You Know You Have Financial Freedom When…

Since it is July 4th – Independence Day for the United States of America, I thought it would be great to share some ways that you KNOW that you have Financial Freedom!

You know you have financial freedom when …

  • You forget when payday is.
  • The car completely blows up, and you can just go pay cash for another one.
  • You are not afraid to tell your manager that he/she is wrong and that there is a better way.  (I have seen many people who are afraid to tell their manager this for fear of retribution or loss of their job.  That’s too bad. I believe that most managers love to have their employees tell them when they are wrong!)
  • You lose your income and your healthy savings account allows you to live for months without incurring any new debt.
  • You lose the fear of negotiating a better deal.  (If anything costs more than $100, it is worth negotiating – including with services like doctors, dentists, chiropractors, massage therapists, house cleaning, cable, etc.
  • Bill paying time takes a total of 30 minutes a month.
  • You can take the job you were put on earth to do … regardless of the income potential!
  • You have enough.  “Enough” does not have a number, but you have financial freedom when you KNOW you have “enough.”

What are some others you would add to this?

Finish the sentence …  “You know you have financial freedom when …”

Looking for additional Personal Finance Resources?  You can obtain our free financial tools by clicking HERE and purchase books/materials by clicking HERE.

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Top 10 Reasons I Love Paid-For-In-Advance Vacations

You may have wondered why there was silence on the blog for most of the past week.   It was because I was able to take my family on an incredible beach vacation!

I am overwhelmed at how blessed I really am that I am able to take such a tremendous vacation – and to do it without debt.

I just want to share a picture of my wife walking with our son along the beach early in the morning and to share a few things that I love about taking “paid-for-in-advance” vacations.

Top 10 Reasons I loved taking this “paid-for-in-advance” vacation:

  1. The beach is my bride’s favorite place to be
  2. Watching my kids play in the surf and sun
  3. Seeing an 8 foot shark, dolphins, alligators, and sting rays
  4. No bites from all animals mentioned in #3!
  5. No debt followed me home
  6. Able to totally enjoy the trip – knowing we saved for it!
  7. Total relaxation knowing that we funded a dream – and lived the dream!
  8. Able to negotiate a better deal because we had to plan early to save for this trip!
  9. I arrived home FIRED UP and CREATIVELY RENEWED!
  10. My bride is happy!

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Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – July 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:  1170   1191

Squares Remaining:  1256   1235

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:  48.2% 49.1%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:  51.8%  50.9%

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

Another 21 squares!  I’m so FIRED UP!  In just ONE MORE MONTH, we will officially own over half of our house!  It is so very encouraging to see these squares being colored in.

Have you begun YOUR own house pay-off spectacular?

If you do not have one, you can get one here => Pay Off Spectacular – House.

Read previous Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular Updates

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Lack of Understanding Can Cost You Big Time!

Do you understand insurance? Life insurance? Auto Insurance? Health Insurance? I know that it is certainly not the most interesting subject in the world, but if you do not take the time to truly understand these products, it will cost you big time.

Rules I follow when purchasing insurance:

  • Do not just “take an insurance agent’s word for it!” Truly seek understanding of the product! If you understand it, you will be able to make a good purchase that you will KNOW is a good purchase.
  • Understand what’s being offered  If you are speaking with an insurance agent, and you start feeling like you are being “sold” on a product – LEAVE IMMEDIATELY!!! Use Donald Trump’s words – “You’re fired!” Complete with the New England accent if you wish. You do not need to be sold on an insurance product, you need to understand the insurance products. Once you understand the products, you will be able to make a sound decision.
  • Obtain at least three quotes from three different companies. Ensure that at least one is an independent company that is able to surf your insurance needs among many different companies. Competition makes prices go down. When prices go down, you will get to keep more of your money. I use US Insurance Online to obtain dozens of quotes without calling anyone – they call and email me quotes from multiple insurance companies!
  • Do not cancel an existing insurance product until you have obtained a replacement. Do not cancel your auto insurance before you have obtained auto insurance from another company. Do not cancel your life insurance before you have obtained alternative life insurance from elsewhere. A gap in coverage is ripe territory for Mr. Murphy to show up.
  • Do not allow your insurance to be combined with another financial product. For example, cash value life insurance is both life insurance and an investment in one product. The problem with these types of products is that the fees are tremendous. Purchase your investments and insurance separately.
  • Send out your insurance every two years for new quotes. You want to ensure that your rates are remaining competitive with the open market.
  • Ask for a better deal. Insurance is a service product. Prices of service products are negotiable.
  • Be extremely careful when purchasing insurance from a family member or a good friend. You may have your judgment impaired because you really want to please and help them.

