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Happy Valentine’s Day: Creating Financial Intimacy!

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Why and How Do We Save?

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The Emergency Fund – Why We All Need One!

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Budgeting 103 – Re-Prioritizing Your Categories

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KEEP INVESTING SIMPLE, STUPID!

This is a new blog that I began to provide everyone who is motivated to improve their financial situation, but isn’t quite sure how, with the knowledge to do just that! I am steadily adding content with the ultimate intent of providing readers with a systematic plan to walk through their financial situation; beginning with identifying where your currently stand financially, what your financial weaknesses and risks are, how to address those weaknesses and risks, and how to move forward with saving and investing towards a future of financial independence!

I believe that no one cares as much about your financial situation as you do, and I hope you care a lot! So, if you want to learn more about personal finance and investing and are motivated to work at taking those steps forward, this will be a great blog for you!

Why another personal finance and investing blog?

About 15 years ago I got tired of making stupid mistakes with my money, but I wasn’t sure where to start; I just knew something had to change. What I came to realize is that, what had to change was me! I was lucky enough to be “forced” to read an awesome book, The Millionaire Next Door in an economics class, that changed my perspective on finances and building wealth as a blue collar American! I began searching for other personal finance and investing books and became hooked! Unfortunately, what I have come to realize is that everything I’ve been fortunate enough to learn on my own isn’t common knowledge, but I believe that it should be. So, this blog is my place to share that knowledge and my experience with you, and I hope to learn from you as well in the process!

Why KEEP INVESTING SIMPLE, STUPID?

One of the most consistent principles of personal finance, investing, and life that I’ve come across time and time again is the principle of simplicity. In the 1960s, the U.S. Navy popularized the KISS acronym (keep it simple, stupid) as a reminder to avoid over-complicating processes to minimize mistakes and loss. I’ve always liked that idea, and as I started learning more about finances I started to see a direct application to my budgeting, spending, and even investing! That’s how I came up with Keep Investing Simple, Stupid! (the new “KISS” principle) As corny as it sounds, and yes, I realize it is corny, every time I start thinking I can outsmart the market, or think that I can get away with taking a financial risk, I repeat “just KISS it” to myself and most of the time I avoid making the mistake I would have come to regret! Plus, calling myself stupid keeps me humble! 😉

However, I think that possibly the best thing that KISS does is it reminds me that complex problems are often most effectively solved by simple solutions. Complexity leads to confusion and schemes, and you end up asking yourself, “What happened?” when things go wrong. It’s hard to learn from situations you don’t understand and how to prevent them in the future. But, when you KISS it you maintain control of the situation AND gain an understanding of why something happens when it all goes wrong. Now, you are able to learn from your mistakes and continue moving forward despite, and through, temporary setbacks!

Therefore, my mission for this blog is…

to EDUCATE, EMPOWER, and GUIDE you on your journey to financial success!

EDUCATION – I will do my best to provide 1-2 blog posts each week that are based on real financial research and standards of the profession, not merely my opinion. I have found that many financial blogs write about trendy topics that, while interesting, fail to change my life or financial situation. I will systematically build my posts by topic and will focus on financial topics that are critical to achieving financial success. I will do my best to make them easy to understand and applicable to your life. I’m also a big fan of learning from others, so please ask/comment/share on the posts and we all learn together!

EMPOWERMENT – I firmly believe that education leads to competence. Competence leads to confidence. Confidence leads you to take action and enables you to take control of your own finances. No one cares about your financial situation as much as you do, so don’t depend on anyone else! For a long time I lacked the confidence to take a few steps forward financially. I don’t want you to waste the same time “sticking your toe in the pool, but not getting in because it’s always too cold” that I did. I’ll do my best to enable YOU to take control your own financial situation, own it, and grow into your own financial manager! I’m here to help you along the way.

GUIDANCE – The journey to financial freedom is like a road trip across the country. You’ll need a solid plan to successfully arrive at your financial destination, and occasionally you’ll have to recalculate where you are and where you are going. But, as you learn the basics and how they apply to any financial situation, you’ll have an easier time recognizing when a recalculation is needed and how to do it. You’ll know to KISS it! I’m not here to be your financial manager; I’m not here to tell you specifically what to do. But, I am here to steer you in the right direction with sound advice, help you learn how to evaluate your situation, and how to apply the principles you’ve learned to your situation. I’m basically here to “teach you how to fish.” I trust that if you took the first two principles seriously you’ll do well with this one.

My Personal Finance and Investing Philosophy

As I said above, I’m a big believer in keeping it simple it in all areas of finance. For personal finance (budgeting, boosting income, emergency savings) I’m a big fan of living frugal. Frugal living has become more common lately as a few personal finance blogs out there have popularized it. Frugality is the easiest way to keep personal finance simple. If you limit your spending to needs and some wants, you’ll have a much easier time saving for bigger purchases and your future!

As for investing, I’m what some people call a Boglehead, meaning that I’m a big fan of, and follow, the investing philosophy of Jack Bogle (founder of Vanguard Group). This philosophy is focused around investing in low-cost, no fee, index mutual funds for the long-term. What has really expanded my knowledge lately are some great books I’ve read about asset allocation within index investing. This is an example of how I can KISS it and take steps toward optimizing my investment returns through applying some mildly advanced financial principles. I believe Einstein explained this best when he said,

“Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

There are so many ways to keep personal finance and investing simple, and yet, once you master the simplicity, it’s simple to continue adding some depth to that knowledge. I find this stuff the most fascinating!

At the end of the day, though, my overall philosophy is that personal finance and investing is something that we ALL should be familiar with, be able to talk about competently, and take our financial future in our own hands. If we know the basics we will be able to make our financial situations what we want them to be, over time. You can do the bare minimum and still be successful, or you can continue to expand your knowledge and maybe squeak out a little higher return if you want to. Either way, I believe if each of us do this we will do a better job of providing for ourselves, our families, and teaching our children how to be financially responsible adults. Finally, I also believe that a financially responsible person is one that helps others in need without needing to be repaid. One of the most rewarding things in this life is helping others, and I hope you know what I mean.

And finally, this is my vision for you: that you will learn the knowledge you need to make sound financial decisions, see how these principles apply to your life and individual circumstances, and finally, implement these changes into your own life!

With that being said, welcome to the blog and I hope that you will take steps toward your own financial success! Best of luck!

Dan