Before we get to the exercises, some personal testimonies - to set the tone and perhaps clarify what this Guide is and is not. If you're hungry for meat, not gravy, you may want to skip this part and come back to it later when you've either the time or the inclination.


Sixty or seventy years ago it was possible to raise a family on a single income. Typically, the dads worked and the moms took care of the house and the kids. Over a thirty year career a family could buy a home, and employee benefits would let them retire in comfort.

It's not like that today. So-called "Right To Work" laws stripped employees of bargaining power. Employers now work people til they drop, then kick them to the curb. Thanks for your valued service; buzz off.

Once upon a time, multi-generational families remained in one location. Grandparents helped with the kids, providing comfort and support for harried parents. Aunts, uncles, and siblings played supporting roles. But as the economy shifted from agriculture to manufacturing, breadwinners, chasing the "good" jobs, wound up hundreds if not thousands of miles away from "home"; strangers in a strange land, uprooted from their support network.


In evolving from a manufacturing to a service economy, and then narrowing to a financial services economy, the humanity that formerly bound society together is eroding away. In the mid-twentieth century, America joined forces with other civilized nations to eradicate a megalomaniac hell-bent on world-domination. Seventy-five years later, we are a nation of three hundred and fifty million credit scores focused on pocket-sized computer screens. With the horizon limited to arms length, perspective is lost. Only by dint of 20-20 hindsight does the larger picture edge into view. At ground level in a Kansas cornfield, you can't see either coast. But from seventeen miles up you can see both. It's surprising - the effect time and distance have on perspective. It's the one advantage of getting older.


What this Guide is not about, is how to get rich. To get rich, as opposed to being born rich, takes hard work, discipline, patience, and a willingness to take risks. Not my strong suit.


The value of money lies in its potential to facilitate healthy human development. That, in a nutshell, is what this Guide is about.


We will lean heavily on Abraham Maslow's research into human motivation, specifically his theory of a Hierarchy of Human Needs. Because psychology and finance use different dialects (one cannot, for example, buy Esteem), a bit of translation is required. We will still be concerned with Survival, Safety & Security, Love & Belongingness, Esteem, and Self-actualization; however, we will think of those need levels in terms of the purchases that satisfy them: Essentials, Non-essentials, or Requisites. Basically,
Essentials: necessary for healthy human development,
Non-essentials: not necessary for healthy human development, and
Requisites: "necessary" only by virtue of association; an adjunct to an Essential (i.e., car insurance).


Say you've decided you need a car (to get back and forth from work, grocery store, school, doctor). The car would be an Essential.
Insurance (required by law), Gas, and Maintenance (required to keep the car in good working order) would be Requisites (were public transportation adequate, you wouldn't need them).
The pin-striping and mag wheels would, of course, be Non-essentials.


We don't all want the same things out of life. Individuals have different value systems, different goals, different aspirations. The methods described in this Guide work, regardless, because the process itself has no dog in the fight. It doesn't care who you are or what you want. It just produces results; results specific to the individual, consistent with his or her unique attributes; gifts, talents, interests, proclivities.

First, you'll assess Your Situation
Second, you'll tally Your Resources at your disposal
Third, you'll devise a Spending Plan
Fourth, you'll compare Spending to Plan
Lastly, you'll identify inconsistencies between your plan and your spending, and Make Adjustments


Now that you have a good idea of what lies ahead, please download a copy of the Workbook, so you can get something going.

  1. Download View the sample Workbook here (when the blog goes live, this link will be replaced by a download link).

  2. Save it to a folder on your desktop. .

  3. Make a copy and save it to your desktop.

Save the download (the one in the folder on your desktop) as a back-up, in case something goes wonky. Do the Exercises using the copy saved to your desktop. You can always download another sample Workbook if you need to, but having a back-up will save you a step.

"You'll never know what you're capable of if you stay in your comfort zone."

Nashville, IN USA



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