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Posts by Keith Taxguy

High Interest Savings Account for Rednecks

Short-term money held for later investments or emergency funds pay paltry returns. It might be expected since these investment vehicles are not long-term. However, money market and checking accounts can do better than a fraction of a percent in interest payments large banks are offering. 

Over the past year my most popular posts involved investing short-term funds. I paid lip service to High Interest Savings Accounts Few Use and Unique Savings Accounts Few Know About. In each case I was soundly trashed for focusing on wealthy people (which is a lie since all the accounts I listed can be used by people of any wealth level) and avoiding the one checking and savings account tailor-made for people in the backwoods of Wealthy Accountantville. 

Let me introduce you to Redneck Bank; a bank folks from the backwoods of Nowhere, Wisconsin and the back streets of New York City alike can enjoy. And if you stick around to the end I’ll show you a debit card paying up to 2.5% cash back. Mix these banking vehicles together for an acceptable return is something even backwoods folks, like me, find mighty tempting.

 

Mega Money Market Account

Y’all know I’m going to have a hard time not drifting into backwoods talk. I’ll do my best to be professional.

Interest rates are subject to change, of course, but as of this writing my brothers at Redneck Bank are paying a stiff 1.75% on their Mega Money Market Account on balances up to $50,000. 

Don’t get yer knickers in a bundle! Redneck Bank is fer normal folks, too. They pay that awesome interest rate on balances up to $50,000. There is no minimum balance and you only need 500 bucks to open a darn account. Even normal folks in the boondocks have that much laying around, probably in the sofa cushion.

If all you are looking for is interest you are leaving some of the best features of Redneck Bank on the ground. Backwoods folks are more frugal than that, if you didn’t already know. 

Mobile deposits make it easy to work with my Redneck buddies. Take a picture of checks received and they are automatically deposited into your account.

An underused feature is Online Bill Pay. Your Redneck money market account offers 10 free bill pay transactions per month. This saves time and postage. Smart rednecks automate their life whenever and wherever possible. That is just good money management. 

You can read all the sun-baked details here. (Note: Redneck Bank is not an affiliate or related to the author in any way.)

 

Redneck Rewards Checking Account

For smaller sums of money I think the Redneck Bank checking account is a better offer. Interest accumulates at 2.25% currently on up to (that is up to) $10,000. That is very competitive and comes with plenty of additional valuable features. 

Mobile deposits using a secure app make all Redneck products easy to use. Your Redneck Rewards Checking Account also comes with 10 free bill pay transactions. No minimum balance required, but ya need 500 bucks to open the account. Check the sofa.

For kind readers who enjoy traveling, up to $25 in foreign ATM fees are refunded each month. 

There is one small catch to the checking account, however. (What did you expect with a checking account paying 2.25% on up to 10 grand?) You need to make 10 or more debit card transactions (online or in the real world) using your Redneck checking account each month to qualify for the high interest rewards. If you make fewer debit card transactions you still earn .50% (almost like an account at a big bank). 

You can read all the details about the Redneck Rewards Checking Account here.

 

Facts and Circumstances

Redneck Bank might be the perfect bank for you. Their products offer excellent rates of interest for emergency and short-term funds. I recommend reading the two previous posts I published using the links above for more high interest options.

No one product fits everyone, however, and many people will find multiple investment vehicles best for them. (You are not limited to one account at one bank, if that needs saying.) The previous articles published, listed at the opening of this post, have offers for much larger amounts for readers dealing with larger sums. 

It is important to review your personal financial situation. Something as easy and fun as Redneck Bank might cover most or all your banking needs. Then again, as life evolves, it is possible new financial challenges will arise. This is when it is good to come armed with multiple tools to get the job done. It isn’t a crime to change banks when facts dictate such a move.

The interest rate paid is only part of the solution. Yes, earning reasonable interest is the most difficult problem to solve and why you are probably here. But is can be done, as this and previous articles published on this blog, indicate. The real value in these high-interest accounts extends to services too. Online banking is convenient, but free bill pay saves time and postage. Be sure to review many banking options. If you have more than 10 bills each month, it might make sense to have more than one bank. The fine print is your friend in this instance.

 

Awesome Deal I Promised

I promised an awesome deal if you read to the end and I meant it. I haven’t seen this one promoted much (or I just live in a secluded backwoods world) so most of you may not be aware of this offer.

Let me tease first. How many of you would like a credit card paying back 2.5% cash back with an up-front cash bonus? Oh, I see a lot of hands. Some credit cards offer more, but 2.5% cash back with a bonus is still pretty good. 

Now, how would you like a debit card that offered the same? With an up-front bonus? Thought so.

Debit cards are notorious for paying small or no cash-back. Dave Ramsey fans and those with an allergic reaction to debt don’t want to use credit cards so they miss out on the juicy rewards. These are cash and carry people that will only go as far as a debit card. I get it.

PayPal recently sent me an offer. To be fair, this might only apply to business accounts, but I see nothing that disallows you from opening a business versus a personal account. 

The landing page says PayPal pays 1% cash back, but PayPal gave me a $100 cash back reward for spending $1,000 in December and $25 for every $1,000 of spending. This means with a small amount of planning I can get close to 2.5% cash back on normal spending (no crazy spending for a reward, as if I have to mention this) on my debit card before the bonus reward.

The money comes from my checking account (PayPal automatically deducts the payment); I don’t keep any money on deposit at PayPal, thought that is allowed, as well. 

PayPal has other options than the $25 per thousand in spending, but I think that offer is the best. 

This is also a new product for PayPal (I think). I have had a PayPal account for years for my tax office. PayPal decided they were sending a debit card for the account regardless. (I opted out of the debit card feature in the past.) To sweeten the pot they offered cash. What can I say? The accountant in me couldn’t hold back.

The PayPal offer might be for a limited time. I still wanted to get this in your hands as soon as possible so you can take advantage of the offer if possible.

 

Common Sense

As always, kind readers, use common sense. There are numerous banking options out there. Mix and match those that serve you best. It used to be so easy. Just go to the local bank and open an account. Today there are more moving parts, but that works to your advantage if you are willing to invest a small amount of time. 

Also, as a reminder, you are not wedded to a bank. If the terms change, you can always change banks. Some offers are meant to get folks in the door with the hopes they are too lazy to leave (or notice) once the offer ends. Don’t be lazy! You work hard for your money. The banks are making money just fine. You take care of you!

Check out Redneck Bank. Maybe add it to your list of financial options. There is a bit of fun involved, too. And life should be filled with amusing moments.

Look into the PayPal offer, as well. It might be limited to current accounts or some other crazy thing. But it might be something of value to you. Getting north of 2% cash back using a debit card is the best this crazy accountant has seen to date.

Be sure to share high-interest accounts you use (or know of) in the comments section below. Worthy Financial (in the More Wealth Building Resources section below) pays 5%, but is an affiliate of this blog and is not a bank.

I hope this short post kept your interest. (Yes, one last bit of humor before leaving you today.)

 

 

More Wealth Building Resources

Personal Capital is an incredible tool to manage all your investments in one place. You can watch your net worth grow as you reach toward financial independence and beyond. Did I mention Personal Capital is free?

Medi-Share is a low cost way to manage health care costs. As health insurance premiums continue to sky rocket, there is an alternative preserving the wealth of families all over America. Here is my review of Medi-Share and additional resources to bring health care under control in your household.

QuickBooks is a daily part of life in my office. Managing a business requires accurate books without wasting time. QuickBooks is an excellent tool for managing your business, rental properties, side hustle and personal finances.

cost segregation study can reduce taxes $100,000 for income property owners. Here is my review of how cost segregation studies work and how to get one yourself.

Worthy Financial offers a flat 5% on their investment. You can read my review here. 

(Give Yourself) The Gift of Good Business for the Next Decade

Guest posts are always difficult. Too often the material that crosses my desk is of very low quality or thinly disguised ads, usually both. I pass faster than a speeding bullet. 

Then there are people I know that I would love to have write a guest post. They are articulate and care about the reader. Unfortunately, they are also busy. However!!! Through good fortune I was able to convince one of these people to to write down her wisdom for you, kind readers.

Debbie Todd has followed this blog for a long time and is a recommended tax pro on the Find a Local Tax Pro page of this blog. Seeing Debbie work with clients on social media has left no doubt in my mind of her level of knowledge, experience and willingness to serve her clients at the highest level possible. 

This post started over a discussion on Facebook. Debbie left a comment and I said I would love to hear all the details about it, preferably as a guest post. It was a lot of work, but she complied. As a result, you get to pull back the curtain and see how things run in a smooth operating tax office that serves clients like royalty and how you can get the same results with your tax pro. I wish I always lived up to those high levels.

Be sure to read to the end. I will copy Debbie’s contact information from the Finding a Local Tax pro page to the end of this post, along with a link to a worksheet you can download. You want that worksheet!

Thank you for the post, Debbie. It will help readers and me alike.

 

Guest post: Debbie Todd of iCompass Compliance Solutions, LLC

 

SECRET INSIDER Bean-Counter Chat Alert – Earlier this year, the Wealthy Accountant and I chatted online about what CPAs and Enrolled Agents like to talk about — innovative ways to serve, educate — and yes, sometimes even boot our clients in their business behind — while keeping our sanity and a semblance of family balance.

I promised to share a couple of strategic tips and a tool I developed that transformed not only my own business, but also generated amazing results for my firm’s clients. Then unexpectedly, LIFE got in the way of delivering on that promise — until now.

I lost two long-term step-parents within 3 months and then both my brothers had major cardiac events. Experiencing sudden and profound change, loss and grief sure puts things in perspective. Not an excuse — but I hope you can relate. Life throws unexpected curve balls which get in the way of best laid plans for your business, your personal life and even your legacy. Decisions matter! Adjust, breathe and take the next step. And the next…

Just as Summer gave way to Fall — and now as our lungs are filled with the brisk air of Winter — know that Spring 2020 is just around the corner. A new season, a new decade and untapped new opportunities await.

