Leadership Tip: What You Do And Say Matters

What you DO matters most but what you SAY matters as well!

As a leader, what you do and say matters greatly. Ensuring that you actually do what you say is always challenging. If you are a parent, you know this to be exceptionally true. I was reminded of this recently as I was driving down a busy road in my home town with my young son in the backseat. I had recently heard him say the word “stupid” and administered appropriate chastisement: “Son, you shouldn’t say that word. It’s not nice.”

This road we were traveling on has what seems like one thousand traffic lights – accompanied by about as many crazy drivers. Sure enough, a person pulled out right in front of me and nearly caused an accident. “Stupid driver!” I exclaimed.

Any parent knows what happened next.
Son: “Dad!”
Me: “Yes, son?”
Son: “You shouldn’t say that word. It’s not nice.”
Me: “You’re right, son. I’m sorry.”

It is important to do what you say. If not, well, they call that hypocrisy.

Here’s the challenge:

  1. Spend the next day listening to what you are saying – record your conversations if you need to.
  2. Ask yourself the following questions:
    • Am I saying what matters most?
    • Am I communicating clearly to others?
    • Am I modeling “doing” what I’m “saying”?

This post is part of a Leadership Series here at the wildly popular JosephSangl.com. Click HERE to read all of the posts in the series.

How Much Interest Is Your Savings Account Paying?

As I describe in my book Oxen, you begin truly winning with money when your “money makes money for you.”

With that said, here’s a great question to ask yourself: “How much interest is my bank paying me for the money in my savings account?”

Chances are high that the number is 0.01%. In fact, I checked several big banks as I wrote this post and here’s what I found for their basic savings accounts:

  • Bank of America – 0.01%
  • Wells Fargo – 0.01%
  • Bank of the West – 0.03%

This is why I hold all of my business and personal savings in ON-LINE BANKS. This is not a “bank with website access.” They are banks that exist almost exclusively on-line. Since they do not have physical buildings, they have to do extraordinary things to attract customers. I’ve discovered they do two key things very well:

  1. No fees They’ve virtually eliminated fees – low balance fees, etc.
  2. Way better INTEREST! They are currently paying around 0.75% on savings (about the same as a 30-month CD, but I don’t lose the liquidity of my money!)

Since 2007, I have held all of my savings and operating reserves with Capital One 360.

I encourage you to do 2 things with this information:

  1. Find out how much interest your bank is currently paying on your savings.
  2. Check out the on-line banks we recommend HERE.


Information accurate as of 2/4/2014.

How A Flu Shot Is Like Saving Money

I recently got a flu shot. I didn’t really look forward to being jabbed with a needle, but I definitely wanted all the help I could get in avoiding influenza.

As a bonus, the shot helped me have a great example to teach my children about money.

You see, I obtained a flu shot to prevent illness. In much the same way, I save money to prevent debt.

  • WITHOUT equals “risk” If I chose to opt out of receiving a flu shot, I wouldn’t necessarily come down with the flu. However, my risk of illness would be substantially higher. If I chose to opt out of saving money, I won’t necessarily acquire debt. However, my risk of debt has increased. One car breakdown, appliance failure, or missed day of work without any saved money would result in debt.
  • WITH equals “much less risk”  Since I received the shot, my risk of illness from the flu has been greatly reduced. Saving money also reduces the chances of new debt. If I have money saved up, then a refrigerator failure would just be an annoyance instead of a financial catastrophe.

ACTION: Share this illustration with your children to teach them about the importance of saving (and, of course, the importance of a flu shot).

This post is part of a Kids & Money Series here at the wildly popular JosephSangl.com. Click HERE to read all of the posts in the series.

Monday Money Tip: Find Out How Long It Takes To Become Debt Free!

I love it when my week starts off right! The Monday Money Tip was created as a weekly service to provide people just like you with a practical and simple money tip – right at the start of the week so that you can take action with it!

