3 Financial Lessons I’ve Learned From Angry Birds

angry birdsI’m sure you’ve heard of the smartphone game Angry Birds.❠  If you haven’t, you’ve been living under a rock.   Not only is it one of the most fun cell phone games to play but it’s extremely addicting.  I’ll be honest; I’ve wasted possibly hundreds of hours playing this game.   Yes, it’s embarrassing to admit.   Thankfully I recently beat the game and now I don’t play it anymore!   In case you’re wondering, no you shouldn’t get this game.   It’s dangerously addicting and will suck your time away like you would not believe.

So, where am I going with hits?   Well, after playing Angry Birds I’ve actually learned a couple financial lessons that I’d love to share with you!   You don’t need to play the game to understand these lessons, so please enjoy!


1-Learn from past mistakes and move on

Learning from your investment mistakes is painful but a necessary event in one’s life.   I learned this lesson firsthand playing Angry Birds.   The game is setup in a way that you have an obstacle in the way of you killing little monsters.   In your arsenal you have angry birds❠that you slingshot into the obstacles.   The lesson I learned was that if a certain strategy didn’t work, I shouldn’t waste my time trying to do the same thing again.

In the realm of personal finance, this is especially true.   I’ve made many mistakes with my finances and learning from them has been monumental in my long term success.   I learn from these mistakes such as busting my monthly budget and then I move on with life.   These lessons are building blocks❠for your total personal financial portfolio.


2- Persistence is the key to success

If failing scares you, then Angry Birds is not the game for you!   You’re guaranteed to fail a level but the key to winning the game is to keep trying.   I remember getting so incredibly frustrated and wanted to quit.   I vowed to beat the game so I kept on plugging away.

The same goes for your finances.   How many times do you get discouraged because of bad spending habits or even not making your vacation savings goal.   It’s OK to fail, just keep going!     If you do, you will succeed with persistence.   Shoot, I mean look at Thomas Edison.   He failed hundreds of times trying to create the first light bulb.   After much blood and sweat, he finally persevered.   Take the same approach with your finances.


3- Guide your investments or failure is near

With Angry Birds, guiding the birds to the obstacles was the key to my success.   You could choose which direction the slingshot went and if you made the wrong choice or got lazy, the birds would fly directly over their target and totally miss!   Unless I guided the birds, I was bound to fail the level I was playing.

Same goes with your personal finances.  You’re doomed to fail without guidance.  This can be applied to your budgets, spending patterns, and your savings goals.  You need to come up with a plan that is achievable and conquer it by making the right decisions.  Just like the birds, you need to guide your investments and finances to achieve financial freedom.


How will you guide your birds?

Isn’t this true with the way we view our investments and money?   Why do we take unnecessary risks or lazily invest⦠  Why not take a more planned approach and go in directly.   Unless you guide your investments, your portfolio is going to dwindle.   This relates to everything from reducing your investment fees and rebalancing once a year.   I hate the word failure.❠  Guide your investments like you guide a couple angry birds and prosper in the long run!

Person to Person Lending Guide

person to person lendingIn 2011, we saw banks completely shut down credit lines, homes were foreclosed and interest rates were raised.  It really was a war-zone for a while.  What if I told you that you don’t have to rely on banks for lending?!

Banks are not the “end all” for every type of situation.  Yes, they’re useful under certain circumstances, but you really don’t “need” a bank.

So, what if you get stiff armed by a bank?  What do you do?  Where do you go…

Well, this is where person to person lending comes in, also known as peer to peer lending.  At it’s core, it’s exactly what it means.  A person has cash sitting around and would like to make some additional interest on their money.  So, that person would lend their money to someone in need.  As a return the borrower would pay interest to the lender.  It’s as simple as that.

Don’t know where to start?  You can head over to Lending Club or Prosper and get an account. Both are excellent companies with a long track record.  Both offer personal loans with interest rates that rival big name banks!  I personally haven’t used either of these companies but my friend Peter from Bible Money Matters has.  You can check out his experience with Lending club here.

So, what are these two companies all about?  It’s actually pretty simple how they work.  If you are a borrower, you can apply for a personal loan.  If I was a lender I would agree to loan out my money or pass up on an offer.  Once the agreed amount is set in stone and the person has enough lenders, the full loan amount is given out and the borrower makes monthly payments.  It really is a cool concept and opens p doors for small businesses to get the loans they need or for people to skip out on banks for smaller loans.


