In the Event of My Death, Click Here…

April 21, 2016

If you’re reading this, odds are decently good that I’m actually still alive.  However, if you know me well enough to have been told that I’ve died, I hope life finds you well and happy…and thanks for stopping by.

This post is obviously a touch on the morbid side, but I feel that it is something that needs to be written.  A guide, if you will, for my surviving friends and family.  It’s also somewhat of a boot-in-the-ass to get mine and my wife’s last will hammered out, which we have been putting off for the past 6-ish months since deciding that we needed to do so.  Last summer, while visiting our best friends in Texas, we asked them if they would do us the honor of being our son’s God-parents and take custody of him in the event of our untimely deaths.  They lovingly agreed and we have informed our families of our wishes; however, this hasn’t been legally set in stone so we really need to get it done to avoid any potential issues that could arise, as well as the undue suffering of any parties involved.  We are currently in the underwriting process of obtaining new life insurance and, once finalized, we will get the will hammered out.  I’ve been researching and I think we are going to go the do-it-yourself route through Legal Zoom.

Anyway…

Dear Cheyenne aka Lovebug [unless you died with me :)] Rowan, Mom, Dad, Jeremy, Kyleigh, DeDe, Grandmas, Grandpas, Matt, Chelle, and every one of my other surviving family and friends,

To begin, I love you all.  Secondly, this one post will (hopefully) serve as an extremely simple, straightforward, one-stop-shop for our wishes regarding your handling of our amazing son and finances upon my/our death.  May you study and learn from my blog, the fellow bloggers around my site, and the bloggers that I am about to list below, as they were who got me started down this path to attaining financial independence.  This path, if you so choose to take as well, will result in the most stress-free living, bringing you closer together with your loved ones than you have ever thought possible.

The following blogs provided me with the foundation of knowledge to pursue financial independence and, likewise, placed within me the strongest and most burning desire to reach that pinnacle and retire early, thereby allowing me the opportunity and privilege to live life on my own terms and schedule, as opposed to continuing the chase of the almighty dollar, as a hamster in his never-ending wheel, so that I may continue floundering in debt and servitude, trading the minutes and hours of my life for thingsThis pursuit of stuff does nothing more than rob me of those precious minutes that would be better spent with my loved ones.

Here they are to get your started on your own journey:

Don’t stop there!  Branch out, read, and take in every thing you can!

As for Rowan’s inheritance, invest the money in the following way:  place the money in an account with Vanguard and invest 100% in the Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSAX) – for further information on this, check out Vanguard and check out jlcollinsnh’s explanation on this strategy, as well.  Don’t waste any percentage of his inheritance paying someone else to manage the money because this will be a simple setup with the purchase of the index fund.  Invest it, leave it alone, and ignore the ups and downs of the market.  If you actually want to waste money paying someone else to manage the investment account, and therefore make me die even a little more, just take that percentage out (literally THOUSANDS of dollars each year) in cash, light it on fire, and sprinkle the ashes over my grave.

As Rowan grows, teach and encourage him to begin his own research into these topics on personal finance so that he may successfully manage his inheritance in such a way (i.e. learn about the 4% rule and the concepts of frugality) that he never HAS to rely on the financial aspects of working a single day in his life, thereby affording him the opportunity to follow whatever passion he may develop and nurture.

In a nutshell, that’s it.  Simple, free of frills and bullshit.

Thank you for being a part of my life.  May you continue to live happily and healthy.  Give my son a squeeze every single day and tell him that his mommy and dadoo will be forever proud of him and that we love him more than words could ever describe.

With all my love,

Brandon

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Anatomy & Physiology of Personal Finance

As a nurse, part of my job is to educate patients on various subjects ranging from medication benefits, uses, and side effects to disease processes and rationales for doctor-ordered treatments.  This got me thinking about how I could interweave these lessons with a Personal Finance twist.  Here are some analogies I have come up with so far:


 

In the womb, the developing fetus grows in what is known as the cephalocaudal and proximal-distal fashion, meaning that it develops head-to-toe and from the near-to-far (center-outwards.)  Starting at the top, we have the brain, which begins to form around the fifth week of development, along with the spinal cord, heart, and other organs.  In the realm of personal finance, we, ourselves, are the brain.  We choose what we do, how we educate ourselves, how to spend our time, energy, and money, and we control everything that we do in pursuit of our personally determined goals and desires.

