American Express Platinum for Military

I’m finally going there as a financial blogger (sorta) – I’m going to talk about a credit card.  I know there are a million other sites who will review and talk about credit cards better than I will and I’m not going to review every one I open.  However, this one is pertinent to those of you who are in the military and reservists in particular.  This week I applied for and was approved for the American Express Platinum card!  If you’re new to this scene it’s the elite travel card with tons of benefits….and a $550 annual fee.  That fee, however, is…


Optimize your time with RSS feeds

If you’re reading this, I’ll assume you follow multiple blogs like me.  You might also have a daily habit of clicking through multiple websites to see if they posted anything new today.  Some time ago I found a way to optimize this process called RSS feeds.  An RSS feed grabs any new content posted to your favorite blogs and websites and puts them in one place.  I have been using a popular one called Feedly for a couple of years.  It’s very handy to only have to go to one website and get updated on all of the blogs I follow.  I’m not…


PICK Chart – A Decision Making Tool

I recently decided to sell my rental property prior to a 6-month set of orders with the Air Force that would take me from Minnesota to Texas.  I decided to get out of the long-distance land lording business while the market seemed good. I gave myself a month to prep it for sale (so much needed after 7 years of renting it out).  Well, in true military fashion, the Air Force moved my start date up by 2 weeks and gave me 10 days’ notice (actually they didn’t tell me, I just happened to find out, but that’s a story for another day). …


Optimizing the Air Force Fitness test

At the start of every Air Force fitness test you see any number of airmen nervously looking over the scorecards to ensure they know the minimum number they need to pass in the next up category.  Meanwhile I’m looking at it thinking how stupid it is that I have to go from 52 to 57 pushups in a minute just to get that last half point to take me from a 99.5 to 100.  Because I am who I am, I broke it down into a spreadsheet for you below.  I’ve only scratched my own itch and completed it for my age/gender.  If…


Handling Joint Finances

When you get married or are in a long-term relationship eventually you will have to discuss if/how you will merge finances.  I’ll share with you the methodology my wife and I have been using for the past several years.  This is not the perfect system, but it is what has been working for us.  We all have hidden financial biases developed in our youth that influences how we think and act in regards to money.  I once read a good book on the topic but I can no longer remember or locate the title.  While I don’t know what our personal biases exactly…


Hobby Selection Matrix

If you’re like me you have more hobbies and interests than you have time or money to actually do in this lifetime.  Therefore, we must prioritize how we will spend our leisure time.  I’ve created a more objective approach to deciding by creating a WEIGHTED MATRIX in Excel.  A weighted matrix is simply a multiplication of criteria of an activity against its subjective value to you.  This idea came from a article.  I expanded upon it by adding a category for relationships and creating the excel matrix.  Filling the matrix out is straight forward, simply follow the instructions.  The scoring definitions can…


Personal Strategy Deployment

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”  A question most of us have probably been asked during a job interview.  I have generally answered something along the lines “Doing work as (insert role I’m applying for) as a real expert ready for the next level of leadership at (insert organization)”…. Great, now tell me about a time when….  How many of us have put thought into answering actually answering that question for ourselves?  Most of us (I plead guilty to this) barely have a plan for dinner tonight.  If we have thought about where we want to be in “5 years” we…


What are you optimizing for?

What are you optimizing for?  A simple, yet often difficult question to answer.  And yet, one we should ask ourselves often, before and after making decisions.  In business the answer is likely “profit”.  Then the question becomes what are you willing to trade off – Time or Quality?  Cost, time and quality being three main ingredients in creating most things but they have inverse relationships.  I’ll dive into that more another day, you get the gist for now.     In our personal lives it is a more difficult question.  If you asked me what I’m optimizing my life for the answer is “I…


$5,500+ in Free Resources Through Military One Source Library

Military members have access to an incredible resource through the website  There are many valuable resources that I’ll dive into over time but today I’d like to focus on the MWR library and highlight some of the more valuable and useful resources available there.  If you were to purchase an annual subscription to just the services offered to individuals it would cost you over $5,500 per year. This doesn’t include the cost of the institutional subscriptions (EBSCO, Encyclopedia Britannica, etc) which cost schools and libraries thousands of dollars per year- most of these are available through your public library as well.  I’ve…

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