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Winning With Money Requires Practice And Disipline

Several years ago, before my bride and I had children, I took the time to build a radio control airplane from a really basic kit.

It took a LONG time because it was intricate work, but the work produced a really nice airplane with six foot wide wings that would fly really well.

Along came our daughter and time for the hobby disappeared as the necessities of building a career, completing my master’s degree, and life itself. The plane somehow made it through several moves without being totally destroyed.

Now that my son is running around everywhere, he is enchanted by the plane. He always wants to see the plane, touch the plane, fly the plane, fly on the plane, and sit in the plane (not possible – but he’s too young to determine that).

Recently, I pulled it off the shelf to see if I could get the motor to start. It did not. For literally three hours, I tried to fire the engine unsuccessfully. My son became bored and wandered off. He eventually went down for an afternoon nap, and then it suddenly started for me! There was only one issue – the throttle was stuck! There was no (safe) way to turn it off, so I literally held it until the fuel ran out.

When my son awakened, I told him that I had managed to fire it up so we needed to go outside. He lost his mind in excitement. We ran outside, and it would not start. NOTHING I tried worked. I eventually put the plane back up in the garage.

The next day, I woke up with aching legs and arms from attempting to start the stupid airplane (if you’ve ever experienced starting an RC airplane with a chicken stick, you know what I’m talking about). The stiffness helped me realize I had done about 400 squats and 2,000 reps of “chicken stick motions.”

There’s a financial lesson to be learned here. Many times, we will start off our financial journey with a dream, a budget, and detailed plan to accomplish it. Everything goes well as long as you continue to dream, budget and plan. But eventually, time can cause our enthusiasm for important things like budgeting and planning to wane.

So we stop.

We put away the tools.

Time passes. A lot of time passes, and one day we discover the need to utilize the tools again. But when we pull out the tools, we’re rusty. It doesn’t operate like it used to.

No matter how much effort we put into it, it just won’t seem to work anymore. You discover the “throttle is stuck” on an expense, and it is going to require some work to turn it off! You may not be able to get your spouse to participate.

It is for this reason my bride and I:

  1. Put together a budget EVERY MONTH – planning our spending BEFORE the month and the bills arrive. This is EVERY MONTH, not every now and then!
  2. Share our dreams with each other – and keep a list. This allows us to remind ourselves and each other WHY we are doing the discipline of planning and budgeting.
  3. Save money EVERY MONTH – we know we simply cannot prosper if we don’t save!
  4. Give money away EVERY MONTH – we truly believe we are blessed to bless others!
  5. Invest money EVERY MONTH – we can’t fund huge dreams without the assistance of compound interest!

Take a few minutes to think about the disciplines and practices you need to pull back out and start up again, and be sure to recognize that you are going to have a few “stuck throttles” and “misfires” as you get back in the groove of discipline.

In the meantime, I’ll be out in the garage firing up my RC airplane.

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What Are Your Dreams?

I am passionate about helping people accomplish their dreams. It is the entire reason for my life’s passion statement: “To help people accomplish far more than they ever thought possible!” Most people have no idea of the real potential they possess. One reasons for this is because they have never taken the time to write down their dreams and challenge themselves to take the necessary actions to accomplish them.

Today, I want to try something new. I am asking you to take just a couple of minutes and share the dreams you have for the rest of your life. It is completely anonymous, so please be real and honest. I believe that if most of us were truly open and honest, we all have at least one HUGE DREAM that we have never dared tell anyone for fear of what others might say.

Would you please share your dreams with me?


Can’t see the form? Click HERE to view it as a separate web page.
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Power In A Plan

Do you have a plan for your life? I know you have dreams for your life so let me be more clear. Do you have a WRITTEN plan for your life?

Something amazing happens when you take pen in hand and write out your plans! When you write them down, there is a much greater chance your goals will be accomplished!

An old Chinese proverb shares, “The faintest ink is sharper and longer-lasting than the brightest mind.”

It is the truth.  On many occasions, I have written my plans on paper and accomplished the goals.  Sadly, I have had many more occasions where I did not take the time to write out my plans and rarely were those dreams accomplished.