Again, insurance may be a boring subject. If you kept reading all the way to the end of this article, I am impressed! You can save a lot of money on insurance by employing these tips.

I personally use US Insurance Online to obtain quotes because it allows me to shop and compare without calling anyone!!!  Check their website out HERE.

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Proverbs 14:30-31

30: “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”

31: “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”

As I help people get their finances in order, I cast vision as to “how things could be” IF “they would just do this, this, and that.”  Many times this involves selling some stuff – cars, boats, motorcycles, houses!  I want people to have nice stuff, but many times the nice stuff is eating up 50% of their budget OR MORE.  People just will not win with expenses like that!

As I cast vision, it is not unusual for me to say, “If you sell the two cars and buy two used cars, you could be debt-free except for the house in 12 months.  If you choose to keep the cars, you may be debt-free in 60 months.” Or I might say, “If you sell the boat and motorcycle, you could be debt-free immediately.  If you keep the boat and motorcycle, you may be debt-free in 72 months.”

When I mention selling some stuff, I begin encountering resistance!  This is their stuff!  They love their stuff!  They bought this stuff, and they want to keep it.  Even when it is eating them alive financially!  Even when they are not able to give one thin dime and are not assisting others at all!

As I go through meetings like this, I see that God’s word is true.  Proverbs 14:30 says that “envy rots the bones”.  When people have a bad case of stuff-itis, it is usually a result of envy.  They saw someone else with that item, and they wanted one too.  The difference is that they could not afford it.  The verse also says that “a heart at peace gives life to the body.”  When stuff-itis is cured, WOW!  The peace is awesome!  Knowing you could go to the store and buy anything in there, but not doing it because you really don’t need anything.  I am telling you it is AWESOME!  Jenn and I have been vaccinated against stuff-itis, and it feels good!

Proverbs 14:31 says that “whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”  I guess that is why it pains me so deeply in my soul when I see people up to their eyeballs in debt with a bad case of stuff-itis.  They are so loaded up with their own wants that they do not even see the the needy, let alone help them.

The solution?  Get a vaccination against stuff-itis!

Read the series

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U.S. National Debt Update – June 2012

The US National Debt has increased by $84,945,657,221 since our last update on April 22, 2012.  Another month, and the United States has dropped another cool $85 billion in the hole.

National Debt as of 6/5/2012

$15,759,816,680,078

That is an increase of $1.93 BILLION PER DAY since our last update 44 days ago.

Although the rate of debt acquisition has slowed, the credit card apparently still has some room left before we hit the limit …

I’m doing something about this issue. I’m wondering how many others are willing to do their part.

What are YOUR suggestions for addressing this?

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Two Types Of Financial Margin

Margin. The very word speaks strongly.

In writing, margin means “space.” Teachers tell us to leave margins and “don’t write in the margins.”

For any individual or organization to last, maintaining margin must be a priority. Here’s why – you will experience economic downturns. If financial margin has not been established, it can cause immediate financial issues and even jeopardize the solvency of the individual or organization.

There are two types of margin every person or organization should have in place.

  1. Cash On Hand Savings (Financial Reserves)
  2. Monthly Savings (Operational Margin)

1.  Cash On Hand Savings (Financial Reserves)

Having money in the bank allows you to focus on your mission instead of exhausting yourself by determining the steps necessary to keep the doors open and the lights on. Financial reserves also allow you to ponder future opportunities to expand or grow your business or investments. Cash on hand also allows you the opportunity to encounter surprise expenses without worrying about how you will pay for them. In short, cash on hand allows you to sleep a lot better at night!

GOAL: 3 months of operating expenses

2.  Monthly Savings (Operational Margin)

This type of margin is created by managing your costs such that you are able to add money to the bank account each and every month. This is what happens when you have a profitable organization or life. This type of margin allows you to know that current bills will be paid without having to erode financial reserves and to also fund future dreams!

GOAL: 15 to 20-percent profit margin

If I were to have a choice of one type of margin, I would choose #2 – Monthly Savings because I would be able to immediately begin funding #1 with the surplus profits!

Where are YOU personally when compared to this goals? Where is YOUR ORGANIZATION in relation to these goals?

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In my book, I Was Broke. Now I’m Not., I share three things every person should save for and HOW to achieve it. You can purchase HERE or acquire a Kindle Version HERE.

