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Showing posts from October, 2010

The Harvest of the Incredible Front Yard Edibles

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Call it editable estates, urban agriculture, reducing your carbon footprint, or a throwback to the American ‘Victory Garden’ of World War II -- Last year, we decided to plant at least one surprise edible in every garden plot in our back and front yard. Among the many fruits and vegetables, we had peppers beside are day lilies, strawberry plants as ground cover lining are front walk under the yews, and sweet potatoes climbing the fence as a back drop to the zinnias.
Not only have we been rewarded with the playful fun of edibles interwoven across the landscape, we have relished (no pun intended) in the harvest. We have feasted on fresh vegetables and fruits all summer and have been canning and freezing to carry us well past Thanksgiving with home goodies. Who knew that three cucumber plants would give us enough to can dozens of quarts of dill pickle spears and bread and butter pickles? This fall, our pepper jelly has been a huge hit at gatherings. We found a very simple, step-by-step re…

The Flywheel of Finance

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You have probably heard it said before, “the first million dollars is the hardest to save.” As I continued teaching from Jim Collin’s book 'Good to Great', he speaks to how disciplined thought and disciplined action brings about disciplined results. It is like a  flywheel -- like starting a lawn mower, where it is hard to get started and then through continual little pushes (disciplined action) the flywheel begins spinning faster and faster until you reach breakthrough (the engine's running).
As I am reading this, I keep thinking about how hard it is to make your first million dollars (I’m a long way from my first million) and how the flywheel provides a great analogy to saving your first million. It takes disciplined thought and disciplined action to start saving on a regular basis. If you start out saving $25 a month, you are starting your million dollar flywheel moving. Every time you get a raise, receive a bonus or a cash gift, you can add more to your monthly savings a…

Leadership and Personal Finance

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In my Senior Seminar class at Mount Mercy University we are reading "Good to Great" by Jim Collins. Chapter 2 is on Level 5 Leadership. As I read this chapter, I couldn’t help but to think how each one of us can be a leader in personal finance and how we can take some of the principles from Jim Collins and apply them to our daily lives. Collins describes a Level 5 Leader as someone who “builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.” We all want our families to be successful and I want my kids to be more successful than me (building enduring greatness).
A central theme of this chapter is setting up the company for future success and not worrying about individual success. Our last blog entry was on how much money it will take to retire so I naturally put the two together. I want my kids to be able to retire and live successful lives, so I want to set them up for future success. The questions are how do I do that and am I doing…