Archive - February, 2008

Book Review: Values-Based Financial Planning

Someone gave me a book to read recently, so I read it as I traveled five miles above the ground to Dallas, TX last week.

The book is Values-Based Financial Planning – The Art of Creating an Inspiring Financial Strategy written by Bill Bachrach.

Here are some items/lines/quotes that stood out to me …

  • Started off with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
  • "Sometimes you have to change direction even when you're succeeding."
  • Jim Carey "wrote himself a $10 million check and put it in his billfold to hold until the day he could cash it" to "spur himself on."
  • "The future will come whether your plan for it or not.  Will you have the future you want or the future that happens to you by default?"
  • "To get somewhere tomorrow, you have to know your position today."
  • "The real reason to hire a [financial planner] is delegation, not to get a higher return."

It was a fast read – less than two hours.  It really pushes one to consider a financial planner (not a surprise since that is what Bill is all about!).

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The Crusade Is On The Road To …

Goldsboro, North Carolina!

I am FIRED UP to be carrying the crusade to Gateway Community Church in Goldsboro, NC where Thayer Stamper is the pastor!

I am teaching the Financial Freedom Experience – Weekend Edition!

 

What is the difference between the Financial Freedom Experience and the Financial Freedom Experience – Weekend Edition?  Well, the content is EXACTLY the same, but the Weekend Edition is completed over just one weekend instead of over five weeks.

The FFE – WE Edition kicks off at GCC Friday evening at 6:30PM!  Want to attend?  Register HERE.

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Known, Upcoming Expenses – Sub Account Tracking

 The below was written by Joe Ziska.  Joe and his bride have helped with the Financial Freedom Experience multiple times and are ON THE CRUSADE for financial freedom!  Joe offers another way to keep a name on each dollar saved for known, upcoming expenses.  I like it!

Q)  What two things do the following have in common?

Christmas; A flat tire; Your son going to college; Vacation in Hawaii; Your daughter getting married

A)  1. They all cost money.   2.  We forget that they cost money until the bill comes!

Let’s face it.  Even the most organized of us tend to forget things now and then.  Whether misplaced car keys or forgotten reservations for Valentines Day, our imperfect memories always seem to make life more difficult.   In my experience, forgetting large upcoming expenses is one of the most demoralizing things that can happen to you.  Unlike true emergencies, such as a sudden illness or job loss, known upcoming expenses (KUEs) such as these listed above, can and should be expected!  As Joe always asks, “Should it be a surprise if your car breaks down?”  Of course not.  That’s what cars do!

Many of you reading Joe’s blog are trying desperately to get out of debt and gain financial freedom.  For my wife and me, one of the most disheartening things in that process was a big expense wiping out our emergency fund.  Just when we felt we were finally getting traction, a $500 car repair or having to pay for Christmas presents would knock us off course.  We constantly felt like we were starting over.  I knew that we should be saving for these expenses but didn’t have a good way to separate this from our emergency fund.  We’d generally leave a decent balance in our checking account and just hope that it would absorb most of these expenses when they came up. 

I wanted to save for these KUEs.  However, the mathematical part of me rebelled at the idea of gaining no interest on our savings (especially as some of these expenses can be quite costly).  Wouldnʼt it be better to just pay down some debt or invest the money? 

Enter Capital One 360.  I’d been using HSBC and ING Direct to earn good interest on money we were saving for a down payment for our house.  However, it wasn’t until almost a year after opening our accounts that I realized how they could help with my KUE problem

One day, I was checking my account balance online and I noticed a large button labeled “Open an Account”.  I figured this was used for investing or to open a new CD but clicked on it anyway.  After browsing for about 30 seconds, I realized that Capital One 360 will let you create numerous new savings accounts linked to your original account.  Not only that, you can give each a unique name to help you identify them.  We created categories for all of our Known Upcoming Expenses to keep them separate from actual emergencies.  Below is an example screenshot from an account (click on it to see it better):

We have also set up automatic transactions to each individual account.  So now, at the beginning of every month we move $12 to our pet fund (unfortunately, our dog doesn’t pay her own vet bills), $40 to our Christmas fund, and so on.  When we need the money for these expenses, it takes only 3-4 days to move it back to our primary checking account.  Meanwhile we’ve been earning interest on our money instead of paying interest to a credit card company when these events sneak up on us.  Last time I checked, Christmas is still in December so you’ve got 10 months to save up for all those gifts.  Why not create a Capital One 360 savings account for it and make it automatic? 

