Monday Money Tip: On-Line Banks – Earn More Interest On Savings!

I’ve used my on-line bank accounts since 2007. They have been incredible for me, and I think they can be a very helpful way for you to maximize your savings as well! You can check out the on-line banks I recommend HERE.

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Joseph Sangl’s Current Investments

Anyone who has attended a Financial Learning Experience has heard me say that it is important to INVEST money and to do so every single time you are paid money. At the end of our live events, I am regularly asked or emailed the following question:

“What investments do you recommend?”

My answer is always, “I don’t recommend specific investments. I can only tell you the investments I own, and they have worked well for me. The investments you choose are up to you.”

Occasionally, I update everyone on the investments I currently hold. Below is a chart of the current investments we hold. If it is publicly-traded, I have included the ticker symbol. Click on the chart itself (or HERE) to see a larger version.

JSinv2014

It has been a year since I last updated my investments. 2013 was obviously a great year for equity stock investments. As I mentioned then, I suspected the market would continue to grow. Of course, I was very happy to see this come to pass as I continued to purchase individual stocks. Due to the growth of the market, my stock investments grew from 2.2% to 3.0% of my overall portfolio. We continued to grow our small businesses and real estate holdings. This is part of our continued to effort to diversify BEYOND the stock market. As a result of the continued growth of small business and real estate investments, we have seen them push our market investments into a smaller piece of our portfolio. We are close to a 33%-33%-33% split between small business, real estate, and market investments.

JSinv2014pieMy thoughts:

  • I believe we will see continued growth of the U.S. Economy. This is based in part to my unscientific research of traveling the entire United States with our business activities. There are cranes in the air building skyscrapers in every major metropolitan area and shovels in the ground in the suburbs for new homes. You might notice that I’m investing in major home builders stock as a result of this belief.
  • Keeping cash and cash equivalents as financial margin is still essential to every person. This provides money to take advantage of opportunities.
  • I think it is a great time to continue investing in new businesses and existing ones. Our team will continue to investigate potential business acquisitions.

 

8 Ways To Speed Up Debt Elimination

In a recent live event, 58% of respondents shared that “reducing or eliminating debt” was their top goal for the year.

If this is one of your top financial goals, here are some key ways you can speed up your debt freedom date.

8 Ways To Speed Up Debt Elimination

  1. Reduce Interest Rates Many people with substantial consumer debt do not realize that 50% to 75% of their payments are merely going to the lender as interest – greatly reducing their ability to lower their debt. If you have high interest rate credit card balances, consider transferring to a 0% interest card (like these 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card Offers). Is your mortgage interest higher than those listed at BankRate.com? If yes, consider refinancing the mortgage. It is amazing what a few hours of focus on interest rate reduction can do to speed up your Debt Freedom Date!
  2. Pay Raise Are you being compensated fairly? Check out Salary.com for current pay rates of positions similar to yours. Take some moments to document how you are adding substantial value to your organization. If it makes sense to have a conversation with your leader, do it! Nothing like some more income from your current job to speed up debt elimination.
  3. Tax Refund A tax refund might be an “interest free loan to the government,” but it also represents an opportunity to impact debt in a big way.
  4. Bonus A bonus can also help kill some debt. One great thing about debt freedom is it allows future bonuses to be used to fund future dreams – instead of paying for things from the past.
  5. Found Money From Better Budgeting When I started preparing and living by a budget, it literally transformed my finances. I freed up hundreds of dollars that was going to “miscellaneous cash withdrawals” and impulsive grocery shopping trips.
  6. Sell Some Possessions Sell the boat, motorcycle, extra car, and collectibles. Eliminating possessions will free up space, eliminate stress, and greatly speed up your pace toward accomplishing debt freedom.
  7. Overtime If you have the chance to work overtime, it can really help speed up debt reduction. Plus, you’ll be too tired to spend the extra income on frivolous things.
  8. Second Job If you don’t have the opportunity to work overtime at your existing job, take a second job – or start a small side business. The key here is to focus on something that is short term. You don’t want to sign up for a permanent second job. Instead, commit to applying all additional money to your debt elimination plan. The reward when you become debt free? Quitting the second job and still prospering because you’ve freed up all of the money that was previously committed to payments.

You can do this!

Read the How To Pay Off Debt Series

Small Business Tip: Importance Of Audits

Small business owners don’t lack for things to do. There is the endless work of creating new products and improving existing ones. Meeting with new customers and existing ones – local and abroad. Hiring employees and freeing up non-performing ones to “pursue other opportunities.” You get the thrilling task of managing payroll and cash flow. You get to deal with all of the wonderful governmental entities – federal, state, and local – regarding licensing, codes, rules, laws, and endless regulations. Then, of course, there are the meetings with your CPA around tax time.

