Forum Posts

Todd Alan Clary
May 18, 2022
In General Content
Many of us are familiar with the phrase "a death by a thousand cuts." This phrase describes being hurt many, many times by a small pain that itself is not life-threatening. However, the small pain is multiplied by the many occurrences that then become life-threatening. Your budget or Money House can suffer a similar fate. Consider your spending habits. We all make trips to the grocery store and spend relatively significant amounts of money there periodically. This is normal. We need to have the essentials of food and other items in our houses for daily use. This is also true for our regular visits to the gas pump to fill up the tank of our car. What about the daily routine of visiting your favorite coffee place for that "necessary" caffeine infusion? What about having meals ordered in and delivered multiple times a week? What about quick visits to the office vending machines? Each of these little transactions doesn't feel like much in the moment. We can easily justify the behavior because we "have the money." The danger is, even if we are not tracking each of these small cuts, they still start to add up to significant expense. The money is still spent out of our hands. We still will wonder where all the money went since we won't remember each and every time we got coffee, a snack, or didn't feel like cooking. As we continue through this week, I challenge you to track each and every expense you incur each day. No matter how small or how you pay, track the expense somewhere. If you have a budgeting application, I challenge you to track it there. Doing it all in a spreadsheet? Track it there. Just have a sheet of paper you use? Track it there. This way you will see the full picture of how each of these small expenses can be contributing to your current situation. The good news is, if you track this information, it will be in front of you and you can do something about it. It is no longer a nebulous cloud of unknowns that you just don't want to look at. It's real, in front of you, and demands your attention. Finally, now that you can face the problem head on, what will you do about it?
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Todd Alan Clary
May 16, 2022
In General Content
I've mentioned the process to start building a budget and living on it a lot in my writings here. While that is all well and good, what if you have been trying to build a budget and it just doesn't seem to click? You've set out your foundation and four walls. Then, as life tends to do, everything else starts coming up. Extra spending for household cleaners, laundry detergent, pet food. Maybe you started the process just two months before your semi-annual car insurance payment is due and that wasn't in the budget. Being so focused on trying to do the first steps "right" you completely forget about a trip planned six months ago that happens next week and isn't in the budget! Each and every one of these instances is like a cut or a scrape you incur during a fall while learning to ride a bike or skateboard. Gravity takes over, you tumble down, and drag parts of you over the pavement. It hurts! Perhaps you also feel a bit of shame that you, a coordinated and well-adjusted individual, struggle so much with something seemingly so simple. If I may, allow me to encourage you. There will be stumbles. There will be pain. You will forget things that need to be accounted for. Building a strong budget takes time and intentional effort. However, when you stumble, fall, and incur minor or major pain, I encourage you to get back up. Clean off any wounds, acknowledge where they are, why they hurt, and what part of the process seemingly caused you to stumble. Then get right back to it. Perhaps you feel you need to start over with your budget from scratch again. Do it! Some of the categories you started with may have limits that don't work now. Update them! You've paid the car insurance but don' know what to do next time. Use a sinking fund! Keep getting back up and taking the next step forward. Try again. Keep trying and don't give up until you have mastered the tools and habits to budget successfully. Imagine the impact you can have on your family, friends, and community both as you work this out and when you've gotten it down. Have a blessed week.
