A Paid-Off Car with High Miles, Not a Brand-New Car with Payments, is a New, Unspoken American Status Symbol

I noticed that back a few years ago, when I lived on the edge of Nashville, where income levels were lower than where I live now in my commuter town, that it was the norm to see so many fellow commuters driving luxury cars, on every side of me… which were obviously leased. Compare that to where I live now- people make more money, but drive older cars; not many Mercedes’ to be seen.

Owning a brand-new car is not worth celebrating, unless the person paid cash for it. Otherwise, the person is paying more money for something they couldn’t afford in the first place.

Imagine the irony: A person doesn’t have enough money to buy the product, so they agree to pay even more of the money they don’t have in the first place- in interest.

The Eighties and Nineties are long gone. No longer can we pretend we are doing financially well because of the false status symbols bought with credit. That mentality ended with the Financial Crisis of 2008; which happened to be the year I got married.

I believe our culture is now realizing that the new status symbol is being able to afford more, but choosing to save and invest that money instead.

If anything, the new status symbol is to be able to brag on how little money you paid for a product, not to allow others to believe you spent more. The new status symbol is being able to figure ways to save money and make money on the side, then share that info with everyone else. That has value.

We are living in the aftermath of the Financial Crisis of 2008. My generation is becoming the new version of those who lived through the Great Depression.

Being frugal and in full control of your finances is the ideal; not necessarily making a lot of money, only to continue to struggle to pay the bills and live in debt. Now it’s all about low overhead and living well within your means.

This month makes exactly 13 lucky years that I’ve owned my 2004 Honda Element, with 170,000 miles and a salvaged title; making it worth only about $500. Two years ago, it came within about $25 shy of being totaled, when an albino dear ran into my driver’s side door and wheel. (True story!)

But the way I see it, that car is worth a whole lot more than what I could sell it for.

It’s funny how typically, when a person “buys” a new car, the typical reaction is to be happy for them: “Oh wow! I like your new car! I wish I had something nice and shiny like that!”

When I overhear a conversation like that, I always privately think, “But yeah, now they have to be making monthly payments for the next few years, coupled with the insurance payments that accompany a new car…”

And it’s even worse if the car is leased, because there’s no chance of making any profit when the lease is done; in fact, you may end up having to pay more money if you drove too many miles or caused damage to the car.

So yeah, I am proud to drive my 2004 Honda Element. It’s a bit rusty and my kids complain about having to ride in it because, “It’s so old!”

But hey, it runs and it’s been paid off well over a decade.

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Yes, I Accept Guest Blog Posts, If You Can Afford My $35 Fee to Help Boost Your SEO (3 Steps to Getting Published in 3 Days or Less)

If you are a fellow blogger, or you manage your own small business and would like to boost the SEO for your company or brand online by linking it to a website has healthy as mine, here’s your opportunity.

After constantly receiving inquiries all last year, and having to go through the arbitrary process of negotiating my fee with each potential client, I’ve now looked back on what ultimately was the going rate in 2018: It was $35.

So in 2019, I want to make this simple for both of us and save us a bunch of time. Here’s how to get your guest blog post published here on my site:

1. Write an informative article like this one with links back to your website, as well as links to larger websites. Ideally, you will want to have a number in your title. (For example, “5 Ways to…”) This is ultimately a parenting blog, so your content should be somewhat relevant to a family lifestyle.

2. Email me your article to nickshell1983@hotmail.com, with a relevant copyright-free photo attached, with this as the subject line: “$35 Guest Blog Post”. Also let me know the name of the person, blog, or company you would like to see credited as the author.

3. Pay me the $35 fee within 7 days. Once you complete the previous step, I will review and publish your article, sending you the link for your review along with an invoice through PayPal for $35. If payment is not received within 7 days, I will delete the blog post.

So it’s that simple. There is no need to send me an initial email to start the process or to try to negotiate the rate.

Just complete all 3 steps and within 3 business days, your guest blog post will be up live on my website, and shared through my website’s Facebook fan page, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

I look forward to working with you.

And if you can’t afford my $35 right now, I have a free SEO starter kit for you right here.

At Age 37, My Wife and I Have Begun Investing Our Money, Thanks to Charles Schwab

At age 37, I am fully aware that I am now at the halfway point of the average American lifespan. I suppose this is literally the most appropriate time to have my midlife crisis.