Tools Referenced:

How To MAXIMIZE The Use Of Your Tax Refund

If you are among the large majority of people who receive a tax refund, you will soon face this question:

“What should I do with my tax refund money?”

Most people have an immediate response to this question. Here are some common responses I receive when I ask this question:

  • “I’m going to pay off my credit card with it.”
  • “I’m going to buy something with it.”
  • “I’m going to use it to pay my property taxes.”

Most people have an idea of where they will use their refund, but it is usually for something they feel is URGENT not the most IMPORTANT.

To maximize the use of your tax refund this year, I recommend you follow the following decision matrix. When you arrive at the step matching your current situation, you will have discovered the one that should help you most!

  1. Do you have $2,500 in your emergency savings account? If you do not, this is the best way to maximize your refund! It will create margin in your life and breathing room for your budget. I’ve never heard anyone say, “My biggest regret is that I saved too much money.” If you do have at least $2,500 in your savings account, move on to #2.
  2. Are you investing enough into your retirement account? If you are not investing enough to capture the full company match (or at least $100 if your company does not provide matching funds), this is your next step. We call this Rung Three of the I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. Ladder. Use the tax refund money to make up your retirement contributions for the 2013 Tax Year (you can do this through the personal income tax deadline of April 15, 2014). If you are investing enough into your retirement account, move on to #3.
  3. Can you completely eliminate a debt with the tax refund money? If you can, do it! If you have two or more debts you could eliminate (but have enough money to eliminate only one of them), choose the debt with the largest monthly payment. This will help you create more monthly margin. If you are not able to completely eliminate a single debt, apply the tax refund money to the smallest amount you currently owe using the Debt Snowball Technique. This is Rung Four of the IWBNIN Ladder. Already debt free except for your home? Move on to #4.
  4. Do you have at least 3 months of expenses saved up? If not, this is a great use of your tax refund money as it will build an even larger amount of financial margin. More margin equals less stress. If you have already achieved this rung (Rung Five), move on to #5.
  5. Are you investing at least 15% of your gross income into tax-advantaged investments? This is Rung Six of the IWBNIN Ladder. Use the tax refund money to build up your retirement, college, and dream investment accounts. You’ve become an incredible money manager at this point which means you will recognize how awesome it is to be able to boost these accounts with your tax refund.
  6. Attack the home mortgage. This is Rung Seven of the IWBNIN ladder. At this point, your tax refund will enable you to gain even more momentum toward complete debt freedom. Nothing better than that!
  7. Increase your investments to at least 30% of your gross income into tax-advantaged investments. This is Rung Eight of the IWBNIN ladder. At this point you are funding a legacy that will literally allow you to bless multitudes. Way to go!
  8. Fund a dream. This is Rung Nine of the IWBNIN Ladder – “Live a great life!” Use the tax refund to fund one of your dreams or someone else’s dream.

My one big EXCEPTION:

  • An investment that provides immediate (or nearly so) additional income. Suppose you were receiving a tax refund of $4,000. If you had the opportunity to invest this money into business dream which will produce additional income for you, then it could be a great use of your tax refund. For example, you could use the money to purchase inventory for an on-line Ebay store. If this would allow you to produce additional income in the future, then it could be a way to multiply the impact of your tax refund.

What are you going to do with your tax refund?

Small Business Tip: Build Financial Margin For Your Business

If you want your business to thrive long term, you must establish financial margin. In fact, the lack of making saving a priority is one of the top reasons small business fail. Even profitable companies have failed because they failed to make savings a top priority.

Let me share a real-world practical example of “margin in action” – the Hoover Dam.


Before the establishment of the Hoover Dam (and the entire system of dams and reservoirs), the West was subject to wild water calamities. At times, the river would flash flood and destroy everything in its path. At other times, drought would cause water supplies to dry up. It was very difficult for the area to inhabit the area until the establishment of the dams.