 


Our heart begins beating around the sixth week of development and in the realm of personal finance, I liken our budgets to the heart.  Money from our respective jobs flows into the budget, where it is then pumped out and utilized to destroy our debts and/or feed our investments with vital, oxygen-carrying nutrients.

 


Debt can be compared to Diabetes.  The analogy I use when educating patients on the effects of uncontrolled blood sugar levels is that the sugar molecules circulating through your blood vessels and capillaries can be likened to a golf ball making their way through a garden hose that gets progressively smaller as it reaches our hands, feet, and eyes.  These large sugar molecules don’t like to fit, in essence get stuck, and result in decreased blood flow to the extremities, numbness/tingling (neuropathy) of the hands and feet, and diabetic retinopathy of the eyes, which can ultimately lead to blindness.  Debt, likewise, when allowed to get out of control, can lead to this progressively downward spiral and have detrimental effects on our health and well-being, financial and otherwise.


Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, is a condition in which the pancreatic enzymes amylase and lipase are elevated, resulting in intense upper abdominal pain for the patient…pain that, from my nursing experience, is generally only relieved with morphine and being NPO, an acronym for nil por os, a Latin term meaning “nothing by mouth.”  Eating/drinking results in a process known as peristalsis, which moves food and fluids through our GI system, and causes digestive enzymes, such as amylase and lipase, to be released, stimulating the pancreas and resulting in increased pain.  This is comparable to the idea of selling in a down market…it only increases the pain!


 

To bring up the proverbial rear, market forecasters could be viewed as the bowels of personal finance…they’re generally full of shit and give me a stomach ache.  🙂  Just eat your fiber (pick a solid index fund) and enjoy regular relief in knowing that history has shown a general upward trend in the market.  And remember, in the event that doomsdayers are ever actually correct, our money will be toilet paper anyway (pun intended…but don’t actually do that…EVER…money is literally disgusting!)  Besides, if they’re ever right in saying that our financial system is collapsing, you’re still better off investing in the market because hoarding cash under your mattress or burying it in the backyard is only going to result in the loss of your purchasing power due to inflation.


Well I certainly hope you’ve enjoyed my cheesy analogies for the day; in the event I come up with more, you’ll be the first to know.  Have an awesome day!  😀

– Nurse on Fire

 

We’re in the Black!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, mark your calendars!  As of this 8th day of April in the wondrous year of 2016, the Nurse on Fire Family officially has a POSITIVE NET WORTH!

I’ve had this post in the works for the past month because I knew this day was quickly approaching.  However, I must laugh at myself because, yesterday, I had an epiphany and realized that it has, in fact, already passed!!!

For the past year-and-a-half, I’ve had an account with Personal Capial (PC) in an attempt to track our net worth.  However, we constantly had issues with my wife’s student loan accounts; i.e. whenever PC would attempt to update her loans, it would result in failed login attempts and her being locked out of her account.  Having to call Fed Loan and have them reset her password umpteen million times finally became far more of a hassle than it was worth, so we deleted them from the account and PC has gone by the wayside in our house.  In February, I started playing around with Excel, came up with my own system, and am now tracking our saving, spending, investments, and net worth.  In doing so, I was surprised to find that we were far closer to a positive net worth than I ever realized.

The epiphany came yesterday when I realized that, while I’ve been adding my automatic contribution to my Federal Employees Retirement System pension fund in our savings percentage, I failed to add my contributions into our net worth!