Thanks for the article, Joe!

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What Is This Money For? A New TOOL!

Have you ever looked at your checking and savings account and wondered aloud – "What is this money for?"

I used to do this all of the time.

For example, I would look at a checking account and see $5,000 there.  Now, seeing $5,000 was a good thing, but I could not keep track of what I was going to use that money for.

Today, I am proud to introduce a greatly improved "Savings Account Balance Tracking (Excel)" tool!

Here is how it works.  Let's say that you are saving for the following items.

  • Emergency Fund
  • Christmas
  • Property Taxes
  • Annual Car Insurance Premium
  • Life Insurance
  • Vacation

And, let's say that the money is being saved in three different accounts – a Christmas Club, Savings, and Checking Account.  The "Savings Account Balance Tracking (Excel)" tool helps you keep track! There is $1,000 in Checking, $5,000 in Saving, and $200 in the Christmas Club account.

What is the $6,200 in the accounts for?  Using the Savings Account Balance Tracking (Excel) tool, you can clearly give a name for every dollar you have!

When the total amount saved matches the total amount named, the BALANCED? section turns green with a "YES"!

If not all of the money has been given a name, the BALANCED? section turns yellow with a "LOW".

If too much money has been given a name, the BALANCED? section turns red with a "HIGH".

Here is what it will look like when it is balanced!

One huge benefit of having your savings account completely named is that you AND your spouse will KNOW what the money is for.  It eliminates disputes (yes – this is what the money was for), it provides encouragement (yes – we get to take vacation), and it makes sure the necessities get paid.

Try it out! – Savings Account Balance Tracking (Excel)

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And The Free Book went to …

In THIS POST, I promised a copy of I Was Broke. Now I'm Not. (PaypalAmazon) to the first person to contact me at the C3 Conference in Dallas, Texas.

And the free copy went to …

John Bartlett!  John writes a blog about a variety of subjects – It is HERE.

Congrats John!  It was great to meet you, and thanks for serving as a volunteer at the C3 Conference of Fellowship Church.

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Credit Card Companies Don’t Play Fair

Robin sent me THIS ARTICLE written by Liz Moyer and Tatyana Shumsky of Forbes the other day.

It seems that Bank of America has decided to pull out the 0.5 font and crank the rates on their "valued" customers.

Here are the items that stood out to me:

  • "Bank of America gives card holders the chance to opt out of the higher rate by paying the account off, but such a request must be made in writing."
  • "Millennium card also has no grace period, meaning a 19.5% interest rate on charges kicks in as soon as a charge is made. "That's unheard of," Arnold says. The account is secured with the borrower's own money. "There's no risk for the issuer.""

  • A spokeswoman for Chase says, "We pride ourselves on having an extensive array of products so customers can find one that fits their needs."

You know what the article reminded me of?  The reasons that I do not use credit cards anymore.  I played their game and lost multiple times.  They were NOT my friends.

By the way, in one of my financial counseling appointments today, one of them had a Bank of America card that had more than DOUBLED the rate even though they have always paid their payment on time.   I can't believe that these companies get away with selling these horrible products.

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Dallas Helped Change Me

I am back home from attending the C3 Conference at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX.

The conference helped change me … again.

I leave even more invigorated about this crusade that I have embarked on!

In the past year, I have seen incredible life change happen in people's lives all because they decided to truly manage ALL of the money that they are entrusted with.  Not just the 10%.  Not just the 90%.  ALL of it.

I am more FIRED UP than I have ever been.