I took the above picture of the Hoover Dam, and it really shows how your business’s financial margin account should work. The dam was built very strong so it could hold back the raging river. As the Spring melt begins, the dam captures excessive water and saves it up. This helps prevent rampant and destructive flooding. During times of great drought, it allows the area to continue to thrive because the water was stored up!

Chances are your business has cyclical revenue – “good” times and “less than good” times of sales throughout the year. Apply this “dam principle” and be sure to “store up” during the good times. This will position your business to continue prospering during times of drought.

This post is part of a Small Business Series here at the wildly popular JosephSangl.com. Click HERE to read all of the posts in the series.

Teach Your Child To Be Generous

I’m not sure anything moves my heart like watching my children be generous. Whether it is sharing a toy with their friend or deciding to play the other person’s choice of game, it moves me!

But we must be honest with ourselves: Generosity is not natural behavior. Among our first words are the dreaded “No!” and “Mine!” along with precise timing to exact maximum frustration in the lives of our parents and siblings.

Here are three practical steps any parent can take to help their child develop the gift of generosity:

  1. Live it in your own life!  Children imitate their parent’s behavior – both desired and undesired! This is THE KEY to developing generosity within your children – be a living example of it. Invite your children to participate in your generous actions – giving to your church, volunteering to clean up your favorite hiking trail, attending a charity fashion show, and buying Christmas gifts for a family facing a tough financial situation are just a few examples. Let them be a part of it!
  2. Be grateful – and say so in front of your children.  Use words of a thankful nature. Choose not to say statements that start with, “When I get … I will be happy then.” Have a roof over your head? Be thankful you are not in the rain! Have heat in the winter and AC in the summer? Express out loud just how thankful you are for it! Does your car get you from point A to point B? Give the car a name and be thankful! Say, “Well, old Betsy is humming right along, and I’m grateful I don’t have to walk to town!”
  3. Make giving part of their money management system.  Every single time your child receives money (birthday, holiday, graduation, work, etc), require them to prepare a budget for every single dollar prior to touching any of it! Ensure the planning goes in this order: (A) Give, (B) Save, (C) Invest, (D) Spend – Let them choose (with your guidance, of course) who the money will be given to.

Gratefulness can take hold of your heart and literally transform your entire worldview. It’s one of the greatest gifts my parents could have ever instilled into me!

I’m blessed.

I’m so grateful.

NOTE: This post was written as part of the “Kids & Money” series here at the wildly popular JosephSangl.com! Click HERE to access all of the tips in this series.

Monday Money Tip: Monthly Budgeting That Works!

I love it when my week starts off right! The Monday Money Tip was created as a weekly service to provide people just like you with a practical and simple money tip – right at the start of the week so that you can take action with it!

Register HERE (it’s free) to receive this weekly tip in your email box bright and early on Monday morning!

TOOLS Referenced:

You Can Still Fund Your 2013 Retirement Savings Plan

Even though 2013 is over, you can still make contributions to your Retirement Savings Plan through the deadline for filing 2013 Federal Income Tax Returns – April 15, 2014!

  • If you are under 50 years of age, you are allowed to contribute $5,500
  • If you are 50 or over, you are allowed the so-called “catch-up” additional $1,000 – making your maximum contribution $6,500

A contribution can be made to either a Roth IRA (invest after-tax money and withdraw tax-free later) or a Traditional IRA (invest before-tax money and pay taxes upon withdrawal later). I’m a big fan of the Roth IRA because it allows me to receive tax advantages on more dollars. I also believe that tax rates will continue to increase in the future so I would rather pay the taxes today.