If I work for the feds for at least five years, I can leave my contributions in place and apply for a deferred retirement; then, once I reach 62, I would be eligible for a pension based on my high-three average base salary and number of years of service…OR I can remove my contributions and invest them elsewhere on my own whenever I leave government service.  However, if I leave before five years, then the latter is my only option and I’ll have to move the funds elsewhere.  Whenever we decide that our time here is done, we’ll play with the numbers to see which will be the better option.

In full disclosure, I do not factor my current student loan debt into my calculations because it is being paid for, over the course of a few years, in exchange for my ongoing service with the Indian Health Service here in South Dakota.  Since the yearly loan repayment funds are dispersed directly to me, I make a large payment at the beginning of the contract year and deposit the rest into a dedicated bank account, from which monthly payments come out of automatically.  This requires essentially zero effort on my part…I LOOOOOOVE automated finances!  Back to my point…I do not count this cash-on-hand as part of our assets, either.  Rather, I essentially pretend these loans and the cash do not exist so that neither have any effect on our net worth.

With all that said….

The Nurse on Fire Family’s current net worth is $4,146!!!

Now, if we could only figure out how to survive as a family of three and a dog on $14/month, I’d truly be on FIRE!

To celebrate, I’m heading over to Rockstar Finance and submit our net worth to be added to The Ultimate List of Blogger Net Worth.  This will put us, as of the current posting, at number 185 on the list.

The scales have finally tipped in our favor and our net worth is only heading up from here.  Thank you for all your support and thank you for joining my family on this incredible journey.  If you haven’t done so already, please follow along with us and say hello.  You are all truly amazing and inspiring; thank you, again, and have an amazing day!

 

– Nurse on Fire

2016 Goals: March Update

Progress Report

GOALS FOR 2016

  1. CMSRN credential
    1. Still gotta get into studying so still nothing new to report here.  I suppose I could be studying instead of writing this…but where’s the fun in that?  🙂
  2. Pay off at least $20,000 of debt.
    1. Paid off $3,565 this month!  This is due, in part, to working a few days of OT, as well as cashing in $465 in credit card rewards and having it applied to the credit card balances.  This puts our year-to-date debt payments at $7,731, meaning we are at 39% of our $20k goal for 2016.  If we keep this pace, we are set to pay just shy of $31,000 in debt this year.  However, we are planning a few trips over the next few months that will cut into this, so we’ll see how things continue to progress.  All-in-all, I couldn’t be much happier with our success thus far!
  3. Weight loss:  weigh 200 pounds by the end of February (complete) and 185 pounds by the end of April – monitoring with weekly weigh-ins
    1. Weekly weigh-ins completed:  as of my last weigh-in for the month, Tuesday the 29th, I weigh 189.2 pounds with a 36.5 inch stomach.  Total weight-loss year-to-date = 25.2 pounds and 5.5 inches off my gut, keeping me on pace to reach my goal by the end of April.  😀
  4. Increased meal planning with eMeals
    1. Diet continues with improved food choices and decreased processed foods.  We are still enjoying our REAL Wisconsin cheese and are making an attempt to cut back on our store-bought bread, as we realized that it has cellulose powder in it, as well.  Homemade bread costs about 1/4 the amount of store-bought, makes some incredibly delicious French toast (which my son and I make every morning :-D,) and we know EVERY ingredient that goes into it.  While I don’t anticipate being able to keep up with replacing all of our bread, simply due to time constraints, every bit helps.  Hopefully we can turn it into a regular habit and part of our normal routine, saving us money and further improving our general health.
  5. Month-to-month junk food buying ban
    1. No change here…the ban continues!!!
  6. Decreased soda :  $24 = 3 cases/month
    1. I continue to average about 3 cans/day so I’m a little over “budget” but not stressing about it.  #Balance
  7. Using our treadmill for at least 20 minutes per day when I am off work
    1. This one has been a no-go this month.  However, up until it snowed a few days ago, we’ve had some super nice weather this month and have spent a great deal of time outside with our kiddo, keeping us relatively busy/active with him.
  8. Improved planning and crop yield from the garden
    1. I’ve plotted out my tentative garden plans on an Excel spreadsheet (color-coded and beautiful :-D…lol) and even ran the tiller through the larger of the two plots.  Due to the nice weather we’ve had, our strawberry plants that we planted last year have begun sprouting.  Some of our lily bulbs have come up, as well.  HOPEFULLY, the few inches of snow we just got (and the presumed snow in April/beginning of May) doesn’t kill them all!
  9. Read a minimum of 5 books in 2016
    1. I finished James Patterson’s Along Came a Spider (an excellent book,) and am now working on Glenn Beck’s Agenda 21:  Into the Shadows, the sequel to the book I read in January.  After I finish it, I think I’m going to work on Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time…we’ll see.
  10. Increased personal time and appreciation for my wonderful and loving wife, who is the greatest momma I could ever hope to have for our amazing son.
    1. Although my wife and I have been together for nearly 11 years, the 25th of this month was our 2nd wedding anniversary.  Our day consisted of an out-of-town lunch date with our kiddo at Pizza Hut and a milk shake from Frosty’s.  The pizza was mediocre, at best, but the company was spectacular!  😀  We had a busy evening so she and I ended up having a late dinner after our kiddo went to bed…we fed him, I swear!  I grilled some incredible steak, alongside a humongous, delicious salad and we relaxed on the couch, watching some Hulu.  Couldn’t ask for a better day!  😀

