Archive - October, 2011

Stop Whining. Start Doing.

When things are going poorly with money, it is easy to fall into a cycle of “whining” instead of “doing.”

This means that they have substituted an “h” for one of the “n”s in “winning” – they move from “winNing” to “wHining.”

Have you ever noticed that whiners rarely win?  Think about it.  Name ONE whiner who is a consistent winner.

We all have times where we descend into “whining.”  That is when we have to make the CHOICE to STOP WHINING and START DOING.

Don’t know if this is helpful to anyone, but it was helpful to me!

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That Old Broke Feeling

A crazy thing usually happens when I ask people if they have ever been broke before – nearly ALL of them have been absolutely broke in the past.

They tell me about it, and they usually are smiling as they tell their story.  That is, unless they are still broke.  If they are still broke, there are no smiles – only tears, anger, humiliation, frustration, and agony.

It does not have to be that way.  That’s why I do what I do – helping people free up their finances and equipping them to fund their plans, hopes, and dreams.

Do you remember when you were broke?  Share your story with us in the comments!

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What’s Next After Debt Freedom

I meet a lot of people these days who are in the midst of their pursuit of Debt Freedom.  I call it a “Debt Freedom March.”

They have used a tool like our Debt Freedom Date Calculator to calculate their Debt Freedom Date, and they have realized just how much of their money is going to a bank or lender.  For the average family with non-house debt, somewhere between $500 and $1,250 per month is being paid in monthly payments.  If you include the house payment, that average amount is between $1,250 and $2,000 or more per month.

For those who remain focused and diligent, debt freedom is achieved, and it is incredible!

Then the inevitable question shows up – “What’s next?”

If you are one of those who is asking this question, here are a few things to consider using the newly-released money for:

  • Pursue a dream
  • Give more away to causes you really believe in
  • Build a larger emergency fund
  • Invest money into a dream
  • Invest money into someone else’s dream
  • Reward yourself with a purchase of something you’ve always wanted

What other things would you recommend using this money for?

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Teaching Young People About Money

I taught over 500 young people about money at West Ridge Church in Dallas, GA recently, and it was INCREDIBLE!  I was teaching from my book, What Everyone Should Know About Money Before They Enter The Real World.

Here is what stood out to me:

  • They were very energetic – but also paid attention very well
  • The compound interest example captured ALL of their attention – even the 6th and 7th graders!
  • Young people dream more than adults
  • Their dreams are much less impacted by the potential financial cost
  • They are just more passionate about life – period!
  • Most of them are more aware of money and money issues than the young people I was teaching five years ago.  I think the global recession has caused this generation to truly pay attention to money.
  • They clearly know that it is EZ™ to win with money!

FIRED UP!

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Financial Basic Training

I distinctly remember attending my brother’s graduation from basic training in the Army.  After a long car ride, we finally pulled up at the wonderful Army establishment known as Fort Leonard Wood.  My father got out of the car and went to find out information about where and how we were to meet up with our brother.  After quite a while, my father walked out with a mean looking man dressed up in Army fatigues.  This man looked like he could personally kill a tiger and an elephant at the same time with his bare hands.  He was squared away, and built like a brick house.  Muscles rippled on his arms, he had huge shoulders, and his uniform was immaculate.

Then he spoke to me.  It was my brother!  I had absolutely no idea that it was him.  You see, my brother was always chubby.  He left for basic training with some flab and really long curly blonde hair.  Just a couple of months later, here he was – a fine-tuned, fit, and ripped member of the US Army.  The change was so dramatic that I literally did not recognize my own brother!

If you feel like your financial situation is out of shape, maybe it is time to send your money to basic training!  My brother told me that the first thing that happened was that they took all of his possessions and handed him the clothes and equipment he would need.  It was very basic.  The nice things like his cassette player (they were awesome in the 80’s) and candy were taken away.  Applying this to your finances, this means it might make sense to look at everything you have and consider what is really necessary.  It is incredibly freeing for many people to sell unused and unwanted items and “de-clutter” their lives.  This allows you to focus on what is most important.

As soon as my brother arrived at basic training, he was being instructed in a new way of thinking.  Everything was focused on training him and his fellow troops to be the absolute best soldiers they could possibly be.  This required a lot of training.  This training required intense focus and expert teachers.   When was the last time you took a class or read a book on the subject of personal finances?  Seek out financial experts.  Buy their books.  Attend their training.  Listen to their radio shows.  Read their blogs.  Find financial mentors in your life that can help you learn how to become incredibly personal financially fit!  Becoming great at money management won’t usually “just happen” – it requires attention.

Eight weeks of intense training converted my slob brother into a disciplined, fit, and forever changed leader.  If you choose to put your finances through basic training with the same intensity, eight weeks could forever change your financial future.

Free Credit Report

In this day and age of identity theft, it is vitally important you monitor your credit report.

