Archive - June, 2010

Obviously …

During our crusade to help others accomplish far more than they ever thought possible, I occasionally run into the person who wants to “complexify” the simple (I know I made up a new word – it’s one of my hobbies.)

For example, I distinctly remember a person telling me after attending a Financial Learning Experience:

“Well, of course this stuff works for people who have income.   What about those who don’t have income?”

Ummmmm …   Get some income?   INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO is a fundamental money rule.

Another example asked by a person who told me that their financial situation was horrible even though they had excellent income:

“Well, I know that you said to ‘spend less than you make’, that’s obvious, but what else am I supposed to do?”

Ummmm …   Spend less than you make!   INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO is a fundamental money rule.

Sometimes, even the OBVIOUS answer is not obvious.   Obviously.

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Need Your Help: Aging Care

I will be writing a series in the future about aging care.   This is a HUGE topic, and I really want to serve you guys in a way that helps you accomplish far more than you thought possible with your personal finances.

So here is the deal:   I want to know what you want to discuss and learn regarding aging care.

Even more, if you have had experiences with dealing with the financial affairs of an aging parent or relative who was receiving some form of aging care, I want to hear about them.   It would be INCREDIBLE if you would be willing to share your experiences.   You an share your experiences HERE.

I believe this could be one of the most impactful series we have EVER done here at JosephSangl.com!

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How Things Have Changed In The Financial World

Yesterday, I wrote about how things have changed in the past 12 years since I recorded the Saturday Night Live production of The Chris Farley Special.   It made me pause to consider the changes I have observed in the world of finance in the past 12 years.

Here are some changes I have observed:

  • On-line bill payments have virtually eliminated my need for checks
  • Most of my banking is done on-line and most of my deposits are done at an ATM (some banks even allow you to scan the checks at home and never even take them to the bank)
  • My canceled checks are no longer returned to me – I can pull up scanned copies of them on-line if I need them
  • It is a lot easier to track spending patterns because of on-line banking and on-line credit card transaction reports
  • Houses used to be “can’t miss” investments that ALWAYS went up in value – ummmmm, that is not so true any more …
  • Sarbanes-Oxley changed the way corporate accounting takes place (more bureaucracy – thanks to Enron, Tyco, and Worldcom)
  • 529 college savings plans have grown in prominence
  • On-line shopping is a way of life – it barely existed in ’98
  • Music cost nothing for some people in ’98 (Napster)

There are MANY MORE changes that have occurred in the world of finance in the past 12 years.   What changes have you noticed most?

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How Things Change!

My bride and I had one of those evenings the other night where we started talking about some really important things.   We had not planned on having such a detailed conversation, but before we knew it we had talked until 1:30AM in the morning.   It was great conversation, but we both got so pumped up about what we were talking about (it was about some of our life dreams) that we were wired and could not go to sleep.

So we went downstairs to watch a movie.   I found a VHS home recording of a Saturday Night Live Special aired in 1998 – it was The Chris Farley Tribute Special – complete with my favorite skit ever – Matt Foley, the motivational speaker.

MY GOODNESS.   How things have changed!   We had a blast watching the special, but the commercials were priceless!   Here are some specific things we noticed:

  • The car commercials were still horrible, but even though the cars they were selling were new – they looked old to me (why is that?)
  • Not ONE commercial mentioned a web address
  • There was a commercial for Kodak MAX film – film, people!   You took pictures, then you had to go PAY MONEY and WAIT SEVERAL DAYS until you knew whether or not the picture came out.   And you only get 24 pictures (or 36 on a super roll).
  • The letters “HD” were never mentioned.
  • We watched it on VHS – I even had to adjust the tracking (and I remembered how to do that – I guess I’m old)

It makes me even more determined to continually learn about finances.   Think about how much the world has changed in the world of finances in the past 12 years!   Maybe we will continue the discussion on this tomorrow.

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80% Off – Restaurant.com

I just bought another $100 gift certificate from Restaurant.com for $8!

For those of you who have attended a Financial Learning Experience, chances are that you have heard me talk about Restaurant.com.   Here is why this is an AMAZING deal!

  • I like eating at restaurants.
  • I love a great deal.
  • I love eating at restaurants while also getting a great deal.

For example, I love Sullivan’s Metropolitan Grill in my hometown of Anderson, SC.   UNBELIEVABLE food – desserts are off the charts   (I recommend the peanut butter pie with a cup of coffee).

Anyway, they are participating in Restaurant.com.   Here is how it works.

I can purchase a gift certificate for $25 off at Sullivan’s.   The gift certificate normally costs $10, but with the current PROMO CODE of “SUMMER” I get 80% off – so the certificate cost me $2.

I have to spend $35.   Let’s do the math – shall we?

$35 spent minus the $25 off gift certificate – Total: $10 + tip

I paid $2 for   the gift certificate – Total: $12 + tip

For a $35 meal, I paid $12 plus tip.   That is cheaper than McDonald’s and the food and dining experience is light years better.

Check out the restaurants participating in your area HERE.

