Thursday, May 24, 2012

Back to Running

Life is so friggin busy. We have been skipping our runs just trying to keep up with life. My step-son got through his small surgery and my wife brought him home today. So now that his emergency is over and he is home safe I decided to go for a run today.

It is simply amazing how good I feel even after a bad run. My time was bad and the distance was only 2 miles, but it felt good.

I need to figure out how to always squeeze in time for a run.

Looks like I need to find my blinky light so that I can do some night runs. My day starts at 4:45 as it is so I can get to work by 6:00.

If anyone has some ideas on getting time squeezed into a full day let me know.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Control. I doesn't haz it.

Simple and true

3 Stages of LIFE :)

Running for fun

I started running a couple of years ago to lose weight. Now when I started I was about 40lbs over-weight.  I found that while I was feeling better physically, I also gain an inner peace. I felt good on the outside and felt good on the inside so I started running father and farther. After a while it was no big deal for me to log up to 50 miles in a week.

Well I was doing all my running on a tread mill and that was ok, but I started getting bored. So I moved my runs to the outside world. My first problem was keeping track of the miles I was logging, so I started using the Nike+. It worked pretty good for a while and I used on of the built in training programs to help me get ready for my first 1/2 marathon. It was really good for the coaching and if you get some of the Nike+ music mixes from ITunes then the running just gets better. You need an IPod and the Nike+ equipment to get going. If you have an IPod then the Nike+ components will cost you about $59 for the band.  Here is the link to the Nike+ running stuff. The only complaint I had was that it wasn't dead on accurate and the website was a little crappy.

I have switched to a free Android App from Adidas called micoach. It has a great website and great training tools. The best thing is that it uses the GPS in my phone and is super accurate. Now I am no longer running 50 miles a week. I am lucky if we get 15 miles in a week, but we are doing it for some alone time and just to stay active. Here is the link to the Adidas products that go with micoach.

Running or walking is a great way to get some private time with your spouse because the kids usually don't want to go.

I love my wife.

Credit Myths and Facts

Your Credit

I am not the end all be all of all information but I just read this small article about credit score misconceptions.

I am concerned that people don't already know this information. Read the article and then look at my responses.

1. FICO is not the only bureau, but it is the most widely used score for loan purposes.

2. You can check your own credit all you want. This will not hurt your scores as long as you check it the right way. So people have access to run credit reports in various industries. If you work at a car dealership you can run your own report, but this will hurt your score because it appears that you are shopping for a loan. Make sure that you get your report from a reputable source and you will be fine. Try using

3. Most employers are only looking to see if you have a history of problems.

4. Your credit score will naturally improve as long as you are doing the right things. Try to keep your debt to no more than 35% of your available credit and pay your bills on time every time without failure.

5. Credit cards are good for your score up to a point. The best way I can say to do it is for you to have no more than two cards in your wallet. Keep your credit spending to less than 35% of the total available on each card. If you really think about it just save the cash and then buy your stuff.

6. If you already have a good score you are not on easy street. You still have to do your own due diligence to make sure your score stays high. Make sure you are monitoring your credit and paying your bills on time. It is real easy to get comfortable and stop paying attention. Your score can fall fast and take a long time to bring it back.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hard Scape Flower Planter

Over the winter we helped my sister put stone veneer on both of the fire places at her house. As part of the payment we got the leftover stone.

In an effort to increase the quality of life we enjoy at home we have been doing a lot of work on the out side of our house.

The first project was a Fire Pit.

The second project was a Hard Scape Flower Planter.

[caption id="attachment_43" align="alignnone" width="168"]Flower Planter Our new Flower Planter[/caption]

Fire Pit

We recently torn down a Brady Bunch style BBQ in our backyard and built a new fire pit.

We love to build fires and just relax out by the fire.

[caption id="attachment_39" align="alignnone" width="300"]Fire Pit Our new Fire Pit[/caption]

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Go Getter

I just finished a short book.

The Go-Getter (a Story That Tells You How to Be One)
by Peter B. Kyne

This was a great read and a great story line. The book should be a mandatory read for all kids by the 7th grade. It could lift up hopes and give people a purpose for living a great life.

