Archives For Personal Finance

lego robber

Your financial security question answers are on Facebook = a hackers dream Photo Credit: Smile its lego via Compfight cc

Recently we opened a new financial account and had to dream up answers to the financial security questions. You know the series of questions that are asked if and when you can’t remember your password. I’m not the only one who’ve lost their most important passwords right?

Those questions are often random, yet many of the traditional answers to those questions can be found on Facebook or social media profiles, especially for those in the younger generations whose whole life is chronicled by the Inter-webs.

Concerned? You should be!

How Hackers Can Hack Your Financial Accounts Through Facebook

This shouldn’t come as a newsflash. Hackers are trying to steal your identity and money; it’s happening every single day online–offline too through your snail mail.

One easy way to find the answers to your financial security answers are through Facebook or other social media.

Think about a few of the popular online security questions I’ve seen recently:

  • Your mother’s maiden name: Time to talk to your mum about changing her name online, or maybe you’re uber paranoid enough to defriend your mom. Who would even consider that?
  • You High School? High school colors? High school mascot?: Easy to find on your Facebook timeline or maybe even by searching your Twitter archives.
  • Best friend? First best friend? These answers could be found on Facebook or maybe even that old Xanga blog you abandoned years ago.
  • Hospital of Birth? This shouldn’t be too hard to guess.
  • Favorite song? You still have that old My Space account active?
  • Favorite book? Amazon wish list or profile on Yelp. Speaking of Yelp, that’s a treasure trove of information about where you live, shop, frequent…etc. I bet a hacker could mine that information too!
  • First Boyfriend/Girlfriend? For those in the younger generation, there are probably hundreds of online exchanges between your first significant other online.

Are you freaked out yet? I am. Maybe I should do a yearly audit on my social profiles to scrub any information that hackers could use to claim my identity. I try to keep up with the latest Facebook privacy updates, but it’s tough to keep up. Good thing I believe in identity theft protection.

What are your thoughts about identity theft and the possibility that the answers to your financial security questions are on Facebook? 

Remember those signs that read, “If you break it, you buy it!”? They were usually in those fancy shops where your mom took you when you were a kid. Didn’t you want to touch EVERYTHING in the store?

Of course you couldn’t because they were made of glass or porcelain or some other fragile substance unsuitable for slippery little fingers.

What if you actually picked up one of those little shiny figurines and…oops! CRASH!

If You Break it, You Own it

Now, what do you do? There are several options:

  1. Run and hide.
  2. Make excuses and blame someone else or the circumstances.
  3. Own up to your mistake and confront the not so happy shop keeper.

Will you actually own up to the fact that you broke something as the sign in the shop says and “own it”? Yes, even the little broken pieces on the floor.

This isn’t rocket science, but a gut check on moral responsibility and a reflection of character. Will you do the right thing when the time comes and own up to your mistakes?

The Pottery Barn Rule

I was reminded of this when listening to Colin Powell’s biography It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership in my daily commute.

He is attributed with the Pottery Barn Rule- You break it you own it. (they really don’t have such a rule, but the name stuck) Powell was referring to the Iraq war, when the invasion (breaking) involved a much deeper commitment to the country and region (own it).

The Pottery Barn Rule and Personal Finances

When applied to money, what does the Pottery Barn Doctrine infer? I believe that of personal responsibility for our actions and–yes even mistakes.

  • Paying back our consumer and personal debts even if it takes years.
  • Not easily declaring bankruptcy, not until we’re forced to after a long hard fight.
  • Not engaging in strategic walk aways of homes without having tried to pay back what we’ve committed to pay.

You get the idea. Take responsibility for your actions and mistakes. Clean up your mess. Pay for what you’ve committed to buy. What happens after a mistake is a test of moral integrity and a revelation of our character to the world.

What are your thoughts about the Pottery Barn Rule? How have you applied it to your life or personal finances? 

 

money and relationships

Do bills scare you? Photo Credit: SalFalko via Compfight cc

Does money scare you? Would you rather not open up the can of money worms with a family member? What about that pile of bills in your desk drawer that you’re ignoring?

Money and the situations surrounding money can be scary when left unattended for a while. But, when faced with a plan, money can be mastered–instead of money mastering you.

Let’s explore a few issues that could frightens many about money.

Money and Relationships

Relationships are hard enough without adding money to the mix. The desire to keep the relationship in tact is generally the most primary goal–yet this is tough to do.

These few articles may help you address money and relationship issues:

What other money and relationship questions do you have? 