Read on to learn how…

 

David or Goliath – What Mattered Most?

The log in the fire is crackling, casting a rosy glow of warmth on the stockings, the twinkling tree and the ribbon-wrapped presents… 

As happens so often during the holiday season, I spend time reflecting on what worked well (and didn’t) with my beloved clients. I muse on the opportunities and challenges they faced in growing their business this year, adapting to new tax rules, employee issues, as well as several experiencing traumatic family events, which suddenly altered some of their best-laid plans.

What tips and tools could I share to allow them to be more successful in 2020 and beyond? I’m their CPA, their trusted financial coach and I take that privilege seriously. So do most of my amazing bean-counter friends.

Whether you are a large international company, a locally owned small business entrepreneur or a trendy global digital nomad, having rock-solid business goals and smart financial processes behind you is critical for your success. It’s not your size — it’s your heart, purpose and willingness to take action. Like David. . . 

Let’s face it, you’re toast without it… and often sooner rather than later.

 

Seizing a New Decade of Opportunities

As I gaze thoughtfully into the log’s dancing flames and scratch our aging Labrador’s graying ears, I realize that in just a matter of days, we will usher in a brand new decade…and brand new opportunities.

With last year’s tax law changes, a plethora of retirement planning opportunities (the SECURE Act, for example), combined with continuing economic growth, this reflection seems more weighty, more impactful and infinitely more exciting than prior years.

So, as a seasoned tax and financial strategy practitioner, I regularly share updates on these opportunities with my clients via email and during our quarterly meetings — but, how do we address (get to know) new businesses who want to join our cherished client family?

 

Communications and our Beloved NCO Triage

Like the log’s embers keep the fire going, providing both light and warmth, having a foundation of trust, clearly stated goals and objectives fueled by open communication, regular review and adjustments — translates to success on both sides of our client relationships.

Think about when you go to the doctor or the emergency room. You want the professionals taking care of you to listen and understand what is going on with you so you can get the correct diagnosis and treatment, right? Well the same holds true for your business or family financial health.

Over the last several years, I have developed what we call our NCO Triage, or New Client Onboarding Triage. It has blossomed to over 7 pages – and NO, this is NOT like your tax organizer. It’s a strategic financial life goals framework that helps me help you turn your dreams from vision into reality.

Yes, it asks questions about your business like what kind it is, what state(s) you operate in, your revenues, status of tax filings, who does what in the finance functions, etc, but also covers key details like a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats).

Next, we learn about your life goals… not just for your business, but how your business fuels your life’s passions and dreams. 1, 3, 5, 10 and even 20 years. After all, that IS why you are working, right? Finally, we discuss your communication styles and preferences so we are both comfortable with how we will play together going forward. Ninety-five percent of preventable challenges stem from miscommunication.

So, WHY is this Important?

Keeping an eye on the fire is important. Left unattended, the fire eventually dies out and the cold will seep in. A few strategically placed money tips will keep your financial fireplace warm and toasty.

As stated earlier and without sounding too cheeky (okay maybe just a little) — your cash flows, financial foundations and habits are the lifeblood of your business. Your goals and vision sets the heartbeat and pace with which you operate. Slow and steady wins the race.

Wanna know something cool? Meeting with your CPA or EA can actually be FUN! Seriously…

I just wrapped up Q4-2019 meetings with many of my clients. Most calls start out something like this… ”Hey Deb, I’d like to meet with you for an hour this time. Let’s talk about our financials and the tax items for the first 30 minutes or so. Then I have a couple of ideas I want to run by you, so put on your counselor hat for the rest of the call, OK??” What an honor to help them explore possibilities that will improve their lives. After all, wouldn’t you rather be helping transform your client’s future with smart financial tips and tools as opposed to simply fixing and filing their historical transactions? Seriously, I get just as jazzed up as they do — and LOVE to see their dreams become reality.

 

Key Takeaways and Next Steps for Caring Pros and Smart Clients

Mylie, our Lab, is looking at me with that “Mom, it’s time for bed” look. I get up, turn the Christmas tree lights off and add an all-nighter log to the fire — so it will have energy to burn, keeping our house toasty warm while we sleep and dream.

Fellow Tax and Financial Pros — Key Thoughts AND A GIFT

  1. Proactive Planning with Forward Focus: Understand that your best value as a passionate and knowledgeable financial professional lies in proactively helping your clients achieve their dreams and life goals. Right, wrong or sideways, you can only fix and file past transactions. Instead, help your clients avoid those mistakes in the first place while providing tools to make their future dreams a reality. (Hint: Start on page 4 of the NCO!) Leverage this mindset into your practice’s core values and I believe you’ll both be happier as a result. 
  2. It’s NOT about the Money: This is a lesson I learned the hard way. Don’t compete strictly on price – EVER. Not everyone needs to be your client. Read that again. It took you YEARS of training, countless exams and ongoing research every single year to do what you do and do it well. It’s about VALUE: The amount of money I save clients each year far supersedes their invoice amount. Don’t sell yourself short – your knowledge is worth it.
  3. Equip Your Clients: Many clients are NOT money gurus – they are great artisans in their own field, but need your financial expertise so their business can thrive and grow. Offering monthly or quarterly meetings, a Q4 tuneup and emails of key tips are simple ways you can help your clients go to the next level. Plus, it provides a reasonable revenue stream outside of tax season!
  4. The GIFT: You can download a copy of my NCO and adapt it for your firm’s use. The fun part starts on page 4! Understand, I am NOT giving tax or legal advice and this document does not replace your well-crafted Engagement Letter or professional due diligence procedures. Use the following link:

2019 NCO – New Client Onboarding Triage Initial Questionnaire Template

Smart Clients Wanting to Up their Game (It’s OK if you read the Tax pros list above too)

  1. Identify Your Goals and Vision: As 2020 begins, what do you want to accomplish in the next year or the next decade? Seriously, a little dreaming and planning can make a HUGE difference! Feel free to download the last four pages of the NCO, dream and jot down your thoughts (crackling fire and aging Labrador optional, but highly recommended)!
  2. Plan With Your Tax/Money Pro: If you are not planning with your tax pro outside of annually filing your taxes, you are missing out on a golden opportunity to make small (or even large), consistent improvements to your financial bottom line throughout the entire year. Yes, you should pay them for these meetings too – unless they are already on retainer.
  3. Execute, Review, Adjust, Repeat: Dreams and vision are great, but it’s ACTION that wins the race…100% of the time. I’d rather see imperfect action (within legal bounds of course) than a perfectly procrastinated idea. As part of your meetings, you can set timelines, deliverables, checkpoints and get objective feedback and insights to adjust course, as needed. Then repeat!

I, for one, am truly excited about spending quality time with loved ones and enjoying Christmas – celebrating Jesus and all the wonders we have been blessed with – and those opportunities which await. [Editor’s note: Debbie delivered this to me December 23rd. Your lazy editor didn’t get to it until after the 1st of the year.]

Wishing each of you a joyous, happy and safe Christmas and New Year – AND a next decade that blesses your family and business beyond measure!

Debbie Todd

Your Friend in Financial Wellness, Debbie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Information

iCompass Compliance Solutions, LLC, dba 1 Hour Impact Firm #5917

Locations we prefer to serve: SW WA or Portland, OR Area. WBE certified in both OR and WA

Contact: Easiest to reach me via email or https://www.facebook.com/TheSpunkyCPA/

Email: deborah.todd.cpa@gmail.com

Areas of practice: Federal and state personal and small biz taxes, Non-Profit – 990s, IRS compliance and remediation, divorce and estates, also small biz startup strategy. Niche expertise in small business interactions with State and Federal Government Contracting.

In person or fully digital capabilities.

Areas of practice you don’t handle: Ex-Pat, valuation disputes, M&A.

Bio: You can learn more here, including govt background- http://1hourimpact.com/about-us/

Interesting tidbit: Special passion for teaching smart early childhood financial literacy using engaging, interactive theater.

 

More Wealth Building Resources

Personal Capital is an incredible tool to manage all your investments in one place. You can watch your net worth grow as you reach toward financial independence and beyond. Did I mention Personal Capital is free?

Medi-Share is a low cost way to manage health care costs. As health insurance premiums continue to sky rocket, there is an alternative preserving the wealth of families all over America. Here is my review of Medi-Share and additional resources to bring health care under control in your household.

QuickBooks is a daily part of life in my office. Managing a business requires accurate books without wasting time. QuickBooks is an excellent tool for managing your business, rental properties, side hustle and personal finances.

cost segregation study can reduce taxes $100,000 for income property owners. Here is my review of how cost segregation studies work and how to get one yourself.

Worthy Financial offers a flat 5% on their investment. You can read my review here. 

The 3 Best Books The Wealthy Accountant Read this Year

Reading is the foundation of every form of wealth: mental, spiritual and financial. There is even an argument to be made that reading good books is good for you physically, as you can learn to eat better and exercise more productively. 

Books are the cornerstone of knowledge. The more you immerse yourself in quality material, the better decisions you can make. 

Focusing on only recently published books is a mistake. Avoiding novels is also an error. A well rounded education comes from digesting material from all genres, even topics you normally don’t read. Even fiction can teach us plenty about the world around us and ourselves.

I read about a book per week. Some books are doorstops and require more dedication while there are times I polish off several shorter books in a week. The goal is never volume (pun intended). I never set out with a reading goal for a number of pages or books read in a certain time frame. The goal is to absorb as much knowledge as possible from the text. Some books read fast while others slow to a glacial crawl. If it takes longer, so be it. As long as I acquired the information and it sticks.

