Moral Obligation

Moral Obligation

*DISCLAIMER*
The term visa in this post represents any creditor not just visa.

My wife and I had an interesting conversation on Friday about “moral obligation.” It really came down to a conversation about ethics. Ethics is such a grey topic that it’s hard to not become heated when discussing ones views of ethics.

For example. What is your moral obligation? Is it to your children or visa?
If you answered children congratulations.
Now let me ask you another questions. Do you make sure you pay all your visa bills on time even if it means your kids don’t get something they need? Or do you sacrifice your credit and get our child clothing that fits?

I feel (at least in our case we did) that most of us will sacrifice things our children need in order to pay that visa bill on time. The question for us came down to the point of one of our kids not having pants that fit any more (seriously though, kids need to slow down on the whole growing thing). If we can’t afford to pay both visa payment and new pants, which do we do?

So then the ethics come is. Is is ethical to not pay your visa bill? What if you found out there was a way you could postpone your bill payment because you found a loophole somewhere. Would that be ethical? Or is it ethical to make your child wear pants that are too small because you would rather give that money to visa?

What about braces? Visa payment or braces payment? Would you think it ethical to pay visa and make your kid wait for better teeth? Or is it ethical to get your kids teeth aligned properly and make visa wait? What about a life skill like swimming? Do you take them out of swimming lessons because visa wants that money?

It all came down to this. It is our moral obligation to pay off all debts, agree? So if you found a way that you could actually not pay all your debts and have it forgiven because of a loop hole, is it ethical to use that loop hole?

Lets think of it this way. You have to get pants for your kids. You find the pants you want and buy at x price. Then the next day you find out they went on sale. Is it ethical to go back to the store and ask for the deal to be put on the pants so you can save some money? Many would say yes, it’s fine. So what if you get a visa for x price and y interest rate, spend some money, and then realize that there is now a way to get the visa company to pay some of that off for you (give you a “discount” on your debt). Is it ethical to use that loophole? Or is it the ethical choice and moral obligation to pay off the full price of that credit card?

Is it true that many of us think that the super rich use unethical ways of getting money? What if they are not being unethical but have found loopholes that allow them to cut their debt in half?

Why does the word “loophole” make us cringe? We think of it as a cheat. What if we just renamed loophole as “a lesser known law,” would it still make us cringe, or would we seek out these lesser known laws? What if in the fine print, it never said you had to pay off the full balance? Would it still be unethical not to pay to full balance?

Are we being taught by our teachers or parents that it is unethical to use loopholes? That it is unethical to find a way not to pay all of our debt? I am pretty sure that those questions just made you cringe, like you were choosing a very bad decision.

How about this scenario. You find out there is $1000 sitting on a table free for that taking. Anyone who goes to this table can take $1000. Would you go? umm yes. So what if you found out that your creditor has a “loophole” that is $1000 off your debt? Would you consider it unethical to use that $1000? Would you think you were cheating your moral obligation by using that $1000 to reduce your debt?

My questions came because I started asking why? Why do we think it unethical.

What about this? Why is it ethical for banks to give you a 20% credit card but only a 4% savings account?  Why is it ethical for banks to charge you a penalty for paying off your mortgage too fast? Why is it ethical for banks to charge all their interest upfront, so they make sure they get it just in case you decide to pay off your debt too fast?

Why do we let these things slide? I sometimes wonder how the world got so backwards. They can charge what ever they want, raise interest rates, charge penalties for paying our debts back too quickly, and we let it slide. Not only that, we think its a “good deal”. What??? Yet we think it unethical to find a way not to pay visa the max amount they demand.

What if the super rich just understand how money works and that “loopholes” are just “lesser known laws.” And they use them. Hence why millionaires can get away with paying no taxes (not saying all millionaire pay no taxes). Not that they did it illegally or unethically, but they sheltered it properly using “lesser known laws” and instead of it being considered income, it was considered something different. Taxes are designed for the middle class anyways. Taxes are designed for income. Money from a job. If you own your own business your don’t have to pay the same taxes and you can take advantage of more tax breaks.

