Archive for September 2008

Book Review: The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team

I have recently finished reading The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team written by Patrick Lencioni.

A GREAT book.  If you are a leader, this book will cause you to think through your team in a new way and could quite possibly take your team to a new level of performance.

Here are some key points I took from this book:

  • Everything we do should be about making the company succeed
  • No matter how good an individual team member is, everyone loses if the team loses
  • Fear of Conflict = Artificial harmony
  • Boring Meetings = Unnecessary Meetings
  • It is important for a leadership team to keep walls between their teams torn down.  Teams naturally tend to move toward isolation and a "Those guys over there are terrible, but we have got our act together" mentality.

Well written.  I read this book in five to ten minute sections, and I found that it was very effective for me to read it this way.  It allowed me to process what I read and then come back to it later having thought it through. 

SERIES: Working Together To Win With Money – Part 3

Welcome to the latest series at JosephSangl.com – “Working Together To Win With Money”.

In this series, I will be writing about the benefits that Jenn and I have enjoyed since we started “working together to win with money”.

Benefit #1 We both know the financial situation.

Benefit #2 – Improved communication

Benefit #3 – Dreams Get Funded!

This is one of the best results from working together with my bride to win with money!  Because we work together on our finances, it leads to excellent conversations about what our dreams are.

We have tons of dreams …  A new kitchen with granite countertops, a new master bathroom, paying for our daughter’s college education, paying cash for our daughter’s first house, giving away $1,000,000, starting a university, living for a year in downtown Chicago, traveling to Australia, Europe, and Asia, owning a 100 acre farm …

Quite frankly, the list of dreams goes on and on.  BUT because we talk about them, some of them get funded.  In fact, it is my belief that one hundred percent of the above goals will be funded during our lifetime.  Why do I believe that?  Because we have had many of our dreams funded already!  Many of them were dreams that we did not think were really possible, but it is amazing what happens when you have a plan and work together to win with money.

If we fail to achieve all of our dreams, so be it.  It will be a blast knowing that Jenn and I gave our best effort TOGETHER!

Keys To Obtaining Benefit #3

  • Remove all distractions and take the time to have a great conversation about your plans, hopes, and dreams.
  • Ask these questions of each other:
    • Will these dreams cost money?  How much?
    • If we continue to manage money the way we are right now, will we be able to achieve these dreams?
    • What is your most important dream?  How can we start funding it right now?

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SERIES: Working Together To Win With Money – Part 2

Welcome to the latest series at JosephSangl.com – "Working Together To Win With Money".

In this series, I will be writing about the benefits that Jenn and I have enjoyed since we started "working together to win with money".

Benefit #1 We both know the financial situation.

Benefit #2 – Improved communication

When Jenn and I were B-R-O-K-E and constantly spending money that we did not have, we really had no idea where our money was going.  All we knew was that it was leaving at a very rapid pace!

Once we started working together to plan our spending every month, our communication changed dramatically!  I now know when each of my nephews and nieces have a birthday because we send them money.  We can't just magically produce the money we send them every birthday.  It must be planned.

We also discuss our future plans hopes and dreams.  We talk about which dreams will be funded now and which ones will need to be funded later.  We have made a decision, together, to fund our daughter's college education – through PhD if she so chooses.  We fund that education every single month.  It is a priority, and we have agreed together that it is extremely important to us.

We both want to travel extensively all around the world.  We have made the decision that most of those travels are going to be funded in the future, not now.  BUT we have funded a few trips.  This summer, we took a sixteen day vacation and drove from South Carolina all of the way through North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota.  We hung out with family.  We saw Mount Rushmore.  We saw the Independence Day fireworks at Mount Rushmore!  We saw buffalo – hundreds of them.  We saw antelope.  We hiked in a cool cave – over 200 feet below the surface.  We funded this trip and paid cash for it – because we agreed together to fund it.

We have been able to give to causes and people that we believe in – because we have a plan that we have worked on together.

