I’ve Got My Mind on My Money & My Money on My Mind

“Where are my suitcases of cash?” – my wife on graduation day

What up, y’all! I’m back! A day in Suckville, well, sucked, but fortunately a dose of fresh air and wondering the real world helped shake me out of it. Did you know there are places called “libraries” where you can get these “printed books” to read? For FREE?? Amazing! ;)

Here are some other thoughts that bubbled up while I was away too… even about money, *gasp*.

I wanna jump back into philanthropy again. I miss all the good we did with Love Drop back in the day (only minus all the hullabaloo), and if I make it another project of sorts I know I’ll actually hold myself accountable to it :) I’ve already got a half-baked idea brewing, but I’ll need y’alls input before hitting “go.” So if you’re into this sorta thing, drop me a line or wait for the post on it!

Getting a degree doesn’t = $$$ right away. My wife jokingly spouted that quote up top after receiving her PHD in May, and we’re still waiting for the cash to arrive ;) Turns out getting a job straight out of school is still pretty tough, and we move into month #3 of job searching. Please send over some positive vibes! Though don’t tell any of my kids – they’re loving mom at home and spending quality time together. And my wallet’s not missing those $2,000/mo daycare bills either – hah.

Cutting your monthly expenses DOES = $$$ right away. I just got an email from Republic Wireless saying I’ve now been with them for exactly 12 months – wow. I didn’t switch everything over until once I knew that I liked them enough, but making that one move has literally saved us over $1,000 so far. Pretty incredible for a one-time change.

Complaining on the internet gets companies to listen to you. I don’t like bitching just for the sake of bitching, but if you’re ever having trouble with an organization, I can tell you they tend to listen a lot quicker when it’s shared online. Even just Twitter or Facebook (just make sure to tag ’em on it ;)). This worked when I couldn’t get my wedding photos delivered to me that we fully paid for in ’08, it worked when my wedding band was falling apart and the company wouldn’t help me, and it may or may not have worked with my Capital One nuisance the other week. No one reached out to me, but my $5,000 deposit-by-phone limit magically went up to $25,000 making me one happy man. Now to find out how to earn $25,000 this month!

Doodling on art can help you nix your debt. Cait came across this for Rockstar Finance and became one of my favorite reads of the week: Coloring in this picture helped me erase $26,000 in debt

debt doodles

I committed to coloring in a swirl each $100 increment I paid toward my credit cards.

Once again proof that physical triggers work! And now this debt killer has opened up her own shop to inspire others to “map your progress” too, pretty neat: mapyourprogress.com

Other good reads I came across mostly shared on Rockstar Finance – a place you should be signed up to if you’re a true lover of finance ;)

In other news…

Personal Capital came out with a new retirement calculator.  Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like, though I can’t say we’d all have some of those examples in there, haha… ($400k inheritance? $40,000 wedding??)

personal capital retirement calculator

Forbes had a good write up on it and summed up the tool like this:

With the tool, the client can run through as many scenarios as she likes, without having to ask the planner to run them for her. The simulations allow her to see, as Del Favero put it, “What are the long-term implications of short-term decisions?” He called it the financial equivalent of asking “What would I look like if I didn’t have fries or a burger every day for a year?” And since the software is pulling the user’s latest financial data, it can make answering some traditionally difficult questions, such as how much one expects to spend annually in retirement, easy to answer… After taking into account her saving and spending patterns, asset allocation, costly life events, expected Social Security benefits, plus life expectancy, inflation, tax bracket in retirement, and other important factors, the tool will show the median and 10% worst-case scenarios to the user, letting her know what percent chance she has of reaching her goals.”

If you’re already a user, you should easily be able to find it when you log in. If you want to learn more about PC,  here’s the review we did on them here – they’re pretty cool, calculator or not.

Need to liquidate your entire house? There’s a site for that! EBTH.com (“Everything But The House”). An old PR friend turned me onto it and seems like a cool alternative to other, more old-school, ways to sell an estate. They come in and take inventory, then snap pics of everything for an online auction. Which apparently bring estates almost $20,000 more than the national average ($27,000 vs $7,000). So if you or anyone you know needs to cash out their lives, you now have a good place to start! haha…

There’s an interesting new reality show out: “The Briefcase” I haven’t seen it yet, but fellow reader Veronica makes me want to:

Have you watched “The Briefcase” on CBS? We’ve watched the first 2 episodes and it’s very interesting. If you haven’t seen it, the idea is that two families are each presented with a briefcase of $100,000 and they can choose to keep all, none, or some and whatever they don’t keep goes to the other family. Both families have kids/debt/etc. The trick is, neither family knows the other family has been presented with a briefcase, so they think there’s only $100K in play and they’re in total control. There are other things that happen that make it even more interesting. I thought it was a fascinating human experiment. I think you’ll be surprised what some families choose…  It’s not on Hulu. It airs Wednesdays at 8pm ET on CBS.”

