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E-Mail: eclark@docfcu.org

Phone: 202-482-1082

Mailing address:

P.O. Box 14720

Washington, DC  20044-4720

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Thursday
Dec282006

Debt

Hi Everyone,

I've been reading a book about blogging called Naked Conversations about blogging.  It said to write about things you're passionate about.  I'm passionate about many things.  Two are food and living below your means.  I'll talk a little about food first this morning.  Last night I made some delicious grilled chicken breasts.  Prior to grilling I marinaded them in soy sauce and sesame oil and put in a little ginger.  Coming off the grill they had a sort of smokey taste.  I think it's the combination of the soy sauce and the sesame oil and the grilling.  Give it a try.  Last night as I read I realized that the thing I'm going to dedicate most of this blog to is debt and living below your means.  Over the next few weeks I'd like to discover what comprises all the debt in America and what we have on the other side of the balance sheet to show for it.  I'd also like to look at some of the potential consequences of the debt we have and what some of the solutions are that we have.  Let's get intimate with debt and hopefully we can figure out a way to get rid of it.  Debt to me is okay if someone is buying a house or a college education or maybe a car.  But the debt shouldn't be more than a person can afford.  That's what I'm afraid is happening with some mortgages now.  I'll try to explore that issue a little too.  And I think in corporate America if the people using the debt know what they're doing that debt can be used properly.  Though on that score when I'm evaluating the balance sheet of a company I might personally invest in if there is debt I have a problem with that.  There's two kinds of debt that I have a real problem with.  Personal unsecured debt and government debt.  In most instances when people are borrowing unsecured they are probably using the debt inefficiently.  And speaking of the inefficient what do you think of the government's use of debt?  What if people and the US government were out of the debt market?  That's a question I really wonder about and hopefully over the time I explore the issue of debt I'll discover some answers.  I pesonally have unsecured debt.  What I've done is put it on zero percent credit cards and one of my goals for 2008 is to pay off this debt.  That will be a happy day for me.  If you read this and forthcoming entries and can add to my thoughts please share.  This should be an interesting, learning trip.  Till Next Time, Evan

Wednesday
Dec272006

claiming my blog on technorati

Wednesday
Dec272006

Jobs

Hi Everyone,

Last night my wife Luda and I were talking about jobs and job hunting.  She's beginning the process of looking for a job.  She immigrated from Belarus in March and we got married in April.  We've been going 100 miles an hour since then and up until now she's been busy with loads of projects.  Now that Christmas has passed her thoughts have turned towards work.  We talked a lot about her skills and talents, she has lots of them.  She has an astute business mind, she understands marketing and sales very well, she's intelligent and well read and understands human nature better than I will probably ever understand it.  She's fluent in Russian and her English is very good.  These are but a few of the skills she has but what to do with them.  We've decided the best approach is to go out and talk to people and see what she could do with the skills she has.  So that's exactly what she'll do.  I also put her onto the "What Color is Your Parachute" website.  This book is a classic for job hunting.  I've used it several times.  I told Luda that she should find a job she loves rather than just a job.  I'm really lucky that way because I have a job I really love but I also understand what it takes to get such a job.  You have to be willing to give up what you have to get what you want.  That statement has two pieces to it and both are equally important.  The first step is figuring out what you really want.  I think a lot of people never get past that first step.  The second step is to give up what you have to get what you want.  In the past I've actually taken salary decreases, some of them very substantial.  Why?  I understood that I would have to give up a job that I didn't really like to get to one I really wanted.  I'll give you an example.  When I got out of college I went to work with one of the Big Eight accounting firms.  (Bight Eight?  That sort of ages me doesn't it?)  I didn't like what I was doing even though I was learning loads and loads about accounting and auditing.  Finally a good friend asked me as we were coming home from a job if I really liked what I was doing.  I told her no I hated it.  She asked why don't you quit.  I said I would.  She asked what I'd do and I said without hessitation that I'd join the Peace Corps.  Six months later I was in Kingston, Jamaica flying through shantytowns on a bus to a hotel where we were staying initially for training.  I was from Montana and I'd hardly ever left the state.  As I looked around and sensed the heat and humidity of Jamaica I wondered what I'd gotten myself into.  What I'd gotten myself into was a life lived well with purpose and adventure.  But the point I guess I'm making is that I knew what I wanted to do, I wanted to join the Peace Corps.  And I knew that I was miserable doing what I was doing so it was no big stretch for me to leave this job and go do what I loved.  I loved the Peace Corps and the Caribbean and that's where I got my start in credit unions.  So if you've had it with what you're doing now have the courage to figure out what you want to do and then go out and do what it takes to do it.

Till Next Time, Evan

Tuesday
Dec262006

The reason for this blog.

Hi Everyone,

For nearly three years now I've had the pleasure of writing a president's corner for the members of Department of Commerce Federal Credit Union (DOCFCU).  I've written about all sorts of topics from my life but the crux of every article has been a financial message of some sort.  Recently I have been reading about blogs and I've come to the conclusion that the message I'm writing to the DOCFCU members could have a wider audience.  Certainly there is a need for more information on financial awareness.  So I'm going to move forward with a blog.  It will be filled with the same messages about living below your means as my president's corners have been and I'll also interject lots of personal stuff too.  If you've ever read any of my president's corners you'll know that I'm passionate about life and many things in it.  I'm hopeful that I can share some of that passion with you as well.  As I thought about this blog I thought about whether there would be any caveats and I decided on just two.  I will try not to ever talk about politics or religion.  One of the beautiful things about America is that we have political and religious freedom.  Whatever your political stripe I urge you to do three things.  First, vote.  Second, go to jury duty when you're called.  Third, teach your children about America's beautiful political system.  There, that's all you'll ever hear from me about politics and religion.  There's one other thing I hope to accomplish by doing this blog.  I'd like to create a community here at DOCFCU.  I'd like to hear your comments.  If you think we are doing something good at DOCFCU tell me about it.  If you think we could do something better tell me about that too.  I'll give you a straight answer no matter what your question.  If you want more information on anything financial or on anything I post here please by all means let me know.  I've always let all my members have my phone number and e-mail address.  I'll continue that on this blog.  Give me a call or drop me a line anytime.  Over the next few days I'm going to dig around on this website and begin to create a portal to a DOCFCU community. 

Till Next Time, Evan

President, DOCFCU

202-482-10182

eclark@docfcu.org

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