You can get a copy of your credit report FREE (not a misleading statement like so many of those TV commercials you see that say “offer implies enrollment in a fee-based credit monitoring service).  The for-real-free credit report is available at: AnnualCreditReport.com

According to their website …

AnnualCreditReport.com is a centralized service for consumers to request free annual credit reports. It was created by the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

AnnualCreditReport.com provides consumers with the secure means to request and obtain a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies in accordance with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act).

Be sure to download your credit report from each of the big three credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.  A lot of the information will be repetitive, but it is important to check out all three.

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Margin Survey Results – Personal Feedback – Part 2

The margin survey response was incredible, and the most compelling part for me was the personal responses that so many of you shared in the “Share your thoughts on what you can do to add more margin to your life” section.

Over the next couple of days, I wanted to share some of the feedback.  Would love to hear YOUR thoughts on these comments!

  1. “Time is always precious and hard to manage. It’s easier to manage money. For relationships, I think you have to ask the significant other, rather than yourself.”
  2. “I could delegate tasks to others; however, that is difficult when you’re a bit of a control freak!”
  3. “Work on becoming debt free. I have so much debt if not for my relationship with Christ I would run and declare bankrupt. It is so sad that I have ignored the wisdom God has tried to send and now I see and it is so overwhelming.”
  4. “Let God direct my schedule and priorities as opposed to assuming I know what they are”
  5. Say NO!!!
  6. “I honestly have no clue how to stop all the mistakes we are making. It is so painful and it just keeps happening…”
  7. “Add more hours to the day.  Plan my day better.”
  8. “Think about what’s important to me and “rank” everything.  Then allocate my time / finances accordingly.”

It has really been quite overwhelming to me to read all of these responses.  It has affirmed why I do what I do.

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Santa Read “Funded And Free”

While I was at Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, GA this past week, I got to meet Santa.  He asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I said, “All I want for Christmas is for Santa to read Funded And Free.”

Santa made my wish come true.


I’m ready for Christmas!

Your church leadership team can be greatly blessed by Funded And Free.  If 5 or more copies are ordered HERE, the price is automatically discounted by 50%!  Upon successfully placing an order, a free copy of the “Funded And Free NEXT STEPS Guide” will be included at no charge!

74 days until Christmas …

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Margin Survey Results – Personal Feedback

The margin survey response was incredible, and the most compelling part for me was the personal responses that so many of you shared in the “Share your thoughts on what you can do to add more margin to your life” section.  Over the next couple of days, I wanted to share some of the feedback.  Would love to hear YOUR thoughts on these comments!

  1. “Change something. Saying “No” to when I think it is my responsibility to fix others problems.”
  2. “I have noticed that as my children get older all three of these margins seem to shrink.  With games and practices almost everyday of the week, time margins seem to shrink and that then affects relational margins.  As the children become more active it also requires more money and will affect my financial margin.  So far what I have done for these issues is to make them a priority.  I make sure I plan ahead so we are less rushed on those busy days.  I make giving and saving a priority and we make what we have left work.  (we have been especially challenged with your oxen series and are looking at what oxen we can add to our lives).  I also make sure I have time for everyone in my family especially my husband.  I don’t want to send my last child off to college and then wonder who this man is who is living with me.  I want a marriage that will survive the empty nest and so spending time talking with him and maintaining our friendship has become a priority for both of us.”
  3. “Slow down!”
  4. “Keep my budget and savings goals!!!  Take time for God and me!!!  Be more available to others!!!”
  5. “I wish I knew. Doing less seems like a good plan theoretically, but never pans out. The stress is average really, nothing overwhelming. It’s the sense of accomplishment that’s lacking. At the end of the day I feel like I ran a 10k, but on a treadmill. Lots of work, no forward motion or major progress.”
  6. “I need to manage time and money better, starting with God. Praying first in my time margin and tithing first in my financial one. I used the excuse that we didn’t have a church that we went to for 2 years now, and that has changed recently and I need to stop using it as an excuse (even then it wasn’t much of an excuse when there are organizations like Focus on the Family, etc..that do great work). Prayer took a backseat when I just stopped thinking about it, but it was always there in the back of my mind and I knew I was leaving out important parts of my day. I even tucked my Bible away to stop being reminded because I would feel guilty. My Bible’s back out and I’m hoping that this is a positive change financially and spiritually for me starting today…no, starting yesterday!”

Which of these thoughts most connects with you?

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A Major Announcement …

A major announcement …

… is on its way!

I can’t wait to tell everyone about it.  Stay tuned to the blog, Twitter, and Facebook to be one of the first to know.