Just some questions to think about. I think for the most part, ethics comes down to personal opinion.  What one thinks is unethical another might think is perfectly fine and feels is honest.

Our society is putting us in a corner by making it nearly impossible to do anything without having a credit card. I feel it is extremely important for all of us to learn how money works. We get so afraid of it because it appears complicated or boring.

Either we control our money, or our money will control us.  

blank mind

My mind is blank
There is nothing but nothing
Stars

That’s my poem. I made that up just now. I think it could probably win a prize.

Truth is, I don’t really have anything I wanted to write about this week. I had a plan for a different post but it is going to have to wait. I’m not ready to post it yet.

I have mentioned this before. Changes are coming. I am unsure if it will be to this blog in particular or if I will be starting a separate one, I have yet to decide.  But changes are coming.

These changes are all bases around blogging. I have been reading quite a bit and there are some changes I want to make that will enhance the blog and my blogging experience.

Honestly, I knew blogging would be tough, it’s hard to come up with content on a regular basis. My issue so far has been me leaving it till the last moment and realizing I don’t have a topic of the day. I want to turn this into more of a full time thing. That’s why there are changes coming. My blog as it is now isn’t set up for the full time attention I want to give it. Let me say that in different words. I want it to become a full time thing, it wont be that right away. That is a lot of time to devote to something.

I’ll give away one secret. I want this or another blog to produce money. Why not? One plan I have is actually to do a blog about my journey to financial success in the blogging community. I’m pretty sure this is going to be one of the hardest things I will do. But that’s why I want to blog about it. It will show everyone that anyone can get into it and make it work. If I make it work that is…other wise I will show the world that I didn’t get it to work…that would be embarrassing.

In time. I’m in the middle of researching this thing out and documenting as I go. Even if it can bring in a couple hundred bucks a month, that’s one more stream of income that has a potential to grow.

Anyways, I’m grateful for you the readers. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have this blog and I wouldn’t think there was any potential or point in blogging.

MONEY MONEY MONEY

MONEY MONEY MONEY

Hello Readers!

We found out that we were paying for a balance protection insurance on our credit cards. We promptly canceled that. We were paying that every month. What were we paying for? If I lose my job or get hurt, they will pay my minimum payment for 1 year. If I still have no job THEN they will pay off the balance of my card. WOW, thanks…
Or I could pay off my own card so I don’t need anyone to pay the balance of my card. I was choked when I figured out we were paying that. Unreal.

Anyways, my thoughts this week have been on finances. Controlling our money and creating additional streams of income. Someone last week mentioned that it’s pretty silly to have only one income stream. Why would be want to put all our eggs into one basket?

That is a great point. Why would we put all our eggs into one basket? When I looked at my situation I said, man, I need to spread my eggs out.

I don’t only have one stream of income. Both my wife and I have a job, so that’s two streams of income and I am starting a second job, so that’s three. 

The question I had this week was “what happens if one of us loses our job. Are the other streams of income enough to cover expenses?” The answer is no.

I think that is the case for a lot of us. We have those two jobs, but we are living in such a way that forces us to continue in both jobs. If one spouse loses a job, then bills aren’t being paid and credit is being destroyed. So why are we having two jobs then? What benefit is it?

I want to get to the point where we have enough additional streams of income that if one disappears the others are still enough to cover expenses.

Of course there are a couple ways to get into that position. One is to reduce your expenses, the other is to increase your income. Obviously, the second is the optimal choice. No one wants to reduce their expenses. What do you cut? Cable or internet? Netflix? Kids sports?

It’s better to just increase our income so we can still enjoy our cable and internet. So what options are there for increasing your income? Heres a short list:

1. get another job/spouse goes to work
2. go back to school to get a better paying job
3. ask for a raise
4. start a business

This is what have come up with. I am already working two jobs and my wife is already working one, I have gone to school to get the better paying job, no one likes asking for a raise, and I have started a business and continue to look into how to start more.

