Archives For Personal Finance

Lego Doctors

Injuries occur through either natural disasters or man made situations. When those injuries happen, medical attention is needed and needed quickly.

Triage is a technique to give care quickly–Do the most good for the most patients. Sometimes in our financial lives triage needs to be performed. We need to act and act quickly to preserve life.

Financial Triage Basics

Financial injury prevention is best, but if injury occurs the goal is to reduce the impact of the injury and preserve life.

1. Determine the severity of injury– Asking a series of questions and observations to determine how bad is it?

Are you behind on your bills? facing foreclosure? Thinking of bankruptcy? Spouse threatening divorce due to money matters?

2. Initiate management– quick fixes, tag, prioritize, and basic treatment.

Apply a quick bandage if you are financially ‘walking wounded’ or you might need immediate treatment.

3. Perform field triage- This involves sending to the appropriate treatment center (trauma center, closest hospital, or hospital further away).

Depending on the level of your financial wound determines what kind of help you’ll need. You may need  financial coaching, bankruptcy advice, tax advice, or another financial profesional that can help with treatment.

S.T.A.R.T Financial Triage

As a first responder gets on the scene they’ll go through their triage checklist and begin assessing those injured on the scene.

Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment (START) is a method they might use. Let’s adopt this method and ‘field triage’ to a financial crisis.

Remember if you’re hurting, there is hope–your situation CAN improve.

1. Start where you are- No need to go back to the beginning of how your family didn’t teach you about money. Start where you are and begin to move forward.

2. Stop the bleeding- In order to get out of your financial crisis, you’ll have to stop bleeding money. Stop borrowing money and going further in debt.

3. Clear the Airways- Breathing is essential to life. Your financial airways need clearing to make income greater than outflow.
  • Sell unneeded items for quick cash and to establish an emergency fund.
  • Get a 2nd job for a short amount of time until you make ends meet.
  • Start the short sale process if your home is in foreclosure and no way to make up payments.
  • Do what it (legally) takes to get out of crisis mode so you can breath.
4. Prioritize– Keep the important at the top of the list. Faith, Family, and Friends.You’ll also want to keep the 4 Walls before paying any debt:

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Utilities
  • Basic Transportation

5. Seek Treatment- This is where longer term solutions are found.

  • Minor wounds could be fixed with a good financial book or a financial support group like Financial Peace University.
  • More serious financial wounds might need a financial coach who can refer you to other trusted financial professionals.

If you are in financial crisis, it is scary and hard to know what steps to take. Seek help from friends, clergy, or financial professionals.

Ignoring financial problems can lead to more serious injury. A small scratch can become infected and need surgery. Seek help. Contact me and I will help or find someone who can.

Are you or have you been in a financial crisis? What did you do immediately that helped? 

Photo Credit atomiclizard (Creative Commons)

Moving Truck

Penske is now my first choice in moving trucks. Credit Crashmaster007.

I have been a lifelong user of U-Haul for moving trucks, but now I am switching allegiances. After a friend recommended Penske and I saw dozens of yellow Penske trucks on my 1,400 mile road trip, I decided to investigate Penske for our upcoming cross state move.

I am now convinced that Penske is a better choice for long distance moving over the traditional U-Haul, so I’ve added Penske to my Tips for Moving list and given several reasons why Penske trumps Uhaul.

5 Reasons Why Penske is Better than U-Haul for Long Moves

1. Newer Trucks- Penske replaces nearly half of their self move fleet a year, so you’re guaranteed a truck with low miles and high quality condition. The truck I drove had only 56,000 miles. U-haul trucks are traditionally older and in less than desired condition.

2. Unlimited Miles- With Penske you don’t have to worry about milage on one way moves. With U-haul there is the stress of being penalized for every mile driven over the allotted miles given. This can easily happen by taking a wrong turn or using an alternate route due to bad weather.

3. 7 Day Rental- 7 day rental gives extra time for packing, driving, and unloading. The extra time is a big plus for a long move. U-haul allows only 5 days.

4. Comparable Price or Cheaper than U-Haul- With Penske the price is comparable or cheaper than U-haul depending on which state you are traveling from and what state the truck will be dropped off in. Penske gives a discount for AAA members, military, and students too!

5. Guaranteed Truck Rentals at quoted prices- No fear that your truck or trailer won’t be on site or that you’ll be charged more. U-haul only guarantees your truck on site if you reserve it within 48 hours and has a history of overbooking and thus overcharging above the quoted price.

6. Great Customer Service I had to add another. A few days before my move date, I received a phone call to ensure my order was correct and to inquire if I had any questions. At my Penske pickup and drop off locations I had enthusiastic customer service and both reps had positive views about the company.

Penske is also Business Friendly with a large commercial fleet of vans, semis, and trucks.

Based on my experience and the large numbers of Penske moving trucks and semis on the road, I believe Penske has quietly overtaken Uhaul as the go to company for long DIY moves.

Consider Penske for your next out of state moving van rental needs.

Have you used either Penske or U-haul? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below!

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?