December 12, 2019

12-Minute Financial Makeover Step 1 - Promise to Combat Chronic Strain of Fees

Welcome to our 12-Minute Financial Makeover Series. This is the first installment of our usual twelve. If you commit to it, this series could be a great way to get your financial affairs in order.

Because of its personal nature, we don’t believe in easy one-size-fits-all financial solutions. General principles will always apply but you will have to adapt them and decide what to implement in your family’s unique situation. So, don’t expect things to fall straight into your lap.

In that regard, we will propose some homework at the end of every post of the series. Our intentions are to only provide guidelines and clues on what you could work on and think about for each theme. You should have plenty of time to accomplish what suggested between each article. We even think each step could be achieved within a week. In that sense, if you discover our series after its original publication at the end of 2019, we recommend one stage a week to get you through the whole financial cleansing process within 12 weeks.

So, let’s immediately get to our first enlightening subject!

One Simple Financial Truth to Teach Our Children

To tell you the truth, fees were not our intended original subject. But it all changed after we let our teenage daughter have her first few experiences with money. Let’s just say she already has had a few run-ins with some intricacies of our financial system. Let’s now tell you about some of it.

For her 12th birthday, she received from a friend, a 25$ cash gift card that initially seemed quite nice. But we were surprised when we realized it cost 2$ just to activate the card. We were even more astonished about the 1$ monthly fee to keep the card. Let’s just say she quickly got rid of that insane-fees card.

A few months after that, a school trip was her first chance to use her brand-new bank card. Our local bank rep had told us it would work fine to shop in the US. But after the card was refused at a few shops, she reverted to an atm machine that charged her an absurd 7-dollar fee to get some good old cash to pay for her modest purchases.

After she got back, we helped her look at the fine prints to realize she almost got lured in the big bank monthly fee trap. Her account is free to start but will become quite expensive after she turns 18. Hello high monthly fees!

We know financial institutions don’t always have your best interest at heart. After some more research and reflection, we recognized fees are everywhere and can be very harmful to your financial wellbeing. The good news is that alternatives exist to fight them.

This led us to one fundamental question: to get your children well started in their financial journey, what financial truth would you want to teach them? Our humble answer is to be extra wary about fees. They can be your worst financial enemy. Fortunately, they are often simple to avoid.

Note here that we assume kids know some basics like money is limited, you can work to earn money and you can buy stuff with money.

Ultimately, all those little misfortunes made us realize how costly fees can sometimes be. The good thing is that you can mostly avoid them. And that modest truth may be at the core of broader financial wisdom.

We have gradually become aware of senseless fees with experience. Now, we can even say we have developed a fierce aversion to them. As we get a little deeper into it, let’s hope we can make you realize the recurring ones are the worst kind and that low investment fees can be a crucial key to your financial success.

December 03, 2019

12-Minute Balance (Revisited)

The 12-Minute Series was originally posted in 2012.

We’ve decided to republish it integrally because we believe it can still help as everyone aspires to make things better.

Let’s hope it stirs up the discussion and stimulates you to change the world 12-Minute at a time!

This article was originally posted on May 12, 2012

Many believe that one of the most important keys to happiness is balance. Sadly, many lives equate to a never ending juggling act struggling in search of that so elusive concept.  

The 12-Minute Approach offers you simple yet powerful ways to achieve that so precious balance in your life.

Let’s hope that, by focusing on rhythm, order and harmony, these 12-Minute Ideas help you strive toward that balance so essential to your happiness and well-being.

Equal Balance between Needs and Activities

In order to stay happy yet still be effective, your life should be equally balanced between your needs and your activities.