Thursday, April 16, 2009

Phil's solution to all Money Problems, Government or Personal It's all the same!

So I've been thinking a lot lately. I know that's a shocker! But really, I've been thinking about Taxes, personal finance, and MONEY, MONEY, MONEY, MONEY, MONEYYYYYYY (feel free to sing along).

Those who know me well know that I'm a growing Dave Ramsey "kill your debt" fan. I think that Dave has really changed my view of money. Today on his radio show he had the founder of Hobby Lobby (my wife's favorite store) on. Hobby Lobby just adjusted their minimum wage to $11.00 an hour— pretty awesome compared to other retailers (Wal-Fart). But really caught my ear were two things: 1) "we have no debt" and 2) "the Bible says all the money is God's and we think that the Bible is a pretty good book so we subscribe to that philosophy. It's not our money; it's God's and we're just stewards of it. It's a lot easier to give away God's money than your own."


I once had a sales job where we provided products to our clients who then sold them to others. We had a deal that we would give our clients their order and not expect payment for 30 days (net 30). I had one company who was my biggest customer and they never paid within the 30 days. So I had huge orders on hold waiting for these HUGE payments all the time which meant that my little commission was also on hold. I had a great boss who really tried to help me help my customers pay up. I just didn't get it. I hated to hound my customer to pay their bills. (I don't know how I ended up in banking with this kind of attitude. . . .)

Finally my boss was so frustrated with me that he lost his cool. "Phil, collections is really simple. The customer ordered and got the merchandise. If it's what they wanted then they pay. If it isn't what they wanted then they send it back and they don't pay. There are no other options!"

Low and behold when I repeated this word for word to my customer he said "Your right, here's my check."

Why do we have to make taxes, government finances, and personal finances so complicated when there's really nothing complicated about them.

Taxes- You live, play, or partake of the United States of America. You should help pay for that, PERIOD.
  1. No more free rides: Everyone Pays something. I love the idea of the flat tax. If it works for God in the form of tithing 10% then why won't it work for the government? Now, fine— if we have to have a graduated tax where the wealthier pay a little more, okay, but keep it simple.
  2. I heard on the radio yesterday that our current tax code was something like 90,000 pages long... That's just plain STUPID! It should fit into a 30 page pamphlet! What if you just printed 20% in 190 pt font on one piece of paper. DONE!
Government Finances-
  1. Spend what you have, NO MORE! (You might want to save 15% for a rainy day too.)
  2. If your tax income is short of your budget by 20% then every program gets cut 20%. This is the only "fair" and adult way to handle the situation. This would include education, health care and even libraries and police forces. This isn't rocket science.
  4. This works for federal, state, and local governments.
  5. I triple dog dare any pansy politician to make this happen and they will go down in history as one of the greatest Americans since Ben Franklin.
Personal Finance-
  1. Stop acting like spoiled little brats.
  2. Parents: stop bailing out your adult kids! It's not helping them be ADULTS!
  4. If we all start living within our means, our economy will crash pretty hard, but I have a shocker here for you: if we don't do it now, the coming crash when we all go bankrupt will be much worse. The reality is that America is bankrupt right NOW. We spend too much money.
  5. We're all trying to have everything. I'm a perfect example of this. Every week it seems like there's something else that I have to have. Last month it was a used car dealer's license. This week it's a really scary looking gun that I can use to scare the snot out of any bad guys who come into my house. Bottom line is that I can't afford it right now so I need to BUDGET, SAVE and EARN what I really want.
  6. Money is really simple.
  • Debt is a chain that will strangle you, it's NOT a tool. If you can't afford it, you don't really need it—you only want it. (Certain exceptions apply, like heart transplant surgery. However, education is included in this. If you can't afford it, you don't need it! Save your way because the burden of student loans won't go away for a long time and the odds aren't 2-1 that you'll make more money. Also included are houses, cars, cloths, food, TV, appliances, yards, pools, solar panels, patios, furniture, and any other consumables that drive our consumer economy).
  • If you want more, figure out a way to make more.
  • Live on what you have. "Do you really need a BOB stroller or do you just want one?"

So there you have it... Why do we make this stuff so dog gone complicated?

