Archive - August, 2007

I am PUMPED to announce …

Anyone who has heard me or spoke with me for more than three minutes knows that I am on a crusade to teach personal finances to over 100,000 people by the end of 2011.

As part of this crusade, I am PUMPED to announce that I will be teaching the Financial Freedom Class at two locations this fall.

Wednesday Evenings – NewSpring Church – Anderson, SC - Starts Wednesday, September 19th!  Childcare provided!

Thursday Evenings – Adult Education Building – Anderson, SC – Starts Thursday, September 20th!

The Financial Freedom Class is a five session class.  Cost is $20/family unit!

This hope-filling, motivating class teaches participants about:

  • Joe's secret, little-known formula (Hint: It's EZ!) 
  • Planning
  • Budgeting
  • Debt Freedom Date
  • Strategies for Debt Reduction
  • Preparing to pay for College and Retirement
  • Power of Compound Interest

I am PUMPED about some MORE announcements that are on the way!

Looking for additional Personal Finance Resources?  You can obtain free tools by clicking HERE and purchase books/materials by clicking HERE.

Irregular/Seasonal/Cyclical Income Budgeting – Part 04

This series of posts has been focused on how to manage the home economy when it is powered by irregular income.  It is my goal to help you eliminate the feast/famine lifestyle (especially the famine part!!!).

Before we focus on today's step, let's review the previous steps.

Step 1 – Recognize it!  To avoid living the feast/famine lifestyle, you need to recognize that you are earning irregular income.

Step 2 – Determine monthly expenses   It is important to understand how much income is necessary each month to ensure that the household operates smoothly and free from the feast/famine lifestyle.

Step 3 – Save up at least three months worth of expenses  This is your buffer that absorbs the wild patterns of your customers!  It allows you to live life smoothly without the feast/famine episodes!

Step 4 – Become personally debt-free and operate your business debt-free

Now, I am certain that you believe I have completely fell off of my rocker.  You might be saying, "Joe, you are crazy!  There is no way I can do this!"  Well, I have seen many people operate their business debt free.  Let's take a small company like, say, Walgreens.  They do only $47 BILLION in business each year.  Small company.  Yet, the operate DEBT-FREE!!!  Don't believe me?  Pull up their balance sheet right HERE and see for yourself.  You will see that short-term and long-term debt are $0!!!

What are the advantages of operating a business debt-free?  Let me count the ways!

  1. Monthly expense load drops!  There are no interest payments to make!
  2. You business can absorb downturns much more effectively.  Again, there are no interest payments to absorb!
  3. Breathing room.  It is amazing how much stress a pile of debt brings on.
  4. When you spend your own real money, you will manage it better.  I don't know why this is, but if I am spending someone else's money (i.e. the banks) I am much more susceptible to make a riskier decision!  When I am spending my money, I am much more likely to do thorough due diligence before doing a deal!

Question of the Day:  What are some other advantages of operating a business debt-free?

I am PUMPED UP about some announcements I will be making over the next few posts!

Looking for additional Personal Finance Resources?  You can obtain free tools by clicking HERE and purchase books/materials by clicking HERE.

Irregular/Seasonal/Cyclical Income Budgeting – Part 03

In this series of posts, we are learning how to manage the home economy when it is powered by irregular income.

Over the last few posts, we have learned the first two steps to prosper with irregular income and put away the feast/famine lifestyle forever!

Step 1 – Recognize it!  You must recognize that you are living with irregular income!

Step 2 – Determine monthly expenses  It is important to understand how much income is necessary each month to ensure that the household operates smoothly and free from the feast/famine lifestyle.

Today, we look at the next step – Save up at least three months of monthly expenses.

Step 3 – Save up at least three months worth of expenses

WHAT?!!!!  I am sure that is what many of you are saying right now!  Yes, I did say that you need to save up at least three months of expenses.  Remember in step two that you calculated your monthly expenses?  Multiply that number by three, and you have your savings target.  I call this savings the "Known Slumps Fund"!  You know that slumps are coming, so be prepared!!!  This is HUGE in eliminating that horrible feast/famine lifestyle!