Ways You Can Fund Your 2013 Retirement Savings Plan:

  1. Use your tax refund. Chances are pretty good that you would spend this on something that would decrease rapidly in value or have no value at all (vacation, vehicle, TV, computer, etc). Instead of making all of the money disappear, use a portion of it to fund your retirement!
  2. Use a bonus.  Many people receive quarterly bonuses. Use the March bonus to fund your 2013 Roth IRA.
  3. Sell something.  Sell the boat that sits in the yard, the motorcycle that never gets used, or the broken jewelry.
  4. Work overtime.  Work overtime for the next few months and place the majority of the extra income into your 2013 Roth IRA. Plus you will get the added benefit of paying extra Social Security payments so you will receive $3/month extra throughout retirement.

Contributions to individual retirement savings plans are subject to certain income guidelines. You must have earned income equivalent to at least the amount you contribute to your retirement account. Additionally, eligibility is reduced as one’s income increases. The IRS provides additional guidance HERE.

NOTE: This post was written as part of the “Retirement” series here at the wildly popular JosephSangl.com! Click HERE to access all previous tips in this series.

Small Business Tip – Conduct SWOT Analysis

One key activity that is important for every small business owner to do on at least an annual basis is to conduct a SWOT Analysis.

  • Strengths
  • W Weaknesses
  • O Opportunities
  • T Threats

I’ve prepared a free basic SWOT ANALYSIS FORM for you to download and use.

Here are a few questions to help you start the process:


  • What are your strengths?
  • What makes your organization so successful?
  • What differentiates your business?
  • Why do customers use your product or service?
  • What allows you to beat the competition?
  • Do you have any personnel that really give you a competitive advantage?
  • What is your current financial status? Is it a strength?


  • What makes you lose sleep at night?
  • Where do you see opportunities for improvement?
  • What products or services do your customers ask for that you currently do not provide – and it causes them to go elsewhere?
  • Do you have any personnel that lack necessary training or skills?
  • What is your current financial status? Is it a weakness?


  • What products or services could you add?
  • Are there any similar businesses that you could acquire?
  • Could you serve new markets beyond your current service area – new geographic areas?


  • What move could the competition make that would jeopardize your business?
  • Do you have non-competes in place for “mission-critical” personnel?
  • What makes you lose sleep at night?
  • What economic conditions would greatly affect your ability to do business?

The overall goal of an annual SWOT analysis is to force “macro-level” thinking that challenges you to prepare for challenges and to identify and take advantage of opportunities.

My Biggest Financial Mistake (and LAST CHANCE to register for Core Coaching Program)

The response to the major announcement of the I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. Core Coaching Program (CCP) has been been incredible! In fact, TODAY IS THE FINAL DAY to register!

We have had some more really good questions come in, and I thought I would share some of my answers. I’ll get to those in a minute, but first I wanted to share my biggest financial mistake with you. I hope that it can help you in your money journey.

My biggest financial mistake was not recognizing that my financial education was just as important as my high school and college education.” I went to elementary, junior high, and senior high school because it was mandatory. I went to college because everyone said that was the thing to do to make good money. I attended Purdue University and studied Mechanical Engineering. It was a battle. After four years, I managed to receive my degree. I even received special honors. Some of my friends graduated cum laude, magna cum laude, and suma cum laude. I graduated with lesser known honors – honors called “Thank The Laude.” J Sure enough, I managed to earn good money. But I was more broke than before I went to college. All of my money was handed over to pay the debts I had signed up for – student loans, credit cards, and a truck. Then I financed an engagement and wedding ring.

When I began prioritizing my financial education, I stopped being broke. Then I stopped “just getting by.” And as I continued to invest in my financial education (as I continue to do EVERY SINGLE DAY), I began to prosper and live a fully funded life. Don’t miss that word I used – “invest.” I have spent thousands and thousands of dollars to receive a great financial education. My bride agrees – it has been some of the best money we have ever spent.

Now, here’s some of the key questions we’ve been asked about the IWBNIN Core Coaching Program:

“What are the key benefits of the CCP?”

