Tag Archives: money

Featured: Ross Femrite

Recently I was with a couple of friends who were ordering diet pills online that were advertised for “the person who doesn’t have extra time to exercise”. This made me think of how my brother would take the situation. See, my brother is going to grad school, works as a bartender, has an active social life, plays rugby, and does triathlon. Because he has a work hard/play hard attitude and a desire to never cut corners, I know he would never be online buying a magical solution. So, of course I needed to interview him.

(EF): What’s your motivation for working out?

(RF): I always have goals that I am striving to reach to keep me motivated.  Right now I am getting ready for Crossfit games [in February].  Then, my goal will be to break the five-hour mark for the half Ironman.  After that  I need to get ready for Fall rugby season.  This always gives me something to work toward.

(EF): Why is it important to stay active?

(RF): You are only given one body, so why not take care of it?  There are a million studies out there showing how much activity helps you in all aspects of your life.  I really think if you had to choose 1 thing to improve your overall health,  activity should be the #1 choice.

(EF): What’s in that huge jug of powder you always have?

(RF): It is protein, the building blocks of your muscles.  I aim for about 200g of protein per day during training and without adding protein, it would be hard to get there on a normal diet.

(EF): What made you choose the career in PT?

(RF): I really wanted a career in the medical field where I was able to spend a lot of time working with people.  As a PT I get to do it on a daily basis.  It is also really rewarding to see people come in with problems that impact their life and be able to help them.

(EF): Best advice you’ve ever gotten for staying shape?

(RF): Always find a goal that you want to achieve and then tell everyone that goal.  It is a lot harder to quit when you know you will have to explain to people why you fell short and quit.

(EF): Advice for me in getting in shape?

(RF): Getting in shape is a slow process and can start anywhere and go anywhere.  Start slow even if it is walking for 20 minutes 3 days a week.  If you slowly increase that and add in running you will be running a 5k in no time.  Then you can increase to longer distances as you build up your fitness.  I am a good example I would have never guess I would do a half Ironman when I graduated High school, but I got there slowly over many years. Just stick to it and it will get better.

(EF): Hardest you’ve ever pushed yourself?

(RF): The last part of the half Ironman, I was dying.  The last 3 miles were not fun. The furthest I have run and biked is 13.1 miles and 56 miles respectfully.

(EF): Favorite triathlon?

(RF): I really like the Buffalo triathlon.  It is well run and just a good atmosphere, It’s probably why I have done it the last 3 years.

(EF): Why do you like Rugby?

(RF): It combines so many skills in to one sport.  You need endurance because it is constantly going.  You need strength to go up against some of those guys.  It also involves a lot of skill.  It is very physical, just like football, but you don’t have to deal with all those pads.  If you have to hide behind lots of pads to make a tackle or be tackled maybe you’re not as badass as you think you are.  The people I have played rugby with are always a good group of guys.  I have met a lot of my good friend through rugby.

(EF): Why do you like triathlons?

(RF): It keeps me in shape and gives me goals to achieve.  I am always looking to see how far I can push my body physically.  When I work out I get bored, if I do the same thing over and over.  This is true even when I race.  Triathlons give me the opportunity to always be doing something different with my workout.  Then, when I race, if I get bored I know a new leg is always right around the corner.  It makes you a more well-rounded athlete.

(EF): What is the coolest thing you’ve ever done?

(RF): I skied above the clouds in the Alps of Switzerland with 1 ½ feet of fresh powder.

(EF):Where is the coolest place you’ve ever been?

(RF): I loved Bahamas sailing from island to island for a week.  Every island was different and each reef had new things to explore.

(EF): If you won the lottery, what would you buy?

(RF): I would first pay off all of my loans and my sisters loans for school.   I would buy my parents their condo by the river.  Donate money to the Courage Center, the Eastside Banshees, and the UMN PT program.  Then I would so many toys, sports equipment, wave-runners, boats, most of the items at REI, ect….

(EF): I’m going to need you to start buying more lottery tickets. On what was your last splurge?

(RF): Being a Grad student really doesn’t allow me any money to splurge on anything.  I just bought new running shoes that weren’t cheap, but I really wanted them.

(EF): What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?

(RF): I have been to over 30 different musicals.  I really do enjoy them and listen to the soundtracks when I run.  Most people don’t think I fit in to that stereotype.

(EF): What are things we can do on a daily basis to live a good life?

