HomeFinancial ExperiencesGet your $h!t together.

Get your $h!t together.

At first glance I likely appear to be obsessed with making money and growing our wealth. That’s half-true. While there is no denying I enjoy projectile vomiting money in to our savings account each month, I don’t do it for the reason you may think.

I don’t need, or want, to be rich. Then why are we saving/investing over 50% of our income each month you ask? Check it…

We don’t want money to hinder us from being awesome at life.

This is no different from the reason we eat relatively healthy and exercise frequently; we don’t want our health to limit our quality of life.

You ever heard of a morbidly obese person climbing Mt. Everest? Have you seen someone with maxed out credit cards and a low-income purchase a $20,000 used car with cash? No, you haven’t.

I could care less how much debt you have or how much you make. I only care about how you answer this question; Are you happy?

It’s taken five years, but I can say without a shadow of doubt, I am. My worth is not wrapped up in how much I have, but in how I live my life. Do you think people will remember me for owning a huge house or dying with a few million in the bank? Heck no. But they might remember me for sending some high school kids to summer camp. Or perhaps for creating a silly blog that inspired a person or two to get their finances in order.

I don’t suspect my grandchildren will recognize the name Warren Buffet when they are adults, but they will likely know the name Martin Luther King Jr.

Are you happy? Is your financial situation preventing you from achieving your goals?

p.s. We will be on NBC today (Steve Harvey Show). You can check here for local listing times. I’ll try to post video of it in the next few days for those that can’t record it.



  1. The NBC blurb for today’s Steve Harvey show reads: “Steve helps a husband redo his wedding proposal; a woman has rescued 47 at-risk teens from the streets and raised them in her own home; handling a cheap man.” Since I don’t think you’re going to redo your wedding proposal or you’re actually a woman who has rescued 47 teens of any type, I assume you’re going to be douched as a “cheap man.” Good luck.

  2. Ha ha!! That will be awesome. Let’s see if they can escape making you look like a D-bag.

    To answer your question, yes I am very happy in my life. Feels good.

    • You in no way came off looking bad, it came across all in fun. I assumed that her video to Steve was done after the fact, since you told us up front NBC had contacted you so that was weird and contrived. And I agree with other posters that the advice that the financial expert gave you was laughable at best. I said to myself, “Ninja (Brandon) has it covered lady.”

      I hope you enjoyed the experience, it will definitely be something fun to share with your future children. 🙂

  3. This is a great post becuase it’s exactly how I feel. I don’t care about being a bazillionaire. I don’t want a ferrari (well actually, that would be cool, but it’s not a goal of mine) and I don’t want a mansion. I just want to live in my home with my wife and kids and not have money get in the way of my girls going to school every year or visiting family on Chrsitmas, etc. That’s all. I just don’t want money to be in the way. Awesome post man, awesome!

  4. I think the big thing for me (although I haven’t yet tried to put it in words, so here goes) is being present in life. Not being distracted or consumed by my job or finances. Being present in my life, the lives of my friends, family, and future children.

  5. They didn’t make you look too cheap or like too much of a douche…I was interested enough to check out your blog for the first time. Looking forward to reading more!

  6. Hmmm wonder if it was fate that I caught you on tv today.. Generally I am working but happen to be home with my daughter.. First I must say, your wife is awesome, well you both are actually.. To make your finances a priority is unheard of in this debt ridden world we live in.. Kudos, you have inspired me to read up on your blogs & make getting out of debt our families priority.. So thank you!!

  7. I don’t think you looked like a douche on TV, I think girl ninja kind of game off bimboish though. I feel like the specialist who spoke to you was kind of an idiot but that also might be because as a long time reader of your blog I have more insight on your current financial situation and future goals than they were going to discuss on TV.

    • In Girl Ninja’s defense, almost every single line she said was scripted by the producers. They didn’t prep me or tell me what to say at all, but to make sure she appeared that she was frustrated with our budget, they told her exactly what she needed to say. You remember that “plea” video at the very beginning of the segment where Girl Ninja was asking for help?

      That never happened, they reached out to me from this blog. She didn’t even film the “plea” until AFTER we finished our interview with Steve.

      And I agree, that specialist was just weird. I mean, they reached out to me because they said I was a financial expert, then they have some specialist give us advice on a problem that doesn’t really exist. Gotta love TV.

