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MONDAY MONEY TIP PODCAST: The U.S. National Debt

Another episode of the Monday Money Tip Podcast is LIVE! In today’s episode, we’re talking about the U.S. National Debt. Over the years, this debt has continued to increase. Today, we’re discussing what we can do to begin to lower this number. In our Current Money Events segment of the podcast, we’ll discuss personal debt. In addition, we will share a success story from an individual who is now debt free, including their mortgage!

It’s our goal at the end of each episode that you gain hope and encouragement in your financial journey, you’re equipped to take the next step, and that you’ve had FUN with us!

Find the Monday Money Tip Podcast HERE. Please let us know what you think by leaving us a rating!

Email info@iwbnin.com to ask questions or share success stories.

NOW AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD:
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About the Episode:

  • Today, we’re discussing the US National Debt and how we can begin to lower this increasing debt.  
  • In our Current Money Events segment, we will discuss personal debt.
  • Hear a success story from an individual who is now debt free, including their mortgage!

Resources:
US Debt Clock
Household Debt

Quote of the Day: “We don’t have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven’t taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much.” – Ronald Reagan

 

Your Last 100 Financial Transactions

I’m writing a series of blog posts focused on financial vision.

Let’s get personal for a minute. Take a look at the last 100 financial transactions you’ve conducted. These transactions include debit cards, credit cards, checks, cash apps, paycheck deductions, investments, giving, and automatic drafts/payments.

What do your financial transactions reveal about you?

There are many words that can describe “who” we are when it comes to money: Giver, Taker, Saver, Spender, Wealthy, Broke, Investor, Earner, Giver, Debtor, Owner, and Manager are just a few. When you look at your financial behavior, what does they say you are?

Here’s the big money question: Does your financial behavior reflect who you want and desire to be?

This is such a monumental question because it is the vision question. It demands a heartfelt and thorough evaluation of where we are and where we desire to be.

I just looked through my last 106 financial transactions. We had 88 outgo transactions for a random assortment of bills like subscriptions, utilities, automatic payments, and gasoline. We had 2 giving transactions, 6 investment transactions, and 10 deposit/saving transactions. I would certainly like to have less outgo transactions. I’m happy to see the giving, saving, and investing transactions. They have not occurred by accident! It is the result of a clear vision that Jenn and I have for our lives and for the money we’re entrusted to manage. We have to fight for the vision every single day – especially with three children, a home to maintain, and the busyness of life.

What do your last 100 financial transaction reveal about you? I dare you to review them.

Do You Have a Vision for Your Money?

Do you have a vision for your money?

When you receive those precious Washingtons, Lincolns, Hamiltons, Jacksons, and Franklins, do you have a clear idea for the utilization of each one of them? Or is that money dead on arrival – doomed to be sent on their way without advancing you toward your life’s plans, hopes, and dreams – your Fully Funded Life?

Without a clear vision, it is highly likely that the money will disappear with little to no progress. After all, there are so many things competing for your dollars: Housing, Utilities, Kids, Food, Student Loans, Automobiles, Insurance, Gasoline, and everything in between! When we experience financial setbacks, which will occur often, it can be easy to just give in and give up saying soothing statements like:

  • “We just can’t ever seem to get ahead financially.”
  • “We’ll never win with money.”
  • “I need to win the lottery.”

I encourage you to write down your vision for the money you’ll be receiving between now and the rest of the year. You’ve still got eight months to experience a massive shift toward your preferred financial future. One tool that has helped Jenn and I stay focused is a monthly budget. We always operate with a financial plan that looks out at least 12 months into the future (using this free annual budget template).

Joseph Sangl’s Current Investments – 2019

Full Disclosure: I am not a certified financial planner, nor do I sell investments, insurance products, or other similar financial products. My goal in sharing this information is to shed light on a topic that few people understand well. It is my hope that this information will help inspire more people to climb the I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. Ladder (download a free copy HERE) and become wise investors so they can live fully funded lives.

=| 2019 INVESTMENT UPDATE |=

It’s that time of year again where I review my current investments and take a moment to philosophize about the future of investing.

My investing activity is driven by a powerful truth: “There is no HARVEST if you do not INVEST.

As I prepare this report each year, I always take time to review previous updates I have provided. A statement made in my 2007 update bears mentioning again: “Many people are diversified WITHIN the stock market. It is also important to be diversified OUTSIDE of the stock market.” I encourage all investors to invest within the stock market, but to also explore other investments such as real estate, small businesses, franchises, or precious metals.

A reflection on my prognostications for 2018 – the year that was.

2018 Thought: “While I could be wrong, it is difficult for me to see major growth within the stock market in the near future.” This thought actually proved to be true! Indeed, the market declined across all the major indices. The Dow fell 5.6%. The S&P 500 was down 6.2% and the Nasdaq fell 4%. It was the worst year for stocks since 2008 and only the second year the Dow and S&P 500 fell in the past decade. (Source: CNN Article HERE)

I also believed the market would experience turmoil and roiling. With tariffs, the mid-term elections, and privacy issues becoming a prominent focus of investors, investments indeed experienced “turmoil and roiling.”

