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Archive for December, 2007

Another Set Of Credit Cards Bite The Dust!

December 27th, 2007 at 05:55 pm

I provide one-on-one financial counseling to over 450 people per year. This helps me accomplish my passion which is "to help others accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances".

Anyway, I met with a couple for the first time 42 days ago - just six weeks ago.

I met with them again for a follow-up meeting and here are some of their accomplishments - IN JUST SIX WEEKS!



* As you can see from the above picture, they have chopped up their credit cards!
* THEY have not used credit for the last six weeks!
* HE is taking his lunch to work every single day!
* THEY shut off their cell phones!
* THEY paid CASH for Christmas!!!
* THEY have put money into their ING SAVINGS ACCOUNT!
* THEY bought less!
* THEY put their house up for sale to get rid of their huge monthly payment!
* THEY have a written plan that is EZ to follow!
* THEY are going to win big time!

In just SIX WEEKS, they were able to accomplish all of this!!!

I am FIRED UP!!! That is what this whole crusade is about! Freeing up people to be able to go do EXACTLY what they have been put on this earth to do.

I LOVE IT!

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Setting 2008 Financial Goals - Part 4

December 27th, 2007 at 05:49 pm

Welcome to the latest series - Setting 2008 Financial Goals!

I love goal planning. Why? It helps me ensure that my life is not wasted in the pursuit of the boring and mundane.

Here are the steps already shared.

Step 1: WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS

Ink and lead last WAY LONGER than your memory will!

Step 2: PUT A COMPLETION DATE NEXT TO EACH GOAL

If it weren't for deadlines and last minutes, half of the world's work would never get done!

Step 3: ESTABLISH ACCOUNTABILITY

There is nothing like having someone ask, "How are you doing on your goals?" to motivate one to achieve their goals!

Step 4: TAKE ACTION!!!

I have a quote that I say regularly. It came to me after having been caught in one too many horrible, pointless, useless meetings!

"Thoughts and talk without action are mere babble!"

Enough of the planning. Enough of the talking. It is time to make it happen! Nothing moves until it is shoved. Attack the goal.

It is TIME! What can you do right now to achieve one of the goals? Perhaps you can start off 2008 by having one (or more) of your goals completed BEFORE 2008 even starts!

Call and set up the appointment with an investment broker. Go ahead and get the new insurance quotes. Chop up the credit cards. Close the credit card accounts. Sell the truck. Go to the TOOLS page and put together your first-ever INCOME - OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO budget!

I will close the series with a great quote from Will Rogers …

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."

- Will Rogers

Read the "Setting 2008 Financial Goals" series in its entire...

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Spending Out Of Control

December 24th, 2007 at 06:14 am

I just read THIS ARTICLE on CNNMoney.com. This is EXACTLY why I am on this crusade to help people win with their money.

Read the article, and try not to get too frustrated.

Here are some items that stand out to me (and of course, solutions to them)

1. "I look at how much money we spend and I think, 'Where is it going?'" says Kerri … It is really simple to answer that question! All you have to do is recognize that INCOME - OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO. By visiting the TOOLS page, you can put together a written spending plan that ensures that you do not overspend.
2. The HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) … now often serves as a safety net when they come up short at the end of the month. The balance is almost $50,000. Borrowing to make up the gaps month-after-month is a clear indication of a lack of planning. I wonder when they will have their IHHE Moment?
3. The couple has almost no savings. And that means no emergency fund and not a dime set aside for the children's college. This couple has THREE children ages 4, 9, and 12. It should not be a surprise when the 12 year old goes to college in SIX years! This fact also reveals why the HELOC keeps going up - there is no buffer of cash to protect this family when life happens. I would recommend that they set up a beginner emergency fund of at least $2,500 and start saving for KNOWN, UPCOMING EXPENSES that are crushing their monthly spending right now and causing them to run to debt.
4. "One day, I hope Mike will do his Quicken work and say, 'Oh my God, we didn't go over this month,'" says Kerri. "When that happens, he'll be doing backflips." This confirms the lack of a plan. Guess what? Without a plan, this couple will NEVER spend less than they make! It is time to make a change!!! It is also sounds like Mike & Kerri are not working together as a couple to manage their money. There is a good chance that this couple will not be on the same financial page, and that makes it very difficult to win with money. I recommend that they sit down TOGETHER and put together a spending plan BEFORE the month begins!

