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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Appreciation, sometimes lost in the fray

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

What I was supposed to write about about today was taxes. Death and taxes actually. However, there’s something a bit more off topic that has been weighing heavily on my mind. For years most of my writing and those of similar sites such as IWillTeachYouToBeRich (his much greater success aside of course 🙂 ) have written about is getting ahead.

How to get ahead financially.

How to get ahead in your career.

How to get ahead ahead ahead ahead…

Something that gets lost in the fray is this: simple appreciation. It so so easy to get caught up in what you want to do, what you want to have, and what you believe you deserve that what you do have might not take up the space in your mind where it should reside: the very front.

Many people have broken and split families, with bitter divorces, parents that dont speak to children, children that dont speak to parents, children with no parents, or even people with no family whatsoever. I am blessed to have a wonderful wife, son, brothers and sisters, in laws, and friends that make my life worth living. Having money is important in the world we live in, having friends and family is vastly more important. Be thankful for the friends and family you have. When we moved into our neighborhood a wonderful neighbor came over and gave Lauren and I some cookies and Jackson a baby outfit. She thought she had a cold. Six months later she died of lung cancer having never smoked in her life.

Many people do not have their health. I have been blessed to be healthy and have a healthy family. If you are healthy, remember, no amount of money in the world can buy back wasted health.

Many people do not have jobs. For those of us who do, even if it is not your dream job, you have a job. A job means opportunity.

There are many other things in life to appreciate, most of which do not cost outrageous sums of money, or are free. Though I believe ultimately in striving for success in life, success comes in many forms, so, keep reaching for whatever goals you would like to attain, but also don’t forget to appreciate what you do have.

Most online advice is terrible

Monday, March 21st, 2011
Lets do a little social experiment, shall we?  I want you to think of something that someone might ask for advice on.  For example “How should I treat a cold?”

excuses

Now, put that into google and see what comes back.  Its a mess of yahoo answers, voodoo forums, organic remedies, and far fetched sales pitches.  Its sort of like asking a question and have a trashcan emptied out on your head.  Everyone knows that the internet is both a wonderful and terrible place for information.  Sometimes when I read CNN.com, the comments make me wonder if we would be better off with monkeys pounding on their keyboards than real humans putting their commentary in.  The trick is to watch out for the bad, especially when it seems to come from a good source.
Recently a popular financial blogger started writing about a certain investment site.  I thought to myself “Huh, well, I respect his opinion, I will try it out.”  I was actually fairly letdown with my experience and started to dig around a bit.  As it turns out, said blogger actually received a large sum of money to pimp that site.  I am not talking the small change I get to have random links on the side of my page, I mean big money to sell his opinion.

I give this promise, I will never SAY to use something or go somewhere unless I really mean it.

Here are a few things I encourage you to avoid taking advice from:

Random emails.  John’s stock tip is probably not as good as he thinks it is.  Of course, it could be even more insidious and it could be a penny stock scam.
Forums.  Ive seen great advice like “IRAs R 4 old ppl lol” and one of my favorites “dud jus lease tha car then u get less payments”
Yahoo questions.  Enough said.
Blogs.  Blogs not named “The Penny Saved”.

excuses

Here is a little example you can try yourself. I googled “Best balance transfer cards” for those that want to transfer their credit card balances to a 0% interest card.  Low and behold, almost every single link is one of those “people get paid when you sign up through their site” affiliate blog posts.

If any of you have made $1,000,000.00 off of a stock tip from Zimbabwe please email me and I will make a large addendum, apologize and I promise to never post again.

Its probably a good idea to agree on finances before getting married

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

money ring

Its never too soon to agree with your spouse on how you spend money.  There was a study that I read a long time ago that said the number one source of tension in marriages in a random sampling of couples was (Dum dum dum) MONEY!  Ok, so who here is surprised?  I know I am not.  Considering most of us Americans have a large load of debt so when you bring two people with debt together (or even one person with debt and one without) there are bound to be some hard money discussions.  The best time to figure out finances is before you’re married when both of your money is separate.

