Archive for November 2006

Stuff-Itis Outbreak

A major stuff-itis outbreak has been detected in America.   Many individuals have been infected with this curable disease, but the source of the infection seems to vary.

It is possible that turkeys are the carrier of the disease, and it is passed on to those who consume turkey on Thanksgiving Day.   It seems that a massive outbreak of stuff-itis occurs on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Stuff-itis outbreaks have also been previously associated with occurring just after a marital disagreement.

Stuff-itis is a serious disease that causes the infected person to:

  • spend more than they make
  • believe that “stuff” will make them happy
  • have a void created in their very soul, and
  • be robbed  of their long-term potential

Arguments, though they add energy to the process, have not been proven to help cure an individual infected with stuff-itis.

It is cured through the recognition that one has “enough”.   “Enough” food, clothing, shelter, and safety to make it through today.

Money is paper with ink printed on it.

Money is made from paper composed of 25% linen and 75% cotton.   Red and blue synthetic fibers of various lengths are distributed evenly throughout.   Look closely and you will see them!

It is printed in big sheets @ the Bureau of Printing and Engraving.

So here is my question:   Why do we allow this paper with ink printed on it to have so much power and control in our lives?

Did you get to eat today?   Do you have clothes to wear today?   Do you have health today?   Are you safe?   Do you have somewhere to live?

If you do, you are living the GOOD LIFE!   Don’t allow paper with ink printed on it with pictures of guys with bad hair to control you.   I do admit, however, that I think that Andrew Jackson’s hair on the new $20 bill is cool (but his left eyebrow is crazy!   Look at it!!!)

 $20 Bill - Jackson Close-Up

So, since money is just paper with ink printed on it, resolve today to get over its mystique and start making it behave.   Remember that you can spend each dollar once and when it is gone, it is gone.   Save for a rainy day.   Don’t do debt.   Give tons away.   Love life.

My Fear Of Debt

I admit it.   I am fearful of debt.

Why?   I have had loads of debt in the past, and it was not friendly to me!   It made all of my paycheck leave.   It made all of my tax refund leave.   It made my credit card balances increase.

I will say that debt allowed me to have exactly what I wanted when I wanted it.   When I wanted a new car, 105% financing later and a couple of days later, I had a new car.   When I wanted some new appliances, a credit card enabled me to get it.

This is why debt scares me so much!   Yes, I always was able to make my payments on time.   Yes, I was able to have the product sooner.   However, it came with a pile of debt attached to it!   It is a lot less fun to earn money and see it all leave one day later to pay for things that I have already purchased.   Many of them had already been consumed – vacations, dining out, sporting events, etc.

Yes, I have a fear of debt.   I am glad that I do, and  I plan on keeping this particular fear.

Should you withdraw money from your 401(k); 403(b); etc. before retirement?

Want the short answer?   NO!!!

Why?   Most of the contributions to an employee-sponsored retirement plan are done so on a pre-tax basis.   The contributions have never been taxed.

Here are my reasons why you should not pull money out of your retirement plan early:

  • Lose the opportunity for your money to grow tax-deferred
  • Time-value of money is crushed when you pull out the money you have saved for retirement.   You will never get that time back!
  • If you pull money out of your retirement plan early, it will be subject to taxes PLUS a 10% penalty.
  • You will  have to recognize the withdrawal as income for that year which will usually bump you up a couple of tax brackets.
  • It is a VERY EXPENSIVE way to obtain money.   You will ultimately pay around 45% taxes on the money you withdraw!   If you pull out $50,000, you will actually bring home $27,500!   Taxes and penalties will cost you $22,500!   That is worse than a credit card!
  • I would ask the question, “Why do you need the money?”   There is some reason that is causing you to want to pull the money out.   In MOST cases that I see, the reason is that the person(s) are spending more than they make and are turning to debt to make up the difference.   They view this cash withdrawal as a way to avoid more debt.   I have seen too many cases where the money is withdrawn (very expensively), and they never change their spending behavior.   They then end up with  zero or very little in their 401(k) PLUS they still have a pile of debt that increases every month!
  • FINAL REASON:   It’s for RETIREMENT!!!   That is why it is called an employee-sponsored RETIREMENT plan!!!   Trust me.   You WILL be tired some day.   You WILL want to reTIRE someday.   If you take this money away, how will you be able to retire?

Vision

I have experienced the power of vision.

In 1999, Perry Noble had a vision for a church that would reach people differently.   This church was a God-breathed vision that made him lose sleep at nights and  talk endlessly about it.   It reached the point of action.   Something had to be done about this vision, this dream that he had been given.

We started out in late 1999 meeting in the front room of a farmhouse.   Less than 15 people were in attendance, yet Perry was talking about reaching thousands for Christ!   In ANDERSON, SC!!!   While the thought of reaching thousands  seemed to be a fairy tale, Perry KNEW it was a God-inspired vision.   So did the rest of us!

Vision.   The power of vision.   Today, just 7 years later, NewSpring Church is averaging over 7,500 every weekend.   Thousands are being reached.   Lives are being changed.   I never dreamed that I would ever see 214 people come to Christ in one place in one building at the same time!   I have now!   I never dreamed that I would see 413 people be baptized in one place in one building at the same time!   I have now!

Vision is inspiration.   It fills the sails with wind.   It fuels the fire.   It MAKES you do something – you cannot just sit there!

What is your vision for your finances?   What is your vision for your family?   What is your vision for your life?   NEVER be denied.   NEVER give up.   NEVER let up.   NEVER let go.

“Where there is no VISION, the people perish.”   Heard that before?   Yeah, it’s in the Bible – Proverbs 29:18