Teaching you to embrace today while making yourself a millionaire!

I wish I would have understood how easy it is to become a millionaire by starting to save small amounts of money when I was younger...

I feel compelled to share the simple concepts you can apply today....


29 July 2009

$ Matters with Mary

Destination: Chicago
Hey Y’all! Anybody check out the Brickyard 400 race at Indy? I’ve got to give a shameless plug for our hometown driver –
Brian Vickers. He placed 5th! Way to go Brian.

After leaving the Speedway we were starving. We spotted signs along the road for a farm that served lunch. An hour+ later we were having delicious sandwiches (about $7 each) at the Fair Oaks Farms. This place was fascinating, the staff was friendly, the bathrooms were clean, and there was a gas station next door. Not to mention having the Best habanera cheese ever. So much in one stop. Note to cheese lovers and city people – tired of doing the same thing – or nothing - every weekend? Take the Dairy Adventure! For $10 a person you will have a great time AND something new and interesting to talk about.

Next stop – Chicago. I was Really Happy that Bob was driving. Who knew there was such a thing as 7 lanes each way!? Thank God and Garmin for GPS. Our lodging was fantastic. We were in a newly renovated neighborhood close to an “L” station. For $125 a night we rented a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 9th floor condo with a balcony and free garage parking. The view of downtown was spectacular. This was half the cost of any hotel we could find in this location. $ Saving Tip – try renting a place to stay on your next vacation at HomeAway.
Our first destination in Chicago – The Second City comedy club. This is a must see for any comedy fan. Second City launched the careers of many Saturday Night Live alumni – Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray, John Candy, Tina Fey as well as comedians Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, and hundreds of others. There are several different shows to select from with tickets as low as $20. Travel Tip – Plan ahead for this one. Tickets sell out quickly. We bought ours online before we left North Carolina.

Next week – Wrigley Field, The Bean, and getting around town

Until then – I’m looking for fun and food in your city………………………….

28 July 2009

Tuesday Tips

It has been a while since I talked about the original mission of Generation Millionaire. To teach and encourage you to use the time you have to make your retirement more secure.

So what is one of the pieces of the puzzle? "Time + Regular Investing" into a diversified portfolio = Long term success

The sooner you start investing in a 401k or IRA the more $$ you have for retirement.
If you invest $60 a week starting at age 18 for 50 years with an 8% return = $1.9 Million
If you invest $60 a week starting at age 26 for 42 years with an 8% return = $1 Million

By waiting 8 years to invest a mere $60 a week - you give up almost one million dollars.

Where am I going to get $60 a week or $8.50 a day ?? It is so easy with simple changes you won"t notice in the long run..... Pack your lunch instead of eating out - Go to the library for movies, cds, books and games - Plan your route to avoid extra driving - Go to a matinee Drink water vs ordering soda, coffee, tea etc. Buy used books for classes Don't use your charge card.

Little changes that will not affect your quality of life TODAY will pay off big TOMORROW. This information can change your entire generation - WILL YOU BE A MILLIONAIRE? Save any amount you can - less is better than none.

I challenge you to write down every time you spend a penny - you will be amazed at the way money trickles out of our wallets. Always check with a financial expert prior to making any investment decisions. Play with the financial calculator under the calculator link tab at the top of the page to see what small changes you make today can add up to million$.

Stay tuned.......

25 July 2009

Creative Income

Today I want to focus on a very enterprising, talented and all around good guy who figured out a way to stay afloat financially during the economic down turn.

Brian Hancock is an amazingly talented professional photographer - who like the rest of us has been affected by the change in the economy. In his own words - here is what he did:

"I started as a photographer, and with the downturn in economy I had to think of new ways to make money and stay afloat. I started leveraging my skills at web design and graphics work. Since I had a good footprint in the pro photographers community, especially the forums on Pictage, and a lot of photographers are now turning most of their attention to their blog instead of just their website, I started offering blog design services. It's been a hit, and without it I don't think I could have survived on just the photography alone. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I looked at an industry I'm already in, and tried to find a new way to use it to 1) helps others, and 2) supplement my income."

You can also follow Brian at
If you are in need of a webpage or blog he is easy to work with and has great customer service and support. If looking for a photographer .... well, I think the pictures above say more than I could ever hope to!
Stay tuned....