Personally I feel the last one is the best option. In time you can free your self from your job with the business you start. There is, I’m sure, an infinite amount of ideas for kinds of businesses you can start. Mom and Pop shops, network marketing, affiliate marketing, selling crafts or home made items, start your own day home or hair salon, etc, etc.

I really want to spread my eggs out. I don’t want to risk my family life on my boss not firing me, or deciding that our department is no longer needed or cuts are needed. So I want to ask you guys, what other ideas are out there? I would like to hear some ideas you guys have come across to increase your income or create a second/third/fourth stream of income. I would like opinions on some of the ideas out there.

One last point. The ball is in your court. It is extremely important that we take our financial future in our own hands. It is our responsibility to make our money and pay our bills. If we leave it in the hands of others, we will never be free.

A Toast to Thanksgiving

A Toast to Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

In Canada, Thanksgiving is to celebrate the blessings of the harvest. Hence why we all eat really good food and drink delicious eggnog. So let us all celebrate this Thanksgiving by eating lots of food, drinking lots of eggnog, spending too much time with family and friends, and expressing our thankfulness for the many blessings in our lives. 

That is all.

Brain Dump

Brain Dump

Wow, my mind is full right now. So many things to think about. Which one to write about?

Zombie apocalypse seems right around the corner. Just google ebola virus and there are articles of 3 patients who died and were “resurrected”. Granted they may have been thought as dead, but still. Bodies appearing lifeless then coming back. Apparently one of the women who came back spent 2 days in a room with no food or medicine prior to coming back. But then again there are sites claiming it is all a hoax. I’m telling you, one of these days it’s going to hit our door step and we still wont believe it.

Conference was this weekend. For those of you who don’t know, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This weekend we had our second General Conference of the year. First one was the first week of April. It was an awesome conference, as always. A lot of great talks. I liked how they have now allowed speakers to speak in their native tongues and having subtitles on the TVs. They all used to speak English. We are getting quite the representation of nationalities at conference. It is a wonderful thing.

Talked quite a bit tonight about preparation with one of my brothers. It’s a hot topic right now with me if you can’t tell. It’s hard for it not to be when you look at the news and see things like ISIS doing whatever they want. I can’t imagine the scene the prophets like John the Revelator saw of our day. They speak of bloodshed and chaos. It hurts my stomach seeing what has been done and that’s only a few pictures. John saw it all. I don’t know how he could have handled it. These things almost seem unreal.

I don’t want to dwell on the negative but these topics have been in my mind this week. How blessed I feel right now to live in this amazing country. Still we need to prepare for anything. Could be a flood, loss of power, loss of a job, or an attack. Either way it is pretty dang smart to have something on hand in case the SHTF!

Armorial Achievments

Armorial Achievments

So apparently the official term is “Armorial Achievements” not coat of arms. Back in the day, a coat of arms was actually a coat worn that would have the Escutcheon (shield) on the back. The Armorial Achievement is the entire collection of emblems awarded. Back in the day, these Armorial Achievements were awarded to families or individuals. Everything from the shape of the escutcheon to colors, supporters (the animals/people on the side of the shield), crest, helm, etc. I think the motto would be the only thing left to the family to come up with on their own. Click here to see a pic of what I am talking about. 

Nowadays, we can make one up without needing the emblems awarded to us from the king or queen. I have been looking at making a couple. One for my family, and one for my youtube channel. I was trying to think of a good logo to use but couldn’t really think of anything I liked. Then I had an idea of using a coat of arms as a logo. This will have everything to do with the topic of my vlog; preparedness. Now I just have to come up with ideas for what to put on it.

Maybe this is why we don’t really call them Armorial Achievements anymore, because we didn’t achieve them. We just make a coat of arms that we think looks good and use it. Wouldn’t really make sense to call it an armorial achievement when we didn’t have to fight in a war to earn it. I do like that it is a picture of the person represented. Kate Middleton just had hers done. I recommend you check it out. I like how simple it is.

I really love how every single detail on a coat of arms has meaning. Everything. The shape of the sheild, the color, the fur, the symbols placed on it and around it. It is incredible the layers of meaning on some of these coat of arms. They are just stuffed with meaning.

