Archive - May, 2007

Financial Learning Experience – Atlanta!

This coming Sunday, I will be crusading in Northwest Atlanta at Oak Leaf Church!

I will be speaking at their two morning services – 9:00AM & 10:15AM

During the evening, I will be teaching the personal finance tools that enabled Jenn and I to win.  It is called the Financial Learning Experience, and it has SOLD OUT!  Unless a new space is obtained, it will remain sold out.  If you have not been able to sign up, contact Oak Leaf Church and see what your options are!

Needless to say, I AM PUMPED UP!!!  I CAN NOT WAIT!!! 

This church is EXPLODING!  In less than a year, they are already running nearly 600 people!  I can't wait to get there and see what God has been doing!

Interested in bringing the Financial Learning Experience to your business, community group, or church?  Contact Joe HERE

Yahoo! Answers – Personal Finance

I have discovered this great site – Yahoo! Answers – recently.

It is a worldwide forum for asking/answering questions about virtually any topic known to mankind.

Of course, I was drawn immediately to the Business/Finance – Personal Finance category Smile

I have been answering a few questions to help sharpen my skillset and to challenge myself to answer with great responses.

Anyway, I recently posed this question to the community. 

How would it feel if you had $5,000 in the bank – just sitting there in case of an emergency?


The response was INCREDIBLE!!!  Within a few minutes, 21 people had responded (this is WAY more than average)!

Some of my FAVORITE responses are:

  • I would feel safe and not worry too much about the possibility of having an emergency
  • It makes you feel pretty good because if an emergency arises it is good to know you have that money as backup. Sort of an ace in the hole.

Some of the SADDENING responses are:

  • It would feel good, but it wouldn't be in (the) bank long.
  • Pretty darn good.  The worst thing is knowing it's there and knowing you shouldn't touch it.

You can go HERE to read the responses.

My New, Used Vehicle (almost)


Back in February 2004, when Jenn and I became debt-free, we made a decision to use the money that had been going toward debt to save up enough money to cover at least 6 months of expenses.

After we saved that money up, we decided to save up enough money to replace one of our vehicles.  Not enough to purchase a NEW car (which we wouldn't – they depreciate miserably fast!), but enough to buy a good three or four year old used vehicle.

Well, we have had that money sitting around for over two years, and it is getting near time to replace the car.

Thursday May 3, 2007

Jenn and I went to lunch on Thursday, May 3rd, and I said to Jenn, "What do you think about getting rid of our car and just have one car?"  She liked that idea a lot!  That was lunch.  A few hours later, my friend calls me and tells me that he has a great deal on a vehicle for me.

Now, when this friend calls me and tells me that he has a great deal, I listen!  He knows how to get a great deal!  He purchases cars that have been in wrecks and restores them to 100%, generally for a cost of less than 1/2 of Kelley Blue Book.  This was one of those deals!

Friday May 4, 2007

Jenn and I talked about it in detail, test-drove the same type of vehicle, and then I called my friend to tell him that I wanted to buy the car.

Friday May 11, 2007

Jenn and I went and looked at the wrecked vehicle and delivered the funds to purchase it.   It was sad to depart with my beloved portraits of Benjamin Franklin, but it was a great deal!

Friday, May 25, 2007

My friend called me and said that there was a problem with the wrecked vehicle.  Apparently, when he went to purchase the wreck, he looked it over in great detail and discovered a "kink" in the frame.  I don't know what that is, but it is a major issue!  So, he didn't buy it.

My beloved portraits of Benjamin Franklin are being mailed back to me.  I am sad that I will not get the vehicle, but MAN I missed Ben.

I think I will put Ben back into his house (the bank – high interest savings account), and let him chill for awhile!

Besides, my car only has 220,000 miles on it. 

Memorial Day – Things I Am Remembering Today

1.  My high school classmate and next-door neighbor, Jeremy Wright, who served in the military and lost his life in Afghanistan when his vehicle encountered an IED.  He is the best athlete I have ever known – by far the best runner I have ever seen.  He is only athlete to have an individual photo placed on the wall of athletic achievements at our high school.

2.  My great uncle, Paul A. Barmann, who was killed in action during WW II.  He was married to my great aunt, Aunt La, for only one year when he lost his life.

3.  My great uncle, Uncle Bud, who was in Pearl Harbor when his ship was attacked as part of the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941.