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Todd Alan Clary
May 13, 2022
In General Content
This week has seen a massive downturn in the cryptocurrency market. Several coins/tokens/projects have lost significant value even over the last couple of days. For some, who perhaps had put their economic future's hopes in these may be feeling lost and a bit hopeless. Allow me to offer a bit of hope and a possible path forward. While it may look on paper that you have lost perhaps a significant chunk of your net worth, if you are still employed and earning a steady income, all hope is not lost. Now may be the time to shift your focus to other things you can do to build strong money habits in your personal life. This would be in stark contrast to putting money in new technology hoping it is the next big thing. If you are in such a position, I encourage you to take time this weekend to sit and write down your expected income for the month of May. This would include a spouse's income as well. Whatever money you have coming into your household from work you perform should be accounted for here. Next, write out these four essential categories of expenses: 1. Food 2. Shelter 3. Utilities 4. Transportation Once those are written down, put a limit on how much you will spend on each of those for the rest of May. The shelter category usually won't change much (rent/mortgage payments), but there can be a lot of fluctuation with food and transportation costs. Now, look at your starting budget and see if your necessities exhaust your entire income. If it doesn't, then that means you have room to spare to thrive instead of just surviving. If your income is completely consumed by these expenses, then hope is still not lost. You should still be able to put food on the table, keep the lights on, and avoid eviction or foreclosure. This still gives you time to process and consider other options for moving forward. If nothing else, I hope this exercise helps you look at your situation differently. Instead of focusing on the terrible news cycle, you can look at what you do have and start taking more responsibility for your future. I trust you will find more success when you intentionally work toward your better future instead of hoping to catch a ride to that destination on the next hype train.
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Todd Alan Clary
May 11, 2022
In General Content
There's a term making it's way around kitchen table and water cooler discussions more and more. That term is "generational wealth." It can be talked about positively or negatively. Let's explore that idea a bit today. Sometimes, the term "generational wealth" is mentioned to invoke the thought of money that has been saved by previous generations and continually passed on to children and grandchildren. This way, the children have what is thought of as an "easier" time with life because they supposedly have plenty of money. Generational wealth can take several forms. For instance, some generational wealth is held in real estate. Buildings that have been owned by the same family for many, many years. Real estate like this can generate passive income when managed well through rent payments. It can indeed help future generations live better with that income. However, if mismanaged, that wealth can be squandered and then it no longer exists to benefit those who inherited it. Generational wealth is also referred to in an almost derogatory sense at times. Some people wish so heavily that their lives were made easier through such inheritances that they begin to resent those that do. In addition to being unhealthy, this thinking prevents you from looking for ways to build your own generational wealth to pass down. You are less able and likely to help provide that kind of blessing to your own descendants. One thing to remember about generational wealth is that it usually takes generations to build! Perhaps a grandparent or great-grandparent steadfastly saved money in long-term investments. They may have never had a chance to reap those benefits because they saved them for future generations. It then fell to the next member of the family to steward that blessing well. Not just for their own benefit, but for the benefit of their own children and grandchildren. Rather than falling into the trap of looking at investments like that as ways to enjoy our own lives more, perhaps we should be looking to enjoy the blessing while preserving it for the future. Do we not honor our forbearers' memory when we do so? When we have built our own strong money habits, our own sturdy Money House, we pay that honor to those forbearers. Not only do we help make our own lives better and more secure financially, we have the opportunity to continue a strong legacy. If not to continue, we have the opportunity to start building one ourselves.
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Todd Alan Clary
May 09, 2022
In General Content
Looking at the stock market today, one can see that it is down almost 5,000 points since the last high point in January of 2022. This can be distressing to watch, especially for those that remember how the market went down during 2008. It is tempting to get fearful of the situation and want to make possibly drastic changes to "protect" investments from further losses. However, the real danger is keeping your thoughts mired in the middle of this storm instead of having a refuge to retreat to and think things over. While the current market situation is less than ideal and any investments, retirement or otherwise, may look rather distressing, they are not the end. What if you knew all your immediate physical needs were covered? What if you had all you needed to not just survive, but also thrive while the market does it's thing? Wouldn't that feel like having a warm home in the middle of a storm? Having a well-built Money House can be that refuge. Instead of fretting over what the market will do today, tomorrow, or even next month, you can rest and take your mind away from it. Instead, you can focus on what you can do today. Today you can have food and shelter for yourself and your family. Today you can set aside money to take a vacation later and not owe money for it. Today you may even be able to take the family out to dinner stress-free. All of this can help you take your mind off the market's current moment. Taking refuge away from your worries about the future is just one of the benefits of building your Money House. If you don't already have one built, is it time to start? If so, let's talk about your situation and what steps you can take to start building it.
