New Year’s Task List

Yesterday I encouraged you to use the New Year to reflect and proactively plan ahead. Today I’m presenting a list of specific tasks that I refer to this time of year. I keep track of these tasks (and all others throughout the year as well) with a neat online application called Remember The Milk. This application is flexible, customizable, easy to use, and it’s free! Make sure you take advantage of the repeating event feature and the reminders.

Below, I’ve included the items I find relevant for the New Year:


  • Schedule reoccurring family finance meetings and put them on the calendar
  • Reconcile year-end account statements (bank, credit cards, investments)
  • List debt liabilities with current balances, interest rates, minimum repayments, terms, credit limits
  • Check your credit profile and report. Important! is the ONLY website you want to use to order your free annual report! Dispute any errors online through each credit bureau.
  • Ask for an interest rate reduction on your credit cards. Be sure to mention if you received a credit card offer in the mail with a lower rate, and threaten to transfer if they won’t negotiate.
  • Compare 2009 actual expenditures with 2009 spending plan
  • Reevaluate your priorities and modify your spending plan accordingly for 2010
  • Update net worth statement: list all assets and all liabilities, subtract liabilities from assets = net worth
  • Fund retirement accounts and HSA (health savings) accounts
  • Rebalance investment allocations
  • Set up automatic bank transfers and automatic bill payments
  • Pursue outstanding credits promised
  • Purge file cabinet: set aside 2009 tax papers, box up 2009 files (label box)
  • Prepare for annual tax return and schedule an appointment with accountant
  • Evaluate and price-compare insurance policies: auto, home, medical, personal liability, disability, term life. (If you have a suitable emergency fund, raise deductibles to save money on premiums.)
  • Evaluate and price-compare services (phone, cable/satellite, banks, credit cards, etc.)
  • Update Will and Medical Directives
  • Take computer data back-ups to off-site safety deposit box
  • Change all passwords (online and off)


  • Install fresh batteries in smoke and CO2 detectors
  • Change furnace filter
  • Clean carpets and furniture coverings
  • Touch up wall paint


  • Purge each room of things you didn’t use in 2009. Sell (I use Craigslist), consign, or donate these items.
  • Sort and label 2009 photos
  • Recycle magazines, newspapers, catalogs and other paper clutter


  • Update 2010 calendar: add birthdays, anniversaries, due dates and reminders. (I use and set up the reminder feature for each event.)
  • Schedule routine annual exams: wellness, dentist, optometrist


  • Update contact list
  • If you didn’t send a holiday letter, connect with your family and friends by phone, or send an email newsletter and a few photos.
  • Schedule reoccurring date nights with your sweetie and/or kids

Readers. if you notice something I’ve missed — or have an additional suggestion — please include it in the comments section below. I will update this list accordingly. Thanks!

How To Track Your Expenses

Money flows like water. It can gush like a raging river or drip like an annoying leaky faucet at midnight. If we use this precious resource mindlessly, we face drought. However, if we first observe the ebbs and flows, effective management becomes a simple matter of design. In other words, you NEED to know where your money goes in order to manage the flow. Once you know where your money flows, you can design a realistic budget plan and start making conscious spending choices for your hard-earned dollars.

Create an expense tracking system and establish a routine. January is the perfect month to start. I’ve tracked my expenses for over 15 years. It really doesn’t require a lot of time (~5 to 15 minutes a week). I pay my bookkeeper to do this task for me now and at about $1.25 to $3.75 a week, it’s worth it. If you have kids, this can be an educational task to delegate to them.

Expense tracking options include:

  • save all receipts and file them into large envelopes labeled by expense category
  • write each expenditure under a category column in a ledger book
  • write each expenditure in a pocket-sized spiral-bound notebook (carry it with you when you leave home)
  • use a software spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel or Open Office Calc
  • use a personal finance software program such as Microsoft Money Plus Premium or Quicken.
  • sign up for an online application such as Mint.

