Archive - April, 2007

People I am learning from!

As you know, I continually urge you to learn from others.  I wanted to share with you today the web sites and blogs that I read EVERY DAY and are helpful to me as I seek more knowledge as it pertains to personal finances!

CNN Money I really like this site from a "what is happening in the world of finance" perspective

MyMoneyBlog This guy, Jonathan, is a freak!  He actually posts his net worth on his web site!  How awesome is that?

Rich Brott Rich has published at least seven books on personal finances and offers an outstanding biblical perspective to management of your money and possessions.

Lazy Man And Money A blog where the author posts his monthly residual income and how he is working to grow it!

What other blogs/sites should I be reading? 

Obtaining Financial Freedom is EZ!

Obtaining Financial Freedom is EZ!  It is so simple to achieve it.

Here is how you accomplish Financial Freedom!

Income – Outgo = Exactly Zero

Let's shorten it a bit.

I – O = EZ

See?  I told you that obtaining Financial Freedom is EZ!

Is I – O = NEGATIVE?  Sell some stuff!  Get rid of the car!  Cut off the home phone (you use your cell phone for everything anyway)!  Get rid of cable!  Sell the boat!  Work your way through college!  Acquire a new skill set!  Sell the four-wheeler!  Get rid of the subscription to magazine!  Cancel the golf club membership!

I – O = EZ!

Think I'm crazy?  Maybe so, BUT I AM NOT B-R-O-K-E ANYMORE!!!

You can wander around thinking you can just eventually, kinda-sorta, "maybe someday when I win the lottery", trip and fall into debt freedom and financial freedom.  Go ahead and try that!  I like the tried and true method of "I made the hard decisions long ago like "using my money to pay off debt instead of really nice vacations" so that NOW I can make the hard decisions like "which vacation should I go on".

I – O = EZ

Financial Hero – Thomas J. Stanley, William D. Danko

Why are Thomas Stanley and William Danko Financial Heroes? 

Thomas Stanley and William Danko became Financial Heroes when they wrote a book titled The Millionaire Next Door.  Stanley and Danko conducted multiple controlled studies of affluent people.  Wealthy people.

I have always said that if one wants to become wealthy, you should speak to wealthy individuals and learn what they have done and are doing to create more wealth.  You do not go to your broke brother-in-law to become wealthy!!!

Stanley and Danko take this to an entirely different level!  They went to the wealthy people and conducted studies on their behaviors to try and understand why they have become wealthy.  What they found is AWESOME!  It is best summed up by the start of the book which I have transcribed here …

These people cannot be millionaires!  They don't look like millionaires, they don't dress like millionaires, they don't eat like millionaires, they don't act like millionaires – they don't even have millionaire names.  Where are the millionaires who look like millionaires?

Oh baby!  This book proves WITH PILES OF DATA (you KNOW that I love that!) that the "keeping up with the Jones'" crowd are destined to remain B-R-O-K-E.

Stanley and Danko talk about UAWs and PAWs.  Under Accumulators of Wealth (UAW) and Prodigious Accumulators of Wealth (PAW).  There are many professionals who have a relatively large net worth but are actually UAWs.  Why?  Because just because you have a net worth of $350,000 does not mean that you have done well financially!  What if you are a doctor who is earning $240,000 per year?  Is $350,000 a prodigious amount?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  To be a PAW, a 40 year old doctor earning $240,000/year would have to have a net worth of $960,000 or more!

Don't get it?  Read the book!  It will challenge you in ways you have not been challenged financially.

Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko – You have officially been named a Financial Hero!


Read about other Financial Heroes!

I LOVE hearing the stories!

I was talking with my Northern Indiana friends, Sam & Lori, yesterday.  They gave me an update on the Financial Peace University class that they are teaching at Nappanee Missionary Church.  NMC is where Jenn and I started out our financial crusade, and we were able to work alongside Sam and Lori for three years as we saw over 500 people go through the FPU classes.  It was an incredible time where we saw tons of life change happening!

Anyway, Sam told me that Dave Engbrecht, pastor of NMC, spoke recently about personal finances and the impact it has on your spirit!  As part of the message, there was a testimony by a couple who had changed the way that they manage their money and the result it has had on their marriage and lives.

I cannot put into words how PROUD and PUMPED UP and EXUBERANT I was!  I downloaded the message so I could hear what they had to say.  It was incredible.  Life is completely different for them these days!  So much better.  So much easier.  So free.

As I listened to them, my mind drifted back to Christmas break 2004.  This SAME couple had asked me to come over and help them put together their first ever budget.  After I left, they got their children together and had a credit card chopping party!  They enrolled into the FPU class that began the next month, January 2005.  The rest is history!  Their lives are forever changed!

