So I’m Trying to be Good with Money

… and I’m starting a website about it.

Yep, that’s right, I’m going to abandon “I think I think” for the most part in pursuit of a new endeavor that is: www.QuarterLifeCapital.com.

I’m trying to get legit with this blog/website stuff. Including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest (yes, it’s all still raw). I even registered with the state as a D/B/A and opened a business checking account. So please like, follow, and give me feedback! I’m sure you’ll see me post stuff from the new website on my personal accounts at least for the first couple months.

I actually wrote this post a few months ago when putting of CPA studying. It will be my first and maybe only crossover post between my two websites.

Enjoy, and thanks for reading for the last few years!

 

I’m a numbers nerd. I get it. But everyone has an active duty to be financially literate. Here’s a few quick pointers I’m giving away for free. Some I’ve picked up from Forbes, others I’ve picked up from Dave Ramsey, and yet others I literally just came up with as I’m writing.

1. Be relentless.personal-finance-advice

Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy peace of mind. Don’t be passive. Be active. Be smart. Have goals and stick to them. Don’t sit around. Take an active role in being the best you can be financially.

2. Use all of your resources

It all starts with online banking and bill pay, but beleive me when I say that Mint.com has changed my life. The two best parts of Mint are the savings goals and the budget features. Every dollar I earn has a mission. I don’t stick to set budgets for groceries, going out, etc., but I know seeing how much money I spend per month does alter my behavior (I’ve spent more money on booze then groceries this month? Oy vey, time to cut back). Having 4-5 savings goals, however is huge. Seeing what percentage you’re at when saving for vacation or an emergency fund, and meeting those goals is a huge sense of accomplishment.

You may be reluctant to join Mint because of security issues, but I would argue it’s way more secure having it then not. I can see in one snapshot all of my accounts at different banks, credit cards, investments, etc. If one dollar moves without my consent, I know because of Mint.  And you cannot move money on Mint. It’s just there to view and track. Seriously just get it and play around with it. Categorize some transactions, make a few goals, and soon you’ll be hooked. You can’t afford not to. Oh and it’s free.

3. Spend money on things you love

I love going out with my friends. I spend money to go out with my friends. I don’t like shopping so much, so I don’t spend much shopping. I buy nice clothes when I need them and cheap clothes when I don’t. Figure out what makes you happy and spend money on it. This takes discipline, but it also allows you to enjoy yourself when you do spend money on the things you love without feeling too guilty about your bar tab or shopping receipt.

Just don’t love and spend money everything.

4. Seek Information

I’m going to challenge everyone reading this to go to a personal finance website next and just browse around. There’s SO MUCH INFO out there just begging to help you with your finances. Everything from paying off student loans, to which credit card you should get, to which days are best for certain groceries. Forbes, CNN Money, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance are my go-to’s. Even Reddit has a great Personal Finance section that is fully interactive. Reading 1-2 articles per week will help you begin to pick up on very important habits.

So there’s a few habits I’ve tried to form in my postgrad life regarding personal finance. I’m no guru, but if one of you takes a more active role in managing your money, it was worth my time to do this article.

 

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Ferguson Blog Post.

What can be said about Ferguson that hasn’t already been said? We’ve all talked about it, read about it, tweeted about it, and literally watched all of it unfold on international television.

All I’m going to do in this post is copy a few quotes that I think are worth sharing. Some of these are from people commenting on Ferguson, and others just stuck out to me as relevant to what’s going on right now. I’m tempted to give thoughts and reflections about these quotes, but instead I’m just going to leave them there.

What’s better to start with than 80’s pop?

Things look so bad everywhere. In this whole world, what is fair? We walk blind and we try to see. Falling behind in what could be. Bring me a higher love. – Steve Winwood “Higher Love”

Not all cops are bad. Not all black people are criminals. And not all white people are racist. Stop labeling. It’s 2014 let’s get equal. – Kevin Hart, comedian.