To put it very bluntly – there is no possible way that we are ever going back to our old way of money (mis)management.   Our marriage has been vastly improved by the fact that we work together to win with our money.

Keys To Obtaining Benefit #2

  • Understand each other's plans, hopes, and dreams.
  • Take time to develop a written spending plan TOGETHER – visit HERE
  • Plan your spending EVERY SINGLE MONTH – ensure that you are funding at least one of your dreams at all times
  • Become debt free – calculate your Debt Freedom Date HERE

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SERIES: Working Together To Win With Money – Part 1

Welcome to the latest series at JosephSangl.com – "Working Together To Win With Money".

In this series, I will be writing about the benefits that Jenn and I have enjoyed since we started "working together to win with money".

Benefit #1 We both know the financial situation.

Before Jenn and I started working together on our finances, there was a lot of situations where we each spent money that we had not planned on spending.  As a result, we would run short of cash at the end of the month, and we would end up covering the shortages with credit cards.

Because neither or us truly understood where all of our money was going, it led to financial mistakes.  Those financial mistakes would lead to unnecessary stress and frustration.

It also resulted in an average bank account balance of $4.13, BUT at least it was positive.

We later realized that our financial behavior was potentially robbing us of our future hopes, plans, and dreams.

In December 2002, we had our IHHE Moment (I Have Had Enough Moment) and said, "ENOUGH!", and stopped spending money in a wild manner.  By July 2003, we formalized our spending into a monthly spending plan (budget).  Ever since that month, we have planned every month's spending.

The result?  We have been debt-free (except the house) for nearly five years.  We have made progress toward our life dreams.  We BOTH know the financial situation.

Keys To Obtaining Benefit #1

  • Prepare a written spending plan every single month – visit HERE
  • If you have a financial mess, it is time to have an IHHE Moment – read HERE
  • Take the time to talk with your spouse about your hopes, plans, and dreams

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SERIES: Sell Car With Negative Equity – Part 5

Welcome to the latest series – "Sell Car With Negative Equity"

The fact that most cars drop in value by sixty percent in the first four years causes an enormous part of the American population to struggle with huge car payments and an inability to rid themselves of the car without acquiring yet another new car and rolling in the negative equity to the new loan.

It is my hope through this series, that you will be equipped to sell a car that has negative equity.

Part 1 – Recognize How Much A Car Really Costs

Part 2 – Determine Your Car's Negative Equity

Part 3 – Sell The Car With Negative Equity – Option A – Pay Off The Balance

Part 4 – Sell The Car With Negative Equity – Option B – Transfer The Negative Equity Balance

Part 5 – Benefits Of Selling A Car With Negative Equity

Lower Debt!

This is obvious, but it is a wonderful benefit of eliminating the car with negative equity.  In the example used in this series, debt has been reduced by $18,000 in Option A or $12,000 in Option B.  Either one is fantastic!

Money Freed Up Every Month!

This is also obvious, but the monthly payment will be eliminated or vastly reduced.  This allows one to have more margin in their monthly finances to give, save, or invest (three of my favorite parts of money!).

Not so obvious is the reduction in other fringe expenses.  Car insurance will go down.  Car property taxes will go down.  Gasoline consumption will go down.  Car repair costs will go down.  These can total up to hundreds of dollars in savings each month! 

Margin

When all of the money leaves as soon as it is earned and one is living paycheck-to-paycheck with zero margin for life to happen, it creates serious stress.  By eliminating debt and its related payments, one gains tons of financial freedom and drops loads of stress.

Final Note:  I know that this stuff is HARD, but I am convinced that financial freedom is worth all of the effort that it takes.  When Jenn and I embarked on our debt freedom march, it seemed like it would take forever.  Fourteen months later, we were debt free.  That was in February 2004.  We have never looked back.  No car, TV, boat, lawn mower, or Llama has looked good enough for payments.  Frankly, a new house does not even look good enough for house payments.  We have worked way too hard to achieve financial freedom to fall back into the debt trap.  It has been SO WORTH IT!  You can read more of my family's story HERE.