Esurance-save-30

What I Would Do If I Won The EsuranceSave30 Contest ($1.5 Million)

People play this game all the time, “What would you do if you won a million dollars?” Tomorrow night, someone will actually get to answer that question. It got me thinking, what would I do if I won the $1.5 million from Esurance’s giveaway? Without giving it too much thought, here’s what I would do with it.

Taxes

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but a substantial portion of the $1.5 million will have to be allocated to paying taxes. You think that the taxes you owe each year are tough, but things ramp up quickly when you come into significant money in a hurry. Winning this prize would instantly boost you to the top tax bracket, which is about $128,000 and almost 40% of anything over $457,600. By my rough calculations, you will owe approximately $550,000 in taxes on the winnings, leaving you with just under a million dollars after taxes. Ouch.

Donations

Everyone always acts like they would give away a large portion of their winnings, but I honestly think that most people would do so. If the number is about million, then at a minimum, giving away 10% to tithe is reasonable. Because of the circumstances (coming into money I wasn’t expecting), I would like too give away an extra 10% for a total of $200,000. The primary beneficiaries would be my church (Ethos) and organizations that I care about in Mexico (City of Children) and Honduras (Jovenes en Camino). Note: I’m not tooting my own horn here! I feel like plenty of people would give away just as much if not more! It continues to blow me away that people are always so generous with their possessions. It inspires me to try and give more.

Loans

I put the donations section before this one because I wanted to seem like a good person, but the first thing I would do once the money was transferred into my account is to pay all of existing debt. Student Loans, House payment, and everything else with a red number associated to my name. My goal going forward would be to try and pay everything possible with cash to avoid taking on more debt. There is something freeing about not owing anyone anything.

Guitar

Shortly after paying off all of my loans, I would head to the nearest guitar stores to purchase my dream guitar, the Gibson Les Paul. I don’t know exactly what model and color it would be, but I would chose the one that my soul connected with. I’d have to have a beautiful amp to go with it of course. That would probably be it for my luxury item spending. It seems like a million dollars will go a long way, but irrational spending will drain it pretty quickly.

Celebration Trip

This one would be primarily up to my wife to plan, but I’m pretty sure we would take a few weeks off to vacation somewhere. This would likely entail a trip to Europe or some exotic beach. Things that would normally be out of the question financially speaking like first class airfare or suite rooms would be in play.  We couldn’t be gone too long or we would probably be fired from our jobs. While people would instantly think about quitting their jobs, $1 million isn’t quite retirement money… Needless to say, this would be an epic trip(s).

Savings

The rest of the money, probably about $500,000, would go into various savings or interest bearing accounts. I would probably want to setup some education funding accounts for my future kids (Lord willing) and set aside some others for retirement. I realize this is boring, but I am about as practical as they come, so it wouldn’t make sense to blow it all.

How It Would Impact My Life

The great thing about this amount of money is that it won’t completely change your life like winning the lottery would. Lottery winners often complain about being much more unhappy after winning it, and a high percentage of them end up going bankrupt. One million dollars, while enough to greatly impact your life, likely wouldn’t change it entirely. It would be incredible to have to money to be able to bless others. It would be a relief to not worry about bill payments or pending debt. But these are all ancillary things in life. By tomorrow night, someone will be a new millionaire. Hopefully their life will be positively impacted by it, and they can bless others with it.

Sleep well tonight everyone. Who knows, tomorrow night, you might be a millionaire.

participation

Why Not Everyone Should Get a Trophy

The day was finally here. It was time to see if I would be rewarded for my hard work. There were eight events, five points a piece, 40 total points, and 1 goal, a perfect score. This was the challenge I had given myself as a 3rd Grade kid leading up to “Physical Skills Day” many years ago. Six challenges into the competition and I was a perfect 6-for-6. The Hoola-Hoop, Paddle Ball, Standing Broad Jump, “Marathon”, Softball Throw (Distance), and Sit-and-Reach Test were no match for my physical prowess. The time came to face my two most difficult events: Softball Throw (Accuracy) and Soccer Ball Kick. I had known going into the day that these would be the most difficult for me, so I had been practicing for weeks at home. I stepped up to the dirt mound and fired in the first pitch towards the backstop. *Thud* Right on the cardboard target. Justin Verlander couldn’t have done it better as I followed it up with four more beauties. It was time for the Soccer Kick. I lined it up and nervously gave the ball a whack: Doink! Off of the right “4 point cone” and in between the “3 point cones”. You got two kicks so I had one more chance to salvage the event. Right. Down. Broadway. I had earned the Purple Ribbon, which was only awarded to students with 39-40 points. It was a higher honor even than the blue ribbon and it was all mine.

