Archive - September, 2008

BEFORE-AFTER Financial Learning Experience

I recently received an e-mail from someone who participated in a Financial Learning Experience.

With their permission, I am sharing their e-mail with you today.

We have only two debts left! One is a small signature loan that we will pay off by this Christmas, and that will only leave our house!  It should be paid off by next fall, but we are going to squeeze the budget tight and see if we can't make it happen a few months sooner!  Don't worry you'll be one of the first to hear :)

   

[Husband] wanted me to send you these pics of our "Before & After Joe Sangl" trucks.  The red beauty was my truck that we just sold a week ago.  We had planned on sharing [Husband's] little Ranger until after Christmas, then buy a beater for me.  But… believe it or not, a nice couple at church was getting ready to donate the green (ahem) beauty to Cars for Christ but decided to give it to us this week instead.  Yes, it runs, and it will be our beater to see us through to debt freedom and maybe beyond!!!  He's already nicknamed it the Green Hornet.  And don't say God doesn't answer little prayers, as I wanted
my beater to be a manual transmission and have a backseat…the Green Hornet has both!

Thanks again for inspiring us & sharing the tools for this journey we are on.  Can't wait til you come back to Revolution Church and inspire even more folks!!

Proud Green Hornet Driver

It appears that the proud owners of the Green Hornet have had their IHHE Moment.  Congrats on the tremendous progress you guys are making with your finances!

If you have a story you want to share, I want to hear it!  You can share your story HERE

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Financial Learning Experience: NewSpring Church

I am PUMPED about this coming week!

On Tuesday, I will be teaching the Financial Learning Experience at the NewSpring Church Greenville Campus.

On Thursday, I will be teaching it at the NewSpring Church Anderson Campus.

Here is what is AWESOME …

  • The Financial Learning Experience is FREE.
  • Dinner will be provided for folks who show up at 6:00PM and it is FREE.
  • The Financial Learning Experience runs from 6:30PM – 8:30PM.
  • Childcare is provided through the 5th grade and it is FREE.
  • ANYONE can sign up for this class!  So grab your family, your neighbor, your enemy, and your coworkers and register!

You MUST register.  You can do that HERE.

I look forward to seeing YOU at one of these two Financial Learning Experiences!

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DebtFreeCoweta.com!

I am PUMPED because I am in Newnan, Georgia and tomorrow morning I will be teaching the Financial Learning Experience at the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce.

This event has been sponsored by StonePoint Church, and I will be speaking during StonePoint's Sunday morning service at 10:30AM.

That, my friends, is what I call a good weekend.

I can't believe I get to do this stuff for a living!

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Book Review: The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team

I have recently finished reading The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team written by Patrick Lencioni.

A GREAT book.  If you are a leader, this book will cause you to think through your team in a new way and could quite possibly take your team to a new level of performance.

Here are some key points I took from this book:

  • Everything we do should be about making the company succeed
  • No matter how good an individual team member is, everyone loses if the team loses
  • Fear of Conflict = Artificial harmony
  • Boring Meetings = Unnecessary Meetings
  • It is important for a leadership team to keep walls between their teams torn down.  Teams naturally tend to move toward isolation and a "Those guys over there are terrible, but we have got our act together" mentality.

Well written.  I read this book in five to ten minute sections, and I found that it was very effective for me to read it this way.  It allowed me to process what I read and then come back to it later having thought it through. 

SERIES: Working Together To Win With Money – Part 3

Welcome to the latest series at JosephSangl.com – “Working Together To Win With Money”.

In this series, I will be writing about the benefits that Jenn and I have enjoyed since we started “working together to win with money”.

Benefit #1 - We both know the financial situation.

Benefit #2 – Improved communication

Benefit #3 – Dreams Get Funded!

This is one of the best results from working together with my bride to win with money!  Because we work together on our finances, it leads to excellent conversations about what our dreams are.

