Sunday, October 30, 2011

Moving Update

Moving Update

By Keith Bunn Jr.
October 30, 2011

Harmed, no. Stressed, yes! As most of you know, we are at the tail end of our big move from White Cloud, MI to Grand Rapids, MI. I would say we are about 95% to 98% done. I still have to get our office arranged the way I’d like so I can kick this business into overdrive.
Even though we had been moving small amounts of stuff here for a week, the biggest part of the move didn’t take place until Oct. 28th.  Shortly after I got home from work (about 6:15 AM), we were already starting to see the signs of stress of the big part of the move. My step-son Cody woke up sick. Just like that, we were a man down. So Julie and I went to pick up the moving truck and started our trek north. An hour later, I had the truck backed up to the front door and we started loading our stuff. Now I have to tell you, you have no idea how much crap you can accumulate in 20 years until you try to pack it up to move.
Later, after lunch, we got word that Cody was feeling better and was on his way up north, but as usual, Murphy (you know Murphy, from Murphy’s Law) stepped in again and Cody’s car broke down and had to get it and himself towed back to the house. Soon after, Julie’s Cousin Kim came over and helped us stay on task and get things loaded on the truck. And I needed it too. After working 8 hours already from work, I was beat and needed someone to kick me in the tail to keep me going. When were got the truck loaded from front to back, we thanked Kim for her help and we waited for Cody’s friend David, who was going to help us unload. Back in Grand Rapids, my brother Dave met us at our storage unit to unload a few things there and then the rest of the stuff at the house. So after I had been up for almost 30 hours straight, we finally called it a night and I fell deep into a coma.
The next day, with the help of my brother and the boys, we went back up to White Cloud to grab a bunch more stuff. Now, there is very little stuff left to grab and we can grab that with the cars we have.
Now you maybe asking yourself, “What does this have to do with finance?” and my answer would be, it has a lot to do with finance. One of the things that have to take place when you’re in a financial mess and you decide its time to clean that mess up is sacrifice. And in our case, Julie is making the biggest sacrifice out of all of us. She left a job that she has had for decades. And because she left that job, we decided to move closer to both of our jobs, to move from a house that she has lived in, longer than she has been a mom. Also, now that we live closer to our jobs, there is plenty of time in between work for both of us to get back and forth so all we need is one car now, even if I’m working overtime, so we’re selling my car.
So what are we getting in return for all this sacrificing? Well, Julie’s new job pays a little more than she did at her other job, plus there is more room to advance compared to no room at the other place. On top of that, with us selling my car, we will be paying less in gas, insurance, registration, and up keep. Is our sacrifice huge? For some people, yes. But there are others that are so hardcore when it comes to cleaning up their messes, they are literally are on beans and rice and ramen noodles for years. So the question I have for you is, what level of sacrifice would you go to, to clean up your financial mess?
I would like to thank everyone who helped with our move. I’d also like to thank all of you for your patience while we have been in the process of this move and I haven’t been on Facebook and Tweeter that much, but now that I’m some what back to normal, I will be paying more attention to all these things.

“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.”  - Ayn Rand -

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

401K vs. Roth 401K

401K vs. Roth 401K

By Keith Bunn Jr.
October 23, 2011

Both the traditional 401Ks and Roth 401Ks is, as it was explained to me, “a coat” to protect your investment from the bitter cold of taxes. It is NOT the investment.

Most of us know what a 401K is. It is a way to invest pre-tax money through your workplace for retirement and when you reach 59 ½ years old, you are able to withdrawal that money without paying penalties for early withdrawals. However, because traditional 401Ks are pre-tax, meaning the money was taken out of your paychecks before it was taxed, Uncle Sam will want his cut when you start your withdrawals.

A Roth 401K is different in the way that your money from your paycheck is invested after taxes are taken out and it will grow TAX FREE. Which means that when you start withdrawing that money at 59 ½ years old or older, you will not owe taxes on it because you already paid the taxes up front
Now whether or not your company matches, the tax free part of a Roth 401K is a big deal. Because it is the earnings of those investments that will make up the majority of your nest egg, not what you put into it.

It is always wise to take a company match on either the traditional 401K or the Roth 401K up to the percentage the company offers. For the simple fact that at the time of the match, you just doubled your money, or close to it depending on the percentage of the match. That’s kind of return is hard to beat in any kind of investing. But the company match of the Roth 401K is a pre-tax match. Which means you will have taxes due on the matching portion of that nest egg but what you put into it will be tax free.

So to give you an example…

If you have $3 million in a non-matching, traditional 401K. the taxes on $3 million will be about $1 million. Which leaves you with a $2 million nest egg.

