Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Healthy Finances

If we were to contemplate healthy finances what might that look like? 
Food on the table
Bills paid on time
Reserve in the bank

Conversely what would sick finances look like?  At the end of the post I hope you will consider your own finances and decide:  Are they healthy?, Have a cold?, in ICU?, or, on life support?  Knowing the answer will help you view your situation more objectively and possibly make some adjustments in your way of dealing with the choices and attitudes available. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

easy-ways-to-ruin-your-retirement: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance

easy-ways-to-ruin-your-retirement: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance

I think most people are rethinking their retirement strategies and checking to make sure they have enough. Planning is far superior to fear.

Another opportunity to remind people about the book Early Retirement Extreme by Jacob Lund Fisker. I'm in the middle of reading it now and loving it. Will post the review in the future.

If you come across any good articles about rethinking retirement please post them in the comments or email me the link at inthetrenches at live.com .

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Kernel Season's

Have you heard of Kernel Season's?  It's a line of seasonings that was developed by a college student who was looking for ways to spice up his popcorn.  Soon friends wanted to try his flavors and the company was born.  His line of seasonings is now sold to movie theaters, on-line and in big name stores like Walmart.  They can also be found in some discount stores as we recently found a gift pack at Big Lots.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Book Review - The Housing Boom and Bust

The Housing Boom And Bust by Thomas Sowell

A friend recommended this book because she felt it had a unique perspective on the housing crisis.  In that I have to agree.  The author has removed most of the accountability for the the housing crisis from the banking industry and placed it on the politicians and their agendas spanning back for more than 20 years.  Although I don't agree with this overall conclusion I do think that he did an excellent job at gathering statistics and building his case.  He also sited specific times that warnings of the pending crisis went unheeded and were even covered up. For this reason I felt it was a valuable read to fill in some of the blanks.  The contents include:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Shopping Mania Roundup

Black Friday!  The buzz is on and people across the country are making plans to get out there and shop until they drop!  I would be lying if I didn't admit that we women are making plans to go to bed early to get in line before the crack of dawn.  The retailers are counting on it and the news says that sales are already 10% over what they were at this time last year. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Meet the 'Cheapest Man Alive': Edward Wedbush - It's Your Money - TIME.com

A reader wanted to share this story with us all.  Hope you enjoy it.

Meet the 'Cheapest Man Alive': Edward Wedbush - It's Your Money - TIME.com

So what do you think?  Is this man a little off?  Is he making a point?  How can a person this rich and successful still have a leaky roof?  You won't believe his story.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Brrr....It's cold!

Winter is here and the temperatures are dropping!  The snow is already falling in some parts of the country and here the wind is cold and brisk.  Is brisk a strong enough word to indicate that you want to pull you coat tight and you can feel the car blowing?  Everyone who knows me knows that I hate winter!  I have learned to deal with it much better over the years by enjoying inside activities but my heart still cries out "Oh, No! Not again!"  each time the thermometer drops and I know it's getting close.  I live in a state of denial most of the year pretending that I won't ever have to see snow again and renew my goal to become a snowbird.  I know it's an extreme position to take but that's just how I feel and have since I was a kid when asked if I wanted to play in the snow.  Uhhh, no.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Excerpt from In The Trenches - If kids were meant to fly.

This is one of my favorite financial topics: teaching kids about money.  They are so smart and so unencumbered by past mistakes that it is a joy to involve them in the process.  Kids are pretty much a clean slate and what is written on that slate can influence the future and help them avoid all the trial and error we as parents have endured on the road of life.  On with our story...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

20 Industries Where Jobs Are Coming Back

20 Industries Where Jobs Are Coming Back - Yahoo! Finance

Jobs! Isn't that the word everyone wants to hear? Some that made the list are in industries that would never have crossed my mind but for those skilled and waiting this will be good news.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Fairy Jobmother

Lifetime has a new show called the Fairy Jobmother.  The show takes a Supernanny approach to  job hunting.  The host, Hayley Taylor is a hard hitting, no nonsense career specialist who knows how to get people off their seats and moving again.  Like most reality shows of this type she works with a client family and takes them through every step of the job search process.  She gives advice and instruction on:
  • Life assessment
  • Financial assesment
  • Resume writing
  • Job skills and expansion
  • Interview techniques and role playing for preparation
  • Dealing with disappointments 
Hayley coachs the family every step of the way in an entertaining yet no excuses way to reach their goals.  I enjoyed Hayley's wardrobe and she did an excellent job at setting an example of dressing stylishly professional.  They did change her clothes so often that I was almost distracted by wanting to see what she would wear next.  Hayley made a personal connection with her clients and did not back away from the hard questions.  The show is very "now" so I don't expect that it will be around forever but may provide just the motivation, stimulation, and tips needed to get the watchers to their next job.

The show is on Lifetime on Thursdays at 9pm.  If you are on unemployment or looking for a job I hope you will check it out.  The Fairy Jobmother, cool title.  The site has previous episodes that can be watched on the computer, job search helps, and an application to get on the show.  Wouldn't that be fun?  Tell them In The Trenches sent you and let us know so we can watch.

