The JOY of having car problems!

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you know that Jenn and I drive two ten-year-old vehicles.

Well, my friend, Alden, has an older vehicle as well.  He and his bride have been working diligently to position themselves to win financially.  Guess what?  They ARE winning financially.  Well, this past week, he had car problems.

I love the perspective he brings to the frustration of a car problem HERE.  Go read what happened, then come back to this page.

I remember when I had just become debt-free and then the car broke down.  FRUSTRATING, until you realize that you actually have cash on hand to repair it.  I like to say it this way, every time I had a problem, I would have two problems.  The actual problem AND a money problem.

Now, when my car breaks down, it is just a car problem.  I can pay to have it fixed.

Besides, is it realistic to go through life believing you will never have a car problem?  Then why don't we save cash for repairs? 

Great job, Alden and Deanna!  Although frustrating, this is a SUCCESS STORY!!! 

Bishop T.D. Jakes “Positioning Yourself To Prosper”

I just finished listening to Bishop Jakes speaking in the series "Positioning Yourself To Prosper"

You need to listen to this!!!

Below is a list of things I wrote down while listening:

  • Sometimes it feels funny to share how God is blessing you => Like we should be ashamed or something.
  • Why don't we need classes on "How To Be Poor?" FUNNY!
  • God blesses people through premier relationships
  • The fact that young people have to start out with no money is a CURSE!
  • If I catch you in a paycheck cashing place, I'll shoot your tires out!
  • You better not let me catch you with a rent-to-own TV!
  • If I sound angry about this (people's financial condition), it is because I am!

Words that come to mind when summarizing this series are – challenging, inspiring, motivating, action, thankful


Today, my beautiful bride, Jenn, and I have been married for TEN years!!!!

What a trip the first ten years have been!

  • We have lived in seven different residences, purchased four houses, and moved long distance four times (530 miles, 120 miles, 800 miles, and 700 miles).
  • We have an awesome daughter!
  • We were able to be a small part in establishing THIS CHURCH.
  • We have traveled together to at least 19 states and two countries (Texas, California, Virginia, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Washington, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Canada, New York, North Carolina, West Virginia, Jamaica)
  • We have lived in PILES of debt (first 6 years) and lived in PILES of financial freedom (last 4 years and counting …)
  • Through it all, we have driven the same car.  The same, paid-for, 105% financed car with Purdue Boilermaker Black & Gold colors.

Jenny – My lovely bride – I love you!


You are among the first to hear this news … 

I am PUMPED UP to announce that I will be hosting another Financial Learning Experience at NewSpring Church on Tuesday, June 26th.

Details to follow in the next week, but I want you to be there!

Tell your friends!  Tell your neighbors!  Tell your banker!

The stories of life change from the Financial Learning Experience that was taught in December 2006 have been incredible!  I want you to add your story!

Come join me as I crusade to help others win with their personal finances!

Author Unknown

I am your constant companion,

I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.

I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.

I am at your command.

Half of the tasks that you do you might just as well

turn over to me and I will do them quickly

and correctly.


I am easily managed,

you must merely be firm with me.

Show me exactly how you want something done;

after a few lessons I will do it automatically.

I am the servant of all great people and

alas of all failures as well.

Those who are great, I have made great,

Those who are failures, I have made failures.


I am not a machine, but I work with all the precision

of a machine, plus the intelligence of a person.

Now, you may run me for profit or

you may run me for ruin.

It makes no difference to me.

Take me, train me, be firm with me,

and I will lay the world at your feet.

Be easy with me, and I will destroy you.


Who am I?  I am called HABIT.


I had the awesome opportunity to speak at Oak Leaf Church in Cartersville, Georgia yesterday!  It is a young church that is EXPLODING!  I have projected that at their current growth rate, all of Atlanta will be attending within three years.

It was awesome to be able to share Jenn and I's story about our journey from "in-debt-up-to-our-eyeballs" to "no-debt-and-lovin-it"!

After speaking at the two morning services, Jenn and I had the chance to spend time with Tim Samples, Oak Leaf's Connections Pastor, and his family.

In the evening, I taught the Financial Learning Experience.  I LOVE teaching this class!  It is practical.  It is how-to.  It enables people to start winning BIG-TIME with their finances!  I had enough of theoretical-type classes in engineering school!  I want something practical, relevant, and applicable – that is why I teach this class the way I do.

And, oh by the way, the tools that are taught are FREE.  Just click on the "TOOLS" link!

UPDATE:  Michael, the pastor of Oak Leaf Church, stopped by (my home church & employer) on his way back home yesterday and has blogged about it HERE.

