Friday, November 18, 2011

Do You Pay Santa Claus With A Credit Card?


I am not going to lie, I used to be a bit of a Scrooge when it came to Christmas. Then I got married, and those of you who know my wife… well let’s just say we have had our decorations up for nearly three weeks now. So shortly after we got hitched and I was acting like old Ebenezer, Liz made it pretty clear to me that my Grinch attitude was not going to fly – I needed to do something about it.

I found myself evaluating why I had such a bad attitude about Christmas. As you can probably guess, it was not the holiday that turned me into a Grinch, it was the bills! I know many of you can probably relate and as the Holiday season is approaching I thought I would pass out a few pointers!

1.) Save throughout the year! It turns out that Christmas is every year on December 25th (shocker, I know). Try saving $25 every paycheck, I bet you wouldn’t even notice that amount missing. There are about 26 paychecks in a year so you could have $650 for Christmas!

Ok, well what if you didn’t save all year. Step 1: Start THIS year. Step 2: Try some of these options:

2.) Get back to the reason for the season with a homemade/no-gift holiday celebration. With so many families struggling these days, I think everyone could benefit from stepping back and remembering what is truly important.

3.) Pay cash, you still have a few weeks to save. Go out and only buy the gifts that you can pay cash for. This may be a little stressful up-front but when the day arrives and there is no credit card bill there will be significantly less stress.

4.) Consider implementing a cost limit on your gift giving. Maybe this year your gifts do not exceed $20 in cost!

Do you have other ideas that I didn’t mention here? What are you and your family doing this year? Leave a comment!

Friday, November 11, 2011


Today’s article is a guest post from Professor George Morgan.

WallstI became aware of the stock market 45 years ago. But, the market that I was introduced to was a very different market than the one we have today. The market I meet was a physical place that was run by people who stood on the floor of a huge building and took orders over the phone and then completed those trades by hand. News came from a ticket tape, the morning newspaper and land lines. It was a market that sometimes turned emotional. At other times it moved at a snail’s pace, when it moved at all. But, the majority of the time it displayed a sense of rationality and order.

Today’s market is an entirely different animal. Today the market has replaced humans with computers that decide when to buy and when to sell. Then the computers complete the transactions among themselves. It no longer has a geographical center, but rather it spans the globe. Stocks that were once only traded on the New York Stock Exchange can be bought and sold almost anywhere in the world. Trades and information move at the speed of light. The market that I met was dominated by the actions of the individual investors. Today’s market is dominated by institutions and the individual investor must learn to accept this and adjust accordingly. Currently, volatility is the general order of the day with rationality and order taking a distant back seat.

Jack Walsh, the iconic ex CEO of General Electric is fond of saying, “Change before you have to.” It is critical for investors to appreciate the fact that not only will the market continue to change, but like the rest of our world, the pace of the change will accelerate. Investors need to be prepared to adjust their thinking and seek out solutions to an environment where constant change is the only thing not changing.

Professor Morgan completed his undergraduate work at San Diego State University and his graduate work at Purdue University. He has held faculty appointments at Purdue University and Ball State University. He has 30 years’ experience as a Financial Advisor with two local brokerage firms. He currently holds a position as Adjunct Professor of Finance at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. Learn more or contact Professor Morgan at: George Morgan - LinkedIn

Monday, November 7, 2011

Financial Tech Podcast 10: Values and Money


Where we spend our money is a reflection of our interests, values and priorities.

Does your bank statement reflect what you value?

If a stranger were to look at your last monthly statement what would they assume you love to do?

So how do I get my bank statement to reflect what I value?

· Conduct a self audit

  • Where is your money going
  • Is that where you want it to go?

· Establish your true values

  • Spend on what you love
  • Cut out the things you don’t love
  • You can’t love everything!

· Then re-evaluate

Use to help you set alerts for your spending.

Try using to electronically simulate the cash method of budgeting!