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Contest: Guess The Number Of Exclamation Marks In Original and New “I Was Broke. Now I’m Not.”

Today marks the first full day that the completely revised and updated I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. is available!

As part of the festivities, we are offering the “Release Special” for people who purchase a copy of the book.

IWBNIN Order Today

We’re also launching a contest called “Guess The Number Of Exclamation Marks!!!!!”

As you know, I am a big fan of this form of punctuation. I tend to speak with exclamation marks and my writing reflects. As I began the process of rewriting the book, I could not believe how many of those little “!” I had used in the original copy of I Was Broke. Now I’m Not.

So, in honor of my complete overuse of this punctuation, we’re going to award a free copy of the completely new I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. to two people:

  1. The person who most closely guesses the number of exclamation marks in the original book
  2. The person who most closely guesses the number of exclamation marks in the newly updated book

Enter your guess below. Only one entry per person. You must provide a valid email address so we can contact the winner. Contest ends at 11:59 PM Eastern on Thursday night, January 15, 2015. Can’t see the the entry form? Copy and paste the following link in your favorite browser:

Time For An Upgrade!

We’ve all experienced moments where we realized that we needed to upgrade. Perhaps it was when you were using the old fashioned dial-up Internet connection (remember all of those sounds your modem would make?!) and someone else had signed up for DSL. You immediately recognized that you needed to upgrade.

IWBNIN_Book_3DThe same becomes true in our finances. From time to time, we must upgrade our financial management techniques or else it can cost us a great deal of time and money! During the “Upgrade Your Finances” event I taught on Sunday evening, I was able to share the exciting news that the I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. team has spent the entire year upgrading our tools and resources. Over 100 of our free tools have been upgraded (link provided below)!

Our biggest upgrade? I’ve completely revised my book, I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. It is now hardcover, complete with an awesome dust jacket and foil finish on the covers. More importantly, and since you shouldn’t just judge a book by its cover even though it is awesome, I’ve added 40% more content, included an entire chapter on the I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. Ladder, and completely revised the rest of the book.

The new book officially releases on Sunday, January 11th, but pre-sales begin NOW! Of course, you could wait until the book actually releases to purchase it, but here’s why I think you should consider purchasing it now:

The first 1,000 books ordered in the pre-sale will receive:

  • Free Shipping
  • 3 Free eBooks
    • Managing Finances With A Non-Participating Spouse
    • Managing Finances As A Single Parent
    • Help! I Can’t Pay My Bills.
  • Early Delivery
    • At least a week before official release date of 1/11/2015
    • If we can it to you before Christmas, we will!
  • PLUS For the first 1,000 books purchased, we will give away an original copy to a deserving non-profit organization!

You can pre-order your copies HERE or copy and paste the following URL in your favorite browser:

15 of My Greatest Money Decisions

I’ve spent some time pondering the money decisions I’ve made since my “I Have Had Enough Moment” on December 2, 2002. Below is a list of several key moments that have helped me move into a fully funded life.

  1. Deciding to prepare a budget
  2. Contributing the maximum amount to my employer’s 401(k) (back when I was an employee)
  3. Working together with my bride to fund our dreams
  4. Diversifying my investments within the stock market
  5. Diversifying my investments beyond the stock market – land, businesses, etc.
  6. Making giving a top priority – to my church, people in need, and other causes my family chooses to support
  7. Automating my investments into a 529 college savings plan for my children
  8. Seeking wisdom from financially savvy leaders – both personally (local business leaders) and via financial teachers (Dave Ramsey, David Bach, Robert Kiyosaki, etc.)
  9. Tracking net worth on a monthly basis
  10. Building and keeping financial margin
  11. Establishing accountability for wise financial decision making
  12. Eliminating debt
  13. Starting a small business
  14. Purchasing a small business
  15. Relentless pursuit of more knowledge – living the life of a continual learner

Of course, there are many more decisions and moments that have helped me financially, but these particular have helped me tremendously.

What are the greatest money decisions you’ve made?

Ready to take your finances to another level? Check out the “Ultimate Financial Book Bundle Special” – where you can purchase a copy of each of my money books at a special bundle price!

Money is a JOURNEY. Not a MOMENT.

I’ve experienced the following scenario more times than I can count:

Excited person approaches me: “I’m so ready to change the way I manage my finances. I can’t wait to get started. What are some key things I need to do?”

My response: “For me, preparing a list of my plans, hopes, and dreams was my first step. It provided the fuel to make the tough changes in the way I had been managing money. Then I began preparing a written budget – a spending plan – every single month before each month began.”

Less excited person responds: “Oh. Okay.”

You see, in this moment, the person has realized the following truth:

“Money is a JOURNEY. Not a MOMENT.”

This is perhaps the greatest challenge we will face when dealing with our money. Maybe it’s because it is the absolute opposite of poor financial behavior.

For example, when I wanted a new car, I was able to purchase it within a day – and signed up for four years of debt payments. It was a moment. I got what I wanted, and it happened nearly immediately.

However, when I decided to eliminate my debt, it was not a moment. It was a journey. I got what I wanted – eventually instead of immediately. After lots and lots of intense focus, effort, and preparing and living by monthly budgets that reflected my desire to kill my debt.

If you want to truly make your money work for you and prosper, it will require a journey. Not just a momentary desire, feeling or decision.

Fantastic Opportunity – Really An Opportunity?

There is a phenomenon that seems to happen during every person’s financial journey. It’s called the “fantastic opportunity.”

Here’s how it usually rolls out:

  1. Make a major financial commitment  You commit to eliminate debt by saying, “It is time to pay off all of my non-house debts.”
  2. Progress is made  You manage to eliminate one or two debts.
  3. Fantastic Opportunity appears  You can purchase an awesome piece of furniture for 75-percent off (it will, of course, need to be financed).
  4. Pivotal Decision Required  Will you pursue the “Fantastic Opportunity” or stick to your major financial commitment?

By the way, this is a cycle. Along the journey to any financial goal, you will be required to navigate this decision process multiple times. Knowing this fact as you make your financial commitment will help prepare you to resist each “Fantastic Opportunity.”

This phenomenon is also known as the “Look! A squirrel!” or “Greener pastures” phenomenon. Resist. Don’t chase it. Stay the course. You’ll make much swifter progress toward a fully funded life.

One or Two Decisions Away From Changing Financial Future

After being able to serve more than 1,000,000 people with personal financial teaching and resources, it has become very clear to me that most people are just one or two major decisions away from completely changing their financial future.

Not twenty. Not forty. Just one or two.

And these key decisions are usually far easier to implement than most people think.

Consider the 23 year-old young woman who just obtained her first full-time “career” job earning $40,000 per year. Since she has just exited college, a $20 bill is like a million dollars. So she makes a decision in the human resources office to max out her contribution to the company retirement savings plan which is 13-percent of gross income at her place of employment. The company matches her contribution with an additional 3-percent. Even if she never receives a raise over her 44 year career, she will end up with over $5 million for retirement. Just one decision made the difference.

Or the 55 year-old couple who decided to eliminate their debt, including their home mortgage, by the time they retire at age 66. By doing so, they lower their monthly cost of living from $5,000 per month to $2,500 per month. This will allow their retirement nest egg to last more than twice as long. Just one decision made the difference.

Another person decided to invest in rental homes beginning at age 40 and managed to purchase and pay off 25 of them by age 70. With average rent of $500 per month, her investments are delivering $12,500 per month in gross income plus the homes are worth a combined total of $2 million. Just one decision to embrace the awkwardness of learning the rental investment business changed the trajectory of her retirement.

In my case, my pathway to financial success began with the simple implementation of a monthly budget. It allowed me to be very intentional with each and every dollar I received. As a result, I was able to prioritize giving, saving, and investing. It allowed my family to move into living a fully funded lifeJust one decision made the difference.

QUESTION: What are one or two decisions you need to make to completely change your financial future?

3 Crazy Statements People Make About Money

People are crazy. We know that. I’m crazy. You’re crazy. We’re all crazy. When it comes to money, some of our “crazy” becomes amplified. With this post, I thought I would share three crazy statements people make about money.

  1. “I saved $50 today when I purchased these clothes!” saved money by spending money? If a person keeps saving money this way, they will end up in the poor house!
  2. “We wanted to spend more time together as a family, so we invested in a new camper.” Most campers/RVs drop in value even faster than new cars! If a person’s investments always dropped like this, they would almost do better by lighting their campfires with $100 bills.
  3. “It’s impossible for us to get ahead financially.” So how did millions of other people manage to move from total broke to prospering?

What are some other crazy statements you’ve heard people say about money?

Last Chance For $5 Book Offer (Ends at Midnight)

Today we wrap up our five day celebration of I Was Broke. Now I’m Not.‘s 5th birthday!

SPECIAL NOTE: The special $5 book offer ends tonight at midnight, so be sure to GET YOUR COPY before this one-time offer ends.

As we finish our celebration, I want to share some final “behind the scenes” moments that have happened that have helped shape our organization.

ONE: The day we were invited guests to sit with Dave Ramsey during The Dave Ramsey Show.

My first question for Dave was, “I’ve written a book. Should I self-publish or seek a publisher.”

Dave’s response helped me greatly. He said, “Stay away from vanity press. Do print it and do sell it. It’s worth it man!”

Just five month’s later, we released I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. It is amazing what has happened since!!! Thank you, Dave, for everything you have done for me and my family.

TWO: That time when my story was shared in Money Magazine.

Thank you, Donna Rosato, for including my story. It helped fuel the dream more than you know.

THREE: When a church parodied the “” commercials with “I Was Broke. Now I’m”

The 1 min 9 sec YouTube video is still funny for me to watch!

FOUR: The “surprise” that happened 16 days after launching IWBNIN full-time on June 1, 2009 – And the encore 4 years later


On June 1, 2009, I left my full-time job with some saved money and a dream. Sixteen days later, we discovered a miracle was on the way, and I shared the news with the world. Now, four years later, we’ve even had this little miracle join us.

FIVE: Serving more than 1 million people over the past 5 years.


Through the live events all over the U.S. and Canada, our books and resources, free financial tools, and this website, we’ve encountered people from all walks of life and financial backgrounds. The stories you’ve sent to us through the years have been nothing short of AMAZING. We’re grateful to serve each and every one of you.

Can’t wait to reveal what’s coming next …  Here’s a hint: It’s a game-changer – coming This Fall!

Celebrating 17 Years of Marriage


Today, my bride and I are celebrating 17 years of marriage.

Count them.  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 years.

What an amazing journey it has been:

  1. Having three children – a daughter, then a son, then another beautiful daughter
  2. Four great years at Purdue University. Then Clemson University for graduate school.
  3. Helping start NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC and watching it grow from 15 people to more than 32,000 people per weekend
  4. Renting a house and two apartments, then purchasing four different homes
  5. Working for a couple of huge publicly-traded companies, becoming a pastor at NewSpring, then launching I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. full-time
  6. Purchasing INJOY Stewardship Solutions
  7. Being broke and in debt up to our eyeballs all of the way to living a fully funded life
  8. Navigating tough circumstances together – knowing we have each other’s back all of the way through it
  9. Traveling all over God’s green earth to visit family and make memories

There are so many more great moments, and it is awesome to know we get to start our 18th year at the beach.

I love you, Jennifer Sangl!

Celebrating 5 Years of I Was Broke. Now I’m Not!


Have you ever had a “WOW” moment? Last Sunday, I experienced just such an occasion when this crazy dream to help people win with their money officially turned 5 years old! That’s right, it was five years ago when I left my full-time job and gave I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. my total attention. Statistics routinely show that 9 out of 10 new organizations fail within the first 5 years. I’m so thankful and grateful that we are one of the “1 out of 10″ who succeeded!

And you have been a part of this success story! Whether you have attended a live event, downloaded one of our free tools, or purchased a resource, you have been a part of reaching more than ONE MILLION people with practical and relevant personal finance tools.

It’s time to celebrate!

To celebrate this milestone and your part in it, I want to do something very special. My finance guy is out of the office this week, and he may not be happy when he hears about this, but for the next 5 days, I’m making my two top-selling books available at a price we’ve never offered before. Just $5 each.

If you’ve ever wanted a copy of I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. and What Everyone Should Know About Money Before They Enter The Real World NOW is the time to grab your copies!

Purchase Joe’s 2 top-selling books for $5 each HERE!

It has been a distinct honor to be a part of your financial journey, and I can’t wait to share what’s coming in the next year. It’s game-changing!

Memorial Day – A Time For Remembrance

Today is Memorial Day. A day set aside to remember and reflect upon the tremendous sacrifice made by men and women who have given their lives that others might be free. They gave their lives. Their families reeled with the ongoing impact.

The son who never met his father.

The mother who was denied the opportunity to hug her daughter ever again.

The fiancé who wasn’t able to celebrate her wedding day.

My young great-aunt who lost her husband of only a year or so in WW II and went on to have no children.

Does America have problems? Absolutely.
Will we always have problems? Absolutely.
Do I love my country. Absolutely.
Do I love, honor, and respect those who have sacrificed and are sacrificing to protect it? Absolutely.

On this Memorial Day, take a moment to thank a soldier, sailor, airman, and marine. They have chosen voluntarily to stand ready.

I’m grateful.

Taking A Financial Leap

I’ve seen this cycle in most people’s financial lives:

  1. Face a large financial decision.
  2. Make the large financial decision.
  3. Absorb the results of the large financial decision (whether good or bad)
  4. Live for awhile
  5. Return back to #1 and repeat the process

Many people start out life in the “real world” by making the large financial decision to go to college. And they use student loans to pay for it.