Spending Money Budget for June 2007

So here I am – month two of spending my spending money BEFORE I receive it!

This month's budget shows my true priorities – GOLF & Landscaping

I am going to purchase a pair of jeans – or so I am planning on doing so!  As long as INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO, then I win!

Want to put together your own Mini-Budget for an upcoming project, wedding, vacation, or other event?  Go to the TOOLS page and get your FREE copy!

See previous monthly mini-budgets for my spending money HERE.


I am OFF to carry the Crusade for Financial Freedom to Oak Leaf Church in Cartersville, GA!

I can't wait to tell our story in the morning and then teach the Financial Learning Experience in the evening!


Spending Money Budget Update – May 2007

Last month, I put an end to wildly spending my monthly allotment of "spending money".  At the start of the month, I wrote about how I was going to go about this HERE.

Well, here I am to give an update on how I did with my first month of "spending my spending money BEFORE the money before I actually had it in hand".

As you can see, I did very well this month!!!  Here it is, the end of the month has passed and look who hung around to welcome in the month of June – good ole Andrew Jackson!

I will tell you this – I was reminded again of some keys to budgeting.  Here are some keys that might help you.

  • It is OK to "substitute"  Ultimately, it does not matter how the dollars are spent – as long as you don't exceed the overall budget!  For example, the top thing on my list was to purchase a $30 pair of jeans.  I did not do this.  I decided to "sub" a round of golf instead!  Is that OK?  ABSOLUTELY – even though the round of golf cannot be worn, it was fun!
  • Cash Rules!  There is absolutely NO WAY I could overspend the budget because when the cash is gone – I can't spend anymore!
  • Cash forces you to find a better deal  I found a Grill Cleaning Brush for $0.97 at Wal-Mart!  That allowed me to purchase MORE plants!
  • Spending your money BEFORE you receive it ROCKS!  You have all options still available to you when you plan your spending before you actually receive the money.

Financial Learning Experience – Atlanta!

This coming Sunday, I will be crusading in Northwest Atlanta at Oak Leaf Church!

I will be speaking at their two morning services – 9:00AM & 10:15AM

During the evening, I will be teaching the personal finance tools that enabled Jenn and I to win.  It is called the Financial Learning Experience, and it has SOLD OUT!  Unless a new space is obtained, it will remain sold out.  If you have not been able to sign up, contact Oak Leaf Church and see what your options are!

Needless to say, I AM PUMPED UP!!!  I CAN NOT WAIT!!! 

This church is EXPLODING!  In less than a year, they are already running nearly 600 people!  I can't wait to get there and see what God has been doing!

Interested in bringing the Financial Learning Experience to your business, community group, or church?  Contact Joe HERE

Yahoo! Answers – Personal Finance

I have discovered this great site – Yahoo! Answers – recently.

It is a worldwide forum for asking/answering questions about virtually any topic known to mankind.

Of course, I was drawn immediately to the Business/Finance – Personal Finance category Smile

I have been answering a few questions to help sharpen my skillset and to challenge myself to answer with great responses.

Anyway, I recently posed this question to the community. 

How would it feel if you had $5,000 in the bank – just sitting there in case of an emergency?


The response was INCREDIBLE!!!  Within a few minutes, 21 people had responded (this is WAY more than average)!

Some of my FAVORITE responses are:

  • I would feel safe and not worry too much about the possibility of having an emergency
  • It makes you feel pretty good because if an emergency arises it is good to know you have that money as backup. Sort of an ace in the hole.

Some of the SADDENING responses are:

  • It would feel good, but it wouldn't be in (the) bank long.
  • Pretty darn good.  The worst thing is knowing it's there and knowing you shouldn't touch it.

You can go HERE to read the responses.

My New, Used Vehicle (almost)


Back in February 2004, when Jenn and I became debt-free, we made a decision to use the money that had been going toward debt to save up enough money to cover at least 6 months of expenses.

After we saved that money up, we decided to save up enough money to replace one of our vehicles.  Not enough to purchase a NEW car (which we wouldn't – they depreciate miserably fast!), but enough to buy a good three or four year old used vehicle.

Well, we have had that money sitting around for over two years, and it is getting near time to replace the car.

Thursday May 3, 2007

Jenn and I went to lunch on Thursday, May 3rd, and I said to Jenn, "What do you think about getting rid of our car and just have one car?"  She liked that idea a lot!  That was lunch.  A few hours later, my friend calls me and tells me that he has a great deal on a vehicle for me.