All About Incentives

Call it what you will, incentives are what get people to work harder

What would have happened in 3rd Grade if everyone got a purple ribbon for participating in Physical Skills day? My incentive for practicing would be nonexistent, so I would not have worked on my baseball throwing or soccer ball kicking. I would have scored somewhere in the 30s and probably have been ok with that because it didn’t really matter. I would have gotten in the car and told my mom they gave everyone purple ribbons today and she would tell me that she was proud of me. None of these things are bad or false. My score was fine, I had been given a purple ribbon and my mom really was proud of me. But it would have been cheapened for me because everyone got one. Even as an 8-year old, I realized that I wouldn’t really have “earned” anything by getting the ribbon. Instead, I was able to get in the car and tell my mom that I had earned my award, and that only a few other kids had also gotten purple ribbons. You might argue that I could have gotten the exact same score in the fictitious scenario, and that I would be equally happy knowing that I got the best score. I know this isn’t true, because I lived it out. The following year as a 4th grader, I came into the Physical Skills day without any practice or incentive because I assumed that I could easily follow my prior performance with another perfect score. After all, I’m a year older now and I can’t get worse. I got a 38 and lost one point at both the Softball Accuracy Throw and the Soccer Kick. My incentive was gone and my performance suffered.

Generation Y Problem

It’s no secret that Generation Y has a huge problem with entitlement. We assume that people will always be willing to give us whatever we want, whenever we want it. How did we learn this behavior? Trophies. Awards. Prizes. Everyone gets a participation trophy or some made up award to make them feel special. Even the girl that didn’t score a point all year gets the “Most Encouraging” Award and a rousing applause at the team pizza party. Fast forward 15 years and Sally is working for her first legitimate employer. She turns in lousy work and expects to be rewarded for her half-hearted efforts. Much to her chagrin, she is fired on the spot! How could this be? No one has ever told her that she isn’t special, perfect, and a beautiful, unique little snowflake! Now she is going to get her Daddy, who happens to be a lawyer, involved to she can sue him for discrimination of some kind or even harassment if he’s particularly deceitful.  Obviously this is an over-dramatized example, but it isn’t too far from the truth. Generation Y expects to have things handed to them and cries when it doesn’t work out that way.

“Yellow Ribbons”

I know what almost all of you are thinking right now. Taylor, how could you be heartless? *Cue Kayne* You might say things like…

“It’s not fair to differentiate between the kids that performed well and those who did not.”

“The kids might go home crying and end up with self-esteem issues.”

“Everyone knows that the yellow ribbons are the least valuable at Physical Skills Day. It would be so embarrassing to have to carry that around all day long and be forced to tell their parents and classmates about it.”

Hear me out when I say this: I don’t think that we should stop trying to build kids up. I understand that the psyche of an 8-year old should be treated differently than an 18-year old. They are fragile and need to be nurtured to a certain extent. That doesn’t mean that we should always reward average or negative performance or behavior. It discourages everyone from trying to get better.  When your little girl brings home his drawing that looks like a spilled paint can, feel free to put it on the refrigerator and tell her you’re proud of them and that you love it. But don’t tell them that they are a gifted artist and have a real future ahead of them if they put their mind to it.  When your son strikes out for the umpteenth straight time, tell them that they’ll get’em next time and that you love them. But don’t tell them that they are a great baseball player with the ability to play in the pros one day. They will believe you and eventually someone will crush their dreams. Is it worth marginally boosting their self-esteem to then have them be embarrassed later in life? That seems slightly shortsighted to me…

Time to Change

Generation Y is largely the way that it is because we were raised this way. We didn’t ask the school or team to give awards to everyone, our parents did. I’m not deflecting all blame here, but it’s hard to get kids to make their own important life decisions. After all, a five year-old will choose having ice cream for dinner EVERY night if given the option. Clearly, we have  been raised to be spoiled brats, but it isn’t too late to save face. Generation Y couples are starting to have kids of their own. Some have probably even experienced a few of the things mentioned in this article with their own kids. Our generation may have been expectant and lacked work ethic, but that doesn’t mean our kids have to be. The Traditionalist Generation was rigid and rarely strayed from the norm due to the fear of “stepping outside the lines”, but the Baby Boomer Generation brought a fresh outlook on life. The Baby Boomer generation consisted of workaholics and Generation X responded by de-prioritizing work and focusing on more important things in life.  What will Generation Y’s positive change be? Could it be changing the attitude of entitlement for the next generation and re-instilling a solid work ethic? We can only hope so. Until then, pass me my participation award. I’ve earned it.

