What legacy will you leave?

I was at home recently and my cat, Kiki, jumped up on my lap for some petting.  Now, you may not like cats, but I have always loved cats.  My cat is a "people" cat.  She is fine with letting complete strangers pet her, pick her up, and rub her belly.

It was very pleasant to have Kiki lying on my lap, but it made me think that I was starting to get old.

You know, Grandpas are the ones that sit around snoozing with a sleepy kitty cat lying on their lap.

Why is it that my image is of an older person having the cat lying on their lap?  I think that it is in part due to the fact that there will be a day when we will grow older.  There is coming a day when sitting in a rocking chair may be all that we can do.

I can promise you that when you get to a point that all you can pysically do is sit around, your mind will still be at work!  Your thoughts become much more active and clear while sitting around.  I mean that is all you will be able to do!

So my question is this:

What will you be thinking about?

Will you be fully satisfied that you did absolutely everything you could with what God had given you?  Will you know that you did everything you possibly could?

Based on statistical evidence, I am at or near half-time of my life!  I am 33 years old and nearly half-way done!

Have I done everything I could with what God has entrusted to me?  Have I effectively managed the money He has provided me?  Have I effectively managed the family He has given me?  Have I effectively used the gifts/talents He has provided me?

At the end of the day, when my youth and vitality is gone and a cat is dozing in my lap, will I be able to say, "I gave it my level best.  I gave it my all."?

At this point of my life, I can honestly say that I am giving it my all!

Can you say that? 

Saving Money

CNNMoney.com had a great article about American's savings status on April 11, 2007 titled Have Less Than $25K In Savings?  Get In Line

It is sobering and backs up what I have been saying about American's spending habits!  We are spending ourselves to oblivion!

Key Points

  • Nearly half of all workers saving for retirement have savings that fall short of the $25,000 mark …
  • Overall, 40 percent of respondents said they are not currently saving for retirement while 34 percent said they didn't have ANY retirement money saved whatsoever.  A full 25 percent, meanwhile, said they had no savings at all – retirement or otherwise!

This makes me want to CRY!!!  What are we thinking?  That some magical fairy will show up at retirement and pay all of our bills?  Are we so oblivious to this epidemic that we can't see it or have we just chosen to ignore it?

Read that key point again!  Forty percent are not saving for retirement right now!!!  What are they going to do?  What are their plans?

Folks, this crusade is so HUGE!  I need your help in reaching others!  Have you spoken to your friends and family about this?

It is NOT HARD!  It is NOT hocus pocus … it is FOCUS pocus!  It takes about 2 hours to sit down and put together an INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO budget!  The tools are free on www.JosephSangl.com!  Just click on TOOLS at the top of the page!

Go tell your neighbors!  Go tell your friends!  Go tell your family!  Invite them over for dinner!  Show them what you are doing that has changed your entire financial future!  Show them that it can be done!  Show them that there is HOPE!  Show them that you are there to help them!

Let's reach America and show them a better way! 

Charles Schwab Teens & Money 2007 Survey

If you are interested in how teens are learning about money and their feelings about money, the Charles Schwab Teens & Money 2007 Survey is worth reading.

Key Points I Took Away From Reading The Survey

  • Teens believe that they'll be earning an average salary of $145,500 PER YEAR!  WOW!  Talk about unrealistic!
  • 1 in 4 teens agree that "I am young, so saving money isn't that important."  Have they heard about compound interest?
  • Teens assert they don't like the way it feels to owe someone money, with 88% agreeing with this statement.  It does not get any better the older you get, either!
  • Most teens (51%) agree that it is easier to buy things with a credit card than cash.  Yes, but is it easier when you are paying it back with compound interest working AGAINST you?
  • One in four (25%) say they sometimes feel guilty for being a financial burden to their parents.  So sad!
  • More than half (56%) are concerned about their parents'/guardians' financial well-being.  With good reason!
  • 89% say they want to learn how to make money grow.  AWESOME!
  • Only one in three teens (30%) believe that their parent/guardians are concerned with making sure that they are learning the basics of money management.  This is why YOU need to teach your children!  Few others are going to teach them with their best interest at heart!

What facts stood out to you?

Financial Hero – David Bach

Why is DAVID BACH a www.JOSEPHSANGL.com Financial Hero?

A friend of mine named, ironically, David, gave me a copy of David Bach's book, Smart Couples Finish Rich, to read.  That was all it took for me to name David Bach a Financial Hero.  In this book, David Bach talks about the importance of working together as a couple on your finances.  In relationships, money represents so much more than just something that is used to pay for things.  If allowed, money can dictate who has the power and control.  Money is connected to so many aspects of life and relationships.

David Bach also emphasizes the importance of making things AUTOMATIC!  If you make your investments automatic via automated monthly withdrawals, you can't help but become wealthy!!!