Finally, I can trade in my old paid-off Honda Element for a brand-new Jeep Wrangler, take a spur of the moment trip to Spain, and start training for American Ninja Warrior…

But instead, I am focusing all that energy into planning for the 2nd half of my life- and my wife’s, as well as our children’s future.

My wife and I got married 10 and a half years ago, right in the middle of the 2008 Financial Crisis.

The first half of our marriage was spent building our careers from entry level positions and trying to manage the tens of thousands of dollars of debt we were in; largely due to college loans and our wedding.

The most recent half of our marriage began with us finally becoming debt-free in 2013, buying the last steal-of-a-deal new home in the Nashville area, and both finding ourselves far enough into our careers and side hustles that we started making a comfortable living.

But as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid explains, your goals and motivations evolve as you overcome your previous more basic needs and desires.

Now the focus is… how to invest our steady stream of income into our future.

I thought it was as simple as just paying off our house, then worrying about retirement afterwards.

However, my wife has been listening to the Moneywise program on Moody Radio on the way home from work each day. She explained to me that based on our interest rate on our home, it would actually be a better investment of our money to start building our retirement now, alongside paying off our mortgage early.

My wife then set us up an appointment with Charles Schwab financial investment company, which she had been hearing endorsed on Moneywise.

Today was the big day.

Our financial advisor helped us rollover my 401K from my previous employer to traditional IRA and select a portfolio for it. She also gave us direction on determining our financial goals so we could better plan our retirement and our kids’ college funds.

This was a major milestone for us. Here’s to the second half of life!

Is Age 37 Too Young for a Midlife Crisis? 1st World Problems and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

I’m pretty sure that at age 37, I’m currently working my way through my midlife crisis. While at first mention, it might seem I’m getting mine out of the way a little early, consider that the average American man in Tennessee lives to be about 74 years old. So actually, I’m actually right on cue:

If I live that long, then my life is already halfway complete at this point.

Perhaps the biggest struggle I am sorting out is that, as of this year, I have officially found myself at the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Self-Actualization.

The way I like to explain how Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs works is this:

If and when you are able to overcome needs in each stage of your life, they are simply replaced by new ones that you didn’t have the privilege of addressing before.

Things started progressing quickly on my journey up the pyramid, in my mid-30s, when I discovered that it was always my decision whether I allowed other people to emotionally affect me. During that same time in my life, my wife and I had become completely debt-free, other than our mortgage.

Now in our late 30s, we have found ourselves in a new income level bracket; having both progressed our ways up the corporate ladder, in addition to the aforementioned pyramid.

I think the identity crisis I am going through right now is that we both work full-time jobs in offices, in addition to side jobs online. The money simply goes to paying off our mortgage, our kids’ college funds, and our retirement.

It’s just sort of demotivating to consider how much of our time is spent working- and how little time is spent together as a family.

Plus, I really want a Jeep Wrangler. I’ve been dreaming about owning one for years. But having gone years without a car payment, and knowing that buying my dream car would only take away from our savings and our ability to pay extra each month on our mortgage, I just wouldn’t be able to enjoy it anyway.

Clearly, I have first world problems. Yet according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, they are still legitimate challenges that I am sorting out in my life.

This is my midlife crisis at age 37.

The Search for Wisdom, Truth, and Meaning Ends with Life’s Responsibilities; Including Marriage, Children, and a Mortgage (Or, “I Used to Be a Lot More Fun, Yet Self-Centered and Emotionally Needy”)

As my 20th high school reunion is coming up in less than a year, I think it’s funny how certain people probably remember me as a person I no longer am; for better or worse.

Sure, I used to be a lot more fun back before I was so well immersed in all my current responsibilities. But I also know for a fact that I used to let a lot of things bother me that I no longer do.

One of the least favorite years of my life was when I was 20 years old, back in 2001. And no, it wasn’t necessarily because that was the year of the September 11th attacks. It was because, at the time, my identity as an adult was still forming.

I was finishing up community college, before transferring to Liberty University where I would get my English degree. I had a part-time job as the supervisor of an after-school program. I was a Junior High Sunday School teacher and youth leader at my hometown church. And I was single.

Back then, I was still on a noble quest for things like wisdom, truth, and meaning in life.

Fast forward to present day: I’m 37, I have been married for 10 years (as of next Thursday), I have 2 kids, and I have a full time office job in the Nashville area; in addition to my 4 side hustle jobs that also generate income (this blog, doing SEO for a major university, and 2 YouTube channels).

