What are you holding on to?

As I was driving in to crusade this morning, I observed a squirrel standing in the road.  He seemed to notice the oncoming vehicle, but was weighed down by a walnut that he was carrying.

As my truck bore down on him, he seemed to be working with all of his might to get off of the road to safety, but he kept his grips tightly onto the nut.

I applied my brakes and swung out wide to avoid him.   The squirrel got off of the road safely with his nut.

My thoughts on this?  I see people like this all of the time.  They are holding on to something that is slowing them way down financially, but they just won't let go of it.  Unfortunately, many creditors and financiers do not swerve and apply their brakes to protect them.

The end result?  They lose their financial freedom while trying to hold on to the very thing that is weighing them down.  Things like the car with the huge car payment, the huge house that has way to much payment, the student loan that is way too big, the furniture payment, the boat payment, or the college payment for our children.  The list can go on and on.

What is it that you are holding on to?  Get rid of the expenses and you will find liberty that you only dreamed of. 

A letter

I received a letter of encouragement from someone who took the Financial Freedom Class that I teach at NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC.

The author wrote the most incredible line in it.  A line that jars me each time I read it.

"For the longest time, I am ashamed to say, I thought "poor people" were on budgets.  I now realize it is "rich people" who are on budgets, and the reason they are rich is because of having a budget and staying on a budget." 

That, my friends, is TRUTH.

Are you planning your spending every single month?  Free tools are available to help you by clicking "Tools" at the top of the page. 

Home Pay-Off Spectacular

Joe and Jenn have fell off the "normal" curve a long time ago with the way we manage our money.  That's OK!  We're not broke anymore!!!

One of the things we have sought to implement in our lives is accountability.  Now, accountability can be a LOT of FUN!

Here is a way to make accountability FUN!  Let me introduce you to the "Sangl Family Home Pay-Off Spectacular".

Here is how it works.

  • We drew up an outline of the house in Microsoft PowerPoint and then put a bunch of small squares in it.  They are not square feet – they are just squares.
  • Once the outline was filled with squares, we counted up the squares.
  • We divided the amount we paid for the house by the number of squares in the outline.  This yields the $/square value.
  • Every time we pay $72.14 in principal on the mortgage, we get to color in another square!

This is SO visual!  When my daughter was FOUR, she looked at this thing on the side of the refrigerator and said, "Man!  We sure are in a whole lot of house debt!"  My FOUR YEAR OLD daughter gets this!  It really makes it clear how much of the house you actually own.

It makes spending a lot of fun too!  For example, we could go out for a nice meal that costs $70.  We look at each other and smile knowing that we could have paid another square off on the house.

If an "unexpected" expense shows up that costs $70, I will say, "Well, I could have paid another square."

When I get in an unexpected income of $700, I KNOW that I could fill in 10 more squares by sending it off to the mortgage holder.

When we do pay off another square or squares, I ensure that my bride and my daughter get to help color it in!  Even if it is just one square, I will divide it into three small sections and we will each color in a third of it. 

I LOVE this tool!  It is visual.  The entire family sees it.  My friends see it when they visit the house.  I can't wait for the day that the last square is colored in!

Financial Hero – Dave Ramsey

A new category of posts starts TODAY.  This category titled "Financial Hero" will be used to share about people that are my Financial Heroes and why they have become a Financial Hero to me.  Enjoy!!!

 

Why is DAVE RAMSEY a www.JOSEPHSANGL.com Financial Hero?

Dave rocked my world in December 2002.  I had been terrible at managing our short-term money.  We had always contributed heavily to retirement, but our short-term savings hovered continuously at around $4.13.

Dave's 7 Baby Steps changed the way I look at money forever.  I printed out these 7 Baby Steps and put an "expect-to-accomplish" date next to each one.

Jenn and I became debt-free (except for the house) in just 14 month's time.  We are now at Baby Step 6 and making HUGE strides toward Baby Step 7.

Why should DAVE RAMSEY be your Financial Hero? 