There are many, but here’s a list of some key benefits:

  • You receive a private login/password that unlocks the video teaching and provides exclusive access to upgraded and new financial tools – like budgets with actual columns, net worth calculators, etc.
  • Downloadable .mp3 audio files so you can listen to each lesson “on the go” throughout the month on your mobile player
  • Exclusive “contact page” to ask your specific financial questions and receive “priority response” status
  • The ability to be a part of a group of like-minded people who are all sharing their journey together

“Who will benefit the most from participating in the CCP?”

This program has been designed to help three groups of people:

  1. Those who are broke and living paycheck to paycheck
  2. Those who feel “stuck” financially – they just can’t seem to get ahead
  3. Those who are looking to “explode” their finances, but investing is an overwhelming and intimidating topic

“When does the CCP start?”

For the lucky group of 300 people that get in before the program reaches full capacity, it begins immediately upon successful payment. Upon purchase, the new member receives instructions for creating a membership name and password. Once these credentials are established, the first lessons are unlocked as well as access to the first round of new and upgraded tools. Every single month, another lesson will be unlocked along with additional resources.

“What are the “beta” test group of CCP participants saying about the program?”

Here are direct quotes they have shared with us:

  • “I want to personally tell all the 34,000+ people … that I am a member of the 1st CORE Coaching Program and IT IS WORKING FOR ME! Tell everyone to take advantage of this Program!!!! Get Fired Up!” (Diane)
  • “The financial education I have received is changing the life of our family!!! This coaching program will inform you and keep you motivated!”(Chelle)
  • “I have hope now that my net worth will change by a million dollars.” (Mark)

“Is there a guarantee?”

Yes. We want to be very clear with you. Joining the IWBNIN Core Coaching Program is a 12-month commitment. Over twelve months we are going to invest in you and treat you like family. We don’t offer a “cancel anytime” option because, frankly, it isn’t best for your finances as this isn’t a microwave approach. We want you to know what you’re getting into, and we want to serve you well through the year. Purchasing the I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. Core Coaching Program comes with our 30-day money-back guarantee. After 30 days, your purchase is final.

This means you join today and get to try out the program for 30 days. If you decide the program is not a good fit for you, you can ask for your money back within the 30 days. From that point forward, you are committed to finishing and graduating from the program.

I hope this clears up any questions you may have. We still have a few spots remaining. If you were planning on joining, be sure to SIGN UP NOW.

Fired up!

Teach Children The Value of Work

In my book, Oxen, I share about two different ways to produce income:

  1. Type 1 is “Work = Get Paid” || Don’t Work = Don’t Get Paid”
  2. Type 2 is “Get paid whether or not you are working”

These two types of income production are also commonly referred to as “Aggressive” (Type 1) and “Passive” (Type 2) streams of income.

While we all aspire to receive as much income as possible from Type 2 sources, most people start their financial journey with only Type 1 income at their disposal. I recommend teaching children this principle as soon as possible so they do not get afflicted with “magic money tree syndrome” where they believe money just magically appears upon command.

You can do this even when a child is 3 or 4 years old by instituting a “chore chart.” This is a chart where you can assign specific tasks to the child, and they can receive payment upon successful completion. Basic tasks can be assigned at this age including emptying little trash cans into the big trash can, feeding the cat or puppy, and cleaning their room. All of these tasks will, of course, require parental “assistance” at this age, but you are incentivizing appropriate behavior and teaching the Type 1 Income principle!

Conduct a weekly review of the chart with the child. Have them “self-grade” their performance with each chore. Make payments accordingly.

Key Points To Consider:

  • Consider having a picture of their next desired purchase posted next to the chore chart to help keep the child focused on “why” they are doing this.
  • I really like chore charts that also include “fines” for obstinate and ridiculous behavior (like throwing themselves onto the floor in a tantrum or open and outrageous disobedience).