It turns out not everyone approves of the show, but I’ll admit it’s intriguing. And also very, very, stressful, haha… I’d like to think I’d give the other family all of it, but something tells me the producers don’t make it so easy to decide ;)

Lastly, I came across this on Twitter the other day and I think it’s pretty timely. I can’t remember who shared it (sorry!), but I wanted to hug the person as these tips are great:

mindful tips

Anything that keeps us more conscious of our lives I’m liking by the day. I’ve actually started a similar habit myself over the months which has helped immensely: No picking up my phone when other humans around. I’ve been doing it for a while when eating meals with people or just hanging out with them one-on-one, but making it a rule when *anyone* is around *at all* is a whole other story. You don’t realize how much you actually look at your phone until you start paying attention! And now, unfortunately, I realize just how many other people are doing it around me too, it’s not fun ;)

Anyways, here’s to a great weekend! Thank you all so very much for your kind words and encouragement this week – especially Tonya, Romey Rome, Jessie, Dorsey, Khunara, Takiia and Tosh. I’ve said it before, but I really feel like we have one of the best communities online as I’ve never seen such a supportive and genuinely caring group like y’all. So thank you for being here!


j. money signature

 [Cool suitcase/video camera pic up top by laverrue]

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  1. Jason @ Islands of Investing June 26, 2015 at 6:38 AM

    Great to hear you’ve returned from a short stint in Suckville – it’s not a bad place to visit occasionally to help you remember all the good stuff about life :)

    I love your tip about no phone when other people are around. I’ve been slowly trying to implement these mindfulness strategies in my own life, but could definitely do with taking it up to another level!

    1. J. Money June 26, 2015 at 9:49 AM

      try it out over the weekend and see if you can pull through :) It’s tough, but it feels SO GOOD when you get into the rhythm! I swear we’re all going to get e-Cancer one day…

  2. Sam June 26, 2015 at 6:44 AM

    I completely agree with all the points. Especially the one about getting a degree not meaning $$$ straight away! I have so many friends still on the job hunt after uni. Then again I do think what you want to do does affect this!


    1. J. Money June 26, 2015 at 10:27 AM

      Yup! Some degrees are certainly more sought after than others.

  3. Talaat @ His and Her Money June 26, 2015 at 7:34 AM

    Welcome back bro!

    You most definitely have to check out The Briefcase, it’s a great show. Just to see how agonizing the decision is for those families is amazing drama. There are also plenty of tear jerker moments in it as well. You should definitely put it in the weekly rotation.

    I’m getting more and more intrigued by personal capital. I’m going to have to start digging into it to see what all the hub bub is all about.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. J. Money June 26, 2015 at 10:28 AM

      Cool man, let me know what you think if you give PC a try.

      And I’ll do the same with The Briefcase :)

  4. Kim@Eyesonthedollar June 26, 2015 at 7:34 AM

    I’m so glad to year your Sucksville vacation is over. It is helpful to know that even money moguls like yourself have the blahs every once in a while. As I sit here reading this on my phone just after the alarm went off, I really need to work on that rule about no phones in bed.

    1. J. Money June 26, 2015 at 10:29 AM

      Haha… it’s a good habit to break for sure :)

      And yeah, I get “the blahs” all the time. Doesn’t matter how well or not you’re doing, just part of human nature I suppose!

  5. Brian @ Debt Discipline June 26, 2015 at 8:42 AM

    I have watched the show the Briefcase, very interested and some tough decision being thought over on the show. Been in job search for a bit, running into end of quarter, summer vacation now, just need to keep plugging along.

  6. Justin @ Root of Good June 26, 2015 at 10:25 AM

    Thanks for the share of the Early Retiree’s Weekly Schedule, J!

    Sending positive find-a-job vibes toward your household. Although I bet this time is golden for your wife since she’s able to enjoy the quiet life with kids running around all day. It’s quiet, right? :)

    1. J. Money June 26, 2015 at 10:29 AM

      HAH! Yes, so so “quiet” indeed.

  7. Kayla @ Femme Frugality June 26, 2015 at 10:33 AM

    I’m glad you are back to your old self again J$. Sometimes we all need a break from thinking and talking about money. Have a great weekend!

  8. EL @ Moneywatch101 June 26, 2015 at 11:14 AM

    Good luck on the job search, I always tell people to find out the job demand before taking on a degree program. IF theres a 100 thousand finance graduates this year, but only 50K new finance jobs, well many people will be out of luck. Looks like that personal capital tool is awesome, and only getting better for them as a financial services company.

    1. J. Money June 26, 2015 at 2:21 PM

      hah – we’re the opposite. I’d much rather learn about something I think is cool and can be passionate about vs strictly $$ :) pros and cons either way though.

  9. NWOutlier June 26, 2015 at 11:17 AM

    Hey, I work in telco – at a very low level part of the network, we are looking for PhD type people – typically with experience, but at the PhD level – I believe less experience is required.