  • Dave Ramsey will tell you like it is.  He speaks at a level that you and I can understand.  Dave also is on over 300 radio stations every day for three hours which really helps you learn more about personal finance through the experiences of others!  You can listen to him on-line anytime HERE.
  • Dave has excellent resources available for you to learn more about your finances.  I recommend that everyone take Financial Peace University, a 13-week life-altering class.  You can find a class near you by clicking HERE.
  • Dave's book, Financial Peace, Revisited, is my personal favorite book that he has written.  He has also recently released The Total Money Makeover.  These books should be mandatory reading in high school.  He also wrote an earlier, less-known book called More Than Enough that was good, but I would read the other two books first.
  • Dave is real and authentic.  He has lost and won with money and is an excellent communicator.
  • Dave is also crazy about teaching our kids this stuff.  So much so that he has written a line of children's books.  They are filled with very creative drawings and have actually been given out by the millions as part of the Kid's Meal Program at Chick-fil-A!

Dave, you are an official www.josephsangl.com Financial Hero!  You ROCK!

Fix-it Upper House – Worth It?

For the first time in my life, I have bought an older home.

Jenn and I have owned three other houses – two of them brand new and one was four years old.

Now we have purchased a home that is 28 years old.

Yeah, that wood paneling with wallpaper over it that looked like wedding cake was beautiful.  The two different leaks in the roof were nice.  The discovery of a pile of trash underneath the house was great.

With the work that we wanted to accomplish on the house, we decided to delay moving in until we had addressed many of the known issues.  We have worked tirelessly for almost two months to get the house ready, and we finally moved in last weekend.

We're tired!  It has been nearly a full-time job getting this house ready.  I spoke four times at NewSpring Church on Sunday, February 25th, and when I finished the fourth message, I got into the car and drove to the house to work on the house.  My days that I have taken off from my crusade have been spent at the house.  As we worked on repairing the roof, I managed to smash my thumb to oblivion using a 22 oz Estwing hammer.

OOOUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCCCHHHHHHHH!

You may be considering buying and fixing up a house.  You may be wondering if it would be worth the effort.  I will tell you this – I am the son of a home builder, and it has been very difficult for me.  I don't do this sort of thing EVER, but I kinda sorta know the general activity required.

I would say this, we have gained some significant sweat equity and learned a lot by fixing up this house, but I would not do this again for my personal residence.   EVER.

Financial Freedom Class

The Financial Freedom Class is launching at NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC on Thursday evenings, April 5th.

If you have been putting off this class and are in the Anderson area, now is the time to do it!  Sign up at the Resource Center on Sunday or during 1st Wednesday services. 

Five nights will change your financial future.

Forever.

Just ask the people who have already taken it. 

Monday Morning – Random Thoughts

I love the comments that have been posted in response to THIS post.

I just bought tickets to vacation trip #1 on Delta.com.  I started out using Expedia.com because they are usually great to use.  However, this time it was all glitchy and failed to even get me to the point to purchase tickets.  So I went on to Delta.com and I got the exact same ticket for $5/ea less!  Apparently, that is what the fee is that Delta pays Expedia to sell its tickets.  Round-trip to Philadelphia for less than $200 per ticket.  I'm likin' it.

Apparently, PERRY went to see Celine Dion while in Vegas.  Well, I DEMAND that his "Man Card" be laying on my desk by morning.  If he says HERE that my listening to Clay Aiken is wrong, then DEFINITELY Celine is in the same category.  I can't stop thinking about the movie, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days.  Perry in a pink Celine T-shirt – PRICELESS!

I can tell where a person is coming from by the way they phrase things.  If they say, "I had to finance the car" or "I had to get a loan" or "I had to buy it", then I clearly KNOW that they are approaching their finances from the wrong point of view.  If you have heard yourself say something like this, may I suggest an alternative approach?  How about – "I know that this big expense is approaching.  How can I pay for it without using debt?"

I delivered some of my fashion mags to Judith.  Sheesh.  The mailman is hating my delivery address.

I am ready to get my book published.  Anyone interested in publishing this little-known author who is on a crusade to teach 100,000 people about managing their personal finances in the next 5 years?

