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There Is No HARVEST If You Do Not INVEST

A farmer will not be able to experience a harvest if he does not first invest seed.

A business owner will not experience a profit if she does not first invest money to start the business.

An employee will struggle to experience an abundance if he does not invest money.

A parent will have a poor relationship with their child if she does not invest in that child.

A spouse will have a poor marriage if he does not invest in that marriage.

A student will not receive a college education without an investment.

Do you see it? There is no such thing as a harvest without someone choosing to invest first.

Waiting for a magical unicorn to deliver your wealth is one approach.

Perhaps a better approach is to invest. Early. Consistently. Smartly.

You CAN do this!

Most People’s Retirement Plan

I saw this recently:

A person shared with their banker, “I do have a diversified retirement plan: 30% hopes, 30% wishes, 40% prayers.”

The sad part is this is FACT for many people. It is my passion to help people in this situation CHANGE their financial future and to help them accomplish far more than they ever thought possible.

“Like” us on Facebook: I Was Broke. Now I’m Not.

A Financial Tip That Could Change Your Life

Let’s face it. Many people are stuck financially. They have no idea where their money is going. All of their money just disappears with little to nothing left each month. They see big expenses coming their way (car repair or replacement, paying for college, house repairs, braces for their children’s teeth, etc.) and have no idea how they will pay for them.

I know the feeling.

The good news is that one financial tip could change your life! It certainly changed mine.

Here’s the tip:

Think like an owner.

When I changed the way I thought about money, it completely changed how I managed money. I’m confident it will do the same for you!

Here are some key ways my mindset changed:

  1. In the past, I viewed my paycheck as an opportunity to spend money. As an owner, I view it as an opportunity to invest money.
  2. In the past, I viewed my paycheck as an exchange for my labor. As an owner, I realize that income only happens when I add value to others in such a way that they will pay money for my efforts.
  3. In the past, I thought the only way to produce income was to work for it. As an owner, I see that income can be produced in many ways – even as I sleep!
  4. In the past, I felt that my income was limited to my paycheck. As an owner, I see that income from my paycheck can be used to produce income elsewhere.
  5. In the past, I felt that my 401(k) was a diversified investment. As an owner, I realize it was diversified within the stock market, but it was all in the stock market. I diversified my investments to include real estate and small businesses.

When you think like an owner, you will become an extremely valuable employee because you will work differently. No longer will you be able to “just do my 8 hours and get out of here at my J-O-B.” Instead, you will be driven to create value for your customers and grow your company’s business! People who think like owners get pay raises, promotions, and may even have the opportunity to launch a business or division of their own!

Are you thinking like an owner?

My Favorite Thing To Invest In

As a teacher of personal finances, I am asked lots of money questions. Here are just a few of the more common ones:

  1. “How do I know if I have enough money to retire?”
  2. “How do I budget for expenses that change every single month?”
  3. “Where do you get 12% interest on your investments?”
  4. “How do I compare health or auto insurance policies to ensure I am getting the best deal?”
  5. “How do I save money when my expenses are so high?”

These are all great questions! In an upcoming series, I will be focusing on answering each of them. However, today’s post is about my favorite money question of all:

“What is your favorite thing to invest in?”

It’s such a great question, and there are many layers to my answer.

Big picture answer: My favorite thing to invest in is my education.

The detailed answer: A great Bible verse (Proverbs 29:18) shares “where there is no vision, the people perish.” My education has helped give me vision! By ensuring my education continues every single day, my vision expands regularly. Even more specifically, I love to invest in money education. I discovered back when I was living the “I Was Broke” part of my life that the biggest reason I was not prospering like I could was because of my lack of financial knowledge. I knew the most basic financial principles such as “save money for a rainy day” (I didn’t), “invest long-term for retirement” (I actually did that), and “it’s important to prepare a monthly budget and live by it” (I didn’t do either). At age 28, I began investing in my money education. It changed my life forever. It changed my family’s life forever.

Let me explain some of my financial education investments.