While all of the above methods work, I use personal finance software (specifically Microsoft Money Plus Premium because I like their Lifetime Planner tool). Both Microsoft Money and Quicken include a wide range of helpful tools to make personal money management tasks easy. Specific to this particular task of tracking expenses, Microsoft Money Plus Premium and Quicken personal finance software:

  • connect to thousands of banks and update your expense transactions automatically
  • automatically categorize your transactions and compare them to your budget
  • show you exactly where your money is flowing using charts, graphs and reports
  • let you see the big picture or drill down to the details

Four Tips:

  1. Make the most of on-line banking. To make tracking your expenses easy and accurate, pay for everything with a check, debit, or credit card. Check your account often and set up as many automated transactions as possible. (Important Note: If you pay routine expenses by credit card, pay off your account balance in full each month!)
  2. If you must use cash, keep your receipts and enter each transaction into your expense tracking system.
  3. Make it a habit to track your expense transactions regularly. Designate a time weekly for this task and at the end of each month, total the amounts spent by category. In my case, it only takes about 10-20 minutes per week to confirm my automatically downloaded expense transactions and to reconcile my downloaded bank account statements.
  4. Here is a comprehensive list of expense category suggestions. Modify my list to fit your own needs and lifestyle:

    Auto -repairs, gas, insurance, registration, tolls…
    Auto Payments
    Bank Account Fees
    Beauty -hair cuts, manicures, makeup…
    Child Care
    Debt/Loan Payments -create a different account/category for each loan
    Dining Out
    Finance Fees
    Home Improvements/Maintenance/Repairs
    Household Furnishings
    Insurance (Disability)
    Insurance (Health)
    Insurance (Homeowner/Renter)
    Insurance (Life)
    Insurance (Medical)
    Insurance (Personal Liability)
    Liquor/Tobacco -if applicable
    Mass Transportation -bus, train, light rail…
    Medical -everything except health insurance premiums
    Misc -avoid this category as much as possible!
    Mortgage Payments/Rent
    Savings (Education)
    Savings (Emergency Fund)
    Savings (Retirement)
    Savings (Specify Purpose)
    Storage Unit
    Subscriptions, Books, Software
    Taxes (Federal, State, Local)
    Tax Preparation Fees
    Toys (purchase, repair, insure) -includes boats, electronics, bikes, jewelry…
    Utilities (Electric)
    Utilities (Gas)
    Utilities (Internet)
    Utilities (Misc)
    Utilities (Telephone)
    Utilities (Trash)
    Utilities (TV Programing)
    Utilities (Water)

Questions for readers: Where does most of your money go? If you currently track your expenditures, what method do you use?

Are You Saving Enough For Retirement? Use These 4 Simple Rules Of Thumb And Find Out Now.

This is a guest post written by Todd Tresidder.

How do you know if you are saving enough so you can afford to retire? And more importantly, are you saving enough to retire with confidence so that you can support your present lifestyle without running out of money early?

2615289324_685aa07107To answer these questions, you might consider using one of the many online retirement calculators available. Unfortunately, these “simple” retirement calculators are often complicated and require you to assume many things about your future retirement that may or may not work out to be true. It’s the old “garbage in equals garbage out” rule, and nowhere is that rule more true than with retirement calculations.

One alternative to sophisticated retirement calculators is to apply simple rules-of-thumb that allow you to quickly and easily estimate the sufficiency of your nest egg and savings plans. While these simple formulas lack the “rocket science” sophistication of Monte Carlo theory and other financial planning innovations, they do provide a reasonable ballpark approximation that is easy enough to do yourself – without a computer, software, calculator or financial planner. Usually, a pencil and the back of a cocktail napkin are sufficient.

The advantage of this simplicity is you will actually complete the exercise – which is essential to successful retirement planning. You must know the retirement savings goal you are aiming for in order to plan constructive actions to reach the goal. You are far better served by knowing a rough approximation of your retirement planning needs than to have no estimate at all.