What borrowers need to know

If you’re seriously interested in taking out a personal loan, the first step is to fill out an application. You’ll be asked about your credit history, how much you want to take out, and the reasons you want a loan.  it’s all pretty straightforward stuff.  The flexibility of a person to person loan is greatly beneficial for someone starting a business or even paying off a college loan!  In terms of loan schedules, a typical contract length is 3 years.  However, a five year loan is now becoming more and more common.  Once your loan is approved you can transfer the money you requested and start making payments to your lending site.


What lenders need to know

These types of sites make it so incredibly easy to become a lender and be successful at it.  You can lend as little as $25 and make your own decision on which borrower to lend your money to. Both Lending Club and Prosper provide a wealth of information on the people you’re lending money to.  Like all things in life, there is a risk of being a lender: the borrower could default on your loan.  Although this is rare if you do the proper research, you shouldn’t be surprised if it happened. All in all, being a lender is awesome because you’re making money off of other people.


Who can get a person to person loan?

There are some basic requirements to get a peer to peer loan.  They’re pretty basic:

-Must be a US citizen

-Ownership of a valid bank account

-Be of at least 18 years of age

-Have a social security number


Applying for a person to person loan

So now that you’re ready to apply for a personal loan, what’s next?  On either site, you’ll have to open an account where you will input your basic information like email address and contact info. Once this step is complete, you will be checked for good credit.  Have all pertinent information ready just in case you’re asked for it.  Once a loan is approved, you can easily transfer the money into your personal checking or savings account.  It really is as simple as that.  Peer to peer lending companies want to make it clear as to what you need to do to get a loan approved.  It’s a win-win if you get approved for a loan!


What are the benefits with person to person lending?

The benefits are too great to list out here but person to person lending is a wonderful way to get capital fast when you need it most.  This is an especially great route if you have some high interest credit card debt.  Instead of paying 15% interest on a credit card, you could be paying it off with a low interest loan from one of the lending companies mentioned above!

At the end of the day, peer to peer lending provides an excellent opportunity to avoid banks and manage your money the way you want.

Again, here are the only peer to peer lending companies that I recommend to Free Money Wisdom readers:


Lending Club



What are your experiences with person to person lending?  Please comment below!

Start Thinking Like a Millionaire in 2012

millionaireYou know, it’s funny if you think about millionaires. Did you know that a majority of millionaires literally “thought” their way there by saving and spending less than they earn? It’s easy to come up with excuses for why you can’t earn your first million, but I don’t want you to become part of this crowd in 2012. I want you to break away from the herd and pave your own path toward your first million. 2012 is the year you start getting serious about your finances and achieving your goal of becoming a millionaire.

OK, so you’re excited to become a millionaire, but to get there, you need an action plan! I’m officially challenging you to follow the next few steps in 2012. Write them down if you have to. Read them every day. It’s going to take a 180 in your mind for this to happen. Let’s dig in:


Earn more income

It’s not good enough to stick with your current salary or hourly wage in 2012. Shoot for the stars and get yourself a raise. With rising inflation and an uncertain economy, earning more money is now more important than ever! If a raise is out of the question, stop relying on your employer. Make 2012 the year you start your own side business. It could be a simple side gig walking dogs on the weekends and could be as involved as launching a new blog. Whatever your passion is, follow it and the money will follow. Make it your priority to increase your income this year. No excuses, play like a champion.


Live within your means

Enough with the “I’ll pay it off next month” mentality! In 2012, you’re going to stop thinking like this. No matter your situation, if you can’t pay cash for something, don’t buy it. What’s the point of trying to look like a millionaire when you’re actually in debt? It’s time to hit the Ross’s and Marshall’s of the world, folks. Check your pride at the door because you’re going on a mission in 2012. Start with the little things in your life. Do you own too many cars or too big of a house? How many credit cards do you have? Perform an inventory and give yourself a grade. Once you have your grade, start taking steps toward an A+ grade. After a while you’ll get into the habit of living within your means. The hardest part is taking the first step. Take that first step in 2012.


Diversify your investments

If you want to avoid the financial ruin that so many Americans have gone through in the last couple years, you’re going to need to diversify. Diversification of your assets is essentially reducing your risk, thus creating a better opportunity to reach your first million. If you haven’t already, open a Roth-IRA or invest your money with Betterment. Whatever you choose to do, pick some low cost index funds and start investing for the long haul. Remember to keep a bond percentage that makes sense for your future, keeping in mind the timeline for all of your investing goals. You shouldn’t take any unnecessary risk.


Automate everything

Look, part of the problem these days is too much involvement in finances. Instead of wondering if you’re investing enough or covering your bills, why not automate everything so any money left over is spending money? Going into 2012, I want you to think about what you can automate. What about your 401k and Roth-IRA plans? Put those on autopilot so your future million is secured. Assuming this money is being invested in a diversified portfolio, your first million will be easy if you don’t even have to think about it. The same goes with expenses and bills.


