On Suffering the Loss of a Child

And How to Strive for What Matters Most in Difficult Circumstances

On a Friday afternoon last month, just when one’s thoughts might wander to the weekend, I received the call. My wife had gone to the doctor for a routine checkup. But the doctor couldn’t find our baby’s heartbeat. At 9 weeks along, we had lost our 4th child—Mary Rose—to miscarriage.

My family, huddled together, looking into the grave of Mary Rose

The burial of Mary Rose and other miscarried infants in Mount Olivet Cemetery; Wheat Ridge, CO

The floor seemed to go out from under my feet. Too many realities struck me all at once; I couldn’t process them.

The initial shock turned quickly to sorrow as some of the implications began to take root. One of the hardest aspects for me is accepting that I won’t be able to get to know her, at least not in this life. I won’t be able to memorize and anticipate her smile. I won’t be able to hear her voice. No “papa doggy” rides. No sleepless nights, which I would gladly have endured.

To not be able to experience Mary Rose is a gut-wrenching loss. To suffer it profoundly is understandable and fitting. Feeling the loss keenly manifests her loveableness.

Yet at the same time, to suffer—and only to suffer—the loss would be to miss an opportunity. For good—some good, at least—can come from anything. Even from death. To find that good and bring it to birth is to honor even more the life of the one who passed. I owe it to Mary Rose to try to make of her death the greatest contribution possible to what matters most. But how? (more…)

Why Insurance is Never a Good Deal

And 4 Times When You Should Pay for It Anyway

When you purchase a computer, should you buy insurance in case it breaks? Or should you purchase travel insurance for a trip? What about car insurance, health insurance, homeowner’s insurance, or life insurance? You can save a lot of money over a lifetime by answering these difficult questions well.

Building destroyed by Hurricane Irma on St. Maarten island

Properly understood, insurance is always a bad deal. But there are 4 times when you should get it anyway. Let me explain. (more…)

4 Reasons Why You Have More Time if You Pray

You May Be Too Busy Not to Pray

Prayer is an unusual activity. With most activities, if you engage in them, you have less time for other things. But not so with prayer. Engaging in prayer provides more, not less, time for other things. Philosopher and author Peter Kreeft puts it this way: “We think our lack of time is the cause of our lack of prayer, but our lack of prayer is the cause of our lack of time.”

Woman engaged in prayer

Following are 4 reasons—drawn from billionaires and from saints—why it is, paradoxically, the case that you have more time if you pray. (more…)

How to Get 23 Months of Free Flights with the Southwest Companion Pass

Act by 10/4 (ideally *on* 10/3) to Maximize the Best Deal in Travel, Worth More than $1,800

The Southwest Companion Pass is arguably the best deal in travel. It allows a companion to fly for free with you on any Southwest flights you book. The pass is good from the time you earn it until the end of the following calendar year. The opportunity has arisen to enable a companion to fly for free with you for 23 months: most of 2018 and all of 2019. But you have to act by October 4, 2017 (and, ideally, on 10/3) to take advantage of this opportunity.

The Southwest Companion Pass works on all Southwest flights.

Following is more about the Companion Pass and exactly what you need to do by October 4th in order to score 23 months of free flights for your companion (and a lot of free flights for you as well): (more…)

How to Decide Which New iPhone to Get

And is the iPhone X worth $1,000 -- $300 more than the iPhone 8?

Last week, Apple announced three new iPhone models: the iPhone 8, the iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X. (The “X” is pronounced “Ten,” in commemoration of the iPhone’s 10-year anniversary, but probably only “I in X” people will pronounce it correctly.) My first reaction to the X was this well-thought-out response: “I want.” I still do. But I’ve stopped drooling long enough to ask myself the question: is the iPhone X worth its $1,000 price tag? More specifically, is it worth $300 more than the also brand new iPhone 8? At least one person on Twitter thinks maybe not:

Funny picture suggests the iPhone X will cost one human life

In this post I’ll compare the three new iPhone models. My aim is to help any of you looking to get one of them to decide how best to spend your money. (more…)

Why I was Totally Wrong about the Total Eclipse

And What My Mistake Teaches about What Matters Most

A few weeks before the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, a friend asked if I was going to drive 4 hours north into Wyoming to see it. That’s the first I’d heard of the eclipse. I replied that if a 4-hour drive would allow for a total eclipse, then I had to imagine that no drive at all would allow me to see most of it.