What makes a person willing to manage their money well?

Personal financial counseling is a blast!  I LOVE meeting with people and showing them how Jenn and I were able to start managing our money well instead of having our money manage us.

As I have spoken with hundreds of people on finances, I have been seeking the answer to this question.

"What makes a person willing to manage their money well?"

I use a similar approach for every single financial counseling appointment.  I ensure that I understand where they have been in life and where they are wanting to go.  I make sure I understand how each person feels about their current financial situation.  I assist them in putting together a BUDGET that uses the Magic Formula: INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO.  We work together to calculate their DEBT FREEDOM DATE.   I show them how to use Cash Envelopes for the spending categories that they feel they are most impulsive on (groceries, restaurants, spending money, clothing).

Even with all of this new knowledge, there are still people who will walk right out and continue life making decisions that will rob them of financial freedom.  The will continue to make decisions that will rob them of their ability to win big-time.

Don't get me wrong – MANY people make life-changing alterations to the way they manage money.  The issue is that I am on a crusade to help people with finances, and it hurts to see someone reject a better way and continue on their current path.

So again, the question I am asking is, What makes a person willing to manage their money well?

What made you start to manage your money well?  What key learning happened?  What key tool did you obtain?  What event happened?

Let the discussion begin! 

Money Saving Ideas

More money saving ideas, courtesy www.josephsangl.com …

1.  Gardener? Talk to friends/family about possibly obtaining some bulbs/divisions/corms/tubers of perennials.  Free flowers are awesome!  I have obtained surprise lilies, day lilies, dianthus, coral bells, rudbeckia, iris, and other AWESOME plants for FREE.  I love FREE.  Anyone have any? Smile

 

2.  Seek out a cash-only, no insurance doctor.  You will pay 1/2 of what you would to a doctor who participates in insurance programs.  Why?  Because a doctor who deals with insurance needs at least two full-time people to chase insurance companies and payments.  You will feel better knowing that you have prepaid your bill, got a better deal, AND did not have to deal with the insurance company.

3.   Buy a used car that is 2 to 4 years old.  Most of the sharp depreciation in value is done by year 3 and when you lay down CASH for the purchase (remember – no debt!) you will get a better deal!  There is something about seeing 100 $100 bills laying down on the hood of a car that makes a car dealer or individual sell a $12,000 car for $10,000.  Try it!

Hey, I used to not negotiate anything, but I was B-R-O-K-E!  No longer!

My Magazine Order with Delta Skymiles

OK OK OK – so the response to my magazine order I wrote about HERE has been funny!

In response to some of the comments/questions, here is the list of magazine subscriptions I ordered.

On a personal note, I am anxiously awaiting my first issues of "Teen Vogue", "Diabetes Forecast", and "Glamour".

While I was reading "Details" and "Lucky" magazines, I took the scratch-n-sniff perfume/cologne samples and rubbed them all over my head and shirt.  I had at least 15 different varieties of cologne/perfume on me when I was done.  I smelled like a rose.

Jenn was only mildly amused at my behavior …

Financial Counseling

Over the past three months, I have been able to meet with 123 people in 81 different one-on-one financial counseling appointments.

What an amazing quarter!  I have been honored to meet each person and hear their story.

Here are some key things I have learned through these counseling sessions.

  1. Couples who work together on their finances are in better financial condition than couples who do not work together.
  2. People who give faithfully rarely have huge, burdensome financial problems.
  3. People want HELP/HOPE not REPROACH/DISAPPROVAL (they already know that they have a problem!)
  4. Some people will just flat-out refuse to learn.
  5. You have no idea how much debt your neighbor/friend/relative has!
  6. People have big dreams/ideas/plans, but have no idea how much it will cost to accomplish them.
  7. It does not matter how much you make, only how much you give/save/spend.
  8. People pay way too much for insurance.
  9. Car payments are an epidemic.
  10. Saving money is a foreign concept for many people.
  11. Once shown a better way (INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO), most people will immediately switch!
  12. Schools are doing an awful job of teaching money management.
  13. Parents are doing an even worse job of teaching money management.