Importance Of Margin – Nehemiah 1

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

Nehemiah 1

While Nehemiah was in the city of Susa, his brother Hanani came into town from Judah.  Nehemiah asked him how things were in Jerusalem, and the answer he heard absolutely wrecked him.  Hanani responded, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.

When Nehemiah heard of the terrible plight of Jerusalem, he was distraught and devastated. It is recorded that he said, “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept.”

You see, Jerusalem had no wall which meant that they had no protection!  In other words, they had no margin.

Think about it. If they grew crops or built something of value, their enemies could approach without anything blocking them. Without margin, the city of Jerusalem was in great trouble and disgrace.

There is a huge financial lesson to be learned from this story. Without financial margin, a person faces great trouble and disgrace!  If you ever want to truly prosper, you MUST have margin. Margin offers protection against whatever life may throw at you.

If Satan can keep you broke, he can keep you ineffective.

Here are some fundamental truths:

  1. Life IS going to happen
  2. WITHOUT margin, you will face incredible challenges, stress, and anguish
  3. WITH margin, you will have a defense that allows you to remain focused on the mission and vision of your life
  4. It is easy to achieve BROKE. It requires focused effort to build and maintain financial margin.
  5. You CAN do this!

Just as we can learn from the book of Nehemiah, the first step toward establishing margin is to recognize that we don’t have it and that we need it!

Do YOU have financial margin?

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Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – June 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:  1150   1170

Squares Remaining:  1276   1256

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:  47.4% 48.2%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:  52.6%  51.8%

Here is the updated Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular (click to view large size) Another 20 squares!  I’m so FIRED UP!  In two months, we will “officially” own over half of our house.

How are you doing on YOUR house pay-off spectacular?

If you do not have one, you can get one here => Pay Off Spectacular – House.

Read previous Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular Updates

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It’s Too Hard To Budget

“It’s too hard to budget!”

This has to be the top statement that I hear from people.

My response – “It’s much more difficult to be BROKE!”

Here is what I know from personal experience:

  1. I was BROKE when I did not have a budget
  2. I stopped being broke the very day that I prepared a budget and FOLLOWED IT
  3. A budget took my marriage to the next level
  4. I have found no better way to maximize every single dollar that I am blessed to receive
  5. A budget is nothing more than telling your money where to go instead of wondering where in the world it all went
  6. I have seen tens of thousands of people begin to prosper as a result of preparing and living by a budget
  7. My dreams have been and are being fully funded as a result of my budget
  8. My budget has made me a much better money manager

You CAN have a budget that really works!  Check out our FREE BUDGET TOOLS to get started.

My book, I Was Broke. Now I’m Not., can help you learn to live and operate with a monthly budget and begin to fund your dreams. Purchase your copy today and get started!

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Plan Before You Start – Luke 14:28-30

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

Luke 14:28-30

28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29 For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’

There are several key financial lessons we can learn from this parable that Jesus told.

  1. It is important to plan when preparing for a large task  In this parable, an attempt to build a tower is referenced. Your great task will be different, but it will still require appropriate planning. You might want to build a business, an office building, or a home, but to attempt it without a plan will lead to disaster.
  2. Money is an important part of the planning process  “Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?”  It can’t be any clearer than that! It is essential and necessary to have a financial plan to support the major work you are setting out to accomplish!
  3. It is clear to others when we attempt to accomplish something large without planning first  Have you ever seen a building project that was stopped in its tracks because the money ran out? I have seen literally thousands of these examples across the United States when the economy came to a screeching halt in 2008 and banks pulled their financing and individuals ran out of cash.

Most people wrestle with this issue. We want to move right away and start accomplishing the goal! The idea of stopping to prepare a plan seems to be too cumbersome and time-consuming. After all, we can make these decisions “on the fly.” Planning ahead seems too abstract, and it seems to hurt the brain too much to consider all of the potential issues and plan for them ahead of time.

But it is the planning process that differentiates good from great, bland from phenomenal, and uninspiring to life-changing. It is a cornerstone of financial freedom – “There must be a plan!”

QUESTIONS

  1. Have you ever attempted something great without a plan? If so, what was the result? What lessons did you learn that you would be willing to share with everyone?
  2. How should you go about preparing a plan for a future project?

Read the series

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Financial Comparison

People often compare their financial situation with that of others around them.

They won’t say it out loud, but here are some of the things they are comparing:

  • Do they make more money than I do?
  • Do they have better cars than I do?
  • Is their house better than mine?
  • Do their kids have better toys than mine?
  • Do they have a better job than me?

