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What To Do When You Are In A HUGE Financial Mess

March 2nd, 2009 at 10:23 am

I have met a ton of people who are experiencing the harshness of the following two key items:

* No Plan, No Savings, Piles of Debt
* Loss/Reduction of Income

Here is what you can do when faced with this situation.

1. Cry. It is OK to be regretful for awhile!
2. Take time to prioritize who will get paid and who will not get paid. (Read the post I wrote http://iwasbroke.savingadvice.com/2008/11/18/help-i-cant-pay...about priority order.)
3. Write out your goals. Make sure they are SMART.
4. Prepare a written spending plan (even if you know that it will not balance to Exactly Zero). This will allow you to fully understand your "Go Get This!" number.
5. Take ACTION!

There can be a tendency to just focus on #1 and hope for everything to just work itself out. Usually, this is not the case. Recovering from this type of issue is emotional and gut-wrenching, but it requires one to take action.

You CAN recover from the mess!

http://iwasbroke.savingadvice.com

How Many Times Must I Hear

March 1st, 2009 at 03:40 pm

I heard several times that Crocs were great shoes. I finally heard it enough that I bought a pair. They are great! So great that I wear them everywhere. Including to Iowa in January in snow. When I finally tried out a pair, I thought, "Why didn't I listen and take action earlier?"

I heard several times that iPods were incredible. I finally heard it enough that I bought one. It is incredible! So great that I wear it while running, driving, and sitting on an airplane. When I finally tried out a pair, I thought, "Why didn't I listen and take action earlier?"

"Why didn't I listen and take action earlier?" This is a question I have asked myself many times after discovering a new thing that enhanced my life greatly.

It applies to my finances. When I first prepared a http://nextsteps.iwasbrokenowimnot.com/tools/budgeting-tools/ before the month and the money arrived, I asked myself this key question.

I wonder how many more things I should be listening to and taking action earlier?

I challenge you to ask yourself the same question.

http://iwasbroke.savingadvice.com

Skiing At Copper Mountain, Colorado

February 3rd, 2009 at 05:54 am

I had the outstanding opportunity to go skiing on Friday before the Financial Learning Experience in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

I went skiing at Copper Mountain in Colorado, and it was INCREDIBLE! Over a foot of fresh snow over the past week had fallen, and the slopes were in terrific shape. It was the warmest day of the week (33 degrees) and sunshine too!

Here is a picture.


It was incredible, and I want to go back RIGHT NOW!

http://iwasbroke.savingadvice.com

Crocs Do Not Work Well In Snow

February 2nd, 2009 at 01:42 pm

I recently spoke in Ottumwa, Iowa.

I was there to teach the Financial Learning Experience at http://www.ottumwabridge.org/ church (pastor is Marty Schmidt).

I learned a lot about Ottumwa, Iowa.
* It is the hometown of Radar from M.A.S.H. and Tom Arnold
* It is about 1.5 hours south and east of Des Moines
* There is a huge need for financial training (just like all other areas of America!)
* I like Ottumwa
* It is home to a cool new church called "thebridge"

I also have realized that I have been living in the South for awhile. I showed up in Des Moines (8 degrees F and snow) wearing a light jacket, running socks, and Crocs.

Guess what? I was cold. Snow came in direct contact with my legs just above the ankles, and snow went right through the holes in the Crocs and soaked my socks.

So for those of you who were wondering: Crocs do not work well in snow.

It made me think about the number of times I have showed up ill-prepared to address financial issues. For example, I used to think that earning more money would solve my credit card balance and impulsive spending decisions. I was wrong. The fact was that I could earn millions of dollars a year, and I would still have an outgo problem.

I was ill-equipped. My monthly written spending plan using INCOME - OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO was the correct tool to address my problem.

My Crocs have been replaced with nice leather waterproof shoes.

http://iwasbroke.savingadvice.com

0% Credit Card Transfer Story

January 29th, 2009 at 12:49 pm

A person who recently attended a http://www.josephsangl.com/FLE Details.htm e-mailed me the following question:

I had the privilege of hearing you speak both during the message and the class that followed. My wife and I are committed to eliminating our debt. With that in mind, I have a question. I have three credit cards one for 6,000.00, one for 1956.00 and one for 5775.00 I am paying high interest rates 27.98, 24.00 and 20.4% respectively.

