The “Someday File” for That Inevitable Day

Losing a parent is tough.  It’s been several years since my father passed away, yet it only feels like yesterday.  My father did not have a sizable fortune when he passed so there wasn’t a lot of complication in sorting through his estate.  In that sense, we were lucky.  I’ve been witness to many clients whose parents did a horrible job of communicating where all their “stuff” was.  Don’t be that person.  GFC contributor, Les O’dell, shares a personal account on how you can be better prepared with your estate planning.  Introducing Les……

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Dave Ramsey FPU Week 9: Introduction to Investing

Friend and freelance writer Les O’Dell shares this diary entry from the ninth session of Financial Peace University, a 13-week course from national talk-show host Dave Ramsey.

An introduction

This week’s Financial Peace University lesson began the story of a man who never made more than $65,000 a year thorough his career, yet he was able to retire in his mid 50s with more than $1 million. He shared a simple philosophy: live below your means (Dave Ramsey calls it “acting your wage”) and save money in investments.
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Dave Ramsey’s FPU Week 7: Types of Life Insurance You Need

Friend and freelance writer Les O’Dell shares this diary entry from the seventh session of Financial Peace University discussing what types of life insurance you may need. FPU is 13-week course from national talk-show host Dave Ramsey.

The seventh week of Financial Peace University dealt exclusively with insurance. It was a lesson (believe it or not) I was actually looking forward to. My wife and I both used to work in the medical malpractice insurance field, and we both were licensed insurance agents. For that reason, I was overwhelmed by the thought of an hour and a half on insurance.

What is Insurance?

In the teaching for the evening, Dave Ramsey discussed the purpose of insurance – spending some money to keep lots more of it – and he gave a rather simple definition of insurance. He described the concept simply as a tool to transfer risk. Much like he taught about mutual funds, the idea is that a large group of people all pool their resources together to avoid financial catastrophe in the event of, well, a catastrophe. In the lesson, Ramsey discusses seven basic kinds of coverage:
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Save Money By Not Eating Out For an Entire Month

This is another guest post from Les O’Dell as he shares his journey of not eating out for an entire month. Personally, I would fail after a few days, so I give him props for the effort. Enjoy the read. I’m off to get a burger….. :)

Look at the Facts of Eating Out

Sometime ago, my wife came up with a very challenging idea. It stemmed from several facts in our life.

FACT: We both had made a conscious decision to treat our bodies better with more nutritious meals, fewer junk snacks and more exercise.

FACT: We are trying to pay down debt and are diligently budgeting and staying on budget.

FACT: Looking back at where we were spending money was like taking a drive down restaurant row: McDonald’s, Applebee’s, Moe’s, McDonald’s again, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, well you get the idea.

FACT: All told, we were probably eating one breakfast a week in a restaurant, grabbing fast-food lunch a couple times a week and having dinner out two or three more times. It was crazy.
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Dave Ramsey’s FPU Week 6: Buyer Beware

Friend and freelance writer Les O’Dell shares this diary entry from the sixth session of Financial Peace University, a 13-week course from national talk-show host Dave Ramsey.

“Caveat emptor”

It’s a Latin expression meaning let the buyer beware. I had always heard it and thought it meant be careful to not get ripped off, but in tonight’s Financial Peace University lesson, Dave Ramsey taught how the phrase should be a caution to consumers about spending and giving into marketing pressures as well as fads.

Ramsey shared how companies use every conceivable angle to convince us to purchase their products and services. He described the techniques and persuasions involved in personal selling, as well as the use of financing (including 90 days same-as-cash offers) as a marketing tool.
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Dave Ramsey’s FPU Week 5: Credit Sharks in Suits

Friend and freelance writer Les O’Dell shares this diary entry from the fifth session of Financial Peace University, a 13-week course from national talk-show host Dave Ramsey.

One More Myth

Carrying over the team of debunking myths that he used in the fourth lesson, Ramsey teaches in the fifth lesson of Financial Peace University that there is one additional myth: the importance of the almighty credit score. He explained how a credit score is calculated (calling it an “I love debt” score) and explaining how people actually can live without worrying about—or even having—a credit score.
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Dave Ramsey’s FPU Week 4: Dumping Debt

Friend and freelance writer Les O’Dell shares this diary entry from the second session of Financial Peace University, a 13-week course from national talk-show host Dave Ramsey.

