Resolutions are hard! But they can be easier if you put systems into place that fit you and how you tend to behave. Here's some inspiration for your money resolutions for the New Year.
Blogger Joe Udo, a stay-at-home dad and full-time blogger at RetireBy40.org, shares his story of successfully keeping one of his major financial resolutions during a tumultuous year for his family.
1. Remove as many obstacles from your goals as possible. Automatic deductions to a savings account means the money is gone before you even have a chance to spend it.
2. Figure out where you can sacrifice to save. Do you have cable TV? A pricey smartphone plan? Re-evaluate all of your expenses.
3. Be accountable to others and yourself. Letting friends and family know what you want to accomplish forces you to focus on specific, achievable goals, who can provide tips from their own experience, too.
Joe Udo explains:
"For the year 2013, we had a pretty big change. It would be the first full year where I don’t have a full-time job. So there [is] some uncertainty about our income. The good thing is that my wife is still working and she likes her job, so we were able to have that stability there."
"The resolution that I’m proud of this year is to contribute $10,000 to our kid’s 529 [college savings] account. This one was a little bit difficult, $10,000 is a lot of money and you never know if the kid is going to college. We do think about our kid’s higher education, quite often actually. A lot of people are depending on their kid to get student loans, but we don’t really want to do that. My parents helped pay for my college education, and my wife had help from her parents. So thats kind of our inheritance."
"For 2014, we’ll set up an automatic deduction so we can take advantage of dollar-cost averaging, because putting $10,000 at once, you never know if the market is going up or down."
"To me, our financial goals, we do have to do make some sacrifice. We mostly cook at home, we only have one car that we share, instead of a car each like most families."
"Blogging about financial goal[s] is really helpful, because I have my readers who are keeping track of my financial goals too as well as myself. So if I fail, I’m not just disappointing myself, I’m also disappointing my readers."
What’s YOUR 2014 resolution? Let us know and we'll help you make sure it happens!
Scientists and growers are in a bitter fight against citrus greening, a disease that has devastated Florida's orange and grapefruit crops. They fear that unless scientists find a cure for greening soon, it's just a matter of time before economic realities and the disease force growers out of business.
Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha hinted that a coup was possible amid violence in the streets between supporters and opponents of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
In the 1960s, catching a flight wasn't much of a hassle. No lines, no security screenings and no need to show ID. But the ease of travel brought with it some serious consequences.
North Dakota and western Canada are producing crude oil faster than rail cars and pipelines can take it to refineries. Now, one company wants to ship it by barge across the Great Lakes. That worries environmentalists, who say a 2010 tar sands oil spill near Lake Michigan has yet to be fully cleaned up.
As baby boomers retire and drilling increases, energy companies are hiring, adding 23 percent more workers between 2009 and 2012. But the hiring spree has come with a terrible price: Last year, 138 workers were killed on the job, twice as many as in 2009.
Is that a cross? A ship with a figurehead? It's only human to wonder what the future will hold, especially on the threshold of a new year. In one German tradition, fortune-seekers drop molten lead into cold water — then it's anyone's guess what the strange shapes portend.
This final note from reality television: The cable channel A&E announced this afternoon Phil Robertson and the whole "Duck Dynasty" gang are coming back.
Robertson was put on indefinite hiatus earlier this month for comments that were controversial, relating to how the Bible informs his view of gays.
A&E now says:
Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man's views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family, a family that America has come to love.
A&E also says it's going to launch a public service ad campaign promoting: "unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people."
Long-form journalism is trendy, but isn't new. (Think magazine writing.) Today, we've given it an earnest name. And, saddled it with a collective hope, that'll it'll save our brains from the viral videos and snarky commentary that dominate the internet.
When we talk "long-form journalism,” we're talking, often, about narrative story telling. Craft-journalism. Stories like this, from freelance journalist Brooke Jarvis.