WHY?!!!  You might be asking this question.  Why on earth should I save up at least three months worth of expenses?  Man, I am glad you asked that question!

Let's say that you have monthly expenses of $3,000.  This means that you need to have at least $9,000 in your Known Slumps Fund.

Let's look at a year's worth of expenses.  Now, it is easily seen that this person has earned enough to make it this year.  They have taken in $36,500 for the year.  BUT look at how irregular the income is!  Have you seen something like that before in your business?  This causes life to be CRAZY.  In January, you are eating ramen noodles like they are going out of style.  February through April are decent, but then it dies again May through July.  Famine of the worst degree!  All of the sudden, August through October are awesome!  Feasts abound!  Then November and December come in with back to back terrible incomes.  Back to the ramen noodles!Frown

What should you do?  Get a Known Slumps Fund that equals three times your monthly expenses!

Let's see what difference that makes!

When you look at this chart you realize the POWER of having three months expenses in the bank!  Whether you have a $500 month or a $6,500 month, you live on $3,000 that month.  That means that you get to EAT!!!  That means that you can save money (remember the monthly expenses includes retirement savings!).  That means that you can have some fun each month!

The Known Slumps Fund absorbs the irregularities of your income!  Fill up your Known Slumps Fund – it will take so much stress out of your life!!!

Question of the Day:  Which is more important to you - Debt reduction or funding your Known Slumps Fund?

Looking for additional Personal Finance Resources?  You can obtain free tools by clicking HERE and purchase books/materials by clicking HERE.

Irregular/Seasonal/Cyclical Income Budgeting – Part 02

This is part two of a series focused on how to prosper while earning irregular income.  It is my goal to help you stop living the feast/famine lifestyle that is so often associated with irregular income.

As we focus on today's step, it is helpful to review the previous step.

Step 1 – Recognize it!  To avoid living the feast/famine lifestyle, you need to recognize that you are earning irregular income.

The next step is to determine how much money is necessary to make the household operate efficiently for each month.

Step 2 – Determine monthly expenses

To determine your monthly expenses, you should pull up a monthly budgeting form and do the following.

  1. Fixed Expenses  Enter all of your fixed expenses – house payment, utilities, gasoline, car payments, credit card payments, groceries, cell phone, childcare, etc.  This also includes SAVING for retirement!
  2. Variable Expenses  Enter the average of all of your variable expenses – clothing, spending money, entertainment, dining out, etc.
  3. Known, Upcoming Non-monthly Expenses  This is a KEY STEP!!!  If you do not add in all of those known, non-monthly upcoming expenses, you will continue to live the feast/famine lifestyle (more likely the famine lifestyle!!!!).  These type of expenses are BUDGET-BUSTERS.  Here is what I do.  I list all of the known, upcoming non-monthly expenses and place their annual cost next to them.  I then divide that number by twelve to determine how much I need to save per month.
Example of Known, Upcoming Non-monthly Expenses
So in this example, I would include a line item of $483 in my monthly budget for Known, Upcoming Non-monthly Expenses.  This allows me to bring a stop to the feast, famine lifestyle!!!  Want to read more about planning for known, upcoming non-monthly expenses?  Click HERE.
    4.  You now have a monthly budget that will change very little through the year!
 
You have successfully completed Step 2 – Determine monthly expenses!
 
Now, of course, the trick is to have enough cash on hand every month to make this monthly budget work!  Ahhhhh, that my friend, will be discussed tomorrow!
 
Question of the Day:  What have been the biggest budget-busting expenses you have experienced?
 
Looking for additional Personal Finance Resources?  You can obtain free tools by clicking HERE and purchase books/materials by clicking HERE.

Irregular/Seasonal/Cyclical Income Budgeting – Part 01

 

There is a large group of folks whose family economy is powered by irregular income.

Real estate agents, hair stylists, commissioned salesmen, and business owners all experience cyclical income.

Folks who live with this type of income often tell me that it is impossible to budget.  They say that they have no idea what they will make this month, so it is just impossible.

I say that not only is it possible, but that folks with irregular income need a budget more than anyone!!!

In this series of posts, I will explain how to budget with irregular income.  Here's a hint – It's EZ!!!

Step 1 – Recognize it!