What have you learned as you have learned to manage your money better?

Free Magazines

While I was updating my address for my Skymiles account at Delta Airlines, I noticed that the miles I had were going to expire in a couple of weeks.

Well, I had tried to use these miles a couple of years ago for a trip for my sister-in-law.  Although seats were available on the plane, Delta would not allow me to use the free ticket on the flight.  They did offer a flight that was two MONTHS later, however.  FRUSTRATING …

Anyway, my miles were due to expire, so I decided to cash them in on a few free magazine subscriptions.  It only takes 300 to 500 miles to get a year's subscription to most magazines.

So I did what anyone with expiring miles would do … I got a subscription to EVERY SINGLE ONE of the the 32 magazines available!

Allure, Daily Variety, Glamour, Details, Latina, …  The list goes on!  The order was placed around Christmas so now all of the magazines are arriving.  In PILES.  Piles and piles of magazines are showing up daily.

I finally got around to looking at a few of the magazines last night.  What a load of JUNK!  I was reminded again of how crazy this world is!  There is a jacket that looks like it was thrown into a trash bin and washed in a septic tank – all for $3,000!  For a mere $1,000, I can buy a purse that looks like it was made from a dog’s hide.

The marketing for some of this stuff is crazy!  Another article mentions in passing that the cost of the meal for three people was $930.  A mortgage payment for a single meal.  It is written to sound cool, but I want to throw up.

I walked away from reading these magazines reminded once again of how the hooks are into the wealthy.

Let me tell you this – just because you have $1,000,000 in the bank does not mean that you are doing well!  If you are making $300,000 per year, a $1,000,000 should be a mere start!  You should have more like $4,000,000!  Are you managing your money well?  Or are you spending it like you’ve got it?

Is excess is OK?  Are $930 meals acceptable?

Unleash”ed”

I am participating as a co-host of a breakout session of the Unleash Conference today at NewSpring Church.

This conference has completely blown our minds!  We set an initial target of 100 people for this conference.  We have spent no money marketing this conference, and we announced it in mid-January on six blogs.

Yeah …  We are going to have close to 1,000 people here today.

Perry is going to teach on leadership.

My breakout session is focused on "Financially Equipping Your Congregation".

I can't wait to expand the crusade! 

#1 ways to become wealthy

NOTE:  Joe Sangl's non-scientific method was utilized to prepare this information. Smile

  1. Be born into it
  2. Marry into it
  3. Start a business
  4. Real Estate
  5. Invest in the stock market
  6. Avoid debt
  7. Budget your money every single month BEFORE the money arrives
  8. Read www.joesangl.com everyday Smile  Seriously, you need to continue to learn about finances everyday.  You can't afford NOT to!

My daughter is an investor!

My 7-year-old daughter is an investor!

When she receives gifts of money (birthdays/Christmas), we have a requirement that she must take at least half of it and place it in her college fund or her new car fund (Yes, we do have a car fund – driving is ONLY 9 years ago).

What is she investing in for her college fund?

  • Aggressive Growth Stock Mutual Funds
  • Growth Stock Mutual Funds

What is she investing in for her car fund?

  • A miserable savings account.  This is changing next week!
  • It will be moving into growth stock mutual funds.

You might think that I am a FREAK.  You might think that my daughter is being mistreated because Jenn and I are requiring her to invest her gifts of money.  You might think that we are robbing her of enjoyment of her childhood.

I would just say this – MY DAUGHTER WILL NOT BE B-R-O-K-E!!!  We are equipping her to WIN.  We are teaching her to PLAN.  We are demonstrating in the most tangible way possible that DEBT IS DUMB, INVESTORS WIN, BROKE IS HORRIBLE, DREAMS ARE ACHIEVABLE, A LITTLE INVESTED ALL OF THE TIME MAKES YOU WEALTHY.

Can you say "Paid-for 1st card?", "Paid-for college education?", and "Paid-for 1st house?"

If you are not teaching your kids how to manage money well, YOU ARE FAILING AS A PARENT!!!