We have tons of dreams …  A new kitchen with granite countertops, a new master bathroom, paying for our daughter’s college education, paying cash for our daughter’s first house, giving away $1,000,000, starting a university, living for a year in downtown Chicago, traveling to Australia, Europe, and Asia, owning a 100 acre farm …

Quite frankly, the list of dreams goes on and on.  BUT because we talk about them, some of them get funded.  In fact, it is my belief that one hundred percent of the above goals will be funded during our lifetime.  Why do I believe that?  Because we have had many of our dreams funded already!  Many of them were dreams that we did not think were really possible, but it is amazing what happens when you have a plan and work together to win with money.

If we fail to achieve all of our dreams, so be it.  It will be a blast knowing that Jenn and I gave our best effort TOGETHER!

Keys To Obtaining Benefit #3

  • Remove all distractions and take the time to have a great conversation about your plans, hopes, and dreams.
  • Ask these questions of each other:
    • Will these dreams cost money?  How much?
    • If we continue to manage money the way we are right now, will we be able to achieve these dreams?
    • What is your most important dream?  How can we start funding it right now?

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Financial Learning Experience – Will You Attend?

I am PUMPED about the next week!  I have the opportunity to teach the Financial Learning Experience THREE times!

On Saturday, September 27th, I will be teaching the FLE at the DebtFreeCoweta.com event in Newnan, Georgia.  Click HERE to register for the DebtFreeCoweta.com event.

On Tuesday, September 30th, I will be teaching the FLE at the Greenville Campus of NewSpring Church.  Click HERE to register for the NewSpring Church – Greenville Campus event.

On Thursday, October 2nd, I will be teaching the FLE at the Anderson Campus of NewSpring Church.  Click HERE to register for the NewSpring Church – Anderson Campus event.

I LOVE teaching the Financial Learning Experience!  It is two hours of PRACTICAL teaching that will absolutely help others take their finances to the next level.

Have I said lately that I can't believe I get to do this stuff for a living?!!!

DebtFreeCoweta.com Event – Newnan, Georgia

I am PUMPED to be traveling to teach the Financial Learning Experience at the DebtFreeCoweta.com event in Newnan, Georgia this coming Saturday!  This event is being hosted by StonePoint Church (Pastor Scott Whitaker).

This event is being held THIS SATURDAY at the Newnan Coweta Chamber of Commerce.  The two-hour PRACTICAL and INSPIRING experience starts at 10:00AM.  Childcare is provided!

I look forward to seeing some of the blog readers at this event!  You can invite your friends and register HERE!

I am PUMPED!

SERIES: Working Together To Win With Money – Part 2

Welcome to the latest series at JosephSangl.com – "Working Together To Win With Money".

In this series, I will be writing about the benefits that Jenn and I have enjoyed since we started "working together to win with money".

Benefit #1 - We both know the financial situation.

Benefit #2 – Improved communication

When Jenn and I were B-R-O-K-E and constantly spending money that we did not have, we really had no idea where our money was going.  All we knew was that it was leaving at a very rapid pace!

Once we started working together to plan our spending every month, our communication changed dramatically!  I now know when each of my nephews and nieces have a birthday because we send them money.  We can't just magically produce the money we send them every birthday.  It must be planned.

We also discuss our future plans hopes and dreams.  We talk about which dreams will be funded now and which ones will need to be funded later.  We have made a decision, together, to fund our daughter's college education – through PhD if she so chooses.  We fund that education every single month.  It is a priority, and we have agreed together that it is extremely important to us.

We both want to travel extensively all around the world.  We have made the decision that most of those travels are going to be funded in the future, not now.  BUT we have funded a few trips.  This summer, we took a sixteen day vacation and drove from South Carolina all of the way through North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota.  We hung out with family.  We saw Mount Rushmore.  We saw the Independence Day fireworks at Mount Rushmore!  We saw buffalo – hundreds of them.  We saw antelope.  We hiked in a cool cave – over 200 feet below the surface.  We funded this trip and paid cash for it – because we agreed together to fund it.

We have been able to give to causes and people that we believe in – because we have a plan that we have worked on together.

