Category Archives: WISDOM WEDNESDAY



THE FOUR MONEY BEARS by Mac Gardner, CFP®, CRPS®, CRPC® is a “must have” book to introduce young children to the concept of money and how to use it wisely. Simplistic yet succinct, I highly recommend it. This book would make a great addition to your local school/public libraries. I’ll be speaking with DeSoto School Board Trustees for book approval, even if I have to purchase them myself. Purchase this book for your little ones or anyone you believe can benefit from it. (Available on Amazon.)

~Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs)

Andrea L. Coleman (The Financial Hack) 2016
Helping Hand Financial Counseling Ministries


stress over debt

Stressing over bills? Is your paycheck already spent before payday? Are you running out of money before the end of the month? Can’t make ends meet even if you had two magnets? Are you robbing Peter to pay Paul? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?

Debt can be particularly frustrating, especially if you’re drowning in it with no one to throw you a life preserver. Even if you are able to tread water, at some point you’re going to get tired. I know, because I’ve been there. Yep. Back then you could call me the “B” word… BROKE. My secret. No one knew. Broke can take on many meanings, so for all practical purposes, let’s assume “broke” means not having enough money to cover your monthly obligations.

Have you ever stopped to ponder the reason(s) WHY you’re “broke?” If this is you, stop and think about it for a minute. What can you do differently to change your current situation? While you do that, let me list a few behaviors/attitudes contributing to your “brokeness.” Yes, I am aware “brokeness” is not a word, but it should be.

  1. You Don’t Budget: I love it when I hear people say, “Oh I’ve got it all up here” while gently tapping the side of their head. Unless you’re a mathematical genius, how could you possibly have all those numbers and figures inside your head? Yes, you may have a general idea of what comes in and what goes out, but just imagine if you were to transfer “what’s in your mind” onto paper. This way you can see clearly what’s coming in and most importantly where it’s going. After writing it down and seeing it in black and white, you’re easily able to identify “blindspots” you didn’t know existed.
  2. Instant gratification is your “modus operandi:” We live in a society of heavy consumption. We want more more more, and WE WANT IT NOW. It’s too easy to whip out a credit card and purchase the latest iPhone, flat screen plasma television, that expensive pair of heels or those Jordans that just came out yesterday knowing you don’t or won’t have the money to pay the bill in full when the credit card bill comes due. This is where Jesus (and discipline) should take the wheel. You have to be disciplined enough to “walk away” no matter how loud those items are calling your name. I love shopping at discount retailers (Marshalls, TJMaxx, Home Goods, DSW etc.) and when I decided to check myself into “financial rehab,” I literally had to alter my driving route so I wouldn’t pass the strip mall that housed these stores. Out of sight out of mind.
  3. Keeping Up With The Jones: When I look back now over my days of “Keeping Up With The Jonses” it was quite silly because I eventually realized, the Jonses were just as broke as I was. I’m not ashamed to say I went through my phase of believing driving a Mercedes Benz, carrying Gucci and Louis Vuitton handbags, having a closet full of  clothes and shoes and living in a big house complete with swimming pool when it was just me and my two dogs somehow made me feel “important.” At the time I felt having those “material things” somehow validated me. All it did was expose my weakness, and that weakness was a lack of self-esteem. Anyone who is secure within themselves doesn’t need materialistic things for validation. Let me be clear. I still have all of those things mentioned above (minus the Mercedes Benz,) but I realize those things do not define me. There’s nothing wrong with wanting nice things, it’s simply nonsensical going deep into debt in order to obtain them.
  4. Financial Literacy Wasn’t Taught In The Home: My father was always good at saving money. He worked hard and sacrificed for his family. He taught me how to write checks and balance a checkbook when I was 11 years old, and even after I got a job at 15 and was buying my own school clothes/paying for school activities and such, he never stressed to me the importance of saving, yet he was a HUGE saver. I’m still puzzled by that. I’d like to think he was proud because I was being responsible. Not every one my age had a job. I didn’t need a job, I just wanted financial independence. Asking for $10 to hang out at the mall with friends turned into a two hour lecture about how money didn’t grow on trees, but I digress.  I also remember my Dad telling me, “If you can’t pay cash, you can’t afford it.” To some extent, I do agree with him now that I’m older and wiser. He also advised me not to get caught up in credit cards when I went off to college, however, he didn’t explain to me why. I wished he had. It would have saved me a ton of angst and grief. If financial literacy isn’t taught at an early age, it’s easy to fall into the “debt trap.”
  5. You Refuse To Take Responsibility For The Actions Stated Above: This is the most important of all the habits/attitudes/behaviors listed above. If you don’t acknowledge that your spending is out of control, that you don’t budget, that you mismanage your money, or that you seek validation by obtaining material possessions, you will forever remain in a state of “broke.”
Perhaps one or two of these habits apply. Perhaps all of them apply. Either way, you are in control of your financial destiny. It’s never too late to make changes. It took me until age 39 (when I married) to understand how important it was to build a financial future. Living the single life for so long allowed me the freedom (or so I thought) to be reckless with my spending because I only had myself to hold accountable. However I changed my financial mindset, even after divorcing. I adjusted my spending habits. I budgeted my money and I am now able to truly enjoy what I’ve accumulated over the years. So you see, I no longer need that Mercedes Benz for validation. I look better driving this “PAID FOR” Honda Coupe anyway.
~The Financial Hack 2015