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. – Winston Churchill

We are doing such a grave disservice to police officers in this country by pushing a narrative that they are just going around looking to shoot and kill black people. Somebody needs to tell me why Michael Brown has been chosen as the face of black oppression. – Joe Scarborough, MSNBC.

People [are] saying one thing when the camera’s on and then saying something completely different when the camera gets turned off, because they’re somehow afraid they’ll be called racist if they tell the truth. – Joe Scarborough again.

We must find common ground, but you can only find common ground with facts on the table. – Rev. Al Sharpton

These demonstrations have been a sobering reminder that St. Louis still exists. – Stephen Colbert. Too funny. Had to add.

There is not a liberal America and a conservative America – there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and latino America and asian America – there’s the United States of America. – Barack Obama

I’M HOPELESS, because I’ve lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I’m not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails… I’M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it’s a beautiful thing. – NFL TE Benjamin Watson

I know for sure we’re all in this together. And in a thousand years we still won’t get it right.   – Pat Green “Footsteps of our Fathers”

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. – MLK

All Aboard the Bandwagon

The worst thing you can call a sports fan is a Bandwagoner.

According to Urban Dictionary, a “Bandwagon Fan” is:

Whenever a region’s sports team suddenly gets really good really quickly, everyone and their f***ing dog either buys a sports jersey or takes their old one out of the closet where it’s been for 20 years, proclaiming they are a diehard fan. Bandwagon fans usually flock to their team’s games in large numbers and usually constitute 80% of that team’s fanbase. See Florida Gators.

I’m going to defend them.

It’s hard rooting for bad teams, much less teams that may move cities. See my last post. There’s a little bandwagon in all of us. I think 80% of any fan base is a good estimate for bandwagoners. We like to see winning teams.

The Royals have not been a winning team. You know that stats. Living in KC last summer, I enjoyed going to a few Royals games. They were turning things around, but nobody expected what has played out this postseason. Even into this season, The K was pretty empty. I’m not blaming anyone. It’s tough. Half of the Ed Jones Dome at the 49ers game wore red. Nobody deserves the agony that has played out with the Royals over the last three decades. It sucks. It’s difficult.

The bandwagon fans are a huge part of what’s making this team so special. And I’m with them. Royals are my #2 team. Yes I bought my first piece of Royals merchandise. No I didn’t watch any regular season game. Yes I would have loved to see the Cardinals make it.

Bandwagon fans are part of what make Cinderella sports runs so incredible. Rams are the anti-bandwagon now because we’ve been so bad. Half of all the jerseys at the Dome today were from the Greatest Show era. And the other half were Seahawks jerseys. Speaking of bandwagon. Ughhhhh. At least the Rams got this one. 

Will the Royals sell out regular season games next season? Probably not. It doesn’t matter. They have the entire country buzzing, playing the most exciting ball I’ve ever seen. An underpaid overachieving group of role players just dominated the Angels and the Orioles. Thanks to the damn bandwagoners, Royals tickets are going for a rent payment on StubHub. This is what makes sports great.

Call me a bandwagoner, but I’m rooting for my #2 ball club, a Missouri team, and a bunch of guys that are having a blast. I couldn’t be happier right now. Well unless it was an I-70 Series, but I’ll take what I can get. Live it up, KC. You’ve earned it.

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ALL ABOARD!!!!!!!

The Silence of the Rams

I went to my first Rams regular season game yesterday. Of course we lost, but, like always, we played one great half.

It’s a completely new experience actually living in the town where all your teams are based. One of the huge perks is listening to sports talk radio. My favorite show is The Morning After on 920 AM. They had a great section last week with this KC Sports Talk guy who talked shit on St. Louis for a full hour. Give it a listen. Great stuff.

The guys on the show do a great job of covering St. Louis sports, reading mean texts, and generally being angry old men. Usually included is a daily update of whether the Rams are going to LA or not. Up until today I had the same feelings the guys on the show did. Not good.

Why? Silence.

