One Tiny Thing - Practice Gratitude

One Tiny Thing - Practice Gratitude

We strive. We set goals for our future. We compare the person that we are now and the life we live with the one we want to be and the one we want to live in.

This is a good thing! Wanting to be better than you are today is what drives us forward.

However, for many people, happiness eludes us because of this comparison. We feel we aren’t getting there fast enough. 

One Tiny Thing - Be Okay with Grey

One Tiny Thing - Be Okay with Grey

We live in a very black and white society. We have a tendency to categorize things and people—fat or skinny, old or young, married or single, gay or straight.

We’re constantly under pressure to know what we want from our lives, to know who we are. Since we’re young, people ask us, “What’s your passion?” and expect us to turn that into a career. When we start dating, we’re asked, “Is he The One?” And when we get married it’s, “Do you want kids?” or worse, “When are you having kids?”

There’s all this pressure to KNOW. 

One Tiny Thing - Nurture Your Relationship

One Tiny Thing - Nurture Your Relationship

The bond between you and other people—especially your spouse—is important to your well-being. Bonding with other people has been scientifically proven to lead to longer, happier lives. Whether you’re married or single, it’s imperative to make a connection with other humans in some way.

Why do you think solitary confinement is used in prisons as a severe form of punishment? We need other people!

Throughout history, humans relied on each other for survival. Take Native Americans, for example. For centuries, American Indian tribes have banished people as punishment for serious offenses. Being kicked out of a community has historically been one of the worst things that could happen to a person. 

One Tiny Thing - Don't Hit Snooze

One Tiny Thing - Don't Hit Snooze

Do you hit the snooze button when you alarm goes off every day? I guess a better question for most of us would be: How many times do you hit the snooze button each day?

Hitting the snooze button for at least 40 minutes every day is a terrible weakness of mine. I have never been a morning person, and most days I swear that getting out of bed will kill me somehow.

But by hitting the snooze button in the morning, I am telling myself and my husband that I’m not ready to face the day. Whether I like it or not, I’m saying to myself, “I’d rather be unconscious than experience what this day has to offer me. I would rather be unconscious than experience the morning with my husband.”

Getting Rich with Robots

Getting Rich with Robots

My family has never been wealthy. We are solid lower middle class folks. My dad is a high school teacher and my mom is a bank teller, neither of which claims notoriety for raking in the big bucks. Ever since I was a kid, we purchased everything at Wal-Mart. I didn’t try sushi until I was 18 and in college. And my motto with clothing was (and still is) “If you’re fit, most everything looks decent even if it’s cheap!”

But now that I’ve grown up, things have changed. I worked hard to get a good job and have managed to pay off $36,000 in college loan debt. I have a savings account in case of emergency. Since my parents constantly struggled just to pay the bills, at first I wasn’t sure what to do with “extra” money I had. After maxing out my IRA each year, I just left whatever I managed to save in my bank savings account where it earned almost no interest.

And then my fiancé’s father told us about Betterment.

Spend Whatever the F*** You Want On Your Wedding

Spend Whatever the F*** You Want On Your Wedding

Psychology Today was Wrong:

Spending $20K+ on a Wedding Doesn’t Mean Divorce

On May 5th, 2015, Psychology Today posted an article titled “Research Proves Money Can’t Buy Happiness.” The article described the findings of a study by two Emory University associate professors, Andrew Francis-Tan and Hugo M. Mialon. They claimed that a couple spending over $20,000 on their wedding is significantly less likely to have a happy future together than a couple who spends between $5,000 - $10,000 on their big day.

CNN posted a similar article based on the same study called “Want a happy marriage? Have a big, cheap wedding.” Francis-Tan and Mialon’s study is titled “’A diamond is forever’ and other fairy tales: the relationship between wedding expenses and marriage duration.”

It really pissed me off!

These articles undoubtedly made many people feel guilty or nervous, especially considering the same report mentions that the average wedding cost at the time was $29,858. Personally, it pissed me off. Can you imagine someone telling you that if you spent more than $20,000 on your wedding, you would be 1.6 times more likely to get a divorce than if you paid under $10,000 for your wedding?

Ignoring This One Simple Exercise May Doom Your Relationship

Ignoring This One Simple Exercise May Doom Your Relationship

Every couples starts down the road of their relationship in a similar fashion. You meet someone. Butterflies make their appearance. You fall quickly or slowly into love-magic. After a time, you start to consider the future and (dare I say it?) commitment.