I have also read David Bach's, The Automatic Millionaire.  This book really details HOW to set up your investments and the POWER of compound interest.  I love reading about compound interest.  It is such a GREAT friend when it is paying you!

David Bach's materials should be required study for juniors and seniors in high school!

David Bach, you are an official www.JosephSangl.com Financial Hero!  I admire your personal crusade to help others win with their finances!

Other books written by David Bach include Smart Women Finish Rich, Start Late, Finish Rich, and The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner.

   

Read about other www.JosephSangl.com Financial Heroes! 

Pay Frequency – Does it impact your ability to save?

I wonder if a person's pay frequency contributes to their ability to save money.

For example, is it easier for a person to save money if they are paid weekly or is it easier if they are paid monthly?  What about bi-weekly?  What about twice/month?  What about daily?

My hypothesis is that those paid MONTHLY have a better chance of saving money.  This is not backed up scientifically, but here are my reasons to support my guess.

  • Most bills are monthly – mortgage, utilities, car payments, student loan payments, insurance payments, etc.
  • When a person is paid monthly, they automatically know that there will be no more money for 30 days.  This fact forces the average person to go into "saver-mode".  They do not want to be eating bread crumbs for the last week of the month!
  • The majority of investment plans suggest a monthly contribution – $25/month minimum; $100/month minimum; etc.
  • Development of a spending plan (budget) is easier when paid monthly.  There is no need to develop a budget for multiple paychecks during a month that are attempting to pay individual monthly bills.

I would LOVE to conduct research on this!

Teach Your Children

A fellow crusader in helping others with their personal finances, Consumerism Commentary, wrote an article titled "Should High Schools Require Money Management Classes?".

The short answer?

YES!!!

I do not know of a single instance where a child should not be learning how to manage their money in the public school system!   I went through K-12, and they gave me a high school diploma.  For the next four years, I went through engineering school at Purdue University, and they gave me a degree in engineering.  I then went through three years of graduate school at Clemson University, and they gave me a degree in business administration.

Let's add that up.

K-12 (13 years) + Purdue University (4 years) + Clemson University (3 years) = 20 Years of Formal Education

I knew a lot about calculus, physics, business management, and anthropology PLUS I had enabled myself to earn a really nice income, but I knew VERY LITTLE about what to do with that income once I received it!  As a result, I spent the first few years spending more than I brought home and digging myself a really nice financial hole.

Look, it is great that we learn about biology, math, anthropology, and art in school, but when we learn all of that and do not receive any sound financial training, something is out of order!

NONE OF THIS eliminates the fact that we, as parents, need to be instructing our children about money as well!  Public education should be a great partnership between the parents and children to ensure that the child becomes a productive citizen and wins financially!

Other Articles on www.JosephSangl.com regarding Children and Money:

Children Need To Learn About Money

Have You Taught Your Children About Compound Interest?

Do You Want Your Children To Manage Money The Way You Do?

More Pay-Off Spectaculars!

www.JosephSangl.com is PROUD to present two more Pay-Off Spectaculars!  One for Student Loans and one for TV's!  What other Pay-Off Spectaculars do you want to see?


 

“Why” – Rant By Sangl

Are you living paycheck to paycheck?  If you missed one paycheck, would you still be able to pay your bills on time?

Statistics continue to show that over 70% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

Bankruptcy is a very close relative to paycheck to paycheck living?  Those living paycheck to paycheck are just one illness away from disaster.  Just one job layoff away.  Just one paycut away.

Divorce is a very close relative to bankruptcy AND paycheck to paycheck living!  If you are living paycheck, I just have one question.

WHY would you put yourself in this position?

WHY would you allow your marriage and your financial future to be placed in jeopardy?  There is NOTHING worth that for me!

If I can not give and save money, my priorities have become messed up!  I can not fathom having a car payment, a student loan payment, a furniture payment, credit card payments to the point that I can not even give or save money.  Life is all about giving to worthy causes and saving for my dreams.

If you are stuck in the paycheck to paycheck world, here are some practical steps you can take to get OUT of that madness!

1.  Pay cash for all future purchases.  No more debt.  It is the first rule of holes – When you are in a hole, stop digging!

2.  Spend all of your month's money on paper BEFORE the month begins.  INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO.  You can get started by clicking on "TOOLS" on the top of the page or by clicking HERE.

3.  Refuse to live the lie that you HAVE to have debt.  You do not HAVE to have debt.  I have personally seen hundreds of people accomplish major improvement in their personal finances … all the way to total freedom of debt (except the house – some including the house!).

I want financial freedom so much for you!  I feel a HUGE WEIGHT on my heart to help you achieve financial freedom!  I want to help you!  If there is anything I can do to help you, please contact me!

