Freedom from slavery… to a brand (guest blogger – Barb (Mother-in-law))

Hi, Team! Yes, you read this correctly – my Mother-in-law (of early morning cleaning, breast pump preparing, and now freedom from slavery advocating fame) is here with her eye-opening take on how to step outside of your comfort zone and cut your grocery spending by a third!! I’ll be honest, this article blew me away. It’s on point with a great message, well written, and entertaining… And I’m not just saying that because she’s my mother-in-law. Let me get out of her way… Take it away Barb…   Hi, friends! I want to thank Mike for allowing me to be a guest blogger on “MikedUp Blog” to share with so many my journey from slavery to freedom.   The journey began unexpectedly on a visit to my youngest daughter’s home.   She and her husband and 8-month-old son had just moved into a new apartment. I visited her for a […]

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Don’t decide to lose 60lbs – decide to pack your workout clothes

First off – I understand that I can be crazy, but please understand that I have my reasons. I don’t do crazy for crazy’s sake. I do crazy (at times) because that’s what moves me toward my goals.     A few weeks ago, I was walking out of the bathroom at work when a coworker spotted me. It must’ve been quite a site. Those of you that workout know that feeling that takes place shortly after a good run. You’ve already taken a cold shower with hopes the sweating will die down, but it doesn’t. So now you have the awkward combination of wet shower hair and sweat beads on your forehead. Let’s not omit the towel around my shoulders, the untucked Polo shirt, and bare feet… (I had forgotten my work shoes at my desk and was hoping no one would spot me – miss. And yes, we […]

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How to manage your own (basic) retirement plan

You may be thinking, 1) “But Mike… my employer does that. Why would I need to manage my own retirement plan?”   Or, 2) “Retirement…? That’s about 40 years away. Why would I bother with that now?”   Or, (and this is the one I’ve heard most recently) 3) “Mike – I know that I need to be saving for retirement but I don’t know what to do?!?! Can you help?”   My responses, respectively:   1) What happens when you no longer work for your employer or decide your employer does a bad job of managing your retirement plan (you’ll be rolling over into an IRA, or something similar – Individual Retirement Account — Keyword: Individual)?   2) Come on man – the data show you need to get on it. There is no replacement for time, even if the investment is small. See this article for details.   3) […]

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Mailbag – should I invest or pay off debt?

  I received an email the other day that both I and the sender thought other’s may enjoy reading about.      First the question:       So I have between 25k and 30k in student loan debt at 5.75% interest (I thought I was below 5 until I just double checked) on a very long payment plan (I’m paying like 250 a month).   About a year ago as an experiment I put $5600 into the stock market split between 3 ETFs.  In that year or so I have a total gain of 11.57% on that money.   With this said for future money I am saving per paycheck do you think it is better to try and aggressively pay off my student loan… or continue investing in the stock market since so far I seem to be earning almost double the interest rate on my loan? -Archer […]

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Pinkeye is contagious – …a MikedUp Blog PSA

We faced this conjunctivitis dragon in the past. She went down. Hard. And the fight was pretty weak if I do say so myself… Where this past experience had the dragon flying solo and targeting only Clara – without backup and the cover of a Quick Reaction Force (QRF), this time was much different.   Maybe we were riding high over the last battle’s landslide victory, or perhaps we had just become too complacent to keep up our preventative protocols… In an honest moment, the conjunctivitis dragon would admit that she had employed a great number of war-fighters to target our entire family in the hopes of complete destruction. We were surprised and completely overwhelmed. Whatever the case, it was the perfect storm of destruction.   The TL:DR (too long didn’t read) version of the story below is that pinkeye is a mother. She’s contagious and she’s unrelenting, especially when […]

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How to make room in your monthly budget for investing if you lack the capital (guest blogger – Andrew)

Hi Team,   Today we’re lucky to have with us Andrew from SlickBucks – where you can find some great posts about investing, saving, and building wealth. In this post, he covers some solid options for investing if you lack the capital. Be sure to let him know what you think in the comments section and check out some other posts he’s written for his site. As always, thanks for being here!   -Mike     If you’re young, broke, or young and broke, you’re probably tired of hearing the maxim “it takes money to make money”. What are the rest of us supposed to do, then? Living paycheck to paycheck isn’t a sustainable way of life, so you need to find investment strategies that will work even if you don’t have much capital. The Mindset: Goals and Saving It’s hard to start investing, but you should start by thinking of what kind of […]

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Car trouble in paradise – “That’s not a Buick!!”

It was a random Tuesday. We had just gotten home from work and had commenced unpacking lunch boxes, loading the dishwasher, and started talking about the day’s events when Monica casually slipped it into the conversation… “Oh, yea. My car got hit in the parking lot at work again.”   “Wait. What?… How bad are we talking?”   She continued, “Well, I’m not sure. You’d better take a look at it. The girl left a note, though. So we should be all good.”   Humm… OK. Now that I’ve got the narrow range from front end caved in, to a scratch under the headlight as an expectation, I couldn’t possibly be surprised with what the actual damage was… Another good setup by the Mrs.   After much inspection, I concluded the damage was minor but there was some missing paint and a dented fender immediately in front of the left […]

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Can millennials bank on pensions? I don’t know, but I’m not

I remember the day I landed my current government job. Relief rushed through my brain as I could now list the attributes: stability, health insurance, regular raises, and pension in the same sentence with my current employment situation.   I was stoked! Great benefits, fulfilling career, and a sexy title (forensic scientist)… Doesn’t get too much better than that, right? Sure, but sexy titles don’t keep food on the table during retirement. A pension would do that for you… Or would it?   Pension – a regular payment made during a person’s retirement from an investment fund to which that person or their employer has contributed during their working life.   It really is a great concept. You pay into it for 30-ish years, so does your employer, and that cash is invested and grows to basically provide you with a regular paycheck during retirement years. This type of system (a defined benefit […]

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The importance of quality sleep (guest blogger – Mel)

I’m stoked to say that Mel – our resident clinical research nurse – is back with another great post!   Mel has worked in the healthcare field for over 30 years, has been a contributing author on 11 scientific publications, and currently works as a clinical research nurse at a world-renowned hospital system. She has been gracious enough to share some of her knowledge on the importance of quality sleep with us and we’re thrilled that’s the case!   Have you ever said to yourself, “I could really go for a good night’s sleep?”  Or, “What I wouldn’t do for a good night’s sleep!”  Well, you are not alone!  Sleep is a vital indicator of overall health and well-being*.  It is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.  Our bodies function best with enough quality sleep.  Think of sleep like medicine that needs to be taken regularly.  Sure, we’ve all skipped a dose […]

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My mother-in-law: a budding naturalist

This title (budding naturalist) is a play on words and if you give me a few paragraphs, we’ll get there. More than that, I think you may enjoy this one… I know I did.     In order to protect the identity of the innocent, I won’t name the individual (Barb – my mother-in-law) that this true story is referring to.   In the span of 6 weeks, Barb’s son, husband, and father-in-law had all undergone surgeries of different types on different areas of the body. All were relatively involved and had a decent amount of time required for recovery. By itself, one surgery for a loved one can put some strain on the other individuals in the family. But adding 2 more? I think we can classify that as a crisis.   The other important thing to remember as this story unfolds is the fact that Barb is admirably pushing herself […]

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