My God is awesome!  He allowed me to use my gifts, talents, and abilities to speak a better way.  That is all it took for this couple!  They heard a better way (God's way), and their lives will never be the same.  They have even LEAD the FPU for teens class so that the high school students can avoid making many poor financial decisions!

That PUMPS ME UP!  That makes me want to charge hell with a water pistol!

When will you start writing your "NEW YOU" story?  When will you join the crusade?  When will you be able to tell your story to others and impact their lives for eternity?




OR will you be telling THIS STORY in twenty years?

Two Posts Today! is proud to announce that Joe's crusade to help others with their personal finances will visit the Atlanta, GA area  twice in the next two months!

On Saturday, May 5th, Joe will be teaching the Financial Learning Experience at Crossroads Church in Douglasville, GA!  For more information, you can contact Crossroads Church at 678-370-0555.

On Sunday, June 3rd, Joe will be speaking during the two morning services at Oakleaf Church in Cartersville, GA!  On that same evening, Joe will be teaching the Financial Learning Experience.  For more information, you can contact Oakleaf Church at 678-721-2377.

Joe would love to meet you at one of these two exciting events!  You will have fun.  You will be challenged.  You will leave changed.

Interested in having Joe and his crusade to help others with their personal finances at your church, your community, or your business team?  Contact Joe HERE

What legacy will you leave?

I was at home recently and my cat, Kiki, jumped up on my lap for some petting.  Now, you may not like cats, but I have always loved cats.  My cat is a "people" cat.  She is fine with letting complete strangers pet her, pick her up, and rub her belly.

It was very pleasant to have Kiki lying on my lap, but it made me think that I was starting to get old.

You know, Grandpas are the ones that sit around snoozing with a sleepy kitty cat lying on their lap.

Why is it that my image is of an older person having the cat lying on their lap?  I think that it is in part due to the fact that there will be a day when we will grow older.  There is coming a day when sitting in a rocking chair may be all that we can do.

I can promise you that when you get to a point that all you can pysically do is sit around, your mind will still be at work!  Your thoughts become much more active and clear while sitting around.  I mean that is all you will be able to do!

So my question is this:

What will you be thinking about?

Will you be fully satisfied that you did absolutely everything you could with what God had given you?  Will you know that you did everything you possibly could?

Based on statistical evidence, I am at or near half-time of my life!  I am 33 years old and nearly half-way done!

Have I done everything I could with what God has entrusted to me?  Have I effectively managed the money He has provided me?  Have I effectively managed the family He has given me?  Have I effectively used the gifts/talents He has provided me?

At the end of the day, when my youth and vitality is gone and a cat is dozing in my lap, will I be able to say, "I gave it my level best.  I gave it my all."?

At this point of my life, I can honestly say that I am giving it my all!

Can you say that? 

Saving Money had a great article about American's savings status on April 11, 2007 titled Have Less Than $25K In Savings?  Get In Line

It is sobering and backs up what I have been saying about American's spending habits!  We are spending ourselves to oblivion!

Key Points

  • Nearly half of all workers saving for retirement have savings that fall short of the $25,000 mark …
  • Overall, 40 percent of respondents said they are not currently saving for retirement while 34 percent said they didn't have ANY retirement money saved whatsoever.  A full 25 percent, meanwhile, said they had no savings at all – retirement or otherwise!

This makes me want to CRY!!!  What are we thinking?  That some magical fairy will show up at retirement and pay all of our bills?  Are we so oblivious to this epidemic that we can't see it or have we just chosen to ignore it?

Read that key point again!  Forty percent are not saving for retirement right now!!!  What are they going to do?  What are their plans?

Folks, this crusade is so HUGE!  I need your help in reaching others!  Have you spoken to your friends and family about this?

It is NOT HARD!  It is NOT hocus pocus … it is FOCUS pocus!  It takes about 2 hours to sit down and put together an INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO budget!  The tools are free on!  Just click on TOOLS at the top of the page!

Go tell your neighbors!  Go tell your friends!  Go tell your family!  Invite them over for dinner!  Show them what you are doing that has changed your entire financial future!  Show them that it can be done!  Show them that there is HOPE!  Show them that you are there to help them!

Let's reach America and show them a better way! 

Charles Schwab Teens & Money 2007 Survey

If you are interested in how teens are learning about money and their feelings about money, the Charles Schwab Teens & Money 2007 Survey is worth reading.