My wife and I are on a passionate mission to pay off our mortgage early, as we’ve been otherwise debt-free for many years now; including no car payments. We are very inspired to outsmart the system of having to work our entire adult lives just to pay interest to the bank for our home loan.

That’s where I’m at in life.

So honestly, I can’t remember the last time I thought about searching for wisdom, truth, or meaning. I don’t need to.

By default, I get my daily share of wisdom, truth, and meaning through all of my many responsibilities in life; as a married father of 2, with a total of 5 income-generating jobs.

It may seem a bit anticlimactic or unromantic, but responsibility is the answer to trying to find wisdom, truth, and meaning.

Google, YouTube, and Amazon: How People are Constantly Making Money from All 3 Forces of the Trifecta of the Modern Day Tower of Babel

Allow me to introduce you to the underworld of the Internet, where people earn passive incomes, thanks to the rest of the world constantly searching for answers on Google, products on Amazon, and education and entertainment on YouTube. These are the 3 forces that help sustain the modern day Tower of Babel.

I think of it as the perfect relationship between creators and consumers.

While it might make us uncomfortable to admit it, these 3 search engines combined serve as a man-made, all-knowing, instantly accessible, god-like entity with instant answers that people can literally see right there on the screen.

No praying required, no real faith involved here. Just type a few words and immediately become more enlightened.

It’s like we’re climbing the stairs to the top of the Tower of Babel, like finding our own way to Heaven; or at least to a more convenient version of life. But hey, if that thought really makes you feel bad; that in theory, we’re all participating in the the modern day Tower of Babel, just promise to never use Google, YouTube, or Amazon again.

Do you want to instantly know how to predict if a young man is going to go bald? Just Google it, and you’ll get to me.

Do you want to know what the best yet affordable espresso machine is on the market? Just Google it, and you’ll get to me.

Do you want to instantly know how to be cured of dyshidrotic eczema without depending on prescriptions from a doctor? Just Google it, and you’ll get to me.

Okay, so maybe you personally aren’t currently looking for answers to these questions. That’s okay. Because somebody else is. All the time. And I am getting a piece of the pie.

How so? This is a glimpse at the way it works.

Having an SEO rich website, for people to stumble upon while searching something on Google:

I own the equivalent of real estate here on the Internet. I have this blog you’re reading now, which has been around since May 2009, which contains over 2400 different articles, all of which contain a minimum of 300 words each. This serves as my dragnet to “capture” a decent portion of a great number of things people might be searching at any giving moment on the Internet. Every second of every day.

Because of this, and other secret reasons, my blog (this website) has good SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Therefore, companies realize this when they themselves search for certain keywords (which I carefully implanted here on my website). They obviously want their product featured on easy-to-find platforms like mine, so they reach out to me; offering a free product and/or payment in exchange for being featured here on my “real estate”.

Having a YouTube channel with a decent amount of subscribers:

I have come to the realization that most people don’t realize YouTubers actually make money every time someone clicks on an ad that shows before a YouTuber’s video. With over 2,000 videos, and each one averaging at least 4 minutes long, I have a steady stream of newcomers landing on my YouTube channel each day.

The more who subscribe, the more views I get, the more money I make. From there, I make videos to coincide with certain blog topics that I write about here on my blog. That way, I can use both my blog and YouTube channel in connection with one another; potentially bringing my audiences together.

Having an Amazon Affiliate account to earn a commission from any items sold, from links I plant on my website and YouTube videos:

Fathom this truth… anytime you click on a link that takes you to Amazon and you end up buying anything, the person who put that link there gets a portion of that sale. The link you clicked may have been for a children’s booster car seat, but after clicking the link, you may have wandered off and instead, ended up buying organic vegan Ramen noodles. 

It doesn’t matter. Amazon rewards people like me who have popular enough platforms to usher people over to Amazon and buy a product.

So obviously, in each of my most popular blog posts and YouTube videos, as well as most of my newest ones, there is at least one link to an Amazon product; as I capitalize on the fact I have a decent sized blog, with an accompanying YouTube channel.

Now knowing this about me, do you think differently of this family friendly daddy blogger?

Am I a sneaky guy who preys on unassuming people who are casually searching things on the Internet?

Or am I just another business-minded creative personality who understands how the system works; that consumers are constantly searching for answers and that I might as well be the one with some of those answers. I have just enough answers to get more than a thousand people to stumble upon my website and YouTube channel each day.

So the next time you Google something random end up on someone’s website, think, “I’m improving their power and presence on the Internet.”

