Money-goes-far-in-Missouri-Show-me-the-moneyI posted the following on Facebook:

“By not saving & managing your money in your youth…you greatly increase the likelihood that you will one day feel enslaved to a job. People will tell you that money doesn’t make you happy, and that’s because they are broke. Money will offer you freedom, which can lead to both peace and happiness. Make it-Share it-Save it”

Uncle Tony

Being on the radio for almost 20 years has taught me that you can’t make a statement everyone will agree with, and so I was not shocked that a few (very few) disagreed.  However, I am a little shocked that someone would disagree.  Does that make sense?  Sure, I know that not everyone will realize I’m like a Caucasian Buddha, but not sure how anyone can deny the importance of money here in America.  Regardless, I want to clarify my statement to help people understand the brilliance that flowed so easily from my tortured mind.

Note that I didn’t say money can take care of all of our problems, and that it is the source of happiness. I said it can make life easier for you. When life is easier it can thus bring more peace and happiness to most situations.  For example, one of my dear friends replied with the following statement to my post:

I agree with you Tony. Always been a “save for rainy day” fund gal. In my 20s..when we were making very good money-we both socked 16 percent into 401ks…bought a modest home.  15 year mortgage ( house now paid off and I am only 43 ). Being responsible then when we were making big bucks saved me a world of grief later.

You will notice the phrase, “Saved me a world of grief later.”   What you don’t know is my good friend lost her husband to cancer at a very young age, and was left to raise 3 children. Did the money take away the grief.  No.  Did she ever think the money would replace the loss of the love of her life?  No.  However, did it reduce the stress in her life greatly? Absolutely.  Let me give you an example on the other side of the spectrum.  My parents are now almost 80 years of age, and despite having Medicaid and an AARP health policy their medications cost them over $500 a month.  If my parents had not saved money then they would be having even more struggles  Life is still difficult for them, but at least one stressor has been removed due to a few extra “Benjamins” in the bank.

Money shouldn’t be worshiped, and allowed to control us, but you sure as hell better learn to respect it and know the value of it.  I’m not speaking from a place of expertise, but I am speaking from experience.  I’ve made and continue to make great money, but because I wasn’t wise throughout the years it has tripled the amount of stress I have in my life.  I simply didn’t listen to my father who told me to save my money.  Now, please know I’m blessed beyond my dreams with most of the important things in life so don’t miss my point about money. My post is simply a way of advising younger folks to not just live for today.  Sure, enjoy today and spend some of your money on things that will bring joy into your life…just don’t spend all of it!

A few others insinuated that my Facebook post showed that I’m a broken man and in need of turning things over to God.  I would like to say that we are all broken, and you know what is worse than being broken?  Being broken and broke at the same time!  I fully believe that a belief in a high power will bring an incredible amount of peace during difficult times.  However, God doesn’t even carry a wallet, which makes it very difficult for Him to pay my rent.

 

rodThere comes a time in our life when we need to say, “I have no one to blame.”  If you are like me that time may have come later than you hoped, because it is a very health time of awareness.  Many go through life blaming their parents, an employer, spouse(s), friends, and for some…even their kids for not being the man or woman they dreamed of being.  Sure, all of the aforementioned do influence the projections of our life, but other than our parents we made the decision to enter into the relationships.  As I will say again later in this blog post, where you and I are in the world today is a result of the decisions we have made, the relationships we have made, and more importantly…how we have chosen to project ourselves to the world around us.  We have all been told that life is not about us, but the quality of our life will be determined by how we choose to project ourselves to others.

Do you remember the great Rodney Dangerfield?  He was a comedian whose entire shtick was based on the fact he got no respect.  He was the king of self-deprecating humor.  One of his lines was, “I went to my psychiatrist and he said I was crazy; so I told him I wanted a second opinion.  He said okay, you’re ugly too.”  As a child I loved him!  And being one of the fat and under achieving kids in the class I realized I could use that same self-deprecation to get laughs.  And even as I got thinner and better looking on the outside…I felt the same on the inside.  So I continued with my Rodney Dangerfield shtick.