I encourage you, if you have not already, to look up some of your family names and see what family crests and armorial achievements come up. That could make for a good FHE activity or genealogy activity.

Distractions

Distractions

I was thinking a lot this week about distractions. Man, we have a lot of them. How often do I come home and turn on the tv instead of preparing for a lesson or working on my to-do list? Too many times.

I heard a while ago somewhere that the way we view our spare time is different compared to years past. Now it is spent “vegging” in front of a tv or just sitting. How many of us come home and just want to sit and do nothing? I think we all do. Spare time in the past was used to pursue hobbies and interests. Men would come home from a long day at work and then head out to the shop and work on their cabinet making (if that was their hobby).

Everyone today thinks “I’m too busy”. Are we? “I don’t have time for that”. Really? Yet we have time to watch our favorite shows the night they air, or play video games after work. We have time and arn’t too busy but we have all these distractions that we give priority to.

“But what about me time?” That’s when the pursuit of hobbies would take place. Today “me time” means time to turn my brain off for an hour or more. Why not pick up a new hobby and pursue that in your “me time.” Apparently science is telling us that shutting our brains down in front of a tv is contributing to why we all feel so exhausted. They say if we fill that time with exercise or a hobby that we will actually feel energized and happier. What?? Come home after 8+ hours at work and then work out?? no way. Yeah way! This is science!

Anyways, I am stuck in this same boat. I know what I need to be doing or should be doing, but I would rather watch my show or browse the internet looking for the next pinterest fad. It’s hard to break these habits of vegging. Vegging is nice, maybe we should call it a hobby and then we will feel better about it and get energized from it. Haha.

Take time to look at what you do in your day and see if there is 1, just 1, distraction you can get rid of. Maybe it’s a game on your phone, or maybe it’s facebook. Either way, find just 1 this week and get rid of it for 7 days. See how you feel after that. I would put money on it that you won’t even miss it.

Bushcraft 2.0

Bushcraft 2.0

So this is more of a heads up post. I have talked this over with a few people and have decided this is a good idea. I am going to add a video blog to this not video blog. YAY!!

This video blog will be about survival/preparedness/bushcraft. I think it will be fun. I am not to sure as to a time frame on how soon the first video will be up or how frequently they will be posted. I would like to say weekly but I may be leaning to monthly to start off with. No promises though. This is mostly thoughts in my head. It will really depend on how frequently I can get out and film something. I will be starting a youtube channel. Ill let you know when that’s up. I have a few other ideas up my sleeve that I will leave as a surprise. Really I just don’t have all the details worked out yet for all the ideas I have. The first step is going to be this vlog.

I have seen a lot of video’s and read a bunch of blogs from professional bushcrafters and preppers. You can get a ton of awesome information from them. The idea behind my video blog is to do this bushcrafting/prepping from a “rookie” point of view. I want to document my “journey” as I learn how to become self reliant and prepared for what ever catastrophe may strike. I do want to point out that I am a chief scout ( Canada’s version of an eagle scout for you american readers out there ), but it has been way too long since I completed my badges. I have forgotten most of my knots, never really knew anything about plants and trees, and the last time I went camping was…I can’t remember. I went on one after my mission in 2006. I’m sure there is one sooner than that but I can’t think of it. Scratch that, I went winter camping with my father-in-law and brother-in-law 2 christmases ago. That was awesome.

So we will be learning together. I will be learning different skills, how to identify different plants and what they are good for, trying different methods of fire starting and shelter making, and filming it while I do it.

As of right now I am just waiting on some more equipment so I can actually have something to camp with. I’m not quite ready to head out with just the shirt on my back ( and pants ) just yet.

I have been feeling a pull to do this for a while. I love being out in the woods. I love sitting at the top of a sky slope and just staring at the valley below, and while camping hearing nothing but the river rushing and the wind through the trees. Really the only things holding me back are lack of equipment and I wasn’t taking my thoughts about it seriously. I just passed them off as wishful thinking or just random thoughts. I would often think, “man, I really want to go camping. I need to get out in the woods, oh well”. I would be reminded of it when I go to Vancouver Island and hike through the trees. I love it out there. I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to find this passion of mine…but here I am. Better late then never I suppose.