I would love to help Mike & Kerri put together a plan that works! Mike & Kerri, contact me and I will gladly set up a financial counseling appointment that helps you guys WIN BIG TIME with your money!

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Setting 2008 Financial Goals - Part 3

December 24th, 2007 at 06:08 am

Welcome to the latest series - Setting 2008 Financial Goals!

Setting goals is a HUGE part of achieving your lifelong hopes and dreams.

Here are the steps shared previously.

Step 1: WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS

It is SO EASY to get caught up in the mumbo-jumbo everyday stuff and relax on achieving goals. By writing down your goals, it will help ensure that you do not forget what is most important to you!

Step 2: PUT A COMPLETION DATE NEXT TO EACH GOAL

There is nothing like setting a deadline to help motivate you to complete each goal!

Step 3: ESTABLISH ACCOUNTABILITY

You are doing great! You have written down your goals and established a target completion date for each one. Now comes the really hard part … accomplishing the goals!

I have found that there is nothing so effective as personal accountability to ensure that a goal is accomplished. Who is in your life that you really trust and wants to see you achieve your goals? If you are married, your spouse should certainly hold you accountable! If you are not married, who could you ask to hold you accountable? Married or not, it is very effective to ask those you love and trust the most to hold you accountable.

I have a friend, Mike, who holds me accountable to a financial goal. About once a quarter, he contacts me to see how I am progressing toward the goal. I would hate it if he called and I have made no progress! It helps me stay focused!

You may have different people hold you accountable for different goals. I have a person who holds me accountable for my stock investment goals. I have another person who holds me accountable for my real estate goals. Yet another holds me accountable for the Sangl Family Home Pay-Off Spectacular!

Why don't you take some time right now to determine WHO will hold you accountable for each of your written goals?

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Setting 2008 Financial Goals - Part 2

December 20th, 2007 at 08:01 am

Welcome to the latest series - Setting 2008 Financial Goals!

Yesterday, I shared step one.

Step 1: WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS

Written plans allow you to FOCUS on your goals. Did you take the time yesterday to draft your 2008 Financial Goals? I know I did! Next year is going to be quite a year for me! My book, "I Was Broke. Now I'm Not!", will be released in late January. I can't wait!

After you have written down your goals, it is time for step two.

Step 2: PUT A COMPLETION DATE NEXT TO EACH GOAL

"Fail to plan. Plan to fail." A plan is not complete without assigning a completion date next to it. This date will help hold you accountable to yourself!

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you look over the goals you have written down and assign expected completion dates.

* If you are married, are you and your spouse on the same page with these financial goals? If you are not on the same page, this will be VERY difficult!
* Do any goals rely on another to be completed first? (For example, if you are paying off two credit cards - does one need to be paid off before the other?)
* Are the goals mildly realistic? Ridiculous goals tend to de-motivate and demoralize. Make sure the goal has a good fighting chance of being accomplished! On the other end of the scale, don't be too easy. Be sure to stretch yourself some!
* Are any goals higher in priority than others? If so, be sure that they are identified as such!

There have been times that I have placed my goals in a drawer. This is NOT good! Here are some tips for ensuring your goals are kept in front of you through the year.

* Place a "Task" in your e-mail task list or Blackberry that will give you an alarm on the date that the goal is expected to be completed.
* Place another "Task" in your automated list that will ask the question - "Review your 2008 Financial Goals" This is REALLY EFFECTIVE if you actually include your 2008 Financial Goals in the "Task". That way, the excuse of "I don't have my goal list with me" is totally removed!
* Place the goal list in front of you at work or on the refrigerator. Place it somewhere that is very visual and will be seen often!
* Tell others about your goals! That is great accountability!
* Start a blog and share your goals with the world! People like Jonathan at My Money Blog and the lazy man at Lazy Man and Money are sharing their personal financial picture with the world! It makes me wildly uncomfortable to see their net worth, but I can't stop reading their blog!

Time for me to go assign dates to my 2008 Financial Goals!