The problem with my decision to project myself as the guy who always screws things up, isn’t very bright, or simply gets “no respect” is that it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.  People laugh at the jokes, but there is a part of them that begins to believe what you are saying even if or when there comes a day you don’t.  There comes a time in most of our lives when we want to be taken seriously.  If we are growing in maturity and getting healthier then we begin to realize we have something to offer the world.  We quit blaming everyone else, get our head out of our ass, and then we want our parents, friends, spouse, and everyone else to know we are not who we have led them believe.  We no longer want to be the punch line or a punching bag.  We no longer want to be told what to do, who to be, or where to go.  However, in order for us to change their perceptions we must first change our projections.  We have to change what we are projecting to the world around us or they will continue to feel the need to put us in our place.  After all, through our words and behavior we have told them we need that in our life!  We have projected a persona that says we aren’t capable!  It may be that we’ve led others to believe we aren’t capable of managing our own affairs, leading, getting a job done, or making our own decisions.  Most people don’t just assume you or I are incapable…we have lead them to believe it.

Let me ask you a few questions to help you see if this “mighty blog” can help you today.

  • Who are you in your heart?
  • Do you believe you can do more with you life if others would give you the chance?
  • Do you wonder why others don’t take you seriously or don’t see your gifts and talents?
  • Do you often times feel overlooked or disregarded?
  • Do you wonder why others think they have the right to boss you around, treat you like a child, manipulate you, or literally speak down to you?

Focus on that first question for a moment, because it is the place to start.  You first must realize that you were put on this earth with gifts and talents.  You must understand that you can achieve the things you have dreamed of achieving.  Because if you don’t believe it then you sure as hell aren’t going to convince others.  The other questions will help you determine what message you are sending to the world around you.  Simply put, you and I have to demand respect if we want it from others.  Yes small doses of self-deprecating humor and true humility are important for success, but they shouldn’t be your shtick unless you are a comedian, entertainer, or just enjoy it!

Again, if you and I want respect then we will have to demand it.  However, we don’t demand it by directly asking for it or being rude to others…we ask for it through how we project ourselves to the world.  It is time to introduce everyone to the real you so move out of your heart, into your brain, and out into the world!

jobbThe title of this blog is misleading, because being a radio co-host doesn’t always suck.  And yes I feel grateful to have a job where I work with fun people and get a chance to bring a smile to people’s face daily.  Also, I’m not technically a co-host, because a co-host is a 50/50 partner in hosting the show (thus the CO in host).  I’m more of a side-kick.  In other words, if your name ain’t on the bumper sticker then you aren’t a co-host.

So being a sidekick is sort of like being the center for the quarterback.  You are involved in every single offensive play…you give the ball to the QB, but he is the one who will make the magic happen and in turn get the glory (and major cash).  And that is obviously fair in seeing as though he or she has the bulk of talent and responsibility.  Now, the center is happy to be on the team, and to be part of the magic, but he secretly wishes that God had given him the body and abilities to be the man!

The difference between me and the center is that Fitz is my QB and I’m basically tied to his sweet ass wherever he chooses to go (or not go).  And quite honestly, if he would choose to go to another city or station I would likely make more money…a lot more money. Why?  Because the new station and Fitz will want the whole team together.  If Fitz chooses to stay at a station then they already have his team tied down.  Understand?  Good because you need to understand all of that to fully enjoy, and understand my first and only country song called, “Stuck” which is posted below.  And I also want you to understand that I absolutely LOVE living in the northwest, and I adore the people here in Washington.  If it were up to me I would live here the rest of my life, but that won’t likely happen because the cost of living is ridiculously high.

When you have a family of 5 like I do that means you are going to want a nice home in a decent school district, and safe city. So here in the northwest that means you will need around $100,000 to put down on the average home.  The average home will cost around $500,000.  Compare that to other states like Texas where I sold my 4 bedroom home for $150,000!  My rent alone here is $2,300 a month, and that is actually considered a great deal.

