Archive - November, 2011

No Means Yes

I’ve written about this previously, but I feel it is exceptionally important to review it again as we enter in the Christmas season.

If you are highly focused on improving your financial situation, it can mean that the amount of money you have available for Christmas spending is greatly reduced.  This means that you might have to use the word that all parents dread saying to their children – especially at Christmas – the word “NO.”

It is exceptionally difficult UNLESS you understand that saying NO right now will enable you to say YES to something far more important in the future!  You see, saying NO right now provides you with incredible teaching moments for your children.  When they ask “WHY?”, you get to have a great conversation with them.  The conversation might go something like this:

CHILD: I want an iPod Touch for Christmas.


CHILD: Why not?

YOU: Because this year, Mommy and Daddy are focusing on getting our finances in order.


YOU: Because we want to be able to say “YES” more in the future.  If we don’t say “NO” right now, it will be very difficult for us to ever say “YES” in the future to more important things.  You see, by us saying “NO” right now, it is going to allow us to say “YES” to paying for your college education.

Do you see it?  Do you really see it?

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Happy Thanksgiving!

I am preparing to eat a bunch of great food today.  Our family has several foods that are always on the menu:

  • Turkey
  • Duck
  • Oyster dressing
  • Giblet dressing
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Shrimp Cocktail
  • Black and Green Olives
  • Pickled Beets

I trust that everyone will have a wonderful Thanksgiving and will be reminded of everything we each have to be thankful for!

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SERIES: Top 5 Ways To Gain Financial Margin – 5

This is the final installment of this series, and I trust that it has been helpful to you!  This final one is one that I am very passionate about.

#5 – Start A Successful Business

Of course, this is easier said than done.  However, if you look around, there are TONS of successful businesses and someone started them!  Why not you?

Do you have a marketable skill set?  Do you have an idea that would allow you to serve customers in ways that they have never been served before?  What can you do that people would recognize value in and be willing to pay for?

A business can allow you to win with money and put several zeros behind it!  Starting a business can be one of the most rewarding things a person can do.  It certainly has been that way for me!

Read entire series (available after 11/13/2011)

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SERIES: Top 5 Ways To Gain Financial Margin – 4

This next part of this series can be painful, but the end result can be worth it!

#4 – Sell Possessions

What do you have that you could sell?

  • Car
  • Boat
  • Motorcycle
  • Camera equipment
  • Collectibles
  • Antiques
  • House
  • Tractor
  • Furniture
  • Land
  • Business

I have no idea what you possess, but it might make sense to sell it if you are flat broke!  Let’s face it, no one likes to sell their stuff.  We like stuff.  However, if that stuff is preventing you from winning financially, it is time to wave goodbye to it!

Don’t worry, you will be able to buy it back later once you have began prospering – and probably at an incredible discount!

Read entire series (available after 11/13/2011)

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Read entire series (available after 11/13/2011)

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Series: Top 5 Ways To Gain Financial Margin – 3

We’re continuing in this series “Top 5 Ways To Gain Financial Margin” and this next method can be tiresome and time-consuming, but it can be the springboard to substantial financial margin.

#3 – Increase Income

This seems obvious, but so many people do not even consider it!  There are multiple ways to increase income – and while some of them might sound enjoyable or desirable – ANYTHING is better than living BROKE!

  • Work overtime at current job
  • Negotiate a pay raise
  • Obtain a 2nd job
  • Start a side business
  • Invest something
  • Write a book
  • Dig up small trees in the ditch and sell for $3 each
  • Rent out a part of your house

Anyone can do one or more of these, and it will increase income.

WARNING: If you do not have a plan for the extra income, it can very easily end up being spent.  Be sure to be diligent and prepare a plan BEFORE spending any of it!

Read entire series (available after 11/13/2011)

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Series: Top 5 Ways To Gain Financial Margin – 2

We are continuing in this series of “Top 5 Ways To Gain Financial Margin” and this next part takes a little while, but it is SO WORTH IT!

#2 – Eliminate Debt

Most people have no idea just how much of their monthly income goes to service debt.  They have the obvious debt payments for their car or furniture, but they also have loans that are automatically paid via on-line bill-pay services or through payroll automatic deduction.

Do YOU know how much of your money is being sent to a lender each month?  If you have debt, I recommend that you stop right now and add it up.  The car, credit cards, student loans, 401(k) loan, furniture debt, personal debt owed to another person, and the house.  Seriously, use this tool to add up how much you owe total and the amount of money you are paying to the lender each and every month.

NOW – consider what life would be like if you were debt free.  ALL of that money would now be available to you to pursue so many other things and dreams.  You could bless your family and so many others in need.  And … you could breathe more easily.

Even just paying off a couple of debts can create substantial financial margin and breathing room.

Read entire series (available after 11/13/2011)

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SERIES: Top 5 Ways To Gain Financial Margin – 1

Welcome to the latest series on the wildly popular – “Top 5 Ways To Gain Financial Margin”

Financial margin is something we all want and need in order to stay focused on the far more important things in our lives!

#1 – Reduce interest rates on existing debt

This escapes many people because the interest rate of debt is usually “out of sight – out of mind”, but it could very well be the greatest one step you could take to gain financial margin.

I highly recommend that you use our free tool – the “Actual Cost of Debt calculator” to determine just how much your debt is costing you – be sure to find out your actual interest rates so that the numbers will be accurate.

