Archive - December, 2010

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This blog is a personal blog written and edited by the team. (That’s me!) The primary goal is to provide free financial tools for individuals and businesses.   It is also a means for providing financial support for our organization, IWBNIN, LLC.   By reading this website, you are helping us achieve our passion of helping people accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances.   You are also helping us provide the vast majority of our content for absolutely free!

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Write Down Your 2011 Goals!

Have you taken time to write down your goals for 2011 yet?   I have learned a basic truth in my life:

When I write down a goal, it is MUCH more likely to be achieved.

Perhaps you have discovered the same thing in your life?

Here are some tips to writing your goals for next year:

  • Review 2010
    • What should KEEP happening?
    • What should be done MORE?
    • What should you STOP doing?
  • Consider the longer term – 5, 10, 20, 30 years from now
  • Establish goals in the following areas:
    • Physical Health
    • Spiritual Health
    • Emotional Health
    • Family
    • Marriage
    • Financial
    • Career/Business
    • Fun

Share one or two of your goals with all of us – write them in the comments!

I’ll start:

  • Run the Indy 500 Half-Marathon again (13.1 miles – my fourth time)
  • Take my bride on a vacation that includes:
    • no children
    • sun
    • ocean
    • no Blackberry
    • no computer

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BONUS TIP: Reading these two series that I have written previously will really help you!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!


I pray that you have had a blessed 2010, and that 2011 will be the best ever!

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Another No-Debt Christmas!

I’m celebrating with my family another No-Debt Christmas!

It was December 2, 2002 when my family decided to NEVER finance our gift-giving again.   We chopped up on credit cards (because we allowed them to fuel our impulsive spending decisions), put together a Mini-Budget to plan exactly how much we would spend for each person, and then followed that plan!

So that has led to No-Debt Christmas events in:

  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010

That is NINE No-Debt Christmas times!

We have discovered some key things that have happened during our No-Debt Christmas times:

  • We focus more on family
  • There is less stress!
  • We don’t dread bills in January!
  • We’re able to focus on Jesus Christ – THE reason for Christmas!
  • Our savings have not been impacted because we saved for Christmas every single month of the year!
  • We can participate in giving like never before – because it is the season for giving!

How about YOU?   Is it a No-Debt Christmas for you?   If so, how many years in a row?   What have you discovered as you have experienced your No-Debt Christmas?

Read recent posts – Is It Worth It?

I remember the first time I got digital pictures – it was when my daughter was born in 1999.   I had my film developed at Wal-Mart and then scanned the pictures into my computer.   Within hours of my daughter’s arrival, my entire family throughout the world was able to see pictures of our beautiful baby girl!   The technology!!!

Then I received a digital camera for Christmas from my twin brother.   I think it was a 0.5 MP camera.   Then I got another, better, digital camera.   Then another.   Then my phone had a digital camera.   Then my daughter got a digital camera.

All of this added up to THOUSANDS of priceless photos on my computer.   Not to mention all of our other important documents we’ve stored on the computer.

When a buddy recently LOST all of his files – all of his pictures, movies, iTunes music, and more – I determined to do something about it.

I had heard talk radio show hosts mentioning as a way to automatically back up files.   I decided to check it out in August.   They have a FREE TRIAL that allowed me to sign up and try it out without even giving them my credit card info.

Bottom line is: I LOVE IT!   So much so that I have put it on my home computer and work computer.   My team has put it on their computers.   In fact, one team member recently got a virus and had to wipe the hard drive clean – then they just used their Carbonite backup to get up and running again!

Here are some things I have noticed:

  • It WILL slow your computer down a little when it is backing files up, but all I have to do is click “pause” and it will wait until a later time to back-up.
  • I can easily see which files are backed up and which ones aren’t simply by checking my “file explorer” – files that are backed up have a small solid green dot – those that aren’t have an orange dot.
  • When I signed up my one computer for the free trial and then paid for the service to continue, I received a 50% off offer for it to be installed on a 2nd computer – I used this for my home computer.
  • It takes some time for the first back-up.   It took Carbonite about a week to fully back up all of my files the first time.   Now it does it in minutes.
  • The cost is worth it to me.   It costs around $55/year.   If I lost those files, the cost is much MUCH greater!   I actually group this cost in with “insurance” – as it is insuring my data and pictures against loss!

You can check it out HERE.

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Buy Cheap – Buy Twice (or 3, 4, or more)

Have you been in the middle of a purchasing decision and decided to purchase the item that cost less – and ended up regretting the purchase because it failed to live up to your expectations or was a complete piece of junk?