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“I Don’t Like Getting Charged Overdraft Fees”

During breakfast this morning, I was reading Sports Illustrated and ran across a bank advertisement that had a person saying the following:

I don’t like getting charged overdraft fees.

My coffee is expensive enough already.

“The price on the menu read $3, but it read $38 on my bank statement.   So I switched to a account.   Even if I’m short on funds, won’t let me use my debit card to accidentally overdraft.   So my coffee never costs a lot more than it should.”

Wow!   I know that coffee is priced high at Fourbucks, but I can’t imagine living in a world where I must worry about overdrafting my bank account with a simple purchase of a cup of coffee.   EXCEPT FOR THE FACT THAT I LIVED THIS WAY FOR YEARS!

I would like to offer a better solution:

  • Establish a margin in your bill pay/spending account of several hundred dollars.   This will prevent overdrafting altogether!
  • Buy coffee with cash so that you can not possibly overdraft!   Cash purchases provide a 100% disconnect from overdrafting (or overspending) the bank account.

And, of course, prepare a written spending plan and force INCOME – OUTGO to equal EXACTLY ZERO!

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Greatest Thing I’ve Learned From … Jeffrey J. Fox

Welcome to the latest series here at JosephSangl.com – Greatest Thing I’ve Learned From …   In this series, I am going to be sharing the greatest things I’ve learned from financial and leadership experts.   I hope you enjoy the series and will join in the conversation to share your favorite learnings from these leaders!

Greatest Thing I’ve Learned From … Jeffrey J. Fox

I was introduced to a book written by Jeffrey J. Fox when I was an up-and-coming manager for a Fortune 500 company and had just been promoted to the next position (in the next facility, in the next town, …)   The book was titled How To Become CEO – The Rules for Rising to the Top of Any Organization.   My current leader gave me this book, and it greatly affected me.

I know that I have the greatest “thing” that I have learned, but this one requires a couple of “things” I have learned.

Avoid Staff Jobs, Seek Line Jobs

In other words, Fox was saying, “Do work that helps the company make money.”   It is a lot harder to be fired when you have a definitive and tangible link to helping a company make money.   This increases your value and positions you for growth.

Send Handwritten Notes

Be personable.   Be real.   Let people know when they do great work.   A handwritten note trumps verbal praise, congratulatory emails, and bonuses – combined.   When was the last time you received a handwritten thank you?   When was the last time you sent one?

Jeffrey J. Fox has written several books similar to this one.   Have you read any of them?   What are your thoughts?

Read the entire series

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HILARIOUS VIDEO – You MUST watch this video!

I think this video is AWESOME and HILARIOUS!   You should invest (waste) 2:11 of your life and watch it.

What do you think?   What are your favorite lines?

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CNNMoney Article: Financial Abuses Of Deadbeat Parents

As I always do, I began the morning by reading thirty or so websites (it is how I make sure I am LEARNING something every single day).   I ran across THIS ARTICLE from CNNMoney.   You should read it – especially if you have deadbeat parents/siblings/children.

Here are some of the statements made by writer Blake Ellis that stand out to me:

  • When a parent uses their own child, the risk of prosecution is lower because of the family ties. Talk about ultimate manipulation!
  • If a parent has a child’s social security number, they can do almost anything — no matter how young the child is — because a credit check does not reveal a person’s age. Unbelievable.
  • Because of the availability of personal information to close family members, more than half of identity theft cases are typically committed by parents. Another potential result from being a poor manager of money – robbing from one’s own children.

Let’s be clear here – it is THEFT.   Parents are ROBBING THEIR CHILDREN because they are mismanaging their own finances.   Don’t believe it can ever happen to you?   You would be surprised what people will do when they become financially desperate.

Have you known someone who has experienced this?   What was it like?

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Greatest Thing I’ve Learned From … David Chilton

Welcome to the latest series here at JosephSangl.com – Greatest Thing I’ve Learned From …   In this series, I am going to be sharing the greatest things I’ve learned from financial and leadership experts.   I hope you enjoy the series and will join in the conversation to share your favorite learnings from these leaders!

Greatest Thing I’ve Learned From … DAVID CHILTON

I was around 12 years old when my dad gave me a copy of David Chilton’s book, The Wealthy Barber.     It taught me one of my life’s greatest lessons – the POWER of compound interest!   Now, I know I was a little on the “nerdy” side as a kid, but this book actually kept my attention.   So much so that when I obtained my first full-time job, I immediately raced to the benefits person and set my 401(k) contribution to the maximum allowed.   I have NEVER regretted that decision.   I also learned the negative side of compound interest, but it took a little first-hand experience with that for me to fully grasp that lesson (which I share in I Was Broke. Now I’m Not.)

David Chilton is also a JosephSangl.com Financial Hero.

Read the entire series

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Greatest Thing I’ve Learned From … David Bach

Welcome to the latest series here at JosephSangl.com – Greatest Thing I’ve Learned From …   In this series, I am going to be sharing the greatest things I’ve learned from financial and leadership experts.   I hope you enjoy the series and will join in the conversation to share your favorite learnings from these leaders!