One of the most common questions we receive here at I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. is: “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 my family. The investments you choose are up to you.”

Below is a chart of my current investments – click on the chart itself to download a printable version.

Throughout the year, I continued to actively trade stocks. I have sold several individual stocks (Wells Fargo and Rite Aid) and bought new individual stocks (Apple, Discover Financial Services, EventBrite, and SurveyMonkey). I also deepened my investment into several other companies. Overall, my investment strategy has continued on a straight-forward path of maintaining a diversified portfolio. However, my business holdings have outpaced the overall market pace which has created an imbalance in my portfolio.

2018 Balance: 32.64% real estate, 27.01% small business, 24.66% stock market and 11.57% cash.

2019 Balance: 18.10% real estate, 59.90% small business, 14.00% stock market and 6.90% cash.

NOTE: This imbalance is due, in large part, to a revaluation of our small business holdings.

 

My views of the investing market place for the next year:

  1. Turmoil, Roiling, and Churning will continue  The overall Price-to-Earnings Ratios for all of the major indices are still at what I believe to be maximum acceptable levels. As a result, any market news will contribute to substantial volatility.
  2. Interest Rates will continue to moderate  Based on my own research and experience, I believe the overall economy did enter a “mini-recession” in the three months of Nov/Dec/Jan. The market declined by more than 18% and there was a government shutdown for more than a month. This led to a “pausing” by the Federal Reserve in their steady movement upward of interest rates. As a result, I believe there is actually a high potential for interest rates to be held steady for the next twelve months with some potential for a decrease to be issued! This should help steady the housing and automotive markets as they are highly reliant upon favorable lending terms.
  3. There will be mild growth over the next twelve months  The stock market recovered mightily over the first quarter of the 2019. I believe there is a chance for growth of around 4 to 5% over the next year. Contributors to this growth include: resolution of the Chinese tariff/trade challenge, interest rate moderation, and continuing economic expansion.

As always, I could be totally wrong. I welcome your thoughts, comments, and prognostications!

My favorite investment links I’ve encountered through the past year:

  1. Price-to-Earnings Update Site (provided by the Wall Street Journal)
  2. Compound Annual Growth Rate Calculator (provided by MoneyChimp)

Read previous installments of Joe Sangl’s “Current Investments” posts HERE.

The Importance of Keeping the End Result in Mind

Have you discovered the beauty of the “Reminders” feature of your iPhone? It is a wonderfully helpful tool as it has helped me remember to complete many tasks that I would have completely forgotten otherwise. This “reminders” feature allows something that has escaped my mind to be brought back into clear and immediate focus.

Perhaps we should do this for the bigger aspects of our life!

Do you understand how important it is to keep the end result in mind? It is a helpful and healthy exercise to regularly think about the reasons for your activity. This is because those reasons can easily slip your mind thus creating the need for reminders.

Keeping the end in mind allows you to sustain the mundane, humdrum, boring, drip-drop activities that individually mean little but collectively add up to a lot!

A practical example in my own life
Over 18 years ago, my bride and I welcomed a baby girl into our life. As she gave her first few cries of life, it was a notification that she was probably going to college! An 18 year notice that went by so quickly, it is hardly believable.

I had graduated from college with a mountain of student loan debt and credit card balances. My new bride had student loan debt. It was our desire that our child(ren) wouldn’t have to start out life with a pile of debt. With this commitment, we had an “End Result in Mind” – To help our child(ren) graduate debt-free.

Then we took action by establishing a 529 college savings plan for her and set up an automatic monthly contribution of $100 per month.

And then we went through the humdrum, the mundane, the month-after-month steps of contributing $100 per month. Then we paid off our non-house debt.

Keeping the “End Result in Mind”, we increased our contribution to $200 per month.

And started another trot down the boring, monotonous, plodding activities of life. Month after month after month after month …

The stock market collapsed in 2008, but we kept the “End Result in Mind” and continued the journey. Month after month after month after month after month. Facing down one financial challenge after another, we kept the “End Result in Mind” and continued to contribute. We went through financial challenges too numerous to list them all, but here are a few. IVF. Broken downstairs heat pump. Broken upstairs heat pump. Dead hot water heater. New roof. Multiple surgeries (and accompanying insurance deductibles).

Yet, we never lost sight of the goal. Honestly, at times it felt like college was something mythical and too far into the future to be worrying about, but our feelings lie to us. In spite of the challenges, we never missed a single month of contributing to the college fund.

THEN IT BECOME A REALITY!

I found myself carrying a futon into my daughter’s college dorm room as she begins her freshman year. It was all done with a smile because persistence has allowed it all to be done without the incurring of debt. None. Zero.

If you are the parent of youngsters, I encourage you to define your “End Result” you need to keep in mind, and then take action by contributing to a 529 college savings plan!

Never underestimate the power and importance of keeping the end in mind.

One last note: Retirement today kind of feels like college expenses seemed like 18 years ago …