Overall, the Nurse on Fire family had another successful month.  I would like to say thank you very much for your time and, if you’ve been following along with our family, I’m truly honored.  If you’re not yet following along, we would love for you to join us for our journey.  Please follow along through WordPress (if possible) or sign up to receive updates via e-mail.  Thank you, again, and have an amazing day!

– Nurse on Fire

The Power of 300

According to History:  Born in 530 B.C., Leonidas ascended to the Spartan throne around 490 B.C., where he would remain until his death about ten years later.  Leading an army of 300 Spartans, allied with another 6,000-7,000 Greeks from the neighboring region, Leonidas went up against the invading Persian army, led my Xerxes I.  The Battle of Thermopylae took place at what was known as the “Hot Gates,” named for the sulfur springs in the area, and consisted of Leonidas and his men taking advantage of the narrow passage in order to funnel the approaching enemy, who far outnumbered them, to a more manageable number to fight at one time.

Spartan males were trained from childhood in the ways of the hoplite warrior, learning to fight with a spear, short sword, and a round shield.  In battle, they would stand near one another and overlap their shields, protecting one another from a frontal attack.

Unfortunately for Leonidas and his 300 Spartans, they were betrayed by a Greek citizen, who had informed Xerxes’ army of another passage, allowing them to surround the Spartan army and overtake them.  Leonidas’ stand against the Persian army and ultimate death was an inspiration, demonstrating Sparta’s commitment to the Greek region.


Now, how am I relating this history lesson to personal finance?  Please proceed…

Financial Independence = your monthly expenses x 300

This isn’t a new concept; I just wanted to put my own spin on it while talking about some history and an awesome movie.  🙂

For every dollar you want and/or “need” to spend each month in retirement, you need to have $300 invested in order to apply the 4% “safe withdrawal rate” principle.  Rather than multiplying your yearly expenses by 25, this is simply looking at it from the perspective of monthly expenses (25 x 12.)  I like to look at our retirement number in this way because it allows for a more detailed understanding of the fact that every.single.dollar. counts.

For instance, if you’re spending $150/month on satellite TV and want to continue your service after retiring, you need $45,000 in your retirement portfolio just for that one monthly expense…for friggin’ cable!  We cancelled cable months ago, saving us $90/month – that equates to $27,000 we no longer need to save in order to reach our financial independence number.  Once our Jeep is paid off and we are no longer shelling out $500/month for that, there goes another $150,000 dollars we won’t need in retirement.  I need $9,000 invested just to cover my $30/month soda habit – that expense will definitely have to go bye-bye.  The list goes on and will no doubt continue to dwindle as we inch closer to FIRE.


