About Me Stories

Ex-Firefighter, soon to be nomad, and ready for new ideas and stories

At Stevens Pass ski Area, Washington State January 2019. Photo courtesy Author

Thanks for taking the time to read my “about me” story. I consider it a privilege whenever someone takes time to read something I have written, and it is a privilege I don’t take lightly.

I have been on Medium, technically, since 2018, but I didn’t write my first piece until December of 2019. After that I got on a bit of a streak through the earlier portion of 2020, churning out about 1.5 stories per day for a while.

Finally, in August, I hit the burn out point, right before my wife and I took a month vacation in…


Don’t ever quit your job

Photo by Daniel Jurin from Pexels

Life Sucks. It is just awful having nothing to do all day. Even worse, we are stuck in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Literally steps away from the most gorgeous white sand beaches ever imagined.

Each day I wake up hopeful, then my reality of being retired floods over me and depression sets in. Even sitting at the pool with a cold beer in my hands seems empty and devoid of meaning…

Hahahahahahahahahahahha!

Ha Ha!

OMG, not even. Not even a little bit!

Being retired at 53 totally rules! It is the best thing ever. And a beach house? …


Bite-Sized Finance

Turn saving money and investing into an automatic win

Image by kirillslov from Pixabay

How much money are you saving for retirement each month? What about for a new home or large purchase? How about college for the kids? Are you meeting your savings goals, or is that something you just hope to get around to doing sometime soon?

Personally, I like to make any sort of savings and investing decisions as simple as possible and reduce any steps that might keep me from my goals.

If I have to consciously remember (and then actually perform an action) each week or month in order to set aside funds, there is a reasonable chance that…


Bite-Sized Finance

If your employer has a 401(k)-matching program, make sure you participate

Image by comobilize from Pixabay

What if someone wanted to give you free money? Would you take it? The answer to that question should be obvious — “Heck Yeah!”

Especially if all you had to do to earn it was to save some of your own money. Really, that is a win-win scenario. And that scenario is what many employers offer in the form of a 401(k) (or 403(b) or 457) retirement savings matching plan.

Some employers will offer to match your contributions to your own retirement savings plan up to a set dollar amount or a percentage of your salary. …


Bite-Sized Finance

What is Bite-Size Finance? And how does it apply to me?

Image by Mark Wilson from Pixabay

Americans (and others) are financially illiterate. That isn’t meant to be an insult or slur, and don’t just take my word for it. Here are some studies that look at the impact of financial literacy (or lack thereof), and more pointedly how affects from Covid-19 impacted those with less financial savviness.

So, why is that? Or perhaps more importantly, how can we change that for the better? My guess at why so many are financially illiterate is that personal finance can be a very complex subject matter, with confusing and conflicting approaches, and that some people simply find it boring…


Music | Inspiration

It’s not healthy to persistently obsess over things we cannot control. Let’s listen to a little music instead

Photo by pawel szvmanski on Unsplash

As the US is on the eve of inauguration of its next president it feels a little bit like we are all collectively holding our breath. On one hand it is a new beginning; a much needed one seemingly. But the counterpoint is that, realistically, not a lot will change all at once here in the United States.

The Trump presidency, as ugly and awful as it was, unfortunately is just emblematic of the current world we live in. …


You don’t need a budget to start saving, but you need one to know when you can quit!

Image by Sofia Cristina Córdova Valladares from Pixabay

A critical step to gaining financial freedom is establishing a budget. Notice I didn’t say “first” step here, and that is intentional. There are two other steps that you can do today, without having a budget, that will build a valuable foundation for savings.

Those are to contribute to your employer’s 401(k) (or equivalent plan), specifically maxing out any employer matching funds as soon as possible. If there is no employer matching, at least put something into your retirement account, even if it is only $10 / month to start.

I go into much more detail in this article about…


Finance

Newsflash: there is no “right” way to save your money; well-intentioned advice can be a deterrent to action

Photo by Darren Lawrence on Unsplash

Okay, so you have increased the amount of money you are contributing to your retirement plan to start off 2021 the right way — right? (If not, start with this article and come back.) Now you might be thinking, “What’s next?”

That’s an easy one: start putting a little money in an after-tax investment account.

What? Did you hear correctly? This in no way follows the “traditional savings ladder” model that so many financial “experts” say is the only way to set up your savings. …


Finance

Ten minutes right now will pay dividends all year long!

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

So how are your new year’s resolutions going so far? It is only January 11, so you are probably still sticking with most of what you resolved to do all year long at this point. But, according to US News, most of us will fail to follow through on our resolutions, typically by the second week of February.

And that might be okay. Sometimes lifestyle changes take a while to stick permanently, and sometimes our good intentions can add up over time to incremental changes that make us better in the long run. …


Finance

Great ways to kick-start your savings without an employer-sponsored plan

Photo by processingly on Unsplash

If your employer offers a tax-deferred retirement plan like a 401(k), 403(b) or 457 Plan, then great for you. Even better if the employer will match some of your contributions!

For you the game plan is pretty straightforward, just contribute to the plan — at least up to the employer’s match to begin with and increase contributions whenever possible until you have maxed out your yearly amount.

For people without an employer-sponsored plan it takes a little bit more work, but it is completely doable to set yourself up with a retirement savings plan that capitalizes on tax breaks much…

Timothy Key

Retired from fire service after 26 years. Writer and consultant. I believe compassion, grace and gratitude are contagious and should be spread liberally.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store