You must recognize that you have irregular income!  If you have ever starved to death during the "off" season, you KNOW what I am talking about!  In order to stop having your life severely impacted by "off" seasons, you must prepare!

Question of the Day:  If your family economy is powered by irregular income, what do you do to prepare for "off" seasons?

Looking for additional Personal Finance Resources?  You can obtain free tools by clicking HERE and purchase books/materials by clicking HERE.

UPDATE: Financial Learning Experience – Dayton, Ohio!

I had a GREAT time teaching the Financial Learning Experience at Word of Faith Christian Ministries in Dayton, Ohio!

I love being able to share what has happened in my life!  I was BROKE!!!  Now, I'm NOT!!!

I know that EVERY TIME I teach these practical tools that someone's life is going to be changed.  That someone's world is going to get ROCKED!  I know because I see it in their eyes.  I hear it in their voices.  I see HOPE being restored!

Word of Faith Christian Ministries ==> I can't wait to hear the stories of achieving debt freedom, starting savings accounts for emergency funds, beginning investing (remember what $100/month can do?!!!), and even more the stories of marriages restored, relationships renewed, and the freedom that is obtained by managing your money well.

Thank you so much for allowing me to have the opportunity to teach!!!  The hospitality was truly "out the box"!  I was blown away!  Thanks to Pastors Robert and Jamila Lyons, Crystal and Otis Sheppard, and the entire WOF family!!!

Interested in bringing Joe and the Financial Learning Experience to your community?  Contact Joe by clicking HERE.

Looking for additional Personal Finance Resources?  You can obtain free tools by clicking HERE and purchase books/materials by clicking HERE.

 

Financial Learning Experience – Dayton, OH!!!

I am PUMPED about bringing the Financial Learning Experience to Dayton, Ohio this weekend!

Now, anyone who knows me understands what I mean when I say that I am PUMPED!!!  It means that I could possibly combust spontaneously!  I LOVE getting to do what I do!  Seeing lives changed NEVER gets old!

For those who will be attending the Financial Learning Experience this weekend, I can't wait to meet you guys!!! 

Here is what is on tap for the weekend:

1.  Today, I will be flying up to Dayton, Ohio.

2.  This evening, I will be teaching key leaders the process that I use to conduct one-on-one financial counseling.  I LOVE this part – it allows me the opportunity to meet people who are part of the crusade to help others with their finances.

3.  Tomorrow morning, I will be teaching the Financial Learning Experience with a few modifications from the last several that I have taught.  This particular FLE will include two additional sections – one on investing and one on insurance.

Interested in attending this event?  You can still sign up by clicking HERE!

Interested in bringing Joe and the Financial Learning Experience to your community?  Contact Joe by clicking HERE.

Looking for additional Personal Finance Resources?  You can obtain free tools by clicking HERE and purchase books/materials by clicking HERE.

Financial Crisis Approaching!

A financial crisis is approaching your finances. Are you ready?  Are you prepared?

You are going to be laid off from work.  What do you do now?  Are you protected?

Your child is going to be very sick.  Are you financially prepared to deal with this?

The car is going to break down.  Ready for it?

The air conditioner is going to stop cooling the house.  What will you do? 

FOLKS – You WILL have a financial crisis if you are not appropriately prepared!

Here is what a prepared person looks like:

  • 3 to 6 months of EXPENSES saved up into a savings account
  • Living substantially below income
  • Saving money every single month
  • Has a plan for each KNOWN, UPCOMING expenses (property taxes, annual insurance premiums, vacation, Christmas, etc.)

Don't allow yourself to continue living life with the STRESS of paycheck-to-paycheck!  I used to live that way.  Frankly, it SUCKED!  I hated it!  I despised it!  Yet, I CHOSE to live that way and not change my spending habits for over six years.  The day Jenn and I took action was the day we stopped being broke.

When will you take action to change your financial future?

I am PUMPED UP to be in Dayton, Ohio TOMORROW to teach the Financial Learning Experience!!!  If you are anywhere near the Dayton area, I would love to meet you there!  You can sign up for the event HERE.

Looking for additional Personal Finance Resources?  You can obtain free tools by clicking HERE and purchase books/materials by clicking HERE.