22 July 2009

$ Matters with Mary

Photo from Indy 500 Webpage (left)
Harry, Gary and Bob (right)

Destination: Chicago

My husband Gary is a Master at planning vacations. For us getting there is half the fun. So he looked for places to explore along the way that would break up the drive and add to our adventure.

From Cincinnati first stop Indianapolis. Have you picked up that we are sports fans? Guess what is in Indianapolis? The Indianapolis Motor Speedway! (IMS) Coming from NASCAR country (Bob and Harry attended school with the Labonte and Petty kids, and Brian Vickers was in Bob’s graduating class) we had to see one of the most famous race tracks in the world. And if you are near Indy this weekend check out the Brickyard 400.

Have you dreamed about racing around the Indy 500 race track? You can! For $25 they offer a tour that drives you around the 2.5 mile on a bus. It was an absolute riot and gives you a totally different perspective than watching on TV or in the stands. Going around a racetrack -where speeds reach 225 miles an hour - in a bus was too funny to pass up. Oh Yeah it also includes a 90 minute bus ride with a very knowledgeable Museum staff member providing a historical journey of the speedway. You will stop at notable IMS landmarks normally only open to officials, drivers and teams – like the Media Center, Gasoline Alley, and the “Yard of Bricks” at the start/finish line. Afterwards check out the Hall of Fame Museum - admission is included in your tour fee.

This tour was a good value for the $. Between the bus tour, Museum, and gift shop you could spend hours laughing, learning, and enjoying a piece of American history. Having watched the Indy 500 every Memorial Weekend for decades it was cool to see it in person.

For a mere $6 a person you can have a very Affordable outing and good time. You can take a 15 minute narrated bus tour around the 2.5 mile track for $3. This is a good option for those who aren’t big race fans but want to see the facility. The difference is this tour doesn’t stop at the Media Center, Gasoline Alley, etc you just drive by them. Then for another $3 you can tour the Museum. Big plus – Parking is free.

Next week – still on our way to Chicago

Until next time – I’m looking for fun in your city………………………….

21 July 2009

Tuesday Tips

Stefan's Quarterly Financial Progress

Let's look at someone who is on the right track..... Our Tuesday Tips blogger Stefan has agreed to let us track his success over time. This is our second quarter of following him.

He called me very excited last week as his net worth went over $17,000.
Last quarter it was $10,000.
First job starting salary $35,000 a year.

No debt other than student loans that he is paying off ahead of schedule. Graduated from The Ohio State University in 2008 and hopes to have paid off by 2014.

He started with approximately $35,000 in private and government loans. He now owes $27,000.

In one year he paid down $8,000. He pays $468.00 a month which is $5616.00 a year.
He puts big chunks of money on his loans when he receives his tax return or a bonus. He is paying off the private loan first as the interest rate is higher than the government loan.

He has over $5000 in his emergency savings account.
Last quarter he only had $1000.
He has increased his personal savings from $200 a month to $250.

He continues to save 16% into his 401k. He became eligible for 4% employer match after a year of employment - FREE MONEY! Yippee.

He is currently educating himself on real estate so when the right deal comes along he is ready to make a decision.

It goes to show you do not have to make alot of money to slowly increase your financial security. Everyday choices and being aware of how you spend your money - makes the difference.

We will continue to check in with Stefan on a quarterly basis to see how he is progressing.

Stay tuned...

20 July 2009

Great Insights - Live Your Best Life!

I just came across this webpage and thought Marc's questions were great. Generation Millionaire is more than about money - it is about living your passions -- Are you?

July 13th, 2009 @ 1:27 am by: Marc
50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind

These questions have no right or wrong answers.
Because sometimes asking the right questions is the answer.

1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?

3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?

4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
5. What is the one thing you would most likfe to change about the world?

6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?

7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?

8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?

9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?

10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?

12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?

13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?

14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?

15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?

16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?

17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?

18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?

20. Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?

21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?

22. Why are you, you?

23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?

24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?

25. What are you most grateful for?

26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?

27. Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first?

28. Has your greatest fear ever come true?

29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? Does it really matter now?

30. What is your happiest childhood memory? What makes it so special?

31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
32. If not now, then when?

33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?

34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?

35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?

36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?

37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?

38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?

39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?

40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?

41. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?

42. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?

43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?

44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?

45. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?

46. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

47. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?

