Archive for February 2006

I know the difference!

Observed today on a sticker – “I know the difference between right and wrong, but I choose to ignore it.”

When it comes to finances, I have learned a lot about what is right and wrong. I hope I do not EVER choose to ignore it!

I have learned that:
– saving money is right and that spending all of my money is wrong
– having an emergency fund for emergencies is right and using a credit card for emergencies is wrong
– giving to worthy causes and individuals is right and not giving at all is dead wrong
– paying cash for purchases is right and paying on payments is wrong
– including your spouse in the budgeting process is right and not including them is wrong
– calling our money “ours” is right and our money “mine” and “yours” is wrong
– working together as husband and wife toward common financial goals is right and working separately is wrong
– having medical and life insurance is right and not having this insurance is wrong
– dealing with your financial situation is right and just throwing up your hands and declaring bankruptcy is wrong
– developing a plan and following it is right and handing your financial mess over to rip-off credit counseling is wrong
– facing your finances is right and choosing to ignore it is plain wrong

I would love to hear some other truths you have learned as you have dealt with your finances!

Are you doing what you love to do?

Are you doing what you love to do? Are you passionate about your work? Do you have a passion for doing a particular type of work? Are you doing what you were put on earth to accomplish?

There are many people who are not doing the very thing they are passionate about. For many, the number one concern is money. Money pays the bills. Even if a job is despised, people will stay just for the money and benefits. Meanwhile, the very thing they were put on this earth to do is rejected and ignored.

In many cases, the very thing that a person is put on earth to do does not generate a large income. It may not generate ANY income. If this describes you, that is EXACTLY why I am blogging on personal finances. This is why it is so critical that you become debt-free RIGHT NOW!!! Not tomorrow, not next year, not in five years … NOW!!! Can you do what you are made to do if you have no payments? How much income would you need to generate to live if you had no debts?

A hero of mine pursued his passion in life – playing the piano. You may have heard of him – Anthony Burger. Anthony burned his hands as a child, and there was doubt about his even being able to have 100% use of his hands. He would not deny the passion of his life and made it his life’s work. Anthony Burger died last Wednesday evening at the age of 44 doing what he loved the most – playing the piano for a huge crowd on a Gaither Homecoming cruise.

Anthony made his life’s passion happen. He made it happen immediately. There was no time for delay. He only had 44 years. There was (and is) no promise of time to get on with it.

What is the world missing out on because you are not relentlessly pursuing your life’s work? If money is the blocker, make it a non-issue by becoming debt-free!

This is what life is about!

Last week’s events are a picture of what life is all about!

Monday – Thursday
I was able to spend three days in Salt Lake City, Utah. Beautiful! I was able to night ski at Brighton Ski Resort. They had 122″ (that is 10′ 2″) of snow! If you have not skied in big mountains – you have not skied! It is awesome! I was also able to go snow-tubing on 1000′ groomed runs at Gorgoza Park in Park City! We went down the runs with up to 14 people at once. Very cool. Two 5-mile runs and a game of basketball were also enjoyed.

While in SLC, I was also able to conduct training on some key business tools, and others were able to teach me some new tools. These tools will make me more effective at what I do.

I am happy to report that my twin brother and his wife are the proud parents of their firstborn – a son!

On Thursday, I also received a phone call from a close friend who is challenging me to take another huge step in life. I love being challenged!!! Keep pressing!

I am also happy to report that my close childhood friends, Jamie and Tina, are the proud parents of their secondborn – a son!

On Friday morning, I was able to travel with my family to Pittsburgh, PA to hold our new little nephew! This is what life is all about!!!

We enjoyed Melea’s basketball game (she scored another basket!), time with Jenn’s mother and brother, and ended the day with a Bunco (sp?) party with our friends.

To end the weekend, we were able to attend morning worship services and spend time with Jenn’s mother, brother, sister, and brother-in-law. We enjoyed a fine family meal, a Sunday afternoon nap, another family meal, and a nice drive home.

What does this have to do with personal finances? Actually, very little. Do you know why? We implemented a plan over three years ago that makes it possible for our personal finances to not be a huge pressing issue for us. If we need to travel to hold a brand new nephew – we can just go do it. If we want to spend time with family and not work overtime, we can do just that. Finances should not be an overwhelming part of one’s life. Finances are important, but they should not be controlling.

If you need help with your personal finances, I strongly recommend you take Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class. It is the material that Dave teaches that completely changed our family’s approach to personal finances. You can have the same happen for you!

Why pay off your home early?

If your interest rate is 5% and you pay off an extra $1000 on a 30-year note, you have just saved $50/year for the next 30 years. That is $1500!!!!

If you pay off your home early, it frees up what is often a very large portion of your monthly expenditures. You can then use that money to invest, give, and build wealth.

Besides, when you pay off your house, the grass crunches differently underneath your feet.

It’s good to talk about it … but action makes it happen!

Are you still talking about it? Talking about making a change to your financial future? Wanting to get out of debt? Every year, one of the top New Year’s resolutions is “to become better off financially.” Are you one of the many who made that resolution?

Talk without action is mere babble.

You CAN become debt-free! You CAN save money! You CAN become better off financially! You CAN prepare for an excellent retirement. You CAN!!! It will not be easy, but you CAN do it!

It takes action to make the improvement. It requires you to stop signing up for more debt. It means that you need to turn off the TV and work with your spouse to develop a set of actions you can work on together.

After working with many couples’ finances, I do understand how intimidating this can be, but I also know the end results of the couples who have applied these tried, tested, and proven true tools. They have freed up their income because of their focused efforts in becoming debt-free.

If you are one of the persons who is just lost when it comes to your finances and you do not know where to begin, here are some practical steps you can take TODAY to initiate ACTION.
1) Go to this link and print out the budget sheet.
2) Sit down with your spouse and fill out your expected income and expenses for the next month.
3) Obtain the balances and monthly payments for each of your debts and calculate your debt-freedom date. Get instructions on how to do that here.
4) Make a commitment (you and your spouse if married) to STOP obtaining more debt.
5) Take Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class. You can find a class near you by clicking here.
6) Live it. Don’t give up. Keep moving forward. Setbacks will happen, but do not allow them to derail your effort. I recommend writing a debt-freedom proclamation that you can post on your refrigerator. Read it every morning as you are getting your breakfast! Get fired up about it!!!

How about it? Are you taking real action to better your personal finances today, or are you still talking about it?