Like Leonidas’ Spartan army, our dollars have the capability of standing strong, protecting one other, multiplying their strengths, and kicking serious ass…but only when we don’t sabotage them.  We must, instead, make purposeful decisions regarding how they will be put to use, thereby maximizing their value and simultaneously minimizing the number of soldiers we need fighting for us in retirement.


It’s too late for Leonidas…but will your Spartans be victorious?  What costs have you already slashed to decrease your FI number?  Any more cuts coming?  If you haven’t already calculated, how much are these changes decreasing the amount you need to retire?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

– Nurse on Fire

P.S. – If you haven’t seen the movie 300, watch it!  Guys, fair warning, your lady friend will likely not share in the love (other than for a half-naked / booty shot of Gerard Butler.)  The first time I watched it, my wife (then girlfriend) FELL ASLEEP and I’ve never been able to convince her to watch it with me again.  #FrownyFace

2016 Goals: February Update

GOALS FOR 2016

  1. CMSRN credential
    1. No further progress to report on this one; I’m slackin’ and need to pick it up if I’m going to get through this goal this year.  I’ve had to work on yearly/ongoing training through work this month so, while I haven’t been working on this certification, I have been furthering my nursing knowledge.  I’ll call that a win for now at least.
  2. Pay off at least $20,000 of debt.
    1. Paid off another $2,500 this month!!!  $4,733 (24%) of $20,000 goal achieved!  I’m predicting March will be an even better month because I’m picking up some overtime in my next few paychecks.  Keeping our current pace, we are on track to pay off about $29k this year…but of course more will always be welcome 🙂
  3. Weight loss:  weigh 200 pounds by the end of February and 185 by the end of April – monitoring with weekly weigh-ins
    1. Weekly weigh-ins completed:  as of today, 3/1, I now weigh 195.4 pounds!  Total loss of 19 pounds and 5 inches off my gut (42 inch waist down to 37!!!)  Part A of the goal, under 200 by the end of February (I weighed 197.6 pounds last week, the last Tuesday of the month), is a success!  Our change in food habits continues without concerns and I foresee things continuing as they currently are.
  4. Increased meal planning with eMeals
    1. While we have slacked off a bit in advance planning of our meals, we continue to do well with food variety and maintaining increased consumption of fruits and veggies.  We continue to eat minimal processed foods and, in fact, are even working on changing the cheese we eat.  My wife read about the fact that most cheese (and some other foods) you find in the supermarket contains “powdered cellulose”, which turns out to be WOOD PULP!  8-|  We looked and it turns out that every cheese in our fridge contains the stuff; to get away from this non-food food additive, we placed an order (scheduled for delivery tomorrow – review to come!) from the Wisconsin Cheese Mart website and are looking forward to furthering our resolve to minimize (and ultimately eliminate) processed foods from our lives and stomachs.
  5. Month-to-month junk food buying ban
    1. Continuing without a hitch!  My wife made two homemade chocolate cakes and a batch of brownies this month, of which I calculated WW Points and divvied up the servings to avoid overeating…too badly, anyway. 🙂  Thankfully, my wife is an incredible baker so we shared the majority of these goodies with my coworkers, who had no trouble helping me out.  The ban continues!!!
  6. Decreased soda :  $24 = 3 cases/month
    1. While still doing better than prior to starting this, this month was not as good as January.  Will continue moderating consumption but, all-in-all, doing well.
  7. Using our treadmill for at least 20 minutes per day when I am off work
    1. This I have been very bad with.  Our crazy-busy evenings with our kiddo typically result in my wife and I eating supper late, with me cooking while my wife gets our son into bed.  This had been the time I was allotting for the treadmill but it just hasn’t been happening as planned.  This area needs work but, thankfully, I remain on track with my weight loss goals.
  8. Improved planning and crop yield from the garden
    1. Still snowy and too cold to be doing anything with the garden right now.  Seeds were delivered earlier this month and ready to go though.
  9. Read a minimum of 5 books in 2016
    1. I’m still working on finishing James Patterson’s Along Came a Spider due to slacking off on reading in order to work on some blog posts earlier in the month and just haven’t had the extra time to finish the book.  However, I still remain on pace to complete 5 books by the end of the year.
  10. Increased personal time and appreciation for my wonderful and loving wife, who is the greatest momma I could ever hope to have for our amazing son.
    1. Unfortunately, I have no specifics for this goal progress this month.  We took a weekend trip to Rapid City on Valentine’s weekend, where my wife got her hair cut and me and my son went to The Man Salon for his first trim! 🙂  I actually paid for a hair cut and beard trim, as well…the first haircut I have paid for in nearly a decade, as my wife has been cutting my hair for years.  I just hope my wife realizes how spectacular she is and how much me and our son love the heck out of her and appreciate all that she does for us.

