Rock Your Thanksgiving with This Recipe

thanksgiving recipe

I don’t mean to brag (well, of course I do – anyone starting a sentence like that is about to brag), but I have been making cornbread dressing for my family since my teens and it is really good.  I mean better than yours.  Or your mama’s. Or your Aunt Ethel’s.  And because I feel bad about you eating sub-par dressing on Thanksgiving, I am sharing my recipe with you.

 

First, you make the cornbread.  Bake cornbread 24-48 hours before making the dressing so it has a chance to dry out.  Break it into pieces so it dries out better.

 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

 

Mix the following dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder

 

Combine the following 3 wet ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup water

 

½ cup melted vegetable oil (put this in your 9×13 pan while the oven is pre-heating)

 

Mix the wet and dry ingredients together.  Add the melted vegetable oil and mix.  Pour into your 9×13 pan and back for 25 minutes.  After it has cooled, cut the cornbread into chunks and let it dry for a day or two.

 

Okay, now for the dressing:

 

  • Brown 1 pound of Jimmy Dean Sage sausage in a LARGE (I use a pan that covers two burners) roasting pan over medium heat.
  • Add ½ – 1 whole stick of butter to the browned sausage.
  • Sautee with the sausage:  2 cups chopped white onion and 1 cup chopped celery.
  • After veggies are soft, add 2 cans Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup (warning, do NOT get the garlic flavored or low-fat kind.  It will ruin your dressing).
  • Add 4 Cups chicken stock.
  • Mix well and then add cornbread.  Stir until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Last, add ½ cup chopped green onions and ½ cup chopped parsley.  Stir well again.

 

Transfer dressing to pans for baking. I like to use several glass loaf pans, so you can pre-heat in the microwave and finish browning in the oven.  Efficient when oven space is at a premium on Thanksgiving Day.  Before serving, bake at 350 until warmed through and a little brown on top.

 

A couple of tips:

  1. If the dressing seems too dry for your taste, add more chicken stock.
  2. Cornbread dressing freezes well. I typically make a giant batch (double above) in early November.  I freeze in multiple smaller pans and have enough for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

 

Enjoy!

Scary Food Additives – A Guest Blog From Tam John

scary food additives

“Choosing real food is an investment in your health, offering improvement into the way you look and feel.”  (John, 2018) Well heck yes you say!  Of course, you want Real Food!  Letting labels proclaiming to be ‘natural’ and other health claims be your guide isn’t going to save you from laboratory made food your body and mind were never meant to consume.

 

Three of the scariest food additives:

 

Natural Flavoring

A catch all phrase that has more to do with flavoring than nutrition.  This is where MSG and the fluid from the sex glands from beavers (castoreum) are included in the ‘food’ along with other mysterious brain and body tricking additives and chemicals hide.

 

Carrageenan

It sounds natural as it is derived from seaweed.  Although Generally Recognized as Safe/GRAS by the FDA, the National Organics Standards Board has voted to remove it from organic food.  It has a lengthy and controversial reputation for causing damage to the digestive system.

 

Food Dyes/Coloring

These contain cancer causing chemicals also linked to hypersensitivity, hyperactivity, rashes and immune system issues.  Real food is beautiful without added coloring.  In Europe warning labels are required, but not in America.

 

Once you get the hang of it, it is easy to choose healthfully even with a modern busy life.  Tam will show you how to healthfully navigate the holidays and beyond while you live it up and love yourself more.  Work with Tam for a plan you and your being love!  Contact Tam for a complimentary 15-minute conversation to discuss your wellness goals and where you feel stuck.  Find out if her approach is a fit for you.

 

Tam’s title A Fresh Wellness Mindset is available at Tattered Cover Bookstores, Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com.

 

Don’t let your holiday habits haunt you!  Arrive in 2019 feeling fantastic!!!

 

 

 

 

Reference:  John. T. 2018.  A Fresh Wellness Mindset:  Personalize Your Food Life & Find Your Truth about Gluten.  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.  North Charleston, SC.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2018 EatRight-LiveWell ™ & Tam John

7 Hilarious Quotes about Halloween

halloween, denver financial planner

It can’t all be about financial education on this blog.  Even financial advisers need to laugh between appointments where they nag people to save more.  From Twitter, here are some great quotes about Halloween.