Without intention, my reading habits were unique this past year. I read some recently published material and plenty of older stuff. Novels played a bigger role than at any time in over two decades. Even a few self-published books made the cut.

I re-read a few books this year, too; some is part, some in entirety. Some of the Stoics come to mind. Re-reading a good book is something more people need to do. As with good movies, you pick up more with each reading. 

Before I share the 3 best books I read in the past year, let me point out this isn’t an exact time frame. I don’t mark a place on my bookshelf to delineate the changing of the calendar. Books I borrowed from the library are not included on my list because I can’t pull them up or easily quote from them. I have a bias toward my personal library.

Be aware the links in this post are affiliate in nature. That means I get paid a small fee if you use the link/s to buy the book.

 

Business and Investing Book of the Year

It might surprise you that I don’t spend all day reading investing and business books. Sure, I read plenty of business reports and financial statements; and most classics of the genre have been consumed and re-consumed. Only a few published each year are worthy of my time.

Many bloggers in the personal finance field have been self-publishing books. I’m unconvinced my time is well spent reading how a young person either dug themselves out of debt or retired at an early age. Without any personal debt there is nothing to resonate in the debt books. And since owning my own business is something I want to spend the rest of my life doing, retirement of any kind is a foreign concept to me. (I might slow down just a bit as age takes its toll.)

The best books of the genre tell personal and non-personal stories. This is where Business Adventures by John Brooks comes in and is our pick for this category. Brooks shares the tales of twelve intense situations on Wall Street. The stories are older, but the lessons are as valuable today as ever. Rather than a how-to book, Brooks allows us to learn from example.

While I may not “officially” read a personal finance book, I spend plenty of time reviewing personal finance books consumed in the past. The list would easily break 100 if I started dropping names. One book does stand out, however. My friend, Jim Collins, published The Simple Path to Wealth several years ago. As far as I’m concerned. this is the most modern classic of the genre. I page through the book for a short read constantly. You would do well to have a copy next to your reading chair. I keep a copy at home and the office. Yes, it is that good.

 

Novel of the Year

There was a time when I read over 100 novels per year. Science fiction topped the list, but anything was game. I’m a sucker for a good story.

SevenEves would have been the winner were it not for a strong showing by A Gentleman in MoscowSevenEves is a powerful science fiction novel mixing story with scientific facts. I enjoy science fiction stories that twist stories around realism. If it is possible, even if improbable, it makes for an engaging story.

But the nod goes to A Gentleman in Moscow. I finished this novel as year came to a close. The classic Russian novels have always intrigued me which is what attracted me to this novel. Gentleman is in the style of the Russian classics. 

A Gentleman in Moscow starts in 1922, at the dawn of the Communist Revolution, and ends in 1954. Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol Hotel for life for writing a poem years earlier, before the Revolution. We later learn he didn’t even write the poem.

Rostov befriends staff and guests at the Metropol as he settles into his life of house arrest. His vantage point is unique as he watches the horrors of the 20th Century unfold. And then he meets a 9-year-old girl that changes his life. 

Gentleman is a novel about living life on your own terms. The history is impeccable, adding to your reading pleasure. You will learn a lot about yourself reading this novel, just like the classic Russian novels. The bittersweet humor brings the story to life. It’s almost as if you are there, desiring a life encapsulated within the Metropol as the world unfolds around you.

Whether you read fiction or not, you need to read A Gentleman in Moscow. It’s that good. . .  and important.

 

General Non-Fiction Book of the Year

The list of good non-fiction is extensive, necessitating an Honorable Mentions List to follow. How do you choose between Factfulness by Hans Rosling, Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker, Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman and Empty Planet by Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson? It comes down to personal bias.

Thinking, Fast and Slow is kind of like a business or investing book so it appealed to me most. The list in the prior paragraph are also must-read books, along with the selections in the Honorable Mentions List to follow.

Thinking is useful in every facet of life: business and personal. Learning how and why you think the way you do helps reduce error. Fast thinking is a reflex. It’s easy, but sometimes wrong. Slow thinking, the kind that requires energy to think things through, takes effort to engage due to the work involved. Knowing when our fast thinking is wrong and when to force ourselves to think slowly is vital to achieving goals.

At Camp Accountant this year I used examples from Thinking to illustrate errors we make when investing in retirement accounts. It isn’t always as intuitive as you would think. I also published two posts this year using the information from this book: here and here.

President Obama’s 2019 Reading List

Honorable Mentions

Why only “3” best books of the year? Everyone else uses a longer list. Ten is a common number with a few going much longer. President Obama listed 38 books for 2019. I suspect that is every, or nearly every, book he read last year. 

Long lists need to be honed down to a manageable size. Not every book read is worthy of recommendation. I read a few clunkers last year that will not be sharing here. Even a few good books that just didn’t fit in right for this post were edited out. 

There is a logical reason for a shorter list. When you give long lists people tend to skim the list and move on without reading a single book. A shorter list takes away most of the decision and the odds go up exponentially you will read one or more of the three books. If this post has any value, it must get you to take action. And for the avid readers, the Honorable Mentions gives you plenty additional to chew on.

Factfulness and Enlightenment Now remind us the world is better than it has ever been and getting better. Both authors provide proof. 

Empty Planet informs us the demographic bust is coming with plenty of evidence human population will fall later in the 21st Century. Climate change isn’t mentioned in Empty Planet, but with fewer people and increased technology, greenhouse gas emissions will be coming down regardless what governments do or Greta says

I love Ryan Holiday’s work. Stillness is the Key is must-read material.

Vaclav Smil’s Energy and Civilization is also required reading. The history of energy utilization and prime movers is a fascinating story, dispelling the myths surrounding energy, consumption and pollution.

The classic, Lord of the Flies, entertained, as it has for over 60 years. Still, I had to give the nod to A Gentleman in Moscow.

I end with an extra special Honorable Mention, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, by Jordan B. Peterson. The difficulty level of this book made me step back. Maps of Meaning may be the most difficult book I ever read. And important! 

Maps of Meaning looks at how we develop our beliefs and how they shape us. Archetypal stories help us define the world around us, offer a framework to culture and a map to living a meaningful life. Reading this book took a lot of time. Sometimes a sentence or paragraph would force me to put the book down for an hour to think about what I just read. If you enjoy deep thinking, you want to invest in Maps of Meaning.

 

Now it’s your turn. Share books you found valuable or important this past year in the comment section below so readers, and a certain unnamed accountant, can enjoy those books, too.

Happy reading!

 

More Wealth Building Resources

Personal Capital is an incredible tool to manage all your investments in one place. You can watch your net worth grow as you reach toward financial independence and beyond. Did I mention Personal Capital is free?

Medi-Share is a low cost way to manage health care costs. As health insurance premiums continue to sky rocket, there is an alternative preserving the wealth of families all over America. Here is my review of Medi-Share and additional resources to bring health care under control in your household.

QuickBooks is a daily part of life in my office. Managing a business requires accurate books without wasting time. QuickBooks is an excellent tool for managing your business, rental properties, side hustle and personal finances.

cost segregation study can reduce taxes $100,000 for income property owners. Here is my review of how cost segregation studies work and how to get one yourself.

Worthy Financial offers a flat 5% on their investment. You can read my review here. 

How to Pay Another’s Debt

I was recently interviewed for a podcast where one of the interviewers asked why I used such difficult words in my blog. I was taken aback by the question because I don’t think I use 50¢ words unless it is to increase clarity. 

In this third and last installment of Christmas themed personal finance posts I am going to be guilty of the most egregious crime: I will use another 50¢ word to convey a message of importance.

It started with the popular current activity of paying for the person behind you in the checkout line or fast food drive-through. It certainly is  fine gesture of goodwill. I rarely eat at fast food restaurants, but started to wonder what I would do if my meal were paid for. Would I pay for the person behind me if there was someone behind me in line to keep the cycle going?

The more I thought about it the more it disturbed me. Why should my meal be comped when I have ample financial resources? Shouldn’t the money be applied where needed the most, with people suffering financial hardship?

The same thing happens at the grocery store. A kind fellow (or woman) pays for the groceries of someone next to them. I like this more because it is at least easier to determine if the person in question could use the financial help. But that isn’t a guarantee, however. I dress down often and look like a homeless man more often than not. You can ask my employees. I’ve been known to wander in wearing worn jogging pants and a t-shirt. Judging a book by its cover is a 50/50 proposition at best.

The act of kindness I find most beneficial is when someone pays the utility bills for several people who are struggling financially, as noted by their delinquent bill. 

Regardless the Christmas spirit, there is always a nagging voice warning me such behavior could be counter-productive or going to the wrong soul.

 

A Christmas Carol

I can’t imagine there is anyone reading this post that is unfamiliar with the short Charles Dickens holiday novel, A Christmas Carol. Most have seen one of the myriad adaptions of the book. Some renditions are really good and some are left lacking and untrue to the original story.

We all remember the ghosts visiting Scrooge: the ghost of Christmas past, present and future. It is the ghost of Christmas present that interests us most. 

As you recall, the ghost of Christmas present took Scrooge to see his nephew’s house and the laughter-filled party. It was a humble celebration for sure, but celebration no less.  But that was not all the ghost of Christmas present had to reveal. 

Upon leaving the Cratchits’, Scrooge was taken from the city of London to the “deserted moor” of a miners camp; then to a solitary lighthouse under the crash of waves; and finally to the desk of a ship far out at sea. In each instance the celebration was humble. Kind words, the humming of a Christmas tune were the extent of the Christmas celebrations. It was humility the spirit wanted Scrooge to see; humility while celebrating the greatest hope ever offered.

And then Scrooge heard laughter, the laughter of his nephew as he is ripped back to the scene of Christmas present closer to home. 

 

Propitiation

Now for our 50¢ word. You might remember this word from church if you are a person of faith. Propitiation is generally used in religion to mean “the paying of another’s debts”. A more accurate representation of propitiation is to “appease”. 