      • Let me speak only to what I saw on the show, as if I had no prior knowledge of either of you:

        a) I thought the host sounded like an idiot, until they brought on The Village Explainer and she sounded even more like an idiot.

        b) The size of the allowance per se was not the issue for me; for me the issue was the fact that there was a fixed allowance at all that you were apparently controlling. The producers were plainly trying to make you look like the villain on that account. And (not saying this is what really goes on between you) in that regard they may have a point: giving your spouse an “allowance” is like to putting them on a leash and saying you don’t trust them to behave financially responsibly. It makes you seem like unequal partners, and if “happiness” is truly your priority, better to not worry about $100 or $200 here and there if it means an atmosphere of greater trust.

        c) Are we now allowed to call you Brandon and Lauren, or must we continue saying Ninja and Girl Ninja? Of course, during the first segment, a big STEVE was imprinted on the screen right on top of you, which made me wonder if your real name was STEVE. And what drama to reseat you after the break and do that little game with the “splurge.”

        d) You both looked really nice, but I think letting your hair grow out some more would look more becoming. (Brandon, that is. STEVE is a lost cause.) That would also save you money on haircuts.

        Later perhaps I’ll write more on your primary question above.

        • A) yeah, I zoned out during the Specialists advice. I was just thinking, “WTF, why is someone giving me advice right now?” while she talked.

          B) I totally get the spending allotment thing isn’t for everyone. We tried it out. Then we stopped using it. After almost a year of non-allowance spending, Girl Ninja asked if we could reinstate it.

          C) You can call me Brandon and Girl Ninja Lauren if you’d like, but I will still refer to ourselves by our pseudonyms 🙂 They are way cooler sounding. And I’m not ready to give up three years of history.

          D) I use to have my hair longer, but for the last 8 years I’ve kept it short. I haven’t paid for a haircut since 2004 because I bought a pair of clippers for $20 and buzz my hair every six weeks or so in my bathroom. How’s that for frugality!

          You have made quite a name for yourself here Larry. I even had other PF bloggers ask me about you at the conference. You’re kind of a big deal. Hopefully one day we will be in the same area and can meet up for drinks!

          • Aw, shucks, Bran – Nin – whatever I’m supposed to call you now. A big deal, huh? Shoot me an email; I’d like to know what other bloggers asked about me. Did you meet Mike Piper there?

            “After almost a year of non-allowance spending, Girl Ninja asked if we could reinstate it. We decided together on the $100 budget.”

            That totally did not come through from the show.

            Of course if you’re ever in NY or I in Seattle, we can meet up.

      • I kind of figured that was the case and I was pretty frustrated with the whole bit because I feel like I “know” you guys from having read the blog for so long and the segment didn’t fit the version of you I had in my head. Except for the fact that you both looked SMOKIN’.

      • Now you really know the truth – nearly all of the Radio/TV segments you hear/watch are FAKE in some way. We’ll do just about anything for ratings – even make people LIE!!! Welcome to the dark side…

  8. Happy; yes! Financial situation preventing us from achieving goals; no! Also, got a sweet note from one of your campers last week! She said the trip was AMAZING;)

  9. Saw you on Steve Harvey today!! I had my husband on a $100 a month budget about 10 years ago … it definitely set us on the right financial track. But he still won’t let me live it down. I just take all of his wise cracks as ‘thank yous’ … considering he had a 401k loan when we met. 🙂

    Fun blog, glad to have found you!!

    • Haha, I don’t have Girl Ninja on anything. We decided together on the $100 budget. She tells me what to do 🙂 Kinda like you told your husband 😉

      Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you around!

  10. Ninja Brandon–

    The segment was goofy and enjoyable, and it would be obvious to virtually anyone that it was quite orchestrated. Sure, they tried to portray your as a bit of a control freak, but they did it in a light-hearted way. I thought you both represented yourself very well, and certainly got some great pub.

    Shows like Steve’s don’t really run stories like, “here is a guy with a blog who knows quite a bit about money”, so focusing on the $100 scenario gave them something to talk about, and gave you guys a chance to step into the limelight.


    I was happy to see that they showed one of your cartoons!!!

    Nice work, huys!

  11. I tuned in to the site after watching the show. Keep in mind that the show is a week old,they had to get some content to get started. I look forward to following your blog. The $100 scenario caused quite an uproar on my fb page when I asked my friends what they thought about it.

  12. Re: your “artwork” on the post…um, I actually DO know someone who took a chunk of their student loan money and invested it in the stock market, and made a killing. (It is sorta kinda totally illegal though.)

    As for whether I’m happy? Meh. More money would make things easier and would reduce some stresses & give me more freedom, but not being “rich” isn’t my biggest stumbling block to my personal happiness.

  13. […] explains his thoughts on money and happiness.  It’s not about being rich, it’s about having the things that matter in […]

  14. […] Get Your $h!t Together – Punch Debt in the Face It is sometimes too easy to become obsessed with Personal Finance and a frugal lifestyle. Ninja re-emphasises the importance of happiness. […]

  15. Haha, I actually had a friend in business school who said and did this. He wanted to earn enough money to fund his multiple plastic surgeries. Too bad that he invested right before the economy went south (and therefore lost money) and still got the surgeries via financing…

  16. […] Debt in the Face has one simple thing to say to you. Get your sh*t together. Now go see what he’s talking about […]

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