Take the #ImSavingFor Pledge for America Saves Week 2017

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Share Your Savings Goal and Win $1000 in the #ImSavingFor Contest To celebrate the upcoming America Saves Week (Feb. 27-March 4, 2017), America Saves is launching the #ImSavingFor contest. It’s easy to enter. Just share a short video of your savings story, or a picture of you and what you are saving for and enter … Read more

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Become Financially Independent in Your 30s

I have always wanted to become financially independent in my 30s.  It has always been a goal of mine.  It all started for me around 2007 and it coincided with meeting my wife in 2006.  She introduced me to Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.  Kiyosaki talked about his Rich Dad, who understood how money worked and built businesses.  He was his friend’s father.  His Poor Dad (his own father) was a schoolteacher and was a slave to money.

become financially independent in your 30sKiyosaki spoke about how he learned that having a business is a bridge to building wealth and introduced us all to the E/S/B/I triangle.  E for Employee, S for Self-Employed, B for Business, and I for Investing.  The goal was to move away from being an employee or self-employed (which Kiyosaki called owning a job) and move into the B/I side.  Your goal was to build a business that you could use to invest  From there, you could build true, sustainable wealth.

And I was hooked.  I wanted financial freedom really bad.  These days it’s called “Financially Independent, Retire Early,” or FIRE.  Yes, it’s still a strong desire of mine and one that I’m committed to achieving in the coming years.

What about you?  Are you new to the concept of financial independence?  Have you ever considered it?  Consider some of the points below as a way to jump start your FIRE goals!

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Emergency Fund: Why You Need this 5 Step Savings Plan

We’ve all been there in some fashion: having to put a big unexpected expense on the credit card because we didn’t have an emergency fund.

emergency fundYou go in for your state inspection and you find out that your car needs new tires.

You wake up one morning to find out the toilet in your guest bathroom fell through the ceiling and is now in your living room. (This actually happened to my parents’ place at the Jersey shore.  Luckily, they weren’t there at the time and a contractor let them know).

Your little one gets sick and you have a high deductible. You take him to the emergency room and thank God he’s alright.  But, hooray!  We have more bills to pay!  Emergency room visits aren’t cheap.

The point is life happens. Expenses sneak up on you here and there.

If you’re like many people out there, you’re likely not prepared for them.

So, what do you do? You put them on your credit card.  That’s what everybody does, right?  Not exactly.  The Credit Card Catastrophe might be a reality for those in your inner circle, but there are actually people out there who are prepared for life’s emergencies.

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Debt Paydown: 9 Ways We Paid Off $60,000 in Debt

Are you in need of a major debt paydown?

I’ve been in thousands of dollars of debt a few times in my life.

debt paydownThe first was when I graduated college in 2006.  I left school with $20,000 in student loan debt.  Four years later, I was debt free.

That was until I bought my wife her engagement ring for $10,000.  Fortunately, it appraised for double and I paid the ten grand off in a year.

In 2016, we paid off $30,000 in credit card debt.  We accumulated this debt beginning in 2015.  My wife and I were working in real estate together.  She worked the business full-time and I helped manage things on a part-time basis in addition to my full-time job as an auditor.

Everything changed for us in the middle of March 2015.  It was when my wife saw the 8-week sonogram of my our son, Davey Joe (David Joseph).  My wife fell in love immediately.  It was indeed love at first sight.

After the appointment, we got in the car.  She turned to me and said, “I’m done.”  I asked her what she meant.  She proceeded to tell me that she wanted to close up shop with our real estate business and focus exclusively on nesting and motherhood.

We purchased our $455,000 at that time in a rather expensive zip code in 2011.  We bought that on an auditor’s and teacher’s salary.  My wife left teaching to become a real estate agent.  With our real estate business, we had $250,000 coming in annually.  Now, we were going to drastically drop that down to $75,000 — my salary alone.

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Budget Tips: 6 Ideas That Actually Work

BUDGET.  ​It’s that dirty word that nobody dare even whisper.  It’s so dirty it might even be considered a four-letter word (even though it has six letters).  The word strikes fear budget tipsinto all those immune to accountability and responsibility.  I can hear the audible gasps and sighs coming through the screen.  But, have no fear.  We’re going to walk you through this and give you some excellent budget tips so you can finally begin your journey to financial fitness.

Now, it’s time to learn about these 6 budget tips that actually work.  You can begin fixing your financial situation right away.  Ready?  Here we go!

Budget Tip #1: Figure out what your weekly expenses are and begin tracking every expense.

We all must learn to walk before were can run.  The same goes for this.  You need a budget before you can hope to squash debt or achieve financial freedom.  You need to be able to run 3.1 miles before you can run 6, 13.1 or 26.2 miles.