So how much should you earn to comfortably afford the average 3 or 4 bedroom home in Western Washington?  It would likely be around $150,000 a year!  So with all of that being said I hope you can understand my frustration with this beautiful part of the country, and knowing that it looks like things aren’t going to get better anytime soon.  I love ya and hope you enjoy my song!

I’m sitting on an airplane writing this post, because I’m on my way to West Virginia to see my parents. My father had a stroke several months ago and my mother is doing her best to care for him. He has become feeble, has paralysis in one arm, and has difficulty walking. It is during this phase of life where living far from home leads to more heartache, stress, and yes guilt. After all, they took care of me when I wasn’t able to care for myself. People remind me, “Well you have your own life to live.” I feel that’s a poor excuse for not being there for parents who greatly sacrificed so I could have my “own life to live.” And so the guilt deepens.

As I fly smoothly over what looks to be the Great Lakes I attempt to prepare myself to see two wonderful parents who have grown weary. It’s difficult for me to accept that the two people who gave me a strong foundation have grown weak. And now they need me to guide them. Yes there comes a day when the parent becomes the child, and the irony is…they won’t listen.

narWe have all met Mr. or Ms. Know it All right?  They try to one-up every story, monopolize conversations, and they will try like hell to be the first to answer a question…even when they weren’t the one being asked!  So what would be the reason for this annoying behavior?  Well, it likely revolves around their narcissism or insecurity.  Some may say that the narcissist is insecure, and that is what spurs them on toward superiority.  I wouldn’t fully disagree with that, but there are a couple of differences I find between those who are acting out of insecurity and those who are truly narcissistic, and I believe it is important to be able to determine the difference.  Because one you need to run from, and the other you simply need to run toward.

The insecure person wants to be respected, because they lack self-respect.  The insecure Mr. or Ms. Know it All is practically begging to be admired and valued because of a need for acceptance.  However, the Narcissistic Mr. or Ms. Know it all feels that you should realize you need them, they are due your admiration, and they are highly valuable to any organization lucky enough to have them.

So the next time you meet someone and they are a Know it All don’t rush to judgement.  Figure out where they are coming from.  If they are insecure then take the time to breathe life into their soul!  Dr. Chuck Swindoll says, “Encouragement is oxygen to the soul.”  The insecure person will grow from your encouragement and will eventually stop being a Know it All.  The narcissistic Know it All will not.  They will feed off of admiration and encouragement, and rather than allowing it to make them a more polite and secure person it tends to inflate the ego.  And it leads to them treating others poorly, because they truly see all others as beneath them.  To sum up my point, the insecure person feels as though they need you in their life, while the narcissist feels as though you need them in your life.

 

GodWhen I moved to Washington almost 5 years ago I would have told you it was because this is where God wanted me to be.  There was little doubt in mine or Amy’s mind that God was sending us from Texas to the great Northwest!  Well if this has been part of God’s plan then it was poorly thought out.  Yes, we have made some incredible friends here and absolutely love the culture and beauty that surrounds us, but little has gone right for us financially, mentally, physically, and even spiritually.

I only write this because It is my form of therapy, and helps me process it, but it has truly been one disappointment after another.  And being a former pastor I know all of the amazing clichés that can be tossed my way like, “God didn’t promise us things would be easy, God puts us through trials to strengthen our faith, & God is there during the storms.”  What people don’t like to think about is the fact that maybe…just maybe God had nothing to do with the decision. It is possible that what I thought was God guiding or speaking to me was nothing more than wishful thinking, or gas from a bad plate of lasagna.

Let me give you a great example of what I’m talking about in this blog laced with sarcasm and discouragement.  About a year ago I was talking with a lady who informed me that God had used the Wolf’s station vehicle to speak to her (100.7 The Wolf).  She said that she was praying about her pastor, whom she thought was a “Wolf in sheep’s clothing”, and then she saw our vehicle pull up next to her!  And she knew at that moment that God was communicating with her.  So she then likely went to the elders of her church to get rid of the Wolf (aka pastor).