48. What do you love? Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?

49. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday? What about the day before that? Or the day before that?

50. Decisions are being made right now. The question is: Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?
Stay tuned.....

18 July 2009

Do Not Do This - Banks are not always your friend......

I am not a fan of check cashing services, rent to own, cash advance on your taxes, credit cards or direct deposits to banks.

The bank I primarily use started offering a service called EARLY ACCESS. You can get a cash advance on your direct deposit (prior to it hitting your account). The catch is they charge you $1 for every $10 dollars you take as an advance. That is 10% to get your money sooner rather than waiting for it to reach your account.

This is why it is imperative that you do not live pay check to pay check. That you have a money in your checking account to live on, an emergency savings, and long term savings.

These services or rip offs - will keep you from getting ahead. Review your spending, cut back and get a grip on your life or you will stay in this cycle of giving your money to people just to have access to it.

Stay tuned......

16 July 2009

$ Matters with Mary

Photo from Great American Ball Park Website.

The Trip Begins……

Despite its name, I’ve learned that Generation Millionaire isn’t just about $. It’s a philosophy about how to balance your life by managing your financial future along with finding time and money for fun.

Last week I mentioned that we (Mary, Gary, Bob & Harry) took an 11 day, 7 state vacation. Along the way we found all kinds of interesting things to do. Some were insanely expensive (baseball game at Wrigley Field) to fabulous free food at a Greek Festival.

Our lodging ranged from free – staying with family, to moderate – rented a condo for 3 days, to outrageous – staying at the on-site hotel at the amusement park so we could get in an hour early.

Over the next several weeks I will chronicle what we did, what it cost and what we learned while traveling with our 20-something boys. The best part is no matter where you live or how much $ you make - you can have fun, go on inexpensive yet unique adventures and dates, and find a balance in your life.

Destination: Cincinnati, OH
457 miles – 8 hours driving time

I was really able to enjoy this trip because we had budgeted and saved money for the trip. By planning ahead we were able to find good deals on hotels, (check out Stefan’s Tuesday’s Tips for some great ideas), tickets, and things to do.
What we LOVED about Cincinnati. First we have family there so food and lodging were free. Big Savings. We celebrated birthdays, a graduation, and Father’s Day all in one. Don’t underestimate family gatherings for fun and memories.

Then there is BASEBALL. Cincinnati is a great place to attend a game. We were blown away by how affordable it was. There were 17 of us (I think – with a big family you lose count and on occasion a person or two.) Between us we found parking for $3 to $10. Tickets were $7! We were in the bleachers - took up 3 rows and had a grand time. Food and drinks are not cheap but at Great American Ball Park they let you bring in snacks. How great is that for saving $? We went to a discount store bought potato chips, cookies, and a huge bag of peanuts which we divided into individual bags.

At the end of every Friday home game there is a fireworks show. Show isn’t the right word – it was an Extravaganza! Honestly it was the best fireworks display I had ever seen. I kept thinking if I lived in Cincinnati and wanted to go on an inexpensive and entertaining date – I would go to Great American Ballpark. You guys are so lucky.

What about your city? I’d love to hear about things you have done and good places to go for an inexpensive date in your area. Send them to: Put $ Matters by Mary in the subject line. Or Twitter me at

Next week – Indianapolis, Fair Oaks, and maybe Chicago.

Looking for more fun until next time........

14 July 2009

Tuesday's Tips

Guten tag meine Damen und Herren! I felt like blogging about travel today, and my past with Germany just sort of popped up for a moment. Travel is something that I particularly love to do, and with so many places to go there are great offers available all the time!

1) When flying check about baggage check fees. This is becoming a way that airlines are supplementing their bankroll. Some airlines charge $15 per first bag and $25 for each additional. Some charge $25 per first bag and $50 for each additional! This is outrageous because it can make a cheap flight costly. So research the airline to find out what you're getting into. Most airlines still allow one piece of luggage and a personal carry-on per passenger, so try to consolidate and avoid checking bags. If you have a backpack try packing items in it, or even put your purse in it, and stow it under the seat in front of you. Another way to save on baggage is to see if the hotel you're staying at will reimburse for checked baggage. Hotels are being hit big by the slowing economy and many will offer discounted rooms or a credit if you have to check luggage along the way. This last trick is being caught on to, but it might be worth a shot. Don't check anything and just check it at the door of the plane. Often the flight attendants will have your luggage put into the cargo hold at no cost! This probably won't last much longer, but you never know.