The truth is perfection in retirement planning is impossible anyway because accuracy depends on assumptions about your future which can never be made with certainty. Therefore, it’s better to at least work with ballpark estimates than to risk being thwarted by complication that might keep you from playing the game altogether.

Below are four simple rules-of-thumb for retirement planning that will at least get you in the ballpark until you have the time and inclination to sharpen your pencil…

The Ten Percent Rule

Some old-wives-tales are true, and the importance of saving 10% of your income happens to be one of these truths. This retirement savings strategy was popularized in the bestselling book The Richest Man in Babylon. In general terms, the way the math works is if you save 10% and invest it with long term returns around 10%, your investment portfolio will grow to the point that it can support your lifestyle from earnings in roughly 35-40 years. That means you could retire and live on the investment earnings alone, never touching the principal. Your life expectancy doesn’t even matter in this situation because you would never run out of money since it doesn’t require you to spend principal. The biggest risk to this simple formula is inflation, although even with that limitation it still provides a good working approximation for how much you should be saving.

What’s fun about this formula is how easy it is to understand, easy to implement, and easily adapted to your situation. For example, if you have less than 40 years until retirement then you should obviously be saving significantly more than 10%. The sooner you start saving, the longer you have for your interest to compound to build your retirement fund. If your average investment return exceeds 10%, you won’t need to save as much. If it is less than 10%, you need to save more.

One big benefit to using this simple rule-of-thumb is you don’t need to pay for a fancy financial plan that sits in the binder on your shelf collecting dust to get started. It is a rough approximation that points a clear direction so you can get started immediately – and starting immediately is a critical factor to your retirement savings success.

The “Millionaire Next Door”

Now that we have a reasonable approximation for how much you should be saving each month, lets examine a different approach that provides an approximation for how successful your savings efforts have been to date.

According to The Millionaire Next Door, authors Stanley and Danko provide a simple yet reasonably accurate formula for assessing your wealth accumulation skills:

Multiply your age times your realized pretax annual household income from all sources except inheritances. Divide by ten. This, less any inherited wealth, is what your net worth should be.

For example, if you are 35 years old and earn $100,000 per year with no inheritances, then your net worth should be $350,000: 35 times 100,000 divided by 10 equals 350,000. If you meet this standard, consider yourself to be “on track” for moderate wealth accumulation and a successful retirement fund. You aren’t a super achiever, but you aren’t behind either.

Go ahead and do the math for yourself. How do you measure up? This formula is really just another twist on the 10% savings rule cited earlier. It is based on sound mathematics and seems to provide a conservative but realistic figure for a broad range of scenarios.

Although it does not consider inflation, taxes and varying interest rates, this simple formula does yield a useful estimate of your retirement savings goal. It gives you a fast and easy way to see how well you are progressing toward financial freedom.

Stanley and Danko go one step further, creating two additional benchmarks based on their basic formula. “Prodigious accumulators of wealth,” or PAWs, have accumulated twice the savings indicated by the formula. “Under-accumulators of wealth,” or UAWs, have accumulated half the expected total. If you are a PAW then you are reasonably on track to knowing if you can afford to retire. If you are a UAW, now is the time to step up your financial management skills and start saving more.

12 Times Income

Jonathan Clements, former columnist for theWall Street Journal and author of The Little Book of Main Street Money: 21 Simple Truths that Help Real People Make Real Money, offered another alternative to the “How Much Money Do I Need To Retire?” question by claiming a reasonable retirement nest egg should be 12 times your income. To reach this goal, the amount you need to set aside each month depends on how much time you have before your target retirement age and your current savings-to-income ratio. This premise makes a few assumptions:

  1. your income increases to match inflation,
  2. you draw 5% of your savings as income the first few years of retirement, and
  3. you achieve an investment return of 5% after inflation.

