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Barack Obama: Yes We Can Music Video February 7, 2008

Posted by pf in Uncategorized.
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Last month (just after the Iowa caucuses), I wrote a short bit about the 2008 election and encouraged everyone to vote. Since then, I have continued to watch with great interest as we look to elect the next President of our country. Also, of course, I voted during my own state’s primary.

Today, I read about a new Barack Obama video that was developed by will.i.am from the Blackeyed Peas. Generally, my intent for this blog is to focus on personal finance topics and keep politics on the sidelines, but encourage everyone to vote for their candidate of choice. As of now, I don’t really plan to alter my approach there. However, upon watching this video, I found myself being filled up with strong emotions about our country and our opportunity to steer ourselves in a new direction.


Church and Money December 3, 2007

Posted by pf in Expenses and Savings.
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This past week, I received a stack of envelopes from our local church.  This church is not just a random one, but where we have baptised all of our children.  However, aside from that, we don’t regularly attend (another topic entirely). 

Now, while I am all for giving, I have a real challenge with the way in which this particular church (although I actually think this is a common practice, I don’t want to over-generalize since I don’t really know enough about it) goes about it. 

In particular, I notice how the envelopes are coded so they can be tracked.  Granted, there may be a legitimate administrative purpose here, but generally, my perception is that they are used to monitor who, what, and when someone has given.   I hate the idea of my giving being monitored and / or potentially targeted for other initiatives, drives or calls for stewardship that may come along. 

Unfortunately, I think my distaste for the envelopes are symptomatic of a larger dissatisfaction with how the organized church is run with large sums spent for churches (albeit very nice ones), covering up or mismanagement of serious issues, as well as some of the subtle pressure tactics used to increase funding of the church. 

For myself, I will continue to give as directly as possible – either monetarily or of myself versus through the “middle man” of the organized church.

Make Your Finances Six Sigma! November 20, 2007

Posted by pf in Expenses and Savings, Goals, Uncategorized.
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Six Sigma excerpts from Wikipedia:

Six Sigma is a set of practices originally developed by Motorola to systematically improve processes by eliminating defects.  The term “Six Sigma” refers to the ability of highly capable processes to produce output within specification.  In particular, processes that operate with six sigma quality produce at defect levels below 3.4 defects per one million opportunities.  Six Sigma’s implicit goal is to improve all processes to that level of quality or better.

Some of you may be familiar with Six Sigma in your workplace or may have at least heard of it.  In general, the idea of of Six Sigma is to reduce defects / variation in your process in order to create a more consistent output or result.  Achieving Six Sigma is extremely difficult…many processes don’t even make 5 sigma!  One of the most common approaches for Six Sigma is called the DMAIC method (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control).  You can apply this approach to your personal finances in order to reduce defects in your personal finance “process”