Of course, we are taking guesses about the announcement in the comments section.  :)

Get FIRED UP!
Joe

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Margin Survey Results

About three weeks ago, I posted a survey asking people to rate the amount of margin they have in their lives.  The three items that were rated were as follows:

  1. Please rate how much TIME MARGIN you have in your life (1 to 10)
  2. Please rate how much FINANCIAL MARGIN you have in your life (1 to 10)
  3. Please rate how much RELATIONAL MARGIN you have in your life (1 to 10)

Here are the basic results charts:

My Observations

  • In general, people seem to be feeling better about their relational margins than their time and financial margins.
  • People were very reluctant to rate any category as having “Plenty” of margin
  • TIME MARGIN appears to have no direct correlation to FINANCIAL MARGIN
  • TIME MARGIN had a direct correlation to RELATIONAL MARGIN.  As people felt better about their time margin, they felt that they had better relational margin.
  • FINANCIAL MARGIN appears to have a direct correlation with RELATIONAL MARGIN.  The better the financial situation, the better the relational margin.

MORE THAN ANYTHING – it was YOUR COMMENTS that you shared that caught me off-guard.  Your transparency was amazing, and I am going to be sharing some of these anonymous comments over the next few days.

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IHHE RANT: Get Fired Up!

It has been awhile since I have had an IHHE Rant (I Have Had Enough Rant) so pardon me while I rant for a few lines of prose.

There are a lot of people in life who apparently believe that life is supposed to be perfect without any difficulties whatsoever.  They feel like since they want something, then it should just happen.  The moment that they are faced with a struggle or tussle or tough conversation or lack of funding, they give up and say, “It’s just not fair!”

I have news for that type of person – “Fair is where you ride rides.  Life is not fair.”

We all face challenges.  We all have less than stellar days when we want to give up, but at least we still have life!  It might not be easy to smile all of the time, but smiling is so much better than frowning.  Someone might tell us the word we all hate to hear – NO – but hearing NO might be the most important thing to hear at the moment.

Listen, if you can’t get fired up for what you do, go find something that DOES fire you up!  Life is way too short to just wander through it.  Being fired up doesn’t mean that you have to be loud and ridiculous about it (my preferred method :) ), but it does mean that your work allows you to wake up every single day and say, “I can’t believe I get to do this!”

It’s time to get fired up!

Who’s fired up?  Tell me in the comments and tell me WHY you are fired up!

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Term Life Insurance Application Process – How It Typically Works

Many people may know that they need term life insurance, but they do not clearly understand how the process works.  In the presence of unanswered questions, many people make a choice (a poor one) to do nothing.  My hope is that this post will help answer your questions about the term life insurance application process!

Acquiring term life insurance generally follows the following steps.

  1. Find term life insurance that fits your needs.
  2. Request and fill out an application (can obtain from your insurance agent or do this ON-LINE)
  3. A nurse contracted by the life insurance company will contact you to set up an appropriate time for a health analysis (usually involves a blood test and a basic physical).
  4. Your application is either accepted or denied.
  5. If accepted, you will be provided your actual premium rate cost and the policy will go into effect once payment is made.

NOTE #1: Smoking and weight issues do not necessarily mean that you can not obtain life insurance, but it usually results in higher premiums due to increased health risks.

NOTE #2:  I carry 10 times my annual take-home pay in term life insurance in 20 or 30 year level term coverage.  For example, if a person makes $30,000 in annual take-home pay, then that would be $300,000 in term life insurance coverage.

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Disclosure

Stop And Think Moment – 1

Welcome to the latest series at JosephSangl.com – “Stop And Think”  This series is written to help people think through important financial topics that may not be part of daily conversation, but are vitally important to a complete financial plan.

Take one minute to stop and think about what would happen if you died today.  I know this is not an exciting prospect to consider, but I have seen many instances (far too many) where a family member dies way too young.  Would your family be able to make it financially?  Do you have life insurance that would provide enough money to ensure that those who depend upon you could just focus on grieving instead of having to worry about keeping the house and not being able to pay the bills?

I personally carry 30-year level term life insurance.  It’s very cheap and allows me to absolutely ensure that my family will prosper should I die prematurely.  Just so you know, I’m rooting against dying early.

One great thing about term life insurance is you can securely obtain quotes on-line without talking to anyone.  I love that!

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Disclosure

Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – October 2011

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:  990 1010

Squares Remaining:  1436 1416

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:  40.8% 41.6%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:  59.2% 58.4%

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

We’ve paid off the sun ro0om!!!  Now, we are starting to own the regular living quarters of our home.  It was six months ago that we began a FULL ASSAULT on paying this mortgage off.  It is simply amazing to watch the debt leave.  In just six months, we have accomplished the same amount of principal reduction that took 32 months to accomplish from August 2008 thru April 2011.

God-willing, we could even see our home mortgage eliminated by January 2013.  That, my friends, will be an incredible day.

How are you doing on YOUR house pay-off spectacular?

If you do not have one, you can get one here => Pay Off Spectacular – House.

Read previous Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular Updates