Welcome to Guided By Coffee!

Financial Navigation

Hi, my name is Scott, and I’m here to talk about money stuff.

Some big, important financial planning stuff, small but meaningful daily spending stuff, and even some music/pop culture stuff (I can’t help it). After 28 years working the Big Corporate finance job, all the while planning a secure future away from the office, I feel my personal experience can help you navigate your financial life, whether you are just starting out or looking for a positive framework to build on at any age.

Keep in mind this could all go terribly wrong. What’s with the coffee thing, you ask? Is he really gonna write about coffee?

Well, no. Except sometimes. It does seem that coffee is ever-present as I have plotted my finances. In fact, now that I am able to write about personal finance on my own terms, most of this blog will be brought to you from within some of Detroit’s finest coffee establishments (and beyond).

So to be clear – this could spin off into many different directions, some not even involving money (The Cure vs. Talking Heads – discuss). But it’s mainly about:


Charting a course that is your own and not someone else’s. Having the resources to do what you want. Realizing what is truly important to you, and having the time to live it. This starts with taking control of your financial direction in your 20’s (along with that first “real” job) and managing the twists and turns of retirement planning and overall financial security along the way – including the fun part of what you actually want to do with your money.

Achieving a level of financial enlightenment to where you feel truly independent might take going against the grain a bit. Not being swayed by the herd. Not feeling the need to keep up appearances. Not selling out. And certainly not losing your moral compass along the way.

Oh, and did I mention I really like coffee? I’m happy to be launching this site from my hometown coffee shop Bean and Leaf in Rochester, Michigan. I love that I can walk into town, enjoy some of their signature French Vietnamese coffee, and write about money.  Come visit sometime!



By the way, you can jump right to my inaugural posts on Budgeting and Planning here if you are eager to get started with some tools (and don’t want any more awkward music references)

And if the whole idea of managing your money is new to you, or you just need to really get back to the basics, you’ll also want to check out the series of posts identified as “Getting Started“, which will include a pragmatic walk through setting budget guidelines, dealing with taxes, facing major purchase decisions, allocating your investments, and generally building the confidence to take control of your finances for the first time.

It’s Also About Contentment

Keep in mind that Independence does not simply mean being fabulously wealthy. If you do happen to be fabulously wealthy, and are content to enjoy your financial status, then congratulations!

For the rest of us, independence is that tricky intersection of (a) having “enough” (we can explore what that really means later), and (b) knowing how to be happy with it.

Along with prosperity, I hope you can find your personal level of financial contentment. There are many variables unique to you — lifestyle, geography, kids, pets, hobbies… but unless you obtain a large chunk of money from inheritance or lottery, you will need to plan, and plan some more – regardless of your age or income

I want this dialogue to be about the lifecycle of planning, from budgeting right out of school (again, part of the Getting Started series), to plotting your “safe withdrawal strategy” in retirement, and everything in between. Financial Navigation is the slogan – a conversation around tactics that will get you where you want to go, while avoiding some of those big, common mistakes.

Non-Negotiable Keys to Success

Financial independence is often jeopardized early on, through either procrastination or those seemingly innocuous expenses that can eat away at your savings, one at a time.

Which is why I will be repeating these themes:

  • Start Early
  • Live within your means
  • Find a balance between money and life

Again, I can’t wait to share my experiences as a dialogue for each stage of your financial life, with the goal of helping you successfully tackle the seemingly infinite aspects of personal financial planning.


GBC Guiding Quote:

“Think in decades, plan in years, work in months, and live in days”

If you’re still in your 20’s, the first part of this quote must seem a bit obscure. But if you’re like me, the decades now seem to come in bunches!
Which is to say that I can now confirm that the bigger, more meaningful things in life unfold over longer periods of time.

I have certainly planned in years, having used the same self-made budget spreadsheet since college (that I can send to you for free), one year at a time, with many alterations of course.

Working in months? Yeah, there have been lots of them (see a bit more in About Me).

As for “living in days”– sure, long-term planning is the main theme here. But to lose yourself to The Plan risks doing a disservice to your individual days.

It sounds trite, but the next sunrise is never guaranteed, so make the most of each one. Push your boundaries a bit. Smile at people. Listen to Wilco whenever possible.

I’ll keep the conversation going with an expanding range of topics…

There is so much to talk about!

Money, life, and of course coffee.
Thanks for jumping in!