An Important Non Personal Finance Post

I wanted to take a moment away from the personal finance theme to send a great big hug to a very special woman in my life.
My mom has been undergoing treatment for breast cancer for over a year, and she completed her last scheduled treatment yesterday! It was great and I’m so proud of her, as I know everybody else is. I know it’s been tough and she’s gone through it with strength and resolve that I can’t even imagine.
I’m hoping and praying that the treatments worked and that it proves that she is cancer free. I know it takes a while to know that’s the case, but since they caught it at a very early stage (discovered at a routine checkup), the odds are definitely in her favor.
She’s so excited to be a grandma later this year once Baby Beagle comes along, and it’s great to think that she can hopefully have the treatments and all that out of the way as she enjoys her grandchild.
So, if any women reading this haven’t had their regular mammogram, it’s definitely time!
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Catching Up After A Long Weekend

Back in the swing of things after a nice relaxing holiday weekend. My wife and I spent most of the time decorating and relaxing. I will get back to my posting schedule starting….now! Thanks for being patient.
Odds and ends from the holiday weekend:

  • Giving Thanks – We had a lot to be thankful for this year and it was wonderful to get to spend time with our families. Even though we have a troubling financial year, it’s nice to remember the things we have to be thankful for. In our case, we have wonderful families, my wife and I both have jobs, we have Baby Beagle on the way, great friends, and so many other things. It’s nice to reflect on that and hopefully we all take the time to do it more often.
  • Black Friday – We didn’t do too much shopping. We weren’t planning on going out at all, but we both woke up around 6am, which is our normal time for getting up for work, and decided to go look around. I got some LED Christmas lights at 50% off for one of our indoor trees, and my wife got some odds and ends at Michael’s at door buster prices. So, we didn’t actually buy any gifts but we did get some good deals and do our part to add to the mad rush. Surprisingly, none of the stores were that busy, but I guess it seems that most of the attention is reserved for electronics for the early rush.
  • Health Insurance – I am not happy with our insurance provider, Empire Blue. They sent an explanation of benefits that about sent me through the roof, for my wife’s first doctor’s visit. Apparently they are claiming that some of the services fall under a ‘routine checkup’ which are limited to one per calendar year. I have to call them this week to verify that is the case, and see what needs to be done to re-classify the visit.
  • Fantasy Football – It was a depressing week for me in my fantasy football league. I’ve been atop the standings for most of the season, and the regular season winner gets $40. I lost my last two games to knock me down into third place, which means I got nothing. The playoffs start next week so I’ll have a chance for some additional money, but even the small money would have been nice. I know, such a small thing to be concerned about, but it’s fun to share!
  • Recession – So the markets tumbled 8 or 9 percent today on news that we really are in a recession. Wow, that’s news? I had thought the markets were supposed to factor in future events. And the fact that we’re in a recession is the oldest news out there, so I’m surprised that the market dropped in such dramatic fashion on that news.
  • Snowfall – We had our first snowfall which required shoveling. It was actually very beautiful and looked a lot like this picture (which is just a random picture). I was very pleased with the new shovel that I bought, much more so than the plastic coated one that I used last year and was good for only one season.
  • Disappointed in JoAnn Fabrics – We bought a new Christmas tree on November 13th, as it was on sale and we wanted to make sure we got it before they ran out. It listed for $180, and we got it for $100. They had a sale following Thanksgiving where it was $90, plus they had a ‘door buster’ coupon for an additional 20% any sale priced item. They didn’t have any more in stock, and they refused to do a price adjustment, as they said that they normally only do those for 7 days after the purchase. I am used to retailers price matching for 30 days or so. This will probably prevent me from considering JoAnn for any future purchases of higher priced items.
  • Baby Update – Mrs. Beagle reported that she felt the baby move for the first time this past week. She described it as feeling like a muscle spasm, which matches what others say the first noticeable movements feel like. Exciting times!

I hope that everybody had a great weekend!