The numbers purport to yield 60% of your pre-retirement income. Combined with Social Security and other income, you might end up with 80%, a figure that most retirement calculators assume is enough. Alternatively, if your own calculations show that you need a higher percentage, then you need to amass more than 12 times your income.

Rule of 25

One of my favorite rules for simplifying how much is enough to retire is to multiply your expected annual spending for your first year of retirement by 25 to determine your total savings required. This is just a mathematical simplification of the famous 4% rule where you are allowed to spend 4% of your savings each year during retirement.

This rule is on firm empirical grounds because the sophisticated retirement planning models including Monte Carlo optimizations will generally result in spending rules ranging from 3-5% depending on assumptions and confidence interval required. Now you can get roughly the same result without a computer, software or arcane mathematics. Just take your first year of retirement spending, multiple it by 25, and presto – you are right in the same ballpark.


These quick and dirty rules of thumb are far from perfect. But the ugly truth about retirement planning is there is no such thing as perfect. In the end it is all a rough approximation anyway. For those readers wanting more explanation and detail, the ebook “How Much Is Enough To Retire” will help you understand exactly when you can afford to retire.

The future is unpredictable and conventional retirement planning requires you to predict the future in order to apply their models – this is a serious flaw. The truth is many unknowable factors will determine your financial needs during retirement, and those will only be known in the fullness of time. There are alternative models to retirement planning that don’t require you to see into the future and for those readers who don’t have the time or inclination to learn those models, this article provides some simple rules that will get you close enough for basic planning.

The important thing is to develop a concrete retirement savings goal to work toward – regardless of the model used. An inaccurate goal is better than no goal at all. You can use these simple rules of thumb to get started today and sharpen your pencil later when accuracy becomes more important.

About the Author

Todd R. Tresidder is a financial coach who retired comfortably when he was just 35 years young. His ebook, How Much is Enough to Retire? is based on his own experiences and explains how you, too, can afford to retire. Check out his web site for more retirement planning books, educational articles, and try his free retirement income calculators.

photo credit: ted.sali

Mailbox: Outsourcing Edition

“When the economy tanked, I was forced to come out of retirement and work as a taxi driver.”

Photo: Visit Puppies Are Prozac for a dose of adorable, funny animal photos to chase the grumpies away.

Readers’ Questions Answered:

“You mentioned being better at the business side of things, but what did you do to help your husband make more money in the same, or less, time? ~Gregg

My husband is a third-generation construction tradesman. During his twenties, my husband worked as an employee for hourly wages, earning $20,000 to $35,000 annually. Meanwhile, his boss made several times as much revenue off of my husband’s efforts.

At age 30, my husband quit his job, affixed a rooftop rack onto an old Econoline van and became his own boss. After a year or two, his annual net income climbed to $60,000 before leveling off. He was on the right track, but for the hours he worked, he wasn’t earning what he could.

I had spent my twenties bootstrapping a couple of small businesses. I loved the creative process, the networking, the number crunching. After selling my businesses, I reviewed his business operations and found inefficiencies. My husband is an excellent tradesman with fantastic people skills; however, the math and minutiae of business management wasn’t his strong suit. Thankfully that’s where I shine so we joined forces and doubled the plumbing business’ annual net income to $120,000 the following year.

My husband is awesome with mechanical problem-solving and people; I have a talent for brainstorming ideas, analytical problem-solving, and implementing a sound plan. My husband and I both have different strengths that we bring to the table and together, we make a great team.

Statistically, the majority of millionaires are self-employed business owners. But it’s difficult for one entrepreneur to wear all the hats. Stick to what you’re best at doing and get help with the rest.

I’ve been outsourcing various tasks since I was 14 years old. My two siblings and I hated spending our weekends off from school cleaning the house, so the three of us pitched in equal shares from the money we earned from babysitting / paper-routes / dog-walking to hire a weekly housecleaner. Since we were better at our after-school jobs than we were at cleaning house, it made sense for us to do so.