(RF): Enjoy the little things in life.  It is the little enjoyments that make it all worth it.  Also always look at situations from others point of view, it will make you a better person.

(EF): Do you have someone you look to for inspiration in your life?

It is cliché, but I look up to my parents.  They always work hard and are good people and that’s what I try to be.  Plus they are still standing after putting up with me for 27 years, so they are obviously very strong.

(EF): True dat. What activity makes you most happy?

(RF): I can honestly say that working out makes me happy.  I look forward to it and it gives me a sense of accomplishment.  If not that, then laying on the beach in the sunshine.

(EF): Who’s the funniest person in the world?

(RF): I am and if you don’t believe me then just ask me.

(EF): Who do you admire most in the area of sports?

(RF): I admire the little guys who were not given god-given talent, but worked really hard to get the professional level.  It makes me angry when people like them make it and people who are naturally talented just throw it all away.

(EF): In the area of design?

(RF): I am sorry Erika, but I can’t even give you a name.  Mr. Effle for his tower and the iron structure inside the statue of liberty.

(EF): Mr. Effle? He sounds fancy. What would your last meal be?

(RF): It would be ribs with and Oreo Blizzard.  My side items would be sweet potato fries and cheesy potatoes.

(EF): What would you tell the 18-year-old you?

(RF): I would just point out what is really important in life.  I think 18-year-old me had a very warped sense of what was important.  I didn’t really have a good plan of where I was going or what I needed to get there.

(EF): If you could give someone advice, what would it be?

(RF): Look for what really makes you happy and what you enjoy.  This is one aspect in your life where you need to be selfish.  If you pursue that then the rest will fall in to place.  Also, there are no short cuts or substitute for hard work.  If you really want something then it is worth working hard for it.


Money Management Wrap-Up

It’s hard to judge my progress for this week, but I suppose you have to take in account a learning curve. Most of my project have been about certain actions, not a level of understanding, which kind of makes me feel like a failure. But, you get ahead in life by actions, so here’s my meager list:

– I learned about what I spend money on, and set up budgets based on what I care to spend money on

– When I spent money on things, I did so conscientiously

– Reading I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. I’ll talk more about this book once I finish, but truly, I wish I read this 4 years ago.

– Figured out a retirement plan (so weird at age 24) between my Roth IRA and 401K

– Interviewed my financially resourceful friend Emily Cardella

– Saved money by using coupons

-Oh, and bought a $300 painting, which was an investment, right? When I saw it in Stuart, I couldn’t stop looking at it. When my mom said she would buy my next ticket home for Christmas, it was a done deal.

Personal financing is going to be an ongoing challenge.


Money War

You may have noticed that I didn’t put concrete tasks for me to work on for this project. That’s because, truly, I don’t have any clue what I’m doing financially. I could tell you I plan on packing a lunch everyday, but the amount of money I spent eating out/getting coffee during lunch this year is roughly 5% of my salary (and a lot less than that since my one comrade at work moved to New York). What I really want to do here is read as much as I can, and ask as many people as I can about personal finance. For me it’s not these daily battles, it’s the war.

From the advice of my good friend Graham, I started a 401k last year, and it’s already astounded me how much money compounded. So, for the past year I’ve been imagining myself retiring and traveling around the world first-class. Then this week someone said, “what about your Roth IRA?”. Apparently I need that to shelter my money from the taxes-of-the-future (say it in a spooky voice, it makes it more fun), and to use to put a down payment on a home in the future. So I did some research (love this article/guy), lowered the amount i was putting in my 401k and am attempting to automatically transfer money into a Charles Swab IRA.

For me, if you give me a box (or a budget) I will fill it up–no matter how big or little. The main thing I’ve been working on is delegating my money into other places (account my car loan gets taken out of, savings account, 401k, Roth) so all that I have left is a cushion amount, and enough to live comfortably.

When I say I want to live comfortably, my comfortably doesn’t necessarily mean your comfortably. I’m trying to find out what I value spending a lot of my spare income on, and then saving on the things I don’t. To figure that out, I use Mint.com to figure out my where I spend most my money. This way I can win more battles.