2) Don't be afraid to ask hotels about room rates. Traveling can be expensive, but if you ask about discounted room rates or give competitor's prices it can often lead to a cheaper stay. One website I love to use is
Kayak. This website will search through the major price search websites like Priceline, Expedia, Travelocity, and Hotwire to find the best deals. Some of these sites will allow you to pick a price you want to pay and it will give you a hotel in the area that will accept your price/night. Using these sites can often lead to discounted flights and hotel stays.

3) Reach out to friends and family around your destination if possible. I have an aunt that lives in Virginia and is just dying to have family visit. This is great for me because it saves me on hotels and entertainment (she has kayaks, lives near the beach, etc.). I also have family up and down the rest of the east coast, and if I ever plan on taking a trip their way I call them and check on staying a night or two. Why not use connections if you have them? Plus, they know that if they ever visit Columbus I have a guest room that they are more than welcome to use.

Summer is upon us people! Take advantage of the nice weather and visit someplace new. But don't forget to check on the many ways to save money. I'm sure Mary will have some great tips on other ways to save money while traveling.

I'm on a 168 hour break, so until then Stay Tuned...

12 July 2009

Challenge - Find and Send Free Offers

A really fun thing happened this week and it saved us money! My sister Mary sent our family an email with a free sandwich at Arby's.

All you have to do is sign up for Arby's extras and they send awesome deals to you.

Then my sister Dina sent us a deal from TGI Fridays for a buy one get one free entree. They also have a rewards program if you sign up you receive a free appetizer.

Then my son Stefan sent us McDonald's Free Mocha Latte on Mondays thru Aug 3rd.

My sister Vicki sent links to Restaurant Week for our individual cities. Just go to google and put in restaurant week and your city to see what deals are available. Also, check out to see all her amazing work and follow her blog.

It became an informal contest on who could find the best deal at places we would actually go! A deal is only a deal if it has value to you.

I am putting the challenge out to you and your friends and family - start paying attention to the deals (they are everywhere) and forward them to each other and ME! You can save so much money while still doing the things you love.

I have been posting the deals we find on

You work hard for you money - get the most from it.

Stay tuned....

08 July 2009

$ Matters with Mary

Welcome to $ Matters. I recently took an 11 day car trip w/my husband, Gary, and 2 sons – Bob age 25, and Harry age (almost) 23. Yes… we are Mary, Gary, Bob & Harry. How we ended up w/this rhyming family moniker will be reveled in a future edition.

I am writing this feature for my sister Stephenie’s blog is simple. First – she is a terrific sister and I believe in her mission. Secondly, I am really proud of her for helping young people (and old people like me!) grasp the concept of how money works in easy to understand terms.

While I was on this recent adventure I kept thinking, I have to tell Stephenie of all the ways we’re doing extremely fun and cool things that did not cost a lot of $. Instead of me relaying to her all our travel deals to share w/you – we’ve eliminated the middleman and I will tell you myself.

The overriding theme of our trip was how many fun things you can do Inexpensively. The 4 of us traveled from our home in North Carolina to Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Fair Oaks, IN, Chicago, Milwaukee, South Bend, IN, Sandusky, OH, Lorain, OH & Cleveland. I will share the cool things we found along the way and how to save money while having the time of your life.

So look for me in this spot soon!

07 July 2009

Tuesday's Tips

Hi everybody (hi Dr. Nick!)...Today's tips are, once again, drawn from my real experiences, but they are geared toward saving your sanity more so than money.

1) Every 6 months or so, go through your clothing and purge! This comes up because my girlfriend just got a new job that requires her to dress business professional. That means she had to go get some new jackets because her last job was business casual dress. Well our closet had no room to begin with, so we decided that it was time to go through our belongings and get rid of some stuff. We spent about 3 hours going through everything in our closet and both dressers, but we got rid of a ton! It amounted to a few sweaters, some fleeces, a bunch of t-shirts, a bunch of jeans and khakis, and even some nicer dress clothing. All in all I think we purged about 50 items and everything we kept fits way better in the allotted space. We're going to donate the clothing we no longer need to
Goodwill, AMVETS, or another organization that helps the community. And if you're anything like me you feel 1,000,000 times better when your room and belongings are no longer cluttered. And we get to help people in the process. Double bonus!