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Todd Alan Clary
May 02, 2022
In General Content
You may wonder about the benefits of any practicalities of building a Money House. What good does it do you? How is your life any better for having it? Let's explore one area today. Have you ever been in a position where you could cover a $500 emergency bill in cash within a few hours? For example, say you have a child that ends up spraining an arm or an ankle and you need to take them to an urgent clinic to make sure nothing is seriously wrong. Would you be stuck considering the choice between taking your child to get seen by a physician or not because you could not afford the bill in cash nor on top of your current debt? Would you look toward payday loans or putting the bill on an already loaded credit card? Would you swallow your pride and ask friends or family for money, knowing it will change the relationship until you pay the money back? Once you place the roof, your emergency fund, onto your Money House, these concerns become something else. Instead of the stress of deciding how to handle the emergency of taking your child to a doctor, you face the inconvenience of not having the $500 to do what you originally planned. Instead of panic, you can feel slight frustration. Instead of the dread of possibly choosing to not get your kid treated, taking them to the doctor is a foregone conclusion. You are going to the doctor, today, and taking the steps to get your kid on the road to healing. Having that roof, that completed Money House, allows you to retreat into it in times of stress. It gives you the sanctuary to evaluate the situation, determine the desired goal, then work the plan to accomplish it. All while the storm of the situation rages outside. Without your Money House, you are doing all the same things, just in the middle of the storm instead of safely inside. Is it time to finally build that Money House yet?
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Todd Alan Clary
Apr 29, 2022
In General Content
How many opportunities to make large sums of money easily do you feel you missed out on? One, five, two thousand? I know I have missed many of them myself. Questions come up like: "What if I'd invested in Amazon while it was still a book seller?" "Didn't I know that Tesla was going to make it big?" "Why didn't I buy Bitcoin when it was only worth hundreds of dollars?" I find myself asking these questions when I'm in a mindset where I want things to just be easier. Perhaps I'm physically or mentally exhausted from a busy week. Maybe it is out of a desire to spend time doing what I feel I'm better at without worrying about money. I believe these thoughts mostly come from a desire to have "arrived" or "finally be done" with work or just managing money. However, these things will never happen truly. If we feel we have "arrived," it tends to be fleeting as we may not recognize it until some time after it happened! Like breathing, we will never truly "finally be done" with working to earn or to serve. We all still have lessons to learn and opportunities to be of service to each other each and every day. Instead of wishing you had "gotten it right" or "hit it big," perhaps you should focus on building your Money House and having that safe sanctuary to rest and recover. Build a place that allows yourself to rest knowing all your basic needs are covered. Knowing the plan you have embarked on and the goal you are striving to reach can also help you push these "missing out" fears out of your mind. Besides, by focusing too much on these areas of "missing out," are you missing out on the joys and moments that are happening around you each and every day? Personally, I believe those things would be worse to miss out on.
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Todd Alan Clary
Apr 27, 2022
In General Content
We have at last passed the tax deadline for another year. How did it end up for you this year? Did you end up owing more or getting more as a refund? I have some bad news for you though, tax day will come again, roughly around April 15, 2023. If you're situation is that you tend to owe taxes, and it seems to always surprise you, perhaps it is time to do something different this year. I challenge you to go back through your last few tax returns (if they are available) and find out what your average tax bill was. Some years it may have been higher, some lower, but overall the average should give you a baseline to work with. Take that number, divide it by 12 and add that amount as a budget category in your monthly budget. Consider it a sunk cost fund. You will need to pay your taxes and the money needs to be available for that purpose. How much easier would it be to build that money up over 12 months than to have to come up with it all at the end? Again, the formula you are looking to use is: average tax bill / 12 months = monthly amount to save per month This way, after 12 months, you should have your average tax bill amount saved up and ready. Cash available for when you are done finding out what you may owe Uncle Sam. If you can have the discipline to set that money aside each month and not touch it, you should find that next year's tax bill is much easier to deal with!