Money and Debt

Debt is one of the most frightening subjects. It is a time when money is literally your master and you are held captive by its grip.

Don’t let this fear immobilize you. Fight back! Respond, and don’t let your fear of the unknown bills rule over you.

Educate yourself and respond with a plan to fight debt.

What scares you about debt? 

Money and the Future

The future is unknown, but it doesn’t have to be scary. You can prepare by mastering the art of budgeting; it takes time, but well worth the effort to take control of your finances and punch fear in the face!

Retirement is also a topic that may have you concerned. Perhaps all you need is a new perspective on work and retirement?

Will you have enough money for the future? How do you prepare now to ensure you won’t be living on the street or a burden on your family in your older years?

These articles address a few common issues with money and future.

Does money and the future scare you? 

Conquer Your Fear of Money

You can do it. Your fear of money can be conquered, but it may time.

Find fellow companions for the journey. Educate yourself about the money issues causing the fear. Pray. Face the facts. Fight.

Have you conquered your fear of money? If not, what money issues are causing fear in your life? 

Bobbleheads and money

How does your head bob when it comes to financial matters? Photo Credit: Adam Jefferson via Compfight cc

How do you know if you’re famous? When you have truly arrived?

The tell-tale sign is a figurine with an oversized head bobbing around. Wha?

Yes. A bobblehead is a sign of stardom. I’m not sure where this all began and especially the connection of bobbleheads and baseball–ok so maybe the bloated egos theory makes sense, but I’m already off track.

Have you ever met a bobblehead that could say no?

Bobbleheads are Yes Men

From my expert knowledge of bobbleheads, they usually bob yes–especially when they’re affixed to the dashboards of your minivan (I figure only parents would be reading a financial article about bobbleheads).

Bobbleheads are the ultimate “yes men”, never having a spin (or neck). Always agreeing with what’s happening around them and giving in to their inner child.

We’re no better. Hey want to go out to dinner? bobs yes We’re going to the movies, wanna join? bobs yes Hey I have extra tickets to that sold out concert for only $200 dollars–what a steal! bobs yes once again

How do You Teach a Bobblehead to say No?

Like a neckless figurine, we all say yes to things we can’t afford. It’s just so hard to tell someone no,especially when that means looking odd and missing out on fun.

Learning how to have limits in your spending plan isn’t always the popular thing to do. When invited out to dinner, pulling out your cash envelopes to see if you have enough is awkward.

Checking your mint.com or YNAB app before you can decide about heading to the movies takes effort and makes you look like nerd.

It’s time to teach your booblehead self to say no, go against the grain, and embrace that spending plan you took so long to create at the beginning of the month.

How will you get the motivation to say no when you can’t afford it? I can’t tell what will give you a spine (neck) at the moment, but here are a few motivations:

  • Hatred of debt
  • Desire for family to have better life
  • Meeting your goals more quickly
  • I want to do X more than Y

If your motivation is lacking read a few of these stories.

Teaching your bobble head to say no to the wrong things and yes to right things (investing, savings, giving…) is the key to winning with money–easy right?

Have you tamed your bobblehead when it comes to financial matters? 

Funny Booblehead Video to Waste Your Time

 

If you have another funny bobblehead video let me know in the comments and I’ll consider adding it.

Budget Spreadsheet picture

What is the oddest item in your budget?

The budget for your family will not look like your neighbor’s budget.

Why? You are different people with different values.

Every budget is unique and is a reflection of our values, goals, and dreams.

I’ll assume you have a budget and meet monthly with your spouse or accountability parter to hammer out the details of your spending plan. If not, I suggest reading How to Budget Like a Pro.

What is the Oddest Item in Your Budget?

All personal budgets have the same items like gas, insurance, food, and the like. But, what about those items you budget for that are unique?

I’ve seen a good number of budgets in my financial coaching career and I’ve never seen the same budget.

In fact, I’ve seen a good number of quirky items of which I’d love to disclose, but can’t due to confidentiality reasons.

Personally, our current odd items beyond the normal are:

  • Spending money for our toddler to learn about money.
  • Money to spend on gifts for each other. (Helps our marriage and avoid money fights)
  • Clothing–not crazy, but I’ve noticed not many people budget for clothing each month.

I know there is nothing too odd currently, but as our income increases I’m sure a few more exciting line items will appear–or at least the dollar amounts.

We budget what we value and what we plan to spend our money on before the month begins.

What do you budget for each month that is “odd”? What is the most unusual item in your monthly budget?