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Setting 2008 Financial Goals - Part 1

December 19th, 2007 at 06:00 am

Welcome to the latest series - Setting 2008 Financial Goals!

Step 1: WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS

I once read this Chinese Proverb - "The faintest ink is sharper and longer lasting that the brightest mind." That is so true! When I write down something, I am much more likely to recall it!

Here are some items/questions that can help stimulate your goal writing.

* Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps: His step-by-step method for winning with money was how I personally became debt-free.
* If you use Microsoft Money or Quicken, print out an Income & Spending Report for the past year. What needs changed? What should be continued? What should be done even more?
* Is there something in your finances that is REALLY bothering you? Many people have one thing that really bothers them. What is necessary to make it stop bothering you?

Write down your financial goals for 2008. Why not do it right now? In ten minutes or less, you can have your goals written down on paper!

Time for me to stop writing - I'm going to write down my 2008 financial goals!

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ESPN Withdrawal

December 18th, 2007 at 01:42 pm

As part of my effort to eliminate my home mortgage, I have been reducing my monthly expenses.

One of the items I reduced was my cable/internet bill. I saved a TON of money - $94 PER MONTH!!!



BUT, with the reduction of my expenses, my beloved ESPN channel has now turned into a bunch of static!

Who knew that when you reduced your spending on cable that they would actually reduce the amount of channels you receive!

I am going through complete withdrawal. I also had to turn in my digital receiver box and remote control. That beautiful remote control worked so nicely. My old crappy remote control has been recalled to full-time duty.

Nonetheless, in two years and eleven months Jenn and I will be hosting a mortgage burning party at our house!

ESPN vs. ZERO DEBT

It's the biggest match-up this season in the Sangl household!

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My VISA debit card number was stolen …

December 17th, 2007 at 08:53 am

Last weekend, my lovely bride was Christmas shopping on-line. On Monday, I went to my bank's on-line site to make an on-line bill payment (I LOVE on-line bill payments!)

Here are some of the charges that I saw …


Now, I knew that she had been shopping on-line, but I didn't know that it was for a new spouse!!! Some of the fraudulent charges were from Match.com and Yahoo! Personals!

I called my bank, and they were fantastic! The person who used the card apparently used it as a credit card - they did not know my pin code. They immediately put a hold on the VISA check card and sent a new one to me. They have already reversed the charges and credited them back to my account.

So, I am now officially a fraud victim.

It makes me wonder how many readers have been a victim or know someone who has been a victim of this type of theft!

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Funny Finances :) and Serious Stuff

December 14th, 2007 at 08:00 am

I have seen this SNL skit dozens of times, but I still laugh every time!

I also have had some laughs watching Rev. Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping. He is proclaiming to the world that a Shopocalypse is upon us! He actually has a BLOGALLUJAH! that is hilarious!

On a serious note …

* Have you listened to the "I Was Broke. Now I'm Not!" podcast? The latest edition of this weekly podcast was released today! If you have iTunes, you can subscribe to the podcast HERE. If you don't have iTunes, you can download the podcast HERE.
* If you are looking for personal finance books that I have read and recommend, you can find them HERE.
* There are only 12 days left until Christmas! (I still have not bought one single gift. This is NOT good!)
* Invest $100/month for 40 years with 12% annual growth, and you will have $1,176,477! That CRAZY math never fails to BLOW MY MIND! You can run different investment calculations by visiting the TOOLS page and selecting the "Investment Value Calculator".

Have you visited the SUCCESS STORIES link on the left side of the page? The stories of saving and found money are AWESOME! Why not leave your own success story while you are there?

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Ideas To Prevent Using Credit Cards

December 13th, 2007 at 06:52 am

So many people have problems with the use of their credit cards. I used to be in that number! I ran up my credit cards three different times. I am officially a THREE TIME LOSER with credit cards.

Here are some ideas that could help you stop the use of credit cards:

* Boil them
* Shoot them
* Can them
* Chop them
* Slice them
* Shred them
* Cancel them
* Glue them to the bottom of your shoe
* Attach to firecrackers (at least $1,000) and light the fuse
* Burn them
* Prepare a budget every month BEFORE the month begins and apply the magic formula of INCOME - OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO!
* Freeze them into a block of ice
* Set them underneath the space shuttle and have them fire up those engines!
* Pour them into a concrete retaining wall

If you are like me (a three time credit card loser), welcome to my club! Do whatever it takes to prevent the use of credit cards.