The LAST thing you need is to wonder if your financial books are correct and accurate.

Unfortunately, we hear of cases of a modern-day Judas, where a rogue employee who has been entrusted with the money decides to help themselves to it and embezzle money. It can literally bankrupt a business.

This is why it is important to conduct financial reviews and perhaps even complete third-party audits. Annual financial reviews are instances where internal members of your organization are tasked with performing random “tests” of financial records and require those in charge of the finances to provide objective evidence that records are retrievable and accurate.

Third party audits take this process to an entirely different level. An outside organization is hired to put the financial team through a rigorous test of all critical financial systems – accounts payable and receivable, payroll, record-keeping, financial reporting (balance sheet, cash flow statement, and income statement), and separation of authorities (i.e. separating rights of who can print checks from check signers).

While no review and audit can completely eliminate the chance for fraud, it can reduce it tremendously. And it will allow you to make business decisions with full confidence in your finances and the financial team.

Here’s the statement I use: “Trust, but verify.”

This post is part of a Small Business Series here at the wildly popular JosephSangl.com. Click HERE to read more of the posts in the series.

Bible Money Tip: Generosity Is Contagious

I recently heard Ken Friar, Executive VP of INJOY Stewardship Solutions, share the following statement:

People don’t plan to be selfish. They just don’t make a plan to be generous.

But it only takes one or two people who are living generously to move literally hundreds – even thousands – to give.

Consider Exodus 36:3-8:

And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. 4. So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing 5 and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.” 6 Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, 8 because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.

Moses cast the vision God had given to him, and the people responded in an amazing way.

I’ve seen similar examples happen throughout my life. When tornadoes swept through Alabama in 2011, I saw one or two people begin giving to provide immediate assistance, and it compelled me to give. The next thing we knew, more than $100,000 had been raised.

When Hurricane Katrina smashed the Gulf Coast, people around the world rushed to help by giving tremendous amounts of money. The same was true for the earthquake in Haiti and tsunami in Indonesia.

We see it happen when a family’s home burns down and a community unites together to help them.

Generosity is contagious!

As I consider the various “contagious giving moments” I’ve witnessed, here are some common variables:

  1. There was a clear need. We all want to make a difference with money that we give away. We want a “return on investment” on the money. Without clear understanding of the ROI, we are more inclined to hold onto their dollars.
  2. The need was urgent. There are many cases where there is a need, but it isn’t urgent. Urgency is what causes us to move immediately.
  3. There was a trusted entity to send money. There have been so many highly reported instances of financial mismanagement that we have been conditioned (and rightly so) to ask the question, “Is this organization going to handle this money in the exact manner they’ve communicated?”
  4. Someone gave first. When we see our friends, family, or heroes give, it inspires us!

Have you ever been able to be a part of a “Contagious Generosity Moment”? Will you take a moment to share it with us in the comments?

This is part of the “Biblical Financial Lessons” series here on the wildly popular JosephSangl.com. Click HERE to read more posts in the series.

Monday Money Tip: 0% Interest Credit Card Balance Transfers

If you carry a credit card balance, this tip can literally help you save hundreds or thousands of dollars a year!

As always, I maintain a page of current on-line 0% interest credit card balance transfer offers HERE.
 

 

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Leadership Tip: Importance of Communication

During a leadership conference I attended, I heard a great statement by Pastor Van Moody. He said:

When you get sick of saying it is when they are just starting to get it.

It is so true. As a leader, you are the chief vision caster. This means that the vision must ooze from every pore of your body. Even when you feel like everyone in the room has heard you say it 7,004 times, say it again. After all, vision leaks.

While you may have heard yourself say it 7,004 times, it could be the first time one of your clients hear it. It might be the first time a team member truly heard you say it – and finally get what you are saying.

What is it you want your organization to accomplish? What good thing are you expecting your team to deliver? What do you dream of your customers saying after your organization has served them?

Say it! Then say it again …

This post is part of a Leadership Series here at the wildly popular JosephSangl.com. Click HERE to read more posts in the series.

Small Business Tip: Monthly Cash Flow Planning

Every single month, I sit down with Matt. Most of you don’t know him, but he is a key reason IWBNIN has continued to grow and expand. You see, Matt is our Financial Administrator. He manages all of the finances for our businesses. He and his team manage the regular financial management dealings of a business: payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivables, bank account reconciliation, credit card reconciliation, and governmental filings. However, Matt helps with a monthly task which we’ve found to be vital to our success – monthly cash flow planning.

For our two businesses with employees, we sit down at the beginning of each and every month to plan our financial decisions.