I still use a housecleaner; I have a bookkeeper who comes to our home weekly to pay our bills, balance our checking accounts, file papers and send correspondence; and I just hired a personal assistant to help me tackle other tasks I’m not good at or don’t enjoy doing myself. When we’re really pressed for time (like after we returned home from China with our new daughter), we hire someone to stock our freezer with ready-to-cook meals. We hire subcontractors to do the work we aren’t good at — or don’t want to do — for our various businesses, too.

Outsourcing allows my husband and I to wear the hat that fits us best. As a result, we make more money AND have more free time to enjoy it!

You can read more of my tips (and others’) on outsourcing in a recent interview by US News and World Report.

“What are your favorite personal finance books?” ~Kelly

Here are my top 3 all-time favorite books:

  1. Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century
  2. Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want
  3. The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets Of Americas Wealthy

Click on the following categorized lists to view more books I like:

Books That Changed My Life (Highly Recommended)
Building Wealth
Millionaire Mindset
Personal Finance Software
Raising Money-Savvy Kids
Self-Employment, Small Business
Simple Living, Saving Money, Frugality

These titles are offered at Amazon but many of the titles can be found at your local library, too. Shop at from my store link and I’ll use my referral fees to help small businesses operated by working, impoverished women through

Online articles that captured my attention this week:

What If You Don’t Plan to Retire? Save Anyhow! @ Get Rich Slowly

Why It Could Take Years to Recover @ The Motley Fool

New HGTV show gives homeowners the cold truth @SFGate

(photo by ff137)

How To Find A Job, Despite The Recession!

With 13.2 million people currently unemployed in the United States, ABC’s television program, The View, aired a themed show this week on jobs: where to find one, how to get one, what to do if you become unemployed, job ideas for stay-at-home moms, and how to start a “job club”.

Because this is such a timely topic (everyone knows at least one person who has lost a job during this recession), I took notes to share with you. Please share this post with the people in your life who are needing some encouraging, constructive support right now. This post is LOADED with helpful links and resources!

Andrew Serwer, managing editor of Fortune magazine, reports that the lowest unemployment rates are in the farming and ranching industries, ranking states like Wyoming and South Dakota lowest in unemployment.

Ah, but you’re not a farmer or a cowboy? Serwer reports that the following industries are also fairing relatively well right now:

  • retail trade
  • health care
  • finance, insurance
  • professional and business services
  • state and local government
  • accommodations and food services

Jobs that should grow with the President’s stimulus programs include:

  • technology
  • education

What industries are NOT likely to be hiring now?

  • construction
  • manufacturing
  • mining
  • real estate
  • arts, entertainment
  • transportation
  • warehousing
  • utilities

Here are two specific companies that ARE hiring today:

  • Wal-Mart is opening 150 new stores across the country and is hiring store managers, human resource personnel, sales clerks, and more. They are willing to train people who have a strong work ethic.
  • HCA Healthcare reports 9,000 available job openings for nursing, x-ray technicians, physical therapists, secretaries, administrative and more.

Marcus Buckingham, career expert and author of The Truth About You: Your Secret to Success, reports that it is taking 120 days on average to land a job. He offers his top ten things to do if you become unemployed:

1) Financial assessment: Do a thorough review of your current financial situation. What costs can you eliminate or reduce starting today? Cancel your cable package, eat at home, stop buying things — or buy them used. Hoard your cash.

2) Self-assessment: Re-evaluate what your strengths, interests and passions are and how you can best contribute to a company. Discuss your ideas with someone who is objective, such as an open-minded friend, a coach, or a counselor.

3) Update your resume: Customize it for each specific job that you are applying for. Keep it simple — filling your resume with irrelevant details is distracting. Highlight relevant experiences and describe your strengths using quantifiable verbs (“organized, saved”). Be specific about the results you have achieved and the contributions you have made to the business. Contact the people you intend to use as references. Only include those references you are confident will give you a favorable review.