I personally chopped mine up with scissors and started preparing a written spending plan every single month.

That was December 2002. In February 2004, I became debt-free except for my house. In November, 2010 the house payment will be gone too!

If you needed to get rid of your credit cards to win with money, how did YOU stop?

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NOW AVAILABLE: Llama Pay-Off Spectacular!

December 12th, 2007 at 05:41 am

www.JoeSangl.com is PROUD to announce that a Llama Pay-Off Spectacular is now available!



Just click HERE to obtain your very own copy!

Oh, I also added several other Savings and Pay Off Spectaculars including …

* LASIK eye surgery
* John Deere equipment
* House Down Payment (Saving only)
* Musical Instruments
* Overdraft/NSF (Pay Off only)
* Roof Replacement
* Braces

More to come soon!

I always welcome new "Spectacular" ideas!

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The Crusade Went To Peachtree Community Church - Villa Rica, GA!

December 11th, 2007 at 07:07 pm

It was AWESOME to take the crusade to Peachtree Community Church in Villa Rica, Georgia!

The people who attended were FIRED UP to become debt-free and go do EXACTLY what they have been put on this earth to do!

For those who attended last night - THANK YOU!

Thank you for allowing me to accomplish what God has put me on earth to do - "help others accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances"!

Here are some of the links that I mentioned yesterday:

On-Line Savings Account - currently 4.2% interest - FDIC insured up to $100,000 (remember the maximum you can deposit is $2,000,000 Smile - but you can start with only $1!)

www.SavingFreak.com is a web site that shares a ton of moneysaving tips for frugal living.

www.mymoneyblog.com is a web site where you can find some 0% interest credit cards that you can surf your credit card balances to!

If you have IRREGULAR/SEASONAL/CYCLICAL income, you should read this series of posts.

All of the tools demonstrated are FREE! Just click HERE.

When you have a success story, be sure to share it by clicking the "Success Stories" link on the left!

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Training Financial Counselors!

December 11th, 2007 at 09:32 am

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to train people on the process I use to provide financial counseling at NewSpring Church.

I LOVE getting to do this!

Whenever I take the Financial Learning Experience on the road, I always offer to train people on the financial counseling process I use.

Why? Because I KNOW that there are people who need some help in developing a plan to win with their money, and I KNOW that there are people who have a heart for teaching people about money!

I was able to train three people who have a heart for helping people. That FIRES ME UP!

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New TOOL! Announcing the Early Pay-Off Calculator!

December 8th, 2007 at 10:04 am

Have you ever started attacking a debt with more than the minimum payment and thought, "I wonder how much sooner this debt will pay off if I keep making this payment?"

Today, I proudly announce the newest tool in the vast array of helpful personal finance tools on www.JoeSangl.com!

Introducing …

The Early Pay-Off Calculator

You can click the above link directly or visit the "TOOLS" page to see this and the other great finance tools available!

Have fun!

By the way, I used the tool to determine the amount of money I need to send in each month to pay off my house in three years. YIKES!

Let's just say that I need to sell a LOT of books!

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Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular - December 2007

December 7th, 2007 at 05:16 am

Every month there will be an update of Joe & Jenn's Home Pay-Off Spectacular! The third monthly update is TODAY!

We are even more fired up about getting rid of the mortgage!!! Why? Because we are taking REAL ACTION to reduce our expenses so that we can send even more money toward principal!

So Jenn and I have shook hands and made an agreement that the house payments will be gone within by October 2011 (Three years and 11 months). You guys will all get to watch the mortgage leave by watching the "Sangl Family Home Pay-Off Spectacular" turn green!

Here is the update!

Total Squares: 2,426

Paid-For Squares: 691

Squares Remaining: 1737

% of House Owned By The Sangl's: 28.5%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo: 71.5%



Another whopping 0.7% paid off! Wow!

