Financial Basic Training

I distinctly remember attending my brother’s graduation from basic training in the Army.  After a long car ride, we finally pulled up at the wonderful Army establishment known as Fort Leonard Wood.  My father got out of the car and went to find out information about where and how we were to meet up with our brother.  After quite a while, my father walked out with a mean looking man dressed up in Army fatigues.  This man looked like he could personally kill a tiger and an elephant at the same time with his bare hands.  He was squared away, and built like a brick house.  Muscles rippled on his arms, he had huge shoulders, and his uniform was immaculate.

Then he spoke to me.  It was my brother!  I had absolutely no idea that it was him.  You see, my brother was always chubby.  He left for basic training with some flab and really long curly blonde hair.  Just a couple of months later, here he was – a fine-tuned, fit, and ripped member of the US Army.  The change was so dramatic that I literally did not recognize my own brother!

If you feel like your financial situation is out of shape, maybe it is time to send your money to basic training!  My brother told me that the first thing that happened was that they took all of his possessions and handed him the clothes and equipment he would need.  It was very basic.  The nice things like his cassette player (they were awesome in the 80’s) and candy were taken away.  Applying this to your finances, this means it might make sense to look at everything you have and consider what is really necessary.  It is incredibly freeing for many people to sell unused and unwanted items and “de-clutter” their lives.  This allows you to focus on what is most important.

As soon as my brother arrived at basic training, he was being instructed in a new way of thinking.  Everything was focused on training him and his fellow troops to be the absolute best soldiers they could possibly be.  This required a lot of training.  This training required intense focus and expert teachers.   When was the last time you took a class or read a book on the subject of personal finances?  Seek out financial experts.  Buy their books.  Attend their training.  Listen to their radio shows.  Read their blogs.  Find financial mentors in your life that can help you learn how to become incredibly personal financially fit!  Becoming great at money management won’t usually “just happen” – it requires attention.

Eight weeks of intense training converted my slob brother into a disciplined, fit, and forever changed leader.  If you choose to put your finances through basic training with the same intensity, eight weeks could forever change your financial future.

Free Credit Report

In this day and age of identity theft, it is vitally important you monitor your credit report.

You can get a copy of your credit report FREE (not a misleading statement like so many of those TV commercials you see that say “offer implies enrollment in a fee-based credit monitoring service).  The for-real-free credit report is available at:

According to their website … is a centralized service for consumers to request free annual credit reports. It was created by the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. provides consumers with the secure means to request and obtain a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies in accordance with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act).

Be sure to download your credit report from each of the big three credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.  A lot of the information will be repetitive, but it is important to check out all three.

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Margin Survey Results – Personal Feedback – Part 2

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. “Time is always precious and hard to manage. It’s easier to manage money. For relationships, I think you have to ask the significant other, rather than yourself.”
  2. “I could delegate tasks to others; however, that is difficult when you’re a bit of a control freak!”
  3. “Work on becoming debt free. I have so much debt if not for my relationship with Christ I would run and declare bankrupt. It is so sad that I have ignored the wisdom God has tried to send and now I see and it is so overwhelming.”
  4. “Let God direct my schedule and priorities as opposed to assuming I know what they are”
  5. Say NO!!!
  6. “I honestly have no clue how to stop all the mistakes we are making. It is so painful and it just keeps happening…”
  7. “Add more hours to the day.  Plan my day better.”
  8. “Think about what’s important to me and “rank” everything.  Then allocate my time / finances accordingly.”

It has really been quite overwhelming to me to read all of these responses.  It has affirmed why I do what I do.

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Santa Read “Funded And Free”

While I was at Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, GA this past week, I got to meet Santa.  He asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I said, “All I want for Christmas is for Santa to read Funded And Free.”

Santa made my wish come true.

I’m ready for Christmas!

Your church leadership team can be greatly blessed by Funded And Free.  If 5 or more copies are ordered HERE, the price is automatically discounted by 50%!  Upon successfully placing an order, a free copy of the “Funded And Free NEXT STEPS Guide” will be included at no charge!

74 days until Christmas …

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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?

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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.  :)


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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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