Archive for Fun Stuff

The Magic Art of Tidying Up your Finances

marie kondo

I’ll put it out there in the universe – I’d like to be a Brand-with-a-capital-B someday.  Books, TV shows, t-shirts, memes, all featuring some witty quip of mine and making me money while I sleep.  Like Suze Orman, only less irritating.  That’s not even how you spell Suzie.


Marie Kondo has it down.  She has made millions by telling us what slobs we are, yet her sweet personality, soothing voice, and adorable wardrobe have us falling all over ourselves to hear her message.  So, until I can become my own Brand-with-a-capital-B, I’ll just gently borrow Marie’s ideas.


I give you the Magic Art of Tidying up Your Finances.


Like Marie, we will sort by category, not by room.  We’ll start easy and then get to the harder, sentimental stuff last.


Category 1:  Consolidate your accounts.

Just as having 6 white shirts doesn’t spark joy in your closet, having 4 old 401(k) plans and IRAs at 3 different custodians does not help your finances to be more diversified.  It’s only messy.  Pick your favorite broker (I’m partial to the discount variety like Fidelity, Schwab, TD Ameritrade, E-Trade, and Vanguard) and move all like accounts to one.


Category 2:  Papers.

This is straight from Marie!  So much of people’s clutter is in the form of paper that is unnecessary to keep.  Sure, you may need proof of residence for your kids’ school choice forms.  Keep one- or two-months’ worth of utility or cable bills.  Beyond that, everything you need for proof of payment or purchase can be gotten online. Get thee to the shredder with those old investment statements and bills!


Category 3:  Investments.

Here is where the emotional stuff comes in.  Once you’ve consolidated your accounts, you can more easily see where you have too many types of one asset class.  Hint, one large cap US stock fund is fine.  You don’t need ten.  They all invest in the same stuff.  Also, selling an investment that didn’t work out as you planned does not make you a quitter.  Just an unemotional investor, as we all should be.


As for the sentiment, remember, just because your great-grandfather bought those shares of GE, doesn’t mean it’s good for your portfolio to have 15% invested there.   What served you (or previous generations) before, may not serve you still.  Don’t be afraid to sell old investments!  It’s the only way to have a streamlined portfolio.


Of course, you’ll want to thank the old accounts, papers, file cabinets, and investments that have served you before getting rid of them.  I hope reading this blog has sparked some joy in your day.


Annual Valentine’s Day Message

valentines day

Ah, Valentine’s Day. Love it or hate it, it does come with some great candy. Here is a quick recap of Valentine’s Day related investments (as of January 28th) to get you thinking about how to incorporate holidays into your investment management plans.


Nestle (NSRGY), is down 1.26% for the past 12 months, but doing much better than the industry average of -12.26%.


Hershey (HSY) is down 6.32%. Worse than Nestle, but still better than the food category loss of 12.26% in the same period.


1-800 (FLWS) is up 14.59% in the year ending 1/28/19, beating its peers in the internet and direct marketing category by over 10%.


Most of the greeting card companies (Hallmark and American Greetings) have been taken private, so nothing to report there.


I leave you with my favorite Tweet regarding Valentine’s Day:

“White chocolate: The Valentine’s Day gift that says, ‘I don’t really love you.’ “


Thanks, @Reverend_Scott.

Inexpensive Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

winter blues, denver financial advisor

Long winter days got you down?  You are not alone?  Fifteen to twenty five percent of people are thought to be affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Even if you don’t have all of the symptoms of SAD, you might be experiencing the winter blues.


Since I want you to save for retirement/college/emergency funds, my recommendation for fending off the cold-weather blues can’t be pricey vacations to the Cayman Islands.  Instead, try these ideas.


Light Therapy Boxes (about $40 on Amazon) used in the morning for 30 minutes can help manage your sleep cycles and production of melatonin.


Try Aromatherapy by using essential oils to help regulate mood, initiate sleep, and regulate appetite.


Get Out!  Yes, it’s cold, but here in Colorado, it’s almost always sunny.  That cute coat you bought in September is for more than wearing to the bar.  Couple the sunshine with exercise, and your SAD could be on the way to glad.


Schedule it!  Maintaining a regular schedule for sleep and meals can help with the bad sleep and weight gain that often happen in winter.


Obviously, I’m not a doctor.  I just want my clients to be cheerful when we meet about their finances!



5 Funny Quotes About Skiing

skiing, denver financial planner

Not sure if I’ve mentioned it in this blog, but I love to ski.  As a naturally uncoordinated, slow person (no, I did NOT play basketball/volleyball/competitive swimming despite being almost 6 feet tall), skiing is the only sport I’ve ever even remotely looked good doing.  For fellow skiers, have a laugh while thinking about your next powder day!