Today’s 50¢ word is required because the meaning is so much deeper and richer and the explanation spreads far further than mere appeasement. This is part of your life in the secular world as well.

To propitiate is to seek favor. That is opposite of my pay-it-forward philosophy. Paying for the person’s meal behind me creates a debt for that person. What if the person behind you is poorer than you and barely has the funds to pay for his own meal and the person behind him has a more expensive meal? You did no favors to that one person.

A child who breaks a vase might wash the dishes for mom before being asked as a peace offering; a form of propitiation. 

An act of propitiation must be conciliatory. You are sorry for some action or words spoken. Propitiation is more than saying, “Sorry.” It is an act meant to convey your deep-felt sorrow for having committed the act or saying the words. A single word is rarely adequate to propitiate. 

Why do we feel compelled to propitiate? And why is it so important? Because it really deals with trust. You show an act of kindness so the person knows they can trust you and the negative act or words were unintended. It is unlikely you would feel compelled to propitiate to a stranger. A simple “Sorry” suffices if you cut a stranger off. But a friend, someone you trust and want to trust you requires more if you value the relationship.

This is not to take away from the value to giving to others. This is the season of giving. But is it giving if you saddle yourself with debt? How will the people close to you, and that trust you, feel if you cause personal money problems because you gave too much?

I strongly feel the pull of charity. Life has been very good to me. However, I measure carefully the gifts I give. I do not want to enable bad behavior or make matters worse. Working through money problems is hard, but gives you the skills to survive the rest of your life without much outside help. There is something to be said about that. 

 

Christmas Present

While Scrooge learned to share with all after the visit from the Christmas ghosts, he focused his giving where it did most good. Scrooge understood propitiation. The fat turkey was sent to the Cratchits’ household; extra coal for heat was allowed at the office. 

The pages of my copy of A Christmas Carol are yellow with some pages torn. The book has been with me a very long time. I think I bought it when I was in junior high as part of a book drive at school. I thought it was a book of Christmas songs, if memory serves. I was unenlightened in my youth. Time has remedied the issue.

Periodically I pull the text from my shelves for a reminder on how to live life right. I look back in my life to gather a full assessment of where I have been. Everyone has things they would rather have forgotten. But in the dark brutal honestly is the only way. 

After reviewing your past, take an inventory of the present. Life, you will find, is probably a lot better than you allow yourself to enjoy.There are so many things to be grateful for: family, health (you are alive and reading this, right?), neighbors (they are better than you think), community and so forth.

Once you review your past and take an inventory of the present, you can create the future most desirable to you. Money problems can be addressed, love rekindled with your spouse or significant other, serving in your community where it benefits most. Remember, you cannot control what “they” do, but you have complete control over what “you” do and think.

 

Pay-It-Forward

If you want to pay for the meal of the person behind you, go for it!  It was not my intention to dissuade you from such behavior. There is something heart-warming about the activity. Even this weary-eyed blogger has paid for the groceries of an older lady at the grocery store when he saw the need.

The greatest gift of all.

Be sure to focus your gifts where they will produce the intended outcome. 

A final story: Years ago I was coming home from work in a snow storm. Tax season was getting long and I was tired. The car in front of me lost control, a snow drift throwing the car. He ended up in the ditch.

I stopped to make sure the young man was unharmed. People didn’t have cell phones in those days the way we do today, so I offered to drive him home. He accepted. 

As I dropped him off at his home he asked me what I wanted for the ride, indicating money. I waved my hand “no”.

He was a young gentleman and it was obvious he was not financially flush. I didn’t help him with the intention of earning a fee. The good feeling knowing he got home safe was enough.

I left the young man with these words: “The next time you see someone in need, you help them. That is all I ask.

 

That was a very long time ago. Sometimes I wonder if the young man ever carried out my directive. 

Please don’t think I am against giving. Gifts to friends, family or co-workers is a fine activity. Keep it reasonable so nobody suffers financially as a result.

Helping strangers is the ultimate charity. Homeless and abuse shelters are wonderful ways to give where it makes a large difference to those who really need help.

Some gifts are debts. You may hear of propitiation at church this Christmas season. You may wish to appease a family member or friend you treated poorly to regain trust. 

No matter your reasons, always be ready to pay-it-forward. Just never do more harm by the giving.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS, kind readers. May the spirit of the season be with you and your family all year round. 

 

 

More Wealth Building Resources

Personal Capital is an incredible tool to manage all your investments in one place. You can watch your net worth grow as you reach toward financial independence and beyond. Did I mention Personal Capital is free?

Side Hustle Selling tradelines yields a high return compared to time invested, as much as $1,000 per hour. The tradeline company I use is Tradeline Supply Company. Let Darren know you are from The Wealthy Accountant. Call 888-844-8910, email Darren@TradelineSupply.com or read my review.

Medi-Share is a low cost way to manage health care costs. As health insurance premiums continue to sky rocket, there is an alternative preserving the wealth of families all over America. Here is my review of Medi-Share and additional resources to bring health care under control in your household.

QuickBooks is a daily part of life in my office. Managing a business requires accurate books without wasting time. QuickBooks is an excellent tool for managing your business, rental properties, side hustle and personal finances.

cost segregation study can reduce taxes $100,000 for income property owners. Here is my review of how cost segregation studies work and how to get one yourself.

Worthy Financial offers a flat 5% on their investment. You can read my review here. 

What the Bible Teaches Us About Money and Success

The debate has been played out many times on social media. What is the best personal finance book of all time? What is the oldest really good book on money, personal finance and wealth? 

Many titles get a nod. The same names crop up again and again and for good reason. But one book is always missing from the list; a book brimming with massive advice on money and wealth. It amazes me people in the personal finance community always miss it.

Of course, I’m talking about the Bible, and what better time to discuss personal finances and the Bible than Christmas?

Before you click away, reconsider. I know some of you are not people of faith. I get it. I know some of you are devout. I get that too.  For both groups, and everyone in between, you might want to take a seat and digest the following information. You might be surprised at what you have been missing. There is at least several dozen Ben Franklin’s worth of money advice in the Bible. And you have a front row seat this evening as we engage a brief review.

 

A Proper Reading

There is a reason many people have lost faith and why people of faith have missed so much good stuff in The Good Book. They have been reading the Bible wrong. 

There are three ways to read the Bible: as a historical record, devotionally and as Living Literature.

People of faith dig in for the devotional inspiration and faith building. People like me want to pick apart the historical record and get lost sometimes on the difficulties between secular discoveries and Biblical teachings.

While a devotional and/or historical reading is appropriate, the Bible is best read as Living Literature.

So what is Living Literature? Living Literature is a way of reading a book where you search for significance applicable today. Archetypal stories are a perfect example. The story of Cain and Able and the first murder resonates with people throughout time.  Contemporaries understood the meaning. So did folks in the Dark Ages all the way to modern times. The same can be said for virtually every story in the Bible. If you read carefully you will see how it still applies as much today as it did to people at the time it was written down.

Lutheran Study Bible I use regularly for wisdom and financial advice.

Money tops the list! Stories about wealth and money are everywhere in the Bible, but piled high in the gospels of the New Testament and Proverbs in the Old Testament. 

All the books on money and wealth we claim are best on social media surveys all find their roots in the Bible.  

The book of Job is about having massive wealth—like being the richest man on the planet wealth—and losing it, dealing with the emotions and eventually winning it all back again and more. Not only did Job lose his wealth, he lost his health and family. He was one hurting dude and through it all he kept his head up and his wits about him as his friends chastised him. Unless you never faced a money challenge in your life, Job might be a good book to read. I recommend a Bible with plenty of notes so you understand what was meant by their actions as it pertained to them back in their day. Might I suggest the Lutheran Study Bible. It’s my favorite study Bible to better understand what I’m reading. Consider it a good investment.

 

Money Wisdom

Time for money advice that has stood the test of time. 

I will start with Proverbs. (Know that all I share here is a small example. Proverbs is brimming with financial advice for living a better and wealthier life. I only scratch the surface in this post.)

Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gather little by little will increase it. Prov. 13:11*

Get-rich-quick schemes have been around since the beginning and this might be the earliest warning against such foolishness. And what do you know, dollar-cost-averaging made the list! Slow, but steady is the only way to accumulate wealth that lasts.

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave to the lender. Prov. 22:7

Looks like Dave Ramsey didn’t say it first. I rail against debt often enough on these pages and for good reason. (Boy, I caught heck for publishing the post linked.) Almost all money problems start with overspending and debt. Debtors will do things to keep the lender happy normal people would never consider doing and Solomon knew it all those thousands of years ago.

Financial independence is a worthy goal; poverty does not bring the best out of us; debt is an acid that destroys the vessel which hold it. The wording in this passage is brutal: we are slaves to the lender. Now you know why the root of mortgage is death pledge.

Know the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure generations? Prov. 27:23-24

This is why you need an annotated Bible. People without a farming background may not understand the significance of these words. “Know your flock” is like saying “Pay attention to your investments.” Wealth is fleeting. Many things destroy wealth and quickly. Wealth accumulates slowly through consistent effort, as we saw above.

The last part (does a crown endure generations?) is more about wealth than money; it’s about your legacy. Dynasties make the historical headlines and they all have one thing in common: they end. They usually end because later generation took their wealth for granted and therefore lost it.

Proverbs has a lot to say about leaving a legacy, as well. I’ll let you read Prov. 13:22 on your own.

 

One who lacks sense gives a pledge and puts up security in the presence of his neighbor. Prov 17:18

and

Be not one of those who give pledges, who put up security for debts. If you have nothing with which to pay, why should your bed be taken from under you? Prov. 22:26-27

Both these verses tell a similar story: don’t co-sign a loan except in the rarest of instances and only if you have the means to cover the entire debt yourself! 

