I Can Do More to Save Money…And You Can Too!

Please welcome Jacob Merkley to the blog today.

My wife, daughter, and I spent the tail end of December and beginning part of January staying with my in-laws. It was great to spend the holidays with family and I walked away having learned a very valuable financial lesson, one that I most certainly wasn’t planning on learning.

My in-laws are very well off. And when I say “well off”, I mean that they live in the richest part of our city, have a mansion for a home, a $150,000 boat, a few cars that total over $200,000 combined, and an investment portfolio that I can only dream of. They definitely have a few million to their names.

Previous to this trip, I had never stayed with my in-laws before and I guess you could say that my eyes were opened as to how they got to where they are financially. I had always chalked it up to their ability to make money, but I learned that it had nothing to do with how much they made.

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EvoShare Review: Earn Cash for Retirement or Student Debt

Have you ever heard of EvoShare? No? Well I hadn’t heard of them either until recently. What they do is such a game changer that I think you might be interested in what they have to offer. Concerned about retirement savings or student debt?

Well, EvoShare is a company that enables you to save for your retirement or reduce your student debt by simply doing something you’re probably doing on a regular basis, shopping. EvoShare service allows you to use a portion of what you spend to be either placed into your retirement account, or pay off a student loan, all while still earning the same rewards you do today.

Even if you don’t have a retirement account set up today, EvoShare will hold on to your cash-back until you set one up.

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Money and Work Songs

Music can be very inspirational and motivating. When it comes to money and work we often need both. I listen to all types of music, often to relax or just calm my mind from the many things I might be focusing on in the moment.

I have written about the connection between music and money before, with the millions of songs in the world it’s hard not to have songs about these topics. Below is my latest list of money and work related songs. Happy listening.


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10 Best Movies About Money Of All Time

I’ve been a big fan of television and movies for a long time. I majored in television production and film in college. In fact, I have written several feature-length screenplays and other scripts. Believe it or not, out of college I had a literary agent …

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Important Money Lessons to Teach Your Kids

Parenting is all about giving tips to children and watching them implement those tips. A good parent is one who awakens the inner person in the child without being invasive. Kids don’t want their privacy invaded.

Most parents, however, fail in this. They don’t consider kids as individuals. When teaching something to somebody, one needs to make sure the tutee has the ability to internalize the lessons. Kids have this ability better than adults.

Hence, don’t underestimate them, and deliver them the following money-related lessons:

Wait before buying

One should never act impatiently in money-matters. The urge to purchase something is too tempting to resist. Parents need to teach kids why it’s important to wait.

Kids often demand their parents to buy them toys and other stuff. While some parents immediately give in to such demands, others don’t. Both are in the extremes and bad for kids. Parents should give their kids what they demand, but not immediately.

Children are intelligent. They can connect the dots and discover a causal relationship between two incidents. If parents buy kids what they want, not immediately but after a bit of delay, then kids will learn the importance of patience. Later when they’ll grow up, this will prevent them from acting hastily in financial matters.

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Financial Literacy Matchmaking

We are about a week away from kicking off the 16/17 school year for our three children. We typically start after Labor Day. This will also mark my third year as a committee member with my local school district, with the goal of championing financial literacy.

It has been an interesting two years. I have learned a lot about the inner working of a large school district. As you can imagine with any public institution there is a lot of red tape or events that can occur that can throw you off course to reaching your goals.

A great reminder of this was during the final months of the 15/16 school year I had pitched the idea of a screening of the documentary of Broke, Busted, and Disgusted, followed by a presentation on financial education. Unfortunately, due to a scheduling crunch it could not be accommodated and was postponed.

Luckily my voice has been heard over the last two years and it seems as if this will be the year multiple initiatives will be put in place to help increase the level of financial literacy within our district, and directly help students.  An incredible reward for volunteering a few hours of my time.

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Money Blueprint

I have recent had the opportunity to coach a few people with varies financial difficulties. I won’t go into too much detail, but that all have two things in common. They had debt and didn’t know where to begin to get out of that debt.

In my initial conversations with someone I always ask a number of qualifying questions. I like to get an understanding of their current situation. A key for me is understanding “why” they want to get out of debt. If they can’t answer that questions, then I know they might not be ready to begin or simply just need help getting to that answer.

A particular couple, was eager to get started, so much so that they were looking to bypass some of the early steps and jump to automation. When I mentioned the word budget it was like I was insulting their mother with four letter words.

I knew right away they were going to present a unique challenge for me. I stopped with that line of questions and tried a different approach.

What do most people make before they go to the grocery store?

A shopping list.

What’s usually sent out prior to a start of a meeting, so everyone attending understands what’s expected to be covered during the meeting?

A meeting agenda.

What do football players study from?

Playbook (husband answered)

What do you need to build a house?

Set of plans.

What do all of these things have in common?

They help people get organized before they begin working on an activity or work better as a team. So if I now ask you what’s the best way to understand your finances, what would you say?

A budget.


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Spending Habits of Teenagers

I’m sure there is some report somewhere that captures the spending habits of teenagers, but after setting up bank accounts and debit cards for our three teenagers early this year I had to look not farther than our online statements.

Now their accounts have only been open a little over four months so this will be far from a scientific study, but will shed some insight on what at least our teenagers are spending their money on this summer.

It’s a good chance for us to review their choices and help guide them. As I’m sure others reading this with teenagers understand that teenagers know everything and are very temperamental. They need to be handled gently at all times.  I kid, I kid, they know we mean well, they just don’t like to hear it.


The Gory Details

We have three teenagers, seventeen-year-old twins (boy-girl) and a fourteen-year-old son. Now it’s a bit early to break down the numbers, so I just give you the categories at a high-level. Here’s how their spending has broken down:

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Money Making Tips to Offset Your Home Mortgage

It’s a great feeling to own your own home, but every now and then, unexpected home expenses pop up—whether your AC goes out in the middle of the summer, or your plumbing needs to be upgraded—can be majorly stressful. We believe that a  great way to prepare for unexpected financial setbacks is to establish an additional source of income.

You don’t have to take on a second job, either. There are plenty of ways to make extra cash without disrupting your normal routine, and some of them don’t even involve leaving home!


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Book Review: Above Average Finance

I recently had the opportunity to review the book Above Average Finance: Investment Strategies to Put You Ahead of the Rest by James Pollard. You may recognize James. He is the founder of PersonalFinanceGenius.com. James provided me with a PDF copy of the book for my review.


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Book Review: Hustle Away Debt

I recently had the opportunity to review the book Hustle Away Debt: Eliminate Your Debt by Making More Money by David Carlson. You may recognize David or D.C. as we like to call him around here. He is the founder of the blog Young Adult …

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Millennials and Student Loan Debt

Millennials might be paying significantly more for school and accumulating recording setting student debt, but they do not mind according to a new study of 500 college graduate students from Credit Sesame. Even though the price of college has long been going through the roof …

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