Here is the process we utilize:

  1. 12 month rolling plan  We have a rolling 12 month plan. This means at the end of each month, we add a new month at the end of the plan to ensure we are always looking forward for an entire year.
  2. Evaluate last month  We review last month’s plan to identify any major deviations – both positive and negative. This intelligence is utilized to continually improve our planning.
  3. Plan next month  We make changes to this month based upon known information.
  4. Review the next 12 months  We make changes to future months based upon known information.
  5. Make business critical decisions  We utilize the cash flow plan to determine when we can spend money for larger initiatives.
  6. Live by the plan throughout the month  Once the plan is finalized, the financial team follows it. If an unusual opportunity presents itself or major expense crops up, it generates a conversation amongst company leadership to determine an appropriate course of action.

Here’s how we’ve found the 12 month cash flow planning process to be helpful:

  1. Prepare for major financial challenges  As with any business, there are cycles. Some months are higher revenue while other months cause business owners to wonder if their business is going to fail. These cycles can create cash flow crunches if not carefully planned for. Viewing 12 months out allows our leadership to make better decisions.
  2. Prepare for known, upcoming non-monthly expenses  This type of planning forces a leader to think longer-term. As a result, known upcoming non-monthly expenses can be accommodated with ease by ensuring appropriate accrual accounts are established. Nothing makes me happier than to know the money is stored up for estimated quarterly tax payments, car repairs & replacement, annual software licenses, etc.
  3. Communication  Monthly reviews create a “trip point” that forces communication to happen regarding the financial and general affairs of the organization.

Want to get rid of a bunch of financial headaches? I highly recommending instituting a monthly cash flow planning meeting!

This post is part of a Small Business Series here at the wildly popular JosephSangl.com. Click HERE to read more of the posts in the series.

Teach Your Kids About Money – Money and Store System

NOTE: This method can work for children beginning at around age 3 – and can work through early teen years.

FunnyMoney

There are two key influences in a child’s life when it comes to money:

  1. Their parents
  2. The world around them

Who is more likely to help children have a healthy relationship with money? Ideally, it would be the parents!

Here’s a way to help your child understand how to use money and to make healthy choices with it: Create a Money and Store System

Money and Store System

  1. Create your own money (call it a fun name like Mommy Bucks or Reward Dollars) – Here’s some money I’ve made to help you (DOWNLOAD HERE)
  2. Establish a system where your child can earn this money
  3. Purchase 3 or 4 items you know your child would enjoy and place it in a “store” at your home
  4. Assign a value to each item
  5. Watch the system work – and use the experience to create “teachable moments” where you can have incredible conversations with your child about money.

Consider a parent with a 4 year old boy.

The parents create a currency called “Super Duper Money” (SDM for short). To earn this money, their child must complete special age-appropriate tasks around the house such as:

  • “Pick up pine cones out of the yard”
  • “Feed and water the cat daily”

A value of $1 SDM can be earned each week for each key task.

The store has 4 items in it – with varying prices to create short, medium, and longer term goals:

  • Gummy Worms (Price: $2 SDM)
  • Give food to the Hungry (Price: $4 SDM)
  • Legos (Price: $8 SDM)
  • Big Fire Truck (Price: $16 SDM)

As the child performs the tasks and earns SDMs, they can make a purchase from the store.

It’s that simple, and it allows the parent control the conversation. Imagine the incredible teachable moments that can happen:

  1. Saving  As they save money, they can accomplish more.
  2. Giving  They can learn to sacrifice a gift for themselves to serve those in great need. There’s NOTHING like seeing your child be generous!
  3. Delayed Gratification  The importance of saying “no” right now, so we can say “yes” to something more important later.
  4. It is a good thing to work!  I want my child to learn the value of working.

This post is part of a Kids & Money Series here at the wildly popular JosephSangl.com. Click HERE to read all of the posts in the series.

Monday Money Tip: Be Sure To Include FUN In The Budget

This is one of the greatest things I ever learned about budgeting. And it is THE KEY REASON I’ve been able to live and operate by a budget every single month since July 2003. I’m confident it can help you too!
 

 
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Signs Your Financial Priorities Are Out Of Order

Sometimes I see situations that just make me shake my head in wonder. Situations where a person obviously has their financial priorities out of order.