Co-signing a loan IS a personal debt! As long as that debt is outstanding you are liable. My study Bible has this note for the first verse above:  While God’s people should be generous, especially in matters of forgiveness and love, we are to exercise wisdom and prudence in temporal affairs.

Isn’t this what virtually every book on those social media lists say? When you really think of it, it is exactly what personal finance bloggers (including this one) say continuously. The message hasn’t changed in 5,000 years! This stuff works and always has!

 

Modern Financial Advice

Now we get to move a bit closer to modern times, relatively speaking. Time to talk about all the money advice Jesus gave.

This may surprise the bejesus (a carefully selected word for this instance) out of you, but over half of all Jesus’ parables were about money and/or wealth. That’s right. Jesus spoke more about getting rich than about prayer or faith. The message is clear: God wants you to be rich right here on His green earth!

Once again I encourage you to grab a Bible to read all the stories because we only have space for a tiny fraction of the good stuff. If your library does not have a copy, a local church is sure to be excited to help you out. 

 

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys the field. Matt. 13:44

Of course there are many layers of meaning to these words of Jesus. I’ll let you explore the additional, more spiritual meanings, on your own, as we focus on the earthly lesson involving wealth accumulation.

This parable, like so many, seems to encourage bad behavior. Did Jesus just tell people to use secret knowledge to our own benefit? In a way, yes!

Think of it this way. If you find a hidden treasure in a listed stock, would you buy it? Or would you tell the world first so they bought it up, leaving you with crumbs? 

If you discovered oil under a tract of land you might be tempted to sell everything you have to purchase said land. And there is nothing wrong with that! No more wrong than doing the same thing to gain everlasting life!

Notice Jesus did not tell you to steal the treasure. If you discover buried gold it is okay to buy the land to get the gold. Stealing is not allowed. 

The same applies to business. If I discover a new tax break the IRS did not recognize, I am free to exploit that to my benefit and that of my clients. If Elon Musk invents a new way to produce electric cars he is free to patent his invention to secure his discovery and make oodles of money off it. 

The Biblical terminology is different from today because the world when Christ walked the earth was different from today. Replacing farming terms (fields, animals) with technology and inventions brings clearer understanding. 

In other words, Jesus gave you solid advice to take steps to secure your wealth, including the accumulation of wealth. It is no different than the behavior you should have when you discover the blessing of Christ and his promise of heaven.

The best personal finance book ever written!

Now we turn to my favorite parable about money. It is a bit longer so I want to tell it in modern terms with comments interspersed. You can read Matthew 25:14-30 for the original.

This is a story about a business owner with three employees. The boss had to leave on an extended business trip so he decided to leave some of the company resources with his team. 

To the first employee he gave $50,000 to manage, the second he gave $20,000 and the third $10,000. He determined how much he would entrust with each employee by their level of experience and skillsets.

Now the employee given $50,000 started to invest the money. He put some in an index fund, but most was used to buy quality investments that were priced very reasonably, if you know what I mean. Through hard work, research and shrewd planning, the first employee knocked it out of the park and turned the $50,000 into $100,000.

Likewise, the second employee invested and traded, turning the $20,000 into $40,000.

The third employee took a different approach. He placed the $10,000 he was entrusted with into a napkin and buried it in the ground so he would not lose any of it.

Then the employer returned from his business trip.

He visited with the first employee. “Well, boss,” the employee began, “I took the money you left with me and put a bit into an index fund so we could at least track the broad market. The rest I used to buy assets that were worth more than the seller was asking. A few additional business investments, along with dividends, has turned the $50,000 you gave me into $100,000.”

The employer was delighted! He sang praises to the first employee, and said, “That is remarkable work, my friend. You have performed so well I want you as a permanent part of my business. I started a new division in my company while on the recent business trip. You are the perfect person to run that part of the business. The salary is quite large with plenty of benefits.” The employer patted the employee on the back with a huge smile. “Welcome to the team, son.”

Then the employer visited the second employee. “Well,” said the second employee, “thing were not easy. For a while I thought I might suffer a loss and somebody tried to hack our computer system and steal our assets. But, I kept at it, found good talent to help me get the problems solved and, can you believe it, I turned that $20,000 into $40,000!”

“Believe it!” said the employer. “I had no doubt in your abilities to rise above challenges. For your honest and faithful work I want you as a permanent member of this company. You will get the full package: stock options, pension, massive salary, the works, for this management position.”

Then the employer turned to the third employee. “Well, ah,” started the third employee. “I know you are a hard man, sir, working diligently for your money and would take no risk of losing money, so I buried your money in the ground for safekeeping.” He held out the dirt covered napkin with the $10,000 wrapped in it.

“You idiot!” screamed the employer. “If you know I am such a hard man you would know burying money in the ground is losing money due to lost opportunity cost.” The employer turned, yelling, “Security!”

When several members of security ran in the employer said, “Take the $10,000 from this man and give it to the first employee. Then throw this man out into the street to live with the vermin.

The parable ends with:

For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Matt. 25:29

I think this parable is a powerful statement on our world today as we deal with and complain about income inequality and fairness. I recommend you read and re-read this story again and again and how it neatly fits as much in our world today as that of 2,000 years ago.

Yes, I know I used small amounts of money to tell the story. That is the point! If you do not act diligently with even small amounts entrusted to you, how can you expect to be entrusted with much? 

If this story were not in the Bible and instead in the latest book from a guru in the FIRE community, all of us would be tripping over ourselves to sing the praises of such an enlightening and informative message. Those that have will be given more, and those who don’t even try will lose what little they have.

People want to gamble with their money (time the market) for a quick buck, but refuse to start and maintain an adequate retirement funding plan with accounts that offer tax incentives. Is it really that hard? Do you really want to be the third employee?

 

Final Words

Perhaps the most important financial advice in the Bible comes from 1 Timothy 6:10:

For the love of money is the root of all evil. (KJV)

Money is not bad; greed is. Working to have money is of vital importance and God places money and wealth front and center. I see so many people suffering financially because they believe “money” is the root of all evil, when that is the furthest thing from the truth. It is the “love” of money that is the problem. Avoid that and you are golden.

There is so much more financial advice than that just in the four gospels and Proverbs. Of course, if you are serious about wealth, you might want to read the entire Bible as Living Literature. The stories still resonate and for good reason. They are archetypal stories dripping with significance. Virtually every bestselling novel and movie can be traced back to some story in the Bible. You just didn’t know it.

Money and wealth are important. And yes, God wants you to be rich. Really rich! Not just in financial terms, but in physical, mental and spiritual terms as well. 

Be the first or second employee. Never succumb to the temptation of the third employee

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!

 

And God bless us, every one. 

 

* All quotes are from the English Standard Version, except where noted.

 

More Wealth Building Resources

Personal Capital is an incredible tool to manage all your investments in one place. You can watch your net worth grow as you reach toward financial independence and beyond. Did I mention Personal Capital is free?

Side Hustle Selling tradelines yields a high return compared to time invested, as much as $1,000 per hour. The tradeline company I use is Tradeline Supply Company. Let Darren know you are from The Wealthy Accountant. Call 888-844-8910, email Darren@TradelineSupply.com or read my review.

Medi-Share is a low cost way to manage health care costs. As health insurance premiums continue to sky rocket, there is an alternative preserving the wealth of families all over America. Here is my review of Medi-Share and additional resources to bring health care under control in your household.

QuickBooks is a daily part of life in my office. Managing a business requires accurate books without wasting time. QuickBooks is an excellent tool for managing your business, rental properties, side hustle and personal finances.

cost segregation study can reduce taxes $100,000 for income property owners. Here is my review of how cost segregation studies work and how to get one yourself.

Worthy Financial offers a flat 5% on their investment. You can read my review here. 

The 8th Deadly Sin is Destroying Your Retirement Plans

The seven deadly sins, or cardinal sins, have been with us a very long time, outlining behavior we must avoid if we are to live a good life. 

The other side of the seven deadly sins are the seven virtues. For every destructive behavior there is a twin virtue. Achieve the virtues and you find the much sought after Holy Grail of wealth and happiness. 

There was also another, 8th, cardinal sin. In addition to Envy (at another’s success), Wrath, Lust, Greed, Gluttony, Sloth and Pride, we were also warned of something called acedia. Acedia is hard to translate from Greek to English exactly. It can mean despair or despondency. It is more than sloth or laziness. Acedia is giving up hope.

Acedia sounded slightly like what the monks were doing—giving up on life for a secluded life in a monastery. To solve the problem acedia was merged with sloth since there were similarities. 

Acedia  is a leading cause of financial problems for many people because acedia also includes an outlook of gloom and despair. Losing hope is the most destructive thing that can happen to you because is gets you to stop trying to do the right thing. The “what difference does it make” attitude ends all chances for better days. If these feelings of hopelessness become chronic you will suffer both physical and mental illness, profound sadness (emptiness and complete lack of joy) and destruction of wealth, if any yet remains.

Let’s take a look at the seven deadly sins and their polar opposite virtues before digging into fixing these attitudes before they do any more damage.

The Seven Deadly SinsThe Virtues
LustChastity
GluttonyTemperance
GreedCharity
SlothDiligence
WrathPatience
EnvyGratitude
PrideHumility

 

The Danger of Acedia

Acedia, or apathy and all that entails, leads to serious behavioral issues guaranteed to destroy all forms of wealth: mental, physical, spiritual, financial. 

The seven deadly sins are not a religious construct! Yes, we get the cardinal sins from the Catholic Church, but they are nowhere to be found in the Bible. These sins are not spiritual behaviors. When we see things like lust, greed and envy in others we are instantly turned off. 

The cardinal sins are not meant to convict. The seven deadly sins are the first step in outlining the proper behavior for a good life. When we see chastity, charity and diligence in others we are attracted to them. We trust them and for good reason. They have the virtues we all recognize as beneficial and helpful.