I am comforting myself by telling myself that for each $1,000 of principal I pay off, I am saving $62.50/year (5.21/mo) in interest (The mortgage note is 6.25%). That means that I get to save that $5.21/month for the 28 months that it would have taken to reach my new principal balance should I have paid it as scheduled.

With all of the savings going toward additional principal reduction, I am CHOPPING the legs out from under Mr. Compound Interest!

Here is an analysis of the impact paying different payments makes.



Get your own Debt Pay-Off Spectacular HERE.

Already debt-free? Get your own SAVINGS Spectaculars HERE.

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I have a weekly newspaper column!

December 6th, 2007 at 07:50 am

You can view my column in the Anderson Independent-Mail by clicking HERE!

I am PUMPED about being able to help even more people start winning financially!

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E-Trade is offering $25 to open a savings account

December 6th, 2007 at 06:10 am

E-Trade is offering $25 for any NEW customer who opens one of their new "Complete Savings Accounts"

The link to follow is HERE!

Here's the great part. You apparently only have to open the account with $1!

So I opened an account with $1. I have to leave the money in the account for 30 days and then the $25 is mine.

According to the link HERE, E-Trade bank is FDIC-insured up to $100,000.

$1 = $25

That's good money!

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Marching To Debt Freedom - Couple #2 - Month 03

December 6th, 2007 at 06:07 am

Introduction
This couple is THROUGH with debt! It has now been four months since they announced to their debt that they are breaking up with it!

Here's this month's update!

What went well this month …
This month was a good month. We planned ahead for things that were going to cost us money (2 weddings, a birthday and a baby shower). We also worked on our Christmas shopping this month…started early…and paid in CASH!! It was GREAT!!

Another great thing about this month is we didn't even realize it was pay day until we saw the money deposited in our bank account. Planning ahead and scheduling all of our bills at the beginning of the month frees us from worrying about when the next check is coming in. In other words, we are not living pay check to pay check anymore.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, we paid off another credit card…3 down, 1 to go!!

Challenges and struggles for this month …
Just like the past couple of months we have struggled with making our cash envelopes stretch until the end of the month. But, it helps us practice saying NO!!

We overspent on our gas this month by about $60. When we planned the trips to the two weddings we did not incorporate the cost of gas; one was in NC and the other in Tenn. And we had Thanksgiving in Georgia. I did not think about the extra gas we would need this month. We have to go to Florida for Christmas and we are going to budget gas money for the trip. I won't forget about the extra gas money from now on, that's for sure!!!

Here is their updated Debt Freedom Date calculation …


Month By Month Progress …


Sangl says …
Couple #2 discovered that they owed less on vehicle 2 and that reduced their debt owed by nearly $3,000, but they still were able to reduce actual debt by nearly $1,800! I am FIRED up to see that the Providian card has left! Another CC bites the dust!

The challenge now is to pay off the Disover card. If they pay $325/month, it will take over a year to pay off this debt! That is a long time and it could really challenge Couple 2 to stick with their plan. I would really like to see Discover leave sooner because regular victories are so key to sticking with this plan!

Here's to hoping that a Christmas bonus or Tax Refund is in their future!

I am also PUMPED up to hear that Couple 2 is no longer living paycheck-to-paycheck! I remember the day that I stopped living paycheck-to-paycheck. I still have that feeling of relief and stress reduction.

Way to go!

Readers …
Couple 2 has made great progress! How is YOUR debt freedom plan going?

Would you share with Couple 2 your thoughts on how their willingness to "put it all out there for the world to see" is inspiring you to embark on your own Debt Freedom March?

View past updates from Couple #2

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Marching To Debt Freedom - Couple #1 - Month 03

December 5th, 2007 at 06:13 am

Introduction

Couple #1 has HAD IT with debt! They have been married for many years and have two children.

It has now been three full months since they embarked on their Debt Freedom March! That means that the hardest months are behind them!

On to the update for this month!

What went well this month …

I can see improvement not just in the numbers but in the actions of me and my family. The kids are starting not to hound me for things that cost so much.

Challenges and struggles for this month …

Christmas is LOOMING and I have not planned ahead. I think what I have decided to do is to pay cash for Christmas and to pay the minimums on the debt just for this month and resume the march in Jan. This will be the last year of a Christmas not planned ahead.