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Todd Alan Clary
Apr 25, 2022
In General Content
Often I am making an analogy of your Money House being a home built on a plot of land defined by your income. That is still true, but I don't think I've explored it as far as it should go. For instance, most of the time, I describe your plot of land as only big enough for your income. Then you build your Money House based on that income. However, the truth is your Money House should only be a part of the plot of land your income represents. If you had all of your monthly income taken up by the necessities of life, you wouldn't be able to make any progress getting out of debt or building savings! Instead, let's look at your income as providing a larger plot of land in which you build your Money House. Depending on your financial choices, this plot of land may be filled with some junk that needs to be cleaned up. These obstacles to a clear and beautiful scene represent the debts that you have incurred. Have a car loan or two? You can imagine a couple of junk cars just taking up space in your Money Plot. However, as you do the hard work of paying off those loans, it's like you are rebuilding and refreshing those junk cars into something you can be proud of! Perhaps you still have a student loan that you have been paying off for many years. That can be the aftermath of a gigantic graduation party (depending on the size of the loan). It may remind you of more fun times, but it also exists as a blight on your Money Plot. Taking the time and effort to pay that student loan debt off is your act of cleaning up the mess and removing that blight from your income, forever! Your Money Plot can be as clear or as cluttered as you want it to be. As always, the question is how intentional will you be in making it what you want? What are some other eyesores (bad debts) that you can see in your Money Plot? Describe them in the comments below!
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Todd Alan Clary
Apr 22, 2022
In General Content
I am not the first, nor will I be the last to write about the difference between needs and wants. Philosophers, poets, pastors, and moral pathfinders of all kinds have explored this difference. The thing is, today it is incredibly easy to meet our basic needs for survival. So easy in fact, we confuse our biological needs for wants. Instead of "I need food to continue existing", it becomes "I want a cheeseburger today." Instead of "I want to satisfy my thirst so I don't stop physically living," we have our daily coffee run to Starbucks or Dutch Bros or whatever your favorite place is. In both of these cases we have confused our needs for our wants. When we do so it is also a quick jump to confuse our wants with our needs. Our tendency for this even shows up in the language we use. "I need to have my car washed." "I don't like the color of these shoes. I need new ones." "My kid needs to go to college!" Not one of those things is a physical need that if not met means you die. Each of these is a desire for something to be accomplished. A clean car, new shoes, or a college-bound young adult will not cause you to survive for the next 24 hours and beyond. Today, and into this weekend, I encourage you to pay attention to the language you use regarding what you want and need. Perhaps take note of all the things you said you needed but weren't really in service to your immediate survival. I will work on this as well. For example, I will not say "I need coffee this morning." I will say "I want coffee this morning." Let me know below what things you notice about your speech and thought habits around your needs and wants as you do this!
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Todd Alan Clary
Apr 20, 2022
In General Content
Many people today are looking for the "quick fix" to raise their credit scores. One can find an enormous amount of list articles online about this topic. While some of those are helpful in and of themselves, what if I presented you with a different way of controlling your credit score? Would you be interested? To start with, what I propose is not an easy route. It involves discipline, practice, and intentionality. If you are ready for this, please read on. What many, if not all, of the online lists looking to help you raise your credit score fail to mention is what is driving your credit card use. Many times it can be an impulse purchase that is easy because swiping a card isn't as hard as paying real cash. You feel it differently. This can be how many people find themselves in overwhelming credit card debt before they know it. Instead, what if you planned the purchases that went on the card and set an internal limit to the amount you spend? That should be beneficial in both helping to keep the debt amount manageable but also ensure you have the money to pay the card off each and every month. How much stress would that relieve from you if you knew that you could pay off the card in full each and every month? To accomplish this, the driving force behind your spending decisions would be your own spending plan for the month. That's right, your budget! For example, let's say you budget $750 for groceries for this month. Since your budget should be based on your income, you know you have that money to spend. If you are able to keep your spending in check in your other categories and in the food budget, then you know you can pay the credit card bill at the end of the month! You can extend this practice to gas purchases, personal shopping, utilities, and other expenses. The goal is to intentionally plan what you will spend, stick to that limit, then you can pay your card balance in full, worry free! The next time you start searching online for yet another tip on how to raise or build your credit score, I encourage you to try something new. Build new habits from the ground up. Use your budget to drive your spending decisions, not your impulses. After some time, I think you will be amazed at the results.