To put it very bluntly – there is no possible way that we are ever going back to our old way of money (mis)management.   Our marriage has been vastly improved by the fact that we work together to win with our money.

Keys To Obtaining Benefit #2

  • Understand each other's plans, hopes, and dreams.
  • Take time to develop a written spending plan TOGETHER – visit HERE
  • Plan your spending EVERY SINGLE MONTH – ensure that you are funding at least one of your dreams at all times
  • Become debt free – calculate your Debt Freedom Date HERE

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SERIES: Working Together To Win With Money – Part 1

Welcome to the latest series at JosephSangl.com – "Working Together To Win With Money".

In this series, I will be writing about the benefits that Jenn and I have enjoyed since we started "working together to win with money".

Benefit #1 - We both know the financial situation.

Before Jenn and I started working together on our finances, there was a lot of situations where we each spent money that we had not planned on spending.  As a result, we would run short of cash at the end of the month, and we would end up covering the shortages with credit cards.

Because neither or us truly understood where all of our money was going, it led to financial mistakes.  Those financial mistakes would lead to unnecessary stress and frustration.

It also resulted in an average bank account balance of $4.13, BUT at least it was positive.

We later realized that our financial behavior was potentially robbing us of our future hopes, plans, and dreams.

In December 2002, we had our IHHE Moment (I Have Had Enough Moment) and said, "ENOUGH!", and stopped spending money in a wild manner.  By July 2003, we formalized our spending into a monthly spending plan (budget).  Ever since that month, we have planned every month's spending.

The result?  We have been debt-free (except the house) for nearly five years.  We have made progress toward our life dreams.  We BOTH know the financial situation.

Keys To Obtaining Benefit #1

  • Prepare a written spending plan every single month – visit HERE
  • If you have a financial mess, it is time to have an IHHE Moment – read HERE
  • Take the time to talk with your spouse about your hopes, plans, and dreams

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SERIES: Sell Car With Negative Equity – Part 5

Welcome to the latest series – "Sell Car With Negative Equity"

The fact that most cars drop in value by sixty percent in the first four years causes an enormous part of the American population to struggle with huge car payments and an inability to rid themselves of the car without acquiring yet another new car and rolling in the negative equity to the new loan.

It is my hope through this series, that you will be equipped to sell a car that has negative equity.

Part 1 – Recognize How Much A Car Really Costs

Part 2 – Determine Your Car's Negative Equity

Part 3 – Sell The Car With Negative Equity – Option A – Pay Off The Balance

Part 4 – Sell The Car With Negative Equity – Option B – Transfer The Negative Equity Balance

Part 5 – Benefits Of Selling A Car With Negative Equity

Lower Debt!

This is obvious, but it is a wonderful benefit of eliminating the car with negative equity.  In the example used in this series, debt has been reduced by $18,000 in Option A or $12,000 in Option B.  Either one is fantastic!

Money Freed Up Every Month!

This is also obvious, but the monthly payment will be eliminated or vastly reduced.  This allows one to have more margin in their monthly finances to give, save, or invest (three of my favorite parts of money!).

Not so obvious is the reduction in other fringe expenses.  Car insurance will go down.  Car property taxes will go down.  Gasoline consumption will go down.  Car repair costs will go down.  These can total up to hundreds of dollars in savings each month! 

Margin

When all of the money leaves as soon as it is earned and one is living paycheck-to-paycheck with zero margin for life to happen, it creates serious stress.  By eliminating debt and its related payments, one gains tons of financial freedom and drops loads of stress.

Final Note:  I know that this stuff is HARD, but I am convinced that financial freedom is worth all of the effort that it takes.  When Jenn and I embarked on our debt freedom march, it seemed like it would take forever.  Fourteen months later, we were debt free.  That was in February 2004.  We have never looked back.  No car, TV, boat, lawn mower, or Llama has looked good enough for payments.  Frankly, a new house does not even look good enough for house payments.  We have worked way too hard to achieve financial freedom to fall back into the debt trap.  It has been SO WORTH IT!  You can read more of my family's story HERE.

