Have You Looked At Your Credit Report Lately?

Your credit report is used regularly to make decisions about you. Marketers use your credit report to determine the offer they will send to you. Insurance companies use it to establish premiums.

Since decisions are going to be made about you based on your credit report, you should know what the report says! Even more, identity theft is rampant and errors can also happen.

By law, you are allowed to obtain your credit report at least once per year. Obtain your FREE credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.

Each credit reporting agency will attempt to sell you a credit score, but you are not obligated to do so!  Decline the offer and obtain your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies – Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. You can print each report as well as save it to your computer.

Facts You Should Know

  • www.annualcreditreport.com
  • Obtain a credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies – Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax
  • If married, obtain these three credit reports for each of you
  • Review carefully for accuracy

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Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing – Acts 6

Have you ever been involved in a big project? I mean a big project! One with large quantities of work, assignments, people, and deadlines involved?  If you have been associated with a number of projects like this, I can virtually guarantee you have experienced the “mired-in-the-details-I-have-no-clue-about-what-is-going-on” leader.

This is the type of leader who, when leading a project similar to solving world-hunger, will spend fifteen days determining what type of tablecloth to have at a fund-raising dinner. A leader who, when leading a project to build a new school, will spend seven days figuring out the number of pounds of clay it will take to bake the brick it will take.

Most of the items the project leader focuses on ARE important, it is just not important for them to figure it out!

They have forgotten to keep the main thing the main thing!

I believe all people have found themselves stuck in the details at some point.

Examples include:

  • Polishing up the entire house for Thanksgiving dinner, but forgetting to put the turkey in the oven.
  • Making sure the children are delivered to and picked up from school on time, but never taking time to see how school is going.
  • Obtaining a huge promotion at work, but neglecting the entire family for three years to achieve it.

I see a great example of this in the Bible, Acts 6. The widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food, and the disciples were being asked to attend to the widows. Was it important to feed the widows? Absolutely! However, what was the Main Thing for the disciples? Telling others about Jesus! So, what did the disciples do? They selected seven trustworthy individuals and put them in charge of serving the widows.

The disciples said it so well …  “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.”

Are you keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing?  Have you been distracted from the ultimate reason you have been put on this earth.  It is time to refocus!

Read the series

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Biblical Financial Lessons – Ecclesiastes 5:10

This is a series that appears on a regular basis here at JosephSangl.com – “Biblical Financial Lessons”

Ecclesiastes 5:10Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.

This is an incredible statement, and every single person on planet Earth wrestles with this issue. We all must deal with money, and most of the time we simply do not have enough to buy all of the things we want. If we are not very careful, we will begin to pursue money and develop a love for it.

Marketers know this, and this is why they continually play upon the feelings of lack or scarcity. Of course, once you obtain the item they are offering, they must sell you something else. They move the “happiness” line again, and create another feeling of “you are nothing unless you have this one thing.” And for those who are in love with money and wealth, the cycle never ends.

Here is a great question to ask yourself:

“How much money is enough?”

If your answer is an actual number (such as $1 million), watch out! A great answer is “I have enough right now. I am so blessed!”

In Matthew 6:21, we read “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” To avoid giving your heart over to the pursuit of money and “More. More! More!!”, employ these regular activities:

  1. State “I am so blessed!” at least once each day.  Tell someone WHY you are blessed.
  2. Give money away. Giving keeps me from being greedy and connects my heart to the organizations and individuals I have given to.
  3. Pray. Prayer helps maintain focus on what is most important.
  4. Serve others. Serving others allows me to see that the world does not revolve around me and ensures that I live an open-handed life focused on helping others!
  5. Document your blessings.  When you write down the blessings you have in your life, it opens your eyes to just how blessed you really are!!!

Application Questions

  1. Are you giving money away?
  2. How are you serving others?
  3. Have you written your blessings on paper lately?

Read the series

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Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – September 2012

Every month there will be an update of Joe & Jenn’s Home Pay-Off Spectacular!