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Todd Alan Clary
Apr 18, 2022
In General Content
We can sometimes find ourselves discouraged when building strong money habits. Perhaps the budget limits seem to constantly change or we keep adding categories that we forgot about. Even after an entire month of budgeting, things can seem to get out of control and we want to throw in the towel and give it up yet again. Today, I'd encourage you to look at it a different way. Even if you have constantly changed the budget limits, that has given you more data on what a better limit might be for you. With groceries, you may find that over a few weeks you keep creeping the budget limit higher to cover costs. What if you took that data then set a limit that seems more comfortable than your first limit, and also look hard at what purchases are causing such great spending. It could be due to inflation, or it could be that you find yourself saying yes to the hungry kids in the cart more than is necessary. In adding categories, this can also be a good thing. For example, with a more fully fleshed out budget, you can go through the exercise of building it from scratch again. However, this time, you can go beyond the 4 walls and a roof and add in more things according to their necessity in your life. Car repair budget more important than eating out? Good. Place that category and it's associated limit into the budget before the eating out category. Then, as you work your way through the priorities, you can add back in the things that you have room for. Or resolve to live without those things for a time until you can accomplish your other goals. Both of these strategies can help you build a stronger budget that you feel in you are in control of instead of the other way around. Especially today, the day after Easter, I encourage and challenge you not to give up if you have hit budgeting snags. Instead, rise up again and tackle the challenge anew with your greater knowledge and experience. You may find the more times this is done, the easier it gets!
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Todd Alan Clary
Apr 15, 2022
In General Content
So, you've built your Money House. The foundation is securely set in the ground. Four sturdy walls have been erected. A roof tightly ties it all together. What next? The next logical step is to protect it. Protecting the income for your family is the next most important thing after their needs are met. How does one go about protecting a brand new Money House? In a word, insurance. Yes, insurance. Having insurance transfers the risk of catastrophic occurrences ruining your financial situation or your Money House. An unexpected stay in the hospital, severe illness, or sudden loss of life can all put the hard work you've done into building your budget, your Money House, into jeopardy. That said, what kind of insurance would be most helpful? Once the Money House is built, there are two types of insurance that will be most beneficial to protecting it: Health Insurance - Medical expenses are getting higher and higher it seems all the time. Even a single trip the emergency room can end up costing thousands of dollars or more. What about diagnostic bills like MRIs or x-ray scans? All of this can add up very quickly. Transferring the risk of huge medical costs is probably the first thing to get to protect your Money House. Life Insurance - Along with medical expenses, a sudden loss of you or your spouse can throw the family into turmoil in more ways than one. If you are the income provider, suddenly your family has no way to provide for their needs. Transferring that risk to a life insurance policy that exists over a certain term should be the most cost-efficient way to provide that kind of protection your family will need. We can discuss each of these in more detail soon. For now, with your built Money House, consider how much of your total income is actually taken up by your necessary expenses. Many, if not most, people should find that their basic needs don't cover their entire income. There is usually money left over. I encourage you to take time to look at using some of that to protect what you have built. None of us know the future and it is best to be as prepared as possible.
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Todd Alan Clary
Apr 13, 2022
In General Content
I talk a great deal about building your Money House as a shelter for economic storms. Inflation is one of those storms. It seems to be one of those storms that comes without much, if any, warning. The winds can shake your Money House and encourage you to second-guess the foundation it sits on. It can be a scary and worrisome time. However, it is for these times that you have built your Money House in the first place. So, you can also see this as an opportunity to test your Money House's strength and resilience. How will it hold up? Inflation brings higher prices for just about everything. Food, gas, even your Amazon purchases. During a storm such as this, I encourage you to take time to shelter in your Money House (review your budget) and see if your walls can withstand the winds (see if you have enough money allocated to your necessities even with rising prices.) Spending time looking at your budget can help you see where any cracks are truly starting to form. Did you build your wall(s) initially with out considering expanding them? Perhaps you will need to sacrifice some areas of life, for a time, to shore up the necessary items and ensure your survival. Take the time to fix any structural issues (budget limits are too low). Doing this process gives you two benefits. You see your Money House's weaknesses, thus can improve them. You are removed from the storm, allowing you to focus your energies on proactive action rather than reactive fear. Finally, this helps you intentionally take refuge in your Money House during times of uncertainty. Building this habit will serve you well in dealing with the next economic storm that comes our way.