Ignore the noise

Much of the success of numerous millionaires comes from the habit of ignoring the noise. What do I mean by this? It’s things like business television, avoiding instant gratification in stores, and owning your vehicles instead of taking out loans. In 2012, I want you to ignore CNBC, turn off the news, and focus on increasing your wealth instead. Stop worrying about the day to day market trends and attempting to “strike it rich quick.” Slow and steady wins the race towards a million dollars. Ignore what your neighbors are doing and avoid “following the herd.” Pave your own path to success and go about it quietly. A million bucks is closer than you think.


Going into 2012…

Take these steps and start developing your action plan. Stop stalling and following the crowds, it’s time to start thinking long term in 2012 and achieve your dream of becoming a millionaire by retirement. Who’s with me?!


9 Tips to Getting Control of Your Finances

Many people are so intimidated by setting up a budget that they never do it. Setting up a budget is really an easy process. It can be done in nine easy steps.

1.  Organize Incoming Funds
The first step is to organize the money coming in. Many people work more than one job. They may work a full time job, but also do several side jobs. The first step in creating a budget is to get a handle on all the ways your family is bringing in money.

2.  Journal
For one month record every penny that you spend. If you spend it write it down in a book. Many people are amazed at the money they spend on incidentals each month, because it goes out a little at a time.

3.  Organize Outgoing Funds
While the second step may take some time, it is vital to the success of your budget. Now look at the list you created in the second step. Divide the list into categories. List these categories according to their importance.

4.  Control the Outgoing Funds
The fourth step is to determine your budget before the month starts. Look at your categories you have set in your organization step. What needs to be changed? Do you need to add savings for your kid’s education or your retirement? Now, determine how you will spend each penny of your earnings.

5.  Go Ahead and Pay Yourself First
The fifth step is to pay yourself first. Take the first ten percent and put it aside.  You work hard for your money and deserve to have some fun with it. Without rewarding yourself, you will not feel encouraged to keep working. Take that money off the top so that you be encouraged to stick with the program.

6.  Giving Money
The sixth step is to give away some money. Give away ten percent of your money. Decide what church or charities deserve your money and give away ten percent. If you are not use to doing this, it may bother you a little to begin with, but you will be amazed at how good you feel. It will also encourage you to work even harder.

7.  Save Money
The next category you should include is savings. Put ten percent of your income into a savings account Many people ask how much savings is enough. You should have a minimum of six months of expenses in a savings account.

8.  Mortgage or Rent
Your mortgage or rent should be the third thing you pay. It should not exceed 33 percent of your income. If it does, you may need to consider moving. In the first three steps, you have spent 63 percent of your income.

9.  Remainder of the Outgoing Funds
The remaining categories are very personal. Look at where you are spending your money now. Take steps to control how much money is going into each of the remaining categories.

Many people find it hard to set up a budget. The hard part is to make it personal. Make sure and reward yourself first. Then, give some money away. Next, save ten percent of your money. Stretch the remainder of your money to cover your bills by using great coupons. Never pay full price for anything.

(Jemma Ryan wrote this article – she loves blogging about her pets, cooking & improving her credit score.)

Root of Riches Review With Book + $350 Giveaway!

root of richesRoot of Riches.  Pretty catchy title isn’t it?  I know it caught my attention!

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview Chuck Bentley, the author of Root of Riches.  Chuck is also the CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, an organization with a mission to touch people’s lives through the combination of personal finance and Biblical principles.

Before we get too deep into this review, I just want to say how big of an impact Root of Riches made on my life.  It has transformed the way I look at finances and has shed some much needed light on scripture related to money.  Because of this book, I know see the world differently and see money differently.

If you’re looking for a way to get involved with Crown, they have an awesome blog as well as Facebook community.  I highly encourage you to check Crown Financial ministries out and get plugged into their resources.


Book Give-Away and Free Budgeting Credits!

I support what Crown is doing so much that I’m willing to give away a brand new copy of the book with over $350 worth of Mvelope budgeting credits!  I hope this goes to someone that could use the help with a great budgeting resource.  OK, so how do you enter?  You have four options!

-Subscribe to my email list by going here (you will get my free 7 day e-course on how to retire a millionaire!)

-Become a fan on my Facebook page

-Follow me on Twitter

-Join my Linkedin group “Personal Finance For Everyone”


Remember, whatever you do, make sure you comment below this article and let me now what you did!  Each action will get you one point for a maximum of 4 points!  Good luck and may the best reader win!


Now the review!

(FYI, I was not compensated for this review.)