Over the next several weeks, I will have the opportunity to teach more people on practical ways to win with money.  To become debt-free.  To achieve their life's hopes, plans, and dreams.  To do EXACTLY what they have been put on this earth to do.

Where will I be teaching next?  Here are the next few weeks …

February 29 & March 1: FFE Gateway Community Church  Goldsboro, NC

March 9: FLE Hyde Park Baptist Church  Lumberton, NC

March 14 & 15: FFE 5 Point Fellowship  Easley, SC

Find out about where/when additional Financial Learning Experience (FLE) and Financial Freedom Experience (FFE) events will be taking place by clicking HERE.

Here is what I LOVE about what I get to do.  Lives WILL be changed.  The material that I teach is what Jenn and I did to break free financially and enabled us to go and do EXACTLY what we have been put on this earth to do.  The stories of life change from these classes are EXACTLY why I do what I do!

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Great Questions To Ask About Money

A random list of great questions to ask about money …

  • Can you offer this to me at a lower price?
  • I'm looking for a deal.  Can you also include "X" if I purchase this item today.
  • If I keep managing money they way I currently manage money, will I be able to accomplish my future hopes/plans/dreams?
  • Who can I bless today?
  • If my wife or child had to have emergency surgery today, would I be able to absorb the financial impact?
  • If I died today, would those who depend on your income be protected?
  • Do I really NEED this?
  • Do I work for a paycheck or am I doing what I love to do?
  • Do you add huge value to your business?  Why not objectively ask for a raise.  Look, you delivered "X" results that benefited the company.  Why not improve the income?
  • What could I do with all of this money that I send toward debt payments each month?
  • What does life look like without ANY payments.  No house payment.  No student loan payment.  No car payment.  No credit card payments.  NO PAYMENTS!

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C3 Conference – Dallas, TX

We just completed day one of the Church Creativity Conference at Fellowship Church in Dallas, TX.

I was challenged and encouraged.   And Perry Noble flat BROUGHT IT!

Here is why I am enjoying this conference:

  • My bride is with me
  • I am learning from fantastic leaders – proven leaders
  • I have connected with cool friends from all over the planet
  • I am forced to review my current status and ask questions.  Questions like this … How is my crusade doing?  How is my family doing?  How am I doing?  What can I do differently?  What should I do more of?  What should I stop doing?  Who am I investing in?  Who should I start investing in?  Who is my mentor?
  • Good food

Many times, during one of the classes I teach (the 2-hour Financial Learning Experience or the 6-hour Financial Freedom Experience), I see people GET IT and this finance thing finally CLICKS for them.   THAT is why I do what I do!

And at this conference, I am using this time as an opportunity to refine the crusade and maximize every single day to make a difference!  I love getting to do what I get to do!

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REMINDER: Christmas is in 308 days!

Just 308 days from now, we will be celebrating Christmas again.

How much are you going to spend on Christmas this year?

Will you pay cash for Christmas 2008, or will you finance it?

I highly recommend planning Christmas 2008 on paper!  The Mini-Budget Form (Excel) is a great tool to use to plan your Christmas spending.

Here's an example of how to use the Mini-Budget for planning Christmas.  I have entered the amount that we plan to spend on each item for Christmas.  This helps me understand the amount needed for Christmas. 

 

 You can see that "Cash – Expenses" shows a RED $1,080.  To make it GREEN, I enter $1,080 in the "Cash Budgeted" line.

 

 

I know that I have experienced sticker-shock when I have put together my initial mini-budget for Christmas!  The great thing about planning ahead is that I still have the opportunity to change how much I will spend!

So, go ahead and plan for Christmas 2008.  Yes, you will be weird.  Yes, no one else in your family is doing it.  BUT, you will have a plan and be able to pay CASH for this year's Christmas!  How many of your friends and family will be able to say that?

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Discount Codes – Great web site!

I recently discovered a new web site that is helping me save money.

It is called www.RetailMeNot.com.

This web site has discount codes and promo numbers that allow you to save money at thousands of different e-tailers.

Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Victoria's Secret, Barnes & Noble …  There are over 10,000 companies represented.

One thing I really like about this web site is it allows the users to rate the promo codes.  If it did not work for you, you can communicate that to the next user so that they don't waste their time with it.

Try it out, and see if you can save some money!

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Headed to Dallas …

I am headed tomorrow morning for the Creative Church Conference in Dallas, TX.

This conference is outstanding!  I was there in 2007, but this year matters so much more. 

You see, it was not that long ago that my friend, Perry Noble, started a church with just fifteen people in little Anderson, SC.

I remember the impact that Fellowship Church and Ed Young had on Perry way back in 2002.  What Perry saw there made him believe that God could do huge things – even in Anderson, SC.

And incredible things have happened in Anderson.  Over 8,000 people attend NewSpring Church each weekend.  Lives have been radically changed.

SO, this week, Perry Noble takes the stage at the C3 Conference as a main session speaker

I can't wait for the thousands who gather in Dallas to learn what I've known for years – Perry is a very annointed speaker and is the greatest leader I have ever known.  Period.

If you are going to be in Dallas for the conference, let me know!  I love meeting folks who read the blog!

First person to say they will be in Dallas, and we actually meet there will get a free copy of my book, I Was Broke. Now I'm Not.  Not going to be in Dallas?  The book is available via Paypal or Amazon.com

$4.99 Mac-n-Cheese

I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!

I had an IHHE Moment this weekend.

My family traveled up to Burlington, NC to teach the Financial Learning Experience.  We arrived on Saturday evening and went out to get dinner.

My lovely bride spotted a restaurant that does not exist near our home, so we went there.

It did not go well.  It was 8:00 PM, but we had to wait twenty minutes to be seated.

I took one look at the menu, and began to employ my hero, Paul Marshall's method of choosing what to eat.  I looked for the cheapest item on the menu and decided it was palatable.

This place sells hamburgers.  HAMBURGERS.  But not just any hamburger.  They sell $10 hamburgers.  What a RIP-OFF!

And then I see that the kid's menu has mac-n-cheese for only $4.99.

ONLY $4.99.  I can buy AT LEAST twenty BOXES of mac-n-cheese for that amount of money.

I suffered through the experience.  And, NO, I did not let my daughter order the ridiculous, outrageous, enormous, cruddy, massively overpriced mac-n-cheese.  She had to share my $10 burger.

What a rip-off.

I am really sick of being ripped off by the so-called kid's menus at restaurants.

Who's with me?

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Financial Learning Experience: Tarheel-style

I had the awesome privilege of speaking today at Pine Ridge Church (Pastor is Tadd Grandstaff).   After the two morning services were done, lunch was brought in, and we embarked together on the Financial Learning Experience.

It was a blast!  We laughed.  We had fun.  Lives were changed.

I LOVE teaching the Financial Learning Experience.  LOVE IT!

For those who attended today, here are some key links I mentioned.

  • The FREE financial tools are HERE
  • Read about FRUCALL HERE
  • Get free 411 service by using Google 411 – HERE
  • The Pay-Off and Savings Spectaculars are HERE (Including the Llama Pay-Off Spectacular)
  • You can get daily posts every day – automatically – by clicking HERE

Tadd and about 75% of those in attendance are Tarheel-crazed.  About 24% was Duke-crazy.  And, oh yeah, there were some Purdue Boilermaker crazies there.  Even SOMEONE other than me!

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My book is a bestseller …

I have been PUMPED by the number of copies of I Was Broke. Now I'm Not. that have been sold!

Over 460 books have been shipped out in just 27 days!  AWESOME!

So I have named my book an official "Sangl Times Bestseller".  Smile

Oh, and some book reviews and thoughts about I Was Broke. Now I'm Not. have been surfacing around the web.

  • Rob Singleton gives his thoughts about the book and gave a copy of it away HERE.
  • Paul Neel provides his review HERE.
  • Tally Wilgis provides a review HERE.

By the way, you can also purchase I Was Broke. Now I'm Not. on

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