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Archive for June, 2008

Deadlines. Deadlines. Deadlines.

June 18th, 2008 at 06:12 am

Observed on a sign …

"God please help me through this totally self-imposed deadline."

I have many times implemented a self-imposed deadline and allowed it to create stress in my life.

Deadlines are good. But when the deadline prevents me from ensuring that I do what is URGENT AND IMPORTANT first, then it is terrible.

Are you working on things that are URGENT AND IMPORTANT today or are you allowing all of the self-imposed deadlines to rule your schedule?

Perhaps the Time Budget - By the Half-Hour or Time Budget - By The Hour from the TOOLS page will help you take control of your schedule again!

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New Savings Spectacular! Emergency Funds

June 17th, 2008 at 07:17 pm

After numerous requests, there is now a Savings Spectacular for Emergency Funds!

If you are saving for a $1,000 Emergency Fund or a $2,500 Emergency Fund, we have the forms for you!

Savings Spectacular - Emergency Fund One Thousand Dollars

Savings Spectacular - Emergency Fund Two Thousand Five Hundr...

Color in the squares as you purchase financial freedom for your family!

If you have a request for a Savings or Debt Pay-Off Spectacular, share in the comments, and I will get one prepared for you.

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SERIES: YOU Answer The Question - Part 5

June 17th, 2008 at 06:08 am

Welcome to the latest series - YOU Answer The Question!

One thing that I love about traveling and teaching about finances is that I learn so much from the people I meet!

So here is how this series works. I will share a question that has been sent in to me, and YOU Answer The Question!

QUESTION: How do I find an investment advisor I can trust?

Share Your Answer!

SERIES: YOU Answer The Question - Part 4

June 16th, 2008 at 06:50 pm

Welcome to the latest series - YOU Answer The Question!

One thing that I love about traveling and teaching about finances is that I learn so much from the people I meet!

So here is how this series works. I will share a question that has been sent in to me, and YOU Answer The Question!

QUESTION: We have had our car insurance with the same company for twenty years. We know we are paying too much so we are obtaining new car insurance quotes. Once I get the new quotes, should I contact my current insurer and ask for a counter-offer? I am hesitant because we have been with them for so long.

Share Your Answer!

SERIES: YOU Answer The Question - Part 3

June 16th, 2008 at 07:42 am

Welcome to the latest series - YOU Answer The Question!

One thing that I love about traveling and teaching about finances is that I learn so much from the people I meet!

So here is how this series works. I will share a question that has been sent in to me, and YOU Answer The Question!

QUESTION: I am 49 year old single person with no small children, and I am looking to purchase term life insurance for myself. Do I still need eight to ten times my salary in insurance or just enough to cover any expenses my children will face?

Share Your Answer!

SERIES: YOU Answer The Question - Part 2

June 15th, 2008 at 05:32 pm

Welcome to the latest series - YOU Answer The Question!

One thing that I love about traveling and teaching about finances is that I learn so much from the people I meet!

So here is how this series works. I will share a question that has been sent in to me, and YOU Answer The Question!

QUESTION: I want to work on getting some mutual funds, but I haven't the faintest idea where to start … Do I just go to Fidelity and say "I want some mutual funds" or what?

Share Your Answer!

SERIES: YOU Answer The Question - Part 1

June 13th, 2008 at 08:08 am

Welcome to the latest series - YOU Answer The Question!

One thing that I love about traveling and teaching about finances is that I learn so much from the people I meet!

So here is how this new series works. I will share a question that has been sent in to me, and YOU Answer The Question!

QUESTION: What do you do when you really want to get on the right track financially and your spouse is not as willing to participate?

Share Your Answer!

Do you have a question of your own? Ask me HERE!

New Series Starting Tommorrow (and other news)

June 12th, 2008 at 06:31 am

A new series will be appearing tomorrow. It is called "YOU Answer The Question." It should be a blast, and I hope that you will participate!

Other news
* The comments for the Debt Freedom Marches this month were great! Thanks for being so supportive of these three couples who are sharing with the world their own successes and struggles as they march toward financial freedom.
* I ordered more copies of I Was Broke. Now I'm Not. last Thursday. I cannot believe what has happened with this book. To all who have purchased a copy, I am so grateful! It is my goal to have taught 100,000 people by October 2011. I count each copy sold as a person taught. It is my passion to help others accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances. This book is just one avenue that allows me to do this!
* The I Was Broke. Now I'm Not. Home Group Study is progressing well! I am so PUMPED about this study because it allows folks to go through the book and APPLY this stuff with the people that they are doing life with. That is where real life change can happen! We are still on target for a release of this material by the end of July.
* This crusade to help others with their personal finances is jumping to an entirely new level. I am really looking forward to the next couple of months!

