• Posts Tagged ‘values’

    Non-Corporate Christmas

    by  • December 1, 2006 • Tagged: , ,  • Comments

    Last year I set out do do what I thought was impossible: buy all of my Christmas presents at locally owned businesses in Chicago.

    Fortunately, local culture blog Gaper’s Block showed me the way: they published a 2005 holiday shopping guide. It featured 12 different independently owned stores in Chicago. While I didn’t totally succeed in my holiday mission, I did by a good portion of gifts from thse vendors.

    Fortunately, this year will also be a great year for buying locally-made goods. Gaper’s Block and Time Out Chicago have tons of listings of stuff that’s going on.There are a plethora of crafty type shows, happenings, and bazaars going on this weekend in Chicago.

    Why local businesses? I like putting money into the hands of people in our neighborhood. I appreciate the personal “thank you” I get from owners and craft-makers. I like getting unique gifts for people that aren’t from nationwide department stores. I like that I’m even helping the environment a little by buying locally so that goods don’t have to be transported over long distances.

    To me, putting smiles on peoples’ faces and helping out is what the holidays are about.

    Keepin’ Personal Finances Fresh, Yo

    by  • April 25, 2006 • Tagged:   • Comments

    This past weekend, hip-hop phenoms L.L. Cool J, Nas, Alicia Keys, and T.I., as well as financial experts, schooled their fans on being financially responsible. Nas states,

    It’s time that we do something to educate our kids…We’ve got to think about our future, think about tomorrow. It’s beyond the corner, it’s beyond the jails. We’ve got to think about growing old in this game.

    It saddens me that this article was on the back page of the newspaper, because this message won’t get played on any of the music channels, radio or television, that this demographic tunes in to.

    As I stated before, I tutor underprivileged kids from low income neighborhoods at least once a week. The majority of these kids adores and imitates the hip-hop lifestyle, the lifestyle with flashy gold and platinum teeth, 22-inch aluminum alloy wheels, and Lincoln Navigators with an XBox 360. These kids are immersed in this lifestyle, without ever being taught a feasible way to get there, and without ever learning the financial consequences of obtaining that lifestyle without the proper tools.

    There needs to be more celebrity endorsement of making prudent financial decisions, whether it be hip-hop, punk, rock or movie stars. While many of us are smart enough to make these decisions on our own, there are many who will follow their favorite celebrity to the depths of hell.

    Maybe Bradgelina can name their newborn “Save” or “Interest” or some other personal finance moniker.

    (via Chicago Tribune)

    Perspectives And Guilt About Money

    by  • April 2, 2006 • Tagged:   • Comments

    This weekend, I was tutoring a girl with her chemistry homework. She asked what kind of food was going to be served for lunch, which I replied, “Pizza.” She grumbled and told me that last week she was out of town and all her and her family ate was restaurant food. Then she said something that put my money matters into perspective:

    “I’m sick of restaurant food. Although we did go to a nice seafood place one of the days we were there. But it was EXPENSIVE. For the six of us, the bill came out to $80! I wouldn’t want to be the one paying THAT bill.(emphasis mine)

    It is weird to think that dinner for four later that night cost $145.00.

    Let me back up here for a second and fill you in on the details of this tutoring program. Once a week, underprivileged children from poor neighborhoods come to my church for after school tutoring. Most of these kids don’t have a stable life at home and are exposed to domestic violence, gangs, and drugs. Their moms aren’t worried about net worth – they’re worrying about how to survive.

    When I come home from a tutoring session, I can’t help but feel guilty, and even little greedy that I have had the opportunity to have even a few nice things. Thus, I have a hard time reading about the “struggles” of some pfbloggers goal to reach a million bucks. No matter how one looks at it, most pfbloggers are either a part of the upper echelon of financial prosperity, or are well on their way to getting there. I have a hard time thinking about becoming rich, wealthy, or even well-off, knowing that the kid I tutor went home to a life where that may never be reachable.

    Do you ever feel guilty about having too much when there are so many people who have so little? How do you reconcile this with your own beliefs and values?

    the Value-Based plan

    by  • January 19, 2006 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    Having read the same article on wealth and marriage (see below), I wanted to add my take on it. For me, it isn’t so much about the consolidation of expenses that leads to extra savings for couples. During the awful experience of finding out how deeply in debt I really was, my fiance and I bought some personal finance books. David Bach, author of Smart Couples Finish Rich, recommended writing down a list of your values, then converting these values into a value-based financial plan. Together we identified our individual and couples values. Our list of values included Good Health, Personal Growth, Quality Time Together, and Financial Security. Notice that “$500 shoes” was not a value on either of our lists! With this in mind, we were able to prioritize our spending. Instead of wasting our money on things we don’t value we now try to spend on things we do value. For us, the recent expense of a $700 health club membership for my fiance was a reasonable part of our financial plan. Before we created a value-based plan, spending $700 on a health club would have been hard to justify.

    So this brings me back to the article about net worth and marriage. I think that an important reason why we are saving a lot more money now than when we were single is that now we are both spending and saving towards our goals. This double-sided approach helps us see both our expenses and savings as part of our net worth goals. We remind each other regularly of our values so instead of feeling deprived of new shoes, we feel stronger in our relationship. It’s nice when money is a source of strength rather than conflict.