Here’s this month’s update!

Total Squares:  2,426

Paid-For Squares:  1211   1231

Squares Remaining:  1215   1195

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:  49.9% 50.8%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:  50.1%  49.2%

Here is the updated Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular (click to view large size)

Another 20 squares this last month! We now own more than HALF of our house. Even though we now own 50.8% of our home, it is interesting to look at our monthly payment and see that interest still accounts for 56.2% of our regular monthly payment. It FIRES ME UP even more to eliminate this mortgage!

YOU can do it too! I challenge you to start your own home pay-off spectacular using our free tool here => Pay Off Spectacular – House.

Read previous Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular Updates

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Weird Financial Math

Weird financial math occurs in many households.

Here’s usually how it goes.

  • Person is scheduled to be paid next week.
  • Person thinks, “I’ll spend some of that money now on Item #1 on my credit card.”
  • Person spends money on Item #1 on their credit card.
  • They also spend money on Item #2, 3, and 4 using that credit card.
  • By the time the person actually receives their paycheck, it has already been totally spent.
  • Instead of repaying the credit card, they spend the actual cash from the paycheck on items #5, 6, 7, and 8.

Do you see what happens?

They are attempting to make ONE paycheck cover the costs of items that equal TWO paychecks.

It is weird financial math.

While 1 + 1 really does equal 2, they are attempting to make 1 + 1 equal 1.

I prefer to use the weird and wonderful math that happens when compound interest works for me!

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U.S. National Debt Update – August 2012

The US National Debt has increased by $46,233,894,979 since our last update on July 11, 2012.  Another month, and the United States has dropped another cool $46 billion in the hole.

National Debt as of 8/9/2012

$15,915,814,457,919

That is an increase of $1.594 BILLION PER DAY since our last update 29 days ago.

Whether we choose to address this problem as a nation or not, we WILL have to deal with it. We are really being faced with one of two decisions:

  1. Face the problem now by making some really tough choices  Like reducing some great programs or potentially eliminating some of them. NONE of us like to reduce spending. It is NO FUN. It STINKS. But we all have faced this in our personal finances before. Of course, we want to let our children participate in any activity they enjoy, but sometimes we have to say NO because of the costs! Of course, many people would love to have a huge house with every amenity known to mankind, but sometimes it is just not possible to maintain the financial burden required to maintain it!
  2. Let the problem fester until we are FORCED to make the tough choices  Whenever I have let the clock run out on tough financial decisions, I have found that my options have been severely reduced and the pain is much greater. I’ve always found myself saying, “I wish I had made this decision sooner.”

I wonder which decision the American citizens will make.

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5 Great Personal Finance Websites

It is a passion of mine to learn something new every single day. It is part of my daily routine to read more than 30 blogs and websites. Many of them are related to personal finances. With that said, I want to share “5 Great Personal Finance Websites” with you because they have helped me continue to learn about money.

  1. MyMoneyBlog.com Great posts ranging from the author’s personal financial story to investing articles. You can follow the author on Twitter HERE
  2. CNNMoney This is a great place to learn about what is happening in the world on subjects ranging from world markets to personal finance advice
  3. Christan Personal Finance Great biblical wisdom can be found daily on this website
  4. Yahoo! Finance Another collection of perspectives on “all things personal finance”
  5. Rich Dad Poor Dad A blog from the Robert Kiyosaki team that focuses on maximizing all of your resources

What great personal finance website would you add to this list?

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IHHE RANT: This Won’t Work For Everyone

For the next few days, I’m going to be sharing a few of my IHHE (I Have Had Enough) Rants.

IHHE Rant: This Won’t Work For Everyone

I love traveling this nation helping people become financially free and fund their dreams. It is my calling. It is AWESOME when I hear people say that they have become debt-free. It is even MORE AWESOME when someone tells me that they have been able to fire themselves from their J.O.B. and go do that “one thing” that they have been called to do. YES!

