How Much is Too Much House?

country-house-540796_640I wasn’t sure if he was going to have a nervous breakdown right there at my desk or not.  He kept saying over and over, “But they said that I could afford it.”  His wife looked at me with pleading eyes to comfort him as she went in the other room to tend to their children.  Finally, I mustered the courage to tell him what the numbers said.  As gently as I could, I told him, “Buddy, I don’t care what they told you.  Your housing expenses are a 42% of your income and the reason you are in my office today is YOU HAVE TOO MUCH HOUSE.”  He left shortly thereafter and I never saw him again.  He had gained the missing piece of the puzzle. Continue reading “How Much is Too Much House?”

Do You Have a Wonderful-Life Financial Plan?

its a wonderful life COLORWe all grow up dreaming of a Wonderful Life. Family and friends who love us. Good job. Nice house. Plenty of food. Enough money to take care of our needs and even some of our wants. When I got married one of my friends was asked to give us some marriage advice. His advice was classic. “Tim, give Terri everything she wants.” He added, “and Terri, only want what you need.” I can still remember his wife catcalling from the background about his bad advice. But, behind his playful banter was a principle. And the principle is this; for a family to be successful the family has to be on the same page and have a plan. Particularly in the area of money. Nothing will challenge a marriage more than how to manage the family resources. Continue reading “Do You Have a Wonderful-Life Financial Plan?”

Signs of a Healthy Financial System: Do You Have a Good Plan?

We all grow up dreaming of a Wonderful Life. Family and friends who love us. Good job. Nice house. Plenty of food. Enough money to take care of our needs and even some of our wants. When I got married one of my friends was asked to give us marriage advice. His advice was classic. “Tim, give Terri everything she wants.” “Terri, only want what you need.” I can still remember his wife catcalling from the background about his bad advice. But, behind his playful banter was a principle. And the principle is this; for a family to be successful the family has to be on the same page and have a plan. Particularly in the area of money. Nothing will challenge a marriage more than how to manage the family resources. Continue reading “Signs of a Healthy Financial System: Do You Have a Good Plan?”

Is it possible to be completely debt free?

chains-break-free-freedom-600x477Have you ever considered what it would feel like to be completely out of debt?

  • No mortgage payments.
  • No car payments.
  • No school loan payments.
  • No consumer loan payments.
  • No medical debt payments,
  • No personal loans.
  • Nothing.  Notta. Zilch.

What does that feel like? Freedom? Liberation?  Continue reading “Is it possible to be completely debt free?”

Write a Story with Your Budget

I am a sucker for a good story. I love to watch all kinds of TV. In fact, I watch a little too much TV. I don’t mean to, it just happens. We sit down to dinner around the TV (I know I am a bad example of the Cleavers not being around the dinner table). And the news turns to wheel of fortune, which turns into Duck Dynasty, which turns into a ball game with a good dose of Netflix drama to end the night. Before you know it the evening has gone and we spent the evening wrapped up in a series of stories. Some fact, some fiction.

What does that have to do with budgeting you say? Maybe nothing. Maybe everything. My love for story translates into budgeting. Each line item starts out just a number and then translates into a philosophy and then progresses to a real life event. Namely the story of my life told through the lens of resources expended on behalf of that line item. Let me give you an example. Continue reading “Write a Story with Your Budget”