The Best Financial Move I Made in 2017

I wanted to share what I thought was the best financial move/decision I made in 2017!



It’s probably not what you think either. If you read my first post of 2018, you would know that I maxed out my Roth IRA, increased my 401(k) contributions from 5% to 12%, and I started contributing more each month to a taxable account.


But, what I think my best overall financial move of 2017 was ditching my long-standing relationship with a large, brick-and-mortar bank and switching to an online checking account.

Continue reading “The Best Financial Move I Made in 2017”


Being Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving!


I hope everyone is getting sometime this week to enjoy friends, family, and good food!

This is my favorite time of year (cliché I know!). And, it is not because of gifts and presents.

It’s because people tend to be more reflective, thankful, giving and gracious. Characteristics I wish more people would carry throughout the year, instead of just for a few weeks.

I want people to realize how good we have it. Continue reading “Being Thankful”

The 12 Month Money Saving Challenge

Money Challenges


I love money savings challenges! They turn the challenge of saving more money into a fun activity for both adults and kids.

If you perform a quick Pinterest search, you can find dozens of them!

I had to “steal” and show off this one by Cassie Werner. Not only is it teaching you to save money, but it really hits on what I think are other important points such as healthy living, healthy eating, green living, buying less and spending less time in front of a TV/computer!


Every month is a new challenge, so it doesn’t get boring only a few weeks in! Continue reading “The 12 Month Money Saving Challenge”

Introducing Charitable Giving Through Betterment

Charitable Giving


I grew up in a largely Catholic family. I may not be very religious now, but one of the principles that I was taught growing up that has stuck has been charitable giving.

I wholeheartedly believe in donating my time and money to charities and organizations that I believe in.

With the holidays upon us, this is usually the time I rev up my donations to help charities reach more of those in need. At this time of year, I usually end up reflecting on the past 11 to 12 months and truly recognize how thankful I should be (and am) for the life I have and my overall good fortune.

And, for investors during 2017 the fortune has been good!

I want to spread that good fortune to others, and I am glad that companies like Betterment share in these values! Continue reading “Introducing Charitable Giving Through Betterment”

KISS It: The Retirement Edition

“Investing is not nearly as difficult as it looks. Successful investing involves doing a few things right and avoiding serious mistakes.”

-John C Bogle

When it Comes to Investing, My Best Advice is to KISS it!


In other words, Keep It Simple!


When it comes to successful investing, there are only a few things you need to know. You don’t need to learn how to day trade to be successful. In fact, day trading will probably not be successful at all.





I have a total of four investment accounts: a 401(k), a Roth IRA, a Traditional IRA, and a taxable account. My money is invested in ETFs, index funds and a few bonds. Of all of my long-term investments, three are tax advantaged (the Roth IRA, 401(k), and the Traditional IRA), meaning I get a tax benefit either when I deposit or withdrawal my money.

Taxes are important to note and consider. Taxes can take a massive chunk out of your future earnings, so it’s important to minimize their impact as much as possible. This is why I always recommend maxing out your 401k, Roth IRA, and if you have your own business or side hustle, a SEP IRA before investing in anything else. One cool feature of all the IRA accounts is that you can buy and sell stocks, index funds and ETFs inside them.

I love and prefer ETFs and index funds. They make investing and staying diversified so much easier. I also 100% manage my own investments. I have never used a financial advisor or firm.

(FYI: I typically don’t recommend mutual funds due to high commissions and fees. I don’t own any either).



“The index fund is a sensible, serviceable method for obtaining the market’s rate of return with absolutely no effort and minimal expense. Index funds eliminate the risks of individual stocks, market sectors and manager selection, leaving only stock market risk.”

-John C. Bogle





There’s a big difference between long-term and short-term investing. A lot of people don’t invest in stocks because they are afraid of losing money – which only really matters if you need the money in the short-term (say the next 10 years or less). But if you are investing for the long-term, then I don’t know of any better investment than the Stock Market (ie equities). Sure, stocks can go up and down drastically, but over any 10-year period in history they are always up at least 7% per year when the gains and losses are averaged out.

