Free Money



Want some free money? Would you be happy saving $500, $1,000 or more a year? Fed up with your ever escalating cable TV bill? How about your phone bill? Gas company?

Simply call and threaten to change. It’s really just that simple.

I reached my limit with Comcast recently. I so hate them… Read More

Budget Magic Pill Style

magic, budget

Budget. How does the word make you feel?

Constrained? Controlled? Pissed off?

Most everyone I know hates the word. Many hate the actual process and practice. A pity, because a purposeful budget is the most powerful weapon in your arsenal against paucity and discomfort.  Even more powerful than your income.

I have worked with folks that have a terrific income but no budget process and they are essentially broke. They developed bad spending habits, have a refined sense of retail therapy and generally live somewhere in the future, it will get better down the road.

I also have worked with folks that have little income, are not broke, are in fact happy with money in the bank. They generally live in the present and understand the power of priority, of what is important to them. They make the most of what they have.

It’s really not hard to be part of the latter. Wouldn’t it be marvelous to summon up a motivation genie to deal with reality? A magic pill for budgeting?

Well, there is….  Read More

Silent Night



Silent Night is arguably the most popular Christmas Carol ever. It has been performed by pretty much every genre of artist, from Brad Paisley to Nick Lowe to Andy Williams to Elvis. Bing Crosby’s version is the third best-selling single of all time. The song has been translated into more than 140 languages, and is a perennial favorite all across the globe.

Joseph Mohr, a young priest from Mariapfarr, Austria, wrote the lyrics to Silent Night  in 1816. Father Mohr traveled to Oberndorf, Austria in 1818 where he met Frantz Xaver Gruber, a schoolmaster and organist. He asked Gruber to compose a melody for his “Stille Nacht”. Together, they performed the carol on Christmas Eve 1818 at Saint Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf. The rendition was very simple, a single guitar and soloist.

Wishing you all a most wonderful Christmas and Happy Holiday season, here is “Silent Night”…

Silent night, Holy night

All is calm, all is bright

Round yon virgin, mother and child

Holy infant, tender and mild

Sleep in heavenly peace,

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, Holy night

Son of God,

love’s pure light

Radiant beams from thy holy face

With the dawn of redeeming grace,

Jesus, Lord at thy birth

Jesus, Lord at thy birth.

Silent night, Holy night

Shepherds quake, at the sight

Glories stream from heaven above

Heavenly, hosts sing Hallelujah.

Christ the Savior is born,

Christ the Savior is born.

The Top 5 Traits To Look For In A Financial Advisor



Looking for a good fit financial advisor? Want to start off the new year on a sounder financial footing?

First and foremost, look inside you. What do you want, really want, from a financial advisor? How do you think one will help you? Are you more of a do-it-yourselfer, okay with a website or 800 number or do you want an ongoing personal relationship with someone that will walk with you through many of the financial decisions you face?

If you are married, how do you and your spouse deal with money decisions? Are you both pretty much on the same page? Or not? Do you have an extraordinary situation, such as infirm parents to care for? Or a special needs child? Are you emotional with money? Most of us are, so be honest with yourself.

The key to understanding the value any advisor brings to your life is to first as best you can understand you, your situation and objectives. Once you are clear on them, then: Read More

Simpler is Better



Simpler is better…

William lived in a small woodland village outside of  Surrey, England during the late 13th century. He was a Franciscan Friar. Friars are an order of the Catholic Church, and a Franciscan, founded in the early 1200s by Saint Francis of Assisi, was one of what is called the four “great orders of mendicant friars”. As such, William lived in service to his community rather than cloistered away like a monk. He was a theologian and logician, a thinker and a theorist. Mostly, William thought about people, the church and life around him.

He is perhaps best known for a principle that bears his last name, Ockham (sometimes spelled Occam). Ockham’s Razor is an idea I have incorporated into my life: “Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate,” or “Entities need not be multiplied beyond necessity”. In plainer English, when you have two courses of action to solve a problem you should prioritize your energies first on the simpler of the two. I have reduced his Razor a bit more…simpler is better.

How many of us needlessly complicate our own lives? Does the complexity and accompanying clutter we incorporate into our lives, the physical, financial and emotional flotsam we accumulate and carry enhance our time on earth or improve daily living? Wouldn’t you like to simplify your life? Well, you can… Read More

Razzle Dazzle Financial Services



In the early days of World War I, before the United States got involved, German U-boats were torpedoing and sinking British and American merchant ships at a rate of about 50 a week. The toll was huge. The U-boats were raining hell in the north Atlantic, silently sliding softly beneath the waves, stalking their prey.

In response, marine artist Norman Wilkinson came up with an idea, a very clever countermeasure. He devised something completely new, something different, something very unexpected. His concept was called Dazzle Camo. It literally made ships jump out visibly at U-boat commanders and gunners with blatant and dramatic hull paintings. The ingenious beauty of his design made the ships much, much harder to target, much harder to accurately figure out which way they were headed and at what speed. In Wilkinson’s own words, dazzle was designed “not for low visibility, but in such a way as to break up her form and thus confuse a submarine officer as to the course on which she was heading.” It was all about disruption and confusion. And it worked.

Think about those two words for a moment, disruption and confusion. Read More

2 Pointers and 8 Tips For an Affordable and Memorable Christmas

 xmasIt’s that time of the year again. Stress for many, pleasure for others. What kind of a Christmas person are you? All out, to the rails, shop ’till you drop? Or something different, something else?

Do you want an affordable and memorable Christmas?

Let’s face it, retailers are super smart, and have learned to extract dollars out of our wallets and purses. They are adept and motivated. The shopping and spending process has become very frictionless. Retailers have learned to use music, sound, store trackers, smells, shinny objects, product placement, exciting visuals and comfortable walking surfaces to keep us in the store, focused on what they want. They have a way of pleasing every sense we have. And the online community is just as focused as brick and mortar retailers, finding ever-nuanced enticements to keep us online and keep us spending.

And for the hard, cold reality, spending money is fun. A lot of fun. Spending excites the motor neurons deep inside our brains. There is an emotional rush when we buy, not at all un-similar to the effects of alcohol or drugs or sex.

So, back to my question, do you want an affordable and memorable Christmas? If yes, you need only to follow the two simple and direct pointers below… Read More