 

By the way, the correct grammar was all added by me.  You are welcome.

 

“The scariest Halloween costume I can think of is ‘regular adult who wants to show you how well they play piano’.” @paulbwelsh

 

“If I pay $40 for a haunted house I better die.” @hodgesboi15

 

“Love seeing the creative Halloween costumes like Cold Nurse, Cold Schoolgirl, Shivering Female Superhero, Uncomfortably Chilly Pirate.” @tarashoe

 

“Halloween is coming up and I still have no idea what I’m going to be for the rest of my life.” @9GAG

 

“My daughters used to wear inappropriately sexy costumes for Halloween but now that they’re 16 they only dress that way all the time.” @DannyZuker

 

Friend: “What should I be for Halloween?”
Me: “My designated driver.” @causewereguys

 

“Congrats to Monster Mash on winning the VMA for “Best Halloween Song” for the 52nd consecutive year.” @brendohare

 

Happy Halloween!

WTF (What the Finance) is a Roth 401(k)?

roth, denver financial planner

More and more employers are making the Roth option available in their 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans.

 

What does this mean?

 

Well, the default contribution to retirement plans has always been tax-deferred.  Meaning, you are legally hiding income for the current year, enjoying paying no taxes on the dividends and capital gains on the account, but pay income taxes on the withdrawals at retirement.  Basically, kicking the tax can down the road on retirement investments.

 

In the mid-90s the Roth IRA was invented to allow contributions to an IRA where you didn’t tax an up-front tax deduction, but growth in the account could be withdrawn tax-free at retirement.  Great deal!

 

In 2006, Roth contributions to 401(k)s became available.  This allowed the saver to choose to save tax-deferred, tax-free, or a combination of both.  Adoption has been slow, but now about 70% of employers offer the Roth option in their retirement plans.

 

Why consider using a Roth 401(k)?

 

First, the pesky income limitations that keep those earning over $133,000/year ($186,000 for couples) from contributing to a Roth IRA are non-existent in a Roth 401(k).  Any plan participant can elect the Roth option.  Also, while a Roth IRA has a $5,500/year ($6,500 for ages 50+) contribution limit, the Roth 401(k) allows up to $18,500/year ($24,500 for 50+) so you can really build that tax-free retirement asset.

 

It’s hard to think about giving up your nice top-line income reduction from a tax-deferred 401(k) contribution but consider this:  If all of your money is saved tax-deferred, every time you withdraw in retirement a tax bill is triggered.  Roth distributions create no tax bill, and when you are retired, you will love having a pool of money that is available tax-free.

 

And remember, it’s not an all-or-nothing decision.  If you are interested in the idea of the Roth 401(k) but worried how losing the deferred benefit will affect your paycheck, start with just a little at a time to Roth.  You may decide to increase the percentage going forward.

Annual Scary and Sweet Investment Column

investments, Denver financial planner

As I sit here and eat the Take 5 bars that I will not be giving to trick-or-treaters, it seemed appropriate to offer a quick market commentary about what has been scary and sweet so far in the 2018 investment world.

 

Scary:

 

International stocks, which have been hurt by the rising US dollar and trade tensions.  But, don’t bail out yet!  International was a strong performing asset class in late 2016 and 2017 and will have its day yet again.  If anything, lower short term returns could be a reason to buy on sale.

 

Old Bulls.  There is a general holding of the breath as investors, still scarred by the Great Recession, wait for the bottom to fall out of the current expansion.  I don’t know when or how or how severe it will happen, but worrying (and sitting all in cash) won’t help.  Make sure you are diversified and have risk that makes sense for your time horizon.  Then, turn OFF the financial news and eat some candy.

 

Expensive Chocolate.  Speaking of candy, will these trade wars initiated by the US increase the cost of imports from cars to cocoa?  That seems to be the worry as our trading partners prepare to retaliate against our policies.  So far the results have been mixed with some industries benefiting from the tariff talk and others suffering.  Time will tell how our consumer prices, economy, and investments are affected.  In the meantime, I am hoarding chocolate.