I tried to reduce my rates, but they were unwilling and the reality is that I don't get [0%] offers in the mail anymore.


I responded with the following question: Have you applied for one of the cards on my "Next Steps" site [http://nextsteps.iwasbrokenowimnot.com/eliminate-debt/0-cred...]?

His response FIRED ME UP!

Here is his response.
I just applied for the discover card and I put two of the cards to be transferred totaling 11,500.00 and I was accepted! After talking to Bank of America earlier today I felt as if I were a heathen slug that had delinquent deadbeat written on my forehead and the reality was that I had always paid them!

Thank you. You will get my phone call with a loud yahoo! You have an awesome ministry keep up the good work.


So let's look at the math. $6,000 was moved from 27.98% and $5,500 was moved from 20.4%. That one move saved $205/month in INTEREST!!! That is over $2,400 per year in INTEREST that was eliminated.

If you are paying interest on a credit card, why?

http://iwasbroke.savingadvice.com

Official Marathon Time: 3:55:40

January 20th, 2009 at 12:57 pm

I was able to achieve my goal of completing the marathon in under four hours!

I am PUMPED! More to follow in the next week on the similarities between finances and marathons.

http://iwasbroke.savingadvice.com

Credit Card Rule Changes

December 31st, 2008 at 06:34 am

The Federal Reserve Board has implemented some substantial rule changes that govern how credit card companies interact with cardholders.

I am PUMPED about some of the rules changes, but I am disappointed that most of these will not be implemented until July 2010.

Here are some rule changes that I am excited about:
* Double cycle billing is eliminated. This eliminates double-billing on interest (robbery).
* Can't raise rates unless payments are more than 30 days behind. Provides some margin for error before default rates go into effect.
* Payments will be applied to highest interest balances first. YAY!

And here is my personal favorite - No more universal default rules! This means that credit card companies can not raise your rate on a card that has been paid on time simply because you have paid late on another credit card!

You can read a complete article about the credit card lending rules at CNNMoney - http://money.cnn.com/2008/12/18/pf/credit_card_rules/index.h....

As a reminder, there is a way to prevent credit card companies from controlling your life - PAY THEM OFF!!! If you are carrying a balance on your credit card and are paying interest, it can be very worthwhile to transfer the debt to http://nextsteps.iwasbrokenowimnot.com/eliminate-debt/0-cred... so that ALL of your payment is applied to principal. PAY THEM OFF, and apply the first rule of holes - stop digging! No more debt.

Giving - It never gets old

December 10th, 2008 at 07:50 am

I love giving. Love it!

I have seen the the simple act of giving completely transform lives. My education is a direct result of GIFTS.

Purdue University
* My beloved university where I received my bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) was founded through gifts.
* In 1862, President Lincoln signed the Morrill Land Grant Act that would give public owned land to any state that would use the land or proceeds from the sale of that land to found a college teaching agriculture and engineering.
* In 1869, Indiana signed on and accepted GIFT from John Purdue ($150,000 - in 1869! At 4% annual inflation, that equates to a gift of $38,614,733!). They also accepted a GIFT of $50,000 from Tippecanoe County (where Purdue is located) and 100 acres from local residents.

Clemson University
* The university where I received my masters degree in Business Administration (MBA) was founded through the same Morrill Land Grant Act!
* In Thomas Green Clemson's will, he bequeathed the Fort Hill plantation and a considerable sum from his personal assets for the establishment of an educational institution of the kind he envisioned.

Giving made my education a possibility. John Purdue, the residents of Tippecanoe County, and the local residents who donated land all made Purdue a possibility. Thomas Green Clemson made Clemson a possibility. Although the residents of Tippecanoe County who donated tax dollars and land are not mentioned, they are just as much a part of it as John Purdue and Thomas Clemson.

Key Lesson: GIVING allows me to make a difference in future generations.

