Friday Gathering: Signing Day Edition

If you are a college football fan, this was a big week. All the fans in my state are upset about all the top recruits that signed to play out of state . . . Here are some articles that I found interesting this week:

I am not quite sure what to think of Lynnae’s post about her 5-second rule. I tend to be a little like Jerry Seinfeld when it comes to germs. Maybe that’s why Lynnae is “being frugal” and I’m just Stew . . .

Cash ISA Guide

Anyone in the UK who’s interested in saving some money for a rainy day should definitely consider a cash ISA account – they make great financial sense, and are nowhere near as complex as their predecessor the PEP. This guide will go some way to explaining cash ISAs to you, and hopefully make you a more discerning spender”¦

Our Bank Network

I am a numbers guy . . . a little obsessive compulsive . . . I like organization and strategic planning. I understand if some of you might think this kind of information is a little “wonky”, but I thought I would lay out our bank set-up for you and see what you think. This is the bank set-up that Mrs. Stew and I have used for almost four years now:

Teaching Your Children About Money Lesson #3: The Meaning of Sacrifice

As you have, no doubt, already read, I am trying to teach my 4 year old son lessons about money. It is hard to teach them everything about money at this age, but I can tell you that children can learn a lot more than we think! It’s only a matter of repeating clear and easy to understand concepts. In fact, most personal finance concepts are pretty easy to understand and this is why I am trying to teach them to my son at this tender age.

Which debt do you hate the most?

Our family finances get a lot of attention this time of year. I clean up the Christmas mess, every year we get better at handling Christmas expenses, but we are still not where we would like to be. I start to review my files to make sure I am ready to finish our taxes. Finally, January is “budget month”, the time of year that we review our budget. By the beginning of February, I have a really good grasp on all the numbers. Not so much meaning that I have control of the numbers, but that I can recite them at a moment’s notice.

Friday Gathering: Tax Time Edition

Lots of tax tips from other bloggers:

Lynnae at Being Frugal, prepares her own taxes. I do too and mine are pretty complicated this year.

If you purchased a home in 2009, Debt Free Adventure lists Tax Credits for Home Buyers and Owners. I sold a home in 2009, which will just complicate my taxes. Sigh.

Mrs. Micah listed the 2009 Tax Credit & Deduction List. Thankfully, I have lots and lots of deductions, but again, they complicate things.

If you do not know the IRS tax deadline, seriously? You do not know when your taxes are due? Even Canadians know stuff like that. April 15th is not complicated.

Investing Baby Steps #2: Different Investing Strategies For Beginners Part 1

According to your investor profile, you might want to take a different route for investing. Forget what your neighbour or your brother-in-law told you about “the next big thing”. If they were that good, they would be calling you from their yacht in the Bahamas to give your stock tips”¦ not over the fence while pushing their lawnmower  ;-)

In my last post about investing baby steps, I was talking about finding your investor profile. I think this step is omniimportant if you want to succeed as an investor. And succeeding doesn’t mean making millions, it does mean building a solid investment strategy that you will be able to follow that allows you to sleep well at night ;-).

Should a believer really contribute to IRA’s, 401K’s or other retirement accounts?

My wife and I are between churches right now. We have been visiting different local assemblies throughout the fall we are close to making a final decision about the congregation that we will join. Last week we had one of the pastors over for dinner. In the course of our conversation, he made an interesting statement. He said:

I believe that a believer should not have 401K’s, IRA’s or any other type of retirement account.

At first I was a little taken back, but then I started to think about many of the promises that we find in Scripture – like the Apostle Paul’s admonition to a young pastor in I Timothy 6:8:

Teaching Your Children About Money Lesson #2: The Power of Money

Many of us were raised in  hostile environments where money was concerned. We saw our parents running after money to pay for groceries, spending many a fortnight calculating budget numbers, by hand  at the kitchen table to make ends meet all the while cursing money as it was the root of all evil.

I guess this is why we have such a complex love-hate relationship with money. While we love it when we have much, we deeply hate it when it is scarce. We have been told that you are better off  healthy than wealthy, that those who make a lot of money must have done something wrong to come by it, that money doesn’t bring happiness, that it only brings more problems.

That old question: Work or stay home?

Last week, MoneyNing posed a question to his readers: Should I be a work at home Mom? Of course the first thing that came to my mind was the iconic 1980’s movie, Mr. Mom. Personally, I would love to be a stay at home “mom” and in some ways, Mrs. Stew is more suited to work outside the home . . . she likes being around people. As for me? Let’s just say that a cabin on the top of a mountain in Alaska sounds like a dream come true most of the time. But his article caused me to reflect on the past six months in our family. Many of you will remember that our family wrestled through the issue if a stay-at-home parent v more income last summer. You can read about our decision here and here. Currently, Mrs. Stew stays home with our children. She home schools our two older girls and also provides in-home daycare to several other children from other families.

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