  • Books  When I was broke, I bought a book about personal finances. Then I bought another one. Overall, I have purchased and read at least 50 books about personal finances. Let’s say they cost an average of $20 each. This is a total investment of $1,000. The rate of return has been WAY MORE than 10,00o%.
  • Seminars & Membership Programs  I’ve went to events where they have taught about money. Some of them have been quite alarming in their approach to money and were definitely high pressure events attempting to get me to “buy their special item today only,” but every one of them has provided an opportunity to expand my money knowledge. I’ve spent somewhere around $1,000 to attend these events. The rate of return has been WAY MORE than 10,000%.
  • Blogs and websites  I read 54 blogs and websites every single day. They have helped me expand my money knowledge tremendously because it allows me to consume financial knowledge “in bite-size pieces.” The best part is this is FREE – just like I provide with this website. Because I’m dividing my investment return by zero, I guess we could say my rate of return is “infinity.”
  • Actual investments  I’ve bought 4 houses, dozens of land properties, and hundreds of stocks and mutual funds. I’ve successfully started a business from scratch and purchased another one. We have a total of 21 team members working with us to help people accomplish far more than they ever thought possible. There is NOTHING like actually putting the knowledge into practice to expand vision. The rate of return on these investments has been extremely blessed, and it would have been impossible without the investments I’ve made in obtaining financial knowledge.

SHARE YOUR STORY:  When was the last time you invested in YOUR money education? What did you invest in?

I’ve written each of my financial books to help expand money education. You can purchase copies HERE.

The Definition of Investing

I recently conducted a survey and received hundreds and hundreds of responses. One of the questions I asked was:

Which (if any) of the following financial areas do you feel CLUELESS about?

The top response was Investing.

With phrases like mutual funds, ETFs, stocks, bonds, brokers, margin accounts, rate of return, yield rate, P/E, market capitalization, and current ratio, it can literally feel as if investing is another language!

I know the feeling as I’ve been there! Because of the results of this survey, I am tasking the I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. team to aggressively address this issue. We are hard at work developing resources that are going to help take people from “clueless about investing” to “financially confident and competent investor!” You will be seeing these resources being released over the next several month, and we can’t wait to share them with you!

In the meantime, let’s start by presenting a working definition of “investing.”

Investing  Using your money and possessions to create more money and possessions.

The goal for any investment is to gain more in return. There are countless ways to do this, and we are creating resources to help people maximize their investing efforts.

I look forward to sharing more in the very near future!

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Save, Invest, or Pay Off Debt?

Suppose you happened upon a substantial amount of money all at one time. For discussion purposes, let’s say it was $10,000.

What would you do with this money? There are really five options available to you:

  1. Spend it
  2. Give it away
  3. Put it into savings
  4. Pay off debt
  5. Invest it

Most people will be faced with this type of situation at least once in their life. Here are some thoughts to consider with each option.

1. Spend it

This would certainly be a fun option! The money could be used to make much-needed home repairs, purchase a vehicle, or take a vacation.

2. Give it away

Being able to give $10,000 away is an incredible option! Consider the impact you could make on the world around you by giving money to support causes you really believe in.

3. Put it into savings

Financial margin provides something I call “financial confidence.” When I first achieved financial margin, it was as if scales literally fell from my eyes. I was able to “see” opportunities like never before.

4. Pay off debt

Debt increases a person’s operating costs and requires more income. If the debt is associated with a no-value or declining value item, it is literally the equivalent of “robbing yourself.”

5. Invest it

What if you could use the $10,000 to start a business that will produce $4,000 of income each year for the next 40 years? Consider the investments you might be able to make – it could literally change your life!

Your thoughts are appreciated. What would YOU do?

This One Trick Can Change Your Financial Status

Do you feel “stuck” financially? If so, this one trick can change your financial status.

Think in terms of NET WORTH instead of INCOME.

It can become easy to focus only on current circumstances. If asked, “How are you doing financially?” by a close friend or family member, an “income” thinker might respond with these type of answers:

  • Raises “I got a raise!” or “I haven’t gotten a raise in three years.”
  • Income “I’m making more money than I ever have.” or “I’m making half of what I used to make.”
  • Outgo  “Costs keep going up up up!” or “My kids are eating me out of house and home.”

BUT if you move to another level of financial awareness, your answers would be much more focused on building net worth instead of income. Responses of a “net worth” focused individual would be similar to:

  • Assets  “I purchased another rental home. It was cash flow positive from day one, will be paid off within five years, and will then provide free cash flow, after expenses, of around $600/month for the rest of my life.”
  • Liabilities  “I paid off my home mortgage. This has freed up substantial income I am going to use to purchase more assets.”

The INCOME approach can take a negative “victim” turn where financial challenges are the result of something or someone else. The NET WORTH approach allows you to take control of your financial future.

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How Can I Help People Become Better Investors?

“How can I help people become better investors?”

That is the question I’ve been asking myself lately. As most of you know, it is my passion statement to help people accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances. And “accomplishing far more than you ever thought possible” is IMPOSSIBLE without learning and using investment knowledge.