Boy, was I challenged reading Root of Riches!  Chuck doesn’t hold back in this book and I felt as if he was sitting next to me asking me if I was going to apply what I just learned!  It’s especially convicting when Chuck’s words are grounded in scripture.  It’s so easy to write someone off if they are only talking from experiences in their life.  Chuck sticks to the Bible and does not go on a detour.

At the core, Root of Riches is about just that: roots!  Chuck has created this fantastic visual of a tree and the roots below in the soil.  He goes on to explain how there are two types of tress with two very different types of roots.  One is the “me tree” and other is a “he tree.”


Me Tree, He Tree

Chuck’s definition of a “me tree”:

-Focus is on earthly treasures

-Roots have not been redeemed

-Worldly belief system void of Jesus

-Selfish and out for itself


Chuck’s definition of a “he tree”:

-Redeemed through Christ

-Has a heavenly worldview

-Outpouring of good fruit

-Jesus is at its core


Complete Transformation

Yes, did you know that God compares us to trees in the Bible?  It goes back all the way to the garden of Eden.  There was the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  One was amazing and pure,  while  the other  brought  despair and destruction.  Jesus later compares us to trees again and tells his disciples that they need to be producing good fruit.  The two trees share a bodily similarity but are extremely different at the core.

It doesn’t stop there though.  Chuck keeps going and encourages the reader to dig deeper, down to the “roots.”  Chuck explains that we should be completely transformed by God, seeing the world through a brand new set of eyes.  No longer should our desire be to get rich, but it should be to help others instead.  Chuck also talks about how “true riches” are not the fancy cars and big houses.  True riches are things like worshiping the Lord, serving in the church, sharing the gospel, and the blessings of family.  With Jesus at the core, it doesn’t matter how big your bank account is!


Non-Negotiable Pillars

To sum up his writing and not write a 2,000+ page book, Chuck introduces the reader to three non-negotiable points that every human needs to live by.


1. I accept that both the cause and the solution to my money problems lie within my own heart.

Chuck brings up a great point about 1 Timothy 6:10, “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.”  Chuck explains that that verse is centered around the word love, not money.  This is an interesting take-away.  We should have transformed hearts and tackle money problems at the heart level.  If we are in love with these things of this world, we will never be truly rich in the Lord’s eyes.  This is huge and ground breaking for me personally.  I take scripture at face value sometimes and don’t dig deep enough.


2. I must align my beliefs with God’s Word to produce behaviors that will make me truly rich.  

It call comes down to our belief system.  We can have positive behavioral change according to Chuck but true transformation can’t happen unless our fundamental belief system changes.  Oftentimes you may wonder how other Christians are cheerful givers.  Chuck encourages you to look deep inside your heart and do some introspective meditation.  Cheerful gives really believe God’s word and it becomes something they “get” to do.  Once you align your beliefs with God’s Word,  generous  giving and  generous  living ill start to flow naturally.  Chuck drives home this message.


3.    I must act upon and apply spiritual truth in order to receive true riches.

Chuck brings up a great verse for this non-negotiable, “Now that you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” from John 13:17.  Chuck encourages everyone to stop treating the Word like a self-help book and more of a heart changer.  Chuck goes on to say that the more we act on spiritual truth, God will reveal himself more and more.  Yet, this does not mean financial riches specifically.  Again, remember, true riches might not be physical.  We should shift our focus toward heavenly riches and know that any type of financial pain here on Earth is nothing to worry about and that we have so much more to look forward to in the Lord’s presence in Heaven.

After reading Root of Riches, I came away with one overarching theme: our life is destined for ruin if we live it for ourselves.  God wants us to recognize that we need Him first and need Him far more than earthly riches. This will stick with me for the remaining of my life and is just one example of how this book has changed the way I look at finances.

To end this book review, I’d like to showcase an info graphic from Crown Ministries that I found to be very interesting.  Check it out!

root of riches


Hit up Amazon here to grab your copy today!  If you have read Root of Riches already, please comment below with your thoughts, I wanna hear from you!

When Financial Secrecy May Not be a Good Idea

financial secrecyOne of the areas of life we tend to be most secretive about is our finances. That’s a broad category of course, encompassing our income, expenses, assets, debt levels and credit standing. Now for obvious reasons we want to be secretive when it comes to giving out financial information as a matter of protecting our identityâ”that goes without saying. But the secrecy I’m talking about here deals with people, as in those closest to us.

It’s easy enough to see why we don’t want other people to know too much about our financial affairsâ”too much income and assets and other people might resent us; too much debt and poor credit and they might judge us. Who wouldn’t want to avoid that?

While we can argue the pros and cons as to how much of our financial lives we reveal to family and friends, there may be times when doing so is in our best interest.