Here are two areas I where I see people save tons of money by reducing their interest rates.

  1. Mortgage Interest Rate  For every $10,000 finances, a 1% reduction in interest rate will save $100.  So if you have a $150,000 mortgage and could lower your interest rate by 1%, you will save $1,500 per year in interest – $125 per month!  I encourage you to use CNN’s Refinance calculator to see what refinance deals would work best for you.
  2. Credit Card Interest Rate  This is where I typically see ridiculous interest rate charges that are simply not necessary!  Consider $6,000 in credit card debt at 21.99%.  That will result in interest charges of nearly $1,300 a year.  This is why I am such a fan of 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card offers and maintain a list of offers on this website.  If that $6,000 of debt were moved to a 0% balance transfer credit card offer, that incredible amount of interest would actually be applied to debt reduction!

Here are other areas to look at – vehicle loans, medical debts, furniture loans, personal loans, payday loans, 401(k) loans, and any type of loan where interest is being charged.

Read entire series (available after 11/13/2011)

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Top 5 Ways To Gain Financial Margin – Margin Defined

It is helpful to explain the word “Financial Margin” – as I speak of it anyway.

I define Financial Margin as:

  • Money that has been saved up and allows one to encounter financial obstacles or opportunities without derailing one’s entire finances and life.

I also define Financial Margin as:

  • Money that is intentionally set aside in each month’s budget to be placed into savings for emergencies, known upcoming non-monthly expenses, and to fund dreams.

Or more directly, Financial Margin can be defined as:

  • The ability to breathe and not panic when the car breaks down.

When you have SAVINGS set aside and are intentionally putting more to the side every month, it allows you live life on a mission without EVER being distracted by a negative financial event.

How would YOU define Financial Margin?

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Top 5 Ways To Gain Financial Margin

Lots of people are looking for financial margin these days.  They are SICK of living paycheck-to-paycheck.  They want to be able to have at least a little fun during the month.  There are expenses that have been put off way too long – things like home and car repairs.

I want to help you have that margin!  Life with margin allows you to live life on a mission.

Top 5 Ways To Gain Financial Margin

  1. Reduce interest rates on existing debt
  2. Eliminate debt
  3. Increase income – through pay increase, overtime, or 2nd job
  4. Sell possessions – especially those that have ongoing expenses
  5. Start a successful business

Over the next several blog posts, we will be discussing each of these items in more detail.

How much FINANCIAL MARGIN would you like to have 12 months from now?  Share it with us!

Read entire series (available after 11/13/2011)

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Wants Vs. Needs – What We Can Learn From The Greece Debt Crisis

I was listening to the news broadcast coverage of the Greece debt situation recently, and here is how the information was being delivered in all of the coverage.

  1. Greece has a debt problem
  2. Because Greece is part of the “Euro Zone”, this means that the “Euro Zone” has a problem
  3. Because French and German banks are heavily vested in Greek banks and debt, they stand to lose the most if Greece defaults
  4. In order for the “Euro Zone” countries to “bail out” Greece, the government and citizens of Greece must accept restrictions and cuts – so-called “austerity measures”
  5. The Greek government and citizens don’t want these cuts and restrictions

My response (out loud many times) has been, “OF COURSE, you don’t want cuts and restrictions – NO ONE does!  BUT your economy is BROKE and everything has been financed and leveraged to oblivion – with OTHER PEOPLES MONEY!”  Based upon recent data I have seen, nearly 95-percent of Greek debt is owned by foreign entities.”

Let’s explore this in terms that we can all understand better.  Suppose you let your neighbor borrow $10,000.  Then your neighbor spent all of the money with no real plan for repayment, and when you approached them for repayment, they said, “But if I pay you back all of the money I borrowed from you, I will have to reduce or cut out some of my lifestyle.  I’m not willing to do that.”

How would that work for you?

I have said it 10,000 times if I have said it once. The day I stopped whining and complaining and started taking the tough and difficult actions necessary to get my financial house in order is THE DAY that I started winning with money!

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Who Needs Rules?

I have a very energetic nephew who is exceptionally smart and very strong-willed.  He is known throughout our family for his energy, enthusiasm, and strong will.

He was recently playing a game and began gaining a significant advantage – by violating the rules of the game.  He was told, “That’s against the rules.”

His priceless response?  “I wasn’t playing by the rules.

This response reminds me of so many people who are completely broke.  They KNOW the rules, but they choose to ignore them.  Here are some fundamental money management rules that are regularly and routinely ignored.

  1. Spend less than you make
  2. Save money for a rainy day
  3. Give money away
  4. Plan your spending BEFORE you actually spend
  5. A budget will allow you to maximize your money
  6. Invest money every time you receive money
  7. Save for emergencies
  8. Save for known upcoming non-monthly expenses
  9. Save for dreams
  10. Always ask for a better deal
  11. Pay cash for items that drop in value
  12. Avoid debt that will strangle your plans, hopes, and dreams
  13. Maintain healthy financial margin

What rule do you wrestle with the most?  What rule(s) would you add?

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Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – November 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:  1010  1030

Squares Remaining:  1416 1396

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:  41.6% 42.5%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:  58.4% 57.5%

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

We paid off nearly 1% of the house this month.  I never thought I would be so excited to accomplish 1% of anything!  My bride and I are so excited to have so much momentum, and we look forward with anticipation to each payment each month.  You can do this too!

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