The Go-Getter by Peter B. Kyne

Great read with a great story line.

View all my reviews

The Coming Meltdown in College Education & Why The Economy Won't Get Better Any Time Soon

This is exactly why I don't want my kids to take student loans. Life sucks when you start out 50k in the hole for a job that will not earn 50k for the next 5 years.

Things Change

What else can be said. Just keep trying to succeed and eventually something will stick to the wall.

Planning for College

Planning for college is a seriously daunting task.

My wife and I got married last year and we merged two families. We now have a total of five kids. My two kids from a previous marriage are with us part time and here three kids are with us part time as well. My oldest step-daughter is a senior in high school and getting ready to graduate.

She is planning on going to Wright State University for her college degree, but not sure what she wants to do. We are trying to plan for the expense of college and we have finally run all the numbers with her and she has seen the light that she is broke and has to work hard to save money to pay for college.

Now don't start yelling at me about the fact that we should have been ready for this. We have only been married for a year and haven't had time to plan.

For a little background information my previous marriage was a financial disaster and I took all the debt as a way to get out of a bad marriage. I also pay for the house my ex-wife lives in for the rest of this year and then I am free to sell the house. Once the debt is paid off and the house is sold we can pay for college with cash. We have told her that we are willing to help with more than half of the college but the requirement is that she remains on the Dean's list and she has to pay for her gas to get to college, her insurance for her car, and the books. She has to find a way to pay for the other half of college however she can. She will continue to get money from her father to help but the rest of it she has to work for.

The last thing I want is for her to go to college and graduate with $50,000.00 in debt. That is no way to start your adult life.

We have started training her on how to save and do a budget. We are doing the old fashioned method of using the envelope system for what she has to pay. She takes a portion of her paychecks and puts it into envelopes for gas, books, car insurance, and tuition. It is really cool to see the fear and then the relief that comes across her eyes as we teach her to work through the trails and tribulations of life especially when she has the money on hand to deal with the bills that  come from being grown up.

Growing up at 40 is more fun when you can pass some skills and knowledge on to your kids.

Life is good

Last night my wife and I were outside doing yard work and general outside stuff. She was working on a new flower box made from cinder blocks and stone veneer and I was cutting the grass and made a fire in our new fire pit. My step-son was just running around being silly.

I had really worked up a good sweat and realized that this is the good life.

We work hard and play hard and just have a lot of fun.

Life is Good!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Saving for Retirement

Saving for Retirement when your a Late Starter

If your saving for retirement and you go a late start then here are some things to remember:

  • Get Going: I completely understand getting started late, but don't sit and cry about it get started now. Start saving today and make it your priority just after paying off your debt. If you haven't saved for your child's college tuition this would be the time to explain it to them that they will have to work in college. Don't feel guilty just tell them the truth they will live through it.

  • No more house payment: If it is at all possible get your house payed off in full before you retire. Pay extra principal payments to get the sucker done. If your house payment is $2000.00/month and you can get it payed off then that is $2000.00/month less you will need in retirement.

  • Wait for Social Security: Hold off as long as you can to start collecting Social Security, but don't go past 70. If you are a late saver then live off whatever you have managed to save until you get close to 70 then start using your Social Security to supply your income when you run out of your own savings.

  • Don’t invest with your hair on fire:Don't go stock market crazy and invest in every hot stock. Be smart about what you are investing in. If you are too aggressive you could end up losing what little you have saved.

  • Don’t invest while sitting on a block of ice: Do be too frugal with your investing. You need a little risk to get the large gains you need to make up ground.

  • Use the tools the tax man gives us: Get some guidance to help you understand the various ways to invest. 401K, Roth IRA, Mutual Funds or whatever route you choose, the big thing here is to find ways to save on your taxes.

  • Work a couple more years: Since you put off saving for twenty years go ahead and give 5 more years to the work force. During the last years you are working live off PB&J, beans and rice, and noodles. Save everything you can. You could save nearly $25000.00 in five years if you just quit eating lunch out and pack instead. If you managed to save $5000.00/year for 5 years and got 8% return you would have over $31,000.00 after the 5 years. If you would have started that 20 years ago you would have over $245,000.00.

Check out this calculator to see what you can do.