Skydiving with Dad

Hard Work: Lesson Learned From My Dad

This past weekend, my family was fortunate to celebrate my dad on two separate occasions: Father’s Day and an awards banquet. As many of you know, my dad was honored for being the Supplier of the Year by the Tennessee Grocers Association. While he is always the first to deflect all accolades and praise; it was truly a culmination of the hard work that he and his family have put in for Purity over the past 50+ years. His introduction took seemingly forever because the individual introducing him decided to read off all of his accomplishments and involvements with other organizations and nonprofits. For his speech, rather than elaborating on the success he has had, my dad read off a list of names of individuals from Purity that had served the company for 25+ years. He acknowledged to the large audience that it was these individuals’ hard work that made Purity the company that they are today, not himself or his dad or his dad’s dad. He also called of all us (family) up on stage to thank us for our support. Last, he thanked his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for all the blessings that he has showed to himself and our family. My dad showed everyone how to be honored yet still give credit and acknowledgement to everyone that deserves it.

Letting Me Learn on my Own

For better or worse, I have learned almost everything that I know from my dad. In addition to walking with the Lord, life lessons, sports, finances, business, and treating people with respect, my dad has taught me about hard work. He has always pushed me as far as I wanted to go, but never overstepped his bounds and pushed me too far. After my junior year of high school, my dad approached me after my final track meet. He said to me “Taylor, I want to support you in any way that I can. If you want to put in the work, I’ll help you to be an All-State caliber track athlete. If you don’t want to put in the work, I will support that too. You just let me know.” In the end, I decided to be slightly lazy and not push myself to my full limits. My senior year, my relay team finished 5th in the State 4×200 relay, but I did not qualify for any individual events, finishing 3rd in the Region in the 110m hurdles and 8th in the 200 meter. If my dad would have pushed me, I would have likely been to State for all three events, but he knew that it was not his battle to fight. I had to learn how to work hard on my own. Eventually, he wouldn’t be there to push me, and I would fall back if I didn’t learn on my own. I have slowly learned some of these valuable lessons about hard work.

New Balance

My dad openly criticizes himself as being a workaholic. While there are hints of this, I can gladly say that he is not one. I’ve seen and experienced workaholics. Workaholics draw their energy and worth from their jobs. They miss out on important life events with family and friends due to their work. They never leave work at the office and are always bringing it up in conversations. None of those things depict my father. He has always been at my games/meets, chorus performances, Singarama show, birthdays, and other important life occasions. I can see that his joy comes from the Lord, his family, and his close friends. I have seen this balance firsthand, and it makes me want to exemplify this in my own life. At one point, I was working full-time, studying for the CPA, leading a house church, and serving as the president of a fraternity. These commitments took up seemingly every hour of my day and I realized that I was probably doing too much. I was working too hard. I didn’t have enough time in the day to be with my wife (fiance at the time), family, and friends. My balance was all out of whack. I have tried to learn from my dad that while you can push yourself, you cant do it ALL. Eventually, you have to say no to a few things to make time for the most important things.

Working Hard or Hardly Working?

One of the most beautiful (but also terrifying) things about life is that we only get one shot at it. God purposefully decided to give us one chance instead of 100 lives. If we had 100 lives, we wouldn’t live each one to fullest, knowing that we could do it all over again if we messed up our previous one. Since we know that we are finite, why don’t we make the most of our opportunities? Why aren’t we striving to be better? Why would we ever not work as hard as we can at everything we do? This does not mean that we overwork and live miserable lives. That we should never take vacations or relax on the weekends.  It means that we should always be pushing, striving, stretching, reaching, and trying be better than the day before. Each day on Earth is an opportunity to do amazing things. Don’t sell yourself short and I’ll do my best to do the same. Luckily, I have learned from one of the best. He’ll never know how much I appreciate everything he has taught me, but hopefully this will give a glimpse into the lessons I learned from him. Happy Father’s Day Dad, you’re the best.

Quotes About Hard Work

“Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.”

-Colossians 3:22-25 The Message

Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange
For the hard work of staying alive.
Make the most of each one!
Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily!
This is your last and only chance at it,
For there’s neither work to do nor thoughts to think
In the company of the dead, where you’re most certainly headed.