BUT …   there is that occasional person who says, “This will not work for me. Living by a budget is too hard.” Hmmmmm. Let’s think through this. The person is so stone broke that they can’t two nickels to rub together. … but living by a budget is too hard.

I think living BROKE is too hard! The STRESS. The EMERGENCIES. The TEARS.

It is just not worth it.

I’ll take my budget and its financial freedom.

Can I get a witness?!

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IHHE RANT: START TODAY!

For the next few days, I’m going to be sharing a few of my IHHE (I Have Had Enough) Rants.

IHHE Rant: Start Today!

I am praying and pleading that I have met the last person who will say to me, “If I get ____, then I will be able to go do what I really want to do with my life.”

Are you kidding me?   Life is too short to spend wishing and hoping.   If you KNOW that you are called to do something, then get started today!  You may not be able to do it full time right now, but you can at least do it part time and develop the skills necessary to take it to full time.

You want to start a business?   Start doing the work part-time right now!   You want to be a stay-at-home mom?   Make the financial decisions necessary to at least work one less hour per day or one day less per week.   You want to travel around the world? Start researching now on the Internet and save money to be prepared for the day that the dream WILL arrive!

STOP saying, “If I …”, and instead START saying, “I am …” or “I will…” or “When I…”!

You CAN do what you are called to do.   What can YOU do to get started toward it today?

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IHHE RANT: Don’t Do As I Do! Do As I Say!

For the next few days, I’m going to be sharing a few of my IHHE (I Have Had Enough) Rants.

IHHE Rant: Don’t Do As I Do! Do As I Say!

Everyone has met that one person who tells everyone how they should do something or how they should live their lives, but then that same individual goes out and ignores all of their own teaching!

It’s the PE Teacher who is completely out of shape.  It’s the messy parent telling their kid to clean their room.  It’s the person who tells their family to stop their crazy spending even when they themselves are so broke that when they go to Kentucky Fried Chicken, they have to lick other people’s fingers!

It’s the proverbial hypocrite.  Of course, we all have been a hypocrite at one point in time of our life or another, but I’m talking about consistently making the statement, “Don’t do as I do.  Do as I say!”

  • Americans You want the country to have a balanced budget?  You want the National Debt to stop rising?   IT STARTS BY LIVING IT IN YOUR OWN LIFE!
  • Parents You want your children to prosper in life and manage their money well?   IT STARTS BY LIVING THE PRINCIPLES IN YOUR OWN LIFE!
  • Business Owners You want your business to prosper?   You want your employees to manage the business money well?   IT STARTS BY DOING THE SAME IN YOUR OWN LIFE!

I know I have more than enough times in my life where I have not lived out everything I say I value, but man I am SO GRATEFUL that my bride and I got on the same page financially and took the necessary (and tough) steps to achieve financial freedom.

And here’s the GREAT NEWS – You CAN do it too!   That’s why I’ve written all of the books and studies.   It’s why I’ve written like crazy on this website for the past five years.   It’s why we travel and teach over 50,000 people each year.   However we can help you, we want to do it!

How about making this the time that you say, “Do as I do. Because doing so set me free!

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IHHE RANT: What Difference Does It Make Now?

For the next few days, I’m going to be sharing a few of my IHHE (I Have Had Enough) Rants.

IHHE Rant: What Difference Does It Make Now?

I routinely meet people who are so broke that they cannot see the forest because of the trees.

They can sit through an entire two-hour Financial Learning Experience where I teach the power of having a written plan for life and a written plan for their money. I have taught the enormous power of attacking debt with the Debt Freedom Date Calculation and using the debt snowball to eliminate it.

