Archive for November 2006

It is time to put together a plan!

How do the Clemson Tigers prepare for a football game?   Do you think they just go to classes all week and then get together on Saturday morning and say, “OK.   We have Virginia Tech coming into town today.   Let’s go out there and play really hard.”

NO!!!   They plan for months for the game!   They watch hours of game tape of the other team.   They put together some plans for each style of play that they have seen the other team run.   They prepare specifically to shut down star players.   They have quarterback meetings, receivers meetings, O-line meetings, running back meetings, D-line meetings, on and on and on.   They even have meetings to arrange other meetings!

Bottom Line:   They have a plan!

What about successful businesses?   Do you think they are guessing about what may or may not work?   No way!   Too much is at stake!   McDonald’s runs food tasting test trials long before a new product hits the market – I love the snack wrap!   What about Best Buy?   Do you think they just put something on the shelf because it is an electronics related item?   No way!   It has to meet certain standards of quality, value, supply, and other important criteria.   Why?   Because the company’s success is at stake!

Bottom Line:   They have a plan!

How much time have you spent on your financial plan?   How much time have you spent on your life plan?   You owe it to yourself to spend time managing “You, Incorporated”.   Put together a plan that allows you to go do exactly what you were put on this earth to do.   That thing you were created for!   You see, if you do not do exactly what you were put on this earth to do – we are all going to miss out in seeing you accomplish it!!!   Put together a plan. Work toward accomplishing it every single day.

Bottom Line:   You can accomplish your life’s dream, that thing you have been created for!   Have a plan!

What is your debt freedom date?

Want to know what your debt freedom date is?

It is pretty easy to calculate.

I do want to say, however, that there is one prerequisite to this calculation: You must STOP signing up for more debt! If you keep adding more debt, the debt freedom date will keep moving away from you!

So, knowing that you have said NO! to debt from now on, here is how you calculate your debt freedom date.

  1. Download the Debt Freedom Date Calculator.
  2. List all of your debt information as shown in the example below. You will need your debt name, debt balance, and your current monthly payment.Debt Balance Listing
  3. The balance of your debt balances and your payments will be totaled.Debt Listing with Totals
  4. The calculator will do the rest by dividing your total debt balance by your total monthly payments. This yields your Debt Freedom Date!
    • $26,445 Debt Balance/$1,105 Total Monthly Payments = 23.9 months Debt Freedom Date

NOTE: This will get you really close to your actual debt freedom date.  You might notice that we did not include interest rates. We also did not include positive financial events like pay raises, tax refunds, bonuses, money freed up from budget improvements, and selling stuff.  For the average person who pursues debt freedom with much intensity, it is actually accomplished in about 2/3 of the time calculated here.

You now have your Debt Freedom Date! Post it on the refrigerator and celebrate as you see each debt disappear from your life.

I’m living out a dream

I have a tremendous passion to help others become free of the trappings of “stuff-itis”, debt, and other financial problems that can weigh them down. Why? Because I have been there, done that, and gotten the T-shirt. I KNOW what it is like to live paycheck-to-paycheck. I KNOW what it is like to not be on the same page with my wife regarding our finances. I KNOW what it is like to have a passion and not be able to pursue it because of a pile of debt stood in my way.

I am able to do what I do today because Jenn and I started working together on our finances, we became debt-free except for our house in 14 months, and we put together a plan to be able to pursue a very specific call we have on our lives!

I am called to help people accomplish far more than they ever thought possible. This is particularly true in the area of finances.

Finances can become a huge barrier between people and their dreams. It can become so bad that it can actually cause people to stop dreaming. In fact, it actually does cause most people to stop dreaming.

Instead of dreaming about that lofty goal of starting a new business, the person gives up on that dream. Instead of dreaming about being a stay-at-home mother, the mother just resolves that it is just not meant to be. Instead of dreaming about giving a huge financial gift to a worthy cause that a couple is passionate about, they give in and say “We’ll never be able to do something like that.”

You see, I don’t believe that this is true! I have HOPE for you! I KNOW you can do this! I know that you can have enough! I know that you can have financial success!

Why? Because Jenn and I have been there!