Tartans

Tartans

I had family dinner today with my parents and brothers to celebrate my wife’s birthday. While there my brother Dan and I talked about tartans. We have talked about getting a family tartan for a while now, almost a year. We had attended a Robbie Burns dinner last January and that is what sparked the idea in the first place.

A Little Back Story

My dads dad changed his last name from Greenwood to Sinclaire. I heard it was because of his belief in numerology. What ever the reason, we have a unique opportunity. My dad is first generation with the new last name, making my brothers and I second generation.

I have tried to find a tartan somewhere in our family history. Nothing. I know, seems odd. I tried again tonight with my parents giving me family names to try. Nothing. We are all from southern England. They don’t have tartans in Southern England.

The Result

So I was thinking it would be a great idea and a wonderful opportunity for our family to create our own tartan and coat of arms. Tartans tell a nice story of where the family came from or important things to that clan/family. Often clan tartans would have yellow for the wheat they grew, green for the grassy hills of Scotland, or blue for the endless sky. Coat of arms show strengths and more images of where the family comes from. So now I want to create one that can tell our families story. Apparently I can actually create a tartan and register it so it will be an official tartan. I definitely want to get some kilts made from it. That would be so sweet.

This is going to take some time. I have 4 brothers and we will have to agree on what colours to use and what it should look like. I laugh at the thought because my brothers and I are very different. Each one of us is completely different from the rest, so this will be interesting. But from the discussion tonight at family dinner, it sounds like everyone is on board. I’m excited to help create an image of who our family is.

Now let the compromises begin!

Communication

Communication

This one is a sensitive thought for some. I do not mean to offend anyone by this post. Just something I have been thinking about over the last week and I admit now that my opinion is mine and may be considered by some wrong. 
It is said that the two biggest reasons for divorce are sex and money. Personally I think there is one factor that is common among the two reasons which is lack of communication
One of the talks at church today hit on this subject a bit. He talked about marriage and compared our marriages with that of the Lords(the Bridegroom). The Lord was very good at communicating. He often, even though he knew what was needed, would listen and wait until the disciples(his covenant people) asked him for those things. 
Communication is the single second most important aspect in a marriage. The first is what the other talk in church hit on; Christ should be number 1.  If we aren’t open and honest with our spouses/partners things will not change. There is a time and place to bring up issues that are bothering each individual and this should be done regularly. Nothing hurts anyone more than a small matter becoming larger because someone allowed it to fester inside for too long. 
Be open with your spouse/partner with all matters, especially sex and money. Money is a very large stressor in a lot of peoples lives, if not everyones life. Being open and communicating with your spouse/partner about money will help ease that stress. Imagine being on a tight budget, yet a parter makes a large purchase(eg. new laptop) without talking it over with the other partner first. There are a few feelings and thoughts running through the partners head. 
They feel: 
1. Left out. 
2. More stressed about money because the couple really couldn’t afford it. 
3. Insignificant because it appears the partner did not want to include the other in the decision. 
4. Angry because the previous three fester. 
Proper communication is not just great advice for salesmen who want to woo their clients. It is one of the most important characteristics of a successful marriage. 
This also works with good things as well. Like saying “I love you”, or “I’m sorry”. Saying encouraging things to our children and spouse/partner help to build trust and love in the relationship. Never assume the other person knows anything, even that you love them. Make it a point to communicate that to them. 
One last point. Communication is more than just words. According to psychology today, “…55% of communication is body language, 38% is tone of voice, and 7% is the actual words”(http://goo.gl/WPs8wu)Communication is not just about saying what’s on your mind, it’s showing it.
It’s not to difficult to know what someone is thinking if you just watch their body language. It is almost like reading their mind.

You may not agree with this post, and I would love to hear what you feel makes a marriage or relationship successful. Feel free to send me a FaceBook message or leave a comment.