Once despair (or apathy or hopelessness or despondency) sets in it is a spiral down.

Think of it this way. Once you give up hope on your finances because the bills are too large and the debt a burden, bankruptcy is not far behind.

Not all bankruptcy is acedia. Medical bills can take over and a virtuous person will take proper steps to provide adequate medical care for her family members. If the cost is too significant the only choice is bankruptcy. (This is a United States issue mostly so readers from outside the U.S. will just have to take my word for it.)

 

Living the virtues is the only path to lifelong happiness.

 

The real danger of acedia (apathy) is refusing to take the proper steps to live a good life. Not funding your retirement account adequately means hardship in old age. Investing spontaneously in hot stocks instead of investing with index funds is also a form of acedia. Timing the market also falls within the purview of this vice. 

Living for today as if tomorrow will never come may seem like a happy life to the outside world, but it is really a form of despondency known as a cardinal sin for thousands of years. Eating a poor diet and not exercising to preserve and prolong your current health advantages is also a form of giving up encompassed by acedia.

It sounds so simple to just say “Despond” or “Despair”. The vice is much more pernicious! Like most vices, it creeps up slowly until it has you firmly in it’s grasp. 

Lifestyle creep is an excellent example. As your income increases it is easy to up your spending. You reconcile your spending as “deserving it” for working so hard. Instead of making money work for you; you now work for money as debt has a serious price: interest payments.

 

 

Building Virtues

“Thou shalt not’s” have a negative vibe. Tell someone not to do something and before you know they are up to their hips in it. 

Rather than preach against the cardinal sins and the 8th deadly sin of acedia, I will focus on encouraging the virtues.

Saying “Don’t lust” is easier said than done. Asking you to consider chastity is more likely to get positive results.

This is a financial blog. Telling you not to be greedy might go against what you interpret as success and financial independence. Instead, I encourage charity; the virtue opposite greed. Trying to not be greedy is practically impossible. But an attitude of charity and giving seems natural and something we want to do. Don’t confuse greed with merely having financial wealth either. Money is not a problem. Even large amounts of money are fine. The “love” of money is the problem and that is where greed resides.

Envy is a vice we all fall prey too. Envy is more than mere jealousy. Envy drives you to anger when someone else is successful. Hating someone because they won the race or retired earlier than you are good examples. You should never compete against someone “out there”. You are the only person you should compete against. The age you retire or reach financial independence is irrelevant. You may have had more medical issues or your friend may have had a push from an inheritance. 

You kill envy with gratitude. Regular readers know how strongly I feel about paying-it-forward, especially to those who will never be able to pay you back or even know it was you that provided the gift. 

It is impossible to feel envy while you are giving. Not all giving is financial either. The greatest gift doesn’t always require money to fix it. I once held the hand of a very old client (92 years old, if memory serves) over the Christmas season as she sat in a nursing home waiting to die. All her family was gone, dead from old age. I went to visit her because I knew she was nearing the end of her life. The next morning she was gone. Money does nothing in those situations. A soft smile and warm hand is worth more than all the money in the world and it was in my power to share, so I did.

To turn away is acedia. Paying-it-forward is the virtue. So is a smile and a kind hand. 

 

Practicing Virtues

What is your greatest weakness, your greatest vice? Is it pride? Then practice humility and serve without expectation of even a shred of recognition for your service. 

Perhaps you suffer from lust. The internet makes it easier than ever to satiate (maybe that isn’t the right word since lust feeds on itself) your desires. If so, you need to practice chastity in thought, word and deed. You may need professional help if the disease has taken root too deep.

A 2009 study indicated men confessed to lust more than any other deadly sin and women acknowledged pride as their greatest struggle.

This isn’t a universal statement, only the results of a single study by Fr. Roberto Busa, a Jesuit scholar. Each individual is different. If greed is your greatest vice, then this is where you need to focus attention. 

Greed is frugality gone too far. We see this with bloggers preaching the good news of early retirement by extreme poverty. It becomes a sickness which frequently leads to envy. Greed goes too far when there is no room for charity. Greed goes too far when it comes at the expense of you and your family’s well-being. 

We are all different. The virtue we most admire is the one that might need the greatest attention. A through examination of our-self might reveal one or more vices harming us and those around us. 

Benjamin Franklin worked on virtues every day of his adult life. He would check off each virtue he held true to that day. He failed often and admitted it.  Perfection was not the goal. Perfectionism is akin to pride. The goal was to improve each day and do so in an honest manner.

It is the attempt at growing the virtues in our life that matter.  Some of the vices are destroying your financial wealth. The old 8th deadly sin is far more pernicious than most of us suppose when it comes to wealth. 

If we can reduce greed, lust, apathy, pride and envy in our life we become better people. Our friends and family benefit since this is a form of paying-it forward and leading by example.

It is the Christmas season as I write this.  We have all received so many gifts. We can give so much of ourselves. This is more important than another trinket or cash.

It isn’t excessive frugality either. It is called gratitude. Gratitude for our family, neighbors, friends and community. A cheerful “Hello!” accompanied with a wide smile all year round is a true sign of a well adjusted individual committed to the virtuous life.

 

More Wealth Building Resources

Personal Capital is an incredible tool to manage all your investments in one place. You can watch your net worth grow as you reach toward financial independence and beyond. Did I mention Personal Capital is free?

Side Hustle Selling tradelines yields a high return compared to time invested, as much as $1,000 per hour. The tradeline company I use is Tradeline Supply Company. Let Darren know you are from The Wealthy Accountant. Call 888-844-8910, email Darren@TradelineSupply.com or read my review.

Medi-Share is a low cost way to manage health care costs. As health insurance premiums continue to sky rocket, there is an alternative preserving the wealth of families all over America. Here is my review of Medi-Share and additional resources to bring health care under control in your household.

QuickBooks is a daily part of life in my office. Managing a business requires accurate books without wasting time. QuickBooks is an excellent tool for managing your business, rental properties, side hustle and personal finances.

cost segregation study can reduce taxes $100,000 for income property owners. Here is my review of how cost segregation studies work and how to get one yourself.

Worthy Financial offers a flat 5% on their investment. You can read my review here. 

How Women are Changing the FIRE Community and the World

It is hard to believe that 100 years ago in the United States — the Land of the Free — women did not have the right to vote. That right was not granted by the Constitution until 1920 when the 19th Amendment was finally ratified by Tennessee on August 18th, the 36th state to do so, surpassing the required two-thirds necessary to add an amendment to the Constitution. Ratification was certified on August 26, 1920, giving women the legal right to vote nationally.

It seems like women enjoyed suffrage forever. We take it for granted these days. But that is not the historical truth. 

After the Civil War the 15th Amendment was added to the Constitution (1870) granting African-Americans the right to vote. Well, actually, African-American men were granted the right to vote. You see, it was felt the amendment would not get ratified if women were also granted the right to vote so women were, once again, excluded.

As with most things in life, changing the rules so people get treated fairly does not provide a clear demarcation between the bad old times and a New World Order. Yes, women could now vote in national elections and did so a few months later on November 2nd. President Warren G. Harding won that election. However, serious issues and stigmas still remained.

Prior to the 19th Amendment women had a lot more risk than just voting rights. Women could not own land nor had a right to money they earned in many cases. Some states, Wyoming for example, extended suffrage to women much earlier on a state and local level. When Wyoming joined the Union they kept women’s suffrage in their Constitution. 

The Landlord’s Game

Even after women’s suffrage, men frequently took credit for the efforts and discoveries of women (and took all the recognition and cash as well, I might add). For example, the Monopoly board game is credited to Charles Darrow who pockets over a cool million dollars for the achievement. Too bad he stole (technically he bought it) the idea from Elizabeth Magie who is the real inventor of the board game around 30 years earlier, called The Landlord’s Game. For such brilliance Magie received about 500 bucks. 

Games are kids play compared to what was done to Rosalind Franklin. James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick are credited with discovering the double helix of DNA. However, it was Franklin who did the pioneering work that led to the discovery. To add salt to the wound, Watson and Crick received the Nobel Prize four years after Franklin died. They gave the barest of acknowledgements to Franklin’s contributions.

I don’t want to get bogged down on the inequities women have faced and instead want to focus on their contribution. Celebrating the incredible work women have done (and are doing) is certain to benefit women more than complaining. We can’t change the past, but we can do something about the here and now. 

Women bring something different to the table than men. This is a good thing. Women face different challenges. The differences are what make us stronger. Women are different biologically. This alone gives women serious ability to contribute on a massive scale in a way men cannot. 

Let’s take a look at how women are changing personal finance, the FIRE (financial independence/early retirement) community and changing the world for the better.

 

Against All Odds

What women have accomplished behind the scenes from ages past is nothing short of miraculous. Since universal suffrage became the law in the U.S. women have made tremendous strides in gaining recognition for their work and narrowing the pay gap here and around the world. 

Women have gaining more control over their reproductive rights since the 1960s. But women do have one significant difference from men: they carry all the weight (pun intended) of having a child. Yes, men can provide support and help with child rearing once baby takes her first breath. Prior to that men can only stand by and watch. As a father of two daughters I must confess I was puzzled and awed by the miracle Mrs. Accountant performed inside her, turning a fertilized egg into an infant. But that was all I could do: stare in anticipation.

The November issue of National Geographic is dedicated to women. I highly recommend reading the issue. It is very enlightening. In the issue is the story of Joyce Banda. She is so clear when she says (page 64) financial independence gives women options. And that is what this is all about. Women are not asking for a free ride or a pay gap to their advantage. They just want options so they can live the lives they desire and find fulfilling.

