Introduction to Stew (by Stew)


I am new here! Please be nice.

I am a husband and father in my mid-thirties. My life experiences are relatively broad for someone of my age. If you are not careful, I might try to sound like an expert in several areas, but don’t let that fool you. I don’t claim expertise in anything. Mostly, I just know enough to be dangerous. The best way for me to communicate who I am is with a list:

  • I attended private schools throughout grade school and high school. My parents were teachers in all of them.

401k into an annuity or IRA – Ask the M-Network

ask-the-m-networkThis article is part of the Ask the M-Network series. Helen submitted a question and asked:

Should we put our 401K into Flexible Premium Deferred Variable Annuity, Flexible Premium Deferred Variable annuity or an IRA?

Pinyo from Moolanomy responded:

IRA, period. Actually, this is a good question that deserves further explanation. Deferred annuities allow you to invest tax-deferred for retirement, similar to an IRA. But there is one important difference to recognize. Annuities are insurance products sold by insurance companies, whereas an IRA is an investment account with a special purpose (for retirement) and tax status (tax-deferred). Once you recognize this, you’ll understand why I answered “IRA, period”. Now, let’s look at this further.

How to stand out at the workplace and hold on to your job in a recession


Earlier this year, theĀ organization where I work was forced to lay off ten percent of our full time workforce. I survived this particular round of layoffs, butĀ  I knew that I would have to make a conscious effort to make sure that I stay employed. I am not necessarily scared of unemployment, I trust that God will find a way to meet our needs. In fact, there is actually a part of me that looks forward to seeing what might unfold under such a scenario, but this does not mean that I am going to volunteer for unemployment. I plan to be thankful for and content in the job I have. I hope to be a good steward of what has been entrusted to me.

Save money by working at home

working-from-homeI’ve been working from home full-time now for about 5 months and I’ve very quickly come to realize that not only is it far more enjoyable, but it’s saving me money. Here’s how it’s reduced my expenses:


When I was driving back and forth to work each day, I was spending roughly $200 a month in gas alone, not to mention the more difficult to calculate wear and tear on my vehicle. Now, I spend about $80 for work related travel as I do go into the office once a month. Net savings: $120.00.

Made it to the FMF Final Challenge!

I am still in a state of shock and amazement, but my article Do you appreciate what you have? made it to the final Challenge! This was of course thanks to you and all of the Free Money Finance readers who voted for me. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it!

Now it’s between me and Pete from Bible Money Matters. It’s truely a blessing to have both of the final articles be from Christian personal finance blogs!

What should I do with tax refund? – Ask The M-Network

ask-the-m-networkThis article is part of the Ask the M-Network series. Samantha submitted a question and asked:

Hi, we recently finished our taxes and will be getting back a 13K refund (part of it is the first time home buyer’s credit which I realize is more like an interest free loan). We want to know what the smartest thing to do with the money is in these tough economic times.

Free Money Finance – Final Four

fmf march madness

March Madness over at Free Money Finance is almost over and fortunately I am in the final four!! Thanks to all of you that have taken the time to vote for my article, I really apprecite it.

Once again, I need your votes. Since I’m in the final four, a $100 donoation will be donated to the American Diabetes Association, but if I make the final 2 or win the contest all together, up to $500.00 will be donated! I chose the American Diabetes Association for my 9 year old son who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in November of 2006.

Do or do not, there is no try


One of my favorite life quotes isn’t from Mark Twain, Buddha, Abraham Lincoln or any other famous historical human. Instead, it’s from a little green guy who lives on a planet named Degobah. While this little green guy named Yoda from the Star Wars movies is full of awesome and inspiring quotes, my favorite is:

Do or do not, there is no try.

Simple words yes, but powerful meaning they have, hmmm? Okay, I’ll stop talking like Yoda. Seriously it’s a great quote and one that my children can quickly quote as well, as I constantly remind them of it every single time they say “I’m trying”.

Cancel your cable or satellite ?


When we first moved into our new home here in the mountains, one of the first things we did was order satellite TV. We didn’t go with a large package, just a basic one with local channels and a few kids channels. Expensive enough though. We have Dish Network, and the cost (even with bundle savings) is $64.77 per month or $777.24 per year.

The Sunday Gathering – Weird week edition


Well, this was a weird week for me. I really struggled with not publishing articles on my normal daily schedule. Everyday I didn’t publish an article, I had this nagging feeling that I forgot to do something. Just goes to show that if you do something long enough, it becomes habit. Ever since July 2nd 2007, I’ve written an article everyday for Gather Little by Little. As of the time of this article, 621 articles! Wow.

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