Interesting to note, I created an Excel spreadsheet this month to begin tracking our net worth – not sure why I hadn’t done this yet!  While I have a Personal Capital account, it’s never accurate; when it attempts to update my account data, it results in my wife being locked out of her student loan accounts.  She’s had to call multiple times to get the account unlocked so I finally gave up and took them off the Personal Capital account.

Surprisingly enough, we are a lot closer to getting into the black than I ever realized!  In fact, we should be there in the next two or three months! :-O  Until this, I had never accounted for the current Blue Book value of our Jeep as being a positive part of our assets.  While the car is obviously a depreciating asset, it is still worth something so I’ll take it!

Overall, this was another good month with regards to our 2016 goals.  I truly hope your 2016 is going awesome and that you are on track to meet and exceed your own goals for the year.  Let me know how things are going in the comments below; I’m looking forward to hearing from you! 🙂

– Frugal RN

Day 4: Personal Finance Goes to D.C.

Before continuing…if you haven’t already, be sure to start with my post regarding the Obama Administration Budget Proposalfollowed by Day 1 in this series.


 

What if I started a petition through the White House website regarding the Constitutional amendments I suggested yesterdat?  Would you be interested in signing on with me and sharing the petition with everyone you know?  We would need 150 signatures to get the petition into the public search area of the site and then we have to get 100,000 signatures in THIRTY DAYS in order to force a response from the White House.

While it is not the job of the executive branch to propose legislation, this would at least bring our united voices to Washington that we are tired of the same-old-same-old that continues to bury us under a deeper and deeper mountain of debt.  To note, there have been several legislators over the years that have put forth various forms of legislation calling for term limits; however, and most unsurprisingly, they never gain much traction and, from my searching, appear to just get buried in subcommittees where they never again see the light of day.  Shocking, right?

term limits, Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson, collage, photomontage, elephant, JGill, Paul Jacob, Common Sense

So does obtaining the necessary number of petition signatures seem doable?  Also, if you are interested, do you have any suggestions for additions to the petition?  If you are on board, I will get the petition set up and put it in a new post to be shared.  Please let me know what you think in the comments below.


Knowing all of this, is it safe to say, revisiting the words of Thomas Jefferson, that we have effectively been swindled by prior generations?  What breaks my heart is that we continue to do the same to our children and future grandchildren.

God Bless America,

-Frugal RN

 

P.S. – Thank you so much for following along through this series of posts.  Please don’t forget to follow along via WordPress, or with your e-mail in the right-hand column, to ensure you don’t miss any future posts.  My family and I would love to have you along for our journey; have a wonderful day!

Day 3: Personal Finance Goes to D.C.

Before continuing…if you haven’t already, be sure to start with my post regarding the Obama Administration Budget Proposalfollowed by Day 1 in this series.


So how do we go about reigning in government spending, allowing for the opportunity to get ourselves on the path to debt freedom and financial independence?  I would really appreciate your comments on the matter, as well as your thoughts in relation to the options I am about to present.

I believe one step in the right direction would be for the passage of two Constitutional amendments:  1.) limit the number of terms (for life) that any one citizen may hold office as a United States Representative and/or Senator, and 2.) require that budgets be truly balanced (but preferably with a surplus that is then directed to paying down the national debt,) eliminating borrowing being necessary to fund operations.