I want to make sure our team can serve you best so we have prepared a brief survey to learn a little more about this awesome group of people we call the “I Was Broke. Now I’m Not.” Tribe. By the way – we’re honored to have you as a part of it! Below is an 8 question survey. Would you help us out by taking 2 to 3 minutes to fill it out? Your feedback really matters, and I would be so grateful!


 

Joseph Sangl’s Current Investments – March 2013 Update

Anyone who has attended a Financial Learning Experience has heard me say that it is important to INVEST money and to do so every single time you are paid money. At the end of our live events, I am regularly asked or emailed the following question:

“What investments do you recommend?”

My answer is always, “I don’t recommend specific investments. I can only tell you the investments I own, and they have worked well for me. The investments you choose are up to you.”

Occasionally, I update everyone on the investments I currently hold. Below is a chart of the current investments we hold. If it is publicly-traded, I have included the ticker symbol. Click on the chart itself (or HERE) to see a larger version.

We have finally seen the market improvement that many people expected. With companies declaring record profits and sitting on record amounts of cash, I’m seeing that they are finally beginning to invest again. That should bode well for investors and the economy at large. At this moment, I will continue to purchase individual stocks as well as research private investments – particularly small businesses (my favorite!).

Here’s the pie chart showing the investment distribution:

My thoughts:

  1. The stock market has been hot, but nothing is ever hot enough for me to put all my eggs into one basket. I greatly prefer diversification beyond the open markets.
  2. A lot of day traders think they are incredible geniuses right now. That’s not because they are all awesome – it’s because it is hard to lose in this type of market! As enticing as day trading may seem, it feels a lot like gambling. I prefer being a “slow & steady” and “stay the course” investor.
  3. Tracking net worth on a monthly basis has made me a “first-hand witness” to the incredible momentum of my investments. Without consistently tracking net worth, I’m pretty sure I would have missed it!

Your thoughts?

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Disclosure

Joseph Sangl’s Current Investments – November 2012 Update

Anyone who has attended a Financial Learning Experience has heard me say that it is important to INVEST money and to do so every single time you are paid money. At the end of our live events, I am regularly asked or emailed the following question:

“What investments do you recommend?”

My answer is always, “I don’t recommend specific investments. I can only tell you the investments I own, and they have worked well for me. The investments you choose are up to you.”

Occasionally, I update everyone on the investments I currently hold. Below is a chart of the current investments we hold. If it is publicly-traded, I have included the ticker symbol. Click on the chart itself (or HERE) to see a larger version.

In my last update on March 30, 2011, I shared that I was focused on diversifying my investments beyond publicly-traded instruments (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, etc.). The below chart shows continued progress as a result of that focus.

Can’t see the chart? Click HERE.

My Thoughts:

  • It is vitally important to maintain margin. Cash on hand is essential to the long-term success of any effort – personal, small business, or large business. As a result, you can see strong cash holdings.
  • Some of these funds are not open to the general market, which is why they do not have a “Ticker Symbol”, but I am able to invest in them through my previous employer’s 401(k) plan.
  • One reason I hold so many mutual funds is because of a variety of 401(k), 403(b), Roth IRA, and 529 holdings – each plan has different mutual fund selections available.
  • I do not “eat, sleep, and breathe” the stock market on a daily basis. I update my net worth once per month, but rarely jump in and out of funds. Day trading is definitely not for me.
  • Our small businesses are growing – and we are putting people to work! That FIRES ME UP!

I would love to hear your thoughts on these investments!

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Are You Willing To Take A Financial Risk?

Equipping my children to be a blessing to others is one of my top priorities in life.

As part of this quest, I have had my daughter invest some of her money into a mutual fund.  As I explained mutual funds to my beautiful seven-year-old girl, she immediately grew alarmed.

“I could LOSE some money?!?!?”, she exclaimed.  This outburst was immediately followed by, “I am not interested in that type of investment.”

It was a very interesting discussion that helped me understand why so many people are financially stuck – they absolutely refuse to take any risk.

I know a couple that have budgeted their entire lives and have always lived within their means, but they are arriving at retirement with virtually zero savings.  Why is this?  Because they never prioritized investing because it would require risk and “they might lose some of their money.”

Many people jumped out of the stock market when it collapsed in 2008.  They jumped out at rock bottom due to fear of losing it all.  Those who remained in the market were generally financially whole within two years and have gained substantial ground since then.

Some people have said, “I would have been better off to leave my money in a CD instead of investing it into the stock market.”  I ran the numbers on my investments and discovered that even with the drop of 2008, my investments were still way ahead of CD rates of return!