Updated Debt Freedom Date …


Month By Month Progress …


Sangl says …

I am FIRED UP by the progress that Couple 1 has made! In just three short months, they have made two debts leave and paid off over $3,000 in debt!

Even more important, the family is getting on board! The children are realizing how huge of a lifestyle change this is and are jumping on board! There is NOTHING like a united family attacking debt.

I am thrilled to see that Couple 1 is going to start saving for Christmas 2008 in January! It is SO MUCH EASIER to save for known, upcoming expenses over the course of months instead of absorbing the entire budget-crushing expense in a single month.

While they are going to pay less on debt, I am PUMPED to see that they are avoiding Christmas debt by paying cash! This is so important! As you attack debt, you will encounter expenses that threaten your ability to avoid debt. You have to make the decision that NOTHING is important enough to go get debt. Way to go!

Readers …

You can save for Christmas (and property taxes, annual insurance premiums, and other known, upcoming expenses) in advance as well with your own monthly escrow account. THIS ARTICLE shows you exactly how to do it!

It is encouragement time for Couple 1. Would you take a moment to share your thoughts with Couple 1?

You can receive each article FREE via E-MAIL by clicking HERE!

Lifepoint Church Rocks!

December 4th, 2007 at 05:57 am

I am back home from speaking and teaching at Lifepoint Church!

What a fabulous weekend!

I can tell you this … God is moving big time in Wilmington, NC and I am fired up about it!



Jeff Kapusta, Daryl Strickland, George Kapusta, and the entire team at Lifepoint Church are obsessed with impacting their community and that FIRES ME UP!!!

Here is a summary …

* Lives were changed as a result of attending the Financial Learning Experience!
* If you attended the FLE this weekend - You CAN do this!!!
* The entire Lifepoint team LOVES Apple products. It was iPhone this and Macbook that and "Joe - you need to see the light and dump that PC" all weekend long. I kept telling them that it is highly logical that Function-F4 and adjusting the visual display properties is very intuitive. I suspect that I helped strengthen their argument.
* The entire Lifepoint church has a "cool" factor that a nerd like me does not have. I wonder if an Apple product would help me become "cool" in some small way. Smile
* God is moving in ways I did not understand until I started teaching these classes at different churches. Churches like Crossroads, Oak Leaf, The Revolution, Barefoot Community Church, 5 Point Fellowship, Word of Faith Christian Ministries, and Lifepoint.
* The calves', calves', calves', calves have calves. The calves', calves', calves' have calves. The calves' … I guess you had to be there. It was REALLY funny!

It was a GREAT weekend! Lives were changed, and I am more FIRED UP about the crusade than ever before!

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Texas and California

December 3rd, 2007 at 12:20 pm

As part of Google Analytics, I get to see the locations of people who are checking the blog.

Behind the state I live in, Texas and California are routinely in the top four states in the "hit" count.

So, Texas and California, I want to come to your states and teach the Financial Learning Experience.

Where should I teach it? I have listed a few of the places I think I should teach it below …

Texas - Top Hit Locations

1. Dallas
2. San Antonio
3. Houston

California - Top Hit Locations

1. San Franciso
2. Los Angeles
3. San Diego

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Teaching at Wilmington, NC this weekend!

December 1st, 2007 at 01:22 pm

I can't wait to carry the crusade to Wilmington, NC this weekend!

I will be speaking during the Sunday morning services of Lifepoint Church - Pastor Jeff Kapusta

They are finishing a series called "ING - A Financial Series" and you can listen to the iTunes podcast by clicking HERE.

On Sunday afternoon, I will be conducting the Financial Learning Experience! This is a two-hour, practical, HOW-TO, LIFE-CHANGING experience! There is one thing I do know about this class - it is changing lives!!! That FIRES ME UP!

The crusade is also coming to Peachtree Community Church - Pastor David Reid in Villa Rica, Georgia two weekends from now (December 9th)! It is part of the "Money For Dummies" personal finance series! I LOVE IT!

Interested in having Joe carry the crusade and the Financial Learning Experience to your church or business? Contact Joe by clicking HERE!