This Blog's Purpose

The purpose of this blog is help people improve their Mind, Body, Soul (relationships) and their Money.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Monday's Motivating Video - Larry Ellison (billionaire) talks about late billionaire Steve Jobs.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

thought for thursday - 'what will other people think?" is not a core belief system

Worrying about what others think before you live your life is not a core belief system. Do what you want to do. You're a grown man/woman. Do what you feel is right so long as it does not interfere or impose on the will of others. That is all.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Debt Free Interview #14 - David & John - the Debt Free Guys

Hello today's debt interview is with David and John - two guys from Colorado who used to have salary level debt. They lived through their debt and were able to tell the story. Here is their story:

1. How did you get into debt?

The story of how we got into debt is a little different for each of us since we both acquired most of our debt before we got together.

David’s Story: I got my ball and chain of debt when I was 19. My mother took me to the bank to co-sign on a credit card for a trip to Ireland. The trip was paid for, but the card was for emergencies. I did have spending money saved. Lesson learned; never let a teenager loose with a credit card. By the time I returned I had maxed out the balance. True, it was only $500, but that’s like $1,000 today. I had a part time job and from that point on I was sucked into the minimum monthly payment scam for years.

I was not a high roller when it came to my credit card. I was the nickel-and-dimer. I spent $5 here and $15 there, which lulled me into thinking that I wasn't really spending much money. Seeing my credit card statement each month never made it sink in, especially when it seemed like I was getting a regular credit limit increase. I remember my first credit limit increase. It was like I received a 100 percent raise. A 100 percent negative raise, I suppose. Now I spent even more and just made larger minimum monthly payments.

John’s Story: My struggle with debt started in 1999 when I was 25 years old and moved to Denver, CO with a friend from college. We moved to Denver to go skiing and snowboarding. I didn't want for anything while I grew up, so I guess I never really understood the value of a dollar. Now that I was finally on my own, I thought I needed things to make me an adult. I was the big-ticket-spender, contrary to David. I bought top-of-the-line snowboard equipment, furnished and decorated my new apartment with things I couldn't really afford and bought a new car with $3,000 down from my credit card. We were new to Denver and wanted to make friends, so we went out to bars and restaurants regularly to meet people. All this added up quickly and I went from a $5,000 surplus to negative $30,000+ in a couple of years.

By 2003, when David and I started to date, we were two 30-something men who both worked in financial services, lived in a basement apartment and had a combined credit card balance over $51,000.

2. How deeply in debt were you at the worst point? What did it feel like?

At our highest, we had over $51,000 in combined credit card debt. It was split about 1/3 David and 2/3 John. It may not be lot of debt to some, but in 2003 that was 1/3 the cost of an average house and could have bought us both nice cars. With the rapid run up in home prices, we probably lost out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in appreciation so that we could have a bagel and coffee in the morning or a new pair of Diesel tennis shoes.

We were angry, frustrated, stressed and embarrassed that we put ourselves into this situation. We were angry that we were that stupid with our own money, as our jobs were to help people with their money. It was all our fault, none of our debt was due to emergencies or family problems. As someone once said, we "[spent] money we don't have to impress people we don't like."

That is when we quit. We quit having a nice lifestyle for a couple of years.  

3. When did you decide to get out of debt and why?

A few months after we moved into our basement apartment, we were stressed because of our bills. It was nighttime and we sat in the backyard and had heart-to-heart. We were two 30-something men with a combined tenure of 13 years in financial services. We had decent income, especially combined, and yet we were always stressed about money. One of our cars was in pretty bad condition and we lived in a basement. It was from that conversation that we made the decision to change because we knew we were capable of a better life and were determined to achieve it. Over the course of several weeks, we analyzed our personal finances, cut back certain expenses and eliminated others. We had several discussions about what we both really wanted in life. We ultimately came up with our personal financial plan.

4. How long did it take you to get completely debt free?

This is a great question that should have a two word answer. It took us a little over two and a half years to pay off our original debt of just over $51,000. To do this, we cut up credit cards, eliminated all personal travel, really pulled in the reigns on dining out and grocery shopping and adjusted our social life considerably.

