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…

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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 choosefi.com 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…

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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…

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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…

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

Military members have access to an incredible resource through the website www.militaryonesource.mil.  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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Travel Hacking with the USO
Denver, CO USO

Travel Hacking with the USO

Why do we have to have 6am flights?  And why do they always have to be the cheapest?  This makes me glad, having become a morning person after half a lifetime in the military.  But my wife…not so much.  The night before I just go to go to bed at 9pm and get up at 3am to catch the flight – a solid 6 hours of sleep.   My wife’s sleep pattern has her getting tired around midnight or later – leaving 1-3 hour of sleep, and a not fun day of travel.  Enter the USO.  For those unaware, the USO (United Service Organization)…

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Military Leave benefits- PTO calculator

With my upcoming military leave for technical school (6-9 months depending on seasoning training) I’ve begun to investigate my civilian employers military leave policy (beyond the basic requirements by law).  I learned the only real benefit is I will continue to accrue paid time off PTO while I am on military leave. This is nothing to scoff at and a fantastic benefit. I had the same benefit while working for a sheriff’s office when I deployed to Iraq for 2 full years.  I returned with more PTO than what was allowed (280 hours) and had to take one day off a pay period…

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How to Make Chief in the Air Force Part 1

I’ve developed a secret formula for making rank in the Air Force.  If you are in a different branch, or a civilian you can skip to part 2, the principles there apply to all.  Unfortunately, this segment is only applicable to Air Force, because every branch has its own standards. I’ve been too long gone from the Army to accurately create a list for it.   The secret formula is actually quite simple: Superstar in person + Superstar on paper = Chief material.   I know, a lot easier said than done. First of all, what makes me qualified to coach people to…

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How to Make Chief Part 2

Today we’ll continue our segment on how to make Chief.  The first installment covered the first part of the equation; becoming a superstar on paper.  This installment will cover the second half of the secret formula; becoming a superstar in person.  These are all suggestions I have used in myself and have found valuable in my own career. I feel that they are pretty common sense for the most part, but sometime we need a little reminder to do the things we should be doing.   My first tidbit of advice is to BE PUNCTUAL.  Actually, you should be early…to everything. Get to…

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On Fixies, Bartering, Bike Commuting

When I first heard about the fixed gear “fixie” bike (that is, a bicycle that doesn’t change gears where the pedals are linked directly to the rear tire so one can never stop pedaling while the bike is moving) I thought “that is the stupidest bike ever, why would anyone want that?”  But I’m not one to knock something without trying it. Fast forward a couple of years to when I have talked to several fixie owners and watched a documentary on it.  Now I’m thinking, ok I see why some people like it. Not long later, while studying a triathlon training book,…

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