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Todd Alan Clary
Apr 11, 2022
In General Content
As usual, I'd like to start by asking a question or two. Which do you prefer, shopping or spending? Which do you end up regretting more often, the time spent shopping or the bought item? It seems to me that we tend to have buyer's remorse far more often than we have regret about the time we spent shopping. Whether it is with friends, family, or just by ourselves, those minutes or hours in stores imagining the possibilities a new purchase might bring is rarely felt bad about later. Have you ever had a shopping trip where you went home without buying anything you went out for? If so, was that time still something you valued as well spent or did you regret it? Personally, I find that I don't regret the time shopping nearly as often as I have buyer's remorse. The thought process of considering the possibilities in front of me regarding a new purchase are the fun parts. It can be a way of expanding one's thinking into new areas. Once that purchase is made though, all those possibilities collapse down into just a few. At least for me, those few possibilities tend to not live up to my imagined expectations. Thus, today and this week, I encourage you to not worry about spending so much as enjoy the time shopping. You may find you spend less money and less time in regret if you do!
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Todd Alan Clary
Apr 08, 2022
In General Content
Easter once again approaches. Races, candy, and time spent hard boiling then coloring eggs shall happen next week in force. All of this time will be well spent with family and friends. Has Easter had a place in your budget this year? Do you struggle with figuring out how to buy the eggs, coloring mix, and candy? Today, I'd like to encourage you to test how deep the foundation of your Money House is set. How committed are you to living on less than you make? Are you willing to sit down and intentionally place an Easter category in your budget? Will you account for the money you want to spend by pulling it out of other categories? Will you further commit to sticking to the new limits should you make these changes? When you make these changes to stick to your commitment, you are saying yes to both the thing you want now (Easter) and what you want most (your next goal). By moving money from one category to another, provided it isn't one of your bigger goals, you are safeguarding that goal while also prioritizing this time with family. This likely would have been easier had it been done at the beginning of the month, though now is better than never. Though perhaps this experience will encourage you to consider more activities and holidays that "come up" in the next months. Again, there is no shame in wanting to have a great Easter with family. I encourage you to test your Money House foundation and work Easter into your budget if you have not already. You may find the results are sweeter long after the candy is all gone.
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Todd Alan Clary
Apr 06, 2022
In General Content
So, say you have built your money house, solid foundation, sturdy walls, and a strong roof to hold them together. You may ask, what now? Excellent question! Now that you have your house in order, so to speak, what could you do? As an example, with your needs covered, how much of your leftover income is going to pay car loan(s), student loan(s), or credit card debt? Do you know how much interest you are being charged per month on these? Whether the amount is $5 or $500, if those debts were paid in full, what could you do with that money instead? Who could you bless by easing a temporary financial burden with a monetary gift? Could you make a regular contribution to a local charity organization doing work you believe is vital and good for the community? What about helping to fund artists or other creators who can make an impact on our culture in a positive way? How about a regular donation to your church, if you have one? These are all well and good, though perhaps you are thinking a bit more close to home. With your money house built and in order, could you spend less time working and more time pouring into the lives of your children, if you have any? Once again, doing a budget, building your Money House, can help you feel at home and relaxed when looking at money and spending. No longer do you need to feel imprisoned by restrictive limits on your dreams and desires. Instead, you have set up boundaries to help keep you focused on the more critically important things. I know it has helped me and my family live more free. If you put in the effort, you can have the same.