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Marching To Debt Freedom - Couple #3 - Month 06

June 11th, 2008 at 06:34 am

Introduction
This couple has been married for many years and have one child. They have HAD IT with their debt and have been marching toward debt freedom since November 2007. They are THROUGH with credit cards.

What went well this month?
We took out a 401(k) loan to pay off four high-interest credit cards. This allows us to pay a MUCH lower interest rate, and even better… we pay the interest back TO US! Smile We are now hoping that we can take advantage of some 0% interest offers and transfer the remaining balances to those cards.

What were the challenges/struggles this month?
Trying to not get discouraged about not getting it all paid off now! We are also planning on making higher payments on the lowest debt as soon as we see what the 401(k) loan payment does to the paycheck.

Updated Debt Freedom Date …


Month By Month Progress …


What has helped you stay on this Debt Freedom March?
Knowing that one day we will be DEBT-FREE and not live paycheck to paycheck!

How has this Debt Freedom March impacted your marriage relationship?
We are actually closer now and get this: WE DON'T FIGHT ABOUT MONEY!!! We both know what we owe and we are both on the same page to GET IT PAID OFF!

Sangl says …
Couple #3 has completed part two of their three part plan to restructure their debt. Their credit cards had hugely punitive rates - all of them 20% or higher. This was really killing their ability to attack the debt principal. With the majority of their debt now at a much lower interest rate (some of it at 0%!), they are now positioned to make tremendous strides toward Debt Freedom!

In my meetings with thousands of people, I have seen situations like this completely intimidate someone and they allow it to prevent them from taking charge of their finances. Couple #3, I applaud you for sticking with this! You guys CAN do this, and you will! And all of us will have this front row seat to cheer you on. Way to go!

Readers …
Would you leave some words of encouragement for Couple #3 in the comment section?

If you are totally intimidated by your financial situation, I would be glad to help in any way that I can. We offer FREE one-on-one financial counseling through NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC. I have even begun offering a very limited number of on-line appointments. If you are interested in receiving financial counseling, please contact me HERE.

Debt Freedom March - Couple #2 - Month 09

June 10th, 2008 at 06:27 am

Introduction
This couple is THROUGH with debt! It has now been eight months since they announced that they were breaking up with debt. They have agreed to share their Debt Freedom March with everyone in the hopes to inspire others to do the same!

Here is this month's update.

What went well this month?
Everything went well. We have really got a handle on our budget, and we don't seem to have many struggles.

Challenges and struggles this month?
We both are in sales, so sometimes we have extra money come in that is not budgeted. Our goal is to put that money toward debt. This month we had a little extra money, and we did not put it toward debt… we used it as play money. We want to work on this for the future so we can shorten our Debt Freedom date. But, we didn't beat ourselves up for it. We work hard and enjoyed doing a little extra spending this month. We expect a bonus or two next month, and we are going to try and put a little bit of it toward debt. Wish us luck!

Here is their updated Debt Freedom Date calculation


Month By Month Progress …


What has helped you stay on this Debt Freedom March?
There are several reasons why we have stuck to the plan. The Debt Freedom March has provided structure for our money. We have enjoyed paying our bills all at one time and not having to worry about paying bills again until the next month. We never worry about having "unexpected expenses" because we have the "known upcoming expenses" account set up. Another bonus is we don't noticed "pay day" anymore because we are not living paycheck to paycheck. All in all, this plan helps us feel in control of our money and our future. We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that keeps us going along. We are looking forward to being debt free, and there is no way we are going to stop now.

How has this Debt Freedom March impacted your marriage relationship?
Luckily, we have always had the same view about how we spend our money and what we want for the future. Believe it or not… we have never fought about money. So, I guess I would have to say the debt freedom plan has helped us work as a team and look toward our future in a different way. We see ourselves having the life we want without the headache of worrying how we are going to pay for it. I am sure it has impacted us in other ways that we are not aware of at this time. But, I have no doubt that we will be able to look back in 10 years and see that sticking to the Debt Freedom March impacted our lives more that we could have ever imagined.

Sangl says …
Nine months ago, Couple #2 caught a vision of what life could be like without payments. In this nine month period, they have been able to knock fifteen months off their Debt Freedom Date! At this current rate, they will become debt-free in around eighteen months (January 2010) and it will have taken them only 27 months total to do it!