As long as we are discussing the National Geographic issue, there is one more quote I’d like to share. The issue begins with an essay by Michele Norris. She understands men might fear the newfound freedoms and rights women now have. Let’s listen to Norris (page 13). “Actually, it’s not even about equal pay for equal work; it’s equal pay for demonstrably more successful work.”

Men should not fear Noriss’s words. She is stating the obvious. The person, male or female, who performs the best should get paid the best. Remember Rosalind Franklin. She discovered DNA’s double helix and opened the world to massive new medical opportunities. Women like Franklin deserve the praise and financial rewards for their out-performance. If it happened to a man there would be hell to pay (and a lawsuit).

Technically, the challenges facing women are far from complete. It is hard to balance the pay scale when we don’t have control over every employer. It is hard to balance the pay scale when women are different than men. Maternity leave is a major contributor to the pay gap. Mothers definitely are paid less than male and non-parent female counterparts. And neither you nor I can fix that problem in whole.

There is an issue women do have control over. Sunday The Motley Fool had an article by Maurie Backman on the gap in male and female retirement savings. The difference is incredible, or “astounding”, using Backman’s word for the gap. While the same issues are in play — maternity leave, medical issues and family time — there is at least some control women can take to close this gap. 

The good news is that several reports state women are better investors than men because they keep their fingers off the buy/sell button. Less trading gives women an advantage. However, Backman’s article is chilling. Women contribute a mere $1,331 per year on average to their retirement accounts. Couple that with lower Social Security benefits (women take more family and maternity leave, experiencing gap years in their work record) and higher medical costs, and it become clear it is of vital importance women find a way to tuck more into tax advantaged retirement accounts.

All FIRE’d Up

I want to finish this report by calling out several brave women I have followed over the years who have carried the cross of personal finance for women (and men) in a world not always receptive to their message.

It is impossible to mention every woman I’ve read or listened to. I asked my Facebook group for this blog who they felt were the best women teaching in the FIRE community. The list was exhaustive (and exhausting).  Bill Yount said it best when he responded, “All of them.” I agree. It is a crime I can’t cover all of them in this post. However, you can review a serious list of female contributors here

Another place where you can find outstanding female bloggers and podcasters is the Plutus Awards. Here is a link to the latest winners. Notice the numerous categories dedicated to women and the strong showing women are having in other categories. Women are leading the crowd, educating both men and women.

 

Here is a short list of women who have taught me plenty in the personal finance field:

Before FIRE was a thing there was Amy Dacyzyn. She published the Tightwad Gazette in the 1990s. You can buy a copy of all her newsletters in book form on Amazon or borrow from the library. Some of the information is now dated. However, there is so much wisdom is her work it is impossible to walk away without gaining some advantage. 

Liz from the Chief Mom Officer blog is another amazing woman, sharing ideas in the flavor of the Tightwad Gazette. She focuses on family and home. Her no-nonsense approach to money is refreshing.

Fiery Millennials blogger, Gwen, has a interesting story. Her grit is hard to miss and pleasant to watch. I must confess bias since I’ve met Gwen personally on a number of occasions at conferences. She also helped Mrs. Accountant and me figure out my cell phone a few years back so we could use the maps and get back home. Regardless my bias, Gwen is must-read for young adults (and the not so young) looking for a story of a woman who refuses to quit in the face of never-ending life obstacles.

Paula Pant is another blogger and podcaster I highly admire. I also met Paula at conferences, but never spoke with her much. She is the lady who had Suze Orman on her podcast when Orman said she “hates, hates, hates” the FIRE community. Yikes! Paula Pant’s blog, Afford Anything, and podcast of the same name are required reading and listening.

One of the dearest female bloggers (she also has a book out) is Liz from Frugalwoods. She combines my two favorite lifestyles: frugal living and rural living. I never met Liz or her husband. It would sure be an honor. Once again, Liz has a lot of the flavor Dacyzyn brought to her newsletter decades ago.

My last shout-out is for Vicki Robin, another superstar of the FIRE community. Her work with Joe Dominguez is some of the most important personal finance advice ever given. After Joe passed away in 1997, Vicki carried on the work of spreading the important message of responsible finances and frugality. Many people today got their start on the road to financial freedom from Vicki Robin.

 

Outro

This post is hitting its limit. I included plenty of links to fill your reading and listening needs. Regardless your gender, the women in this post are incredible in their ability to teach. We can all learn from their efforts.

My notes have another thirty or so female bloggers I wanted to mention. A taste is sometimes better than stuffing the face with too much all at once. Bookmark this page as a starting point to other female personal finance bloggers and podcasters. Share the message so your friends can enjoy the same high quality work. Share your favorite female blogger/s in the comments.

Finally, I hereby dub 2020 The Year of the Woman in honor of women gaining suffrage nearly 100 years ago. If women accomplished so much in the past 100 years with the deck stacked against them, imagine what they will do in the next 100 years with the restraints removed.

It will be a very different and better place.

 

 

More Wealth Building Resources

Personal Capital is an incredible tool to manage all your investments in one place. You can watch your net worth grow as you reach toward financial independence and beyond. Did I mention Personal Capital is free?

Side Hustle Selling tradelines yields a high return compared to time invested, as much as $1,000 per hour. The tradeline company I use is Tradeline Supply Company. Let Darren know you are from The Wealthy Accountant. Call 888-844-8910, email Darren@TradelineSupply.com or read my review.

Medi-Share is a low cost way to manage health care costs. As health insurance premiums continue to sky rocket, there is an alternative preserving the wealth of families all over America. Here is my review of Medi-Share and additional resources to bring health care under control in your household.

QuickBooks is a daily part of life in my office. Managing a business requires accurate books without wasting time. QuickBooks is an excellent tool for managing your business, rental properties, side hustle and personal finances.

cost segregation study can reduce taxes $100,000 for income property owners. Here is my review of how cost segregation studies work and how to get one yourself.

Worthy Financial offers a flat 5% on their investment. You can read my review here. 

Ethical Criminal Behavior

WARNING! The following article contains descriptions of a serious medical condition affecting a child, criminal behavior and illegal drug use. If any of these things offend you, leave now.

 

Raynaud’s restricts blood flow the the extremities. Black fingers look worse, but white indicated no blood or blood flow versus pooling of blood.

One should always be cautious when thinking someone else has it better. Money does not solve all problems and paying “anything” to fix a problem does not guarantee even the most limited of service or results.

It amazes me how many readers want to emulate my path in life. Frequently I hear a reader seeking a rural life coupled with a career in accounting because they read this blog. It was a path that appealed to me and one I enjoy. It might appeal to you as well, but you should always think hard and reflect on what is most important to you without consideration for what some crazy guy in the Northwoods of Wisconsin did.

Money causes people to overlook the less than desirable parts of their mentor’s life. Business, financial and family success are important indicators in people you wish to follow and learn from. What money doesn’t do is eliminate the most difficult decisions and medical issues.

Mrs. Accountant and I have two daughters, both with serious medical issues. If my path were different, one with less financial resources, it is likely at least one of my daughters would no longer be with us. Money withstanding, that fate may not be far off anyway as you will see shortly. (You can read more about my youngest daughter’s medical conditions here.)

 

Descent Into a Medical Nightmare

Heather, my oldest daughter, entered the world a bit early. Nineteen days in the neonatal intensive care unit was the start she needed to be a normal healthy child.

Heather has always been petite as she grew. Many foods did not agree with her so she ate little and is very thin. This is different from not wanting to eat. She wants to eat everything, but so many things make her ill.

By the time her age reached double digits she developed serious medical issues. She was diagnosed with Raynaud’s. Later scleroderma was added to the list. Both are autoimmune rheumatic diseases. People with Raynaud’s frequently suffer from scleroderma as well.

By high school Heather was so thin and was so unable to keep food in her that we had her institutionalized for a short while. She was so thin the police were called in because the doctors worried it was abuse. They realized quickly we had Heather into every doctor we could find searching for a solution. The institution was at just as much at a loss as the doctors and we were.

If you ever saw film of the Nazi concentration camps, that is what Heather looks like in her skivvies. I can’t tell you how scared Mrs. Accountant and I are by this. And it is not an eating disorder; she wants to eat! Recently Heather told us it has been so long since she felt hungry she doesn’t know what it means anymore. All too often what she eats goes right through her.

I can’t count the number of doctors Heather has seen or the number of medications she has taken. And Mrs. Accountant and I have not been sitting on our hands either. Medical research is a daily part of life in the Accountant household. 

Nothing seems to work. Every medication tried doesn’t improve the situation and Heather’s body has no more to give. This kid barely breaks 80 pounds (36 kilograms). She is 5′ 4″ (162 cm). As you can see, we don’t have room for another failure.

The last visit to the doctor took all the wind from our sails. The doctor gave up. She said there was nothing else she knew that could be done. Heather has tried virtually every medication known to man. She is in constant paid. Serious pain, the kind that brings tears to the eyes. It is devastating to watch and even worse as a parent.

One of the medications prescribed Heather is Sildenafil, aka Viagra. Raynaud’s usually isn’t a serious condition. But, as the doctor once said, Heather has the worse cases she has ever seen. With Raynaud’s blood flow is restricted, especially to the fingers and toes. Death of tissue and gangrene are serious possibilities. Discussion of the amputation of her first digit was recently discussed. 

Sildenafil is prescribed for men who need to “get it up”. In a family that can still laugh in the face of such dire consequences, I call Heather’s medication her “boner pills” and remind her not to get too excited when she takes her medication. The cats don’t like it when she acts that way.

Except it is getting hard to laugh. Sildenafil causes her massive headaches and pain throughout her body, especially in the area of a surgery she had years ago to deal with the same medical issues. The hope was Sildenafil would increase blood flow to her extremities. Unfortunately it only puts her in more pain.

Nothing seemed to work. Everything tried seemed to make things worse. It is unbearable watching a child in never-ending pain. I can’t imagine what it feels like to be her. 