4.  The Indy 500 which takes place every single Sunday before Memorial Day (unless it rains!).  Most race days would entail us going to church, going to KFC for a bucket of chicken, and then going to the park to listen to the 500 on the radio.  Awesome memories for a boy from central Indiana!

5.  My twin brother, John, who served in the US Army and completed a tour through Korea and my fourth brother, Keith, who also served in the US Army.

6.  How awesome my country is!  I can pursue my God-given dreams!  So can you!

7.  How awesome family is!  I have a great family.  We are as disfunctional as your family and have a blast every time we get together!

The power of “sticking with it”

Normal people will give up when they encounter difficulty.

Normal people will stop budgeting because it is hard.

Normal people will not invest because they don't understand what stocks/bonds/mutual funds/real estate mean.

Normal people will not invest because they "can't afford to right now".

Normal people will not take time to learn about personal finances because it is too difficult.

Normal people will not stick with a debt-pay off plan because they cannot tell themselves "NO!" to a new car, boat, motorcycle, kitchen upgrade, furniture, or vacation.

I resolve to not be normal.  I resolve to stick with it.  Join me in my "I AM NOT NORMAL" personal finance crusade!  Who can you invite over to your house this Memorial Day weekend and teach them about a better way to manage their finances?

Financial Hero – Bank Lady’s Dad

Why is the Bank Lady's Dad a Financial Hero?

The other day I was waiting in an open office awaiting the return of the personal banker.  As I was sitting there, a very elderly lady came in to the bank.  She was at least 80 years old.  Even at this age, this lady had the "fire" in her eyes.  From this point in the story, I will refer to this lady as Bank Lady.

Since the line awaiting the bank tellers was at least eight people deep, Bank Lady took the opportunity to walk up and down the line of people and speak with them (her friend held her place in line).

She stopped by a lady who appeared to be dressed according to another country's customs and pleasantly asked, "Where are  you from?"

The lady said, "I'm from Kenya."

Bank Lady said, "Well, Ken ya help me?  HA HA HA HA HA HA!"

Bank Lady continued, "Seriously, though.  I've been there!"

The other lady stared at her suspiciously.

Bank Lady, full of enery, said, "When I was twelve, my daddy loaded our family up on a boat and took a trip around the world.  One of our stops was Kenya."

Bank Lady, even more alive upon recalling this great memory, continued, "We sailed out of the harbor in August and arrived back into New York in the springtime.  It was middle April."

WOW!  I sat there dumbfounded!  Bank Lady's Dad had left a legacy.  A life-long memory.  He took his family on an EIGHT MONTH TRIP AROUND THE WORLD!

That took money.  That took planning.  That took commitment.  I am still blown away.

For this, Bank Lady's Dad is an official FINANCIAL HERO!

Read about other Financial Heroes!

New Tool! Announcing the Time Budget

In November 2006, I wrote about the power of budgeting your time!  It works the same as budgeting your money!

Similarities between money and time.

  • You have limited income AND time.
  • You can only spend a dollar AND an hour once and then it is gone!
  • Planned money and planned time goes farther and is less susceptible to waste.
  • Both money and time are valuable!

I have now added two new Time Budgets to the TOOLS page.

One Time Budget is in 1/2-hour increments and the other is in 1-hour increments.

How are you spending your time?  Are you accomplishing everything you hoped for?  I highly recommend a time budget – especially for ensuring that the family spends a lot of time together.  The Sangl's have used the time budget to ensure that "Family Game Nights" and "Daddy-Daughter Date Nights" are on the schedule.  You don't want to miss out on these, and a time budget is a great to way to ensure that they happen regularly!

Have fun!

Financial Learning – Oprah’s Debt Diet

If you have been hanging around anytime at all, you have heard me talk about how important it is to continue learning about how to manage your finances.

I have recently completed watching Oprah's Debt Diet series.

Here are some things I took away from watching this series:

  • Americans are very disorganized
  • Spouses who do not work together are susceptible to hiding debt
  • Debt is a disease – DIS EASE – uncomfortable
  • When faced with their true financial picture, people KNOW that it is out of order!  They will make statements like, "This is eye-opening", "This is nuts!", and "Wow!"
  • There is ALWAYS a way to spend less money
  • Some people are just plain stupid with money
  • People know their real story, regardless of the facade they present
  • Folks feel stupid when it comes to money and are scared to ask for help!
  • Americans feel validated by their credit score
  • Kids don't really care about STUFF – they just want to spend time with you
  • 43% of homes purchased last year were with $0 down!

More Credit Cards Chopped!