Peace and love to all. I'm a novice at this stuff and still don't apply it very well but my eyes have been opened, I've seen the light, I have tasted of the fruit and know that it is good.


P.S. here's what's at stake.

P.p.s. I was in Denver a few weeks ago and saw this truck.. Look really closely at what's written in the dirt.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Things that I just don't understand. Please Help ME!!!

  1. Why some people stop 1-4 car lengths behind the white line at a stop light. This is especially confusing to me when there is a ton of traffic and this person singlehandedly backs traffic through the intersection behind them. There must be a reason for this behavior that just doesn't penetrate my thick skull? I've been tempted to get out of my car in these situations and just ask politely, why? PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND!
  2. Why my kids want to watch TV instead of go on a walk but they want to sit in the stroller to watch TV.
  3. Why do people like NASCAR? I've been watching and trying to like it for a long time but honestly these guys drive around in circles (except for one race every season where the ex F1 drivers are actually competitive), their cars are all using ancient technology and it's basically really expensive bumper cars. I don't get it.

More to come latter I have kids crying...


Sunday, March 1, 2009

A story about a girl, a car and the Dad that is so proud.

I'm going to attempt to tell a story and do it justice. It's a true story but honestly I'm not much of a story teller so....

Part 1
About a month ago the entire family and I were on our way to the zoo. We go to the zoo often and this time I thought I'd take a little detour. My plan was just to drive by the famed Ferrari dealership in Scottsdale (only a 10 min detour on the way to the zoo). When we got there Eleanor was screaming and Alana was asleep. Holly suggested that we park somewhere close and that I take Natalie to go look at the cars. I really love how kind my wife is. She lets me indulge and dream.

Natalie and I ran up the road to the dealership. We talked about each car, what we liked best and what we didn't like. Natalie liked the HUGE wheels on the Rolls Royce, which would make her Grandfather very proud! She decided that her favorite car was a red Ferrari F430 Spider with the racing wheels and side badges. She thought that the Yellow Lamborghini was pretty cool too but the Ferrari was a horse car. The badge was what sealed the deal for her.
Feeling guilty that I left Holly in the car with a screaming baby we headed back to the van and I thought that something special just happened there but didn't really know what it was. We went to the zoo and had a great time.

Part 2
Latter that week we were driving to visit some friend, again everyone was in the mini-van (it's important to note that our mini-van has the highest rated horsepower offered in a mini-van... thus the ONLY reason I agreed to buy one... just under 300 horsepower). I love to stomp on the gas when the light turns green and blow the doors off of the boy toy honda racers. It makes me feel manly. On this occasion both Natalie and Alana squealed with JOY!!! From that time on whenever we're in the van Natalie calls from the third row seat "Go FAST Daddy". What kind of father would I be if I didn't give when my child asks so kindly. I think that there is a scripture about that somewhere (Yes I feel like Ricky Bobby some times).

Part 3
The other day Holly was driving with the girls. She and Natalie were talking.
Natalie, "I need to go to the car store."
Holly, "OK."
Natalie;"I want a new car Mommy."
Holly, "We just bought a new car and I like the van. Do you like the van?"
Natalie, "Yeah but we need another new car Mommy."
Holly, "I don't think that we're going to get a new car."
Natalie, " But I want a Horsy car!"
Holly, "What's a horsy car?"
Natalie, "A Horsy car with lots of money in it."
Holly, "That sounds nice...."

A day or two after this conversation we figured it out. Natalie indeed was emotionally touched by the incredible Italian craftsmanship that is a Ferrari and she wanted one, with money in it!

Part 4
Tonight Natalie woke up from her nap on the wrong side of the bed, Alana was walking around the house screaming, Eleanor was hungry and I was food poisoned. We were not a happy family. Then it hit me. The solution to all of our problems was in Scottsdale! I asked Natalie if she wanted to go to the Horsey car store. I knew the answer before I asked. She jumped off my lap and ran for her shoes. Alana let out her favorite thing to say: "YEAAAAAHHHHHH!!" (but she says it in more of a dragon growling way). Holly was a great sport and we all jumped in the van at 7:00 at night.