After all of this teaching, I still encounter people who say, “This can never work for me.   I’m beyond help.   What difference does it make now?”   Then they offer their reason (excuse) for why they can’t win with their money:

  • “I’m too old.”
  • “I’m too deep in debt.”
  • “I have no income.”
  • “I have too little income.”
  • “My spouse won’t participate.”
  • “I am stupid with money.”
  • “My parents didn’t teach me about money.”
  • “There’s no hope for me.”

Are you kidding me?   “What difference does it make now?”   Let me count some ways …

  • You’ll prove to yourself that you COULD do this!
  • You won’t have to eat Alpo during retirement!
  • You can help your children go to college and graduate debt-free!
  • You can use your past mistakes (and successes) to teach your children and grandchildren how to win with their money!
  • You won’t have to say, “Hi.   Welcome to Wal-Mart.” when you are 83 years young (unless you CHOOSE to)
  • You will develop a positive outlook on life – which leads to a longer, better, and more productive life
  • You will be able to leave an inheritance for your children and causes you really care about
  • You can position others to win with their money by leading the way!
  • Your ACTIONS will speak and teach way louder than any words you ever use.

What you do starting TODAY can make a major difference tomorrow!

QUESTION: What is ONE THING you can do today to make a difference tomorrow?

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Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – August 2012

Every month there will be an update of Joe & Jenn’s Home Pay-Off Spectacular!

Here’s this month’s update!

Total Squares:  2,426

Paid-For Squares:  1191   1211

Squares Remaining:  1235   1215

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:  49.1% 49.9%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:  50.9%  50.1%

Here is the updated Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular (click to view large size)

Another 20 squares! We did not quite make it to owning half of our house this month – we ended up just two squares short. Next month, we will finally own over half of the house, and that pumps us up!

It took us many years to get to the point that we could really tackle our mortgage, and it is so exciting to see all of that EFFORT and FOCUS and DETERMINATION literally “pay off” as we pay off our house!

YOU can do it too! I challenge you to start your own home pay-off spectacular using our free tool here => Pay Off Spectacular – House.

Read previous Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular Updates

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IHHE RANT: Get Fired Up!

For the next few days, I’m going to be sharing a few of my IHHE (I Have Had Enough) Rants.

IHHE Rant: Get Fired Up!

There are a lot of people in life who apparently believe that life is supposed to be perfect without any difficulties whatsoever.  They feel like since they want something, then it should just happen.  The moment that they are faced with a struggle or tussle or tough conversation or lack of funding, they give up and say, “It’s just not fair!”

I have news for that type of person – “Fair is where you ride rides.  Life is not fair.”

We all face challenges.  We all have less than stellar days when we want to give up, but at least we still have life!  It might not be easy to smile all of the time, but smiling is so much better than frowning.  Someone might tell us the word we all hate to hear – NO – but hearing NO might be the most important thing to hear at the moment.

Listen, if you can’t get fired up for what you do, go find something that DOES fire you up!  Life is way too short to just wander through it.  Being fired up doesn’t mean that you have to be loud and ridiculous about it (my preferred method), but it does mean that your work allows you to wake up every single day and say, “I can’t believe I get to do this!”

It’s time to get fired up!

Who’s fired up?  Tell me in the comments WHY you are fired up!

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Why I Do What I Do

A reader of JosephSangl.com shared her story with me, and it really sums up why I do what I do.  With her permission, here is her story …

I was OVERWHELMED with JOY as I dropped my oldest child off for college last weekend! NOT because I was happy to have her leave the house … she has been such BLESSING and a BIG part of my life since I was 17 years old and learned I was pregnant … but because I have PRAYED, PLANNED & PREPARED for this day for YEARS.

I made a lot of COSTLY mistakes. I turned my back on God and did things my way! I maxed out my first credit card at 15 YEARS OLD! That was the beginning of several bad financial decisions since I didn’t put any thoughtful planning into them! They were “this will do ’til the next bill arrives” solutions which is NO solution at all!

