Margin Survey Results – Personal Feedback

The margin survey response was incredible, and the most compelling part for me was the personal responses that so many of you shared in the “Share your thoughts on what you can do to add more margin to your life” section.  Over the next couple of days, I wanted to share some of the feedback.  Would love to hear YOUR thoughts on these comments!

  1. “Change something. Saying “No” to when I think it is my responsibility to fix others problems.”
  2. “I have noticed that as my children get older all three of these margins seem to shrink.  With games and practices almost everyday of the week, time margins seem to shrink and that then affects relational margins.  As the children become more active it also requires more money and will affect my financial margin.  So far what I have done for these issues is to make them a priority.  I make sure I plan ahead so we are less rushed on those busy days.  I make giving and saving a priority and we make what we have left work.  (we have been especially challenged with your oxen series and are looking at what oxen we can add to our lives).  I also make sure I have time for everyone in my family especially my husband.  I don’t want to send my last child off to college and then wonder who this man is who is living with me.  I want a marriage that will survive the empty nest and so spending time talking with him and maintaining our friendship has become a priority for both of us.”
  3. “Slow down!”
  4. “Keep my budget and savings goals!!!  Take time for God and me!!!  Be more available to others!!!”
  5. “I wish I knew. Doing less seems like a good plan theoretically, but never pans out. The stress is average really, nothing overwhelming. It’s the sense of accomplishment that’s lacking. At the end of the day I feel like I ran a 10k, but on a treadmill. Lots of work, no forward motion or major progress.”
  6. “I need to manage time and money better, starting with God. Praying first in my time margin and tithing first in my financial one. I used the excuse that we didn’t have a church that we went to for 2 years now, and that has changed recently and I need to stop using it as an excuse (even then it wasn’t much of an excuse when there are organizations like Focus on the Family, etc..that do great work). Prayer took a backseat when I just stopped thinking about it, but it was always there in the back of my mind and I knew I was leaving out important parts of my day. I even tucked my Bible away to stop being reminded because I would feel guilty. My Bible’s back out and I’m hoping that this is a positive change financially and spiritually for me starting today…no, starting yesterday!”

Which of these thoughts most connects with you?

Read recent posts

A Major Announcement …

A major announcement …

… is on its way!

I can’t wait to tell everyone about it.  Stay tuned to the blog, Twitter, and Facebook to be one of the first to know.

Of course, we are taking guesses about the announcement in the comments section.  :)


Read recent posts

Margin Survey Results

About three weeks ago, I posted a survey asking people to rate the amount of margin they have in their lives.  The three items that were rated were as follows:

  1. Please rate how much TIME MARGIN you have in your life (1 to 10)
  2. Please rate how much FINANCIAL MARGIN you have in your life (1 to 10)
  3. Please rate how much RELATIONAL MARGIN you have in your life (1 to 10)

Here are the basic results charts:

My Observations

  • In general, people seem to be feeling better about their relational margins than their time and financial margins.
  • People were very reluctant to rate any category as having “Plenty” of margin
  • TIME MARGIN appears to have no direct correlation to FINANCIAL MARGIN
  • TIME MARGIN had a direct correlation to RELATIONAL MARGIN.  As people felt better about their time margin, they felt that they had better relational margin.
  • FINANCIAL MARGIN appears to have a direct correlation with RELATIONAL MARGIN.  The better the financial situation, the better the relational margin.

MORE THAN ANYTHING – it was YOUR COMMENTS that you shared that caught me off-guard.  Your transparency was amazing, and I am going to be sharing some of these anonymous comments over the next few days.

Read recent posts

IHHE RANT: Get Fired Up!

It has been awhile since I have had an IHHE Rant (I Have Had Enough Rant) so pardon me while I rant for a few lines of prose.

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 and tell me WHY you are fired up!

Read recent posts

Term Life Insurance Application Process – How It Typically Works

Many people may know that they need term life insurance, but they do not clearly understand how the process works.  In the presence of unanswered questions, many people make a choice (a poor one) to do nothing.  My hope is that this post will help answer your questions about the term life insurance application process!

Acquiring term life insurance generally follows the following steps.

