Archive for July 2009

Keeping Promises

My daughter regularly makes ridiculous requests.  She will ask, "Dad, can we buy five rabbits?"  The answer, of course, is an immediate, "NO!"

However, there are some requests that she has made that are less ridiculous.  For example, she has wanted a treehouse for quite some time.  I promised her for her birthday (back in November) that I would build her one.

I told her that not only would I build her one, I said that it would be AWESOME and that we could camp out in it if she wanted.  She thought that this was the best idea she has ever heard.

In December, there was no tree house yet.  Not even a sign of it.  I told her that I would get started in January.

I did.  I put posts in the ground and put the floor on it.  Then it sat for awhile.

I won't bore you with all of the details, but it was finally completed last week.  We now have a treehouse that is over seven feet in the air, has three windows, a door, electrical power run to it (via extension cord), a fan in the window, and a front porch.  In all it is nearly 100 sq ft of awesome space that she and her friends are having a great time with.

And last Saturday night, I made good on the camping out promise.  It was so awesome that we camped out there again on Monday night – this time with one of her friends.  We got to experience an awesome lightning show and torrential rain this time.

The treehouse cost us money, time, effort, and some serious frustration, but the end result is worth it!

It feels great to have kept a promise.

Have you made some promises that are yet to be fulfilled?  Will those promises cost money?  Are you actively saving money for them?

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I Have Had Enough Rant: I Can’t Do This!

If you have attended one of our Financial Learning Experiences or heard me speak somewhere, chances are pretty good that you have had heard me talk about IHHE Moments – I Have Had Enough Moments.

I Have Had Enough … of those who say, "I can't do this!"

I have spoken to or with tens of thousands of people regarding the topic of personal finances.  Without fail from every single event, I have received the phone call, e-mail, or comment that basically says this:

That is easy for you to say.  You have no debt.  You have income.  This will not work for me because of [insert situation here].

I have had enough!  I do not want to hear it anymore!  The FACT (regardless of how one feels about a situation) are that you CAN win with your money.  You CAN become debt-free.  You CAN save for retirement.  You CAN own a house some day.  You CAN pursue a dream.

To those who would say, "Joe, you have no debt."  I would respond by asking them if they have ever read my book, I Was Broke. Now I'm Not.?  I was up to my eyeballs in debt!  While I pursued debt freedom, my wife had to have not one, but two major surgeries with huge deductibles that we had to pay.  Since we have become debt-free, we have experienced to more surgeries, two failed heat pumps, a fixer-upper house, a failed transmission, and many other expenses.  If we could endure this and become debt-free, so can you!

To those who would say, "Joe, you have income."  This is true.  My hero, Dave Ramsey, has said it many times.  There is a good place to go when you are broke – to work – it is a sure-fired moneymaking scheme!  I have always worked.  Always.  I might even be called a workaholic, but the fact is that I will not accept unemployment.  I have spent the time and money to obtain an undergraduate degree.  Once I earned a job in the workplace, I spent the time and money to obtain a graduate degree – all while working a full-time job, being a husband, and becoming a father for the first time.  But I will tell you that I have worked jobs that were horrible too.  I have cleaned confinement hog buildings and "maintained" the hogs (no further details here – but it was awful) – all for minimum wage.  I have cleaned horse stalls and green broke race horses.  I was trampled by one, stepped on a nail while climbing the fence, and scooped horse dung all day long – for a few cents more than minimum wage.  I worked at Taco Bell.  I worked in a smoking hot steel mill.  If I could do this, so can you!

You CAN do this!  No matter what your doubters say.  No matter what your family says.  No matter the frustrations of accomplishing it.

STOP saying you CAN'T do it, and START saying that you WILL do it.

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Stewardship Challenge Events – John Maxwell

I am PUMPED to tell everyone about three upcoming Stewardship Challenge events that I believe hold the potential to completely revolutionize church leaders' thoughts on stewardship.

These events are one day and are focused on equipping leaders to create a culture of generosity.  These one-of-a-kind, exclusive events will be held in three cities: Cincinnati, OH (8/18/2009), Charlotte, NC (8/20/2009), and Orlando, FL (10/15/2009).

Here is why YOU should attend one of these events:

  • John Maxwell  The leader's leader will be speaking at each conference
  • The Speakers
    • Brian Tome (Cincinnati, OH)  Pastor of Crossroads Church
    • Steven Furtick (Charlotte, NC)  Pastor of Elevation Church
    • Tom Mullins (Orlando, FL)  Pastor of Christ Fellowship
  • The Topics
    • Capital stewardship (seeing the vision become reality)
    • Annual budget (seeing the vision fully funded
    • Personal finances (equipping people to win with their money – my favorite!)
  • Free Stuff  Early bird registrants will receive a free copy of Generosity (Gordon MacDonald)
  • I will be there  And I want to meet you!  Of course, I will be talking about equipping people to win with their personal finances.  It is my PASSION (I'm sure you are surprised).
  • More Free Stuff  First ten to register at each location and send me an e-mail (HERE) will receive a free copy of I Was Broke. Now I'm Not. and its related Group Study!

Seth Godin and Tom Peters

I read Seth Godin's blog every day because I learn from him.  He is one of my "mentors from a distance".

If you are a small business owner, you should take three or four minutes to watch the YouTube videos (HERE) he posted recently.

My takeaways:

  • You win when you are focused on serving instead of getting
  • Blogging is worthwhile even if no one reads it – because it develops your ability to effectively and efficiently communicate your ideas
  • Your number of "friends" or "followers" does not matter.  What matters is the type of relationship you develop with them.

I love learning something new every single day.

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Guest Post: Trivial Costs Don’t Mean Anything

I had a friend e-mail me some thoughts about money the other day, and I loved it!  With his permission, here are Joe Hall's thoughts …

I started thinking the other day about all the "little" things people daily spend "just a little" money on.  Stuff like soft drinks, Starbucks, cigarettes, vending machine snacks or whatever.  All those things seem "little" because the amount paid for them daily seems "small."

Then I thought about this: what if there was only one day a year you could pay for those things?  (In other words, folks had to buy all their Starbucks, snacks, cigarettes or whatever for the year up-front, in one single payment).  Can you imagine the shock … and maybe even the re-ordering of priorities?

  • 1 Coke + 1 Snack from the vending machine at work
    • 0.75 + 0.75  = $1.50 x 5 work days/week = $7.50 weekly x 50 weeks per work year = $375 (pay now)
  • 1 Starbucks coffee per day; Monday-Friday
    • $4?  x  5 =  $20 per week x 50 weeks per work year = $1000 (pay right now)
  • Sweet Tea with Lunch
    • $1.50  x  2 lunches per week = $3  x 52 weeks per year = $156 (due today)
  • Cable TV Service
    • $29.95 month  x  12 months = $360  (pay right now)

I hope that makes sense … it sure came as a shock and made an impression on me about how easy it is to fritter money away on a daily basis, without realizing how "little" things get Super-Big in a hurry.

Joe's thoughts reminded me of a book I read written by an official "" Financial Hero – David Bach.   He writes about the "Latte Factor" – the money that we tend to unconsiously spend throughout our day.  He believes  (I agree with him!) that this money would be better directed toward savings, eliminating debt, or investments!

Thanks, Joe, for sharing!

If you have something you want to share, click HERE and send it my way!