As we individual citizens do, in our own private households, if we don’t have the money, we don’t buy it…or fund it.  If our credit cards are maxed out and yet we continue to borrow money from Aunt Martha (aka China, Japan, etc.) to fund our extracurricular activities and pet-projects, we will never get back on track to debt freedom.

A FABRICATED balanced-budget amendment proposal, attributed to Warren Buffet, circulated the internet a few years ago after Buffet, during a CNBC interview in 2011, said that he could fix the national deficit in five minutes, stating “you just pass a law that says that any time there’s a deficit of more than three percent of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election. Yeah, yeah, now you’ve got the incentives in the right place, right?” (Truth or Fiction.)  While Buffet has never seriously and actively called for such an amendment, how is this not a good idea?

If politicians know they’ve only got a set amount of time in office, they could focus on accomplishing things that are beneficial to the country as a whole, as opposed to focusing their efforts on getting reelected.  Limiting the number of terms they can serve would help with this.  While I find the 3% in Buffet’s statement to be too lenient (i.e. I say ZERO deficit,) if you tack on losing the eligibility of reelection if the budget is off, our elected leaders may actually pay more attention to where all of those dollars are going and utilize them more diligently.

government, incentives, flow chart, folly, results, illustration, meme, Jim Gill, Paul Jacob, Common Sense

While I am sure there are good-hearted, well-meaning Congressmen/women out there, by-and-large, the majority seem to refuse to stand up and do the responsible things that need to be done to ensure a strong financial future for our children and future generations.  They are simply too busy pleasing specific groups of people, no matter the cost, to ensure their reelection.  This stresses the importance of educating our children, and every possible person for that matter, in the matters of personal finance so that we may usher in a new generation of leaders who may one day stand up for what is right and have the capabilities of bringing our balance sheets back into the black.


Just for funsies and a chuckle…if you’d like to help get us back in the black ASAP, please utilize one of the following options to make a contribution to reduce the national debt:

  • At Pay.gov, you can contribute online by credit card, debit card, PayPal, checking account, or savings account.
  • You can write a check payable to the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, and, in the memo section, notate that it’s a gift to reduce the debt held by the public. Mail your check to:Attn Dept G
    Bureau of the Fiscal Service
    P. O. Box 2188
    Parkersburg, WV 26106-2188

As of the writing of this post, the national debt stands at $19,007,500,000,000.  Divvied up between the approximately 323,000,000 men, women, and children in the United States, your personal share is currently $59,000…but hurry!, the debt total has climbed another $10 MILLION in the time it took me to type this sentence!  I can hardly imagine how high it has climbed by the time you are reading this.

Maybe I’ll suggest we try this with the next baby I help deliver!   JUST KIDDING!!!


Tune in tomorrow for the final post in this series, where I will be asking for your help, if you’re interested.  If you’ve been following along and feel like I do, I hope you will be.  As always, don’t forget to follow along via WordPress, or with your e-mail in the right-hand column, to ensure you don’t miss the remainder of the series or any future posts.  My family and I would love to have you along for our journey; have a wonderful day!

 

-Frugal RN

Day 2: Personal Finance Goes to D.C.

Before continuing…if you haven’t already, be sure to start with my post regarding the Obama Administration Budget Proposalfollowed by Day 1 in this series.