Financial Hero – Robert Kiyosaki

 
Why is ROBERT KIYOSAKI a www.JOSEPHSANGL.com Financial Hero?
Robert Kiyosaki became a Financial Hero of mine when I had given a copy of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace, Revisited, to a summer engineering intern named Justin who was working at the manufacturing plant that I was at.  In turn, Justin gave me a copy of Robert Kiyosaki's book, The Cash Flow Quadrant.
 
I read the book and LOVED it!  I read this book within two days.  If you want to win financially, this book is a must-read.  What I loved most about The Cash Flow Quadrant is Robert's focus on your financial and overall mindset.  Do you have the mindset of an employee or a business owner?  Do you have the mindset of a professional or an investor?
 
Your approach to management of your money is crucial in creating wealth.  Thanks to Robert, the letters E, S, B, and I will never be looked at the same!
After I had read The Cash Flow Quadrant, I realized that Robert had previously written a book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad.  This book is just plain motivating!  Robert shares his story of growing up with a poor dad (his father) and a rich dad (his friend's dad).  He shares how his own father was highly educated, but was always broke.  Meanwhile, his friend's dad did not have all of the degrees, but was very wealthy.
 
Robert does emphasize the use of the bank's money to leverage the purchase of some properties which makes me a little uncomfortable, but that does not deter me from naming Robert Kiyosaki as a www.JosephSangl.com Financial Hero because Robert PLANS THOROUGHLY and has the heart of a teacher.
 
Robert, you are an official www.JosephSangl.com Financial Hero!  You force me to think differently.  I love that!
 

A constant reminder …

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about my fixer-upper house and included a picture of my smashed thumb (You can see it HERE).

Anyway, I was looking at my thumb again, and I realized that it is going to be a LONG TIME before this visual reminder of the pain I have went through is gone.

I mean, I smashed this thumb almost two months ago, and the battered purple thumbnail appears to have hardly moved.  My best estimate is that it will be at least four more months before it is gone.

You know what?  Everytime I look at my thumb, I remember how it happened.  I remember that I was working on nailing down plywood on my roof.  It was an eight-penny nail.  I missed the nail.  I nailed the thumbnail.

This applies to my finances.  There is a REASON that I am so passionate about this subject!  There is a REASON I write every single weekday about personal finances!  There is a REASON that I teach classes to help others get a grip on their finances!  There is a REASON that I will conduct over 600 one-on-one financial counseling appointments this year!  There is a REASON that I take this show on the road and teach the Financial Learning Experience!  There is a REASON that I have written a book about this subject!  There is a REASON that I talk endlessly about this topic!

What is the REASON?

I have reminders that ensure I will never forget how my personal finances once were!  Ooooh!  That is good!  Don't miss this!  I have REMINDERS in my life that ensure I will NEVER forget how my personal finances were out of control.  The debt that I carried has left its marks.  The years that I lived with an average balance of $4.13 in my savings account have left scars that I can't deny.

Someone shared with me a better way to manage my finances and ever since that day, Jenn and I have waded our way out of the mess!  I will never forget the past.  Just as my thumb will not let me forget that I missed the nail, my past financial mismanagement will not let me forget.

I was broke.  Now I'm not.  Praise the Lord!

Truck Pay-Off Spectacular

In keeping with the spirit of the Home Pay-Off Spectacular, I have prepared a "Truck Pay-Off Spectacular". Print it out, divide the purchase price of the truck by 426 squares, and start filling in the squares!

I recommend that you put this right on the refrigerator where all can see it!  You will generate conversation like no other!  Who knows?  You might have the opportunity to teach your friend how to win with money!

You can obtain your FREE copy HERE!

Readers – Who are you?

So, as with most blogs, I have the ability to see general regions of the country that my blog's readers are from.

I am seeing a huge number of hits from New Jersey and New York.  Who are you guys?  What is going on in New York and New Jersey?  I want to hear from you and see what the potential is of meeting you guys one day!

Other readers – California, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Maryland …  who are you guys?

Thanks for being a participant in my crusade to help others with their finances!!!

Accountability

In school, if you did not pay attention in class and did not study the subject matter, you will receive a letter grade that is not desirable.  It would be the dreaded one-legged "A" that is also known as a big ole "F".

I don't know what would have happened in your house, but if I ever came home with a "F" on my report card, I am pretty sure that I would have become the first person who achieved near-earth orbit via an explosion from my parents.

It is near-instantaneous feedback.  I do not study, and no more than a few months later I receive the dreaded "F" and ultimate accountability with my parents.

It is NO DIFFERENT with your finances!  You might think that you are getting away without studying the subject.  You might have convinced yourself that you do not really need to take time to plan your finances.  You could even believe that you are doing well even without learning more about finances.