“Cross country skiing is great.  If you live in a small country.”  Steven Wright


“Skiing combines outdoor fun with knocking trees down with your face.”  Dave Barry


“You’d think skiing wouldn’t be strenuous – all you have toe do, after all, is s tart at the top and let gravity pull you to the dessert bar in the lodge.  But at those elevations, you’ll find about as much oxygen as you’ll find kindness from your children.  It’s like spending six hours holding your breath.”  W. Bruce Cameron


“I didn’t start skiing until I was 50.  My wife Lois taught me to ski.  I’m proficiently conservative.”  Buzz Aldrin


“Skiing: The art of catching cold and going broke while rapidly heading nowhere at great personal risk.”  Author Unknown


Pray for snow, people!


Wise Words to Live By

wise words

My husband recently forwarded me this great column that makes me feel better every time I read it.  So, why not share these wise words with my faithful readers?  The theme is life lessons the author wished he had learned by his 20s.


Click here for the full list, but here are my 5 favorites.


Don’t judge. You don’t know all the facts. That lady speeding down the road with her toddler unbuckled in the back seat may be panicked, heading for the hospital for an emergency that you can’t see. That “big kid” having a “tantrum” in the store may be on the autism spectrum, and is having a meltdown, which he/she hates as much as you do. The fat lady in the bikini may have lost 100 lbs so far, and she’s pretty darn proud of what she’s done. Don’t shame people for smoking, drinking, or being fat. We all have our faults and bad habits. As a pretty famous guy is alleged to have said, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”


Don’t beat yourself up about stuff. Do what you can to fix your mistakes, then move on. Guilt is only good for pushing you toward making things right again. After that, it becomes shame, and shame is a toxic substance which will eat you up inside. Same for worry.


“Fitting in” is highly overrated. Be you. Confidence is sexy. Besides, great leaders didn’t get where they are by following the crowd.


You’re probably a lot smarter than you give yourself credit for being.


It’s just stuff. Sure, stuff gets broken—oftentimes accidentally by people you love—and that’s annoying. But your stuff can be replaced. You can never erase the hurtful words you say to the person you love, because they broke your stuff. Stuff is never, ever as important as those you love.


No boring personal finance stuff this week.  Consider it my gift to you, but next week we are back at it with financial tasks to do before year-end.

Christmas Gift Guide: One-Stop Shopping HERE

Christmas gift guide

Looking for something different to put under the tree this year?  How about these beauties?


  1. Don’t be bored with your old board games!  Give these adult versions of classic games from Hasbro a try!  Clue (lost in Vegas), Sorry, not Sorry (get embarrassing confessions from fellow players), and Life:  Quarter Life Crises (paying off soul-crushing debt and dealing with a phone dropped in the toilet).  Many other fun options in this link:


  1. She’s got legs (sing ZZ Top now)!  This is more of a pre-Christmas gift, but my favorite holiday accessory is candy-cane striped tights.  So warm AND fun for the office holiday party.  S.  I do NOT wear these with the 5-inch high stripper shoes and tutu as shown.


  1. But seriously folks…Who really needs more stuff? How about the gift that keeps on giving, without cluttering up the house?  That’s right, I’m talking charitable gifting!  You can give a goat, cow, or sheep to a family in need without the need to scoop poop.  How about being a source of safe funds for women starting or expanding a business in a developing company?  Or, closer to home, you can help feed people all year round with a donation to your city’s food bank.  For a list, go here:


See, all the fun of the holidays, without fighting the hoards on Black Friday.  You are welcome!

5 Conversation Starters for your Thanksgiving Table

5 Conversation Starters for your Thanksgiving Table

Let’s face it, even the most animated family and friends can have conversation lags during a whole day spent cooking, snacking, drinking, snacking, basting, mashing, snacking, yelling at the football game, moving things around frantically in the oven, and finally, eating!


So here are 5 Conversation Starters for your Thanksgiving Table:


Thanksgiving Mad Libs, available for $5 on Amazon is always a way bring people together for a laugh.


Find a corny Thanksgiving joke for each guest and put it at their place setting.  Go around the table and read them.  Let the groaning begin.


Do a Thanksgiving Festivus a-la Seinfeld and tell each person what has annoyed you about them this past year.  I’m totally kidding, DO NOT do that!


Have everyone say one thing in the room they are grateful for.  It could be food, another person, the extra napkins, comfy chairs, or whatever.  Kind of like I Spy with a twist.


Ask everyone what their favorite movie or book was this year.  What was their least favorite?  It’s your own Rotten Tomatoes!


Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!



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.



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.



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


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!

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