For years, 18 as of this writing, I have walked beside average men and women of all ages on a specific journey. The journey of home ownership.

And what I have discovered in opening up the financial reality of thousands of individuals & couples is a constant mix if fear, hope, confusion and achievement. It really is an exhilarating journey!

And I have read innumerable books on personal finance, read the blogs and listened to the podcasts, and spoken to the experts. And there always seems to be a bit of a disconnect between the theory of ‘personal finance’ and the lived reality of what is, truly, personal finance

It’s just not so saccharine as a quick list of do’s and don’ts or a prescription to ‘cut out the lattes and live on less than you make’.

Great advice.

But when I meet Judy, who has lived frugally her whole life and can count on one hand the times she has stepped into a Starbucks. When Judy tells me about her 23 year old granddaughter whose mother abandoned her young, and is now needing a car to take on a new job, and that she co-signed on the car for the 23 year old…well, it is hard to fit that too neatly into a formula for getting ahead in personal finance.

Sure, we can tell Judy the formulaic right answer. But what about the emotions swirling around this strained relationship with her granddaughter? That is hard to measure, to quantify.

But it is real.

And the same is true of the 26 and 27 year old couple who come into my office, 6 month old cooing and looking cute as can be, who have decided it’s time to buy their first home.

And they are rightly proud that they have been conservative financially and have a $70,000 nest egg saved. And they feel a little guilty about putting so much down on their first home, when her parents are struggling under debt still and just cannot seem to get ahead. Should they take some of that savings and help out her parents, instead?

And that proud, frugal young couple’s dilemma is real, too.

You see, personal finance is not lived in a sterile vacuum of platitudes and measurements.

Personal finance is lived out in the always exciting and sometimes hard reality that we call life.

Personal finance is lived out, well, on the front lines of a life fully lived.

And that’s where this blog intends to be different. Not academic recitations for financial success.

This is Finance on the Front Line. Right here, where you and I really engage in life. Life in all our glory and hope and success; and life in all our emotion and distress and relationships – relationships with others, and our relationship with ourselves.

But really, there is nothing more engaging than real finance, here and now, lived on the front lines of attacking and conquering this thing we call life.

The intention is to do what I have had the privilege to do for years with people in the intimacy of my office, talking about savings and debt and credit and wealth and earnings and jobs and new businesses and dreams and fears. All the stuff that goes way, way beyond the cold and impersonal numbers that fill a loan application, to the real, lived experience at that snapshot that I am allowed to enter a life and offer council.

That’s the good stuff. And quite often it is more than just a snapshot in time. Many times I am allowed to follow this life journey with people through several years, as they may sell and buy again, or need to pull equity out to remodel for a disabled child they have welcomed into their home. Or to help the couple buy the vacation home they have wanted and managed to save for, even while putting kids through college and raising them well.

Life, and finances, are only lived on the front line of building a life.

I would not have it any other way. That’s the exciting, sometimes excruciating, and always real place that you and I actually live out our finances. Right here, on the front line of life.

So, come along for the journey. You will recognize yourself in much of what we discuss. And, please, don’t be a passive onlooker of the content we explore. Let’s do it together. It would not be a lived experience without our input, together.

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