I will tell you that you are dead wrong.

If you do not learn about the subject of your personal finances, you WILL have accountability.

It will come in the form of:

  • Not being able to pay for your children's wedding.
  • Not being able to pay for your children's college.
  • Not being able to retire.
  • Not being able to take that vacation that the rest of your friends/family are taking because you are broke.
  • Daily FINANCIAL STRESS that just will not go away.
  • Questions from your children on why you and your spouse are always arguing about money.
  • Having to work tons of overtime just to pay the bills.
  • Having to take a second job just to pay the bills.
  • Not being able to be a stay-at-home mother because bills have forced you into the workplace.
  • Not being able to start that business you always wanted to start.
  • Not being able to realize a lifelong dream to travel around the world.

I do not know if any of these have hit home with you, but I made a decision a long time ago that I would NOT allow money to dictate what I do and do not do.  I will take the money that I have and tell every single George Washington where to go.  I will ensure that quite a number of George's are given away and that large quantities are saved BEFORE I start spending them on anything else.

My PRIORITY is to get an "A" on my finances.  The only way I will accomplish this is to continue learning and apply what I learn to my finances.  Every. Single. Day. 

Financial Hero – David Chilton

Why is DAVID CHILTON a www.JOSEPHSANGL.com Financial Hero?

My dad gave my twin brother and I a book when we were around twelve years old.  The book's title?  The Wealthy Barber 

This book is written as a fictional novel set in the Detroit area.  The book is very easy and quick to read.  The primary lesson learned in this book is the POWER of Compound Interest.  I remember setting that book down at around twelve year's of age and saying, "If a barber can be a millionaire, then I will be too!"  AT AGE 12!!!

Why should DAVID CHILTON be your Financial Hero? 

  • David's book teaches the concept of compound interest in a fun, easy read.  You can buy a copy and have your children read it as they enter the teenage years.  After they have read it, a great opportunity will be available for you to discuss the power of compound interest and investing.
  • The Wealthy Barber also shows the power of developing a sound business plan and shows it in action through a single lady, a married couple, and a bachelor.  In other words, anyone can do this!
  • I personally have ordered copies of this book ten at a time that I have handed out to friends of mine.  The lesson of compound interest needs to be KNOWN by all people!

David, you are an official www.JOSEPHSANGL.com Financial Hero!  At age 12, my world was rocked through your book!  My financial future was forever changed by learning the POWER of compound interest so early in life.

Want the book?  Get it HERE.

Read about other www.JosephSangl.com Financial Heroes!

Saving Money on Home Improvement

I have been updating an older house lately, and today I will share with you some ways that I have saved money.

1.  Friends/Family have helped out for FREE!

  •  For FREE!  I can't believe it!  My friend, DJ, has worked over 40 hours on my house.  He just keeps showing up!  My mother and father showed up while I was in the pit of despair over this dad-blamed house.  They stayed a WEEK and canceled a Florida trip to stay and help pull us out of the mess!  I should note that my father has built homes for almost 50 years.

2.  Borrowed tools!

  • Call me a free-loader, but tools cost a lot of money!  My friend, Will, loaned me an air compressor, hose, and air nailer.  DJ loaned me a shop-vac, miter saw, and approximately 50 other tools.

3.  Used 10%-off coupons at Lowe's!

  • If you are moving, you can get a 10% Lowe's coupon by clicking HERE.  Even if you are moving across town, you can get this discount.

4.  Used 10%-off coupons at Lowe's in conjunction with manufacturer's rebates.

  • I wanted to install the 30-year American Cottage Pergo flooring in on of my rooms.  Pergo had a special at Lowe's from 3/4 – 4/1 that offered $0.40 off PER square foot.  I used the 10%-off coupon to purchase the Pergo, and then got another $0.40 off per square foot.

5.  Buy used appliances!

  •  They aren't brand new and they won't have a sticker on them, but you can buy an appliance SOOOOOO cheap!  I have friends who were re-doing their kitchen.  They are replacing their appliances and were looking to sell their old ones.  I bought a stove that is a major upgrade from what we did have for WAY CHEAPER than a new stove (think 5 – 10% of the price of a new one).
  • I sold a refrigerator and my old stove from my house, and I was willing to negotiate.  They asked how much I wanted, and I said, "I'm asking $200, but make me an offer."  They did.  They left with the appliances.  WIN-WIN-WIN.

6.  Do the labor yourself!

  • This only applies if you actually know what you were doing.  The room addition that was put on the home that I purchased was not done well.  The down side was that the roof leaked miserably.  The up side was that it only leaked when it rained! Smile    Do not think that just because you have a hammer and nails that you are a carpenter.  This is especially true on home remodels.  It is so much harder to work backwards on a house.