When they become debt-free, they will have freed up $1,775 in take-home pay every single month! How much does one have to earn to bring home $1,775? About $2,500 if their total tax rate is 30%! This means that they are going to give themselves a $30,000/year raise in about eighteen months!

I love this stuff!

Readers …
How much do you send to debt each month? Why not pay it off and give yourself a massive pay raise?

You can do this too! I share my story and teach these tools in my book, I Was Broke. Now I'm Not.

This stuff FIRES ME UP!!!!

Marching To Debt Freedom - Couple #1 - Month 09

June 9th, 2008 at 01:25 pm

Introduction
Couple #1 is THROUGH with debt! They have been married for many years and have two children. They are now NINE months into their Debt Freedom March.

What went well this month?
Everything went reasonably well. We had a few unexpected bills but that is life. The rising cost of living is eating into our monthly budget a little but we are on track.

What were the challenges/struggles this month?
GAS, FOOD!!!

Updated Debt Freedom Date


Month By Month Progress


What has helped you stay on this Debt Freedom March?

The prize at the end of this is not being indebted to the leeches. I want to be free of the weight of debt. It is a cancer.

How has this Debt Freedom March impacted your marriage relationship?

It has created a sense of trust and unity. Together we are invincible, and we have a little change in our pocket.

Sangl says …
There are several success stories this month! Did you notice that Couple #1 paid off TWO credit cards this month? Lowe's and Discover both went into the "PAID OFF!" area this month. AWESOME! Also, they have paid off $17,963 in debt in just nine months. That is INCREDIBLE! That is a new car's worth of debt. Couple #1 could have continued living like they had in the past, and they would have been able to pay the bills fine. But they have caught a glimpse of what life is going to be like without debt, and nothing can stop them.

This is what this entire crusade is all about. Helping others accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances! I LOVE THIS STUFF!

Readers …
What is your Debt Freedom Date? I hope it is zero or approaching it quickly!

Read Previous Monthly Updates For Couple #1 HERE

In my book that was released in January, I share the story of my Debt Freedom March and teach the exact tools that Jenn and I used to become debt-free. You can do it too! You can read the book's introduction HERE.

Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular - June 2008

June 9th, 2008 at 06:47 am

Every month there will be an update of Joe & Jenn's Home Pay-Off Spectacular!

Here's this month's update!
Total Squares: 2,426
Paid-For Squares: WAS 739 IS 743
Squares Remaining: WAS 1687 IS 1683
% of House Owned By The Sangl's: WAS 30.5% IS 30.6%
% of House Owned By Wells Fargo: WAS 69.5% IS 69.4%

Here is the updated "Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular" (Click on the picture to view the larger version)


Jenn has retired to be a stay-at-home mom again. This will certainly impact the Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular, but it was important for the Sangl Family to make this decision. I am so proud of my bride for making the tough decision to be a stay-at-home mother again. It is hard to say goodbye to a great job and a great income, but this was the right decision for the Sangl Family right now.

We do know this: Because we have a written spending plan, we will not have to worry about incurring a pile of debt because of this decision. We will, in fact, be able to continue to attack the mortgage. All because we have a written plan that we follow! I LOVE THIS STUFF!

How are you doing on YOUR house payoff spectacular? Don't have one? Get yours here => Pay Off Spectacular - House.

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You can read about how Jenn and I stopped being broke, and won with our money in my new book, I Was Broke. Now I'm Not. It is available via PAYPAL, AMAZON.COM, or BORDERS.COM.

Lessons from the AC failure

June 5th, 2008 at 01:35 pm

With both cooling units failing in my house over the past week, I have learned a lot about heat pumps.

I thought I would share a few things that I have been told. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong!

* Loud electrical buzzing sounds coming from the exterior unit are not normal and should be looked into right away.
* If you have to put both hands right against the vents to see if air is blowing out, and you still have to guess whether or not it is blowing out air - it's not!
* If you use your electronic thermostat to adjust the temperature more than two degrees, you will be activating the emergency heat strips in the wintertime. This is horribly inefficient and be prepared to fork out a ton of cash to cover that cost.
* Heat pumps work most efficiently when they are set at a temperature and left there.
* The cool air blowing out of the vents should be at least twenty degrees less than the outside air temperature.
* It is great to have friends and family who work on HVAC for a living!
* It is probably best to have a thirty-something year old HVAC unit inspected at least once each year.

Any other lessons I need to learn about the AC?

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So That’s Why …

June 4th, 2008 at 07:33 am

I have a thirty-something year old house. It has thirty-something year old house problems. One of those problems is the fact that it still has its original HVAC units.