All this can do is lead to an endless spiral of depression because there will always be someone who has something “more” or “better”. ALWAYS.

A better, more life-giving approach would be to ask the following two questions:

  • Is there some way I can serve this friend?
  • How can I help them accomplish one of their dreams?

When you choose to serve others, it cuts the comparison game out at the knees.

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We’re Hosting A Webinar For I Was Broke Now I’m Not Group Study

I’m excited to announce that the I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. team is going to be hosting a webinar called “Leading A Wildly Effective I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. Group Study” on Thursday, May 24, 2012, at 11:00am Eastern Time.

I am hosting this webinar in MAY because believe it or not – SUMMER can be a great time to launch a study!

In this webinar, I will cover:

  • The best times to launch the study
  • How to promote the study
  • Different ways to host the study
  • Who your target audience is for each season
  • Tips for facilitating great conversation
  • Practical steps you can take to help people DO THIS – not just learn this
  • Why a six week study works so well
  • Why it makes sense for church leaders to offer this study

One lucky participant will even win a “Start Your Group NOW! Kit” which will allow 10 families to go through the study!

The Details

  • DATE: Thursday, May 24, 2012
  • TIME:  11:00 AM Eastern Time
  • WHO: Leaders who want to help people win with their money!
  • REGISTER: Use the form below (or click HERE or copy & paste this link: https://iwbnin.infusionsoft.com/app/form/may-gs-webinar  )

Can’t wait to share this time with you!
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The Race – Who Will Win?

As children, we’ve all heard the story about the tortoise and the hare challenging each other to a race.

We were shocked to learn at the end of the story that the slow-poke turtle beat the lickety-split rabbit.

Would it shock you to learn that people who choose the turtle approach with their finances usually end up much better off than those who choose the long-eared approach?

Those that choose the rabbit approach use the following two-step logic:

  1. “I wanted to buy a truck, and I was able to buy it that very day!”
  2. “Now, I want to get out of debt today, so I should be able to become debt free this very day!”

When their urgent desire to fix their financial situation wanes, the debt still remains and they give up.

Those that choose the turtle approach use the following two-step logic:

  1. “It was a series of decisions that put me in this financial situation.”
  2. “It will take a series of decisions that will take me to the financial situation I desire.”

Do you see the difference in the approach? Do you feel it?

I wanted to become debt free except for my house on December 2, 2002 when I experienced my IHHE Moment. But it took a series of committed decisions over 14 long months for my family to achieve debt freedom.

Which process will you choose? Or which process have you chosen?

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5 Things Every Student Should Know About Student Loans

I could never have attended Purdue University had it not been for student loans. I began dating Sallie Mae right away, and it took years for me to break up with her. With that said, there are several that every student should know about student loans. Here are five of them.

  1. Go to school for 4 years for a 4 year degree Or for 2 years for a 2 year degree. Not six years for a four year degree. This can have substantial financial consequences. For example, if you attend college for two years more than required for the degree, you will have to pay for two extra years of school PLUS you will forfeit the salary you could have earned during that two year period. For many people this is a $100,000 financial swing!
  2. Obtain a degree that will help you repay the loan There are many people who go to prestigious private colleges to obtain a degree that is the equivalent to underwater basket-weaving. While I think that underwater basket-weaving would be amazingly cool, it probably won’t help repay the loans. My mechanical engineering degree from Purdue University and MBA from Clemson University certainly helped me repay my student loans.
  3. Tech or Community College for the first two years can really lower costs Most states have established programs that allow all credits earned during the first two years of community college to transfer directly to the state schools. I have seen the costs for community college. They are much lower than state or private universities. The local community college where I live is literally one-third the cost of the state school.
  4. Obtain subsidized loans if possible Subsidized loans do not accrue interest while the student maintains at least half-time student status. They also do not accrue interest while the loans are in grace periods or deferment.
  5. The name of the college does not matter nearly as much as the effort you put into your studies Many students fall in love with a particular college and feel that they just must attend only that institution. I have discovered that no one really cares about the fact that I went to Purdue and Clemson – all they want to know is if I can help them accomplish their stated objective.

Print this out and have a conversation about it with your student or future student. My bride and I have been talking about this with our daughter since she was six or seven. I know it might seem like boring conversation, but I promise you that it has had a positive impact on our daughter and the plans she has made for education.

I have written an entire chapter on this topic in my book for high school and college students – What Everyone Should Know About Money Before They Enter The Real WorldI promise you it will help financially prepare your student for the real world. You can purchase that book HERE or for your e-reader HERE.

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