As much as we might not like the idea of driving on a road that’s monitored by traffic cameras, it’s equally true that we tend to behave better when we do. So it is anytime others have sight of what it is we do. It’s called accountability, and it’s a way of keeping us on the straight and narrow.

At a minimum, we need to keep our spouses in the loop as to what we’re doing with our money. While this might be self-evident, in my experience in the mortgage business, I’d come across people who didn’t want their spouses to know a about a certain savings or investment account, or about a debt or even a collection of credit cards. There may be all sorts of logical sounding reasons for this practice, but it’s doubtful that it leads to a happy place.

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.ââ”Proverbs 28:13

But beyond our spouses, there’s also an argument for having a close friend or family member (parent, sibling or adult child) aware of at least some aspects of our finances. By having someone else in the loop at least regarding the general state of our finances, we’re more likely to do the right thingsâ”or at least to stick to what it is we’ve declared to others we plan to do. It’s like have a second pair of eyes❠keeping watch over us.

When you have money problems

It’s ironic that the one time we most rebel against financial transparency is probably the time we most need to be open about it. Maybe we shouldn’t broadcast it to the world, but it’s generally better when a small number of people very close to us know what’s happening.

You should never go through a financial crisis alone; at a minimum you need trusted people to bounce ideas and strategies off of. In addition, when we’re going through troubles we’re not always thinking clearly, and that’s when an outside opinion becomes absolutely necessary.

Achieving savings, investment or debt payoff goals

If no one knows what our financial goals are it will be a lot easier for us to give up on them when the going gets tough. This is especially true if your goal is to pay off debt. Sometimes the pain of the effort can be offset by the greater pain that comes with disappointing people whose opinions really matter to us.

In general, financial goals are not always best accomplished in private. If you make a plan to begin saving money or to pay off debt, letting one or two others know what you’re doing is a way of making the plan official with an announcement. Think of it as an unwritten contract. Once that’s done, you’ll have greater incentive to follow through with the plan, if for no other reason than to show people you trust that you can be counted on.

In making your final arrangements

Grief and financial management are not compatible. Even though you commit your final arrangements to paper through a will, you still need to have at least one other person from outside your immediate family who will act as a point person at the time of your death to help your family cope with your loss. That person should have intimate knowledge of your finances beforehand.

Though we might think that our spouseâ”armed with a willâ”will be up to the task, that isn’t always true. Our immediate family may be too overcome with emotion to handle our financial affairs at the time of our death, to say nothing of dealing with banks, creditors, courts and tax authorities in the months that follow. Assigning beforehand a person that YOU trust to help settle your affairs can be one of the best provisions you can make for your loved ones.

How much of your finances do you keep hidden from close family and friends? Have you ever had problems because no one knew anything at all? Have you ever had problems because you revealed too much?

Save Big with an Entertainment Book!

entertainment bookSince everyone loves convenience and saving money, it only makes sense to put the two together.   This is what you get in an entertainment book.   It gives you easy access to a multitude of valuable coupons that you don’t have to tear the house apart looking for every time you want to go out.   But in order to know how to save thousands with an entertainment book, you have to plan ahead.


Rule #1:

The first rule to saving: keep the book in your car.   That way, if you decide at the last minute to go somewhere, you’ll always have it with you.


Rule #2:

Books are available each year as of November 1st.   But if you can hold out for a month or so you can get one at a reduced price.   Saving money before you begin saving.


Rule #3:

Take some time to plan your trips.   If you don’t plan ahead of time you won’t realize that you have a coupon for somewhere until after you leave.   If you have a trip planned somewhere, take the time to scan the book before you leave.


Rule #4:

The travel savings are unbelievable.   Taking advantage of these deals can easily allow you to pocket some serious cash.   The retailers who advertise these deals in the entertainment book are able to offer such savings for one reason: they are counting on the likelihood that most people aren’t going to utilize these coupons.   Prove them wrong!


Rule #5:

Read the coupons carefully.   Each coupon has specific rules attached to it’s use.   Read them to make sure that you meet the guidelines before you leave.   This avoids the embarrassment and disappointment of finding out you don’t qualify when it’s time to pay.


Rule #6:

Categorize the coupons.   Put all of the meal coupons together.   That goes the same for clothing, sporting events, etc.     This eliminates the possibility of overlooking the one coupon that you need out of the entire book.


Rule #7:

Don’t throw any coupons away.   Many people will go through their book and pull out coupons that they think they won’t need as a way of thinning the herd.   They believe that this makes it easier to locate what they really do use.   As soon as you throw away a coupon you’ll inevitably find yourself in need of that very one.


