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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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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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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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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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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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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