Looking forward

This was the Financial Peace University lesson that I had been most eager for and the most excited about: how to get rid of debt. It’s the reason we had signed up for the class. Our enthusiasm was contagious—our 16 year-old-daughter and her boyfriend agreed to attend the night’s session with us. She’s expressed some interest in a career in finance, so I thought it would be a great experience for her.
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Dave Ramsey’s FPU Week 3: Cash Flow Planning

Friend and freelance writer Les O’Dell shares this diary entry from the second session of Financial Peace University, a 13-week course from national talk-show host Dave Ramsey.

The B Word

Tonight’s lesson was about the hated B word: budget. I’m sure for some people, this was maybe their first exposure to planning where money is to go. My wife and I have budgeted with limited success over the years. Usually, it’s been the case of planning how to spend this week’s paycheck based upon what bills and needs were most pressing. We never had done a whole month’s budget at once before. This should be interesting!

Budget Basics

Dave started the night with some basics: checking accounts that are not in balance are messes waiting to happen; overdrafts are signs of sloppy and lazy money habits and ATM withdrawals and debit cards can bust budgets, and, perhaps the biggest ones of all, most people don’t budget because others have used budgets to abuse them, they fear finding out what’s really happening to their money and they feel locked in with a budget.
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Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University Week 2: Relating With Money

Friend and freelance writer Les O’Dell shares this diary entry from the second session of Financial Peace University, a 13-week course from national talk-show host Dave Ramsey.

Welcome to reality

Our second session of Financial Peace University was humbling. The course coordinator asked each family to write on a nameless index card the best guess of our total level of indebtedness. He would add all of the figures together for a class total and then we could use that as a benchmark for measuring success when a total is calculated at the end of the course in May. Writing down that number was a sort of reality check. I wondered how our number (which I felt was way too large) would compare to everyone else’s figure.
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Financial Planning University Week 1: Super Saving

This is the 2nd installment from Les O’Dell as he discusses his journey through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.

So, on a Monday night earlier this year we walked into our first Financial Peace University Class at a local church. There were about 20 people in the room: people of all colors and ages and, judging by the cars in the parking lot, of a wide range of financial status. Each session was to be led by a coordinator, himself an FPU “graduate” and consisted of watching a DVD of Dave Ramsey teach, followed by discussions among our fellow students. I learned this was to be the format of each week’s class. After a brief introduction, we dove into lesson one—Super Saving.

Save, save, save

In the lesson, Ramsey discusses the importance for, as grandma said, “for a rainy day” because, as he said, “it’s going to rain.” With the lesson on saving, Ramsey introduces the first and third of what he calls the baby steps toward financial peace. Step one is set aside $1,000 as a small emergency fund to provide a cushion for unexpected events as well as giving peace of mind. Step two (paying off debt) comes in a later lesson. Step three is to expand the emergency fund to equal three to months of household expenses.
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Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University Introduction

I’ve asked friend and freelance writer Les O’Dell to share experiences as he and his wife Christine participate in Financial Peace University, a 13-week course from national money talk-show host Dave Ramsey. His guest posts will focus on FPU and his reaction to the lessons. He begins with a recap of the first session.

Let me start by saying that I’ve been a fan of Dave Ramsey’s financial teachings for many years. I first heard his radio show more than ten years ago when it was called The Money Game. Even then I enjoyed listening, but I was not financially mature enough to really grasp what he was teaching. I was able to grasp the “head knowledge” but never convert it to “heart knowledge”. So, despite knowing better, we continued to make stupid mistakes with our money.

The man has a plan

Dave Ramsey

Over recent years I’ve gotten smarter. I’ve listened to what is now called The Dave Ramsey Show whenever possible and have read most of his books. In fact, my wife and I have literally given away dozens of copies of his book The Total Money Makeover to friends and family members. We’ve even told our kids and their boyfriends and girlfriends that we’d pay them each $50 for a book report on The Total Money Makeover.
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