We tend to get way too busy to continuously remind ourselves of our plans and dreams. We are busy running from the kid’s basketball game to go to church. We run from there to go to dinner with friends. From there we dash over to school for an event there. In the midst of all of this activity, we can lose sight of our future hopes/dreams/plans.

Maintaining a written dreams list will provide a constant reminder of “why” you are doing what you are doing right now.

Take the time right now to write out your plans, hopes, and dreams! The achievement of your hopes and dreams is at stake, so it is worth the time! Spend five minutes dreaming and writing right now. It could change your life forever.

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Top 10 Reasons I Love Paid-For-In-Advance Vacations

You may have wondered why there was silence on the blog for most of the past week.   It was because I was able to take my family on an incredible beach vacation!

I am overwhelmed at how blessed I really am that I am able to take such a tremendous vacation – and to do it without debt.

I just want to share a picture of my wife walking with our son along the beach early in the morning and to share a few things that I love about taking “paid-for-in-advance” vacations.

Top 10 Reasons I loved taking this “paid-for-in-advance” vacation:

  1. The beach is my bride’s favorite place to be
  2. Watching my kids play in the surf and sun
  3. Seeing an 8 foot shark, dolphins, alligators, and sting rays
  4. No bites from all animals mentioned in #3!
  5. No debt followed me home
  6. Able to totally enjoy the trip – knowing we saved for it!
  7. Total relaxation knowing that we funded a dream – and lived the dream!
  8. Able to negotiate a better deal because we had to plan early to save for this trip!
  9. I arrived home FIRED UP and CREATIVELY RENEWED!
  10. My bride is happy!

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Financial Comparison

People often compare their financial situation with that of others around them.

They won’t say it out loud, but here are some of the things they are comparing:

  • Do they make more money than I do?
  • Do they have better cars than I do?
  • Is their house better than mine?
  • Do their kids have better toys than mine?
  • Do they have a better job than me?

All this can do is lead to an endless spiral of depression because there will always be someone who has something “more” or “better”. ALWAYS.

A better, more life-giving approach would be to ask the following two questions:

  • Is there some way I can serve this friend?
  • How can I help them accomplish one of their dreams?

When you choose to serve others, it cuts the comparison game out at the knees.

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Goals – A Great Definition

“A goal is a DREAM with a DEADLINE.”

I recently heard a friend of mine (a great leader) say this, and it can really help you with the accomplishment of your dreams.

If you refuse to establish a DEADLINE, the DREAM is very unlikely to be accomplished.

If you just have DEADLINES without a DREAM, life can be really bland.

QUESTION:  Do YOU have a deadline established for each of YOUR dreams?

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A Choice

I meet so many people who are believing something that is completely false and untrue.

They believe that their financial situation determines their dreams.

They will dispute this, of course, but their ACTIONS (which speak way louder than words) indicate otherwise.  I tend to look past the rhetoric to see a real indication of belief.

I’ve found that I have been susceptible to this as well!  We are so good at self-deception.

For example, here are some situations I have seen a person say that they:

  • Really want to be debt-free, but they continue to spend money without a budget!
  • Really want to be debt-free, yet they pull the plastic out to charge items not in the budget!
  • Want to improve their marriage, but they refuse to work with their spouse to plan their finances.
  • Believe they can take a dream trip, but no money is saved for the trip.
  • Want to start a business, but have never started the first step toward it because the challenge is so intimidating and daunting.

I’ve determined that I am going to pursue every dream given me.  I will surely fail at some of them, but the successes are so very worth it!

You have a choice – TODAY – to write down your dreams or to never write them down.

You have a choice – TODAY – to write down dreams regardless of the cost or to write down only the dreams you know you can afford.

You have a choice – TODAY – which will you choose?

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5 Years

It was 5 years ago TODAY that I gave up on my dream to become a Fortune 500 CEO, and moved back to join the staff of the church that my bride and I had the unbelievable opportunity to help start – NewSpring Church – in Anderson, SC.  I am so grateful for the opportunity that my great friend and pastor, Perry Noble, gave me to pursue a dream of helping people accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances.

It is ASTOUNDING what God has allowed me to be a part of in just five years.  Here are just a few.

  • Wrote I Was Broke. Now I’m Not.
  • Produced the I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. Group Study and subsequently the Group Study DVD Lessons
  • Wrote What Everyone Should Know About Money Before They Enter The Real World
  • Wrote Funded And Free
  • Wrote 1,475 blog posts
  • Wrote 200 Sunday newspaper articles
  • Delivered more than 150 Financial Learning Experiences
  • Trained nearly 1,000 financial coaches
  • Was mentioned in Money Magazine – the world’s largest personal finance magazine
  • Purchased Injoy Stewardship Solutions
  • Got to meet and interview one of my heroes – Dave Ramsey
  • Published a book for two new authors with our fledgling publishing company – NIN Publishing
  • Upgraded and added
  • Able to provide all of our tools for absolutely free
  • Developed a new APP for Apple and Android mobile devices
  • Team has grown to a total of four people who make IWBNIN – without them, this effort would be incremental instead of exponential
  • In 2008, someone gave me and Jenn a free Tahoe – seriously!

I write all of this not to boast in what I have done, but what the Lord has allowed me to be a part of.

I’m often asked why I’m so excited and passionate about what I do.  After reading this list, perhaps you might understand a little more about WHY I am so FIRED UP all of the time!  I’m a witness to the power of God moving greatly upon my behalf!

I really believed that great things could happen when I surrendered to this call 5 years ago, but I thought it would take 30 years.  It has me wondering what will happen over the next 5 years!


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If I Had A Million Dollars

“What would you do if you had a million dollars?”

It’s a great question for anyone to ask themselves – because if you apply the tools and principles taught in I Was Broke. Now I’m Not., you will have a million dollars one day!

Today, I would love for you to share with us all: “What YOU would do if you had a million dollars.” – SERIOUSLY – I want to hear from you!

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Mark And Shawna’s Story

Many of you know that Mark Asbell is a huge part of this crusade to help others accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances. He has been a tremendous help in growing this crusade at NewSpring Church and taking this message to the nation.

What you may not know is Mark and Shawna’s financial story.   If you want to GET FIRED UP and BE ENCOURAGED – take 3 minutes to watch their story:

If you can’t view the video, click HERE.

If your financial story were put into a 3-minute video, what would you say?

“And there will be a party.”   I’m going to that party!!!!

By the way, Mark writes a blog about money and relationships.   You can read that HERE.


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Dreaming Big Dreams

When was the last time that you sat back and dreamed about this question: “What would happen if I …?”

I’m not talking about “What would happen if I went to the store now versus three hours from now?”

I’m talking about asking BIG QUESTIONS like:

I wonder what would happen if I …

  • got serious about KILLING MY DEBT?
  • got off the couch and put my jogging shoes on?
  • went to college and got the degree I’ve always had a passion for?
  • asked her to marry me?
  • asked a business leader to mentor me?
  • started that business I’ve always dreamed of?
  • took a chance on myself?

Here are some big questions I’m asking myself:

I wonder what would happen if I …

  • hired more team members to further reach this nation with this crusade?
  • wrote two books each year?
  • asked everyone associated with this crusade to make a commitment to focus on teaching one person in their life how to win with money?
  • gave away even more resources for free?
  • took this crusade to other nations?
  • took this crusade to the radio and to TV?
  • took this crusade to the nation’s capitol and helped this NATION become debt-free?

Those are some of the BIG QUESTIONS I am asking myself.

I would love to hear some of the BIG QUESTIONS you are asking yourself!

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NO Equals YES

It is hard to be told the word, “No!”   Just observe your children when you utter this word to them!

As hard as it is to be told, “No!”, it is even harder to say this word to ourselves.   After all, don’t we know what is best for us?

Let me tell in on a big secret:

NO actually means YES

When you tell yourself NO right now, you enable yourself to say YES to something more important in the future.