 

Federal Debt Held by the Public

Graph obtained here.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is an independent, non-partisan organization that analyzes Congressional policies regarding budgetary and economic issues.  According to the CBO, the federal budget deficit this year will rise in relation to the size of the economy for the first time in the past six years.  While it almost sounds good to hear that the deficit had been decreasing, the fact of the matter is that the CBO estimates the 2016 deficit at approximately $544 BILLION – that’s HALF A TRILLION DOLLARS…in a single year.  Decreasing or not, that still leaves us in the red.  This is projected to increase our debt load to about 76% of GDP by the end of 2016, an increase of 2% since last year.  From the chart above, you can see that the debt-to-GDP ratio has, in fact, been higher in the past (i.e. during WWII) but our current trend continues to raise our debt higher and higher, pushing us to a projected 86% of GDP over the next decade.  Overall deficits for the next decade are estimated to total $9.4 trilion with growth of government spending outpacing revenues, as liabilities for Social Security, health care, and interest on the debt continue to grow, further compounding with the addition of more debt.  The CBO report goes on to detail that, if current policies remain unchanged, as that is what their predictions are based on, then our debt will rise to as high as 155% of GDP in the next thirty years.  Please read the full CBO report here; I honestly find it to be more than a little horrifying.

 


Please tune in Monday for day 3 regarding my thoughts on ways to combat the growing problem, in the hopes of reigning in government spending.  Don’t forget to follow along via WordPress, or with your e-mail in the right-hand column, to ensure you don’t miss the remainder of the series or any future posts.  My family and I would love to have you along for our journey; enjoy Valentine’s Day tomorrow.  Give your sweetie and/or loved ones a smooch, tell them all about my blog, and encourage them to follow along!  🙂

 

-Frugal RN

Day 1: Personal Finance Goes to D.C.

Before continuing…if you haven’t already, be sure to start with my post regarding the Obama Administration Budget Proposal.


It is my hope that this will not be viewed as political in nature, as that is not my intent.  I am simply looking to engage others in a conversation regarding the financial future of our great country (the United States) and/or whatever country you may call home.

I do not pretend to believe that what I am about to discuss is some the only possible cure for the financial problems I see ourselves in, and I have no doubt that there are thousands of you who are likely far more intelligent on the subject, with the capacity to present a valid argument against me (and I beg, PLEASE DO!)  That being said, let’s get started…


In the personal finance blogosphere, we often go on about the basic concepts of setting a budget, telling your money where to go, and paying off debt, while also discussing the concept of paying yourself first, whereby not robbing your future self due to frivolous purchases in the present.  Today, I would like to discuss these concepts on a much larger scale.  I’m referring to our country as a whole and, while you may not call America home, I feel that the general theme of this post series may pertain to your home country, as well.


During the early days of America, many of our Founding Fathers believed that debt, while sometimes necessary, should also be remedied as quickly as possible.  America first took on debt during the Revolutionary war against the British in order to secure our independence.  Fast forward three decades, introduce the War of 1812, and our nation’s debt doubled.  President Andrew Jackson, born poor and frugal by nature, took office in 1829 and vowed to finish what his two predecessors had started…pay off the debt…and he did!  He oversaw the successful extinction of the national debt, in 1835, for the first and only time in our nation’s history.  Unfortunately, this only lasted two years, as a “speculative balloon” arose as a result of Jackson’s moving around of national funds in an effort to shut down the Bank of the United States.  He took money from this centralized bank, divvied up the funds between various state chartered banks and, with an influx of new capital, those banks became more liberal with their loan policies, extending loans to speculators who wanted to buy up western land from the government (Housing Bubble circa 2008 anyone?)  In an attempt to limit the damage of this bubble, Jackson put out an executive order stating that government land would only be sold in exchange for gold.  This order resulted in the Panic of 1837 just as Jackson was leaving office, setting off a recession that lasted into the mid-1840’s.  Unfortunately for his successor, Martin Van Buren, the government began borrowing again and our debt has continued to climb to where we find ourselves today (Teaching History.)

Since our country’s incredibly short-lived debt freedom under Jackson, our debt has snowballed in the face of the Civil War, the Great Depression, two World Wars, and the Great Recession of the new millennium.


Tune in tomorrow for day 2 covering the latest report from the Congressional Budget Office regarding their projections for the ballooning deficits to come!  Don’t forget to follow along via WordPress, or with your e-mail in the right-hand column, to ensure you don’t miss the remainder of the series or any future posts.  My family and I would love to have you along for our journey; have a wonderful day!

 

-Frugal RN