For me, this is mostly restaurants/groceries/bars. I live by the philosophy that you should spend more on the things closest to you. Certainty what goes inside you should be most important then? This is how it came about that I spend most of my money on groceries. A lot of the brand loyalty stuff doesn’t matter to me, though. Logan taught me how to cut out ALL the coupons I need from the Sunday paper (not just the Publix ones, but the manufacture ones too). These are the ones we brought to go shopping with:

I’m the type of person who buys 4 rolls of toilet paper at a time of Cottonelle, or whatever commercial has the bears, but we certainty didn’t shop like that on Sunday. We spent about $200 dollars, but most of it will last us for a while, so later in the month, all we need is some extra stuff–like if there’s a specific recipe I want to try, and don’t have the ingredients for. PLUS, we saved $50. I actually high-five’d Logan at about aisle 4. Well, not really. I went to high-five, and he looked at me like I was a dork. Apparently, this is nothing new to him.

What I don’t want to give up (at the mercy of everything else) is traveling (although I bought 7 round trip tickets this year, bit much), going out with friends/family/boyfriend. A good tip I recently read was, invite people over instead of going out. On Friday we went out, and I allowed a couple of my friends to buy me a drink. Usually this embarrasses me, and I almost immediately buy them 2 more drinks to make up for it. Instead, we invited those people over to our place for late night snacks. Then, instead of going out to our favorite Thai or Cuban restaurant for a date-night, yesterday Logan met me half way to my work in Fort Pierce to get the amazing lunch special at the greek place in the afternoon.

What do I need to cut back on? Basically, I should never be allowed in Target again.


Featured: Emily Cardella

When I was thinking about what of my friends I would interview for money management, Emily didn’t initially come up. Yes, she’s been known to teach me money-saving tricks, like getting day-old loafs of bread from Jimmy Johns and a pound of cheese to snack on, but it always seemed to me we were never depriving ourselves, just being resourceful or adventurous. Truly, I should be putting her interview under a project about exercise (perhaps you’ve seen her out running with her basset hound); or travel (besides one awesome trip I took with her to Colorado, she’s also been to Australia, and most recently, biking along the West coast and visiting me); or baking (ask her to make frosting or cookies, she can do it off the top of her head); or compassion (when you meet her, it’s incredibly obvious how much her friends, family (including her dog), boyfriend and patients are to her). Alas, her well-rounded nature has put her here.

EF (Me): What was your upbringing like in respects to how it affected your money management?

EC (Emily Cardella): I was brought up in a family without extra money, and I think it allows me to be able to keep calm and find other things to do when I’m nearly broke, but it also makes me want to succeed that much more, to see what its like to have money and be able to buy things when I want them. Also, I’m deathly afraid of spending more money than what I have, which I’ve only done once, when I went to Australia. It was easy when we were in college and no one had money, but I find the more mature my friends get, money wise, the harder it is to keep up with the things they want to do, consequently I am constantly looking for ways to save money and get by with less so I can do things with friends when they are around.

EF: If you won the lottery, what would you buy?

EC: First I would pay off my Australia loan, then I would give a lot of it to my parents, because I know my school was a huge financial burden to them, and they haven’t had a decent vacation in a long time. If I had any money left over I would help [my sister] Danielle pay for school (and probably [my boyfriend] Josh), then hope I got into PA school soon so I could just pay that off too. I’d visit all my friends in their crazy faraway places, buy them things (make them love me more). Then if any money was left over I’d start looking for my dream house. I’d probably buy another dog in there somewhere too. Unfortunately I never even buy lottery tickets, so this is never going to happen.

EF: What are some elements that were involved in choosing your career?

EC: I think at the core I just like helping people. Even when I wanted to be a vet I just wanted to help the animals and their owners. I get satisfaction out of making other people feel better, relieved. I hate seeing people struggling and hurting.

EF: What will you be doing after you retire?

EC: IF I retire, (it sounds kind of boring, and I’m just trying to start my career, so I have a few years before I’ll start thinking about retiring) I’ll probably be hanging out with my cows, training dogs, and snowboarding.

EF: What was the best thing you recently saved money on?

EC: Unfortunately, no matter how much I “save” when buying things I always see it as spending money. I really want these $100 pillows from Younkers, they were 50% off last week, and with the 15% coupon I could have gotten them for pretty cheap, but my mom works there too, and I didn’t have her with me to get another 23% off, so I didn’t buy them. I could have potentially “saved” a lot of money on those pillows, but not buying them at all saved me money too! (Probably just going to ask for them for my birthday)

EF: What was your last splurge on?

EC: Haha, probably that big trip around the US. :S

EF: What do you spend most your money on?

EC: Traveling. Almost every time I save up a big enough portion of money it gets spent on a trip somewhere. I may have to quit doing this for awhile, sadly.

EF: Who is better at saving money, you or Josh?

EC: Hard to say at this point, mostly because one of us has always been in school not making money while the other one has a full time job. We’re both pretty equally good at saving, which is one of the reasons I like him.

EF: What is something people would be surprised that you buy on a regular basis?

EC: The only things I repetitively purchase are food items, the next thing I’m buying is the Jim Croce album, Photographs and Memories, ($8), and yesterday I bought the Carpenters Christmas album for $0.50, both are incredible albums. I’m really excited to get a record player.

EF: What are things we can do on a daily basis to live a good life?

EC: Help others, but don’t scare them with your weirdness. Run (and/or exercise). Brush your teeth. Call your friends. Reflect. Be thankful. Have fun with whatever you’re doing. Get to know yourself. Bake. Build. Grow. Share. Relax.

EF: Do you have someone you look to for inspiration in your life?

EC: Everyone, I’ve found that if you get to know people, almost everyone has an inspiring story. My mom, and Riven. Really all my friends inspire me, I put you all on pedestals.

EF: What activity makes you most happy?

EC: Being outside. And playing with Tucker. Simplicity is the key.

EF: What would be your last meal?

EC: Something my mom cooked, anything really, as long as she made it.

EF: Who do you admire most in the area of music?

EC: Any of the small-time artists struggling at local coffee shops and bars. For some reason they always sound amazing to me, I love live music.

EF: In the area of sports?

EC: All the runners. Seriously, I’ve been trying to get myself running on a regular basis, it takes so much dedication. I succeed about 2 out of every 7 days.

EF: In the area of design?

EC: Love Sac. I really wish I had enough money to get the Sactionals. Brilliant.

EF: Where do you want to be right now?

EC:I think I’d like to be climbing a mountain. Or making another attempt  at snowboarding. However, I don’t mind where I’m at right now either. I have the day off and it’s beautiful outside, perfect temperature and the leaves are changing colors!

EF: If you could give someone advice, what would it be?

EC: Don’t stop believin’


Generosity Wrap Up

I’m wrapping up my generosity project, but I wish I wasn’t. Going from living around my friends and family and working at PBS Kids on a show I felt really made a difference in the community, to living in Florida, has left me feeling a little lost. Trying to really contribute to the world in a positive way has made me stop moving through it like limbo, biding my time.

An amazing part of really paying attention to how I treat people, is that I pay more attention to the people that do this really well: the person at the deli who always remembers peoples’ names, orders, kids, etc.; the woman in the office who sends the elevator back to the first floor in the morning, so others don’t need to wait for it; my dad who made a big batch of gluten-free waffles so I could have the stereotypical waffles and ice cream breakfast; the people who come over and help clean up before they leave; my mom getting me pretty cut-out mason jar toppers (i use mason jars as votive holders obsessively); etc.

On the other hand, I notice people that aren’t very kind. I’m not saying I did a great job of being generous. It’s especially hard to not be sarcastic at work, reclusive in the mornings and at night and un-selfish when I’m with my close friends and family. I have this awful Napoleon complex I developed in middle school when I was a lot shorter than everyone. It’s like this character that talks over people, but I can’t stop it until it’s too late. Even if people laugh at my jokes, I still feel bad. If you’re really concentrating on it, it feels like negative and self-involved people suck the air from around you, even when it’s you.

Next on the agenda is money management. Probably not going to be the most interesting project, but I need to watch what I spend in order to accomplish other things I want to do (like go to Norway next summer). There’s too many things I allow myself to spend too much money on, like: flying somewhere about once a month, getting massages and my nails done, oh, and a dozen other little obsessions, like my devotion to creating the perfect bed. Whereas most people my age are content with a set from Target, I have 4 sets of sheets (including nice egyptian cotton ones for queen and king size beds), a cloud like duvet cover with special hypo-allergenic filling, 2 duvet covers, and my new addition, a $200 quilt.

I’m sick. I need help.

Carried over from other projects:

  • Gluten-free diet.
  • More fresh veggies and fruits.
  • More hobbies and activities, less TV.
  • Avoid things that insult my soul
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Maintain a positive attitude
  • Be more charitable and generous
  • Make my friends/family know they’re important to me