For example, I purchased a cheaper dryer when Jenn and I were married.   It wasn’t the absolute bottom of the line, but it was near it.

Just a few years later, Jenn and I were replacing it.   We bought cheap.   We had to buy the item twice.

I have bought cheap push mowers in the past.   They have never lasted beyond a couple of years.   My great aunt bought an expensive Lawn-Boy in the 60s and the thing will probably still be running when Jesus comes back.

I have used cheap chain saws.   They work great for a while, and then they fail.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I really believe in frugality and well-thought out purchases, but many times I believe we mistake “save a few pennies now” for “frugality” when in fact we need to consider the total cost of the purchase from the day we buy it to the day it finally stops performing.

Share with me some of your experiences with this!

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The Details MATTER!

Have you ever met someone who is a non-detail person?   They focus on the big picture, pursuing one thing after another, and they accomplish great things?   For a while at least?   And then the wheels come off.   The utter inertia of all of the things they have created catch up to them, and the infrastructure is not there to support it.   The result?   A colossal failure or collapse.

It’s been described many ways:

  • Trying to keep all the plates spinning
  • Too many things on the plate
  • Juggling too many balls

It’s great to get an item started, but will it last?

Let’s get to the personal finance and small business finance application.   The details matter!

  • Someone needs to make sure the best deal is being obtained on all purchases
  • Someone needs to plan the spending every month – not just occasionally
  • Someone needs to actually pay the bills – on time
  • Someone needs to reconcile the bank account – regularly
  • Someone needs to serve the customer before, between, and after purchases – not just during the purchase

You don’t have to address the details personally, but you must KNOW that someone is responsible for the details and is equipped and able to do so in an excellent manner.

Are you ensuring that your financial details are being handled with excellence?

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Barring A Miracle

A reader recently shared a news article (written by Helen Kearney of Reuters) with me that highlights why I do what I do!

The title of the article is “Middle class falls short on retirement funds”.   Everyone should really read it.   It highlights the FINANCIAL DEBACLE that most Americans are steamrolling towards.

Here are some lines that stood out to me:

  • The average American has saved less than 7% of his desired retirement nest-egg.
  • Middle-class Americans think they need $300,000 to fund their retirement, but on average have only saved $20,000.
  • Barring a miracle … they’re going to be forced to dramatically cut back their lifestyles after retirement.
  • Respondents aged 50 to 59 have saved an average of only $29,000 for retirement.

The fact is that saving for retirement does NOT require a miracle!   It DOES require things like focus, determination, tremendous effort, and a relentless spirit.

Here are some key ways to make sure YOU are not one of the statistics!

  • Calculate how much you need for retirement (use my calculator HERE or use ING’s HERE)
  • Save SOMETHING every single time you receive money into your employer’s 401(k), 403(b), 457, or TSP.
  • If you don’t have an employer’s retirement plan, but have earned income – invest in a Roth IRA
  • I also like investing in real estate, land, small business, and other investments – always be on the lookout for these types of investment opportunities

The bottom line is this:   If you work for 30 years and have NOTHING to show for it, you have basically worked that entire period for FREE.   You earned money, but somehow it all left and went to other people.

You CAN do this!

Don’t have any idea how to get started?   My book, I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. tells you exactly how I broke free and started truly winning with money.   You can do it too!

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You Can’t Help The Poor

I recently heard a person make the following statement:

“You can’t help the poor – if you’re one of them!”

WOW!   Think about it for a few moments, and you will realize that this is a powerful statement.

It is very difficult to help others when you are broke!   When one is poor, most of their time and effort is consumed with providing for basic needs like food, shelter, clothing, and utilities.   It becomes extremely difficult to be able to help those around you who are in need in a financial manner.   Guess what?   Nearly all help rolls back to financial help.

  • Want to provide food/clothing/shelter to the poor?   That usually takes money.
  • Want to provide education to the poor?   That usually takes money.
  • Want to provide health care, medical, and dental services to the poor?   That usually takes money.
  • Want to educate the well-off about the plight of the poor?   That usually takes money.
  • Want to serve the poor?   That usually takes time and money.

Are you in position RIGHT NOW to help the poor?

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Christmas 2010 Special Offers!

It’s the Christmas season, so it’s time to cut the prices on all of our resources!

We have three special Christmas offers this season:




Can’t see the images?   The links for the special offers are below:

Christmas Special #1:   Five of Each

Christmas Special #2:   Five of I Was Broke. Now I’m Not.