Home Upgrades – Which to choose?

Jenn and I purchased a thirty-year-old home in February.

This is not like a new home.  This house has neat features like creaks, leaks, painted over wallpaper, rotten decks, aged/dated appliances.  It also lacks the wonderful feature of "maintenance-free lifestyle".

It has been VERY interesting doing the home updates/upgrades/repairs thing.  However, the to-do list is over 5,130 items long.

We have decided to spend some money to upgrade something on the house soon.  I have heard that updating the kitchen and the master bathroom is the smartest thing to do because it is what really helps resale value.

So, Jenn and I are debating which of these two projects to do next.

1) Update the kitchen (complete tear-out, new flooring, cabinets, appliances, and restructure walls)

2) Update the master bathroom (complete tear-out, new flooring, cabinets, tub, toilet, vanities, and restructure walls)

I would love to hear of other's experiences with this!  How much did you spend?  Did it help resale value?  What lessons did you learn?

I am PUMPED UP to be in Dayton, Ohio this coming SATURDAY to teach the Financial Learning Experience!!!  If you are anywhere near the Dayton area, I would love to meet you there!  You can sign up for the event HERE.

Looking for additional Personal Finance Resources?  You can obtain free tools by clicking HERE and purchase books/materials by clicking HERE.

 

Crusade takes to the road – Dayton Ohio

The Crusade is taking a road trip this weekend!  I can't wait to be at Word Of Faith Christian Ministries in Dayton, Ohio to teach the Financial Learning Experience on Saturday morning!   If you are anywhere near Dayton, Ohio and have the opportunity to attend, I would love to meet you!

You can sign up HERE!

I can promise you this:

  • Lives will be changed!
  • You will learn my secret formula for achieving financial freedom (Hint:  It's EZ!)
  • The teaching will be very practical
  • You will leave knowing what it will take for you to win financially!
  • It will be FUN (seriously, talking about money can be fun!)

Folks at Word of Faith Christian Ministries – I can't wait to help fulfill your mission to accomplish ministry "Out The Box!"

It is a dream of Joe's to teach the Financial Learning Experience in all 50 US States.  Are you interested in having Joe carry the crusade to your business or church?  Contact Joe HERE!

Looking for additional Personal Finance Resources?  You can obtain free tools by clicking HERE and purchase books/materials by clicking HERE.

How is your budget going?

I have shared before that it is EZ to win with your money.

Today, I would love to get the conversation going about YOUR budget.

Answer these two questions:

1.  What is working well?

2.  What is causing you problems?

Haven't started a budget yet?  You can take your finances to the next level by doing so!  It's EZ!  Just click on "TOOLS" at the top of the page to obtain your free easy-to-use EZ budget tools!

I am PUMPED UP to be in Dayton, Ohio this coming SATURDAY to teach the Financial Learning Experience!!!  If you are anywhere near the Dayton area, I would love to meet you there!  You can sign up for the event HERE.

Looking for additional Personal Finance Resources?  You can obtain free tools by clicking HERE and purchase books/materials by clicking HERE.

Clay Aiken vs. Celine Dion

I briefly interrupt the crusade to help others with their personal finances to bring you this story.

So, Perry called me out in his message today at NewSpring Church.

Let me set this up.  Last December, Perry revoked my man card for recommending Clay Aiken's Christmas album.  You can read his official revocation of my man card HERE.

Well, when I found out that Perry paid MONEY – he actually paid real money – to go see Celine Dion in Vegas, I had to revoke his man card.  That was in March and you can read that HERE.

   REVOKED DUE TO ==> 

Well, today, Perry decided to tell everyone at NewSpring (all 8,000 PLUS of them!!!), that he believes that my man card should never be returned due to my liking Clay Aiken and his Christmas album.

So today, I need my blog readers to answer this question:

1.  Who should have their Man Card revoked permanently?  Perry (and Celine Dion) or me (and Clay)?

By the way, you can purchase Clay's Christmas album here via Amazon.com.  All proceeds to be donated to help Perry print a false "man card" ID.  You may even want to purchase one to give to Perry! Smile

Looking for additional Personal Finance Resources?  You can obtain free tools by clicking HERE and purchase books/materials by clicking HERE.