Your “walking” from a financial sense is budgeting.  And “walking” for budgeting purposes is getting all your expenses accounted for.  Begin by using every single one of these budget tips.

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Run Your First Marathon: 4 Tips to Get Started

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

I know you’ve heard this cliché, often attributed to life or some repetitive task.  It’s one of those things that is said so often that it loses the meaning behind its original intent.

run your first marathonRun your first marathon, however, and you certainly learn that whoever said it originally was probably a runner.  A marathon is bleeping hard.  There is no way around it.  The race itself is hard and the training is demanding.

For me, I trained while my wife was pregnant with our first child back in 2015.  I ran the 2015 Philadelphia Marathon in November of that year.  She was and wasn’t my biggest fan.  Anna always supported my running efforts, but being tired after an 18 or 20 mile training run while she nurses a newborn all night wasn’t exactly earning me brownie points.  So, yeah, don’t do that.

On top of that, training runs can get tedious, but they are so crucial.  As you probably recall from running half marathons and 10Ks, the building of endurance is absolutely vital.  Without the proper training runs, you will not make it.  I also found that the half marathons I ran as I was training for the full were much quicker.  I ran my first sub-2 hour half marathon at the 2015 Trenton Half.  What an incredible feeling!

Furthermore, keeping your body healthy during the process is key.  Cross-training is vital for recovery and strength.  That is something I regret not doing more of.  However, I did go to physical therapy each week for my shin splints.  That team kept me out there.  I had a doctor work on my legs, did exercises and afterwards, and did those same movements a few times during the week.  Stretching is so key, let me tell you.

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Running Your First Half Marathon: 4 Tips to Get You to the Finish Line 

Have you committed to running your first half marathon?  Well, congratulations!  You are in for quite an accomplishment.  It will be an uphill battle (pun intended).  With the right approach, you can set yourself up for a very positive experience on race day.

running your first half marathonI remember the day I completed my first half marathon in August 2014.  It was a little over a month after I committed and began training to run my first half marathon in July 2014.  My wife was kind enough to join me.

We decided to run and walk it as it gave me a chance to prove I could make the distance.  I was a few weeks into training for my first “official” half, which I was set to run in November.

It was an amazing bonding experience for us.  We got to do something challenging together.  She was working as a real estate agent at the time and finished the half marathon working out a deal on her phone.  I had decided to run the last mile.

We got much-deserved ice cream afterwards, drove the hour home, showered and promptly collapsed into bed I think in our robes.  It’s a great thing we weren’t parents yet.

Ok, so why do I tell you all this?  Well, because running your first half marathon is an experience.  And it’s most enjoyed with others who can encourage, motivate, and pick you up (sometimes literally) when you fall.

Runners have an amazing sense of community.  And that concept is especially crucial in distance running.  No runner is an island out there.  It’s best to learn that concept now before you embark on running your first half marathon.

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Running Your First 10K: Four Easy Steps

Running your first 10K (6.2 miles) is a rite of passage for any novice runner. It signifies your ability to run about 40 to 60 minutes and opens your training possibilities up to be able to run a half marathon down the road.  So, yes, it is something to be proud of.

running your first 10k - run the moneyI remember from Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike (Phil Knight), that he ran 6 miles pretty much every day.  That is also something my father-in-law did for a long time on his lunch breaks before he retired.  Great stress reliever and allows your mind to think clearly.

For me, my non-training schedule given my full-time job and family commitments is typically 3 miles on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 6 miles on Saturdays or Sundays. When I’m not training for a race, I try to just keep myself healthy and in solid running shape.  That way, it’s easier to ramp things up when I need to.

Now, for your training, you have likely already trained for your first 5K. So, you know what the running schedule looks like and how it’s imperative that you carve time out for proper training.  There’s no way around it – you have to log the miles.

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Best Gear for Newbie Runners: Where to Get the Essentials

best gear for newbie runnersIf you want to be a runner, you have to have the proper attire.  So, that’s why I compiled this list of the best gear for newbie runners like yourself.

No, I’m not suggesting you go out and spend hundreds of dollars on running gear.  After all, this is also a personal finance site and that would be dishonest.

However, I do believe you should make a small investment in a good pair of running shoes and socks.  I know it sounds crazy, but making sure you have socks that don’t lose their tightness and shape is very important.  The last thing you want are blisters to derail your training progress.

I put together a list of the best gear based on my own knowledge, Amazon rankings, and other running blogs.  Check them out, read reviews, and find the items that fit you best.  (I do want to add that the following links are affiliate links).

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