 

Sweet:

 

Tasty Opportunities for Job Seekers.  In June of 2018 the number of job openings in America surpassed the number of people looking for work. That should mean good mobility for workers who want to make a career change.  However, the low unemployment numbers reported are probably not taking into account the many underemployed millennials, gig economy workers, and baby boomers holding on for dear life to their jobs.

 

Consuming Consumers.  The US confidence survey in August reported the highest consumer confidence rates in 18 years.  People are on services and planning to buy homes and other big-ticket items.

 

Corporate Earnings are Up.  All that consuming is helping US companies to continue their earnings growth.  Even perpetual brick-and-mortar retailers saw gains last quarter.  So, even though investors seem to hate this bull market, US stocks have been on the rise without the love of the public.

 

Is our economy a treat to be enjoyed or a trick just waiting to happen?  I won’t predict, but just remind you that expansions last longer than recessions.  Keep enough in savings to cover 3-6 months living expenses, and let your investments do their long-term thing.

 

Important Days in October!

october, Denver financial planner

My brilliant social media guru, Catherine Tidd of Social Seed Marketing, recently made me aware of the many opportunities to celebrate just about anything with International fill-in-the-blank days.

 

Sadly, I missed National Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19th, but don’t despair!  There are plenty more opportunities.  Here are a few examples for October and how to make these days great for your finances, too.

 

October 10th is World Mental Health Day (#WorldMentalHeathDay).  You know what’s good for your mental health? Knowing you are making smart decisions with your money.  Use this day to reach out to your financial adviser for a check-up appointment.

 

October 13th is National Train Your Brain Day (#TrainYourBrainDay).  If this doesn’t scream personal finance, what does?  Train your brain to do one thing better for your finances:  Eat out one less day per week, increase your 401(k) contribution, institute 1 week per month as a no-spend week, read a personal finance article.  He possibilities are endless.

 

October 17th is International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (#EndPoverty).  A great reminder to check your investments for appreciated stocks or mutual funds for tax efficient opportunities to give to your favorite charity.

 

October 18th is Get to Know Your Customers Day (#GetToKnowYourCustomersDay). Salespeople and small business owners, use this as an opportunity to create a customer event.  Better sales mean better income mean better savings!

 

October 20th is World Statistics Day (#StatisticsDay).  Blah, let’s skip that one and move to…

 

October 21st, which is Reptile Awareness Day (#ReptileAwarenessDay)!  Feel like your financial adviser might be a snake in the grass?  Contact me for a 15-minute consultation.  Assuming, that is, that I’m NOT the slithery adviser you are thinking of.

 

 

And finally, October 25th is Greasy Foods Day (#GreasyFoodsDay).  A financial tie-in is hard here, but just go get a burger and fries and think good thoughts about me, who made you aware of this important day.

 

The Three Jars: Benefits & Lessons Learned

Welcome back, Scott Arnold, CFP ® to conclude his 2-part blog on using the Three Jars method to help teach his young boys life and money lessons.

 

When my wife and I started The Three Jars with our boys, we thought it would help us in teaching them basic lessons about money.  The Jars have done this and much more. Here are some of the main lessons and benefits.

 

Splitting your paycheck into various accounts before you spend it.

Imagine if all of us learned the valuable lesson of paying yourself (savings) and supporting your passion (giving) first.  We are all creatures of habit, whether your 6 years old or 30 years old, if you pay yourself first, you will adapt to your cash flow and be able to build up your investment accounts to reach your goals.

 

Goal setting.

It used to be frustrating to take the boys to the store because every aisle was a battle.  Now the conversation has flipped into a learning opportunity.  We let them know they can buy the item they want but it will come out of their money.  If they spend more than what is in the “Spend” Jar for the month then they will lose interest for the month.  We also remind them of the previous goals they set for themselves and how this impulse purchase will make it take even longer before they can reach their goal.  Their current goals are an electric ATV and a hover board!  It is amazing how they stop asking for that candy bar in the check-out lane when they know it would come from their money.