 

Weekend Thoughts

I am pumped about the number of people who downloaded Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps!

The stock market is for INVESTMENTS.  I define INVESTMENTS as money that will be not be needed for 5 years or longer.  Stop whining about the ups and downs.  IT'S GONNA HAPPEN!

Vacations that you have saved up and paid cash for are way cooler than vacations that follow you home in the form of payments to the credit card or home equity line.

Have I mentioned lately that I got to meet Dave Ramsey this week?  That I got to sit in on his show and interview him during the station breaks?  That I got to meet a lot of his team members?  That I got my world rocked watching how efficiently his team worked and how focused they are on their mission of selling HOPE?!!!!!  To Dave and his entire team, I must say it again – THANK YOU!!!!

It is my dream to be able to speak at the same conferences that Dave Ramsey is speaking at and teach the interactive budgeting lesson and debt freedom date calculation (budget and debt freedom date calculators) that I teach as part of the Financial Learning Experience.  That would absolutely rock!!!

Looking for additional Personal Finance Resources?  You can obtain free tools by clicking HERE and purchase books/materials by clicking HERE.

Sub-prime mortgage meltdown

The subprime mortgage meltdown is dominating US news right now.  Over and over, we are hearing about how horrible this situation is.  It is horrible!  BUT, anyone who has been participating in the personal finance industry has known that this was going to happen for years!

I have seen case after case of horrible home mortgage situations.  Do you realize how rare it is for people to have equity in their home?  The vast majority of homes have been purchased with $0 down.  As the market value grew, folks refused to change their spending behavior and pulled out the equity to finance more financial misbehavior.

Now that prices have declined, folks are stranded with a house where they owe more than it is worth!

The banks, investors, and homeowners are all paying the heavy price.

For folks who are debt-free and have cash on hand, it will be a good time to purchase a bargain!

Isn't it amazing how attractive debt freedom is in times of crisis?

I love debt freedom!!!!!!!!!

Looking for additional Personal Finance Resources?  You can obtain free tools by clicking HERE and purchase books/materials by clicking HERE.

Dave Ramsey could impact your life today!

I had a great time meeting Dave Ramsey this past Monday, and for the rest of the week I am sharing some thoughts about my visit there.

When Jenn and I made the decision to become debt-free in December 2002, we sought out a proven plan.  I knew that my brother in Texas had taken this finance class at his church and was just raving about it (You can read our story HERE – it was my first ever blog post).  The class was Financial Peace University.

One of the greatest things that Jenn and I learned from Dave is the 7 Baby Steps.  If you applied these seven simple steps to your life today, your life would be impacted in a great way!

Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps:

1.  $1,000 in the bank to start a beginner emergency fund  (Make it $2,500 if you own a house!)  This fund helps protect you from turning to debt when the unexpected expense arises.

2.   Pay off all debt (except the house) utilizing the Debt Snowball.  You can calculate your Debt Freedom Date TODAY by clicking HERE.

3.  Save 3 to 6 months of EXPENSES for a fully-funded emergency fund  This ENSURES you stay away from debt!

4.  Invest 15% of gross income into tax-advantaged investments  10% to retire WELL; 15% to retire WELL-THY (wealthy) Smile  You might say, "I can't afford to do that!"  Sangl says, "You can't afford NOT to do that!"

5.  Fund the college savings accounts for the children  529 plans and ESA's are excellent ways to do this!  Are you funding your child's college fund?  If your child is 7 years old, you have 11 years before they go to college.  It is a KNOWN event!!!

6.  Pay off the house EARLY!!!  I love debt-freedom!

7.  Build wealth and give it all away.  You can't take it with you!

Dave has a great printable page of his 7 Baby Steps HERE.  Here's an idea – Print them out and put the date that you plan to accomplish each step by.  I did this, and I was VERY AGGRESSIVE.  Guess what?  I STILL beat the dates!!!  There is a lot to be said about FOCUSED INTENSITY!

Looking for additional Personal Finance Resources?  You can obtain free tools by clicking HERE and purchase books/materials by clicking HERE. 

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