Last night I picked up the kids. I gave my daughter her allowance money and she purchased a throw blanket and plush pillow she liked at Dollar General. The kids have a Friday night ritual of writing down a To Do list of the things they will get done on Saturday morning. Failure to complete the tasks results in reduced time with their tablets and games. Success earns allowance money. They are no longer allowed to ask me to buy things for them while we are out shopping.
The bigger picture is I’m working on my personal finances, using the Dave Ramsey plan. I have accomplished several debt goals in the last two weeks. I finished paying off about $350, the total of three unpaid bills for doctor’s office visits. The collection agency who was handling my defaulted Capital One credit card account, was willing to settle on a lower amount. I paid off about half of that, and will pay the remainder on February 20th. I will be running my free credit report today and getting the whole list of everything I didn’t pay when my life mostly imploded in 2014.
Aside from that, I had to reset the password for the Vanguard account management website, and jacked up my contribution from 4% to 8%. Per Dave Ramsey’s instructions, I will discontinue the practice of claiming “Zero” on my W-4, and getting the huge $6,000 plus federal tax return every spring. Instead, I will claim myself and my daughter (my ex claims my son), shooting for no tax return or a smaller tax return, but not owing money either.
I’m aware that today’s post isn’t the most exciting topic, but on the list of my very bad habits and personal shortcomings, money management is one of my worst areas, so I’m documenting my year of progress with cleaning up the mess.
Deng Ming-Dao on Accountability
A father without a father
Has difficulty balancing.
A master without a master
I found today’s entry of 365 Tao particularly healing, as it put some of my childhood trauma in perspective. As he says, we look up to parents, teachers, and leaders with trust and expectation, without realizing when we are young that their potential for abuse and mistakes is very great. I will not go into much detail out of respect for my family, but if you carry some bad programming, confusion, psychological problems, etc. from mistakes made by your leaders, this is a great chapter to refer to. As he says, understand that every master should have a master. If you suffered at the hands of a poor leader or teacher, ask yourself who their leader is, and you will find some enlightenment there. I could really journal on this subject for days, and perhaps I will.
The Daily Stoic:
What a coincidence. Again. Are there any coincidences?
Watching the Wise.
A few days ago, I talked about having a mentor, or someone to serve as a role model. It could be a family member or a writer. Or Jesus or Socrates. Pick someone. See what they do and don’t do, and do your best to do the same.
I’m going to pick the British writer Tom Hodgkinson because I just purchased his latest book, Business for Bohemians: Live Well, Make Money.
More about that later, as I work through that book.
By the way, if you didn’t know this, I’ve heard it over and over recently, and it’s been driving the point home for me.
The most successful people- think of self made millionaires, etc.- READ A LOT.
I would strongly recommend developing a reading habit. Sit down and make a book list. Set a goal to read a couple books every month.
Just a reminder.
Thanks for reading.