If you have $3 million in a non-matching, Roth 401K. There are no taxes due because it grew tax free. Which leaves you with a $3 million nest egg. Because of the tax free portion of the Roth, I think you would agree that a Roth 401K beats a traditional 401K hands down.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Age and Wealth

Age and Wealth

By Keith Bunn Jr.
October 16, 2011

One of the things I’ve heard from the older generation when I talk about money management is that it’s too late for them to do anything about their money issues because they’re about ready to retire anyway. I say that’s a bunch of bologna. It is NEVER too late to learn how to manage your money. Did you know that at the ages of 50 to 60 years old are statistically your most financially productive years of your adult life and for you to sit there thinking about retirement, giving up, while you’re financial world is a mess is just plain irresponsible!
I could give you a bunch of well known names that did everything history knows them for what they did when they were in their 50’s and 60’s, but one comes to mind more than any other, Colonel Sanders.
 Colonel Sanders didn’t fry any chicken professionally until he was in his 60’s. The reason he started Kentucky Fried Chicken was because he was broke and knew he wasn’t going to be able to make it on social security benefits.
So figure out what you’d like to do and do it. You don’t necessarily have to go outside of your home. You could sell stuff on Ebay or Craig’s List. Make some crafts and sell them at craft show around your community or across your state. Share your experience with others by tutoring them. There are all different kinds of ways you can supplement your social security benefits. Just don’t quite. All it takes is one idea and you could be making more that you every have in your life.

“You don’t discover your passions by listening to someone else talk about discovering your passions.”
     Jason Jaggard –

Sunday, October 9, 2011

“The Borrower is Slave to the Lender.” - Proverbs 22:7 -

“The Borrower is Slave to the Lender.”
- Proverbs 22:7 -

By Keith Bunn Jr.
October 9, 2011

Well, if this whole recession deal doesn’t make you think that Proverbs 22:7 is real, then maybe what China is recently doing might. It was reported on September 14th by that China will be buying up some of the European debt. If they haven’t done it yet, they plan to take their  $3.2 trillion of reserves and help out Greece and Italy by buying up there debt to help stabilize the Euro. This is only a temporary fix. They (Greece and Italy) still have to pay that money back, but instead of owing to several different lenders, they just owe China now. That would be like you and I getting a debt consolidation loan where we wrap up all our credit cards, car loans, mortgage, etc… and put it into one giant loan. That doesn’t solve anything, you just moved the debt, you didn’t pay it off and then you just keep doing what you’ve been doing that got you in the mess in the first place. As Larry Burkett said, “Debt is not the problem, it is the symptom.” The countries of the world (U.S. included) are going to have to pull their heads out of the sand and actually deal with their over spending and debt problems. The Keynesian (see Aug. 21st blog, ‘Then and Now’ ) way of thinking DOESN’T WORK!! It doesn’t matter who they borrow the money from.
As of right now, this puts China in the power seat when it comes to a financial power for the simple fact they don’t over spend, they have money for emergencies, and they’re able to invest in other country's bonds, but this also leaves them in a vulnerable spot too because if the countries they have put billions of dollars into go bankrupt, then they just lost their money. It will be interesting to see how these events unfold.

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

It’s Ghost and Goblin Time

It’s Ghost and Goblin Time

By Keith Bunn Jr.
October 2, 2011

I just love Halloween!! I would even go as far as saying that it is one of my favorite holidays! Well, it is my birthday after all… I mean, ever since I was a kid, I looked forward to dressing up, and running around the neighborhood and getting candy. In the year 2001, I even worked at a Halloween store for part time work to help pay for Christmas. Unfortunately, I did a lot of spending in that store as well. I bought a scary Grim Reaper costume that I could wear around the store to scare all the kids with. I was like a kid in a candy store! It was great!

But the Halloween buying when I was a kid, was nothing like today. Today, decorations for outside as well as for the inside, not to mention the tons of candy.... You name it, and I’m sure someone has it. In fact, the U.S. spent about $5.8 billion dollars last year. That puts Halloween second only to Christmas for retail spending. THAT’S A LOT!! So what can we do to reduce the cost of Halloween?

1) You can make your own decorations. One year, we took scrap wood from a job I had and made tomb stones with it. It just took a little time plus some spray paint and they looked great. On top of that, it was a fun project for the whole family.

2) Make your own costumes or reuse costumes. There are all kinds of books and magazines out this time of year to give you ideas of what you can do.

3) Grow your own pumpkins. All it takes is a dollar pack of seeds, patience, and a green thumb and you can have a great year round project for the kids and an endless supply of seeds to grow pumpkins every year.

4) Give out cheaper candy. You don’t have to give out the name brand stuff to the neighborhood. I mean who are you trying to impress, the 5 year old you won’t see again until next Halloween?

If you do 2 or more of these suggestions, you’ll save a lot of money for what is the start of a very expensive holiday season.

The reason I do this, is to give people hope and to try to inspire others. To make people think about their finances, whether they are young or old, so they can win financially.
If you have any questions for me about my posts or if you need help learning how to live on less than you make and creating a budget, you can call me at (616) 454-2046 or e-mail me at I’d be happy to help! 
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