We've gone into debt twice since then. Neither time was more for than $5,000, but it was easier for us to see where we were headed. Our first relapse was driven by our desire to reward ourselves for paying off our $51,000 of debt. We celebrated by doing almost everything that originally put us into debt in the first place. The second relapse happened a few years later after we put ourselves into a much better financial situation with bigger salaries and increased retirement and emergency savings, but we became lax with our money management.

We liken each time to maintaining our goal weight. Especially during certain times or the year, we make allowances for ourselves with what we eat and how often we workout. Other times of the year, we notice we unconsciously increased our caloric intake or decreased our caloric expenditure. Personal health, like personal finance, requires ongoing management for most of us.

5. What advice would you give to someone trying to become debt free?

Of course, there is a ton of advice to give. What helped us most was to learn what we truly want in life. That knowledge is our motivation for the long-term and through the hard times. When we did our soul searching in the basement we realized we both want to travel and save for retirement. We don't want a huge house. We don't want fancy cars. Going out to clubs to see and be seen isn't what we really want. We stopped behaviors that didn't fulfill us and adopted behaviors that do.

As of today, we have traveled extensively, plan to travel more and are on a good path to a comfortable retirement. We each have over three times the national average saved for retirement and plan to increase that with each pay check.

Finally, don’t continue to do the same thing and expect different results. Change is difficult at first, but worth it to become debt free. We made it and so can you!
Thanks so much David and John for sharing!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Debt free interview #12 - Emma of "From Aldi to Harrod's" Blog

This week's interview comes from a Brit - Emma the blogger responsible for the blog "From Aldi to Harrods" blog. She shares her story of getting out of debt here today: 

1.       How did you get into debt?
It started when I turned 18 and I was about to head off to university. My bank gave me a student credit card with a fairly low limit of just £200 ($339.231). I bought a house whilst I was at university so I had a lot more living expenses that the usual rent, food and phone bills - I had to kit out an entire house. Then when I took a part time job with Marks and Spencer Money, I was given another credit card, this time with a £1,500($2,544.11) ( limit. It just spiraled from there. I'd love to say that I at least spent it on having an extravagant lifestyle, but that's not the case. I used credit cards for living costs whilst at university, and then I graduated in to the recession and couldn't find a job, but still had a mortgage to pay.
2.       How deeply in debt were you at the worst point? What did it feel like?
I was very much a "head in the sand" person, and I don't know the true extent of my debt at its worst. At the end of 2013 it was close to £5,000 ($8,480.17)  still outstanding. Although I managed my debt well (it was on 0% interest and I never missed a payment) it still felt like a chain around my neck. How could I be going and enjoying meals out when I still had debts to pay off? 
3.       When did you decide to get out of debt and why?
When my fiancé proposed to me in November 2013, I knew our wedding would be an added expense. I was determined to make sure that I was walking down the aisle debt free. I managed to clear my debt with a year to go until we say our vows.
4.       How long did it take you to get completely debt free?
 I've been trying since I was 18 (over 8 years), but I made a conscious effort to pay off the last £5k ($8,480.17) in 6 months.
 5.       What advice would you give to someone trying to become debt free?
Don't underestimate how much a little change can help. You might think that cancelling your paid TV subscription will only save you a small amount per month, but it does all add up.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Debt- free interview #11 - Luke from Consumerism Commentary

This week I'm thrilled to have a response from Luke Landes of Consumerism Commentary. Landes has been blogging about his debt and finances for well over a decade. Here are his responses.

1.       How did you get into debt?
Like many recently-former students, I had student loan debt. On top of
that, when I finally got my career started, I was working in a
non-profit organization and my salary wasn't covering my basic living
expenses. I was going further into debt each month, and I wasn't even
spending extravagantly. I didn't have a runaway shopping habit, but in
order to live within I means I would have had to make sacrifices I
didn't want to make -- like living in a run-down apartment in a
run-down neighborhood.

2.       How deeply in debt were you at the worst point? What did it feel like?
I was probably in about $30,000 of debt at the worst of it, maybe
more. I know that's not as much as some people's rock bottoms, but it
was enough for me to eventually realize I needed to make some changes.
It felt... well I felt nothing. I was able survive on credit cards.
With access to credit, I was able to ignore my declining situation for
a long time. And ignoring the problem was a defense mechanism that
prevented me from feeling bad about the situation. But eventually,
when I lost my job, my apartment, my car, and my girlfriend, I knew it
was time to make some changes.