  1. Find term life insurance that fits your needs.
  2. Request and fill out an application (can obtain from your insurance agent or do this ON-LINE)
  3. A nurse contracted by the life insurance company will contact you to set up an appropriate time for a health analysis (usually involves a blood test and a basic physical).
  4. Your application is either accepted or denied.
  5. If accepted, you will be provided your actual premium rate cost and the policy will go into effect once payment is made.

NOTE #1: Smoking and weight issues do not necessarily mean that you can not obtain life insurance, but it usually results in higher premiums due to increased health risks.

NOTE #2:  I carry 10 times my annual take-home pay in term life insurance in 20 or 30 year level term coverage.  For example, if a person makes $30,000 in annual take-home pay, then that would be $300,000 in term life insurance coverage.

Read recent posts


Stop And Think Moment – 1

Welcome to the latest series at – “Stop And Think”  This series is written to help people think through important financial topics that may not be part of daily conversation, but are vitally important to a complete financial plan.

Take one minute to stop and think about what would happen if you died today.  I know this is not an exciting prospect to consider, but I have seen many instances (far too many) where a family member dies way too young.  Would your family be able to make it financially?  Do you have life insurance that would provide enough money to ensure that those who depend upon you could just focus on grieving instead of having to worry about keeping the house and not being able to pay the bills?

I personally carry 30-year level term life insurance.  It’s very cheap and allows me to absolutely ensure that my family will prosper should I die prematurely.  Just so you know, I’m rooting against dying early.

One great thing about term life insurance is you can securely obtain quotes on-line without talking to anyone.  I love that!

Read recent posts


Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – October 2011

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:  990 1010

Squares Remaining:  1436 1416

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:  40.8% 41.6%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:  59.2% 58.4%

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

We’ve paid off the sun ro0om!!!  Now, we are starting to own the regular living quarters of our home.  It was six months ago that we began a FULL ASSAULT on paying this mortgage off.  It is simply amazing to watch the debt leave.  In just six months, we have accomplished the same amount of principal reduction that took 32 months to accomplish from August 2008 thru April 2011.

God-willing, we could even see our home mortgage eliminated by January 2013.  That, my friends, will be an incredible day.

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

SERIES: Investments Your Stock Broker Never Told You About – 5

In this series, I’m sharing “other” ways to invest beyond standard 401(k), 403(b), 457, TSP, Traditional or Roth IRA, mutual fund, stock, or bond investments.

Part Five  Eliminate Debt and Bills

This one might surprise a few of you, but this could possibly be the best investment you could ever make!  Consider the amount of money from your household budget that is currently being applied to debt and monthly bills.  It is literally hundreds or thousands of dollars every single month!  What else could be done with that money? It could be invested OR you could reduce your work hours or even retire!

The rate of return is guaranteed when you eliminate bills.  If you are paying 21.99% on a credit card, you can gain that interest simply by eliminating the debt!  This is why I am such a big fan of eliminating debt – especially on items that drop in value like a rock or have no value at all.

Read the entire series (available after 9/30/2011)

Read recent posts

SERIES: Investments Your Stock Broker Never Told You About – 4

In this series, I’m sharing “other” ways to invest beyond standard 401(k), 403(b), 457, TSP, Traditional or Roth IRA, mutual fund, stock, or bond investments.

Part Four  Invest In Real Estate

Real estate is another great investment opportunity available.  Land, residential and commercial rental properties, and flipping houses have helped many people become millionaires.  Of course, it is VITAL in any venture like this to maintain healthy financial margin!  “No money down” real estate deals have led to many more bankruptcies than they have yielded multi-millionaires.  While it is important to consider some risk, purchasing real estate without any financial margin is a recipe for a financial disaster!

Some keys to think about when considering real estate investments are:

  • Clearly understand what you will do with the property BEFORE buying it
  • Have a Plan B and a Plan C
  • Establish healthy financial margin – at least six months worth of expenses and operating costs
  • While a deal may look good “on its own”, but sure to look at your collective holdings and evaluate your ability – time and financial – to handle the project appropriately
  • If you are susceptible to taking extreme risks, establish accountability with someone who understands the business
  • You will generally make money by purchasing the property for the right price
  • Always be ready for a “surprise” – I see them happen all of the time to real estate investors

Questions To Ask

  • Do I have the time and energy to pursue this type of investment?
  • Is this something I am only doing for the financial gain or is this something that I love?
  • Is my spouse on board?
  • If I investment my money in real estate, where will I NOT be able to invest as a result?

