Last Wednesday, my wife asked me if I was going to do a post that day. I told her I wasn’t because I was having a hard time coming up with an idea to write about. “I’m not surprised,” she said, “you haven’t had any experiences to write about lately.” After I thought about it, her response made total sense. When I think back to why I started this blog, it was to serve as a collection of thoughts and learnings from my life experiences to share with our son and others. No experiences naturally mean fewer take-aways to write…


Is it really possible to have too much cash in savings? Sounds like a good problem to have, right? As a reminder, the core tenet of personal finance is to spend less than you earn. Period. The next piece of the puzzle is to save or invest the difference between those two numbers. But just how much should you put aside in cash? It depends.

Saving and investing are two very different things, each dictated by the amount of time between now and when you expect to need the money. If you are setting money aside for a purchase in…


Last year, I read the book Fortune’s Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt, and I was struck by how many members of the Vanderbilt family died at an early age from either a stroke or heart attack. In my younger days, I assumed that wealthy people could live as long as they wanted, aided by the most advanced healthcare money could buy, so I found these early deaths to be ironic for a family that had amassed more money than the world had ever seen up to that point.

We’re told that only two things in life are…


As I was lying in bed this morning, I couldn’t decide whether to stay there just a little bit longer or go ahead and start the day. Since the shelter-in-place order went into effect, each day has begun with this conundrum. If I can catch just a little more sleep, I have less time to try and fill between the moment I wake up and when I return to the comfort of my bed.

It’s a conundrum because I can’t decide which will afford more sanity. Lying in bed can get really boring, really quickly. But is it any worse…


When I discuss personal finance with individuals or groups, goals are one of the first topics we cover. Why? Understanding your own personal goals helps you direct your spending and saving so that you’re moving closer to them, not continuing to kick the proverbial can down the road. During one such session with a group last year, one of the participants told me that her long-term goal is “to build generational wealth.” I’d read plenty about this idea before, but this was the first time I’d heard someone say it during one of my workshops.

The topic of what should…


COVID-19. Coronavirus. Global pandemic. Whatever you want to call it, the magnitude of our current situation is hard to fathom. I hope it never happens again, but if we’ve learned anything from this it’s that, even on a planet as large as ours, billions of people are still so very connected; anything is possible. In times like these, however, there’s always a silver lining — if we just allow ourselves to see it.

Disclaimer: I do not have my head in the sand, and I realize the severity of this pandemic for millions of people around the world. Justifiably, there…


I’m generally a fan of Dave Ramsey and his clear steps for helping people get out of debt and get started on the path to financial freedom. Among his many popular quotes, the one below serves as a great reminder to all of us when it comes to the way we handle our hard-earned money.

“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”

I don’t necessarily like budgets, per se, but Ramsey’s point is a good one and is worth a closer look. I, like many other people, find budgets to be restrictive…


This week, I’d like to take you back to that Economics or Finance class you may have taken in high school or college. The topic at hand is what is referred to as a “sunk cost.” In layman’s terms, a sunk cost is a past expenditure that is history, like a ship on the ocean floor — sunk, gone, never to be recovered. The textbooks tell us that, in business, sunk costs should never be factored into current or future spending decisions. …


How could the insight of an 18th-century French philosopher possibly impact your buying decisions today? The term “Diderot effect” was coined by an anthropologist named Grant McCracken but, to truly understand its significance, we must first begin with an essay. Denis Diderot, a French philosopher that lived in the 1700s, penned an essay entitled “Regrets on Parting with My Old Dressing Gown.” It tells a tale of dissatisfaction that resulted from a new gown he received as a gift.

The story goes that, not long after receiving his new dressing gown, Diderot came to feel that his surroundings did not…


Have you ever wondered how you’ll be remembered when you’re gone? In our hectic lives, we may not have, or take, the time to give it much thought. Many of us work our 9–5 (8–6 is more like it) jobs to pay the bills and may be unsure exactly what we’ll have to show for it in the end. If you’re a parent, add in the complexity of raising your offspring and you might really question how there’s time to begin making your mark.

Most people don’t have the financial means to donate enough money for a building, or to…

Michael Hambrick

Personal finance coach and mentor. theatetruths.com is a lifestyle focused on personal freedom, happiness, purpose, and impact.

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