Now, the average American would go through life with $4.13 in the bank account and no margin for life to happen. "Life Happens" events like the HVAC unit going out. Luckily, Jenn and I stopped living with blinders on and have saved for such events.

So here is the story.

In February, I received a MONSTER electric bill. My reaction was like, "OH MY GOODNESS! I could color in a ton of squares on the Sangl Family Home Pay-Off Spectacular if I did not have this huge electric bill." So I did what anyone would do, I lowered the temperature of the thermostat and said to myself that we would just be a little chilly. Well, we FROZE for the month of March and received another MONSTER electric bill.

I said to myself, "This sucks. I am FREEZING and paying a ton of money on this stupid electric bill."

Luckily in April it warmed up nicely here in SC, and I was able to turn off the HVAC units. I have been able to leave them off until this week. On Monday night, it was over eighty degrees in the house and humid. So I cranked on the AC and went to sleep. When I woke up in the morning, it was still smoking hot.

Uh oh.

I called my father-in-law who does HVAC for a living, but he lives far away. He told me to do some stuff, but all of it would involve me electrocuting myself so I decided to call my local friendly repairman (who also happens to be in my home group).

A short survey of the situation revealed that the condenser fan was not spinning. Thus the large electrical buzzing sound that has been coming out of the unit since FEBRUARY. Did I mention that it was buzzing since FEBRUARY? Oh, I guess that sound was important to note.

Turns out that I heated my house with the emergency strip heating for two straight months instead of the heat pump. Turns out that consumes enormous amounts of electricity. Turns out it consumed a lot of my budget for two months.

A few hundred dollars later, we are nice and cool again. With thirty-something-year-old units. It might help to know that I have money saved up to replace these units when they totally fail on me.

Do you have margin in your life to absorb "Life Happens" events?

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You can read about how Jenn and I stopped being broke and won with our money in my new book, I Was Broke. Now I'm Not. It is available via PAYPAL, AMAZON.COM, or BORDERS.COM. You can read the Introduction HERE.

PODCAST: I Was Broke. Now I’m Not.

June 3rd, 2008 at 05:44 am

I do not know if you have checked out the "I Was Broke. Now I'm Not." podcast recently, but perhaps you should.

Top Five Reasons to check out the podcast
1. It averages seven minutes in length. Never longer than ten minutes.
2. I always answer a question asked by one of the readers.
3. I always share a success story sent in by one of the readers.
4. It is free.
5. You might hear me yell, holler, and scream because I am so FIRED UP about what is happening through this crusade!

To subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, click HERE. If you do not have iTunes, you can download a mp3 by clicking HERE.

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FOLLOW UP: How Do I Stop Being Impulsive?

June 2nd, 2008 at 05:36 am

I really feel like it would be helpful to follow up on this because this is such a common part of all of our lives! We are ALL impulsive. It seems to be different things for each of us, but we all have a case of impulsiveness every now and then.

I wanted to share some of the feedback that was sent in via the comments or from the "E-mail Joe" link.

* Let there be … TIME between the "I WANT THAT!" moment and the actual "Purchasing Decision" moment. The more time between the two moments, the clearer the decision will be.
* Let there be … ADVICE from someone you trust and wants to see you prosper. If you are married, this is your spouse!
* Let there be … A WRITTEN PLAN that spends all of your money on paper every month BEFORE the month and money arrive. When you have personally helped prepare the spending of your money on paper, you are much more aware about whether or not you can afford the "I WANT THAT!" item.

Great conversation! I wonder if any of you out there would share some "near misses" where you almost made a horrible, snap-judgment financial decision but you did not. What helped you make the decision to back out? How does it feel now as you look back on the situation?

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Clear Thoughts At 35,000 Feet

June 1st, 2008 at 04:52 pm



When I worked in Corporate America, I flew a lot. A LOT. My primary travel path was Chicago to San Diego and then across the border to Tijuana. That plane ride was over four hours long. You might not like that long of a flight, but I loved it. I could get so much work done!

With most of what I do today, I travel via car. However, I traveled via plane last weekend to teach the Financial Learning Experience at C3 Church in Orlando, Florida. I had forgotten how awesome it is to be on a plane at 35,000 feet.

I had such clear thoughts! I was working on yet another revision of the I Was Broke. Now I'm Not. home group study that will be released in late July. The thoughts were so clear. I was on my game! I got so much done!

I wonder why flying allows me to think so much clearer?

I suspect it has something to do with the fact that nearly all of my normal distractions are removed (e-mail, friends, cell phone).

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