Archive for October 2006

What was the moment for you?

I am interested in hearing what it was that made you start to take control of your personal finances.

For me, it was when I learned the simple fact that INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO.

I had been through 20 years of formal education including 6 semesters of calculus and advanced calculus. I understood that stuff (back then, anyway), and yet I could not make my money behave.

The moment that I SAW the simple math on paper for my money, I was equipped to manage my money more effectively.

Since that day, the savings account has grown, debt has disappeared, and the stress of paycheck-to-paycheck living has left forever. My marriage is better than it has ever been because of the simple fact that we have removed the number one cause of marital dischord from it – money fights.

So, what was the tipping point for you? What made you take action?

Please e-mail me at with that “moment” that made you take action to manage your money well.

Just a few days away from making a bad decision.

I remember a few years ago, I had the opportunity to purchase some land.

It was about 22 acres of farmland with some drainage creeks through it, but it sounded like a good deal.

I wanted to do this deal. The thought of becoming a land owner was really appealing to me. After all, God stopped making land a long time ago. Plus, it would be really cool to say, “I’m a land owner.” and “I am an owner of land.”

I approached my wife about buying this land. Oh, man! If you are a married man, LEARN this lesson – ALWAYS seek your wife’s input on decisions!

She asked a really tough question, “Where are you going to get the money to buy it?”

I told her that I wanted to borrow the money. I showed her how we could turn this into a pretty profitable investment.

The problem? My assumptions were all wrong. What I thought could do with this land, I could not. As we went through the numbers and as Jenn asked more questions, it became very clear that this would be a major negative financial event in the lives of Joe and Jenn.

I was just a few days away from making a bad decision, but I was able to avoid it by getting Jenn involved and putting the facts on paper.

What decision do you need to get your spouse involved in today?

The challenge of continually learning.

I have spent the last three days at a conference having my mind stretched. I have to admit that it is difficult sometimes to endure mind-stretching teaching/learning experiences.

I believe that it was Thomas Edison that said, “I love to learn. I am just not sure that I like being taught.” Why would he say that? I believe that pride might be at the source of it all. We love to be in the know, but it also happens regularly that we are too prideful to admit that we do not know.

I know that I need to continue to learn. Not just in finances, but in all areas of my life. If I do not continue to learn, I will not grow and develop and accomplish exactly what I was put on this earth to do!

Here is what I have been doing recently to learn:

  • Reading a book on personal finances – specifically on marriage and money
  • Reading a book on leadership – specifically on being a leader of leaders
  • Attending the leadership conference I am currently at
  • Sitting in small group discussions to discuss personal financial management
  • Hanging out with other leaders – not to necessarily discuss leadership
  • Writing thoughts out on paper – really helps to develop ideas/thoughts
  • Prayer – Taking time to reflect
  • Reading the Bible – There is a reason this is the world’s all-time best-seller. The plot is amazing!
  • Attending home groups – doing life together

What have you been doing recently to learn?


Why do many people view challenges as a negative?

“Man, I just do not know how I am going to handle all of these people in our house at Thanksgiving!!!”

You are getting to spend an awesome time with your family and friends!!! That is a POSITIVE in my family!

“Man, I just don’t know what to do with this project. I have never really done something like this before.”

You are getting to learn and grow!!! How awesome to be able to do something new and challenging!

“Man, I just do not know how to get control of our finances. We have never been able to control them well.”

You are gaining control of the number one cause of marital strife! How awesome to be able to work with your spouse and learn and grow together!!!

Enjoy challenges!!! They are your opportunity to learn and grow. Life without variety and a hint of mystery grows bland VERY quickly.

Characteristics of those who fail financially

As I see persons who have failed financially, I have seen at least one of the following characteristics:

– A failure to recognize that emergencies will occur (car breaking down – they break down!; Christmas – It really is in December! People will get sick!)
– A life-controlling issue – addiction to gambling, drugs, alcohol
– Lack of HOPE
– Unwilling to change their behavior
– Lack of medical insurance!
– Lack of a plan
– Unwilling to work together with their spouse
– Uneducated about financial topics

All of these items can be addressed. There is HOPE! You can put together a plan!