-Ecclesiastes 9:8-10 The Message

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.  –Beverly Sills

Dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you’re willing to pay the price. –Vince Lombardi

I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true – hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it. -Ray Bradbury

Hard work without talent is a shame, but talent without hard work is a tragedy. -Robert Half

If the power to do hard work is not a skill, it’s the best possible substitute for it. –James A. Garfield

No one ever drowned in sweat. –United States Marine Corps

 

The/re/ir/ey're & Thurr

Top 5 Most Annoying Grammatical Mistakes

You can see the full version of the background image here: People are dumb
As you can see in these pictures, the English language can (apparently) be incredibly challenging to master. How many languages could create the equivalent of the following sentence (which is structurally correct)? “The plain plane planed across the plain.” Having said this, English is the primary language for most of the people that I know. It baffles me to see how often people butcher it. I do not write this to imply that I am a perfect writer. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are multiple errors in this article. The purpose is to simply to inform. You’re welcome to ignore it and carry on speaking and writing as usual. In no particular order, here are a few of my most annoying grammatical mistakes.

1) Your/You’re

Clay Travis‘ followers have made this one pretty famous with the popular insult “Your Gay”, which is the obvious misuse of the correct form. Whenever an apostrophe is used in the English language, it signifies one of two things: 1) To show possession of a noun or 2) To be used in a contraction (shortened form of two words like “don’t”). The problem here is that both uses of the word your/you’re somewhat fit these definitions. The trick is that while “your” is possessive, it does not require an apostrophe because it is not a noun. “You’re” fits the second rule, which requires an apostrophe due to the contraction of “You are.”

Hint: Plugin “You are” for you’re, and “My” for your and see which one makes more sense in the context.

2) Their/They’re/There

This is more difficult than your/you’re because you have a 1/3 chance of getting it right. In reality, you should never miss it because it isn’t that hard.
Their- Possessive. See rules for “your” above.
They’re- They are. See rules for “you’re” above.
There- Use any other time. Normally indicates a place or location. Has many uses.

Hint: Plugin “There are” for they’re, and “My” for your and see which one makes more sense in the context.

3) “Of” as a verb

This is the one that I am most guilty of, but I annoy myself when I do it. “I “could of” jumped higher than Johnny” is not correct. Can you of something? No. Would you like to conjugate the verb of? The correct usage is “could have”, but is generally reduced when spoken to “could’ve.” People hear this as “could of” and use it incorrectly. I don’t mind too much when people say it like this, but please do not write “of” as a verb.

4) Correct Use of Present Perfect

You might not think you know what present perfect is, but you probably do. Present Perfect is used to describe something that started in the past and is still continuing. It uses a form of has + present participle of the verb. The simple past refers to events that occurred and are finished.

Example #1:
I have went to Australia every year since 2005. (Past Simple)
I have gone to Australia every year since 2005. (Present Perfect)

Many people would say that both are correct. Those people would be wrong. The past participle for “to go” is gone. Went can only be used for the simple past.

Example #2:
I mowed my yard yesterday. (Past Simple)
I have mowed my yard five times this year. (Present Perfect)

This verb is a regular verb, and thus the present participle and the simple past are the same (mowed). The distinction between the two is established by using a form of “has” with the present perfect. In the first example, I can never again mow my yard yesterday. It is a finished act and thus is past simple tense. I have mowed my yard five times this year implies that I have completed this tasks in the past, but will also continue to do so going forward. The year is not over. Once the year is over, the sentence would change to “I mowed my yard nine times in 2013.”

5) Affect vs. Effect

In my opinion, this is one the most forgivable mistake on this list. Once you learn the rule; however, you will be right about 95% of the time. Effect is used as a noun. Affect is used as a verb. It is as simple as memorizing this rule (or Googling it each time you need to use one). There are a few exceptions to this rule, but just go with it. Be weary of correcting people on this one. Correcting the proper use of the exception to the rule will make you look silly. Hopefully this point will effect change.

Bonus: Misusing the words Irregardless and Literally

The use of the prefix “ir” is used to mean “not” in the English language. For example, irrational means not rational. Irrelevant means not relevant. So irregardless means not regardless right… Regardless means having no regard, so irregardless would literally be “Not having no regard.” Wouldn’t you feel silly saying that sentence? Look at the T-shirt in the picture to get a feel for how ridiculous this is.

Literally means literally. I know that you aren’t supposed to use a word in its own definition, but it should prove a point here. People generally use literally it to mean figuratively, which is the almost an exact opposite of what literally means. I literally cannot explain it more simply.

 

I’m sure I left out some good ones, so feel free to add any that I missed in the comments. You’re (1) job is to put comments down their (2) so they could of (3) have (4) an affect (5) on others, irregardless (b) of their intelligence.