I have always said that the first rule of holes applies really well to debt.

You know what the first rule of holes is, right?

When you are in one, STOP DIGGING! 

Well, I have had some great things happening during recent financial counseling appointments.

People have taken substantial steps to STOP DIGGING holes as they step toward Financial Freedom!

Want proof?  Here are some pictures!  A HUGE round of applause for these people who are taking action to change their lives!


Have you STOPPED DIGGING yet?  If not, what will it take?  A job loss?  A pay cut?  A broken car transmission?  A huge medical bill?  Bankruptcy?

If you have stopped digging, send me pictures of your chopped up credit cards (or filled in Pay-off Spectaculars – found in the TOOLS page) and I will post the pictures! 

Plans – They paid off!

Four years ago, I went to Philadelphia to attend my twin brother's "white coat ceremony" at Drexel University College of Medicine.  This ceremony started the four year journey through medical school.  For John, it was the realization of years of studying, planning, and dreaming.

Today, I find myself in Philadelphia again.  John graduates from medical school today.  The first doctor in the family.

John's plans have paid off!  It was not easy.  It was not fun all of the time.  It was not glamorous.

TODAY, however, is easy, fun, and glamorous.  Today, John Sangl becomes Dr. John D. Sangl.

Congratulations, John, on achieving a life-long dream!

Anyone out there have a dream?  A big dream?  A dream that scares you to death?  One that you can hardly share with those you care most about?  Question:  What are you doing about your dreams?

Financial Hero – Larry Burkett

Why is Larry Burkett a Financial Hero?

Larry Burkett is a Financial Hero because he LIVED what he taught.  Larry taught the principle of "God is the owner.  We are the managers."

Think about that principle for a minute.  It changes the entire way you manage your money.  It forces you to look at it from the position of a manager, NOT the owner.  Let's break this down.  If you are a store manager for my favorite fast-food restaurant, Chick-Fil-A, what is your job?  Ultimately, it is to help the owner make more money!  Yes, you are responsible for ensuring the customers are delighted with the food and service and ensuring that the drive-through moves swiftly, but ultimately you are responsible for boosting sales and increasing profits.

If you were the owner of U, Inc., would your fire yourself?  How are you doing?

Larry consistently challenged everyone to look at their finances from a biblical perspective.  The Bible is very clear that when you approach your finances from a manager's perspective, you will obtain better results.

Larry wrote over 70 books!  Let's put this into perspective.  I am still working to have my first book published!

He passed away in 2003, but he has left a legacy in print and spoken word that continue to impact tens of thousands every year.  What a legacy!

Larry Burkett, an official Financial Hero!

Read about other Financial Heroes!

An Open Letter To Business Leaders/Pastors

Dear Business Leader/Pastor,

As a leader, you encounter people who are in financial trouble.  Statistics show that over 70% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck.  OVER SEVENTY PERCENT!

What does this mean to you?

For business leaders, it has been shown that people who are struggling financially have lower productivity, are prone to attendance issues, and pursue raises constantly, solely because of their financial need.

For pastors, it is clear that people who are struggle financially will also struggle spiritually.  It is also means that these people are unable to give as they want to.

I have a question for you.  What are you doing to financially equip your people?

Business Leaders – Do you just push their issues under the carpet and chuckle about the “OT” hogs?  Do you beg off by saying “We are a business, not an educational institution.” Or “We can’t tell our people what to do with their money?”

Pastors – Do you teach about giving the full tithe, pushing all non-givers into complete guilt, without offering a way to make it happen?  Do you beg off by saying, “God says to ‘test me in this’”?  Or “Just give and God will make up the difference?”

WE MUST EQUIP PEOPLE!  If we do not, who will?  Marketers and salespersons looking to make a huge margin, that's who!

I am on a CRUSADE to help people with their finances!  I cannot simply stand by and watch others struggle with their finances the way that I did!  I cannot simply stand by and see others struggle while KNOWING that there is A BETTER WAY!  I will travel the planet to proclaim this!

I want to help you!  Here are ways that I can help.

Financial Learning Experience – A 2 to 5 hour class (Custom-designed to your staff/congregation/employee needs).  It is a practical class that is focused on the “how-to” of sound money management.  I LOVE taking the crusade on the road!  The recent road has included teaching in Easley, SC, N. Myrtle Beach, SC, and Atlanta, GA.  The future road already includes Atlanta, GA.  This road will soon include Texas, California, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Indiana.  More to come! – This web site is chock-full of information and practical tools that have changed entire financial futures!