Rule #8:

Online coupons.   This book allows you access to additional online coupons that will save you even more money.   These are coupons that you otherwise wouldn’t have.


Rule #9:

Let the book make the decisions.   Instead of dreading through the same monotonous evening over and over again, let the book decide something new and refreshing.   It introduces you to things in your area that you might not have considered before.


Rule #10:

Each book comes with a coupon for a discount on next year’s addition, including free shipping.


Rule #11:

Buy two books.   Sounds crazy, but you’ll find that the extra coupons that you can utilize in the second book more than pays for it’s cost.


Take these tips and go use your Coupon book efficiently and start saving.  The way most people use them is a waste of money.  The more you use them, the more you will be saving!  One word of caution though.  If owning an entertainment book is something that will tempt you to go out more and spend money you don’t have, you should avoid buying one of these coupon books.  For the rest of us, these books are a common sense way of saving hundreds each month on things we typically spend money on anyways!

photo by camkage

Get To Know Me, I Dare You!

bloggingDon’t be shocked that this isn’t another money savings article.  I’m going to change things up this Friday morning!

You’re going to get to know me a little better. Consider this a once in a lifetime post giving my readers some insight into who I am, how I think, and the plans I have for Free Money Wisdom.

How it all started

Being from the construction industry, I’m always coming in contact with new people as well as working with the same group of key people every day.  At the start of my career in 2010, conversations about personal finance and saving for retirement were always going on due to the economic crisis.

Me, being the personal finance guru that I am, always piped in to these conversations ad shared my views on strategies for retirement and the lowest risk ways of getting the job done.

After a while, co-workers and people I didn’t know very well were pulling me aside asking me for financial advice!  I was just a college graduate who read finance blogs, why would they want my advice!

Well, as it turns out, the knowledge I knew was not widely known.  I mean most people I talked to didn’t even know what a Roth-IRA was!

These conversations got me thinking and so I decided to start a simple website to put my thoughts and advice on paper and get the word out to everyone I knew.  Well, as you can see, that “simple” website has now grown into a very popular personal finance blog.

I’m still in shock to this day that Free Money Wisdom has turned into a conglomerate website full of personal information.  I consider myself a “beginner” and there is still so much to learn.


I’m not your typical blogger

Most bloggers on the internet have a common story.  They get themselves into debt and have a “come-back” story.  You can do a simple Google search and find this out to be true.  My story is much different.

For one, I have zero financial education.  Everything I know has come from books, blogs, and advice from my Dad.  Second, I chose to live a debt free life at a very young age.  This is due in part because of my amazing parents, they really did teach me so much about finance.

Lastly, I work in the construction industry.  Yes, yes I know that the construction industry is known for guys who spend their pay checks at the bar.  But I’m here to say that not all of us are like that. Since I work in construction and blog about personal finance, I get  weird  looks and people often wonder about me.  But guess what, it really doesn’t matter what your background is!

All I’m trying to do is share with people my experience, my financial failures and achievements, and help people go about their finances in a Biblical way.  It may sound cut and dry, but that’s ground work for this blog.

If you’re looking for a blog that has a unique spin on this very boring subject, Free Money Wisdom is for you!  I enjoy writing about money and how it relates to the Bible.


What you can expect to read at Free Money Wisdom

I want Free Money Wisdom to grow into an authority within the personal finance community.   I want this blog to be an “inclusive” community.   I don’t care where you’re from or what you look like, I really believe this blog can benefit your financial life.

I’ll be covering a wide range of topics in the years to come.   At the core, Free Money Wisdom is here to help you get out of debt and reach your financial goals.   Although I write from a more personal tone sometimes, this blog is not about ME, it’s about YOU.

So, when you open the weekly newsletter or go to my homepage on a Monday morning, you’ll find topics such as saving for retirement, getting out of debt, Christian based finances, college finances, frugal tips, and many more.


What you shouldn’t expect

Look, this isn’t a “get rich quick” blog.   You will not find advice on this blog telling you that riches are around the next corner.   No, this blog is above that.

Since Free Money Wisdom has the Bible as guiding principles, you will see advice and tips that are founded in Biblical wisdom.   Thus, Free Money Wisdom.

If this turns you off a little, that’s OK!   If you are seeking quick riches, you can find other blogs for that.   Just don’t waste your time here because I won’t be writing articles about that.

You will also never find my writing to lead you down a a bad path. What do I mean by that?   Well, I promise that what I write on this blog is true to what I believe and will only recommend products and services if I use them or know of other people who have had success with them.

One example is credit cards.   There are many good credit cards out there and I recommend many on this blog.   However, I’m only going to recommend the best cards and will only tell you to open a credit card if you promise to be responsible.