2) Go out for a nice dinner once every month or so. In celebration of my girlfriends new job we went out for a nice dinner at the restaurant of her choice (she chose a Japanese Steakhouse). We've been saving so the high price for our night out didn't even bother us (it wouldn't have bothered us anyway because we were celebrating, but if we just wanted to go out it wouldn't have bothered us either). Saving is great, but every so often it's refreshing to go out for a nice evening and not look at the price of each item to determine if it's worth the extra $2 to get a steak instead of chicken. Just go out for your sanity's sake and enjoy a fun evening.

Now that my sanity has been refreshed I can begin my journey back to the land of the insane! Then in a couple months I'll start this process over. I'm on a 168 hour break, so until then Stay Tuned...

02 July 2009

Breakdown of How Credit Score is Determined

Credit Scores will rule your financial life - Make sure you understand how they are created and manage yours to ensure you are a good risk to lenders!

5 factors that determine your credit score
BY AnnaMaria Andriotis, SmartMoney

Are you sure you know how good your credit is?

Do you pay on time?
35% of your credit score
Start marking your credit-card bill due dates on your calendar. Paying your bills on time plays the biggest role in determining your credit score.
To stay on top of your charges, consider setting up an automatic bill payment, says Gail Cunningham, spokeswoman for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Look over your past bills, estimate your minimum required monthly payment and set up automatic bill payments for that amount, she says. That way, you’ll meet the payment deadlines, dodge late fees or interest-rate hikes, and remain free to pay the remaining balance at your convenience.
The consumer who pays his bills on time every time maintains an average credit score of 706, Lin says, but the drop-off is huge. The average score of a consumer who pays on time 99%: 658.
Making a late payment can also lead to universal default, the condition in which credit-card companies raise your interest rate on their cards for being late with another company’s payment. Once the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act goes into effect, that practice will be curtailed, but if card issuers perceive an increase in a cardholder’s risk level through some other means, they could roughly double their rates, Lin says. The annual percentage rate of the average credit-card firm is now 10.9%, according to

What do you owe?
30% of your credit score
Paying bills on time doesn’t guarantee a high credit score. You’ll also need to keep your balances from surpassing 30% of your total credit line.
Your credit score is based in part on your credit utilization ratio, the amount you owe in proportion to your total credit limit. If your credit-card company reduces your credit limit, your debts make up a larger percentage of your credit line. If your line is cut unexpectedly, call your issuer to try to undo the reduction, especially if you’ve been on time with payments and maintain a low balance.
In some cases a credit line reduction is unavoidable, says Linda Robertson, a certified financial planner with Financial Finesse, a financial education company. In the past year, many retailers like Fortunoff and Linens ‘n Things shut down or went into bankruptcy and canceled their credit cards. When their credit-card holders lost those lines, their scores may have suffered, she says.

How long have you been borrowing?
15% of your credit score
A middle-aged consumer often fares better in this category than a recent college grad.
The length of your credit history is basically a straight measure of the number of years you’ve had credit. The trick here is to keep your first credit card open, even if it has a high interest rate or a low spending limit. Use it a few times a year so that the credit-card company doesn’t shut it down, Cunningham says.

Is your credit still expanding?
10% of your credit score
Applying for new credit is often a Catch-22. With new credit, you can prove your ability to handle several payments on a monthly basis. However, applying for too much credit in a few months can slightly harm your credit score, says Cunningham.
“It signals that you’re desperate for credit and don’t have cash available to pay for your needs,” she says.
Opening new accounts over time will raise your credit score in the long term, provided you pay your bills on time, says Craig Watts, spokesman for FICO, the company that calculates and issues the credit score that most lenders use. Requesting and checking your own credit report from FICO or one of the three credit bureaus won’t affect your score, he says.

Is your credit diverse enough?
10% of your credit score
To maintain credit diversity, opt for a variety of credit, including credit cards, a car loan or a mortgage – but make sure to pay each bill on time and keep the accounts active. Opening a wide variety of new accounts and not using them won’t raise your credit score, Watts says.

© 2009 SmartMoney. SmartMoney is a joint publishing venture of Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and HearstSM Partnership. SmartMoney is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved.

site design: