How My Kids Got so Darn Smart about Money!

How My Kids Got so Darn Smart about Money!

I have a secret weapon, and I’m not just going to tell you about it. I’m going to tell you how to get it without spending a dime -if you hurry.

One year ago a friend introduced me to the basic version of a modern-day piggy bank/money education tool that has turned out to be one of those happy surprises in life that is too good not to share.

You know how everyone else’s kids are at the mall -“I want this, I neeeeeed this. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease can I Haaaave it?!!”   My kids aren’t like that now.

In 12 months, they transformed from whiney consumers into savvy little savers that get strange envious looks from other parents when they chat with obvious relish about saving, goal setting, doing chores and odd jobs for money, earning interest, and slashing unnecessary purchases in pursuit of glorious goals like legos starwars and battle droids.

And get this -they don’t expect Dad to pay for them. There’s no begging anymore. Just planning, earning, saving and appreciating. It’s freaking awesome!

My friend introduced me the free, basic version of Family Mint, but it really wasn’t until he told me how to upgrade to the expensive Premium version that we started to see the magic happen. Oh, and he did it for free!

Turns out his financial advisor’s firm provides this as a value-add for all their clients and anyone that is introduced to them by someone already using their Family Mint Premium. Of course they probably hope to earn your business someday but here’s the thing. As of right now, they don’t require you to become a client, ever, and they won’t bug you.

So guess what? I’M INTRODUCING YOU! Just visit their webpage like I did here  learn, shoot them a nice email saying you’d like to sign up for Family Mint, and they’ll send you simple instructions and the current access code for complementary subscription.

Voila! Money Savvy Kids that make you look like a super-parent!

Click the link, read and watch the short video. It’s totally true and feel free to leave a comment here to thank me later! Oh, and subscribe to updates from my blog please by adding your email in the upper right corner (is that too much to ask?)

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BIG GOVERNMENT vs. THE SPRING POND BEAVERS -a clever indictment of over-blown bureaucratic behaviour

Unlike most “wish I’d said that” tales we’ve run by, this one happens to be TRUE!  This is an actual letter sent to a man named Ryan DeVries by the Department of Environmental Quality, State of Michigan. This guy’s response is hilarious, but read the State’s letter before you get to the response letter.

Mr. de Vries is my kind of guy. His response is a classic. ENJOY!

December 17, 1997
Mr. Ryan DeVries 2088 Dagget Pierson, MI 49339
Dear Mr. DeVries:
SUBJECT: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023-1 T11N, R10W, Sec. 20, Montcalm County

It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Quality that there has been recent unauthorized activity on the above referenced parcel of property. You have been certified as the legal landowner and/or contractor who did the following unauthorized activity:
Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outlet stream of Spring Pond. A permit must be issued prior to the start of this type of activity. A review of the Department’s files show that no permits have been issued. Therefore, the Department has determined that this activity is in violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Michigan Compiled Laws annotated.

The Department has been informed that one or both of the dams partially failed during a recent rain event, causing debris dams and flooding at downstream locations. We find that dams of this nature are inherently hazardous and cannot be permitted. The Department therefore orders you to cease and desist all unauthorized activities at this location, and to restore the stream to a free-flow condition by removing all wood and brush forming the dams from the strewn channel. All restoration work shall be completed no later than January 31, 1998.
Please notify this office when the restoration has been completed so that a follow-up site inspection may be scheduled by our staff. Failure to comply with this request, or any further unauthorized activity on the site, may result in this case being referred for
elevated enforcement action, a penalty of $10,000 a day. We anticipate and would appreciate your full cooperation in this matter.
Please feel free to contact me at this office if you have any questions.
David L. Price
District Representative Land and Water Management Division

Mr. Stephen Tvedten’s Response RESPONSE:   (note: highlights added by editor)

Dear Mr. Price: Re: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N, R10W, Sec 20; Montcalm County
Your certified letter dated 12/17/97 has been handed to me to respond to. You sent out a great deal of carbon copies to a lot of people, but you neglected to include their addresses. You will, therefore, have to send them a copy of my response.
First of all, Mr. Ryan DeVries is not the legal landowner and/or contractor at 2088 Dagget, Pierson, Michigan.
I am the legal owner and a couple of beavers are in the (State unauthorized) process of constructing and maintaining two wood “debris” dams across the outlet stream of my Spring Pond.
While I did not pay for, nor authorize, their dam project, I think they would be highly offended you call their skillful use of natural building materials “debris.” I would like to challenge you to attempt to emulate their dam project any dam time and/or any dam place you choose. I believe I can safely state there is no dam way you could ever match their dam skills, their dam resourcefulness, their dam ingenuity, their dam persistence, their dam determination and/or their dam work ethic.

As to your dam request the beavers first must fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of dam activity, my first dam question to you is: are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers or do you require all dam beavers throughout this State to conform to said dam request? If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, please send me completed copies of all those other applicable beaver dam permits. Perhaps we will see if there really is a dam violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Michigan Compiled Laws annotated.
My first concern is – aren’t the dam beavers entitled to dam legal representation?
The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destitute and are unable to pay for said dam representation – so the State will have to provide them with a dam lawyer.  The Department’s dam concern that either one or both of the dams failed during a recent rain event causing dam flooding is proof we should leave the dam Spring Pond Beavers alone rather than harassing them and calling them dam names. If you want the dam stream “restored” to a dam free-flow condition – contact the dam beavers – but if you are going to arrest them (they obviously did not pay any dam attention to your dam letter-being unable to read English) – be sure you read them their dam Miranda rights first.
As for me, I am not going to cause more dam flooding or dam debris jams by interfering with these dam builders. If you want to hurt these dam beavers – be aware I am sending a copy of your dam letter and this response to PETA. If your dam Department seriously finds all dams of this nature inherently hazardous and truly will not permit their existence in this dam State – I seriously hope you are not selectively enforcing this dam policy, or once again both I and the Spring Pond Beavers will scream prejudice!
 In my humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build their dam unauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green, and water flows downstream. They have more dam right than I to live and enjoy Spring Pond. So, as far as I and the beavers are concerned, this dam case can be referred for more dam elevated enforcement action now.
Why wait until 1/31/98? The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice then, and there will be no dam way for you or your dam staff to contact/harass them then.
In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention a real environmental quality (health) problem: bears are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you should be persecuting the defecating bears and leave the dam beavers alone. If you are going to investigate the beaver dam, watch your step! (The bears are not careful where they dump!) Being unable to comply with your dam request, and being unable to contact you on your dam answering machine, I am sending this response to your dam office.
Sincerely, Stephen L. Tvedten

(note: Mr. Tvedten was apparently Mr. DeVries tenant, and deserves credit for this whitty response- a point sorely lacking in the internet versions of this event, which also mistakenly have this taking place in Pennsylvania instead of Michigan!)

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FULL SPEED INTO THE FOURTH TURNING -Cliff Notes for the New Normal

Master Historian and “Cycles Man” Neil Howe believes we are headed in to what he calls a “fourth turning,”
It's here.....

-a period that is invariably marked by great turmoil and crisis, as well as rare opportunity for those that understand the “Rhymes of History”  (World Wars I and II, as well as the Great Depression are prototypical fourth turning periods).

One of my favorite examples of the sort of societal shifts Neil talks about is the difference between the 1950s and the 1960s, which you can see in the photos here.

Literally no one saw it coming.



Luckily for busy folks like you and me, there is a cliff-notes version of the Fourth Turning compiled by investing guru Doug Casey from the exclusive interview he did with Neil Howe last year.  You owe it to yourself to download it and read it here.

You won’t be disappointed:

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“ICH BIN JUNK!”  This is the car that gave Communism a bad name.

Powered by a two-stroke pollution generator that maxed out at an ear-splitting 18 hp, the Trabant was a hollow lie of a car constructed of recycled worthlessness

(actually, the body was made of a fiberglass-like Duroplast, reinforced with recycled fibers like cotton and wood).

A virtual antique when it was designed in the 1950s, the Trabant was East Germany’s answer to the VW Beetle — a “people’s car,” as if the people didn’t have enough to worry about.

Trabants smoked like an Iraqi oil fire, when they ran at all, and often lacked even the most basic of amenities, like brake lights or turn signals.

 But history has been kind to the Trabi. Thousands of East Germans drove their Trabants over the border when the Wall fell, which made it a kind of automotive liberator. Once across the border, the none-too-sentimental Ostdeutschlanders immediately abandoned their cars. Ich bin Junk!

Read more:,28804,1658545_1658533_1658030,00.html #ixzz1vhrxdtDI

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High Energy Russian Flash-Mob -must watch!

Odds are IRVING BERLIN would be proud of this enthusiastic rendition of his famous “Put’n on the Ritz” by a well-choreographed flash mob (perhaps helped along by a little vodka).  Be sure to TURN UP YOUR SPEAKERS  (especially if you’re at work! ;)


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If I actually had any spare money to “give back”, donating to these guys would be near the top of my list.

Global Peace Partners is passionately building non-profit state-of-the-art Flying Hospitals which will bring emergency responders, critical supplies and equipment, anywhere in the world within hours of global catastrophe, before government aid bureaucrats even have time to get their pants on. 

Check out this picture from their site of a flying operating room   -how cool is this? Apparently they’ve convinced some of the folks in the aerospace industry to get involved designing and funding and perhaps piloting these flying ambassadors of good will, wherever disaster strikes.

Flying Hospitals from Global Peace Partners              

Some might wonder why the guys who also manufacture fighters, bombers and other aircraft of destruction would want to be involved in a charity that sends Flying Hospitals anywhere they are needed. I say “good on them”!  Even Ebenezer Scrooge of Dicken’s fame once had a change of paradigm exclaiming (I paraphrase):

“The World doesn’t need another bomber, what we need is more 747’s converted to mobil emergency response hospitals”

I have no affiliation with these guys, but was truly impressed by what I read at their site at

When I’m rich, famous, good-looking and ready to “Give Back”, I hope Global Peace Partners is there to receive my generous donations.

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In the 3 minute award-winning film Be Good, Joe is the ultimate slacker, hung over and screwed up. But during a rare sober moment as he turns 30, Joe decides its suddenly time to become a responsible person.

Lurching hilariously toward that goal, he’s more shocked than anyone at the surprise ending that finally gives meaning to his life!

..kind of like A Wonderful Life, but in 3 minutes and Clarence has paws.  It’ll bring a smile to your face.

Watch it!


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