4) Hire yourself as a headhunter: Treat FINDING a job AS a job, with a 9 to 5 structure. Establish daily and weekly goals. If you are rejected for a job position, ask the interviewer for feedback. Their feedback can help you improve your job hunting skills.

5) Network: Tell the people you know that you are looking for a new job. But phrase it in a positive way like, “I am looking for a career that will allow me to use my strengths to improve a business” rather than whining, “I lost my job. Do you know anyone who is hiring?” Stay in touch with colleagues (especially your previous manager) so you are on their mind if re-hire opportunities come up.

6) Get your mindset right: It isn’t just about thinking positively, it’s about acting positively. Tackle the things you’ve been putting off in other areas of your life. Act, feel productive, and your stress will be reduced.

7) Expand your skills: Finish your degree, apprentice, hone your strengths. This will make you more appealing to future employers.

8 ) Take a platform job: Go ahead a take a job that you are over-qualified for. Do what it takes to feed you and your family. Look at it not as a step down, but as an opportunity to network with new people while you continue to search for your ultimate job. Or wow your employer so much that they promote you.

9) Volunteer: Show future employers concrete activities you’ve performed during your lay-off that demonstrate initiative and skill-building. Be an awesome volunteer and you might impress someone at the organization so much that they will offer you a paying job. (Note: if you are receiving unemployment benefits, check to see whether volunteering impacts your eligibility.)

10) Start your business: Now that you have the time to investigate this option, utilize the many free resources available for those who are interested in starting a business.

Tory Johnson, CEO for Women For Hire and author of Will Work from Home: Earn the Cash–Without the Commute, shared her “job club” tips. A job club is a group that motivates one another, networks, supports, and helps each other keep accountable. Click here to learn more about forming a job club.

Johnson also suggests:

  • expand your search – create different resumes targeting your different skills
  • create a LinkedIn profile and ask people to write recommendations for you
  • update your resume and make it look like you are doing things rather than waiting around for a job to come to you
  • freelance

Resume Mistakes:

  • One size fits all – you should customize for each job application
  • rehashes your experience – highlight your successes instead
  • outdated and overblown – your resume needs to be current and concise
  • unexplained gaps – address employment gaps using volunteerism, education, etc.
  • submit and wait – you need to submit and HUSTLE!

Johnson also discussed stay-at-home mom jobs that allow women to take care of their kids while earning an income. Here are some of the online resources she suggested:

Direct sales (through established companies, like Tupperware parties):

Promote your expertise:

Soft Skills / Care giving:

Hard Skills:

Online Selling (convert your clutter like designer clothing, old cell phones, and movies into cash):

Craft sales:

  • Creative users sell $12 million dollars worth of their hand-crafted products!

I hope you find my notes and these resources helpful. Please leave additional ideas in the comment section below. For more money making and saving ideas, please head on over to the recent Carnival of Personal Finance!

What You’ve Been Missing If You Aren’t Following Me On Twitter

I view Twitter, one of the Web’s fastest-growing social networks, as mini-blogging. It is revolutionizing communication and changing how some entrepreneurs do business.

On this blog, I tend to write long posts, but on Twitter, I’m limited to using just 140 characters or less. When I started “tweeting” two months ago, I had no clue how I’d use this tool. 84 tweets later, I find I appreciate the opportunity to share bits and pieces without formatting a new blog post. I also like catching juicy tidbits of information and breaking news from the other twitter users I follow.

Signing up with Twitter is easy. Following me is easy. Come join the fun!

Here’s what you’ve been missing:

Recommended Reading / Interesting Links:

~10% of life is random; the remaining is defined by how we think.

Was the problem on Wall Street subprime mortgages or elevated testosterone?

For Sale: The $100 House…

Which Americans can qualify for housing help?

Often in the middle of something momentous, we can’t see its significance.

Cool mashup of CraigsList and Google Maps provides an interface to view housing listings visually by location:

So long, McMansions Welcome, just-the-right-size homes!

