Archive for August 2006

The power of vision.

Now time for a story …

It was summertime during 1999. I was headed out to eat lunch with a fellow engineer. We headed off to Los Hermanos in Clemson, SC (does this restaurant still exist?). Little did I know that this was to be a lunch that would change my life forever.

During our lunchtime conversation, he asked me a question I had heard many times before. “Joe”, he said, “If you had a million dollars, what would you do?” Now, I had heard that question asked many times before, but this time I truly thought about it. I had no answer.

It irked me that I could not answer this question. I was very frustrated about it. I was frustrated enough that during that same evening, I shared the question with my wife, Jenn. I told her that I could not answer the question and that I did not know what I would do.

She was surprised and said that I could have at least thought of some vacations we could take. The issue for me was that I truly understood the point of the question. The true point of the question was, “What have I been put on this earth to do?”

I wandered around for the next three years, just wondering. During these three years, I applied myself 100% to the task at hand, but I put myself on alert so I could discover just what I was put on this earth to do.

When I moved back to Indiana in 2002, I finally found it. It was to help others accomplish far more than they ever thought possible. Specifically in the area of their finances. It burns through me to the very core of my soul.

Now, I have been described as slightly energetic in my normal line of work, but I become a passionate, freaked-out, crazed lunatic when it comes to helping others gain control of their finances. This topic brings out an emotion in me that has been otherwise untapped. It is exactly what I have been put on this earth to do.

Now, I have the opportunity to go pursue this calling full-time at New Spring Church. I CAN NOT WAIT!!!

Since I had to wrestle with the question for 4 years before getting to an answer, I am going to ask you:

“If you had a million dollars, what would you do?”

Term Life Insurance

Term Life Insurance is a great deal!

30 year-old male – preferred rate – 20 year level term insurance – $500,000 coverage

30 year-old female – preferred rate – 20 year level term insurance – $500,000 coverage

Want to know what the current rates are for your age? Go to here to obtain an instant quote WITHOUT HAVING TO ENTER YOUR NAME OR INFORMATION!!! There is a spot for you name and phone number, but you do not have to enter it!

Why is term life insurance a great deal?

  • It transfers risk from you to the insurance company
  • It is cheap! Very cheap relative to cash value, universal, or whole life insurance
  • The premium stays the same for the entire term of the insurance.

You need to have 8X – 10X your annual income in term life insurance. Even if your spouse does not work, you should also have term life insurance on them. Imagine how much it would cost to replace the work they currently do while maintaining your household.

Insurance agents will push you to get whole life, cash value, or universal life insurance. They sell them with the savings component built within it. It is not that they are horribly terrible products (OK, maybe they are HORRIBLE), it is the fact that they are VERY EXPENSIVE when compared to the cost of term life insurance.


Money saving ideas

Pay bills annually.

  • Life Insurance
  • Auto Insurance
  • Gym Membership
  • Internet
  • Subscriptions

Negotiate any large purchase

  • Automobiles
  • Boats
  • House
  • Surgery
  • Video camera
  • Computer
  • TV
  • Furniture
  • Jewelry
  • Vacation Trip

Sleep at least one night before making a large purchase.

Consult with your spouse before making a large purchase.

Drive your car for at least 250,000 miles and 10 years.

Take your lunch to work.

Let your employer pay for your college degree.

Don’t smoke.


Avoid stuff-itis. Ask yourself the question, “Why am I buying this?”

Rummage Sales

We are in the middle of the first day of a three day garage sale. WOW! I did not know how much work it was to prepare for one of these things.

I have eagerly told people to “have a rummage sale” in order to free up some quick cash and pay off some smaller bills. This will many times help people gain the traction they need to get to a balanced budget.

I will still tell people eagerly to sell stuff and have a rummage sale, but I will do it with a more deeper understanding of what that truly means. It takes effort.

That’s OK. It takes effort to get out of debt!

Updates on the garage sale will appear over the next few days.

Any tips for making a garage sale more of a success?

Financial Stress

Do you know what it is like to experience financial stress?

Financial stress impacts family relationships – marriages, parents with children, children with parents, siblings. Financial stress impacts friendships and business partnerships. It can forever destroy your relationship with your spouse.

Why is this?

The way you manage your finances tells a story. It tells a story about what you value, about what is important to you, and about who is important to you. It can also tell a story about what you do not value, about what is unimportant to you, and about who is unimportant to you.

If you spend a majority of your money paying bills for debts (car, house, TV, credit cards, student loans, furniture, boat, lawn mower, etc.) you have signed up for, then it tells a story that having stuff might be more important than saving for retirement.

If you spend everything you make and live from paycheck to paycheck, it could indicate that you do not value security more than you value not having to take time developing a spending plan.

If you give away a pile of money to worthy causes, have taken the time to develop a spending plan that works, are saving for retirement, college, and other notable expenses, and are regularly reviewing your spending habits ON PURPOSE to understand opportunities for better management of your money … it tells me that you are weird and value others and your future more than you value stuff.

Go look at your spending. Does it line up with your values?

By the way, “you” can insert “me” or “I” everywhere “I” have listed “you” and “your” in this diatribe. 🙂