GotCredit /

Here’s a situation I see too often - a young adult child runs up a credit card bill. Mom and Dad find out and learn that the interest rate is outrageous. Then they come to me asking how can I help him transfer the balance to another card with lower interest?

My question is, “Why would you want to do that?”

The answer usually involves high interest rates being wasteful, etc. OK, we can agree on that.

GotCredit /

“Barn, lemmie tell ya. I don’t want to make my kids rich.” 

I’ve had countless men (it’s usually men) say those very words to me. So much so I can almost see it coming and mouth the words as they are being spoken. 

But before just accepting that statement on face value, I like to ask a few clarifying questions.

“So if you had $100 million or more than you could ever spend, you’re saying you would not want to leave any of that to your kids?”

University of Essex . /

We’ve just graduated a fresh crop of high schoolers and college students. This time of year, I’m often asked the best way for a young person to get a solid start financially. 

Here are four rules any young person can follow to get off on the right foot:

1. Control yourself. The first step in getting a healthy financial start is habits. Habits are a lot like getting in good physical shape. The hardest part is the beginning. There’s a lot of pain, agony and discomfort. But after the initial phase, you notice it gets easier and easier. 

Frozen by Fear

Jun 26, 2019
Marco Nedermeijer /

When someone has experienced significant tragedy or trauma in their life, they oftenare surprised by how long the fear lasts.  

C.S. Lewis wrote after he lost his wife how surprised he was to find that grief feels a lot like fear. And fear can literally freeze you. And if that’s the case for you, you may need both a plan and a person.

First, for anyone dealing with loss, trauma or tragedy, my heart goes out to you. Sometimes there is nothing more I can say but, “That must be really hard.” Because it is.

Which Stock Market?

Jun 19, 2019
401(K) 2012 / Flickr.Com

In the 1987 movie The Princess Bride, The Sicilian criminal mastermind Vizzinni keepslisping the word, “Inconceivable!” Finally, someone suggests, “You keep using thatword. I do not think it means what you think it means.”  

That’s how I often feel when people use the term “the stock market.” Exactly which stock market did you have in mind?

Mike Lawrence /

If you want a plan for your money, get a plan for your life.

A life plan is like a flight plan for an airplane – it gives direction. It is also like a nation’s constitution, expressing the values important to that nation, and building laws to reflect those values.

Once your life plan is in place, your financial plan can then be a natural reflection of your values. Suddenly, it can all “make sense,” since you now can see the bigger picture and the longer term.

401(K) 2012 /

When you do a financial plan, where do you start?

Do you fund your retirement first or get out of debt? Is trying to save on taxes part of it? One marriage partner thinks you spend too much money on insurance, while the other worries that they are not sufficiently protected.

It can feel like you’re all over the map!

So back to the original question - where should we start?

My answer is to start with the most important thing – to you.

It is my contention that (1) you already have a financial plan, and (2) your plan is built around priorities.

Devon D'Ewart / FLICKR.COM

One of the most quoted verses in the bible is “money is the root of all evil.”

Except… it doesn’t say that.

What it actually says in 1Timothy 6:10 is, “The love of money is a root of all sorts of evil...” Did you catch the difference? It isn’t money that’s the problem. Money is neutral, neither inherently good or bad.

No, the problem comes in when someone starts to love money. Or what they think money can buy them.

The Cost of Living in North Louisiana is more than 10 percentage points below the national average, meaning families living in our region get more value for their dollar. The third quarter 2018 cost of living for the Shreveport-Bossier Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is 90 percent of the national average.  The Monroe MSA’s cost of living is 89.7 percent of the national average of 100 percent.  

Dir. of Marketing & Communications /

United Way of Northeast Louisiana currently has volunteer opportunities available for those interested in helping Bastrop High School students learn money management at the Dollars & $ense Reality Fair, a financi