Sun's corona during total eclipse

The moon, with the sun’s corona around it, during a total solar eclipse

A little research confirmed that I’d be able to see 92% of the eclipse from where I live. It couldn’t possibly be worth an 8+ hour round-trip drive just to see 8% more of the eclipse. Or so I reasoned. (more…)

Last Chance for Merrill+ Card, Worth $500 – $1000

The Generous/Easy Bonus on this Card is Rumored to End “Mid-September”

One of the best credit card offers on the market—the Merrill+ card—will be discontinued by September 18-19 at the latest. The card has no annual fee and comes with 50,000 bonus points. Those points are worth $500 in cash or up to $1,000 in airfare.

Sarah's Merrill+ card

My wife’s Merrill+ card

In this post I’ll cover the basics of the card and how to apply for it. But if you’re interested, you should act fast. A source told Doctor of Credit that the card will be discontinued on September 18 or 19. But another source told Frequent Miler that the card will be discontinued “mid-September,” which means it might not last until September 18. (more…)

Money Can Buy Happiness? It’s About Time.

New Research Reveals a Previously Unexamined Route to Happiness: Spending Money to Buy Time

If you were given $40 on the condition that you had to spend it, what would you spend it on? What type of purchase do you think would increase your happiness?

Man holding money and smiling, symbolizing his happiness

If you’re like 98% of people studied, you wouldn’t choose to spend the $40 on time-saving services such as someone else cleaning, shopping, or cooking for you. But new research suggests you might want to rethink that decision. (more…)

How to Blow $4,000 on a $56 Vacation

It’s All Too Easy to Do

When people go on vacation, they often pay face value. According to Forbes, the average vacation costs $1,145 per person or $4,580 for a family of four. I love family vacations because I like going on an adventure with my wife and kids. But I would never consider paying over $4,000 for a vacation. And I don’t want you to, either.

The three kids and I on the beach during our vacation to San Diego

On my last two family vacations combined, I spent less than $100 total on hotels and flights. Earlier this year, we took a $5,000+ vacation to Cabo San Lucas for $42. Last week, we took a short (2 night) vacation to San Diego for $56. Had we paid face value, the hotel and flights would have cost $4,012.

If vacations are part of your life—or if you’d like them to be—you should seriously consider a total paradigm shift in terms of how much you think they need to cost.

In this post I’ll share how we spent so little on a great vacation. And I’ll show how you can do similarly. (more…)

How to Save Money on Rental Car Insurance

Car Rental Insurance is Confusing and Expensive. But Should You Get It?

You just landed at the airport, ready to start your beach vacation. You can’t wait to change your sweaty clothes for a swimsuit. So you head to the car rental agency to grab your car and be on your way. But first, you must make a series of important decisions that you feel completely ill-equipped to make. Do you want collision coverage on the car? What about liability insurance? Seems expensive. But the agent swears you’d be crazy not to purchase the coverage he’s selling.

Long lines at rental car agencies as renters contemplate what rental car insurance to purchase

Your eyes begin to glaze over. You quickly initial here, here, and there. Depending on your decision, you either just forked over a bunch of cash or waived coverage. Either way, one thing is likely: you don’t have good reasons for the decision you made.

I know, because I’m right there with you. Or at least I was until last week.

Over the past week, I’ve done a bunch of research to try to answer the question: When renting a car, should I buy rental car insurance?

Following is the fruit of my research. It will shape whether I accept or decline rental car insurance moving forward. (more…)