Want to bring the Financial Learning Experience to your location?  Contact me HERE

Plan Your Spending EVERY MONTH

I provide one-on-one financial counseling for 10 to 15 people each week.  In this counseling, we usually put together a spending plan for the upcoming month.  This is usually a VERY eye-opening experience!  The words "WOW!" and "Oh my goodness!" and "That's insane!" are commonly said (No – I am not the one saying that!).

Folks then leave with their spending planned for the next month.  They have spent every dollar on paper.  If they follow the plan, they will start winning in a way they never have before.  Two or three months pass and we meet again – only to find out that they are still trying to use the same spending plan we had put together!


Why?  Well, every single month is different.  Now, some costs are fixed (or close to being fixed) like the mortgage, rent, insurance, car payment, student loan payment, etc.  However, many expenses are variable – they don't happen every month.  Items like vacation, Christmas, weddings, baby showers, graduations, weekend getaways, etc.  If you do not plan your spending every month, you will not maximize the use of your money!

Let me give you a practical month.  In this month of May, Jenn and I traveled to Atlanta the weekend of 5/5.  This past weekend?  Wow!  We traveled to seven states, 2000 miles, for two graduations (Jenn's sisters) and a wedding shower.  This next weekend, we are going to another graduation – my twin is graduating from medical school.  Is that a typical month?  I HOPE NOT!  The "gifts" part of our budget for May is HUGE!  Next month will be calmer in the gift category, but the vacation line item will be boosted.

Get the picture? 

Every month is different.  It only takes 15 minutes to tweak the budget and make it work fabulously well EVERY SINGLE MONTH!

Thoughts from Purdue University

On Sunday, I had the honor of seeing my sister-in-law, Chelsee, graduate with a BS Nursing degree from the world's GREATEST college, Purdue University!

One of the speakers at the school's recognition and pinning ceremony mentioned that this was a moment they would never forget.  She stated that many of those in the room were remembering their own moments.  She got that right!  It was all I did the entire time!

On Saturday evening and Sunday morning, I walked around the entire Purdue campus.  The ENTIRE campus.  I had the pleasure of just walking around with my daughter and telling her all the stories.  The story of how Jenn and I met there my first weekend at Purdue.  The story of where they teach people how to slaughter cows (yikes).  The story of riding my bike around campus.  The story of running through the fountain in the engineering mall. 

I lived at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN for four YEARS, and it seemed like it was only four MINUTES!

Here is what is on my mind right now – What are your dreams?  What are your hopes?  What do you wish you could do?  What were you created to do?  What have you been put on earth to do?

Three words for you:  GO  DO  IT!!!

You will never regret doing what you have been created to do!


I meet people all of the time who do not plan their finances.  They use lame excuses to explain why they never plan their spending.

Some of the greatest LAME excuses are:

"I'm just too busy."

"The kids just have so much going on." 

"I put together a budget before and it didn't work." 

Let's apply this same logic to other aspects of life.

Surgery – Suppose that you needed surgery.  If the surgeon said, "I'm not sure what I am going to do.  I am just going to start cutting and I hope that it all works out OK.  And, oh yeah, if I remember, I will apply anesthesia first."  Would you allow this surgeon to operate on you without a plan?  NO!

House – Would you hire a homebuilder who said, "I don't like plans.  They are too constraining.  I do my best when I just freelance it."  Would you allow this builder to construct your home?  NO!

Football Game – Would you want to play for a coach who said, "Just run in there, and we'll make up a play as we go along?"  Teams who do not have a plan FAIL!

We will all say that coaches, surgeons, and homebuilders should have a plan, yet we will not plan our finances!

If you wish to remain broke, keep up this same behavior!  The issue is this – I KNOW that NO ONE truly wants to be broke!  Everyone has hopes and dreams.  Everyone has been put on earth to accomplish something!  Everyone aspires to do their best with what they have!

I am on a CRUSADE to help you accomplish far more than you ever thought possible!  PLAN YOUR FINANCES!  Put together a plan for your money.  Spend your money on paper BEFORE the month begins and BEFORE you ever get the money.  Go to the TOOLS section of this page and pull up one of the budget forms.

Do it today for the rest of the month, and then put together a plan for next month's money.  When you spend your money on paper BEFORE you ever receive the money, you will start to win in a way you only dreamed of!

Plan Your Finances – You will NEVER regret this decision!

"Can I get a witness?!" 

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