SERIES: Sell Car With Negative Equity – Part 4

Welcome to the latest series – "Sell Car With Negative Equity"

The fact that most cars drop in value by sixty percent in the first four years causes an enormous part of the American population to struggle with huge car payments and an inability to rid themselves of the car without acquiring yet another new car and rolling in the negative equity to the new loan.

It is my hope through this series, that you will be equipped to sell a car that has negative equity.

Part 1 – Recognize How Much A Car Really Costs

Part 2 – Determine Your Car's Negative Equity

Part 3 – Sell The Car With Negative Equity – Option A – Pay Off The Balance

Part 4 – Sell The Car With Negative Equity – Option B – Transfer The Negative Equity Balance

In this series, we are assuming that we have a car with an actual value of $12,000 but the loan balance is $18,000.  This means that the car has negative equity of $6,000.

This is quite the lovely situation, but it is possible to make the car leave.

Obtain A Signature Loan From The Bank or Credit Union

One usually must have decent credit to obtain a signature loan.  Obtain a $6,000 loan from the bank.  Next, find a purchaser who is willing to pay $12,000 for the vehicle.  Use the signature loan money to pay off the negative equity portion so that the title is clear.  With this one transaction, the debt has been reduced by 66% – from $18,000 to $6,000!

Transfer The Negative Equity Balance To A 0% Credit Card

I really do not like credit cards, but I really do not like huge car payments and car loans either!  If one has the option to roll the negative equity to a credit card at 0%, it will allow the car to be sold and all of the subsequent payments on the remaining $6,000 will go directly to principal!  I have also seen several credit cards that offer 2.99% for the life of a balance transfer.

Option B does not entirely eliminate the debt or the payment, but it will substantially reduce it!  It will certainly help one's journey to financial freedom obtain serious traction.

In the final part of this series, I will be sharing some side benefits to eliminating a car with negative equity.

Read the entire "Sell Car With Negative Equity" series HERE.

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SERIES: Sell Car With Negative Equity – Part 3

Welcome to the latest series – "Sell Car With Negative Equity"

The fact that most cars drop in value by sixty percent in the first four years causes an enormous part of the American population to struggle with huge car payments and an inability to rid themselves of the car without acquiring yet another new car and rolling in the negative equity to the new loan.

It is my hope through this series, that you will be equipped to sell a car that has negative equity.

Part 1 – Recognize How Much A Car Really Costs

Part 2 – Determine Your Car's Negative Equity

Part 3 – Sell The Car With Negative Equity – Option A – Pay Off The Balance

Let's assume that a car has an actual value of $12,000 but the loan balance is $18,000.  This means that the car has negative equity of $6,000.

This is quite the lovely situation, but it is possible to make the car leave.

Use Savings

If one wants to sell the car, then the negative equity must be covered in order to provide a clear title to the purchaser.  The fastest way to clear out the negative equity is to find a purchaser who is willing to pay $12,000 for the car and use $6,000 from savings to clear up the negative equity.  This is by far the fastest and easiest way to clear up the negative equity situation – IF you have $6,000 in savings!

Earn the Difference

If one does not have the money to cover the negative equity, then another way to accomplish the exact same thing is to earn additional income.  Work overtime or acquire a second job to earn enough to cover the negative equity.

This is definitely not a fun answer, but I do not like negative equity situations either.  The tough part about this option is the fact that it takes additional time and it is possible that the negative equity will increase because the car will continue to go down in value.

Sell Something Else

If one has an item that they no longer need, want, or use that has value, it can be sold to cover some of the negative equity.

I prefer Option A the most because it eliminates the entire debt and frees up the entire car payment to use for additional debt pay-off, savings, giving, and investing.

In the next part of this series, we will continue to discuss ways to sell the car even with negative equity.

Read the entire "Sell Car With Negative Equity" series HERE.