Key Points I Took Away From Reading The Survey

  • Teens believe that they'll be earning an average salary of $145,500 PER YEAR!  WOW!  Talk about unrealistic!
  • 1 in 4 teens agree that "I am young, so saving money isn't that important."  Have they heard about compound interest?
  • Teens assert they don't like the way it feels to owe someone money, with 88% agreeing with this statement.  It does not get any better the older you get, either!
  • Most teens (51%) agree that it is easier to buy things with a credit card than cash.  Yes, but is it easier when you are paying it back with compound interest working AGAINST you?
  • One in four (25%) say they sometimes feel guilty for being a financial burden to their parents.  So sad!
  • More than half (56%) are concerned about their parents'/guardians' financial well-being.  With good reason!
  • 89% say they want to learn how to make money grow.  AWESOME!
  • Only one in three teens (30%) believe that their parent/guardians are concerned with making sure that they are learning the basics of money management.  This is why YOU need to teach your children!  Few others are going to teach them with their best interest at heart!

What facts stood out to you?

Financial Hero – David Bach

Why is DAVID BACH a Financial Hero?

A friend of mine named, ironically, David, gave me a copy of David Bach's book, Smart Couples Finish Rich, to read.  That was all it took for me to name David Bach a Financial Hero.  In this book, David Bach talks about the importance of working together as a couple on your finances.  In relationships, money represents so much more than just something that is used to pay for things.  If allowed, money can dictate who has the power and control.  Money is connected to so many aspects of life and relationships.

David Bach also emphasizes the importance of making things AUTOMATIC!  If you make your investments automatic via automated monthly withdrawals, you can't help but become wealthy!!!

I have also read David Bach's, The Automatic Millionaire.  This book really details HOW to set up your investments and the POWER of compound interest.  I love reading about compound interest.  It is such a GREAT friend when it is paying you!

David Bach's materials should be required study for juniors and seniors in high school!

David Bach, you are an official Financial Hero!  I admire your personal crusade to help others win with their finances!

Other books written by David Bach include Smart Women Finish Rich, Start Late, Finish Rich, and The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner.


Read about other Financial Heroes! 

Pay Frequency – Does it impact your ability to save?

I wonder if a person's pay frequency contributes to their ability to save money.

For example, is it easier for a person to save money if they are paid weekly or is it easier if they are paid monthly?  What about bi-weekly?  What about twice/month?  What about daily?

My hypothesis is that those paid MONTHLY have a better chance of saving money.  This is not backed up scientifically, but here are my reasons to support my guess.

  • Most bills are monthly – mortgage, utilities, car payments, student loan payments, insurance payments, etc.
  • When a person is paid monthly, they automatically know that there will be no more money for 30 days.  This fact forces the average person to go into "saver-mode".  They do not want to be eating bread crumbs for the last week of the month!
  • The majority of investment plans suggest a monthly contribution – $25/month minimum; $100/month minimum; etc.
  • Development of a spending plan (budget) is easier when paid monthly.  There is no need to develop a budget for multiple paychecks during a month that are attempting to pay individual monthly bills.

I would LOVE to conduct research on this!

Teach Your Children

A fellow crusader in helping others with their personal finances, Consumerism Commentary, wrote an article titled "Should High Schools Require Money Management Classes?".

The short answer?


I do not know of a single instance where a child should not be learning how to manage their money in the public school system!   I went through K-12, and they gave me a high school diploma.  For the next four years, I went through engineering school at Purdue University, and they gave me a degree in engineering.  I then went through three years of graduate school at Clemson University, and they gave me a degree in business administration.

Let's add that up.

K-12 (13 years) + Purdue University (4 years) + Clemson University (3 years) = 20 Years of Formal Education

I knew a lot about calculus, physics, business management, and anthropology PLUS I had enabled myself to earn a really nice income, but I knew VERY LITTLE about what to do with that income once I received it!  As a result, I spent the first few years spending more than I brought home and digging myself a really nice financial hole.

Look, it is great that we learn about biology, math, anthropology, and art in school, but when we learn all of that and do not receive any sound financial training, something is out of order!

NONE OF THIS eliminates the fact that we, as parents, need to be instructing our children about money as well!  Public education should be a great partnership between the parents and children to ensure that the child becomes a productive citizen and wins financially!

Other Articles on regarding Children and Money:

Children Need To Learn About Money

Have You Taught Your Children About Compound Interest?

Do You Want Your Children To Manage Money The Way You Do?

More Pay-Off Spectaculars! is PROUD to present two more Pay-Off Spectaculars!  One for Student Loans and one for TV's!  What other Pay-Off Spectaculars do you want to see?


“Why” – Rant By Sangl

Are you living paycheck to paycheck?  If you missed one paycheck, would you still be able to pay your bills on time?