3.       When did you decide to get out of debt and why?

I found myself in a situation that was far beyond what I ever expected
for myself. I had to move in with my father. That's fine for someone
just out of college, looking for their first job, but it wasn't how I
wanted to living at that time. So I made a conscious effort to make
changes to my life, my attitude, and my philosophy to get myself out
of that situation.

4.       How long did it take you to get completely debt free?

 Because I tracked this on Consumerism Commentary, and was one of the
first people to track his finances online, publicly, this information
is pretty easy for me to find. My first happy milestone was having a
positive net worth, which seems to have occurred in December 2002.
That's almost a year after starting a new job, and after a few months
of greatly reduced living expenses within that time. But I finally
paid off the last of my student loan debt in December 2008. That was
the last of my debt. I have never owned a house and have never had a

5.       What advice would you give to someone trying to become debt free?

Besides reading my story throughout the years on Consumerism
Commentary, I always start people off by advising them to start paying
attention to their finances. But if they're trying to get debt free,
they may already be paying attention. But not everyone who tries is
really, actively, trying. And that attitude is the key. It's one thing
to want to get out of debt, it's another thing to take actions to get
out of debt, but the only thing that works is to let the idea of
becoming debt free become part of the overarching philosophy of your
life. It's a priority, and you can't afford lapses. The right mindset
is so essential to getting out -- and staying out -- of debt that
without it, any positive steps you take could easily be negated in one
unfortunate circumstance. Every financial decision is a choice.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Saturday Summary #6 - Is it time to leave?

Friday was my last day at my job.

It was interesting and nice to see all the  "well-wishers" greeting me throughout the week.

Don Peebles - the black multimillionaire and Miami real estate mogul mentions in his book The Peebles Principles - that at a certain point he knew it was time to move on from his hometown of Washington D.C. .

Although I can only hope to someday reach a fraction of his level of success, as I move my family close to 2,000 miles away to Phoenix, AZ the hope is that opportunity will be greater.

Goodbye snow - Hello Cacti.

How about you? Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you could stay where you are and stagnate or take the risk of moving on which could be a great opportunity for a potential back-step but, who you'll never know until you take the leap? If you've had that experience, please share in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Debt free interview #10 - Michelle of Making Sense of Cents

This weeks interview comes from Michelle of Making Sense of Cents. Michelle overcame a salary level amount of debt she used in order to further her education. Here is her story:

1. How did you get into debt?
My debt was all from student loans. I have three degrees (two undergraduate business-related degrees, and then a Finance MBA), and I put most of my school tuition on student loans. I did receive a good amount of scholarships, but it still was not enough to cover the heft college tuition at the private university for my undergraduate degrees that I chose.

Also, even though I was working full-time, I never really put any money towards my student loans. I always just figured that I would pay it off later and that it would be no big deal. Because of this, I continued spending like crazy - I bought thousands of dollars of clothing each year, I spent a ridiculous amount of money on food, I lived on my own, and more.

2. How deeply in debt were you at the worst point? What did it feel like? 
At one point I had around $40,000 in student loans. To some that is not a lot (I know others who have over $100,000 in student loan debt), and some it is a crazy amount. Whatever the case may be, $40,000 in student loan debt is a number that gave me migraines whenever I thought about it.

3. When did you decide to get out of debt and why? 
Right after I graduated from graduate school with my Finance MBA, I decided that I HAD to get out of student loan debt. I didn't want to have it linger over my head for decades or even years to come. I knew I wanted it all gone!
I'd rather focus on other things in life than having a student loan debt payment each month. Yes, I get to use my degree to better my future, but I was paying for something that I couldn't physically touch so it was a hard thing to pay each month.

4. How long did it take you to get completely debt free? 
Luckily, I really buckled down and took on side jobs to pay off my debt as fast as I could. I believe I paid off my student loans around one year after I received my Finance MBA. It was hard work though - there was a full year where I was working over 100 hours each week so that I could put almost all of the money I made towards my student loans.

