get Going

Are you looking for a way to get in shape that’s light on the wallet?  Have you ever wanted to learn how to start running?

how to start runningMaybe you made a New Year’s resolution to run going into this year.  However, even though you went out and used your Nike or Under Armor gift card for a brand new pair of running shoes, they have only seen action once or twice at best.

Or maybe you were doing fine for a few weeks or months, but life happened and you got out of the running habit.  Now, you lost a lot of the progress you made.

Then again, maybe you ran for a long time in your high school or college days.  But, life got in the way and running fell by the wayside.

Do any of these scenarios sound like you?

If it does, that’s alright. I’m not writing this to pick on you.  But, I am writing this to call you out.

Are you going to learn how to start running or not?

Are you going to accomplish your goal and make running a habit or not?

The ultimate question is – are you going to change your life or not?

Yes, running can change your life. I know because it changed mine in a very positive way starting in July 2014 when I committed to training for my first half marathon.  Two and a half years later, I have completed the 2015 Philadelphia Marathon, 5 half marathons, and a few 10K and 5K races.  That along with hundreds of miles of training runs.

Running has increased my confidence and boosted my health. I have high blood pressure issues due to family history and weight – and running has helped lessen the dosage of my BP medication.

But, enough about me. This is about you.  How can we get you out there running and make it stick?

Here are five ways that helped me learn how to start running and stick with running for the long haul.

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Fitness Journey: How Jay Lost 50 Lbs. Running 10Ks

Do you get as excited as I do reading about a person’s fitness journey?  I enjoy watching the complete transformation of people on shows like The Biggest Loser.  I can appreciate the intense emotion and difficulty these individuals went through to achieve such a momentous personal feat.

fitness journeyHaving run a marathon, five half marathons, and several 10Ks and 5Ks, I understand the training and mindset it takes to power through when you want to give up.  So, I support anyone trying to craft their own fitness journey and change their lives for good.

Enter Jay Cunningham.  I had the pleasure of meeting Jay not too long ago on Twitter.  Social media really can be used for great things and connecting with awesome people like Jay is the best.

Jay is a guy who was overweight for a large part of his life.  However, one day, he decided enough was enough and committed to his own personal fitness journey.  He even started a blog about his experience called Jogger’s Journey, so be sure to check that out.

I asked Jay to share his story because I know it will hit home with so many people.  We are a country that is obsessed with looks and appearance.  Being overweight is a huge epidemic in America.

So, if I can help anybody by sharing the story of a great weight loss and fitness journey like Jay’s, then I am doing my job as a blogger.  Thank you, Jay, for being an inspiration to all of us.

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Protecting Your Financial Information: Don’t Let Your Money be a Target for Cyber Attacks

With the dawn of the Internet came a whole new wave of criminal activity. Yes, we’ve seen the advent of cyber crime morph into a force that can bring governments, businesses, and entire continents to their collective knees.  In this day and age, protecting your financial information both online and offline has never been more crucial.

protecting your financial informationEvery day there seems to be a new threat. This group hacked into this company’s server and exposed millions of customers’ financial data.  Or a government website is hacked and an entire country’s population has their personally identifiable information released for anybody with an Internet connection to see.

So, yeah, the consequences to the regular folk like you and I is incredibly devastating. You hear stories like people having their retirement accounts whipped out or individuals from other countries spending a person’s money a world away.  Then, there are people that even open up credit cards or obtain mortgages with stolen information.  It’s enough to freak you out.

How should you be protecting your financial information? That’s the question we need to be asking each other and the experts.  Fortunately, I’ve found some great articles, blog posts, and guides to get the financial cyber security chat going.

This isn’t one of those posts you gloss over. You’re going to want to bookmark this piece, share it with your friends and family, and come back to it for later use.  Your very own personal finances and hard-earned money is in the cross hairs.

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How Much Money Should I Save for Retirement? A Look at Savings Goals by Age

How much money should I save?

Yes, that’s the age old personal finance and money question if there ever was one.  We all want to be given “the number” to shoot for and desire to know how close (or how far) we are to that target.

how much should I saveIf you’re like my wife and I, you wonder whether you are doing it right or not.  You are constantly discussing money matters over dinner or during a long car ride.  Maybe you worry about how you will be able to afford your own home.  If you do own a home, you may worry about having enough money for the mortgage each month.

Then, there’s saving for children.  You need clothes, food, diapers, toys, and who knows what else.  One day, you will want to send them to college.  So, there is saving for that.

Finally, you probably don’t want to work for the rest of your life.  I know I don’t.  So, you need to plan for retirement somehow.  However, that seems so far off and you just put off doing anything about it.

So, depending on your situation, you are likely asking yourself one of two questions.  If you aren’t saving, you will want to know how you can get started.  On the other hand, if you are saving, you will want to know if you’re saving enough.

In order to answer those questions, you have to know your goals and understand the process to achieve them.  Saving money is not a one-size fits all concept.  Sure, there are guidelines and we will discuss some of those.  But, you need to customize these guidelines to fit your lifestyle and your family’s end game.

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