Read the entire series (available after 9/30/2011)

Read recent posts

SERIES: Investments Your Stock Broker Never Told You About – 3

In this series, I’m sharing “other” ways to invest beyond standard 401(k), 403(b), 457, TSP, Traditional or Roth IRA, mutual fund, stock, or bond investments.

Part Three  Invest In A Business

Starting a small business can provide a financial return as well as the incredibly satisfying work of fulfilling a dream.  A business can allow you to produce an income that is not entirely dependent upon you.  The McDonald’s franchise owner does not have to do all of the work, but they are able to enjoy the profits that result from the efforts of dozens of employees.  This can lead to substantial returns on investment that are far better than the average return of any mutual fund!

Consider the following scenario.  Suppose one puts up $25,000 for a franchise that produces $50,000 of profit each year.  That is a 200-percent return on investment – only it happens year-after-year-after-year …  the Lord willing!  Yes, the work would be demanding and time-consuming and energy-draining, but the return on investment is great and less dependent upon the world market.

If it isn’t your dream to run a small business, consider investing in a small business.  There are great leaders with terrific ideas that just need some additional funding in order to launch to the stratosphere.

Questions To Ask Yourself:

  • Do I have a business idea that I am fired up about and believe in?
  • Has a proven business leader/entrepreneur looked at my business idea and told me it looks great?
  • Am I willing to put my own money into this deal?

Read the entire series (available after 9/30/2011)

Read recent posts

SERIES: Investments Your Stock Broker Never Told You About – 2

In this series, I’m sharing “other” ways to invest beyond standard 401(k), 403(b), 457, TSP, Traditional or Roth IRA, mutual fund, stock, or bond investments.

Part Two  Invest In Yourself

The greatest investment one can make is him/herself.  Investments into education and skills training can pay off far better by providing increased earnings potential.   I was able to pursue my dream of helping others accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances.  One of the key first steps was to make the investment of time, energy, and money to write and publish I Was Broke. Now I’m Not.  It literally cost me hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to accomplish this dream, but the investment has paid off!

As a result of taking this “risk”, I have been able to literally teach over 100,000 people and hear thousands of stories of financial freedom being achieved across the globe.  This business has enabled me to further expand my dream to the point that I have been able to acquire another company and serve even more people across the world.

Questions To Ask Yourself

  • Do I have a dream that I’ve always wanted to pursue?
  • What can I do today that would make a difference tomorrow?
  • Do I see a need where I can do something that addresses it?
  • Where can I personally add value to other people?

Read the entire series (available after 9/30/2011)

Read recent posts

SERIES: Investments Your Stock Broker Never Told You About – 1

Welcome to the latest series at the wildly popular – “Investments Your Stock Broker Never Told You About”!

In this series, I will share some “other” ways to invest beyond standard 401(k), 403(b), 457, TSP, Traditional or Roth IRA, mutual fund, stock, or bond investments.

Part One  Why I’m Writing This Series

Until four years ago, the vast majority of my investments were in company stocks, bonds, and mutual funds (which contained company stocks and bonds).  I began investing the day after I graduated from Purdue University.  My employer had a 401(k) available where they matched my investments 100-percent up to 8-percent of my pay.  The match was in company stock, but the money that I personally invested via payroll deduction could be invested into a variety of mutual funds.  These investments grew rapidly.

Then the recession of the late 90’s happened.

Then September 11th happened.

Then 2008 happened.

I personally experienced what many others experienced – my stock market investments all went down in value.  The value of these investments fell even as many of the companies continued to perform extremely well.

“Financial experts” had always advised me to diversify my investments.  The “diversification” options they offered were – surprise, surprise – other stock, bond, and mutual fund investments.  I observed first-hand the axiom that “a rising tide will lift all ships and a lowering tide will lower all ships.”  Therefore, in 2008 I resolved to diversify my investments so that only 50-percent of my portfolio would be in the stock market.  In the process, I discovered incredible investment options that I would never have learned from a stock broker – probably because there were no broker commissions available.