5. What advice would you give to someone trying to become debt free?
My top tip would be to find other ways to make money on the side. This way you don't really have to suffer by cutting back drastically (that does help though!) and you can still live your normal life.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Saturday Summary #5 - Ebb and Flow of opportunity

So this week has been very interesting.

It's made me consider the ebb and flow  of opportunity.

For the last several years I've felt there has been no opportunity or options especially career-wise.
Within a month of actively seeking opportunities outside those I'm confortable with, opportunity appears to be showing up everywhere.

I just accepted an opportunity in Phoenix, AZ but, potential other options continue to appear.
At times like this,  I think about Zig Ziglar (may he R.I.P.) and his story about "Priming the Pump."

Friday, July 4, 2014

Debt free interview #9 - Tracie from Penny Pinchin Mom (It's Independence Day!)

Today is the anniversary of the day a small group of colonies declared their independence from a tyrannical British Empire. It is fitting then that today I have the opportunity to learn from a fantastic blogger who has declared financial independence from debt. Tracie from the Blog - Penny Pinchin Mom was kind enough to share her debt-free story. 

1.       How did you get into debt?

We had 2 vehicles and took out a home equity loan to try to consolidate our debts.  We struggled to make ends meet and would sometimes rely upon credit for the things we needed.

2.       How deeply in debt were you at the worst point? What did it feel like?

$37,000.  It was overwhelming and we felt like we'd never get ahead. 

3.       When did you decide to get out of debt and why?

We finally decided that we had to do something and talked to friends about it.  We were struggling every pay period.  They told us about Dave Ramsey and how it changed what they did and so we decided to try.  That was November 2010 and we've never looked back!

4.       How long did it take you to get completely debt free?
It took a little more than 2 years -- February 2010.
5.       What advice would you give to someone trying to become debt free?

Remember that you didn't accumulate all of your debt in a month so it will take a while to get it all paid off.  Slow and steady is the way to go.  As you get discouraged, you just need to go back to where you were when you started and see what you've accomplished and pat yourself on the back.  You CAN do this and the end result is so worth it.

If you're dealing with debt today - please take note. If you've struggled with debt yourself and would like to share - feel free to contact me. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Saturday's Summary 4

So much has happened in the past week that it's hard to figure out where to begin.

I was out of state recently to attended an interview in a very sunny place. I got a job and then 2.5 other job offers.

Great news overall but, I now need to decide  what's best for me and the family.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Debt free interview #8 - Kacie from Sense to Save

This week's interview is with Kacie the author of the PF blog Sense to Save. She shares some quick notes on her debt-free journey.

1.       How did you get into debt?
 "In the past, we had a car loan and credit card debt. The car loan was something we could have avoided, or perhaps a smaller balance if we went for a different vehicle. The credit card debt was largely just being dumb and not knowing any better!"

2.       How deeply in debt were you at the worst point? What did it feel like?
The car loan was $11,500 and the credit card debt was somewhere around $8-10k at worst.

3.       When did you decide to get out of debt and why?
It was around 2008 when we got serious about our finances and buckled down to pay off everything.

4.       How long did it take you to get completely debt free?
Took a few months to take care of the credit cards and a little bit longer to get rid of the car loan.


5.       What advice would you give to someone trying to become debt free?

Advice would be to make a plan. Add it all up from all sources and know what you're working with. If it's huge, don't be overwhelmed -- break it into chunks. Like a student loan could be viewed as total divided by 8 semesters. Or the number of classes you took, even. Just focus on each segment rather than thinking about the whole balance if it's stressful.

And do it as fast as possible -- move on to better things than paying debts! :)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Saturday's (Sunday's) Summary 3

I got up at about 4:00 AM EST to board a flight I almost missed. Right now its about 8:10 EST and more importantly, 5:10 Phoenix time.

At this moment I'm in a bed in Tempe attempting to prepare for an appointment tomorrow.

This week has been hectic as my mother just had heart surgery and is recovering and I'm working on moving across the country.

Who knows what the future holds.