Key steps to implement your chore chart:

  1. Establish age appropriate chores
  2. Assign a monetary value for each chore
  3. Have the child “self-grade” performance each week
  4. Have the child “self-grade” regarding “fines” that should be administered
  5. Make payments accordingly

You will see your children learn how great it is to work and be productive and that good financial things can happen as a result!

Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace, Jr. is a terrific resource that includes a dry-erase chore cart and even includes envelopes for giving, saving, and spending! We’ve used this to help our children learn these principles. HERE IS AN AMAZON.COM LINK to that resource.

NOTE: This post was written as part of the “Kids & Money” series here at the wildly popular JosephSangl.com! Click HERE to access all of the tips in this series.

Monday Money Tip: Debt Freedom Date Calculator

I love it when my week starts off right! The Monday Money Tip was created as a weekly service to provide people just like you with a practical and simple money tip – right at the start of the week so that you can take action with it!

Register HERE (it’s free) to receive this weekly tip in your email box bright and early on Monday morning!

TOOLS Referenced:

5 Reasons You Should Make Retirement Saving A Top Priority

Statistics routinely show that most people delay saving for retirement far too late. In fact, many do not begin saving until they are 10 or 15 years away from retirement!

Here are 5 key reasons you should make retirement savings a top priority:
  1. You will be tired. That’s why it’s called “retirement.” Seriously, you won’t have the same level of energy at 75 as you had at 35. And many people live far beyond 75 years of age!
  2. Compound interest. Compound interest helps you carry the financial burden. It is what allows an investment of $100 per month for 40 years to equal $1,176,477. However, TIME and CONSISTENCY matter most. That’s why it is so very important to start early and often!
  3. You won’t financially burden your children. You won’t believe the number of people I’ve met who are having to take care of their aging parents – not healthcare-wise, but financially! And as family, we all want to help however we can, but it is robbing many of these families of the ability to save for their own retirement. Many times, it leads to a repeat situation when the children retire!
  4. It’s a sign of wisdom. You KNOW you need to save for retirement. It seems like 20-percent of TV commercials are related to investing! To ignore the obvious is a sign of laziness. Using the slogan made famous by Nike: Just Do It!
  5. You just got 5 minutes older reading this article! Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is the future. That’s why today is called The Present! Use the gift of TODAY to start your retirement savings account – or kick your existing one into a higher gear!

NOTE: This post was written as part of the “Retirement” series here at the wildly popular JosephSangl.com! Click HERE to access all previous tips in this series.

Your Level of EXPECTATION determines your level of PREPARATION

I’ve run across an amazing statement that has greatly impacted me over the past month. Here it is:

Your level of EXPECTATION determines your level of PREPARATION.

It is so true.

  • If you are excited about going on a date with your spouse, you will PREPARE for it. You will plan the location, activities, and food. You will clean up and dress up. You will be on time. Conversely, if you aren’t excited about it, you won’t spend any time preparing for it and will be content with the “Where do you want to go? I don’t know. Where do YOU want to go?” type of approach.
  • If you are pumped about starting a new business, you will PREPARE for it. You will have a detailed business plan that includes pro-forma income statements, executive summaries to present to potential investors, a SWOT Analysis, and be actively learning everything you need to know about the product or service you will offer, necessary suppliers, and your future customers. If you don’t expect to really start a business, you will be content with saying, “I really want to start a business one day.” And that “one day” will never happen.
  • If you expect to win with money, you will PREPARE for it. You will prepare and live by a written monthly budget. It will be your top priority to give, save, and invest money. You will be extremely cautious with debt. You will devour books, blogs, and seminars about investing, saving, and maximizing your overall portfolio. If you don’t really expect to win with money, you will be content with saying, “I just need to make more money to succeed.”

Hear me clearly on this: Your level of EXPECTATION determines your level of PREPARATION.


  1. Review your calendar and checkbook. Do they reveal activity that shows you are truly preparing to accomplish your expected goals?
  2. What is one change you can make today that will begin to make a difference in your life tomorrow?
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