The next time you need to learn something by watching a YouTube video and click on the ad that shows before it, think, “I just made that person a fraction of a penny.”

And the next time you click on a link on a website than transports you to Amazon and you buy something, think, “Somebody somewhere is getting a percentage of this sale.”

You now understand the basics of the business model of the modern day Tower of Babel.

For $100, I Will Promote Your Business in a Guest Blog Post and Help Enhance Your SEO (7 Reasons to Hire Me)

So far this year, I’ve had 2 separate businesses approach me about essentially buying ad space in the form of a guest blog post…

For $100, I Will Promote Your Business in a Guest Blog Post and Help Enhance Your SEO (7 Reasons to Hire Me)

By hiring me, I not only helped those companies get exposure and establish authority in their field on an established 3rd party website, but it also ultimately helped increase their SEO (search engine optimization); as Google rewards the link in the bio, and that provides ranking value when people search, especially if there is semantic content surrounding the key phrases.

I could easily and quickly do the same for you.

Not to mention, I would be publicizing your blog post(s) on my social media channels: I have over 1,000 “likes” (followers) on my Facebook fan page, in addition to over 1,100 Facebook friends on my personal account, over 700 followers on Twitter… plus over 400 blog subscribers through WordPress.

The first company to utilize my services this year was Comcast; they ended up hiring me for 3 separate posts:

XFINITY X1 DVR: Taking Entertainment on the Go for Road Trips

Comcast + DreamWorks Animation = Future of Family Entertainment

XFINTIY’s Share App Lets You Stream Live from Smartphone to TV

More recently, Superior Honda hired me to publish their guest blog post as well.

3 Tips for Getting the Best Deal When Buying a Car

I base my $100 fee on the pricing that Comcast proposed to me when they reached out to me. It was worth it to them to hire me for that rate; as was the case with Superior Honda, who was next in line.

So my rate is not simply arbitrary. It’s based on what I’ve been paid 4 times now by 2 different companies this year. That is the rate that the free market has decided my services are currently worth, based on my size and reach.

(For a bit more, you can hire me to write the article myself, instead of you sending me a pre-written guest blog post yourself. I have an English degree from Liberty University, so I am skilled in this area.)

In case you’re considering doing business with me, here is some information about my website, Family Friendly Daddy Blog, that I feel you will find appealing. These are 7 reasons to hire me for the gig:

1) This blog was born in May 2009; making it over 7 years old- meaning that my blog is an established website to link to, which is important for SEO.

2) Visitor traffic on my blog averages around 14,000 views per month. That’s pretty solid traffic for a 3rd party blog. The fact that you’re reading my blog post now proves my blog is effective in reaching new readers.

3) I personally feature no “official” ads on my website (though occasionally WordPress does use discreet banner ads at the bottom of my posts), as my blog only earns money through sponsored guest blog posts. What that means is my blog isn’t flashing ads like Time Square. If you choose me for the job, visitors won’t be distracted by other companies or products when they read your guest blog post. Instead, they’ll be more focused on your brand.

4) For no additional fee, I am happy to include one of your YouTube videos to further reach your potential customers through yet another social media platform.

5) In most cases, I can have the guest blog post up within 48 hours. I will simply invoice you through PayPal the moment I publish the article, after I email you the blog link.

6) I begin every sponsored post with the proper disclaimer, to make readers immediately aware of our independently contracted business agreement. I play by the rules.

7) My rate is pretty decent; as a legitimate 3rd party independent blogger. I feel that 100 bucks is a good deal for the package I offer.

If you’re interested in moving forward, there are just 3 simple steps. Here’s what to do next:

1) Send me an email to nickshell1983@hotmail.com, including your guest blog draft; ideally between 300 to 400 words relevant to a “family friendly” audience. (Please see the standard set by Superior Honda, 3 Tips for Getting the Best Deal When Buying a Carwhich serves as a useful blog post that readers would choose to read anyway. It’s very clever!)

2) Attach at least one related photo to illustrate your blog post.

3) Include a bio line, which will trace you and your company’s website to my blog. For example, at the end of the guest blog post: “Max is a marketing assistant for Superior Honda, a new and used Honda dealership in Louisiana.

That’s it. From there, I will follow up to confirm when the post will go live. Then I’ll send you the link and a PayPal invoice.

Let me know if I can answer any questions about my services. I am Nick Shell with Family Friendly Daddy Blog and I believe I can help your business.