Greatest Thing I’ve Learned From … DAVID BACH

There are two things I have learned from author, investor, and speaker David Bach:

1.   Latte Factor

This is the one thing in each person’s life that they could give up and save $5 – $10/day on.   For some it is StarFourbucks lattes.   For others it is lunch at restaurants.   For others, it is the home phone.

Consider your spending habits.   Is there something you can give up that would save you money nearly every day?

2.   Make it automatic

His books and speaking have reinforced to me the importance of making every important financial goal automatic.   My retirement savings is important.   So is my son and daughter’s 529 college savings plan. (so cool to say “son” and “daughter”!!!).   I’ve made each of them automatic draft.   What do you need to make automatic?

David has authored several books, but one of my favorites is The Automatic Millionaire

By the way, David Bach is another JosephSangl.com Financial Hero – HERE.

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Greatest Thing I’ve Learned From … Dave Ramsey

Welcome to the latest series here at JosephSangl.com – “Greatest Thing I’ve Learned From …”   In this series, I am going to be sharing the greatest things I’ve learned from financial and leadership experts.   I hope you enjoy the series and will join in the conversation to share your favorite learnings from these leaders!

Greatest Thing I’ve Learned From … DAVE RAMSEY

It was December 2, 2002 that I experienced my IHHE Moment (I Have Had Enough Moment) and determined to change my financial future.   One of my brother’s had mentioned this guy named Dave Ramsey, so I bought his book, Financial Peace Revisited.

The greatest thing I learned in that book were Dave’s 7 Baby Steps (HERE).   They provided a terrific roadmap for me to walk out of my financial mess and into financial freedom.

I actually printed out the 7 Baby Steps and we (my bride and I) wrote down a goal date to achieve each one.

Thanks Dave – that’s why you are one of my Financial Heroes!

What is the greatest thing YOU have learned from Dave Ramsey?

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Aesop’s Fable: The Ant and The Grasshopper

My daughter’s class prepared PowerPoint presentations about bugs, and her teacher sent them to the parents.   They are incredibly well down.   Can you imagine – in 4th grade, the students are preparing presentations and actually presenting them – talk about leadership development!!!

Anyway, I was looking at them and came across one about grasshoppers.   The students put Aesop’s fable, The Ant and The Grasshopper, at the beginning.   It’s connection to financial management is astounding.   Here is the text.

In a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.

“Why not come and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “instead of toiling and moiling in that way?”

“I am helping to lay up food for the winter,” said the Ant, “and recommend you to do the same.”

“Why bother about winter?” said the Grasshopper; we have got plenty of food at present.” But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew:

It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.

- Aesop’s Fable

Here are I Was Broke. Now I’m Not., we call “winter” the “Known Upcoming Slumps” – times where we KNOW that we are going to encounter reduced income or increased expenses.

Question of the day: Financially, are you the Grasshopper or the Ant?

Reminds me of the statement, “Everything I needed to know about life, I learned in Kindergarten.”

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SERIES: Wisdom From Dr. John C. Maxwell – Part Three

Over the past year, I have had the incredible honor and privilege to speak at several conferences where Dr. John C. Maxwell has been the keynote speaker.   The conferences have been called Stewardship Challenge and they have been presented by Injoy Stewardship Solutions, a premier capital stewardship campaign company.

I thought I would take a few posts to write a few of the thoughts he shared that impacted me greatly.   I trust they will be helpful to you as well.

Part Three My greatest challenge I have as a leader is leading myself.

This is an INCREDIBLE statement – especially when you consider the source.   Dr. John Maxwell is a man who has accomplished more than most people could in twenty lifetimes, yet he still makes this statement.   It caused me to pause and take note.   If the man known as a “leadership GURU” is saying that his biggest challenge is leading himself, why on Earth would it be any different for me?

It is hard to lead oneself!   It is so much easier to just give in to impulsive wants and ignore tough decisions that need to be made.   It requires enormous effort to focus on continuous learning, especially as one begins to enjoy some success.

It reminds of the statement, “What got you here won’t get you there.”

Let’s zoom in on the financial implications:

  • It’s easy to see the financial misbehavior of others – tough to see it in our own life
  • It takes effort to learn excellent money management – time & effort
  • It is easier to be broke and complain about what one can’t do because of being broke than to exert the effort necessary to become financially equipped to fund one’s plans, hopes and dreams

Your thoughts?

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Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – June 2010

Every month there will be an update of Joe & Jenn’s Home Pay-Off Spectacular!

Here’s this month’s update!

Total Squares:   2,426

Paid-For Squares:   847 852

Squares Remaining:   1579 1574

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:   34.9% 35.1%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:   65.1% 64.9%

Here is the updated Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular

Blog Sangl Family Pay-Off Spectacular - Analysis 2010-06

Another five squares paid off this month.   We continue to pay extra each month, but are mostly focused on rebuilding our emergency fund.   We do have another fund of cash that we are building to make lump sum payments toward the house as long as other emergencies do not arise that require the use of that money.   I would not be surprised if we were able to make some large payments toward the house toward the end of the year.   Exciting!

How are you doing on YOUR house payoff spectacular?   If you do not have one, you can get one here => Pay Off Spectacular – House.

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