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Todd Alan Clary
Apr 04, 2022
In General Content
We've laid our income as a foundation deep into our commitment to living on less than we make. Our four walls of necessary expenses have been raised to ensure we survive the next 30 days. Finally, we will tie it all together with that last piece of a home that protects against that which falls from above. The roof. In a house, a roof holds the walls together in tandem with the foundation so they are sturdier, less moveable. It provides a second anchor point in that regard. For our budget and personal money management, the roof is represented by our emergency fund. Our emergency fund protects our four walls in the case of an economic storm like sudden job loss, critical illness, or even the engine falling out of your car. Like the roof provides a second anchor point for the walls of a home, so too does the emergency fund provide extra security for those budget items. That is because we set up our emergency fund, our roof, to be big enough to cover our expenses (and even our income) for 3 to 6 months. Say you happen to suddenly lose your job. How would you feel if while you looked for a new job, your family's expenses were all covered? Food will still be on the table. The lights won't be shut off. The water still flows freely from the tap. Would you feel less stressed? Would you feel more free to look for the right job instead of what job hires you next? With a complete Money House, you now have a safe place to go in times of financial strife. A place you can call home that is welcoming and secure, because you have built it that way. From this place of peace, security, and even comfort, you can regroup, plan, and strike out from again to achieve your next goal.
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Todd Alan Clary
Apr 01, 2022
In General Content
Now that we've dug our Money House foundation deep by committing solidly to living on less than we make, and the foundation is now poured according to our income, next we need to put up the walls to protect us. For our Money House, the four walls we need are the expenses that allow us to survive. Just like walls protect us from the elements in a real house, accounting for these expenses first should help you feel safer as you continue to build your Money House. The thing is, these walls are limited by the foundation on which they sit. I doubt you have ever seen a house with walls that are based off the foundation and thought "that is solidly built!" Our four walls must be supported by our foundation, our income. So, what are these expenses? They are below: Food Shelter Utilities Transportation Notice that each of those is something necessary for you to live. We all must eat, be protected from the heat and cold of the seasons, have clean water to drink, and also be able to get to and from work. Now, say you have allocated money from your income to cover these expenses? Would you feel safer financially? Would you have more confidence about the next day or week knowing you can still put food on the table and the lights won't get shut off? In our Money House, our budget, these are the expenses that should be covered first, before anything else like minimum credit card payments, student loan payments, and especially money spent on fun. At first it may seem daunting and discouraging, but this is how to build a solid Money House in which you can rest instead of feeling trapped.
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Todd Alan Clary
Mar 30, 2022
In General Content
Today, let's break ground on our Money House! What happens when we break ground on a new building? We dig a hole where the new foundation will be laid. Why dig into the ground before pouring the foundation? Because that way the foundation is secured into the earth instead of laying on top of it. This helps keep the new building secure during inclement weather. Rainstorms and windstorms of all types have a harder time moving a building whose foundation is embraced by the earth than not. For your Money House, the breaking ground and digging to lay the foundation is represented by your commitment to living on less than you make. When you live beyond your means (spend more money than you bring in) it's like having your Money House's foundation set on top of the ground. The next economic storm is likely to push your House around or even topple it over. Thus we want to very intentionally secure our Money House foundation against that. Once we have set our commitment in place (the proper hole is dug), then we want to lay our foundation. The true foundation of your Money House is your income. What, in total, do you bring home from your job(s)? This should be what you keep, not what you have before taxes and other fees are taken out. For instance, if your pay stub shows you make $1200 every two weeks before taxes and fees, but the check you can deposit only shows $1000, your Money House foundation is determined by the $1000 check. Consider your take-home pay as the limited amount of concrete for pouring the foundation. A strong foundation needs to have enough concrete to be thick enough to support the weight of everything above it. If you spread your limited concrete too thin, your Money House will not be as solid as it should be. It may be tempting to have a bigger floor plan, but it should not come at the expense of structural integrity. There you have it! Now you know how you can break ground and lay the foundation of your Money House. Commit to living on less than you make and only build it as large as your take-home pay will permit. If you are married, and this is not something you've ever considered, I encourage you to discuss this with your spouse. Bring out both of your thoughts and feelings about money and how it should be spent. This Money House should be yours together. Perhaps it's time to start building it together.
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Todd Alan Clary
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