It was awesome. Natalie ran from car to car pointing to the horses and touching the lights. Again she decided that she liked the Red F430 Spider and stood at the window staring at it.
Alana had a great time too and she really liked the Maseratis. We had a great time and here are the pictures to prove it!

I am a proud father!

Now I just have to figure out how to make enough money to buy one.

But I am secure in my dream that some day one of my girls will be a race car driver. Rolex series races on Saturdays baby!!!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Nursery Rhymes

It is common knowledge that “Ring Around the Rosies” is really about the black plague. “Pop Goes the Weasel” is about hat makers in London. All of these nursery rhymes come from somewhere.I was reading Mary Englebrieit’s Mother Goose today with Natalie (a fabulous book, by the way). I really connected with the old woman who lives in a shoe. I bet there’s a story behind that one. My imagination has filled in the blanks.

I bet the mom wrote it herself. I bet she felt older than she was due to a lack of sleep and overall exhaustion. I’m going to guess that she was in her late 20’s or thereabout. I think the living in a shoe thing was a metaphor because she felt like her kids walked all over her. I even know how many kids she had. She had three.

When you have one kid crying, you hold him or her. If you have two crying children, there’s room on Mom’s lap for both. I bet every mom who has ever had three children crying at the same time has exclaimed, baffled, “I have so many children, I don’t know what to do!”

Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids, speaking of them individually and not collectively. Every day I have at least some one-on-one time with each of them, and I can look into their innocent little faces and marvel at their amazing spirits. They are the greatest treasure that could be entrusted to me.

When you get them all together, though, they turn into the giant three-headed monster “NaLaNore” and wreak all sorts of havoc. If we have to leave for the pediatrician’s office, for example, Natalie will start to cry because she wants to stay home and play with her horse stable, Alana will trip for no discernible reason and clonk her head on the coffee table, and Eleanor will blow out her diaper. While I change the baby, Alana will push a chair to the counter, reach a glass of water, and dump it on her head. As I clean that up, Natalie will remove her shoes and hide them so effectively that I won’t find them for months, the baby will chip away at my sanity by screaming the whole time, and so on and so on. They have some sort of mental telepathy that allows them to coordinate these things.

So hundreds of years ago, a woman was being driven so nuts by her children that when a little incessant voice whined, “Mommy, tell me a story!” over and over, she leaned over and through gritted teeth said, “I’ve got one for you!” I bet by the time she talked about spanking them soundly and sending them to bed, the kid backed off. And in some sick, twisted way, knowing that other moms throughout time have felt the same gut-wrenching frustration that sometimes comes my way makes me feel just a little bit better.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Thank goodness for little helpers!

As a mother of three little ones, life can get a trifle hectic. More accurately, it is chaos over here most of the time. Still, I am grateful for the little helpers I have around the house. The older two girls are only too happy to help me with lunch. Alana got this yogurt all by herself!

I also get a lot of help cleaning. Here is Tula our faithful (-ly annoying) dog taking care of the yogurt mess. Yes, there is work to be done in our household, but when you learn to delegate tasks like I have, it becomes easier.

Thanks, Tula, for getting the face too!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I hate SCAM EMAILS from Nigeria but this one seems different.

OK so I really hate it when people try to fool me into being nice just to take advantage of me later.  That's the way I feel about every email I've ever received from Nigeria!  The one I got this morning through me for a loop though... it started Dear Elder North....  What the crap is this!!! Comments to follow....

"Dear  Elder Phil North  ,
My name is brother David Opara.I am the proprietor of Lehi Compassionate School,and I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of latter Day saints Old umuahia branch umuahia district,Nigeria.
We are a non profit educational institution composed of my wife and other volunteer teachers whose mission is to give free basic education to less privileged latter day saints and non latter day saints children and adults from elementary to junior secondary.Please visit us at our website  
As part of our resolve to improve the quality of what we teach these students,we have included in our school curriculum for 2009,computer education and we wish to extend our hand to you for your computer donation to this selfless effort.
We are not asking for money,all we ask is that old PC of yours no matter how old or new,it will greatly benefit these students.
We trust it will help to hone students' critical thinking skills as well as provide a forum for their creativity.
We would also be more than grateful if you could make the computer available to us by the end of January or first week of February to enable us start  with it this term.
May God bless you and replenish you ten fold as you become an instrument in God's han nd.
Brother David Opara,
Proprietor Lehi Compassionate School,
Kilometer 47 Umuahia-Ikot Epene Road
Ibere Nta Village
Ikwuano LGA Abia State,

OK so I have a few problems with this...  