Every time anyone asks the Raiders or the Chargers about moving, they jump in front of the story and say “Absolutely not. We’re staying.” Not so much with the Rams.

The lease for the Ed Jones Dome expires in January, and if the Rams are staying, our owner, Columbia billionaire Stan Kroenke, needs a new stadium.

He’s already bought land in LA. Not good you guys.

But the day after a the 49ers beat the Rams at home on the 15th anniversary celebration of the Greatest Show on Turf, some news broke.

The Post-Dispatch is reporting that there are talks about “a proposal for an open-air stadium along the St. Louis riverfront.”

bobandweave_original_crop_exactCue the Bob ‘n Weave. (Yeah they did this last night. I died.)

We won’t know anything until after the November midterm elections. Why that matters so much when neither the Governor nor the Mayor are up for re-election? I don’t know. It’s politics. Taxpayer funded stadiums for a team that hasn’t won a playoff game in 10 years may be unpopular.

But rumors of talks are better than complete silence.

Either way, the Rams have until February 15 to declare to move. It’s going to be an interesting four months.

I’ll cry either way.

 

This Month’s Company I Love: Aldi

Maybe it’s the jealousy over my parents being in Germany for Octoberfest, but I’m loving the German Grocer Aldi recently.

So much so I’ve stopped tweeting at the grocery store. The efficiency of Aldi doesn’t lead to a time-wasting activity such as tweeting while shopping. If I stop in an aisle, I need a purpose. Tweeting isn’t a good enough reason. Too much efficiency.

Aldi is hands down one of the most efficient companies in the world.

The summer of 2005, I was sixteen years old. I pushed carts and bagged groceries at Gerbes all summer. I hate to think my job can be considered meaningless, but there’s no such thing as a cart pusher or bagger at Aldi. The checkers throw the cart and you bag them yourself. And the carts? Ohhh man the carts. Aldi-QuarterForCartSign-2

The quarter-for-a-cart idea might be the best retail idea I’ve ever heard of. There’s a sign that explains it to you outside every store. You pay a quarter for your cart, and when you bring it back, you get your quarter back. You’ll never ever find a shopping cart in a seemingly empty parking space. You’ll never have a teenage worker faint in the summer heat from pushing carts (*cough* me *cough*).

There’s never more than 4-5 workers at one Aldi at one time. This may seem problematic. The check-out lines can get a little long, but I go right after work and Schnucks is no better. I’ve never had to ask an Aldi worker where I can find an item. There’s 4 aisles and you just weave around and get your items and in 20 minutes, you’re done. No wild goose chase. How long does it take you to walk through every aisle of your grocery store? They only carry the essentials, and 90% of the time that’s fine. I’ll go to Schnucks for craft beer or random cooking items when I need to, but Aldi carries only what I need every week or two.

And it’s so cheap. I’ve completely filled my shopping cart many times and have never paid over $70. I’ve literally had to ask the checker before, “Are you serious?”

I refuse to believe the quality is worse than the average grocer. Hell, 90% of Germans  shop at Aldi’s sister store. The prices are cheap because of the efficiency, not the food quality. Believe it.

Aldi. BMW. Octoberfest.

Germans know what they’re doing.

Is the NFL Fiasco More Like the WWE or the Government?

I think everyone is pretty much on the same page on the Ray Rice story. He’s an animal, and should be fired. He was. NFL players need to better behave themselves. Great. Now let’s continue talking about when Johnny Manziel will start.

Photo: AP

But wait, there’s more. The tape. (Jim Ross voice) OH MAH GAWD THE TAPE! Did Goodell see it? Did he not see it? Does it matter? Who knew? Who hid it? Who killed Kennedy? Why are so many NFL players beating up their loved ones? I don’t know! Pandemonium!!!!!