One sign I saw today was just as unsettling as it was funny to me. It read:

"Guns saves lives" then added in smaller print "Educate your children" ...signs like that don't show up in Ohio too often.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Debt free interview #7: Eric from Narrow Bridge

This week's Debt-free Interview is with Eric of Narrow Bridge

1.      How did you get into debt?
My first debt was a car loan that I took on when my college hand-me-down broke down after graduation. The payments were relatively small, and I was paying double payments to make sure the debt was paid off quickly. But my biggest debt came with my MBA program. With an estimated total cost of $90,000 to attend, of which tuition was nearly $70,000, I took on a total of $40,000 in student debt during my time in the program.

2.      How deeply in debt were you at the worst point? What did it feel like?
I worked hard to pay off my loans and pay as much as possible while in school, and kept a full time job while going to school full time. This kept me from taking on unnecessary debt. At the peak, I had just under $40,000 in debt to be paid.

3.      When did you decide to get out of debt and why?
I decided to get out of debt before I started. When I was accepted to my MBA program, I went in with a financial plan to continue with my job and pay for my living costs and as much tuition as I could from my income and college savings.

4.      How long did it take you to get completely debt free?
I paid off the last dollar of my student loans 736 days after graduation, just a few days over two years. I pre-paid as much as I could and continued to live on a college student budget until I was debt free. I did buy a home in that two years, and still have a mortgage on the property, but with my big down payment and low interest rate, my monthly cost is lower than renting.
5.      What advice would you give to someone trying to become debt free?

Maintain super focus and live like a college student. Lifestyle inflation is tempting, but keeping costs low and under control will help you pay off your debt so much faster. I also suggest splitting the payments into twice a month, on each payday, rather than once a month. That will lead to a full extra payment each year in addition to whatever you are able to pre-pay.
Thanks Eric for your help!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Corey Poirer - musc video

Corey Poirer is a motivational speaker and has been a great contributor to this blog. He also happens to be a musician and  he has a new music video out "Your Jacob" and I thought I'd share it here:

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Saturday's Summary 2

So this week has been interesting.

I've been connecting with plenty of great bloggers from around the country and world.

On the homefront, my mother has just gone into the hospital for heart surgery that she will have on Monday.

I learned a nice lesson in sales from a Verizon Wireless saleswoman who found every way to upsale my wife on the most up to date Iphone. She began every upsell with - "well, I'm just looking out for your best interest. This other person had the same problem and they found that..." The good ole "feel, felt, found" method.

Now my focus of course needs to turn to finding a realistic path to Phoenix while working to make sure my mother is OK in her hometown.

I get that this post is likely not helpful to anyone and I apologize for this.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Debt Free Interview #6 - Derek from Life and My Finances

This week's Debt-free interview comes from Derek at Life and My Finances

1.        How did you get into debt?
Mainly, I got into debt with student loans. When I graduated from college,
I had over $18,000 in student loan debt.

2.        How deeply in debt were you at the worst point? What did it feel
Luckily, I owned my car free and clear and did not take on any other debt
after graduating from college, so the most I was ever in debt was $18,000.

3.        When did you decide to get out of debt and why?
I decided to get out of debt when my first student loan payment came due
and I realized that I did not have the money to pay for it (and it was
only $75!). From that point on I created a budget and put every extra
penny toward the debt.

4.        How long did it take you to get completely debt free?
Over the course of 14 months (and there was a car in the story there that
I had to scrap...which obviously didn't help), I was able to pay off the
entire $18,000. It wasn't easy, and it didn't seem to quick at the time,
but man it was nice to get rid of those payments! :)

5.        What advice would you give to someone trying to become debt free?
First, build up a decent emergency fund (of $1,000 or $2,000) so that you
aren't tempted to use your credit card when your car breaks down or when
your kids need a whole new set of clothes.

Second, reduce the temptation of taking on more debt by paying with cash
and cutting up your credit cards. Sure, you won't earn reward points, but
you will most likely make up the difference by all the deals you could get
by paying with cash!

Third, make a budget and do your best to stick to it. Sure, it's not all
that fun, but you will never really know where your money is going until
you make a budget and start tracking it. When I made my first budget, I
realized that I was paying too much for my cell phone, my car insurance,
and my home owners insurance! Just by putting a budget together, I saved
myself nearly $1,000 a year!

Finally, do your best to stay consistent with your payments and to reward
yourself with small things along the way (ie. Did you just pay off a small
$1,500 student loan? Take your spouse out for a $50 dinner.).

Don't give up!

Derek Sall