Statistics continue to show that over 70% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

Bankruptcy is a very close relative to paycheck to paycheck living?  Those living paycheck to paycheck are just one illness away from disaster.  Just one job layoff away.  Just one paycut away.

Divorce is a very close relative to bankruptcy AND paycheck to paycheck living!  If you are living paycheck, I just have one question.

WHY would you put yourself in this position?

WHY would you allow your marriage and your financial future to be placed in jeopardy?  There is NOTHING worth that for me!

If I can not give and save money, my priorities have become messed up!  I can not fathom having a car payment, a student loan payment, a furniture payment, credit card payments to the point that I can not even give or save money.  Life is all about giving to worthy causes and saving for my dreams.

If you are stuck in the paycheck to paycheck world, here are some practical steps you can take to get OUT of that madness!

1.  Pay cash for all future purchases.  No more debt.  It is the first rule of holes – When you are in a hole, stop digging!

2.  Spend all of your month's money on paper BEFORE the month begins.  INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO.  You can get started by clicking on "TOOLS" on the top of the page or by clicking HERE.

3.  Refuse to live the lie that you HAVE to have debt.  You do not HAVE to have debt.  I have personally seen hundreds of people accomplish major improvement in their personal finances … all the way to total freedom of debt (except the house – some including the house!).

I want financial freedom so much for you!  I feel a HUGE WEIGHT on my heart to help you achieve financial freedom!  I want to help you!  If there is anything I can do to help you, please contact me!

Financial Hero – Robert Kiyosaki

Why is ROBERT KIYOSAKI a Financial Hero?
Robert Kiyosaki became a Financial Hero of mine when I had given a copy of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace, Revisited, to a summer engineering intern named Justin who was working at the manufacturing plant that I was at.  In turn, Justin gave me a copy of Robert Kiyosaki's book, The Cash Flow Quadrant.
I read the book and LOVED it!  I read this book within two days.  If you want to win financially, this book is a must-read.  What I loved most about The Cash Flow Quadrant is Robert's focus on your financial and overall mindset.  Do you have the mindset of an employee or a business owner?  Do you have the mindset of a professional or an investor?
Your approach to management of your money is crucial in creating wealth.  Thanks to Robert, the letters E, S, B, and I will never be looked at the same!
After I had read The Cash Flow Quadrant, I realized that Robert had previously written a book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad.  This book is just plain motivating!  Robert shares his story of growing up with a poor dad (his father) and a rich dad (his friend's dad).  He shares how his own father was highly educated, but was always broke.  Meanwhile, his friend's dad did not have all of the degrees, but was very wealthy.
Robert does emphasize the use of the bank's money to leverage the purchase of some properties which makes me a little uncomfortable, but that does not deter me from naming Robert Kiyosaki as a Financial Hero because Robert PLANS THOROUGHLY and has the heart of a teacher.
Robert, you are an official Financial Hero!  You force me to think differently.  I love that!

A constant reminder …

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about my fixer-upper house and included a picture of my smashed thumb (You can see it HERE).

Anyway, I was looking at my thumb again, and I realized that it is going to be a LONG TIME before this visual reminder of the pain I have went through is gone.

I mean, I smashed this thumb almost two months ago, and the battered purple thumbnail appears to have hardly moved.  My best estimate is that it will be at least four more months before it is gone.

You know what?  Everytime I look at my thumb, I remember how it happened.  I remember that I was working on nailing down plywood on my roof.  It was an eight-penny nail.  I missed the nail.  I nailed the thumbnail.

This applies to my finances.  There is a REASON that I am so passionate about this subject!  There is a REASON I write every single weekday about personal finances!  There is a REASON that I teach classes to help others get a grip on their finances!  There is a REASON that I will conduct over 600 one-on-one financial counseling appointments this year!  There is a REASON that I take this show on the road and teach the Financial Learning Experience!  There is a REASON that I have written a book about this subject!  There is a REASON that I talk endlessly about this topic!

What is the REASON?

I have reminders that ensure I will never forget how my personal finances once were!  Ooooh!  That is good!  Don't miss this!  I have REMINDERS in my life that ensure I will NEVER forget how my personal finances were out of control.  The debt that I carried has left its marks.  The years that I lived with an average balance of $4.13 in my savings account have left scars that I can't deny.

Someone shared with me a better way to manage my finances and ever since that day, Jenn and I have waded our way out of the mess!  I will never forget the past.  Just as my thumb will not let me forget that I missed the nail, my past financial mismanagement will not let me forget.

I was broke.  Now I'm not.  Praise the Lord!

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