Sources
* Purdue University web site
* Clemson University web site

http://iwasbroke.savingadvice.com

Debt Pay-Off and Saving Spectaculars

December 9th, 2008 at 10:11 am

I love filling in the squares on the Sangl Family Home Pay-Off Spectacular every month. It is so satisfying to visibly watch the debt leave.

Over the past year, we have developed an entire set of http://nextsteps.iwasbrokenowimnot.com/tools/pay-off-spectac... and http://nextsteps.iwasbrokenowimnot.com/tools/saving-spectacu.... In fact, they have been downloaded thousands of times! That floors me.

I would love to hear your ideas on additional Spectaculars we can provide.

So … ask yourself the following questions:

What are you paying off? and What are you saving money for?

Put your suggestions in the comments below, and the team will work to provide spectaculars for them over the next several weeks!

http://iwasbroke.savingadvice.com

Marathon Training Is Like ... Planning

December 8th, 2008 at 05:57 am

Marathon training is like planning.

I am currently training for a full marathon that I will run on January 18 in Houston, TX. I am neck deep in to the training plan right now, and there have been several times that I have asked myself, "WHY am I doing this? AGAIN?!!"

Since this is my second marathon, I am much more aware of the importance of good planning.

In my first marathon, I had a great training plan that I obtained from http://www.halhigdon.com/. He has training plans for all lengths and types of runs, but I pulled up the novice marathon training plan.

It was a great plan. It started out with moderate runs and slowly but surely it stretched out to longer runs. I remember specifically a day that the plan called for a twenty mile run. A twenty mile run. I was training in Indiana for the race, and it was horribly cold outside so I ran on a treadmill.

Shortly after I got on the treadmill, a young mother showed up and placed her baby in a car seat attachment next to her. She then proceeded to change the TV to "Bob The Builder". She ran for twenty minutes and then left me stranded there watching "Bob The Builder" - SIX STRAIGHT EPISODES!

After running for seventeen miles, I could not take "Bob The Builder" anymore so I got off the treadmill to go change the TV channel. I never got back on the treadmill. I never ran the other three assigned miles.

I ended up shortchanging one more twenty mile run that was on the plan.

Guess what happened? During the marathon, I ran great until mile 17. By mile 19, I was hurting so bad that I stopped and walked for awhile. I ran-walked the final 7.2 miles. I finished, but I really paid dearly for not following the plan.

Have you ever planned your spending and then failed to follow it? I know I have in the past. I made it through the month, but I paid dearly for not following the plan.

That is how marathon training is like … plannning.

Will Rogers said that "even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there."

http://iwasbroke.savingadvice.com

Economic Stimulus Package Equals Lower Gas Prices

December 4th, 2008 at 02:06 pm

I believe that the greatest economic stimulus package that could have ever been implemented is LOWER GAS PRICES.

Seriously. I believe that super-high gas prices forced people to trim their spending to essentials and to restructure their spending - including eliminating gas hogs. Now that gas prices have eased there is extra money each month.

I do not know about you, but I saw a ton of people at Wal-Mart on Black Friday shopping with cash.

The average American family is getting an extra $50 to $200/month simply because of lower gas prices. That equates to an extra $600 to $2,400/year.

What do you think?

2009 Q1 Event Schedule

December 2nd, 2008 at 08:38 am

I am PUMPED about 2009! This crusade takes tons of people to make it work, and I am so honored that so many of you have participated in or volunteered to serve at one our events.

Here are the cities that the crusade will be visiting in the first three months of 2009.

* January 17 & 18 Houston, TX
* January 24 & 25 Royersford, PA (Philly area)
* January 28 Ottumwa, IA (Des Moines area)
* January 31 & February 1 Cheyenne, WY
* February 7 & 8 Dallas, TX
* February 22 Canton, GA (Atlanta area)
* March 7 & 8 Acworth, GA (Atlanta area)
* March 12 & 15 Anderson, SC
* March 22 Lakeland, FL (Tampa area)

I am also stoked to see that the crusade will be traveling in ways that do not require me to travel! The http://groupstudy.iwasbrokenowimnot.com/ is being implemented into small groups and medium size groups in dozens of churches.

That PUMPS ME UP! I am so honored that I get to serve so many people, churches, and businesses and be a part of life changing work.

http://iwasbroke.savingadvice.com