I’m not here to say that God does or doesn’t communicate with us, but I have learned that I need to be very careful when I think God is speaking to me or others.  I have never heard an audible voice, but I’ve been thinking…He is God so if He really wanted me to know something wouldn’t it be loud and clear?  I just believe that there are more times in life where people believe they are following God when in reality He is following them, and He is likely thinking, “Why in the world would he think I wanted him to do this?”

exit-from-crisis-signFitz and I talked about my midlife crisis on the radio show this morning, and he had a Top 10 List for me.  New research says these are the “modern-day” top 10 signs you are having a midlife crisis.  I have to be honest and say that I have done all, but two of them!  Well, I didn’t get my back waxed, but I do have my wife Amy shave it.  And I haven’t gotten Botox or a facelift, but it’s only because I can’t afford it!

Top 10 Signs You are having A Midlife Crisis:

1.  Getting a tattoo.

2.  Getting a facelift.

3.  Getting botox.

4.  Running a half marathon.

5.  Going to a music festival.

6.  Getting your back waxed.

7.  Changing careers.

8.  Buying a fancy watch.

9.  Buying the latest gadgets or technology.

10.  Getting into extreme sports.

A few other signs in the top 40 are getting a Twitter account, buying a fancier smart phone than your kids, and buying a juicer.

Please share this with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and etc.!

oopsI was recently in someone’s home and noticed a stone tablet that I absolutely loved.  On the tablet was what I would call the Relationship Alphabet, and for each letter there was very brief relationship advice.  Over the next several days I would like to share some of the advice with you.  A is for “Admit Mistakes” and I’m not sure people fully understand how powerful this step can be in improving their relationships. There is another way of saying “admit your mistake” and that would be, “Say you are sorry“, but maybe that will be S!

I was raised in a home where both my parent were willing to say they were sorry so this comes easy to me.  Well that and I screw up often, and I have had a lot of practice!  Many of you may be reading this and saying, “Tony my honey bunny never ever admits they are wrong and I…I always have to say I’m sorry first.”  I know that can be difficult, but if it opens up the lanes of communication and thus forgiveness then just keep taking the high road.  If it isn’t leading to forgiveness and resolution then I would highly recommend finding a good marriage counselor.  Now, let’s think about another situation for a moment.  What happens when two people who can’t admit their mistakes get together?

When two stubborn people argue and hurt one another, but never admit they are wrong or say “I’m sorry” then how do they resolve conflict?  They don’t…they simply go back to pretending that it never happened, and there is no resolution to the problem.  Therefore, as time goes by the pain and resentment are stored in their emotional and relational vault called the heart.  Eventually the vault (heart) becomes full of all those things that tear people apart, and ironically they may describe it as a feeling of emptiness.  The heart is far from being empty, and in fact it is overflowing with emotional damage.  You see, when people learn to say they are truly sorry and admit they are wrong then issues can be resolved, and the healing can begin to take place.  Thus, the space in your heart can be filled with what it was designed for…love.

Tony Russell, MA, LMHC (inactive)

If you have some thoughts or questions please feel free to send me an email below.  Also, PLEASE hit a share button below to let your friends on Facebook, Twitter, & etc. know about The Next Half.  

Two big questions come in for the Ten Minutes with Tony Podcast:

  1. Should a guy buy his NON-PREGNANT wife a Mother’s Day gift?  She would like one!
  2. A woman asks if her hubby’s birthday gift is lame or lovely?

Being a midlifer I wondered how single adults are affected by the divorces taking place all around them.  Does it make them fearful of marriage?  Does it make them think marriage is a waste of time?  So I turned to Fitz in The Morning cohost Ellen Tailor to find out, and I love what she had to say and I think you will as well.  PLEASE HIT SHARE BELOW and consider subscribing to my podcast and blog.

 

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Ellen Tailor, Cohost of Fitz in The Morning & Blogger and Fashion Fanatic at What’s Ellen Tailor Wearing.