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SERIES: Sell Car With Negative Equity – Part 2

Welcome to the latest series – "Sell Car With Negative Equity"

The fact that most cars drop in value by sixty percent in the first four years causes an enormous part of the American population to struggle with huge car payments and an inability to rid themselves of the car without acquiring yet another new car and rolling in the negative equity to the new loan.

It is my hope through this series, that you will be equipped to sell a car that has negative equity.

Part 1 – Recognize How Much A Car Really Costs

Part 2 – Determine Your Car's Negative Equity

Equity is determined by the following equation:

Vehicle Actual Value – Vehicle Loan Balance = Equity

If the Equity number is negative, then that means that the vehicle has negative equity.

As you prepare to sell your car, it is very important to know the actual value of the car and the actual amount owed.

I emphasize the word ACTUAL because most people tend to overestimate their car's value and underestimate what they still owe.

How does one determine how much their car is actually worth?  Obtain a quote from Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.  You will need to know the year and make of your vehicle including your engine type and mileage.  These two sites will provide you a general idea of what used cars like yours are selling for in your area.  Recognize that these are average selling prices.  That means that cars are selling above and below that number, but this is the price that one can expect to sell the vehicle.

Now that you know the actual value of the vehicle, it is time to determine exactly what is owed.  Contact your lender and obtain the actual pay-off balance of the car loan.

Now, use the equity calculation to determine your vehicle's equity.  If it is negative, then you have a car that is known as "upside down".  It has negative equity.  You owe more than it is worth.

In the next part of this series, we will discuss ways to sell the car even with negative equity.

Read the entire "Sell Car With Negative Equity" series HERE.

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SERIES: Sell Car With Negative Equity – Part 1

Welcome to the latest series – "Sell Car With Negative Equity"

The fact that most cars drop in value by sixty percent in the first four years causes an enormous part of the American population to struggle with huge car payments and an inability to rid themselves of the car without acquiring yet another new car and rolling in the negative equity to the new loan.

It is my hope through this series, that you will be equipped to sell a car that has negative equity.

Part 1 – Recognize How Much A Car Really Costs

Some of the actions in this series might be difficult to execute, but when one recognizes how much a car really costs it can really help solidify sound financial decisions.

I believe that having a car payment is a HUGE financial mistake.  Here is why.

First, cars drop in value.  New cars drop in value FAST.  Most new cars drop in value by around sixty percent in the first four years.  This is called depreciation, and it causes one's net worth to drop.

Second, car payments reduce one's ability to gain financial freedom.  Loan interest can range from 0% to 20% or higher depending upon one's credit.  Even 0% loans are negative financial events because the money is going toward a car that is dropping in value.  What else could one do with a monthly car payment?  Give more?  Invest more?  Spend more?

When I recognized how much my debt was costing me, it solidified my commitment to achieving financial freedom.  I was so dad-blamed sick of debt and what it was doing to my family.

Read the entire "Sell Car With Negative Equity" series HERE

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On-Line Savings Account Interest Rates

I am a big fan of the on-line savings accounts I hold.

I want to make it clear that these accounts are held with on-line banks.  There are several LARGE banks that have on-line banking, but they pay VERY LOW interest.

Here are some of the reasons I like on-line banks so much.

  • Excellent interest rates.  Their interest rates are usually equal to 30-month CD rates, but you do not lose the liquidity of your money.  This is excellent compared to my large bank that I use for bill paying which is currently paying nearly 0% interest AND has a minimum balance of $300 or else I am subjected to a $3/month “monthly maintenance fee”.
  • No fees.  No minimum balance fees.  No on-line banking fees.
  • FDIC-insured.  I like having my deposits backed by the FDIC.
  • Excellent user-interfaces.  They are both very user-friendly and intuitive.  I am a simple guy, and I like it when my banking is that way too.
  • Security.  Both banks have unique log-in procedures that ensure that I am who I say I am.

  Click here to start saving with ING DIRECT!

There are other good on-line savings accounts out there too, but I do not have accounts them so I can not adequately say how good they are.

Here are the names of on-line savings accounts that I have heard good things about.

What other banks out there have excellent savings rates AND excellent customer service?

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