I’m getting married in August but we have had relatively combined finances for quite a while.  Admittedly I came into the relationship with more debt than Lauren did.  The one main thing is that we both want to get out of debt but not become misery in the process.  That being said, I know quite a few couples who just cannot figure the money thing out.  There is a one huge lesson to learn here: if you are getting married, talk about money beforehand, it is never too soon.

24 Hour Fitness

Friday, January 16th, 2009

I have had a few people write in asking about the new sponsor on the left that replaced Prosper.  From John in Portland:

“Hey Jesse, aren’t you a financial blog? Whats with the 24 hour fitness sign/sponsor?”

After my new years resolution article where I encouraged everyone to  follow through on their resolutions including getting fit both physically and financially I received an email from a VP at 24 hour fitness asking me about my experience.  I responded that I was very happy with my local 24 hour fitness sport and things went from there.   I do not personally plug companies with graphic affiliate ads unless I believe in them (as I still do with p2p lending and ING banking).

As most of you know, I am not an advocate of the ultra frugal lifestyle but the responsibly frugal lifestyle.  I believe spending money on things that are of great value, and I believe fitness is one of those things that is valuable and worth spending some money on.  If you are entrenched at your local gym or comfortable with your home gym, by all means keep at that.  If you are looking for a gym try out a 24 hour with the 30 free day trial.  Hopefully at some point I can find a introductory offer for TPS readers.

Where’s Jesse been? My Son was born this week!

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

Actual reader email from Josh in Arizona:

“Jesse,

Are you around?  This may seem weird but I am starting to get mad at you not posting, sort of like a penpal that doesnt write back…especially since this is the weirdest/hardest financial time we have seen in this country in ages.  Ok enough weird emails to bloggers that don’t know me 🙂

Josh
PS please post”

Well to the delight of many of you, and the consternation of a few of you you, I am alive and better than ever.  I haven’t quit blogging, I have just slowed down lately because I have had a son on the way and he was born this week!   Jackson Lee:

Jackson
Lauren and Jackson are both doing great.  Thanks to everyone for the concern as to my whereabouts.  I have a bunch of articles that I am just finishing and I finally finished the ebooks I have been promising so look for them to come sometime this week!

We’re under contract – hallelujah – next problem, step up

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

So good news: they accepted our counter offer on Lauren’s house.  This has been one of the biggest stress points for us over the past few months.  We were afraid that with the market as it is we wouldn’t be able to sell, or at least that we wouldn’t be able to sell in time for the baby.   One thing down!

Unfortunately, it’s been a bittersweet week though because we found out that Lauren does not get partially paid maternity leave as we had thought.  In fact, its slightly ridiculous because the company does have paid maternity leave but we are missing out because of a small technicality on insurance enrollment dates.

I understand and love our capitalist system but using small loop holes and technicalities to cut people off unexpectedly strikes me as unnecessarily harsh.

Shopping for car insurance online: a pain

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

Since I am eventually going to have to consolidate all of our insurance into one policy I decided to shop around a bit and see what is out there. I have been very happy with State Farm car insurance and I love my agent but I figured it can’t hurt to look around a bit. There are a few things I knew I did not want to consider like esurance (see my previous dealings with them) and titan (who Ive heard terrible things about) so I started looking around. On a side note, I really can’t believe how much more expensive it is being off my family policy and onto my own. I was going back through some old papers and my car insurance when I was under my parents was roughly a fifth (adjusted for change in car) of what it became when I went out on my own. But I digress.

If there is one thing I found its that going to different insurance sites and getting online quotes individually is a pain. Im not sure why but I would almost swear they try to make it painful to fill out the quote forms. A huge pain. This led to some frustration and me giving up for a while. So next I tried some of the those “compare and get quotes” places. The main advantage to the “compare” type of site is simple: you only have to fill in all the ridiculous amount of information that insurance companies make you fill in once instead of every time. At very least it saved me some time trying to go through all the different sites. My two favorites I found were the highly touted progressive and a british Car Insurance site. Obviously the british site doesn’t do me much good since Im in the US but I liked their forms and layout. Progressive has a pretty nice layout too and shows the various rates that each car insurance company would give. There is one caveat Ive gotta throw in: somehow progressive is ALWAYS lower. Im not so sure I believe their commercial anymore.