I hit rock bottom and was in BONDAGE financially, spiritually & emotionally by my early 20s. After a divorce, I was living in an apartment I couldn’t afford and my car was being repossessed so I swallowed my pride, went to D.S.S. and applied for assistance. I was denied for everything. I was told that my full time job paying minimum wage put me over the limit for any assistance for myself and two children. I was devastated. I asked the lady how anyone would qualify if the standards were so low. She advised me to lose my job and showed me that if I would stay home with my children instead of working then I would actually make MORE money on welfare. I left and never went back. I got sick of hot dogs, grilled cheese and pb&j sandwiches but kept working.

I EVENTUALLY came to the conclusion that this wasn’t the life that I wanted for myself or my children!! I was raised in a Christian household and accepted Christ at seven years old. I KNEW that how I was living was wrong. I wasn’t going to church, tithing, or budgeting my money. I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit when I made bad decisions whether they were moral or financial. God had more in store for me than I could ever imagine and I was cheating myself by cheating Him!

I began going to church, budgeting my money and planning for the future. I saved what I could … as often as I could. I got life insurance on myself and my children. I started a Future Scholar 529 College Savings plan (direct so I managed it myself and didn’t pay anyone a fee) for both of my children. I started saving the minimum amount allowable. $50 per month. It was A LOT to me but I am so thankful that I did. I was able to raise the amount over the years and I am pleased to say that my daughter’s first tuition payment was paid in full directly from that account!! AND she is driving a car that is completely paid for!! I think I was the happiest mom at the college last weekend. I literally found myself skipping with joy as I transported her belongings from the car to the dorm!!

If I could say anything to the moms & dads out there it would be this, “Don’t let time get away from you! Start saving NOW!” Ideally, you should save $200 per month per child to plan for their college expenses but WHATEVER you save will help!! God has great things in store for you and your children!! I am still saving every month for college expenses because I know there are more tuition bills on the way.

My goal now is to help my daughter through college with NO student loan debt. I don’t know what’s in store for us over the next four years but I know that I will keep PRAYING, PLANNING and PREPARING every day!! 

THIS READER’S STORY FIRES ME UP!  How about you?  Do you have a story that you want to share with the readers of JosephSangl.com? Send it to me at joe@iwbnin.com along with written permission to share it with our readers. Your story could be used to inspire tens of thousands of other people!!!

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Is Home Mortgage Interest Deduction A Good Idea?

Is home mortgage interest deduction a good idea?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions at our live events.  Below is my answer.

If you have a mortgage and are paying interest, it is ABSOLUTELY very important to take the mortgage interest deduction. BUT there are a few key facts to consider as well.

One thing I have heard commonly stated is “I am not going to pay off my mortgage early because I do not want to lose the mortgage interest deduction.” I believe this saying was initiated by banks because it is much more costly to keep the mortgage than to pay the taxes owed without the interest deduction.  See the example illustrated below.

The Mortgage Interest Deduction
Let’s say you paid $5,000 in interest on your mortgage last year. By taking the deduction, you effectively reduce your taxable income by $5,000. You receive back the tax rate on that home mortgage interest deduction. If your tax rate is 30%, you will receive a refund of $1,500 because of the home mortgage interest deduction (30% of $5,000). Of course, the bank keeps the $5,000 you paid in interest. Uncle Sam receives 30% of your taxable income which is now $40,000 because you were able to reduce your taxable income by the $5,000 interest you paid. The total net OUTGO from your bank accounts to Uncle Sam and the bank is $17,000!

The Paid-Off House Scenario
Well, you are living life pretty good in your debt-free condition! You have paid off your house, so now you no longer pay interest to the bank (yay!). This means you will be taxed on your full income of $45,000. If your tax rate is 30%, the total net OUTGO paid to Uncle Sam is $13,500!

NET RESULT:  By eliminating your mortgage, you have $3,500 LESS OUTGO from your bank account to someone else.

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