Here are a few:

  1. If you know everything about your favorite team or TV show but do not have a financial plan …
  2. If you pay for your child to participate on a traveling sports team, but have nothing saved for their college education …
  3. If you’ve purchased 85 video games and 3 different game consoles for your kids, but have nothing saved for their college education …
  4. If you have worked for 5 years and haven’t saved any money …
  5. If you have worked for 20 years and have nothing saved for retirement …
  6. If you say, “I just need to make more money,” …
  7. If you believe the lottery is the only way you will ever be able to retire …
  8. If you have not given away any money …
  9. If you think 401(k) is a radio station …
  10. If you have purchased a brand new car (that will drop 60% in value in the first 4 years) and have invested nothing …
  11. If you do not take time to plan the use of your paycheck before you spend a dime of it …
  12. If you continually blame others for your financial situation …
  13. If you refuse to talk with your spouse about money …
  14. If you have regular pedicures/manicures, a smartphone, and cable/satellite TV and say, “I can’t afford to invest or save …”

In the past, many of these items were true for me. Are any of them true for you?

Would you add anything to this list?

Leadership Tip: Your Pay Raise Is Effective When You Are

I love listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio. He’s a JosephSangl.com Financial Hero. I remember a specific conversation he held with a caller who felt they “deserved” a pay raise. When asked why they felt they deserved increased compensation, the caller could not effectively answer the question. They felt an answer of “I deserve it” should be sufficient. Dave responded with this great statement:

Your pay raise is effective when you are.

In other words, when you value to your organization and help them generate more revenue or more profit, you will be in position to receive more revenue.

  • If you help your company reduce warranty claims, you reduce their operating costs – which leads to more profit.
  • If you sell more products at excellent margins, you yield more profit.
  • If you are a manufacturing line worker and reduce a specific defect by 50%, you help the company reduce re-work expenses – which leads to more profit.
  • If you are a hair stylist and your work is so good that 95% of your business is repeat/regular customers, you’ve demonstrated the ability to secure profit.
  • If you identify a way for your company to increase its business in another field, you’ve added tremendous value to that company.

It is the individual who shows up to work every single day knowing their work is essential to the company’s success that helps the company become wildly effective. And money tends to flow toward wildly effective and innovate people.

Questions:

  1. How do you add value to your organization? Can you monetize that value? If so, how much value do you bring?
  2. How can you add more value to your organization? What idea(s) would help increase revenue and profitability?

This post is part of a Leadership Series here at the wildly popular JosephSangl.com. Click HERE to read more posts in the series.

Small Business Tip: Sacrificing To Make The Dream Work

Having successfully started a few small businesses and acquiring another, I can confidently say that it takes sacrifice to make the dream of a small business come alive.

I worked the equivalent of two full-time jobs for an entire year while I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. launched. I would work all week and then jump into a car and drive to some distant place to speak about personal finances. Usually, I would end up spending more money on gas, hotel, and food than I would receive in income from the event!

As I share in my book, Oxen, you can’t load up a baby ox as soon as it is born, or it will die. Yet, many people do this very thing when birthing their small business. They finance the entire start-up costs and then quit their job as soon as they launch the business – forcing the business to pay them a salary from day one. They “load up the baby ox” with all of the costs of debt, salaries, and rent – causing even great business ideas to collapse before they really had a chance to succeed.

It takes sacrifice. Here are 3 key sacrifices you can expect to make when launching your small business dream.

3 Key Sacrifices Business Owners Make

  1. Time With Family  Starting a business is not a 9am to 5pm, 5 day a week job. Curb the impact of this by being very intentional in the time you do have to spend with your family. Another tip is to include them in the work and decisions of the business. For example, I bring my daughter along with me to help with speaking events. She manages the resource table. Better yet, we have the chance to talk during all of the plane and car rides.
  2. Money  People who are launching their small business venture will have to invest substantial amounts of money in the hopes of a financial return. There is no guarantee of success. I’ve found that investing my own money into the business helped me be very attentive to business expenses. It seems to be much easier to spend borrowed money.
  3. Other Dreams  Because of the enormous consumption of time that a new small business demands, many other hobbies and passions are placed on hold. Saying “yes” to starting a business will mean one must say “no” to other desires.

For those who have successfully started your own small business, what are some other sacrifices you have had to make? Please share in the comments?

This post is part of a Small Business Series here at the wildly popular JosephSangl.com. Click HERE to read more of the posts in the series.

3 Lessons You Could Teach Your Child This Week

Here are 3 simple lessons you could teach your child this very week:

  1. How to intentionally give money away to help others.
  2. How to set a financial goal and establish a plan to achieve it
  3. The importance of saying “no” right now so later you can say “yes” to something more important

This post is part of a Kids & Money Series here at the wildly popular JosephSangl.com. Click HERE to read all of the posts in the series.

Monday Money Tip: A Great Money App – Mint.com

In this week’s Monday Money Tip, I share about a money app I personally use and have found very helpful with managing my personal and business finances. Learn more about it in the below video:

You can receive the weekly Monday Money Tip in your email by subscribing HERE.

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