I’m passionate but not perfect

I’ll be honest with you.   I’m young and still learning personal finance along the way in life.   However, I have passion driving me to help people around me.   So, while I will work my butt off to give you the best content out there, there will be mistakes made along the way.

The beauty of this blog is that you get to learn from my mistakes!   This is why I recommend all my readers to do their own independent research and make their own decisions.   Since my “advice” is not really professional advice, you should seek financial advisors if you are hesitant about making a big decision.

At the end of the day, you should be applying common sense to anything you read on the internet.   Not everything is true out there, so be diligent and always second guess the information you read.


Where can you start?

If this article wasn’t enough, feel free to read more about my life and the mission of this blog on my about page.

To make things simple, I have created some cool resource pages packed full of my most epic content:

Free Money Wisdom “Must Reads”

Bible and Money Articles

Credits Cards That I Support

Banks That Aren’t Out to Nickel and Dime You

Top Discount Brokers Where You Can Invest With Little Cost to You


Wanna get plugged in?

I’m a huge believer in being everywhere for my brand.  So, it just makes sense to be on every social network that you might be on.  You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, or even Linkedin.  Don’t hesitate to contact me on any of those networks and always feel free to contact me.

You’d be missing out if I didn’t offer you a chance to sign up for my exclusive email list.  Once you sign up, you’ll get instant access to my free 7-day e-course on retiring a millionaire.  Also, whenever I have special giveaways or recommend new products you’ll be the first to find out!


My promises to you

You’ll see me write articles on various products and services.  I’ll often write reviews.  I’m here to say that I promise to never sell out and promote something I don’t believe in.  Everything I recommend on this blog has my “stamp of approval.”  I feel strongly about certain products and services.  Some of these have transformed my own finances so it’s natural for me to want to spread the word.

When you do click through links, many of the links will be affiliate links.  This basically means that I get a kick back from the companies I promote.  This money makes it possible to keep this blog running and provides me with some extra money.  I just wanted to make sure you knew that!

I also promise to do my due diligence with research for articles.  It would be terrible of me to write on a subject that I know very little about.  If it takes me an extra hour to master a subject, I will do that.  I want to provide you with the best article possible.  I want my content to be top notch.  I’m leaving a legacy behind.

I’ll also never tell you to do something unethical like steal towels from hotels to save an extra few dollars.  I believe in the rule of law, and also believe that Christians are called to follow the government’s rules and regulations.


A big thanks!

This blog would never be where it is today without all my readers.  You guys and girls are what makes this blog what it is.  With your comments and emails, you are an  intricate  part of fostering a community here at Free Money Wisdom.

I’m excited for what the future holds and what God calls me to next.  Many more exciting articles are coming your way.  If you haven’t already, subscribe to my exclusive email newsletter right below 🙂

If you are new here, please comment below so I can say hello!

5 Financial Decisions That Make Me Smile

smileLike most people, I like to focus on the positives rather than the negatives.  This post is all about the positives!  More specifically, this post is all about the best investing/financial decisions I’ve made to date.  Feel free to use these in your own life!  I’m all about “spreading the wealth” and helping others around me succeed.  That’s what it’s all about!


1- Vanguard From Day #1

Co-workers ask me on a regular basis about who they should invest through.  My answer is Vanguard every time.  Sometimes I feel like they are expecting a different answer.  I will always tell you to invest in Vanguard and I’m glad I started with them from day one.  They are reliable, have been in business from day one and have the lowest management fees in the industry.  Oh, and their funds outperform the big boys.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

I also love the simplicity of investing with Vanguard.  I have my money pulled from my checking and transferred to my Vanguard Roth-IRA set to automatic so I don’t even have to think about it.  I also invest in their 2050 Target Retirement Fund.  It’s a diversified fund with three index funds: international, domestic, and total bond.  My money is invested, it grows, and I don’t have to check the markets on a  regular  basis.  Do  yourself  a favor and invest through Vanguard.


2- Invested in my Education with Cash

I’ve talked to so many other graduates and I guess what I did during college is a rarity.  I went to an in-state public University (Go UW Huskies! woof woof!) and paid my way through school with cash.  Tuition was around $7,500/year at the time, so I was still able to pay cash.  Looking back, it was so hard to do this!  But then again, I was driving a Geo Prizm and lived at home.

Whatever the case may be, I worked my butt off and graduated without a dollar of debt.  Thanks to parents who could help me out when they could and work opportunities from the Lord, I graduated with freedom from debt.  No one owned me and it still feels amazing to this day.


3- Avoiding Taxes

I have learned early on in my investing life that taxes are the devil.  So to avoid government taxes, I have utilized “tax efficient” investment vehicles.  My two main retirements include a 401K with my employer and a personal Roth-IRA.