Now, when this friend calls me and tells me that he has a great deal, I listen!  He knows how to get a great deal!  He purchases cars that have been in wrecks and restores them to 100%, generally for a cost of less than 1/2 of Kelley Blue Book.  This was one of those deals!

Friday May 4, 2007

Jenn and I talked about it in detail, test-drove the same type of vehicle, and then I called my friend to tell him that I wanted to buy the car.

Friday May 11, 2007

Jenn and I went and looked at the wrecked vehicle and delivered the funds to purchase it.   It was sad to depart with my beloved portraits of Benjamin Franklin, but it was a great deal!

Friday, May 25, 2007

My friend called me and said that there was a problem with the wrecked vehicle.  Apparently, when he went to purchase the wreck, he looked it over in great detail and discovered a "kink" in the frame.  I don't know what that is, but it is a major issue!  So, he didn't buy it.

My beloved portraits of Benjamin Franklin are being mailed back to me.  I am sad that I will not get the vehicle, but MAN I missed Ben.

I think I will put Ben back into his house (the bank – high interest savings account), and let him chill for awhile!

Besides, my car only has 220,000 miles on it. 

Memorial Day – Things I Am Remembering Today

1.  My high school classmate and next-door neighbor, Jeremy Wright, who served in the military and lost his life in Afghanistan when his vehicle encountered an IED.  He is the best athlete I have ever known – by far the best runner I have ever seen.  He is only athlete to have an individual photo placed on the wall of athletic achievements at our high school.

2.  My great uncle, Paul A. Barmann, who was killed in action during WW II.  He was married to my great aunt, Aunt La, for only one year when he lost his life.

3.  My great uncle, Uncle Bud, who was in Pearl Harbor when his ship was attacked as part of the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941.

4.  The Indy 500 which takes place every single Sunday before Memorial Day (unless it rains!).  Most race days would entail us going to church, going to KFC for a bucket of chicken, and then going to the park to listen to the 500 on the radio.  Awesome memories for a boy from central Indiana!

5.  My twin brother, John, who served in the US Army and completed a tour through Korea and my fourth brother, Keith, who also served in the US Army.

6.  How awesome my country is!  I can pursue my God-given dreams!  So can you!

7.  How awesome family is!  I have a great family.  We are as disfunctional as your family and have a blast every time we get together!

The power of “sticking with it”

Normal people will give up when they encounter difficulty.

Normal people will stop budgeting because it is hard.

Normal people will not invest because they don't understand what stocks/bonds/mutual funds/real estate mean.

Normal people will not invest because they "can't afford to right now".

Normal people will not take time to learn about personal finances because it is too difficult.

Normal people will not stick with a debt-pay off plan because they cannot tell themselves "NO!" to a new car, boat, motorcycle, kitchen upgrade, furniture, or vacation.

I resolve to not be normal.  I resolve to stick with it.  Join me in my "I AM NOT NORMAL" personal finance crusade!  Who can you invite over to your house this Memorial Day weekend and teach them about a better way to manage their finances?

Financial Hero – Bank Lady’s Dad

Why is the Bank Lady's Dad a Financial Hero?

The other day I was waiting in an open office awaiting the return of the personal banker.  As I was sitting there, a very elderly lady came in to the bank.  She was at least 80 years old.  Even at this age, this lady had the "fire" in her eyes.  From this point in the story, I will refer to this lady as Bank Lady.

Since the line awaiting the bank tellers was at least eight people deep, Bank Lady took the opportunity to walk up and down the line of people and speak with them (her friend held her place in line).

She stopped by a lady who appeared to be dressed according to another country's customs and pleasantly asked, "Where are  you from?"

The lady said, "I'm from Kenya."

Bank Lady said, "Well, Ken ya help me?  HA HA HA HA HA HA!"

Bank Lady continued, "Seriously, though.  I've been there!"

The other lady stared at her suspiciously.

Bank Lady, full of enery, said, "When I was twelve, my daddy loaded our family up on a boat and took a trip around the world.  One of our stops was Kenya."

Bank Lady, even more alive upon recalling this great memory, continued, "We sailed out of the harbor in August and arrived back into New York in the springtime.  It was middle April."

WOW!  I sat there dumbfounded!  Bank Lady's Dad had left a legacy.  A life-long memory.  He took his family on an EIGHT MONTH TRIP AROUND THE WORLD!

That took money.  That took planning.  That took commitment.  I am still blown away.

For this, Bank Lady's Dad is an official FINANCIAL HERO!

Read about other Financial Heroes!