The disappearing vacation: Fewer trips may mean better bargains in 2009 I’m looking for them!

Because things change, buy and hold investing doesn’t make sense to me, ie:

Happiness Myth No. 6: Money Can’t Buy Happiness

Read: This Is Not a Test.

Popular kids make more money when they grow up.

Analogy of the economy through the eyes of a third grader huckster

Reading: Carnival of Personal Finance selections at

Timely Announcements:

Suze Orman is on Oprah this afternoon re: her 2009 money plan.

Download Suze Orman’s new book for free. See:

Opening mail – free stuff: $10 off purchase of $10 at OfficeMax (in-store, exp 2/21/09). Wow, anything to get you in the door these days.

IRS is cutting some slack:

Banks weeding out customers in neighborhoods hardest hit by economic downturn!

The (financial) “misery index” by state:

Another housing price & rent spiral:

A day in the life of a homeless family on Oprah now. No emergency fund? This could be you…

Useful Tips:

Debt reduction: Create a wall chart and update it weekly. Keep an eye on your goal and focus on driving the line on your graph consistently downward.

Eat organic foods: View the extra expense as preventative medicine — as investing in your future.

Buy local, at co-ops, farmer’s markets, in bulk. Grow your own – turn lawns into food.

Need to cut back? Housing, cars and taxes dominate most budgets. Make dramatic cuts to these budget busters first.

Decadence is so passe. Frugality is the new cool. Finally, I’m part of the cool crowd! A frugal tip: shop clothing consignment stores.

Has stock market bottomed? I don’t think so. Too much debt, too much unleveraging, too much fear, too few jobs. Capitulation 1st.


“A man can’t ride your back unless it’s bent.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity. Obama

“It is only possible to live happily-ever-after on a day-to-day basis.” –Margaret Bonnano

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” Mary Engelbreit

Glimpses into my personal life:

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars. My 2009 moon is to travel for 5 months. What’s yours?

Working on my never-ending to-do list. My mom said, “The only time you’ll be caught up is when you’re 6′ under”. Puts it all in perspective!

DD: My skin is yellow, yours is pink. Can we be presidents, too? ME: Yes, no matter the color of our skin, we are all the same color inside.

I started a creative non-fiction writing class today. I haven’t had assigned homework in years! Oh, my brain hurts…

Me: What do you want her to paint on your face? DD: A horny horse. Face-painter: Say what!? Me: You mean a unicorn? DD: That’s what I said…

My genetic happiness set-point is low. I’ve learned that happiness is a CHOICE and it takes diligent PRACTICE!

Marveling that as of yesterday, I’ve been married half my life!

Stewing over writing part 3 of my “How did I” series (my 20’s) because of some difficult memories. But writing about them is therapeutic…

I was recently interviewed by Retire Early Lifestyle. Read it here:

Sending collection letters to past due customer accounts. Despise this task! Will be contracting for prepaid deposits more now w/ recession.

I’m formulating a new biz idea. So excited about the possibilities that I can barely sleep! This one will be simple to implement, $$$, fun!

One thing I wish I could save more money on? Health insurance. High deductible HSA = ~$1000/mo. for our healthy family of 3.

How much do we spend monthly on TV? $0. Surprisingly content with HOA-provided free basic satellite programming.

New blog posts:

Will I ever buy a home again? What am I invested in? Q&A at:

Posted: How did I become a millionaire? It started early:

Part 2 of my life story has been posted:

How I became a millionaire (Part 3: My twenties):

Part 4 of my series, How I Became A Millionaire:

Having trouble selling your home?

Need cheap date ideas? A Valentines plan? Here are 52 ideas:

Why blogging should be on YOUR to-do list, especially during tough economic times

Simple Prosperity: Finding the Sweet Spot Great interview with Dave Wann, bestselling author, filmmaker


If you find my “micro-blogging” tweets interesting or useful, follow me at: