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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 “FreeCreditReport.com” commercials with “I Was Broke. Now I’m Not.com”

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

Family

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.

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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

MyFamily

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!

5years

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 JustGive.org, 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!

8 Ways To Save Money On Groceries

Food consumes 10 – 20% of the average American’s household gross income. With such a large spending category, it is helpful to understand some key ways to manage these costs while still eating healthy and very well.

  1. Go the store with a list. One of the largest places “impulsive spending decisions” occur is at the grocery store or in a restaurant. A list will ensure you minimize the impact of impulsiveness on your budget.
  2. Don’t shop while hungry. If you show up to the grocery store when you are hungry, you will end with all kinds of interesting things in your cart. You will look at pickled pig’s feet and say, “That looks amazing!” Instead of choosing one box of cereal, you’ll chose four. It’s how sardines and SPAM are purchased. I would venture to say that more than half of the items in your pantry right now were purchased as a result of going to the store hungry.
  3. Use coupons. This is very basic shopping knowledge, but it is amazing how few people take the few minutes required to clip a coupon or two. You don’t have to be an extreme coupon freak. It might take 30 minutes to get the coupons that could reduce your grocery bill by 10-percent.
  4. Use coupons on sale items. This is an ideal way to maximize your coupon. A great coupon site is Coupons.com. There are many great coupon websites that can help you such as CouponMom.com and SouthernSavers.com
  5. Stack coupons. This is where you match up Manufacturer’s Coupons with In-Store Coupons. It allows you to apply the discounts to each item.
  6. Go to discount stores. Chances are pretty good that an Aldi grocery store is near you – find out if one is near your home by clicking HERE. You probably have 1 or 2 additional local discount grocery stores as well that can help you save a ton on your grocery essentials.
  7. Look high and look low. Companies pay BIG MONEY to have their products positioned right at eye level and on end caps. If you look up and down, you will probably find a generic product (maybe even made by the same manufacturer) at half the price!
  8. Use a budget with cash envelopes. Prepare a written budget that clearly outlines the amount you plan to spend on groceries. When paid, pull that money out in cash. Once the cash is gone, grocery spending is over. The rule here is that once the money is spent, you can’t go back to the bank and get more (or use a debit/credit card). When you are spending cash with the rule that you can’t get any more until next payday, you will spend it differently!

Which of these items have worked well for you? What additional tips would you add?

My Next 40 Years

Today is my birthday.

My 40th.

I’ve been blessed greatly during these 40 years. Here are a few of the greatest blessings:

  • Awesome parents
  • 5 incredible brothers (including an identical twin – yes, there are TWO of us!)
  • Growing up on a farm in the country
  • Learning the value of work and serving others at a very young age
  • Literally seeing the principle of “sowing & reaping” at work all around me
  • Attending Purdue University and graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering
  • Meeting my bride, Jennifer, and getting married
  • Having a daughter when doctors were skeptical it could happen – and then having a son 10 years later, and then another beautiful daughter 4 years after our son. I still can’t believe we have three children. What a blessing!
  • Attending Clemson University and graduating with a Masters of Business Administration
  • Helping start NewSpring Church back in 1999 with my crazy lunatic friend, Perry Noble, and watching it grow to more than 33,000 people per weekend
  • Starting I Was Broke. Now I’m Not.
  • Multiple fishing trips – including many to Canada where I caught a 46.5″ 28# muskie
  • Purchasing INJOY Stewardship Solutions.
  • Purchased land where I can take my children to run free and wild like I did when I was a kid
  • Living in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 different dwellings (apartments & houses) in 4 cities (2 in Indiana, 2 in South Carolina)

If I’m blessed to live 40 more years, here are some of my dreams for those years:

  • Help my children graduate college without student loan debt
  • Fund my wife’s dreams (she’s be VERY patient while I pursued many of my dreams)
  • Maximize time with family through intentional blocking out chunks of quality time with them
  • Visit the world beyond North America – including Israel, Australia, England, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Hong Kong, Japan, South Africa, Egypt, Brazil, and Argentina.
  • Serve 10,000,000 people through I Was Broke. Now I’m Not.’s personal finance and small business programs – enough to make a measurable difference in their individual situations and in the world economy.
  • Help NewSpring Church reach its goal of 100,000 people per weekend (and beyond)
  • Write 20 more books/resources/equipping classes
  • Become a trusted resource to and help influence the decisions of the United States Federal Government in such a way that we achieve a balanced budget and substantially reduce the National Debt
  • Start a university that is thriving after 40 years

Ultimately, I would love to achieve my life goal of being on the Great Wall of China when I’m 90 years old. Time will tell if I reach that goal. Check with me in 50 years.

4 monthsBy the way: Happy Birthday to my identical twin brother, Dr. John Sangl! We were 4 months old in the above picture!

Sad Realities About How People Manage Money

Here are some sad realities about how most people manage money:

  1. We know more about our favorite team or TV show than we know about our own financial situation.
  2. We spend more money on video games for our children than we save for their college education.
  3. We say we have plans, hopes, and dreams, but most of us never take the time to even write them down – let alone prepare a plan to accomplish them.
  4. We will spend hours planning for a Super Bowl Party but no time preparing a financial plan.
  5. We spend all of our money every month and then claim the lack of savings is someone else’s fault.
  6. We raise kids for 18 years and somehow never take the time to teach them about money management – giving, saving, investing, budgeting, compound interest, etc.

I’m committed to helping people change this reality. It’s good to have a favorite team (especially if it’s the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, and the Chicago Cubs), but not if it takes the place of ensuring my finances are in order and funding plans, hopes, and dreams. It’s awesome to have an incredible Super Bowl Party (especially if my Colts are in it), but not if I am overspending money because I didn’t have a budget.

Are you ready to help millions of people change their lives? One step is to be a part of our Core Coaching Program – CLICK HERE to learn more.

Crazy Statements People Make About Money

Here are some crazy statements people make about money:

  • “My children are my retirement plan.”
  • “I’ll always have a car payment.”
  • “I don’t need to save any money for retirement because Social Security will cover me.”
  • “I can’t pay my house off in 10 years because it is a 30 year mortgage.”
  • “I want to buy a 401(k).”
  • “I’m still paying off the original Nintendo.”
  • “Money is evil.”
  • “I can’t budget.”

What crazy statements have you heard people make about money?

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