When your body talks to you…. LISTEN!!!

I’m dying. At least that’s what I felt like yesterday when I woke up. My throat was swollen, it was difficult to swallow, my nose was running and my head felt as though it would explode at any minute. Of course I wasn’t dying, it just felt like it.

I slug I to the kitchen thinking “Coffee will make everything better.” Who was I fooling? I got dressed, went to the office thinking my allergies, sinuses, and hay fever were going at it for the championship title but here comes the one, two knockout punch from a surprise opponent… the flu? No way!

First I was too hot, then I was too cold. Next I was too cold, then I was too hot. Chills. Back and forth like a tennis match. This can’t be good. After the “hacking” started and my Sister screamed “Get Out!” from her desk outside my office door, I knew I needed to leave, but I closed my eyes instead. Forty-five minutes later I’m awakened by that metallic taste in my mouth, you know, like you’ve been licking pennies. Yep, it’s time to go. My clothes hurt. All over

I got home, ate some soup, downed some orange juice, drank a shot of NyQuil and climbed into bed. That was the best decision I’ve made all week and it was only Tuesday.

I was sick. You get the picture.

I knew this would happen eventually. I stretched myself too thin. I was doing too much and I wasn’t taking care of my body causing additional stress. The result? Immediate shutdown. I should have seen it coming. Last week, I didn’t get to bed before 3am on two consecutive nights doing classwork. And just the night before “the shutdown,” I was up after 3am even though I finished my assignments a little after 1am. I knew this would happen. The question was when.

Being back in school has placed tremendous stress on me as it’s been 14years since I received my MBA. Couple that with working, community service and having a life, I’m not sure what I was expecting. You’ve seen/read these tips before but I can’t stress them enough:

1. Make sure you’re eating a balanced diet. My eating habits have been horrible since my classes started last month. I blew my budget for January relying on Panda Express, McDonalds, Jack N The Box and Wingstop for my nutritional needs. I know. Way to go. Claps all around. My multivitamin couldn’t compete with all the “junk” I was eating.

2. Make sure you’re exercising regularly. My exercise regimen has been relatively non-existent since the doctor told me last year I could no longer continue my marathon career. Not only was I running for endurance, but lifting for strength. I used to have six pack abs. Now it looks like an ever so slight kangaroo pouch. (This will never do honey.)

3. Make sure you’re getting adequate rest. I already knew those late nights spending time with textbooks, chapter notes and financial calculators would catch up to me. I’ve said it aloud several times, “If I don’t get enough sleep, I get sick.” Well look at me now.

When your body is already in distress, adding a teaspoon of an unhealthy diet, a pinch of a lack of exercise and a cup of inadequate sleep is a recipe for disaster. 

Listen to your body when it’s talking to you. Yes, you have an empire to build, yes you have goals. Having a “can’t stop, won’t stop attitude” is fine, but stay in tune with your body. It’ll give you small cues when it needs rest. If you fail to yield to those cues, a crash is bound to happen. Don’t ignore those recurring headaches, or that lower back pain. Your body is telling you to slow down. If necessary, take a day off and just “relax.” I’m still learning to do that. After these last couple of days, I’ll try harder. 

This morning after sleeping a good 14hours, I thought about going to the office but thought, “Nah, you’re not 100 percent.” Have I not learned my lesson? This was a no-brainer. So I got my coffee, OJ and soup and am back where I was yesterday… In bed. But now, like this…. 

I’m being productive running my empire from the comforts of my bed, yet still resting. And you know something? I feel so much better.

Maybe I’ll move to the couch… Nah!

~The Financial Hack ©2015