Personal Debt Isn’t Necessarily a Bad Thing … Except When it Is

As the US and the rest of the world continue to recover from the recession, Americans are becoming increasingly comfortable with debt. But many of us may be getting a little too comfortable, and that’s not good.

Consumer confidence – or looming debt crisis?

personal debtAccording to the Federal Reserve, consumer credit, which is a measure of non-mortgage debt including student loans, credit card debt, and car loans, rose by a seasonally adjusted $18.56 billion in May 2016 from the prior month. This represented 6.18% seasonally adjusted annual growth rate, almost 50% higher than the reported April rate. And after the particularly slow real estate market of the last seven years, mortgage debt has begun increasing, as well. Although debt relative to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has declined since the recession officially ended, it is still greater than almost all years since World War II, and U.S. households now hold trillions in total debt.

It would appear that Americans have begun to restore their exuberant confidence in the economy, but it is also a cautionary note, as we’ve seen where such exuberance has led us in the past. Already, analysts are expressing concern in their forecasts of higher credit card losses over the next year, based upon a rise in overdue accounts.

Household debt isn’t necessarily bad, and the overall rise in debt can be considered to be a mark of increased consumer confidence, which is a good thing. But debt is emphatically not a good thing when it spirals out of control.

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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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Mom Taught Me: Lessons from my Mother, Wife, & Mother-in-Law

Certain people are placed into our daily lives for a variety of reasons.  They shape our beliefs about finances, health, relationships, and even deeper truths involving spirituality and living a better life.  With it being Mother’s Day, I wanted to share with you some lessons my mom taught me.  However, I also wanted to explore amazing things I learned from other mothers in my life: my wife and mother-in-law.

mom taught meAs a guy, Mother’s Day is a little uncomfortable for me.  I know, I know, it sounds weird to say that in this day and age.  It’s not politically correct or whatever.  I don’t know.  But, it involves expressing your feelings for the mothers in your life and that’s not something I always want to do.

That said, before you bite my head off, consider the feelings I’m expressing here in this post.  In essence, this is the Mother’s Day card to transcend all Mother’s Day cards and it’s to the three most important mothers in my life.

I know you will be able to relate to the sentiments I share.  No personal finance, health, or mindset lessons here.  Just a nice read on a beautiful spring holiday.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links.

My Mom taught me to protect the family

Let me start by saying that my mother was the only woman in a house with 4 men.  My father, of course, plus her three boys of which I am the oldest.  To say we would give my mom a hard time is the understatement of the year.

In fact, as we grew up, we would often poke fun at her or torment her as boys can do.  In our defense, it was often in retaliation for what we perceived to be overreactions about trivial matters in life.  However, each of us had a difficult relationship at times with her growing up.  Whether that was her fault or our fault is still a fun family topic during the holidays!

Nevertheless, no matter what was going in life, my mother was always there for us.  She was the “mama bear” protector of the family.  When things were going down, you called in Pat (her name is Patricia).

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10 Healthy Financial Habits You Need to Start Today

Hey Run The Money fans, I have a great guest post on healthy financial habits coming at you today from my friends at Chime Bank.  They just happen to be an awesome online bank that helps you save some dough.  Oh, and this post was written by freelance writer Kayla Sloan, who covers business and personal finance for places like HuffPo, Time, Entrepreneur, and the like.  Check out Kayla at KaylaSloan.com and on Twitter.

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healthy financial habitsDid you set New Year’s resolutions this year? No? I didn’t either!

After years of feeling fed up and frustrated with myself about not keeping my New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and save more money, I decided to try something different – not setting any resolutions at all.

I know that may sound lazy or like I’m lacking ambition, but hear me out. I decided to replace my resolutions with practicing healthy financial habits. This has been a game-changer for me as these healthy habits helped me make big life changes, like completing a savings challenge by socking away little bits of money each week.

If you’re ready to get your finances in order and make your money work for you, try adopting these healthy financial habits starting TODAY!

1. Pay Yourself First

Don’t stop at just automating your savings, start paying yourself first instead of last. You might be surprised at how much more money you’ll be able to save if you transfer a set amount into your savings account every time you get paid. Even if you have the best intentions to save whatever is left over after spending each month, life happens and you might end up spending that money instead. You can avoid this by paying yourself first and then spending what’s left after saving.

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5 Health Tips for the Busy Mom Trying to Stay Fit

How many Moms out there neglect to take care of themselves? Usually, Mom is the last person Mom worries about.  She is always doing for all of us.  And, for the busy Mom trying to stay fit, you can almost forget any physical activity that doesn’t involve chasing a toddler.

busy mom trying to stay fitFor my wife, I know that she has the desire to workout and even makes attempts here and there. But, after caring for our young son all day, driving him to all of his activities, cleaning up after him, and making sure he doesn’t hurt himself, she is (rightfully) exhausted.  By then, getting off the couch feels like working out.