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Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

My Hopes Following The Election

Now that the election is done, hopefully all the lawn signs will disappear, politicians will get back to work, and the business of getting the economy back on track will be the number one thing on our politician’s minds. Oh, and I think you’ll all agree that we’ll gladly welcome seeing early commercials Christmas versus the endless mudslinging ads that have taken over the TV, radio, and even Internet outlets.
Anyways, here are some hopes that I have for the various political powers that be. I’ll try to keep it related to personal finance since this a blog focused on that! :)
President-Elect Obama
First, congratulations to the newly elected President. In all the elections I’ve witnessed in my 34 years, I’ve never seen a candidate capture the attention and admiration of so many people. Whether you supported him or not, you have to admit that his energy was polarizing. Here are some hopes for our soon to be new President:

  • I want to see him channels the energy built during the campaign into a more united Washington and a more united America. We’ve been divided for too long. Between rich and poor. Democrats and Republicans. Even America versus well, everyone else. I hope that Obama can carry the promise to bring people together and make us once again the true United States of America.
  • While things like health care and tax reform were big campaign promises, those are not things that will fix the current economic problems, and should be addressed only when the economy is stabilized. Those things might make for popular TV ads, but we need jobs and I hope that Obama focuses his first 100 days (and more) to bring jobs to Americans.
  • As my series on ‘The Drive Home’ has shown so far, a good deal of our success as a nation over the last 100 years has been because of the automobile industry. That industry is suffering in a big way right now. Unfortunately, many people have given up on the industry and written it off. Even more unfortunate is that one of those people is President Bush, who basically said multiple times that the automotive industry was on it’s own. Regardless of how we got here, there are millions of people that depend on the automotive industry, whether they be workers of the auto companies or suppliers, or the retirees and families. I hope that Obama looks forward and works to make a healthy auto industry a key part of a healthy America once again.
  • This one’s more lighthearted. I live in Michigan and am very critical of our Jennifer Granholm, our current governor. I simply don’t think she has done her part to fight for Michigan jobs during one of the toughest economic times our state has seen There’s rumors that she could be considered as Obama’s Attorney General, a position she held at the state level before becoming governor. I hope that Obama pegs her for this job, so we can get a governor more focused on bringing jobs to Michigan.

The Democratic Party
The Democratic party was a mess for a good portion of the last 10-15 years. After losing both houses of Congress in 1994, they also lost the Presidency in 2000, and only in the past couple of elections have started to regain their footing. Now, the Democrats have come back in full force, taking over both houses of Congress with very decisive numbers, and of course having the Presidential office as well.

  • I hope that the Democrats do not use this time to push a partisan agenda.
  • Instead, I hope that they do what is right for America and help us out of the current economic crisis.
  • I hope that they listen. That they listen to one another, to Republicans, to independents, and most importantly to the voters. Having all the power is great, but it’s gotten parties into trouble before (see below), so I hope that they remember what is the important thing: the people.

The Republican Party
The Republicans quite recently once where the Democrats are now. The party that came back from having no control to having everything. It started in 1994 when they basically swept the elections for Congress and House by running races around the country focusing on the ‘Contract With America’. This was a pledge by Republicans to cut the size of government, streamline the government, promote lower taxes, and reduce government spending. This resonated with Americans, and the Republicans charged to victory. Six years later, they took over the Presidency as well and controlled it all (sound familiar?).
Unfortunately, several things have led to the quick fall of the Republican party:

  • The Contract With America was great in theory, but it didn’t really stick. The government has gotten bigger, not smaller, since The Contract.
  • Those that pushed for The Contract With America forgot to plan for what to do afterwards. I think America was so fired up to see what could happen after the party seemed to unite, but after everybody got elected, the Republicans really never came up with a true agenda.
  • The President that was elected lost the trust of most of America. Over eight years, the face of the Republican party lost more and more people to where perception became that he only cared about the rich, those on Wall Street, and those involved in oil. That doesn’t represent most of America, and as such, most got to feeling left out in the cold. He personally lost me after he turned his back on the auto companies.

After all this, the Republicans are now in the back seat. But, we need a strong second party. Many argue we need a third party, which I agree with, but we first need a strong Republican party if for no other reason than checks and balances. Our country was built on the checks and balances system, which was designed so that power is spread out and not controlled by one area (or party).

  • I hope that the Republicans return to their roots. They once stood for fiscal responsibility and not ballooning deficits. They’ve broken the promises of ‘The Contract With America’ and have lost their identity. I hope that they get it back.
  • I hope that the Republican party finds leadership and direction and can also find someone to inspire. We need as many people as possible to inspire and lead us, and I don’t care what party they come from!

The People
Americans are going to play a big part in what happens next.

  • I hope that offer our support to the President and the politicians that need to hear our voices and right now say they want to listen
  • I hope that we agree or disagree with positions or plans based on the merits of the plans, and not the party of the politician that supports it.
  • I hope that continue to participate. This was one of the highest voting turnouts in history, and i hope that we realize that our participation doesn’t end after you leave the polls, and also that it doesn’t end regardless of whether the people you voted for were elected or not. We need to let our politicians know what we want and what we expect. We need to make sure that our politicians are working for us and serving our needs. Don’t just sit back and watch. Take part!
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