What's holding you back?  You might also like this article from Kim Luu, an writer I really enjoy, titled The Internal Saboteur

Monday, November 15, 2010

new-ways-bankers-are-spying-on-you: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance

new-ways-bankers-are-spying-on-you: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance

Is this your idea of good customer service?

and, another banking story:

Still thinking your credit card is your prized possession? Count the cost of the small piece of plastic and the temptation to pull it out next time.
What's your debt really costing you?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What's for dinner?

Second only to "How are you?" it's probably the most frequently asked question in the country.  We care about what we eat and when we eat.  Food fills not only a physical need but also psychological and social needs.  Historically the role of preparing food has fallen primarily on women but some of the best chefs in the world are men proving that it is a skill that knows no gender boundaries.

How can we put good food on the table when we are watching every dime and in a rush?  Here are some of my favorite choices passed down from the generations:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Homes for Under $100K - Yahoo! Real Estate

Homes for Under $100K - Yahoo! Real Estate

Have you checked the housing prices lately?  If you are considering buying for a personal home or investment the prices and interest both make it a very attractive buyers market place.  While it's true that sellers are not in the best position and may have to hold, what we are seeing is the about the only good news about the housing crisis.  That is the opportunity for the average person to begin long term investments in real estate.

I have written a number of posts regarding the housing crisis and being a first time landlord so if you would like more information check the catagory on the side.

Nothing is more important than doing your own homework so that you can be informed and come to a decision that works for you and your family.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On the streets interview

While waiting for the bus I met a young man probably around 30.  I had just sat down and he told me that he only had 40 cents and could I give him some change.  I decided why not and decided to turn it into an interview opportunity.  Not having a tape recorder on me as a professional would I'll have to recount to the best of my ability.

Q. What got you into this situation?
A.  What do you mean?

Q.  What got you into a situation where you would need to ask others for money?
Then it was like a dam broke as he began telling me his story.  In the meantime I had pulled out $2 which would have been enough for bus fare.  He tried to give back a dollar and I told him to just keep it.  Some of what he shared was:

Monday, November 8, 2010


the-financial-toll-of-alzheimers-disease: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance

I have had a few friends who have cared for parents with Alzheimers and it is indeed brutal for all involved. My heart goes out to those who are faced with this challenge with their loved ones.

Alzheimers is another reason why I am a strong advocate for living trusts.  It is one of those things that can happen to any of us.  Having precautions in place can help provide help when we need it the most.  Please see my book review on Living Trusts for Everyone by Ronald Sharp.  Waiting until later can be too late for many.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Housing Options

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe... The story stays in our minds because of the unique and interesting place she choose to live. Where we live has a dramatic impact on our lives, options, and sense of well being. Most of us have the mental picture of the suburban home with the white picket fence, children playing in the yard and a swing set in the back. This is the most commonly accepted picture of what we all refer to as The American Dream. In recent years that vision has been expanded to a bigger house with nice cars in the front and a landscaper mowing the lawn.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

19 iconic products that america doesn't make anymore

19 iconic products that america doesn't make anymore: Tech Ticker, Yahoo! Finance

This is a truly interesting article and video about products that were originally made in America that the manufacturing has moved overseas.

The American Economy is being eroded on every side and most of it has been happening in ways that we would not be aware of and with the support of laws that provide tax breaks to those who no longer support American manufacturing.

It is like an octopus with many tentacles: the banking industry, manufacturing, tax policies, food regulations, and other major factors.  Many Americans have been looking for a quick fix but only a major overhaul will turn us from the course we are heading.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Interesting week

Another week is ending and TGIF!  I am trying to adapt to my new schedule and fit all of what I consider important into it.  Although I cherished my morning book reading on the bus I was finding a difficult time getting the blog posts done regularly.  So this week I tried something new and took my spiral notebook on the bus and am writing as I go. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Nicest Canadian couple in world dole out lottery winnings | The Upshot Yahoo! News

Nicest Canadian couple in world dole out lottery winnings The Upshot Yahoo! News

What would you do with 11.3 million dollars? Here is what one couple did. The comments were also very nice to read. It will perk you up and give you that good feeling to be reminded that there are still people in the world who are generous and kind even when having their own difficulties.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

It's so easy to write of the hardship and challenges yet there is something else much harder to pinpoint that happens when a person goes through a season of living In The Trenches.  Like the stars at night amidst the blackness.  They seem to be small yet they brighten the night sky with patterns and hope.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Yahoo! Finance - Financially Fit

This article, How They Paid Off Big Debt in a Few Short Years  from Yahoo has lots of good money savings and debt reduction strategies.  One couple was able to pay off almost $70,000 in two years.

The comment about cloth diapers you know I would disagree with but that is what makes things so good as it shows that each person can customize their own plan to meet their families needs, objectives, and priorities.

All the couples mentioned came up with a different strategy but all were able to meet their goals.  There is hope for us all!