As we embark on this series together, perhaps you would like to see my current investment portfolio HERE.

Read the entire series (available after 9/30/2011)

Read recent posts

September National Debt Update

This is a guest post by Mark Asbell, who recently became debt-free following the principles of I Was Broke. Now I’m Not.

The US National Debt has increased by $84,414,120,840 since our last update in August 2011.  Another month, another BILLION DOLLARS IN THE HOLE.

National Debt as of 9/14/2011


When I was going broke I’ll never forget the moment I realized the hole I was digging was getting over $400 deeper every single month.  That doesn’t even count the large chunks of debt I got into in order to make big one time purchases.  Just our normal monthly expenses were $400 per month more than our monthly income.  At that time $400 a month was less than 1% of my annual income and my total debt was less than 4 times my annual income (including the mortgage).  So I was able to keep getting more and more credit in order to sustain our deficit UNTIL…  Lenders stopped giving me more credit.  We were maxed out.  We couldn’t pay what we already owed, so why would anyone lend me more?

The United States government is facing the same dilemma on a much grander scale.  Their total debt is 7 times their annual income (Gross Domestic Product), and the hole is getting deeper by almost 4% of their annual income EVERY SINGLE MONTH.  I’m no economist but I’ve been to broke and back and the US numbers are wayyy worse than mine were.  I know what I had to do to dig out of the hole, so what does digging out of the hole look like for the government?

Mark Asbell is a key member of the I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. team and has a blog focused on helping couples strengthen both their finances and their marriage – – For Richer or Poorer.

Read recent posts

Words That Describe Debt Freedom March

I was pondering about my family’s journey to debt freedom, and it brought to mind the following words:

  • Worthwhile
  • Margin
  • Motivating
  • Freedom
  • Intense focus
  • Self-Control
  • Disciplined
  • Dreams
  • Abnormal
  • Effort
  • NO!
  • WAIT!
  • LATER!
  • Tiring
  • Exciting
  • Possible

Those are the words that I thought of.  What are some that you would add?

Read recent posts

5 Years

It was 5 years ago TODAY that I gave up on my dream to become a Fortune 500 CEO, and moved back to join the staff of the church that my bride and I had the unbelievable opportunity to help start – NewSpring Church – in Anderson, SC.  I am so grateful for the opportunity that my great friend and pastor, Perry Noble, gave me to pursue a dream of helping people accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances.

It is ASTOUNDING what God has allowed me to be a part of in just five years.  Here are just a few.

  • Wrote I Was Broke. Now I’m Not.
  • Produced the I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. Group Study and subsequently the Group Study DVD Lessons
  • Wrote What Everyone Should Know About Money Before They Enter The Real World
  • Wrote Funded And Free
  • Wrote 1,475 blog posts
  • Wrote 200 Sunday newspaper articles
  • Delivered more than 150 Financial Learning Experiences
  • Trained nearly 1,000 financial coaches
  • Was mentioned in Money Magazine – the world’s largest personal finance magazine
  • Purchased Injoy Stewardship Solutions
  • Got to meet and interview one of my heroes – Dave Ramsey
  • Published a book for two new authors with our fledgling publishing company – NIN Publishing
  • Upgraded and added
  • Able to provide all of our tools for absolutely free
  • Developed a new APP for Apple and Android mobile devices
  • Team has grown to a total of four people who make IWBNIN – without them, this effort would be incremental instead of exponential
  • In 2008, someone gave me and Jenn a free Tahoe – seriously!

I write all of this not to boast in what I have done, but what the Lord has allowed me to be a part of.

I’m often asked why I’m so excited and passionate about what I do.  After reading this list, perhaps you might understand a little more about WHY I am so FIRED UP all of the time!  I’m a witness to the power of God moving greatly upon my behalf!

I really believed that great things could happen when I surrendered to this call 5 years ago, but I thought it would take 30 years.  It has me wondering what will happen over the next 5 years!


Read recent posts