Unfortunately, many couples ignore what comes along with that commitment—planning for a future where finances wrinkle and need some ironing. Financial misalignment is responsible for a huge percentage of divorce in today’s world.

I have a friend who shows up with some new $500 purse or shoes every time I see her. Let’s call her Sally. Every time we meet, Sally almost immediately tell me how she and her husband have trouble paying the mortgage, and that it’s causing a lot of stress in her marriage. She thinks he spends too much on golf, and he thinks she spends too much on clothing.

I can’t really blame either of them. After all, if she sees a cute pair of heels in the store she has no reason not to buy them. Sally and her husband have no plan for their future.

The bummer is, this misalignment can be easily avoided with one quick and simple exercise—dreamscaping.

What is dreamscaping?

Dreamscaping is a lot like landscaping…only it’s for your future life. Let’s say you wanted to hire a landscape architect to redo your backyard. Your first step would be to sit down with this person and talk about what you want your yard to look like, what you plan to use it for, and how you want it to feel. They will draw up a sketch for you so you can see what the end result might look like. 

7 Badass Strategies for Retiring Early, Together

7 Badass Strategies for Retiring Early, Together

Retiring early seems to be the dream of the millennial generation. Books like 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris make it so easy to visualize—find your muse, travel the world and generally screw the man. It all sounds so simple and lovely.

The best thing is that it’s totally possible.

Tim is right. You CAN retire early. You CAN travel the world (or do nothing at all, if that’s your jam). You just have to plan for it. And if you have someone you love in your life, that plan should include both of you.

I know, I know. That part sounds like it might not be as fun as creating Pinterest boards of all of the exotic locations you plan to go and the food you’ll eat when you get there.

But it also doesn’t have to be that bad.

If you want to know the truth, finances bore the crap out of me. You’re probably wondering why I went to the trouble of creating my course, 90-Day Finance Fix, if I’m not interested in finance that much. The reason is that I’m also simultaneously fascinated with numbers, because plugging a few metrics into a spreadsheet means that you can make predictions of how / when you can meet a goal.

I’ve always said that 90% of the work is creating the plan. Then you just have to stick to it!

If you want a bit more comprehensive plan you can learn more about 90-Day Finance Fix here.

Even Pro Football Players Need Help with Personal Finance

According to this article by the NFL operatiosn website, the NFL will host the Second Annual Personal Finance camp for players and spouses.

Forty-three members of the NFL family, including 28 current and former players, will take part in the second annual NFL Personal Finance Camp in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on April 4-7. Green Bay Packers linebacker Julius Peppers, Chicago Bears safety Antrel Rolle and Detroit Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch are among the players taking part in the four-day financial education program. Fifteen players will be attending with their spouses or significant others, nearly doubling the total number of participants from the inaugural event last spring. 

How cool is that?

The only bummer thing is that more players aren't attending. 

What do you think?

How to Create a Wedding Budget

How to Create a Wedding Budget

One of the first things that crossed my mind the week after Chuck proposed was our wedding budget. I knew we would both want a special event, but wanted to keep it within reason as well. We didn’t want to get hitched at the courthouse on a Wednesday, but also didn’t need a white dove release after our “I dos.”

But what does “within reason” mean, anymore? According to the Huffington Post, the average cost of a wedding in 2015 hit an all-time high of over $31,000. Think about what you could do with that money! Put a down payment on a house, go on a bomb luxe vacation—even LIVE in some countries for several years! We didn’t want to go overboard, but didn’t have the first clue how to set up a budget.

We had certain “must haves” we already talked about, but after seeing so many friends get married, the expenses already sounded like they were going to be pretty intense. The nutty control freak in me wanted to get a number out there to work from. But, I quickly realized that the number I initially mentioned to Chuck wasn’t founded on….well….anything. After all, I didn’t have any kind of context of what is possible. 

Here are the steps we took to finalize our budget.

Step 1: Make sure your wedding budget flows into your overall budget

When we got started, I had no idea how our wedding budget would flow into our overall budget…. Because we didn’t have one yet. We had talked about finances just a little bit, but I didn’t have a great sense of where we were with retirement or even how much cash we had on hand all combined. That’s a whole other story.