Archive for March 2007

Financial Hero – Dave Ramsey

A new category of posts starts TODAY.  This category titled "Financial Hero" will be used to share about people that are my Financial Heroes and why they have become a Financial Hero to me.  Enjoy!!!


Why is DAVE RAMSEY a Financial Hero?

Dave rocked my world in December 2002.  I had been terrible at managing our short-term money.  We had always contributed heavily to retirement, but our short-term savings hovered continuously at around $4.13.

Dave's 7 Baby Steps changed the way I look at money forever.  I printed out these 7 Baby Steps and put an "expect-to-accomplish" date next to each one.

Jenn and I became debt-free (except for the house) in just 14 month's time.  We are now at Baby Step 6 and making HUGE strides toward Baby Step 7.

Why should DAVE RAMSEY be your Financial Hero? 

  • Dave Ramsey will tell you like it is.  He speaks at a level that you and I can understand.  Dave also is on over 300 radio stations every day for three hours which really helps you learn more about personal finance through the experiences of others!  You can listen to him on-line anytime HERE.
  • Dave has excellent resources available for you to learn more about your finances.  I recommend that everyone take Financial Peace University, a 13-week life-altering class.  You can find a class near you by clicking HERE.
  • Dave's book, Financial Peace, Revisited, is my personal favorite book that he has written.  He has also recently released The Total Money Makeover.  These books should be mandatory reading in high school.  He also wrote an earlier, less-known book called More Than Enough that was good, but I would read the other two books first.
  • Dave is real and authentic.  He has lost and won with money and is an excellent communicator.
  • Dave is also crazy about teaching our kids this stuff.  So much so that he has written a line of children's books.  They are filled with very creative drawings and have actually been given out by the millions as part of the Kid's Meal Program at Chick-fil-A!

Dave, you are an official Financial Hero!  You ROCK!

Fix-it Upper House – Worth It?

For the first time in my life, I have bought an older home.

Jenn and I have owned three other houses – two of them brand new and one was four years old.

Now we have purchased a home that is 28 years old.

Yeah, that wood paneling with wallpaper over it that looked like wedding cake was beautiful.  The two different leaks in the roof were nice.  The discovery of a pile of trash underneath the house was great.

With the work that we wanted to accomplish on the house, we decided to delay moving in until we had addressed many of the known issues.  We have worked tirelessly for almost two months to get the house ready, and we finally moved in last weekend.

We're tired!  It has been nearly a full-time job getting this house ready.  I spoke four times at NewSpring Church on Sunday, February 25th, and when I finished the fourth message, I got into the car and drove to the house to work on the house.  My days that I have taken off from my crusade have been spent at the house.  As we worked on repairing the roof, I managed to smash my thumb to oblivion using a 22 oz Estwing hammer.


You may be considering buying and fixing up a house.  You may be wondering if it would be worth the effort.  I will tell you this – I am the son of a home builder, and it has been very difficult for me.  I don't do this sort of thing EVER, but I kinda sorta know the general activity required.

I would say this, we have gained some significant sweat equity and learned a lot by fixing up this house, but I would not do this again for my personal residence.   EVER.

Money Saving Ideas

More money saving ideas, courtesy …

1.  Gardener? Talk to friends/family about possibly obtaining some bulbs/divisions/corms/tubers of perennials.  Free flowers are awesome!  I have obtained surprise lilies, day lilies, dianthus, coral bells, rudbeckia, iris, and other AWESOME plants for FREE.  I love FREE.  Anyone have any? Smile


2.  Seek out a cash-only, no insurance doctor.  You will pay 1/2 of what you would to a doctor who participates in insurance programs.  Why?  Because a doctor who deals with insurance needs at least two full-time people to chase insurance companies and payments.  You will feel better knowing that you have prepaid your bill, got a better deal, AND did not have to deal with the insurance company.

3.   Buy a used car that is 2 to 4 years old.  Most of the sharp depreciation in value is done by year 3 and when you lay down CASH for the purchase (remember – no debt!) you will get a better deal!  There is something about seeing 100 $100 bills laying down on the hood of a car that makes a car dealer or individual sell a $12,000 car for $10,000.  Try it!

Hey, I used to not negotiate anything, but I was B-R-O-K-E!  No longer!

Financial Counseling

Over the past three months, I have been able to meet with 123 people in 81 different one-on-one financial counseling appointments.

What an amazing quarter!  I have been honored to meet each person and hear their story.

Here are some key things I have learned through these counseling sessions.

  1. Couples who work together on their finances are in better financial condition than couples who do not work together.
  2. People who give faithfully rarely have huge, burdensome financial problems.
  3. People want HELP/HOPE not REPROACH/DISAPPROVAL (they already know that they have a problem!)
  4. Some people will just flat-out refuse to learn.
  5. You have no idea how much debt your neighbor/friend/relative has!
  6. People have big dreams/ideas/plans, but have no idea how much it will cost to accomplish them.
  7. It does not matter how much you make, only how much you give/save/spend.
  8. People pay way too much for insurance.
  9. Car payments are an epidemic.
  10. Saving money is a foreign concept for many people.
  11. Once shown a better way (INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO), most people will immediately switch!
  12. Schools are doing an awful job of teaching money management.
  13. Parents are doing an even worse job of teaching money management.

What have you learned as you have learned to manage your money better?

Free Magazines

While I was updating my address for my Skymiles account at Delta Airlines, I noticed that the miles I had were going to expire in a couple of weeks.

Well, I had tried to use these miles a couple of years ago for a trip for my sister-in-law.  Although seats were available on the plane, Delta would not allow me to use the free ticket on the flight.  They did offer a flight that was two MONTHS later, however.  FRUSTRATING …

Anyway, my miles were due to expire, so I decided to cash them in on a few free magazine subscriptions.  It only takes 300 to 500 miles to get a year's subscription to most magazines.

So I did what anyone with expiring miles would do … I got a subscription to EVERY SINGLE ONE of the the 32 magazines available!

Allure, Daily Variety, Glamour, Details, Latina, …  The list goes on!  The order was placed around Christmas so now all of the magazines are arriving.  In PILES.  Piles and piles of magazines are showing up daily.

I finally got around to looking at a few of the magazines last night.  What a load of JUNK!  I was reminded again of how crazy this world is!  There is a jacket that looks like it was thrown into a trash bin and washed in a septic tank – all for $3,000!  For a mere $1,000, I can buy a purse that looks like it was made from a dog’s hide.

The marketing for some of this stuff is crazy!  Another article mentions in passing that the cost of the meal for three people was $930.  A mortgage payment for a single meal.  It is written to sound cool, but I want to throw up.

I walked away from reading these magazines reminded once again of how the hooks are into the wealthy.

Let me tell you this – just because you have $1,000,000 in the bank does not mean that you are doing well!  If you are making $300,000 per year, a $1,000,000 should be a mere start!  You should have more like $4,000,000!  Are you managing your money well?  Or are you spending it like you’ve got it?

Is excess is OK?  Are $930 meals acceptable?