And now the last doctor has given up. She said she doesn’t know what to do. She has joined the long list of doctors before her. The doctor then prescribed Tramadol for Heather.  

Tramadol is a highly addictive prescription for moderate to severe pain. Heather refuses to take the medication because she does not want to become another statistic in the opioid epidemic destroying America. Like I said, she is a good kid. If the paid gets to be too much she will relent, but she doesn’t want to go down that path.

All the while this is unfolding I am immersed in research material on Raynaud’s and scleroderma. Scleroderma is especially insidious as it hardens the skin. The disease moved inward, attacking her internal organs. Heather’s lung capacity has been dropping rapidly. One lung is approximately half calcified or callused or whatever the medical term is for a lung that is one lump of hard scar tissue.

A few months back I found a possible solution in a baby aspirin. I read about this before many times and discounted it as too simple a solution.   

It started when I asked Heather a series of questions. At some point I mentioned aspirin with the warning aspirin thins the blood (which could help blood flow to the fingers and toes), but could make it difficult to stop bleeding. It was then Heather informed me she doesn’t bleed when cut. Just the thought of that makes me shiver. Not bleeding seems like a good thing, but that is far from the truth. Not bleeding when it is normal to do so means blood isn’t where it should be with proper pressure.

Heather’s response solidified my thoughts on aspirin. I told her to start with a baby aspirin three times a day. My recommendation was to test dosage and see how she reacts. I was comfortable with the recommendation and dosage because aspirin is so well understood and a baby aspirin three times a day is less than one adult dose. Heather is 24.

Heather is very thin. This old picture shows her low weight.

I asked Heather to also call the doctor to make sure there would be no interactions with other medications she is taking. The doctor’s response was shocking.

The doctor didn’t see anything wrong with interactions, but was more worried about a potential stomach ulcer from long use. She didn’t like the solution I found.

What! She just prescribed a powerful and addictive pain reliever and is worried about a stomach ulcer from long-term aspirin use!? Really! 

I promised not to use certain words on this blog anymore as it is a family publication. You do not understand how hard that is for me to do at this point of the story.

I also have many doctors who read this blog and are also clients. I will refrain from my opinion of the medical community at this point as well. My child, my baby, is dying! And all I get is an addictive pain reliever and admonishment for even considering a low dose of aspirin? 

The doctor relented and said one low-dose aspirin per day would be acceptable.

We also asked the pharmacist if there would be any issues. He checked and said there were none. He also said aspirin was the first thing that popped up on his screen for the medical issues affecting Heather. Why hasn’t the doctor been exploring this simple therapy? The need to keep the patient sick so she can make her house payment? I know of no other explanation.

Here is the kicker. The aspirin had an immediate and positive affect. With Raynaud’s the fingers and toes are frequently black from low blood flow and snow white when there is no blood at all. Within days her fingers and toes were the most normal pink I have ever seen them. Ever!

The toe they were talking of amputating started to hurt. That is a good sign as if means the tissue is still alive! A few weeks later even that toe showed good color.

Best of all, Heather gained two pounds. It isn’t much, but it beats the constant drumbeat to the graveyard.

Unfortunately, the solution came too late. The damage was done. Internal organs would have healed if the solutions were discovered 10 years ago. But is wasn’t. Her stomach is a mass of scar tissue and the lungs are not healthy. Heather is also in pain constantly. (The pharmacist also recommended only one low-dose aspirin per day as well from the material he looked up. I wanted a larger dose to deal with the pain. Heather settled on one dose per day with another dose at night if her fingers turned black.)

Time had run out. It is bittersweet to find the answer to a serious problem after it is too late. Her digits are better, but internal organs need time to heal and time is up. The increasing weight didn’t continue. If only I had more time. If only there was a way to give Heather’s body more time to heal before time ran out.

And that is where one last piece of research came in. I knew of this solution for some time, but it will require me commit a serious crime. And it has me thinking about ethical criminal behavior.

 

Crime Spree

What I am about to share is something I never in a million years would ever have thought I would do. What I am contemplating is so foreign to me I barely believe I will do this.

The alternative is no better. Standing around at my daughter’s funeral with my hands in my pocket telling people as they offer their condolences, “At least I didn’t commit a crime.” seemed rather cowardly to me. I cannot stand idly by as Heather deteriorates. The doctors admit they are out of ideas. Well, I never run out of ideas and I never quit. (Maybe when I’m dead I’ll stop. Briefly.)

There is a product that works as good as aspirin (has the same qualities as aspirin we are looking for in this instance) and also reduces pain and increases appetite. Yup, you guessed it. Weed.

I never used any illegal drug in my life, but always said if I ever got cancer and was in pain I would have no moral objection to using weed if it made sense medically. I also don’t look down on people who use weed recreationally. I see no need to try it myself, even though weed seems to be innocuous compared to alcohol and nicotine (two legal drugs).

Weed is still illegal (very illegal) in Wisconsin and at the federal level. Michigan allows recreational drug use, I understand. 

Heather’s situation is acute. Smoking weed would be really bad as her lungs can’t take such an assault. But edibles offer serious promise. Research, including long discussions with people who have used edibles for medical reasons (usually cancer) and recreational users has me convinced this is worth trying. I even ran across a lady with Raynaud’s that came to the same conclusion and has used weed for years to deal with the pain, eating and blood flow issues.

If this will reduce or eliminate Heather’s pain while increasing appetite there is a lot to like here. If we can get some weight on this girl her body might start to heal itself, eliminating the need for illegal medications in the future.

Neither Mrs. Accountant, my girls or I have ever used an illegal drug. It is something so foreign to me it is almost impossible to believe I am contemplating this. Of course, I can’t do this in Wisconsin. Law enforcement has no problem allowing people to die in jail without proper medication. Like some doctors, it’s job security. (Yes, you hear a tinge of bitterness in my voice.)

This will require a trip to Michigan or Colorado or some state where it isn’t illegal (at least on the state level). 

One person I spoke with while researching weed recommended a benefit. I explained money isn’t the issue. I would give all my financial wealth to save my daughter without a bit of remorse. What I can’t do is help her from a prison cell or stand around with my hands in my pockets.

 

Ethical Criminal Behavior

As of this writing I have not yet committed the crime. But I see no way around it. Driving to Michigan is still a haul and my guess is Heather will need regular dosing as most medications require. This isn’t going to be easy.

So why am I publishing a confession? Remember what I said about standing around at my daughter’s funeral making excuses for being too cowardly to take steps to save my daughter’s life? I could never live with myself if Heather died because I didn’t have the balls (that is as far as the language will go here) to save her life due to a law that said it is better to allow your child to die than take the medication.

I do not take this decision lightly either. I always tell people my reading tastes are catholic (lower case “c”), which means universal. That is only a little white lie. The one thing I try to avoid is books on illicit drug use. I don’t watch movies or TV with such activity either. I find nothing appeals at all in drug abuse. In fact, I find it repugnant.

And now, after I raised two wonderful, moral, ethical girls, I am considering this. Heather is shocked by my recommendation since she knows my feelings about illegal drugs. She also admitted once, when in serious pain, she was willing to try anything, including weed.

 

Financial Blog?

I imagine some will wonder what this is doing in a financial blog. Well, medical issues are a major financial issue, especially in the U.S. Medical problems have destroyed more than one small fortune in the past in the Land of the Free.

Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the States (the publication date). I have been the luckiest man alive and am forever grateful to God for all the blessings bestowed upon me. Yes, my family has many medical issues. But as Jordan Peterson once said, everyone you meet is either fighting a medical issue, has a family member doing so or someone close to them is. If you meet that lucky someone who is not, they will in a short period of time. It is the nature of life.

Illness is the norm. Treatment the solution. Modern technology has given us the tools to solve many medical problems. Our sensitivities have not kept up. As a society, we are willing to have laws that prevent very sick people from having comfort. As a society we are willing to have laws that prevent cure in people with cancer and other illnesses. As a society we still have maturing to do.

Even if you live in a country with universal heath care, illness still affects your finances. If you can’t work, money becomes an issue.

This is a personal finance issue. It is also a moral and ethical issue. 

As stated earlier, people sometimes want to emulate me. I discourage that kind of behavior. However, if faced with an ethical or moral dilemma, I wanted you to have my story, Heather’s story, as a reference to help you make the right decision.

Society has no room for people with my attitudes toward life. If this blog goes dark you will know what happened.

I read a lot so I also have plenty of references to pull from also. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens might be the best selling novel of all time with over 200 million copies sold. Many people remember the opening line:

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. . . 

What people remember less are the final words of the novel:

It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.

What I am about to do is very unnatural to me. It stands against everything I believe. This is what I call ethical criminal behavior.

And only the courageous and truly wealthy, those wealthy in here (pointing to my head and heart), can do.

 

 

More Wealth Building Resources

Personal Capital is an incredible tool to manage all your investments in one place. You can watch your net worth grow as you reach toward financial independence and beyond. Did I mention Personal Capital is free?

Side Hustle Selling tradelines yields a high return compared to time invested, as much as $1,000 per hour. The tradeline company I use is Tradeline Supply Company. Let Darren know you are from The Wealthy Accountant. Call 888-844-8910, email Darren@TradelineSupply.com or read my review.

Medi-Share is a low cost way to manage health care costs. As health insurance premiums continue to sky rocket, there is an alternative preserving the wealth of families all over America. Here is my review of Medi-Share and additional resources to bring health care under control in your household.

QuickBooks is a daily part of life in my office. Managing a business requires accurate books without wasting time. QuickBooks is an excellent tool for managing your business, rental properties, side hustle and personal finances.

cost segregation study can reduce taxes $100,000 for income property owners. Here is my review of how cost segregation studies work and how to get one yourself.

Worthy Financial offers a flat 5% on their investment. You can read my review here.