Once the decision is made, they absorb the results make the necessary adjustments and live with them for awhile.

Before they know it, they are back to #1 – pondering the idea of purchasing a home, having a child, starting a business, moving to another city, etc.

Most of us want “guarantees” so we will know our financial decision will work out. However, at some points in life, we must make a decision without having all of the answers. We take the financial leap.

How have you seen this process at work in your life? Have your financial leaps always worked out? If not, would you share some of the lessons you’ve learned from those moments with us in the comments?

My book, I Was Broke. Now I’m Not., is focused on helping people win with their money. Check it out and grab your copy HERE.

Never Say “We Can’t Afford That”

“We can’t afford that.”

I hear people say this phrase all the time. Many times, it is said with great intentions. However, this statement has significant power over future decisions.

It starts out when we are children. We want something so we demand it from our parents. Their response? “We can’t afford that!”

And we think, “Oh. We can’t afford that.”

We begin to connect the dots that things we really want are too expensive and not attainable.

Slowly, over time, we allow this thinking to rob us of the ability to dream. Instead of asking, “What if?” We say, “We can’t afford that.”

But it is not true.

Somebody was able to afford it. Somebody purchased it. Somebody funded their dream of sending their children to college. Somebody was able to purchase a nice reliable vehicle. Somebody was able to start up a business. Somebody decided to dream again, and went to work to make it become reality.

An alternative to “We can’t afford that” is “HOW can we afford that?”

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT  The words “We can’t afford that” are not allowed to be spoken or written on this blog OR in my family OR among my team.

The following statements are better (and still allowed):

  • We will need to save up for that
  • We will start saving for that in our budget each month
  • We need a miracle from God to pay for that

Financial Oxen are the best way to fund big-time dreams. I’ve written all about birthing and acquiring them in my book, OXEN – The Key To An Abundant Harvest.

Working With The Wrong Tools

IMG_8419One of my favorite things to do is gardening and farming. I grew up on a farm, and I loved everything about it. From raising crops and a huge garden to feeding out cows, chickens, and hogs, I learned a lot about the principles of sowing and reaping. A great joy of mine is to have the opportunity to jump on a tractor (John Deere, of course) and raise some grain on my own farm.

As I was tilling up the soil the other day, I thought, “I’m so glad we have the right type and size of equipment for this task.” I have the right size tractor and tilling equipment, and it made the work easy. How difficult would it have been to till up several acres by hand with a hoe and a rake? Virtually impossible!

My next thought was how this applies to our personal finances. How many people are attempting the equivalent of tilling up a huge field with a rake? Let me connect the principle a little better:

  1. They want to retire someday, but they are not investing and using the powerful tool known as Compound Interest
  2. They want to maximize their money, but they are not utilizing the amazing money tool called a Budget
  3. They want to pay for their child’s college, but they are not capturing the power of the awesome tool called a 529 College Savings Plan
  4. They are sick of living paycheck to paycheck, but they’ve chosen not to utilize the awesome tool called Automatic Saving.

Are you working with the wrong tools?

The I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. Study was created to help you maximize your money and apply the right tools to your finances. Learn more HERE.

3 Challenging Financial Statistics

Here are 5 financial statistics to mull over (and 3 challenging questions for you to consider):

  1. $10,890 is the median financial net worth of an American household today – According to calculations by Edward N. Wolff, an economics professor at New York University.  See how your net worth stacks up using the CNN|Money Net Worth Calculator
  2. The average large bank is currently paying 0.01% interest on regular savings accounts (and that interest is taxed). Let’s put this in real dollars and cents. If you had $10,000 in savings, you would be paid $1 in interest for the entire year. One single dollar. This is while they lend the money back to the average American with a credit card at 12% or higher.
  3. The poorest give more than the wealthiest to charity.  This article written by Ken Stern focuses on the research about why this is the case. The poorest give 3.2 percent while the wealthiest give an average of 1.3 percent of their incomes. According to the website, 75 percent of all gifts to charities are from individuals – not government or big corporate entities.

So here is the challenge for you right now – ask yourself these 3 questions and DO SOMETHING about them:

  1. Do you know what YOUR net worth is and where you stack up versus your peers? Take a quick moment to use the CNN|Money Net Worth Calculator to find out.
  2. What interest is YOUR bank paying on your savings account? Take steps to address it!
  3. How much money are YOU giving away? There’s nothing like giving. If you don’t like the amount you’ve been giving, take steps today to begin giving more away and discover the joy of helping accomplish great things together with like-minded people!
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