I thought this was another one-day news story being beat to death by ESPN. Make no mistake – it is. But there’s angles here that play out in our society every day that the media only dared to touch once another and another and another story came out. This is the essence of the culture that American media has created. And it made me realize that there are stunning parallels between this story and two parts of society. Of these two parts, one is important. The other isn’t. One attempts to avoid drama at all costs. The other thrives on it. One’s public face is the American President. The other has a superstar nicknamed “The All American American.”

It’s time to enter the ring, or the debate podium, and figure out if the Ray Rice story belongs in the Government or the WWE! Cue entrance music!

Argument 1: WWE

Was it Hulk Hogan in the locker room with the chair? Or perhaps Triple H in the garage with the sledge hammer? Nope, it was Ray Rice in the elevator with the closed fist and Adrian Peterson with the tree branch. I’m not condoning anything these two did, but that tape literally looked like it was from Monday Night RAW. It’s a serious issue when anyone can compare something that happened in real life to the “fake” WWE, but this has to be something Vince McMahon has written before. Randy Orton has DDT’d Stephanie McMahon – Vince’s own daughter. Not cool in this situation either. At least in the WWE, Stephanie’s husband, Triple H, was attempting to defend her.

I know I lost you there with the wrestling talk. The bottom line is this sort of behavior is the type that should be reserved exclusively for the WWE in staged circumstances. I only wish the tape was in fact a staged event for (maybe somewhat sick) entertainment purposes, where nobody was seriously injured. This isn’t the case. The WWE is certainly where this footage and story belongs. That’s why it’s most similar to the WWE.

Argument 2: The Government

Did Goodell see the tape? Did Obama know about the IRS targeting? How about Bush and 9/11? What happened to the Nixon tapes?

Both the government and the NFL have a monopoly. When you think of monopolies you think about companies in a certain industry. But make no mistake, the NFL and the US Government operate a monopoly. I totally and completely agree that these monopolies should exist and operate in their current state, but the fact remains. Any time you have a monopoly, there is an attempt to curb transparency. The NFL needs to save face just as the government does. Public trust can play a huge role for both of these entities, though neither of which are going away any time soon.

I don’t know if Goodell saw the tape any more than I know who killed Kennedy. What I do know is the NFL has a history of covering things up just as the government does. Concussions becoming an NFL safety issue about two decades late comes to mind. Do I think there’s something Goodell isn’t telling us? Yeah. Do I think it’s world breaking news? I don’t care. I’m used to it.

It’s how they both operate. Saving face then doing back door deals to keep power. It’s the world we live in on Sundays and every day of the week.

(Now I need some back door deals to get done to keep the Rams in St. Louis. C’mon Goodell and Kroenke! I know you can do something!)

Oh yeah and the former FBI Director is investigating the NFL in handling of the case. Parallels people… Parallels…

In conclusion, these stories are sad for so many reasons. There are real victims here unlike the WWE, but the fact that it could be mistaken for a fake wrestling plot is sad in and of itself. We can’t let violence against women and children go on with a 2-game suspension, and we must hold our NFL and government monopolies accountable to our interests as fans and citizens, either at the stadium or at the polling booth.

Winner: Government. The issues are real. Don’t get caught up in the drama-fueled tabloid headlines that TMZ and WWE is successful at manufacturing.

Damn. That post got real. Sorry bout that.

Quick Thoughts on Furgeson

The militarization of the police, while certainly an issue to discuss, is not the problem in Ferguson.

The problem is that the ones who are supposed to be responsible for keeping the peace are the ones being held responsible, justifiably or not, for disturbing it.

It appears the more cops you send to Ferguson, SWAT gear or no, the more shit’s going to hit the fan. And that’s scary.

If I’m an old lady living in Ferguson, I want the police there. If I’m a police officer that has to be there in the middle of molotov cocktails, bricks, rocks, even alleged gunshots, I want to be prepared. Has it been handled poorly? Yes, but how should it have been handled? Not at all? With open arms? Ideally yes. Realistically, nope. I just don’t know.

I offer no solution other than to try on both sides to stop viewing this as an “us vs. them” war.

All of us can do better with that at times.