  • Saying NO to another video game purchase allows you to say YES to funding their college fund
  • Saying NO to a new car now allows you to say YES to funding your retirement account
  • Saying NO to a little vacation now allows you to say YES to funding a dream vacation later
  • Saying NO to a kitchen upgrade allows you to say YES to giving money to a worthy cause
  • Saying NO to debt now allows you to say YES to pursuing a dream job even though it pays less right now

See?   NO equals YES!

Have you ever said NO (even when it was hard to do so) and it allowed you to say YES later to something more important?   Share your story in the comments!

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Top 5 Reasons I Love Taking Paid-For-In-Advance Vacations

You may have wondered why there was silence on the blog for most of the past week.   It was because I was able to kidnap my bride away from our two beautiful children and do something we have never done before – go on a cruise through the beautiful Caribbean!

As we boarded the 991-foot long Caribbean Princess bound out of San Juan, Puerto Rico for St. Thomas, Tortola, Antigua, Barbados, and St. Lucia, I was overwhelmed at how blessed I really am!   I can not believe that I am so blessed that I am able to take such a tremendous vacation – and to do it without debt.

I just want to share a picture (click on the picture to get a better view) and a few things that I love about taking “paid-for-in-advance” vacations.


Top 5 Reasons I love taking “paid-for-in-advance” vacations:

  1. No debt follows me home
  2. Able to totally enjoy the trip – knowing we saved for it!
  3. Total relaxation knowing that we funded a dream – and lived the dream!
  4. Able to negotiate a better deal because we had to plan early to save for this trip!
  5. My bride is happy!

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10 Questions: You Have Got To WANT IT!

Whether you are playing basketball, chopping firewood, or working on your finances, you must WANT IT in order to maximize your return on effort.

If you casually dribble the basketball up the court, you will soon find yourself without the ball and watching the opposing player put it in their basket.   To score, you must WANT IT and GO FOR IT.

If you kinda sorta swing the axe, it will bounce off the wood and possibly even hit you.   You must swing the axe with much energy and focus in order to split the log.   You must WANT IT and GO FOR IT.

There is no reason to believe it will be any different with your finances.   If you casually kinda sorta attempt to win with your money, chances are high that you will receive mediocre results.   In order to win with your money, it requires FOCUS and INTENTIONAL EFFORT.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to see if you are FOCUSED and WANT to win with your money:

  1. When was the last time you read a book on personal finances?
  2. When was the last time you read a blog or article about personal finances?
  3. Do you know how much money is in your retirement account?
  4. Do you know the rate of return you are receiving on your investments?
  5. If you received an extra $30,000 right now, do you know what you would do with it?
  6. Was the answer to Question 5 spend it all? or retire debt? or invest it? or start a business?
  7. If you are married, does your spouse know everything about the financial situation and do you discuss major financial decisions PRIOR to making them?
  8. Is there anyone in your life who has won with their own money?   When was the last time you asked them for advice?
  9. Do you live and operate on a balanced INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO budget?
  10. Are you saving for Emergencies, Known Upcoming Non-Monthly Expenses, and your Dreams?

I recommend you print this page out and grade yourself from 1 to 10 on each one.   For the ones you score low on, I recommend you answer the following question:

“What is one thing I can do TODAY that would allow me to make a difference with this question TOMORROW?”

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Are You Willing To INVEST In It?

All people have dreams.   Most people have big dreams.   Yet, I see an incredible similarity among the vast majority of people – they are unwilling to invest in their dream.

Have you seen this happen in your life?

  • They want to start a business, but they want someone else to give them the start-up money.
  • They want to go to college, but only if someone will give them a scholarship.
  • They will take that job they are passionate about, but only if they can do so without any risk, no pay-cut, and guarantees.
  • The want to retire, but are unwilling to save and invest money in their retirement accounts.

I firmly believe that if you TRULY believe in your dream, you will be WILLING to invest YOUR money into it.

Readers:   What is your dream?   Are you investing in it?   Please share with me!

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