Christmas Special #3:   Five of What Everyone Should Know About Money

I pray that you are exiting 2010 better than you came in and that our teaching and resources have positioned you for the best year ever in 2011!


SERIES: 5 Questions To Ask Before Spending Money

Welcome to the latest series on the wildly popular – 5 Questions To Ask Before Spending Money

It is my hope that this series will help provide you with practical questions to ask when preparing to spend a substantial amount of money. Practical questions that will help you truly understand the enormity of the decision and help you make the decision that is best for you and your family.

Question 5: Will this help me achieve my future plans, hopes, and dreams?

I believe that the number one reason that people fail with their financial plans is a lack of organization and the lack of a plan.   Without a longer-term perspective, it becomes extremely easy to fall into the trap of living for the minute and immediately spending every single dime we earn.   As one develops a longer-term perspective, it really helps us recognize that spending all of our money right away will rip our future dreams away from us!

When my family first got started on improving our financial future (Dec 2002), I noticed that we started looking a few months ahead.   Now, eight years later, my entire perspective has shifted.   You see, I want to leave a legacy for my children and community.   I want to start a university.   I want to leave a huge inheritance to my family, church, and others.   My wife and I want to give our children a paid-for college education.   We want to give them a paid-for house when they graduate.   We desire to teach them to manage their finances recognizing that it is not just FOR THEM, it is FOR THEM TO HELP OTHERS!

I’m 36 right now.   Statistics say I am 1/2-way through my life.   Time is short.   Too short to spend all of our resources on stuff that does not support our plans, hopes, and dreams.

By the way, the university is starting earlier than scheduled.   Stay tuned …   Things to make us all go, “Hmmm …”

Read the entire series

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SERIES: 5 Questions To Ask Before Spending Money

Welcome to the latest series on the wildly popular – 5 Questions To Ask Before Spending Money

It is my hope that this series will help provide you with practical questions to ask when preparing to spend a substantial amount of money. Practical questions that will help you truly understand the enormity of the decision and help you make the decision that is best for you and your family.

Question 4: Will this purchase generate income for me or take income away?

What an incredible question to ask – and what a difference it will make in the way you think about money!   I used to earn money and then immediately begin pondering which fun item I was going to buy.   I rarely (if ever) thought about the fact that I could use the money to buy in to a small business, purchase stocks and mutual funds, start a small business or purchase a rental home.

Even more, I did not truly realize the ACTUAL cost of many of the items I had purchased.   I had purchased a new car (my smokin’ hot Chevy Cavalier) and I only thought of the bank loan as my “cost” to purchase.   In actuality, I also added the costs of insurance, property taxes, license tags, maintenance, repairs, and additional gasoline consumption.

Before spending your money, just stop and ponder the options available to you to use those resources to generate more income for you in the future.

BONUS: Review your budget to see how much your current possessions are costing you on an ongoing basis – where can you lower your expenses?

Read the entire series

Read recent posts

SERIES: 5 Questions To Ask Before Spending Money

Welcome to the latest series on the wildly popular – 5 Questions To Ask Before Spending Money

It is my hope that this series will help provide you with practical questions to ask when preparing to spend a substantial amount of money. Practical questions that will help you truly understand the enormity of the decision and help you make the decision that is best for you and your family.

Question 3: Do I have the money to pay CASH for this item?

My hero, Dave Ramsey, would be proud of me for asking this question!   (By the way, Dave, it would be great to meet with you again!)

I got to write the “I Was Broke” part of my book, I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. (you should buy a copy HERE) by always financing stuff.   My car, truck, next truck, engagement ring, wedding ring, honeymoon, credit cards, college student loans, furniture, and many other things were financed because I did not stop and ask myself this key question.   I know that the day I started asking this question was THE DAY that my family started winning with money.

If I do not have the cash to pay for it, I’m not buying it UNLESS it is a house or an asset that will increase in value (like a business, rental house, etc).   Even then, the answer is still usually “NO!” unless I have all of the money available to pay cash.


Read the entire series

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Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – December 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:   870 873

Squares Remaining:   1556 1553

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:   35.9% 36.0%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:   64.1% 64.0%

Here is the updated Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular (click to view large size)

Blog Sangl Family Pay-Off Spectacular - Analysis 2010-12

We had an INCREDIBLE 2010!   We were able to absorb the costs of a brand new baby boy and several other LARGE expenses – all without debt and without major impact to our life!   I can not wait to see what happens with this house in 2011!

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

Read previous Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular Updates