Yesterday, I was able to live out another dream by speaking at NewSpring Church about Marriage and Money. You can listen to the message here.

I’m living out a dream here!

What’s your dream?

Good news gets around!

How fast news travels!   When a new baby is born, it seems like everyone knows within a few hours.   When someone gets engaged, everyone knows within a few hours.   When you get that new job, everyone knows within a few hours.   When your house sells, everyone knows within a few hours.

How does everyone know within a few hours?   It is because the one experiencing the good news cannot wait to share it with someone else!   They are so happy that they feel as if they will burst if they do not share it with someone else!   They are driven to share and moved to tell others.   The excitement simply cannot be denied!

I am writing this to tell you good news!   You do not have to remain financially broke!   You do not have to buy all of Christmas this year on a credit card!   You can have enough money!   You can be enabled to accomplish everything that God has called you to be – regardless of the income potential!

It is great news that I learned years ago, and I have applied it long enough to truly know what financial freedom is.   I have one debt at this point – my house.   In a few short years, I will have zero debt.   How?   Is it because I make a tremendous amount of money?   No!   It is because Jenn and I ceased to finance every purchase in our life with debt!   We pay cash for everything we buy.   Everything.

Camcorder?   Cash.   Lawnmower?   Cash.   Bed?   Cash.   Refrigerator?   Cash.   Car?   Cash.   Two major surgeries?   Cash. Really!   You can do this!

Good news travels fast!   I am here to tell you that this works for every person on this planet.   I will not stop talking about it!   I will not stop writing about it!   I will not stop speaking about it!   I will not be denied the right to tell of this good news!

It is so much like the salvation experience!   When Jesus Christ saved us, he paid our debts!   When you pay off your financial debts, you are “saved” from the stress, the money fights, the agony of not being able to provide for your family the way you want, and your marriage is blessed beyond measure.

Go tell this good news to somebody!

You can start saving today.

It may seem impossible to be able to save money for you.   All of your money comes in one day and leaves the next day with someone else’s name on it.   Yet, you know you need to save money.   The problem is figuring out how to do it!

Here are some practical ideas for you to try:

  • Pull out $25 every month and put it into a jar at home.   You will not miss the $25, and it will grow faster than you think.
  • Have $25 automatically drafted out of your account once every month.   Have it drafted to a bank account that  you do not have easy access to.   This increases the chance that you will keep it there.
  • Pull out $25 every month and give it to someone else that you trust  to keep it for you.   Give them permission to ask questions when you ask them for some of the money.
  • Use a $5 bill every time you visit a vending machine.   Keep the change and place it into a jar.   If you hit the vending machine twice a day, use a new $5 bill every time you visit.   I had a friend who did this and his jar of $1 coins set him far down the path to debt freedom!
  • Use a cash envelope system for your food, entertainment, and blow-it money.   Make it your goal to have at least $25 left at the end of the month.   Take that money to the bank (or the cookie jar).
  • Pack your lunch to work.   Very old school, but this method still works wonders!   I can eat my lunch for less than $1/day when I pack my lunch.   Use the difference between what you would have spent at restaurants and what you paid for your packed lunch to save in a cookie jar/bank.
  • Move to a National Forest and sleep in a tent for a year and hunt game and berries for your food.   This will significantly lower your housing and food costs.   OK OK OK, I was just checking to see if you were still reading.

If you are wanting to start an investment in a mutual fund, you can actually start it with $25!   You will have to set up an automatic monthly draft  into the mutual fund of at least $25/month as well.   How awesome is that?   You CAN start investing with as little as $25!

My Dad gave me a book when I was around 12 years old.   It was about the power of systematically saving money and compound interest.   The name of the book is The Wealthy Barber and it was written by David Chilton.   What an awesome lesson!   It was reaffirmed to me when I was around 19 years old and on a Thanksgiving trip to a house full  of rabid Georgia Bulldog fans.    A cousin told me that I needed to be saving now and should continue to do so every single month.

“Even if it is only $50/month,” he told me.   $50 a MONTH?   I was in college!   $50 was approximately $1,000,000 for me!   But I started saving and investing every single month.

I have never regretted it.   Neither will you.