 

Math.

After the boys realized the money in the jars is theirs, they became very focused on counting it correctly.  They even like to pull out the jars from time to time to count the money again.  We were amazed at how quickly they understood the concept of interest and how to calculate it.  Our 6-year-old correctly calculated 5% interest on his $230 savings this past Sunday.

 

Family time!

Time is such a valuable commodity nowadays with work, school, Cub Scouts and soccer pulling us in different directions.  It is nice to sit down with the entire family on Sunday to play The Three Jars.  The Q&A before we pay them and the paying/counting of the money leads to great discussions and learning opportunities with the whole family.  In our busy worlds it’s nice to get everyone together and focused for 30 minutes.

 

The Three Jars has helped us develop a weekly system to talk to our children about the value of money, spending, saving, giving and incorporating family time as well. We hope The Three Jars will do the same for your family, it is a great tool to have more money and life conversations with your children.

 

scott arnold, denver CFP

 

Scott Arnold, CFP®, has been in the financial services industry since 1998.  He is the founder of IMPACTfolio.  A wealth management firm that specializes in sustainable and IMPACT investing.  For more information, visit https://impactfolio.co/

Three Jars: Teach Your Children Life Lessons About Money

Children

This week and next, I’m thrilled to welcome guest blogger and fellow financial planner Scott Arnold, CFP ® to discuss how using the Three Jars method has helped teach his kids life and money lessons.  Take it away, Scott!

 

My wife and I have two incredible boys, ages 8 & 6.  Their personalities are very different, but one thing they have in common is an understanding of money.  We have used The Three Jars with them for the past two years and here is how it has helped our family.

 

We have tweaked the rules over the years with experience.  I’ll lay out the rules this week.  In next week’s blog, I’ll highlight the benefits and life lessons we have been able to teach them.

 

The Three Jars Method

 

Find three jars (glass or plastic) per child.   Each jar is labeled as “Spend”, “Save” or “Give”.  Here is a link with pre-made labels.

 

Every week each boy receives three one-dollar bills.  We do not tie the weekly payments to chores or use it as a disciplinary tool because money lessons cannot be taught unless they receive the payments.

 

One dollar is put in each Sunday.  The boys are very focused before they get paid so we added a little twist before their payment.  We use this opportunity to ask them three questions.  The questions are random and cover anything from, “What is mom’s cell phone number?” to, “How do you escape the house in a fire?”  They like to show us how they would crawl out of their bedroom and down the steps.  Even if they get the answers wrong, they still get the three dollars.

 

At the beginning of the month, each child decides how much money he wants to put in the “Spend” jar and how much money will stay in the “Save” jar.

 

At the end of the month, the “Save” jar will receive 5% interest.  They count the money and calculate the interest.  You would be amazed how fast they will learn when they know they are the ones receiving the money.  We double-check their math.

 

If a boy spends more money than what is available in his “Spend” jar for the month, they are penalized and do not receive interest for that month.

 

In December, the boys decide which non-profit they want to support with their “Give” jar money.  We do this on CO Gives Day.  It is an easy way for them to look at the various non-profits, also institutions may match your donation to increase the impact.  They have given to Smile Train, Chihuahua & Small Dog Rescue, Hire Heroes USA and school initiatives to help buy school supplies.

 

So, that’s how it works.  Stay tuned next week for the benefits and lessons learned using the Three Jars method.

 

 

scott arnold, denver CFP

 

Scott Arnold, CFP®, has been in the financial services industry since 1998.  He is the founder of IMPACTfolio.  A wealth management firm that specializes in sustainable and IMPACT investing.  For more information, visit https://impactfolio.co/

Con or Pro Probiotics?

As my faithful readers know, sometimes I get tired of coming up with new blog content, so I arm wrestle other people into writing for me.  And sometimes the content has nothing to do with finance, just something I thought was interesting.

 

Today, I welcome nutritionist Maureen West to tell us all about probiotics.  “What does this have to do with finance?” you say.  Well, there are few things worse for the pocketbook than being sick!  Read on for tips from Maureen.