On a side note, holy cow Farmers insurance is expensive. It was routinely (on insurance.com and progressive.com) 1/3 more than all the others. I guess they are greedy little farmers.

Im gonna be a dad!

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

That’s right, we’re having a baby boy!  I am a lucky guy.  A few years ago I had a rough patch of life when I got laid off…  Little did I know that the next portion of life would be so rewarding.  I met the most amazing woman who I now get to marry, got a great job and now the latest development; I get to be the father of a baby boy.  I pretty much get choked up just thinking about it, I cant wait for the first time I get to see him.

It seems like it was just yesterday that I was the kid looking up to my dad.  I remember nothing was ever a huge problem as long as dad was around.  Now its my turn to be the protector and guide and Ill be honest: its damn scary.  That being said Ill try to stick to some financial talk here.  I made a checklist of financial things that need to be done before/after the baby is born that aren’t related to buying things…Ill write more on that a different time.

1) Get the baby’s Social Security Card

2) Get the baby’s Canadian Social Insurance Card (since I am a Canadian citizen, he gets to be one too)

3) Adjust insurance to cover baby

4) Adjust budget for coming baby expenses

5) Check for government benefits/tax credits

6) Adjust my life insurance policy

7) Do a complete re-read of our company insurance policy so I can understand exactly what is covered with dependents and expenses once they are added.

8] Possibly start a 529 Educational savings plan

Feel free to add any that you think of…

Some things you might not know about dealing with insurance companies

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Before I get into anything I should put a small caveat on this:  laws vary from state to state.   That being said it has been quite the ordeal dealing with this whole car-is-now-expensive-1ton-paperweight thing.

1) If you are not at fault they need to give you a rental car equal or similar to your car
If you drive an SUV and they try to give you a tiny compact car (though right now gas costs you might prefer a tiny compact) push back on them.

2) They will lie to you
Esurance told me I HAD to take my car to one of their preferred shops.  This is a flat out lie.   Colorado, like most states, allows you to pick where you want your car taken to.   The shop then told me I couldn’t take it to another shop, which is akin to my car being taken hostage (and is very illegal) so I had a wrecking company get a flatbed, pick it up, and move it.

3) They will try to screw you – behind your back
Once I had my car moved, I gave the new repair shop all of the insurance information and called and left a message for the insurance agent that I had moved my car to the new shop.  I was out of town on business and missed one call from the insurance agent.  He called Enterprise (where my rental was with) and told them to cancel my rental because I wasn’t responding to him.  Luckily Enterprise called me and left me a message saying what the insurance agent was pulling and so I was able to call both of them and make sure that didnt happen.  Sleezy.

Ok so you probably knew those things already, but let me pound it into your head: beware when dealing with them, they have one thing in mind and surprise: its not your best interest.

My car got wrecked – how I am dealing with it

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

While driving with Lauren to go see a property management company about my house someone turned out in front of me.  Here is what happened:

car wreck 350Z
Here is how I handled it and I think so far its been very effective:

1) Call the police
I called the police right away since it was substantial.  Even in a wreck where there is not substantial damage it is still a good idea to get a police report because this will be vital later on as far as determining insurance coverage.  If it the other persons fault, such as in my case, you need to establish that the other party is officially the one at fault.

2) Call your insurance agent
As it turns out State Farm wants you to deal more directly with the other persons insurance but if you have an insurance agent that actually gets on top of things for you, you want to get them involved early on.  Insurance agents know how to deal with other insurance agents.

3) Take pictures of the damage
Having your own set of pictures is essential in case some sort of dispute comes up later.

4) Get the other drivers information
In this case I got it from police.

5) Call the other persons insurance
I called Esurance and sure enough he had reported the accident but he didn’t say it was his fault or give them any of my information.  My insurance had also not called them yet.  I got all of the correct information in to them and got them to set me up with a rental car.

This is as far as I have gotten, currently they are inspecting the damage and I am waiting to hear what they have to say.  I will, of course, add as things come.