This is the case for both stay-at-home mothers and working mothers alike. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day.  Even if there was more time, I’m sure my son would figure out a way to stay up later.

Mom needs a break and she needs time for herself. She needs a chance to recharge.  We wouldn’t let our phones go uncharged for very long, so why let our wives, girlfriends, and mothers?

As a husband, it’s part of my job to make sure Anna gets what she needs. Do I fail at this?  Yes, constantly.  But, I think this post is just as important for the mothers out there as it is for us guys.

Relationships are give and take. And to avoid issues in yours, we all need to do a better job of making sure our significant others (a.k.a. the mothers of our children) get what they need.

With all that said, here are a few suggestions for the busy Mom trying to stay fit (and those of us who need to make sure they get that time).

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Mother’s Day Gift Ideas: Where to Find the Best Deals for Mom

Looking for last minute Mother’s Day gift ideas?  With Mother’s Day right around the corner, I know a lot of you are probably scrambling for to find the perfect gift for your own mother and/or the mother of your children.

mothers day gift ideasAmid the hustle and bustle of life, we often don’t plan these things very well in advance.  If you’re like me, you file away a mental note that you hope doesn’t get “deleted.”  And then, like clockwork, you’re left trying to figure out the perfect gift days before.  Oh, and you pray to God that — if something needs to get shipped to Mom — it gets there by Saturday and not Monday!

Yes, I have been there.  Fortunately for you, I have compiled a list of not only places to get Mom a gift.  But, here are the places with Mother’s Day gift ideas that will save you some coin.  I told you I have your back!

So, dive right in and get your own mother and the mother of your kids something special this Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Stay at Home Moms

Macy’s

Macy’s is offering a heck of a deal for Mom.  If you shop on their website at Macys.com, you can get 20% extra off your purchase if you use the code MOM when you checkout.  You have to act fast though because the deal only runs until May 11.

FitBit

OK, I know what you’re thinking.  Why isn’t the FitBit under the Sporty Mom section?  Well, if the stay-at-home-mom (acronym: SAHM) is anything like my wife, she is constantly on the move.  She takes our son to activities every day and is constantly chasing him around the yard.

Oh, and she takes plenty of walks with him and our pug, Max.  So, she might as well count those steps!  It’s time to quantify that exhaustion she feels every day!

A FitBit is a great Mother’s Day gift idea for the SAHM in your life.  Trust me.

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Financial and Physical Health: The Link Between Money and Fitness

Have you ever considered the connection between your money and fitness level?  Well, I decided to start this blog and called it Run The Money for the specific reason that I believe they are connected.  If you’re reading my posts, you are a person who wants to run their money and not let their money run them.  You want to be fiscally fit as well as physically fitI firmly believe that financial and physical health go hand in hand.

financial and physical healthThe relationship can certainly be in varying degrees from person to person.  However, the same mindset that comes with financial discipline can be attributed to a regimen of exercise and eating healthy.

So, with that said, I want to use two fundamental aspects of both financial health and physical health to illustrate this concept.  For financial health, we will use the basis of your financial life: the budget.  For physical health, we will use running because it’s one of the simplest and cheapest ways to work out.

How does running relate to budgeting?  I’m glad you asked.  Let’s explore the relationship now.

It takes discipline to master your financial and physical health.

We will start here. I eluded to it in the opening paragraph.  You need discipline in all areas of your life if you want to maintain a high degree of financial and physical health.

Consider our example of budgeting and running.  Staying on budget and saving money requires a similar mindset and disciplined lifestyle to keeping a running schedule.  The monetary sacrifice of budgeting and saving like the physical sacrifice of running will improve your overall mindset and self-satisfaction.

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Weight Loss Journey: How Steve Uses Accountability to Get Healthier

Don’t you love a good story about a person’s weight loss journey?

I know I do.  That’s why I asked Steve from My Family On A Budget to share his fitness / weight loss transformation story with us.

weight loss journeySteve, like many of us out there, had trouble losing weight.  Well, how can you blame the guy?  He’s a loving husband and a stay-at-home daddy to two beautiful girls.  The guy doesn’t exactly get a lot of time to focus on himself.

But, that’s how it is as we get older isn’t it?  We get married and raise children.  Our hopes and dreams for ourselves become hopes and dreams for those entrusted to our care — our spouses and children.

My wife will never let me live down how I ran a marathon one month after my son was born.  Setting my “new dad” move aside, I lost about 40 pounds between 2014 and 2015 with dieting and running.

However, like Steve, I gained a lot of it back.  Sure, I can blame my new dad duties, but the truth is I allowed myself to eat crap again.  I didn’t hold myself accountable and my wife was too busy being a new nursing mother to help me there.  Plus, I did kind of run a marathon when my son was a month old!

Anyway, check out the details of Steve’s weight loss journey.  I know I saw some parallels in my own personal weight loss journey and I’m sure some of Steve’s story will resonate with you.

Thank you, Steve, for sharing your story with us!

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