1. There are only a few ways to get my email address and then connect it to the church.  I guess they could have gotten it off of Linked In and saw that I went to BYU, they could have hacked the BYU Alum. page, they could have hacked the church website, or most likely they have a virus or spy-wear on someone's computer in my ward/stake and data mined their email...  (Update...  OK So Tim helped me by googling my email address and it popped up on a public mission alumni page...GRRRR)

you have to understand that I'm ruthless with junk email.  I have a special email address that I give to everyone who may sell or spam me.  I never check that email I think that it has something like 20,000 new msgs in the inbox.  If you sent me an email and didn't hear from me then you probably have the spam email address.... call me and we'll get that straightened out.

2.  Nigeria is the SCAM capital of the world!  This guy should know that and if he was legit he should have communicated in a fashion that is completely un-scam-like...  NOT EMAIL.  

3. This person is using a virtually anonymous free Yahoo email account....  All the Nigerian scammers use these free email accounts to stay anonymous.  

4. These scam emails always have little grammatical and syntax errors.  Look at the way the he types the name of the church.  Why capitalize some title letters and not others.  The idea is to make it look more valid, like a human wrote this in a hurry and sent it directly to you and not to 10,000 other people.SCAM.

5.  These guys are professionals, they know that if they ask for money we'll all get suspicious.  so they go for something less suspicious used computers.  I'm not tech genius but I know that there are ways to get information off of a deleted hard drive even when it's been reformatted.  My understanding is that the data is usually still there it's just the directories that get erased.  This saves time... So here's a top tip.  If you want to give away/sell a computer replace the hard drive just to be sure... 

I can see a few targets that these guys have.  
a )hard drive info with personal data, passwords, soc. tax info. contacts/email/phone numbers.  Bank access, credit card i info with you security code.
b)They aren't clear in how or where to send the computers so that you will email them back or call them, either one confirms your email address as valid and or your phone number which can be sold to the next scammer.
c) They don't care about kids and I doubt that this school even exists.

6)  These professionals are really smart.  Church members are the nicest, most generous, and frankly generally trusting on the verge of being gullible.  What a great group of people to target and take advantage of.  Don't fall for this scam, Don't call this guy, Don't email them, Don't go to their website, Deleet Deleat Deleat, Report them as Spam.


7) If this was legit then the Church has programs and countless donors who are willing to help.  

Let me know your thoughts and if I have missed something....


PS this isn't new Check out this link of a similar scam email sent to the Catholics 

Here's a link to the Department of Justice website to report Spam and other Electronic Crime.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

More Baby Pictures

Regarding Boy Names

Most of you will give me a terrible time for blogging about this the day after Ella is born (Beth and Zak)... but I've been thinking about boy names.  Honestly I don't think that I could make a boy anyway but if I ever were to make a boy and introduce him into this very girly family I'd have to set him up for some serious hyper masculine success.  The first step to this hyper masculine success is a hyper masculine boy name!  

Holly was reading in a Horse magazine about a pro rodeo rider who named his two boys Tough and Clint.  Now those are awesome hyper masculine boy names.  Which reminds me of a movie that is highly inappropriate and promotes some seriously negative social stigmas and behaviors but is still really funny Talledega Nights(not recommended for viewing by the writer).  The lead character Ricky Bobby is a Nascar race driver and he names his two boys Walker and Texas Ranger because if he wanted sissy boys he would have named them Dr Quin and Medicine Woman...  On this subject Ricky Bobby ad I are of the same opinion.

So other hyper masculine boy names;

I really like Tough
Man Child North would be cool too.
Trans Am

What do you guys thing?


Some pictures but not the one's you're probably looking for

So today has been a really long day.  BTW :) Happy New Year!!!!

I went and picked up the girls and brought them to see their new sister and a funny thing happened, everyone was really excited... look at Natalie's face!  Then we saw Alana make a face that we hadn't ever seen!...sorry that the images are so big.