    Let me know if a highly technical job is something in line or not. Just throwing it out there

    1. J. Money June 26, 2015 at 2:23 PM

      Hey, thx so much! I’m not sure if that’s a good fit or not, but I’m definitely going to run it by her :) So nice of you!

  10. Joseph Silva June 26, 2015 at 2:05 PM

    haha…It’s funny you said that about libraries. I’m actually sitting in a library right now reading this. I’ve been drawing inspiration from your blog, among others, to take action and launch my own blog. I’m a huge fan of everything you’ve been doing. Looking forward to future articles!

    1. J. Money June 26, 2015 at 2:24 PM

      Nice! Absolutely LOVING the name you picked for your blog too, so if your writing is anything like it I think you’ll go far :) Get it out the door!

  11. Mel June 26, 2015 at 3:58 PM

    I can’t wait to hear about your philanthropy project! The more I try to focus on being successful, the more I find my success happens when I help others. Good on you, man!

    1. J. Money June 28, 2015 at 10:00 AM

      I’ll let you know once it’s in the works! :)

  12. Katie June 27, 2015 at 5:01 AM

    wow! I just love the idea of the “doodling on art” to nix your debt. What a fantastic idea! I will definitely be trying something similar myself – i will try anything to help me get out of the mess i’m in.

    1. J. Money June 28, 2015 at 10:07 AM

      Do it!

      Btw, I’m looooooving your site. Spent 30 mins on it after seeing your comment – you crack me up :)

  13. M/M Kash June 27, 2015 at 8:57 AM

    Always a great read, J$. Isn’t it amazing when you realize that little phone can take over such a huge portion of your time and your life? It was brought to my attention alittle over a year ago by my son, that we couldn’t even go out to dinner without me checking the phone if an email came in, text, call, etc.; being a Realtor I didn’t want to miss any calls, but he was right. My family deserves me being there and being all in. So, from that night on…..no phones at the table, no phones during things we are doing together. I actually deleted all email and apps (Facebook, Linked in, etc) from the phone. It’s now just for calls (what a concept) and texts. Ya know what, I don’t miss it at all. I was surprised by that. Quick side note…..who is left a 400k inheritance? I don’t think it’s wise to plan on any inheritance money. Keep us posted on any upcoming projects….love it!! Rock on.

    1. M/M Kash June 27, 2015 at 9:03 AM

      Also sending some positive job vibes for Mrs. J$…. Finding a good job is challenging.

      1. J. Money June 28, 2015 at 10:09 AM


        And LOVE that you got rid of those apps on the phone, haha… that’s hard to do! Esp as a realtor. Good for you.. I bet your son just loves your direct attention :)

        1. M/M Kash June 29, 2015 at 5:55 AM

          Yeah…have to admit, when I first deleted certain apps I was freakin’ out, just a little…but now I am more efficient with work time on the computer. I have certain times I’m on and certain times I am off, almost like regular work hours. No more working in the middle of the night…it can wait til the am…I need my sleep.

          1. J. Money June 29, 2015 at 10:20 AM

            It’s smart having set hours, esp if you’re self-employed. I used to work all over the place with no hard rules and after a few years it started getting to me. Scaling back now def. makes me more productive, but on the flip side I now don’t work as long either haha… so there’s always something to do :)

  14. Tonya@Budget and the Beach June 27, 2015 at 10:33 AM

    Glad the visit to suckville was short. My friend Dave is notoriously bad at constantly looking at his phone, and I do it on occasion (mostly when I take a pic at an event and post it on FB or Instagram), but I realize that is hypocritical because who is the judge on the amount of time you spend on the phone in front of other people right? Taking the pic is fine, but I can wait until I get home to post it. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. J. Money June 28, 2015 at 10:12 AM

      I like that idea – snap the pic and then right back into the pocket :) I’ve been sharing a LOT less online since keeping the phone away which it super hard as a blogger (as you know!) but it’s been quite refreshing. I used to get anxious if I hadn’t posted something on Twitter every few hours and now sometimes I’ll go the entire day without even realizing. Feels good!

  15. Chris Muller June 28, 2015 at 12:07 PM

    Go get your philanthropy on! I thought the Love Drop concept was cool – I’m excited to see what you come up with next. I have one year left on my stupid ass Verizon contract, so I am looking forward to that being over and I can really pursue something like RW. Lastly – that site you linked for coloring your progress is sweet! Although, I’m not sure I am on board with spending $20 for an image to color in. The concept is cool, though, especially if you’re a visual person.

    1. J. Money June 28, 2015 at 3:00 PM

      Could easily make your own :)

  16. Brittney @ Life On A Discount June 28, 2015 at 5:30 PM

    Wow, I love the doodling in coloring page as a motivator to knock out debt! I use ReadyforZero.com and my personal motivation is to see the dot move down on the chart. It’s not nearly as creative though.

    Also, the retirement calculator from Personal Capital seems interesting, thanks for posting!

    1. J. Money June 29, 2015 at 10:15 AM

      that’s cool about ReadyForZero! didn’t realize they did that… always hearing good things about them :)