You can teach yourself how to invest through reading books and blogs. That’s how I learned how to invest successfully. The main thing you have to realize is that a lot of anxiety, fear and emotions get involved with investing, but that is usually simply due to lack of knowledge and education. However, taking just a little bit of time to do some research and learn from others that have been investing for decades. If you only have the ability to read one book on investing here’s my utmost, highly recommended book: The Simple Path to Wealth: Your road map to financial independence and a rich, free life by J.L. Collins.


“Time is your friend; impulse is your enemy.”

-John C. Bogle



The down years (ie Bear Market) have an impact, but the degree to which they impact you is often determined by whether you decide to stay invested or get out. An investor with a long-term view may have great returns, while one with a short-term view who gets in, and then bails out after a bad year may have a significant loss.

No one will, or has ever been able to consistently time the market. They is no expert that can tell you when to get in and out and avoid the loss of down years, and then get back in time for the up turn.

If you are going to invest, you should expect the down years. You should know they are going to occur, and stick with your long-term investing plan. Not only that, you should see great opportunity in a Bear Market to buy “cheap” stocks.







Vanguard and Fidelity are your best choice for low-cost brokerage firms. Both are pretty competitive on fees.

Brokerage firms like Vanguard usually have a $3,000 minimum for mutual and index funds, but there are no minimums or commissions for ETFs. So you can invest in Vanguard’s Total Stock Market ETF (VTI) with as little as the price to buy one share.

That’s just one of my favorites. There are hundreds of different ETFs and index funds to choose from to fit your personal investing needs and risk allocation. You can also invest in bonds. remember to keep your portfolio as a whole diversified.

If you are more interested in a robo-advsior (a more hands off approach), Betterment has been very successful in this arena and also has low fees and no commissions, but not as low as Vanguard! You can read my full review of Betterment here.

Either way you choose, I recommend setting up automatic deposits timed with each paycheck and “pay yourself first”.




You have worked super hard for your money, don’t gamble it on investments, business or schemes you don’t 100% completely understand. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. There is no “get rich quick” approach when comes to investing.

And, that’s about it. I invest in only things that I completely understand with low fees. Then, I continue to buy and hold whether the market is up or down (truthfully, I don’t watch the market day-to-day, because that’s when worry and doubt can set in).


13 Items to Stop Buying to Reduce Waste & Save Money



You might be pretty surprised at how much money is spent on everyday items that just end up in our trash and landfills.

If you are an average American, you produce 4.4. pounds of trash every single day. Considering there are 324 million people in the USA, that amounts to more than 700,000 tons of garbage produced every day— that’s enough to fill around 60,000 garbage trucks EVERY DAY! And, that’s just talking about the U.S.

Which is why I have earnestly started reducing, or stopped buying completely certain items that just end up in landfills. Continue reading “13 Items to Stop Buying to Reduce Waste & Save Money”

Let’s Start a Small House Movement (Not Tiny)


Tiny houses may be super trendy right now, but small houses are actually the smarter and better home solutions for many people and families.

Tiny houses might have inspired dozens of how-to websites, a few HGTV shows, admiring pins, and earnest documentaries. But small houses (500-1000 sq. feet) are also gaining in popularity.

I recently attended the US Department of Energy’s 2017 Solar Decathlon in Denver, CO, where 12 US and International University teams competed to design and build solar-powered, technologically advanced homes. Continue reading “Let’s Start a Small House Movement (Not Tiny)”

College Hack: Go To Yale University for Free


If you are like me, you are a lifetime learner and enjoy learning and expanding your mind and knowledge.

I actually loved college! I won’t lie, nursing school was stressful and overwhelming at times, but overall I enjoyed going to lectures, studying in the library and just having the ability to learn whatever I wanted!

However, as we all know, college can cost a pretty penny. Otherwise, I would probably still be a college student at the age of 30. Continue reading “College Hack: Go To Yale University for Free”