To be honest, I’m surprised our government has given us these types of opportunities.  They truly are a tax shelter and I’m so happy this is where I focus most of my investments.  They may not be the most exciting investments in the world but they are tax efficient to the tenth degree.  If you hate taxes like I do, open a Roth-IRA right now.


4-Trusting God

You know the best part about being a Christian and relying on the Lord to provide for your needs?  I never stress out about my money!  I know that God is going to be right there by my side and has a plan for my money (well, it’s really His).

All I have to do is make wise financial decisions and let God do the rest.  This freedom and  absence  of anxiety is what people search for their whole lives.  God is great and is sovereign.  I trust the Lord with everything, especially my own finances.  A big thanks goes out to my Mom and Dad for teaching me to rely on the Lord with finances.  I  laugh  when people say miracles don’t exist.  I’ve seen so many just in my own life it’s ridiculous!


5- Starting This Blog

I’m a proponent of multiple streams of income.  When I graduated college, I wanted to work.  But I also wanted to explore other avenues of income.  This blog has turned into a business and is thriving!  Although I can’t live on the money from this website alone, it is nice to know that if I lost my job, I would be OK.  Another benefit of starting this blog and creating a second stream  of income is that my goal of retiring early is becoming more and more realistic.  55 is my goal and this blog is helping me get there.  Heck, at this pace, I might retire at 50!



What do you think readers?  Any disagreement with my financial decisions?  I want to hear from you!  Comment below with your best financial decisions, I’d love to hear them!

Common Sense Ways to Save on Electricity

save on electricity Electric costs can put a damper on any household’s budget.   Current energy costs aren’t helping in the difficulties of the recession, which makes the financial end of saving energy even more pressing.   Luckily, there are plenty of simple ways to cut down the electric bill, which the following will just begin to cover.

Start Simple: Lighting

Lighting is one of the easiest ways to undermine the electric bill.   By switching a light bulb or replacing a fixture, you can realize immediate savings.

Remember this term: compact fluorescent light bulbs.   Well, to be precise, you only need to know the acronym CFLs❠when you take one of the simplest steps to improving the lighting in your home.   These light bulbs are high-quality and high-efficient alternatives to standard (incandescent) bulbs.

CFLs will last 6 to 12 times longer than your average light bulbs.   Additionally, and according to Energy Savers (from the U.S. Department of Energy), they will save you at least $30 over the lifetime of each bulb.   They have a 10-year lifespan, approximately.

LED’s (light emitting diodes) are even more energy-efficient: they last 25 times as long as ordinary light bulbs and use less energy than CFLs.

What does this mean?  Certainly you can begin to integrate CFLs in your home, but that isn’t all.   You could consider changing light fixtures â“ inside and outside of your home â“ that use CFL and LED light sources.   They can have a profound effect on the electric bill.   Combine them with timers, dimmers, and motion-activated controls and you will be on your way to greater savings!

Unplug It!

According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, standby power for appliances that aren’t in use accounts for 5% to 10% of residential electricity use.   What do you have plugged into your outlets at this very moment?

A perfect example of this is found in computers.   Many desktops use standby power, and you are probably aware of that green (well, maybe it’s green) light on your laptop’s adaptor that is on regardless of whether it’s charging your device.   Also applicable to many other electronics and appliances, you are paying for the electricity.

While turning these items off is a good start, you can consider smart power strips.   These outlets will automate the process for you, so that you aren’t paying for the DVD player that is using standby power.   After all, you surely don’t want to unplug everything by hand that uses this â“ that would take quite some time in many households.

The Golden Rule

Quick: what should you look for when you buy appliances, electronics, and a number of other items?

If you aren’t aware of the Energy Star label, you should be.   These confirmed products are labeled when they are energy efficient, which means that you’ll save over the long term.   For instance, some office equipment â“ like desktops and notebooks â“ can offer at much as 90% savings in relationship to energy consumption.   Commonly, they use half the energy of standard equipment, which can translate to big things for your electric bill. It is true that replacing all your old appliances with new ones is very expensive but if you start a renewal program bit by bit in some years’ time you will eventually have modern, energy saving equipment.

The U.S. Department of Energy has compiled a booklet, with advice on saving energy. In addition, the DOE offers support for low-income persons to make green home improvements through weatherization, which can reduce your electric bill.

Have you weatherized your home? In what way do you try to save money on your electricity bill? Share them with us!

(This has been a guest post by Lisa at Home Insurance Comparison, an Australian personal finance blog that provides money-saving health insurance options and ways to optimize your spending habits.)