 

Feeling Less Than? Could Probiotics Help?

 

Probiotics – you’ve heard the term, but if you’re like most people I know, you aren’t too sure about the benefits, protocols or differences between the numerous brands, strains and strengths available.

 

Here’s a Probiotic 101 to get you started discovering if your body could use a boost.

 

What are probiotics?

 

Probiotics are the tiny friendly bugs that naturally live in your gut and help keep it healthy and balanced… a big job!  Because the GI tract is where 70% of your immune system resides, it’s incredibly important you have more of the good bugs than the bad ones.

 

Do I need probiotics?

 

Most people can benefit from probiotic supplementation, given our modern-day lifestyles of less-than-stellar eating habits, stress and antibiotic use (which wreaks havoc on the gut!); probiotics can increase the good bacteria, and help your body heal.  They also help the body manufacture and absorb important vitamins and minerals for energy, nerve and brain function.

 

 

How do I increase my probiotic intake?

 

There are both food and supplement sources of probiotics that can recolonize your gut with good bacteria, and then help it stay balanced.

 

  1.    Food sources include fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickled vegetables, kimchi, kombucha, sparkling water kefir, coconut water probiotic drink, and organic miso. If you tolerate dairy, you can consider organic yogurt and kefir.

 

  1.    You may need more than what food can provide. It’s fairly common to need a therapeutic dose in supplement form, especially if you have taken an antibiotic, are constipated, or suffer from allergic rhinitis, anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome, acid reflux, or lactose intolerance.

 

How much should I take?

 

That depends on your specific needs. Probiotics have vastly different components, with different strains targeting and benefiting different parts of the body and affecting different health conditions. They come in a huge range of anywhere from 1 billion to 100 billion active probiotic cells. Like most things in health, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach.  It’s best to get advice.

 

probiotics, denver financial planner

 

Maureen West is a Certified Nutritionist based in Denver, CO. If you’d like to explore which probiotics would be most effective for you, making changes to your nutrition and/or improving your health, call, text or email Maureen at 407.921.9192 or Maureen@MaureenWest.net. Learn more at MaureenWest.net

 

Follow her on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

 

How Much Student Debt Should Parents Take On?

student debt, denver financial planner

We are getting back to into the swing of the school year and for many, school means college.  College soon, or college now, and the angst of paying for it.

 

I went to a seminar last year by Joe Messinger, CFP ® of Capstone Wealth Partners.  He gave us amazing perspective on the student loan crises and how advisers and parents (one family at a time) can stop this madness.

 

Financial Reality

His first concept was showing us a photo of Kobe Bryant’s house next to a picture of his own house.  He told us (and we know this!) that as much as he would like Kobe’s house, he can’t have it because he doesn’t have the income to support the payments.  No mortgage company in their right mind would lend him the money to buy a $10,000,000 house on a meager financial advisor’s income.

 

So, why isn’t college lending the same way?  A person can take out $150,000 worth of student loans to become a teacher earning $40,000 his first year out of college (with the help of his unwitting parents, of course).  It sounds mean, but does this make any sense at all?  No!  The college loan system SHOULD be like the mortgage industry – there should be at least some reason for the amount of the loan besides the student just wanting to go to school where the fall leaves are the prettiest.

 

Student Debt

Mr. Messinger’s idea is that families should not take out more in loans than what the student will likely make in her first year’s salary of her chosen major.  So, if that major is Computer Science, with a median first year income of $80,000, that’s the cap of the loans that should be taken. Total!  Not every year!  If the student wants to be a Social Worker earning $35,000 in his first year, that is the maximum loan that should be taken.

 

That doesn’t mean the education should only cost $35,000.  There are other ways the bills can be paid, such as merit scholarships, need-based grants, work-study, family assistance, savings, and the student just getting a part-time job during school.  Starting college at a community college for the first year or two can offer huge savings on the total cost of tuition for a bachelor’s degree.

 

The point here is that student wants cannot trump the family’s overall financial needs.  Parents need to not be in 6-figure student debt heading into retirement, and students will have a hard time launching into adulthood saddled with unreasonable debt.

 

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