Many of the graves had no headstones at all. Just white wooden crosses with names stenciled in black paint. These were clearly among the most recent memorials. The earth beneath them was still heaped up, still decorated with bedraggled stuffed animals, and faded plastic flowers, unopened beers with rusty caps.
Brooke's story is titled "When We Are Called to Part." It's about her experiences in a settlement for leprosy patients, on a remote part of Hawaii.
“Definitely what I like doing best is when you have the time and space to dive deeply into a topic,” says Jarvis. And, it's a relatively good time to be that kind of writer. The number of online sites publishing long-form stories is growing. Jarvis is able to make a go as a freelancer.
Working with non-traditional online outlets like The Atavist, which published her story.
“We launched three years ago,” says The Atavist’s co-founder, Evan Ratliff, “at that time we felt like we had to make this argument that it's not true that people only read short things on line, it's not true that people's attention span has deteriorated.”
The Atavist publishes stories between 5,000 and 30,000 words. For a little perspective, that could be more than a thousand tweets. Or, six pages of news print. “Something you can read in anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half,” says Ratliff.
The Atavist charges per story; it splits profit with the author. It also makes money selling software that helps other websites publish long stories. “You can throw a rock on the web and hit a publication that's trying to do long-form writing,” says Ratliff. A trend that he thinks is fantastic.
Online, you’ll find sites dedicated to long-form journalism, like the Atavist. And sites ike Buzzfeed and Politico, mixing longer journalism with quick hits and snappy headlines. “Their ambition from the beginning has been to drive and to own the Washington conversation,” says Susan Glasser, the editor of Politico’s new magazine. Making the move into longer-form journalism is a natural. The first cover story of the print magazine was a 7500 word piece about the Obama White House. Glasser says it got a million page views. "I do think that there's a sense that it'll be good business to pull out of that news cycle and to dominate that Washington conversation in a whole different way,” says Glasser.
These stories help build a brand. “Longer, in-depth stories have a lure of gravitas and smarts to them that allow media outlets to stick a claim in the intellectual space,” says Patti Wolter, a professor at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. They give the publication, and the journalist, an aura of importance. Significance.
Long-form stories, at their best, reveal bigger truths. They also win awards. “To be a media outlet to do that and compete at that level is the pinnacle of the craft,” says Wolter.
So, good-bye conventional wisdom: that the internet has killed journalism, that all we want is slideshows of baby hamsters.
And, hello depth and length. Hello storytelling. Now, you're going to have to earn and keep our time and attention.
This final note comes courtesy of entertainment site TMZ. According to the site, Paris Hilton is paid between $100,000 and $350,000 an hour to DJ at nightclubs in Europe:
Paris Hilton claims she's one of the TOP 5 highest paid DJ's in the world.
The heiress dropped the bombshell at LAX, after returning from a trip to Moscow ... when we asked if her foray into the world of electronic music has been paying off financially.
Her response -- "I'm one of the top 5 in the world, so..."
Here's the thing, it's definitely possible ... as we previously reported, Hilton inked a HUGE contract with one of the biggest clubs in Ibiza back in the summer after packing the house for several months in a row.
The 113th Congress has come to be defined more by what it failed to do than what it did. But the two warring parties controlling either end of Capitol Hill managed to accomplish a few things in 2013.
Marketplace's Lizzie O'Leary and John Carney from CNBC look back, not just on the past week of business news, but on all of 2013 and the economic legacy of the year.
"The economy is doing very, very well. All that can happen now is things can get screwed up," John Carney, who blogs at NetNet on CNBC, says. "Most economists are saying things will go very well. So as long we don't end up in some sort of epic political fight where we're going to tank the economy again, things will go well in 2014."
Marketplace's O'Leary adds a bit of a skeptical note:
"Tomorrow, millions of Americans lose their unemployment benefits. We'll see what happens when that happens," says Marketplace host O'Leary. "There's a split, a schism if you will, between where data show the economy is going and where people's hearts and wage power for the middle class feels where the economy is, in their gut."