In fact, CD rates are lower than the inflation rate.  Even if the CD interest earnings are tax-protected, the saved money will still lose overall purchasing power.

What are your feelings about taking risks with your investments?

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Joseph Sangl’s Current Investments

It has been over three years since I provided an update on the investments that I hold.   Anyone who has attended a Financial Learning Experience has heard me say that it is important to INVEST money and to do so every single time you are paid money.

At the end of our live events, I am regularly asked or emailed the following question:

“What mutual funds do you recommend?”

My answer is always, “I don’t recommend mutual funds.   I can only tell you the investments I own.   In general, they have worked well for me.   The investments you choose are up to you.”

So today, for those inquring minds who want to know …   I am publishing some of the mutual funds/investments that I own.   Click the image to see a larger version.

JI

I have went even further in my analysis this time to indicate my portfolio diversification.   Over the past several months, I have been writing and speaking to the fact that I am diversifying my investment portfolio to include land and real estate.   The portfolio below indicates some of those decisions.

JIAllocation

NOTES

  • As you may have noticed during the latest recession, a rising tide will lift all ships and a lowering tide lowers all ships.   If you have market funds, you saw this happen.   There were many great companies that retained profitability throughout the market downturn, but their stock value was pummeled due to the overall market conditions.   While I have been greatly diversified in my investment choices, I was diversified WITHIN the stock market.   This is one of the reasons that I have made a focused effort to diversify my holdings beyond the open market.
  • I believe it is important to maintain margin.   Cash on hand is essential to the long-term success of any effort – personal, small business, or large business.
  • Some of these funds are not open to the general market, which is why they do not have a “Ticker Symbol”, but I am able to invest in them through my previous employer’s 401(k) plan.
  • One reason I hold so many mutual funds is because of a variety of 401(k), 403(b), Roth IRA, and 529 holdings   – each plan has different mutual fund selections available.
  • I do not “eat, sleep, and breathe” the stock market on a daily basis.   I update my net worth once per month, but rarely jump in and out of funds.   Day trading is definitely not for me.

Investment Junkies:   What are your thoughts on my portfolio?   What are some key funds that you really like that have worked well for you?

Looking for additional Personal Finance Resources?   You can obtain FREE FINANCIAL TOOLS by clicking HERE and purchase books/materials by clicking HERE.

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CNNMoney Article – How To Make Your Money Last

If you are many years from retirement, the article linked below may not seem very relevant to you.  It is.  Retirement will arrive faster than you think (ask anyone with white hair), and it is important to think about this stuff now.

It is worth the five minutes to read and process this great article – HERE.

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How Much Money Do You Need To Retire Well

Do you know how much money you will need to retire well (independent of Social Security)?

There are many ways to calculate an estimate, but I really like the Retirement Nest-Egg Required calculator that we have placed in the FREE TOOLS section.

To calculate your number, you will need to know two numbers:

  • The annual amount you want to live on at retirement (in today’s dollars)
  • The number of years until you retire

Suppose one wants $50,000/year (today’s dollars) during retirement and plans to retire in thirty years.  Punch the numbers into the Retirement Nest-Egg Required calculator and this is what you will see:

Because inflation erodes the spending power of money, the annual amount we want must be adjusted.  Using an assumed inflation rate of 4%, one will need $162,170/year in thirty years to have the same spending power of $50,000 today.

At different rates of return, you can see different amounts that need to be saved.  Eight percent is a common rate of return on investment that financial planners use.

What is your number?  Are you going to achieve it?

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American Funds – Good Article

In THIS POST back in August 2007, I shared several of the mutual funds that I own.  A quick glance will reveal the name "American Funds" six times in my mutual fund portfolio.  Why do I own them?  Because they had great track records and lower ongoing management fees than most of their peer mutual funds.

(logo borrowed from AmericanFunds.com website)

However, American Funds mutual funds are front-end loaded mutual funds.  A load means that there is a sales charge to purchase a share of the mutual fund.  If one is just getting started out, there is a 5.25% sales charge.  This means that if you have a $100 bill to invest, only $94.75 will make it to the mutual fund.  Which is annoying.

BUT, I still invested in American Funds' mutual funds because they simply had great track records.

So, as I was reading CNN's Personal Finance web site, I was very interested to read an article titled "Are American Funds A Good Buy?"

Very interesting.

By the way, I don't sell mutual funds or ANY investment product.  I DO sell copies of my book, I Was Broke. Now I'm Not.  I truly believe that the information in this book will help you take control of your finances and achieve financial freedom.  You can purchase a copy via PAYPAL or AMAZON.

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