It’s Kind of a Funny Story

by Julie on August 15, 2014 · 2 comments

So, funny story.

A year ago this week, Lindsey and I were in New York to be on the TODAY show. (Did you miss our 4 ½ minutes of fame? You can see it here.)

The next day was rainy – very rainy – and we were killing time in a bookstore in the basement of Rockefeller Center, waiting on our car to the airport.

There were some books displayed on a wooden table in the middle of the store, and I spotted one called Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV.

That seemed ironic, seeing as why we were in NY and all, so I picked it up and showed to Lindsey, kind of casually asking her, “I wonder if this book is any good?

And a guy standing next to us, who I hadn’t noticed before that moment, said, “It is. I wrote it.

The guy was Brian Stelter, a media reporter for the New York Times, and he really did write the book. I know because I compared his picture on the book jacket to his face, which was right in front of me.

Brian Stelter Top of the Morning

He explained that he was meeting someone nearby for an interview and the person was running late, so he was also killing time and stopped in the bookstore to see if they were still carrying his book. Weird, right?

Well we got to tell him that we had actually been TODAY show guests the day before. He asked who our anchors were (answer: Willie and Natalie) and I – not wanting to waste the opportunity – asked him a couple of questions about the whole Ann Curry/Savannah Guthrie/Matt Lauer TODAY show drama. (I would tell you what he said but you people really need to get your own media sources.)

Anyway, he went on to his interview and we of course bought the book. So later in the day Lindsey tweeted this.

Brian Stelter Top of the Morning

And Brian Stelter tweeted back this.

Brian Stelter Tweet

And then Gawker picked it up and Lindsey’s Twitter blew up for a while.

Shortly thereafter we boarded a plane and flew back to our regularly scheduled lives. And a few months later Brian Stelter went on to become the host of CNN’s Reliable Sources.

I was reminded of all of this recently because Lindsey ran across the book and started reading it. And to bring this whole morning TV saga full circle, her new job is as the 4:30 am news producer at one of our local TV stations.

See? I told you. Funny story.

I plan to borrow the book from Lindsey as soon as she’s done reading it (I can’t believe we’ve let a whole year go by). In the meantime, here is some other reading that caught my eye.

Have an eventful weekend!

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When Your Adult Child Comes Back Home

by Julie on August 14, 2014 · 14 comments

We’re living a cliche: Our daughter – who graduated from college in May – is living in our basement.

When you hear that do you picture a kid eating Doritos and watching Netflix all day? Yeah, same here.

But on the contrary, Lindsey’s gainfully employed and she actually moved home at our suggestion. It seemed like a good opportunity to let her ease into the world of adult money matters without taking on a rent payment right out of the gate.

(As a side note it worked perfectly into my plan to have her return home at the same time her brother was getting ready to go to college. I know an empty nest is inevitable, but our excellent family planning a/k/a dumb luck means I don’t have to face it quite yet.)

When your adult child moves back home

In addition to keeping expenses low, having her at home has made it easy for us to help her navigate some of her first financial decisions, post college. Here are some she’s tackled so far.

Room and Board

Her room and utilities are on us. We’re not asking her to pay rent, although she is putting the equivalent of a rent payment into savings each month so that she knows what making that kind of a payment feels like. The bonus is that she’ll have a nice financial cushion available when she does decide to move out.

And food has been a non-issue. She makes her own grocery store runs, but she’s welcome to eat our food too.

Health Insurance

Lindsey already had a crash course in the economics of health insurance when our family switched to a high deductible policy plus an HSA at the first of the year. That change took a little adjusting for all of us.

And it turns out that being able to fluently speak the language of deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, and preferred provider networks came in handy as she waded through her insurance options at her new job. Once she did that, she and I compared the costs of the various work policies to the cost of her staying on our family’s plan, and she opted for one of the work policies.

(Confession: she had double coverage for a month or so because I wanted to be double, triple sure her work coverage was in force before I dropped her from our plan. I’m not going to lie: not providing your child’s health insurance for the first time in 22 years is a weird feeling.)

Car Expenses

Lindsey’s car is a paid-for Saturn Vue that my husband and I bought for her used when she was in high school. Lindsey’s always paid for her own gas, but now we’re handing over the other costs of car ownership to her too.

When the property tax bill for her car came this month – all $96 of it – we passed that along to her. We also made arrangements for her part of the auto insurance premium to be billed to her separately.

As far as repairs, we’re kind of holding our breath. Honestly? I wouldn’t be opposed to her buying a new or new-to-her car. Something modest, but a late model with a reliable track record.

But she loves her car. Really loves it. And it hasn’t given us a lot of trouble, all things considered.

One thing you might have noticed as I write about these expenses she’s taking over, is that we, her parents, are getting a bit of a raise. That’s true, and it’s nice, although it’s all being sent down I-70 from Kansas City to Saint Louis University.

But there is one part of having her home that I’m really enjoying: she’s a built-in dog sitter. It makes going out of town or even taking a staycation that much easier.

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What to Bring to Job Interview

by Julie August 13, 2014

The following is a guest post. Are you unemployed and looking for a job? Or you don’t like the current working place and you consider a change? If you start searching for a new job, you should be prepared for the interview, and there are some things you should always bring to the interview. Couple […]

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Investing with the Aristocrats: My Third Annual Dividend Investing Update

by Julie August 11, 2014

Disclaimer: I am not an investing professional. This post is for informational and entertainment purposes only. You should always contact your financial advisor before making any investment decision. Most of our retirement savings are invested in mutual funds. The kind that match the investment mix to the year you plan to retire. It’s a plan we’re […]

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Our New and Improved Credit Card Strategy

by Julie August 7, 2014

For many years our main credit card has been the Hilton Honors Visa card, and because of that we’ve earned a lot of Hilton points over time. Those free hotel rooms were nice, but they weren’t the best way for us to reward ourselves for our spending. So in the spirit of this blog, where I […]

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Our Kansas City Staycation in Pictures and by the Numbers

by Julie August 4, 2014

Last weekend Tom and I traveled exactly 17 miles to celebrate our anniversary. We went from our house in the suburbs to The Hotel President in downtown Kansas City. We wanted a weekend get away to mark the occasion, but we didn’t want the hassle or expense or time involved with traveling, so we planned a […]

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Back to School Shopping: The College Edition

by Julie August 1, 2014

Reason #458 why boys are different to raise than girls: Me: Do you want this laundry bag of Lindsey’s? We bought it for her when she went to college. Grant: Why do I need a laundry bag? Me: To carry your clothes back and forth when you do laundry at school. Grant: I figured I’d just […]

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Setting Up and Feeding an Emergency Fund: Tips for Success

by Julie July 30, 2014

Last summer I decided that it was time we had a proper emergency fund. We had a garden variety savings account, but that’s not really the same thing. We had other assets we could have tapped if we needed to – retirement savings, college savings, credit card lines of credit, life insurance cash value. Again, none of […]

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Which is the Best Order to Pay Off Debts: By Interest Rates or Balance Amounts?

by Julie July 23, 2014

There’s a debate that persists in the personal finance world about the right order in which to pay off debts. Generally speaking, there are two main schools of thought: Pay off debts off in the order of interest rate (highest to lowest) because it makes the most mathematical sense; you’ll pay the least amount of interest […]

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Survey Results

by Julie July 18, 2014

Thank you to everyone who took the time to take my two question survey this week. Do you like seeing the results when you take a survey? I know I do, so I wanted to share these with you. (You can click on any of the charts below to make them bigger.) Blog Topics I was […]

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