My Debt Snowball Story

Apr 20, 2016

So I’d like to tell you how the Debt Snowball changed my life, but before I show you my results, here’s a background of what it took for me to understand an area in my life that I didn’t have a real grasp on until my late twenties.

A few years ago I read a book called “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki.  It was a great read and I literally finished it in less than two days.  I learned about the difference between assets and liabilities.  Something that I had no clue about.  After reading that book I was introduced to another book called, “Why We Want You To Be Rich, Two Men One Message” by Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki (a collaboration between the two of them) which was another great short read for me.  At this point, I was hooked and I started playing the Cash Flow game.  You may be familiar with it.  It was because of that game I started to think about investing in real estate. Thus, began my journey to get out of the rat race for real.

Dave Ramsey and My Total Money Makeover

I was reading Yahoo Finance one day in which Robert Kiyosaki was a contributor.  I was reading through the comments when someone commented, “Forget this guy, you need to get to know Dave Ramsey!”  So I Googled his name and I found his website and subsequently his book called “The Total Money Makeover”.  I made a trip to the local Barnes & Noble bookstore and read the book.  Needless to say I was hooked.  After finishing that book I immediately ordered his program, Financial Peace University (FPU).  As soon as I got it in the mail I began to devour the content.  Since February 2008, I have followed Dave’s principles in FPU.  Now I haven’t gone into “gazelle intensity” as Dave would say, but I continued to keep track of where my money went through budgeting.

Over time, I was able to cash flow my wedding and not have to walk away with some massive debt once it was all over.  I’ve also been able to buy two cars with cash (something that I could have never done before).  To be honest, before Dave Ramsey, I used to live paycheck to paycheck.  I was glad to just be able to make it to next payday.

Marriage And Money

When I got married, I had to do some major adjusting to how I managed my finances.  My new wife was now a part of my financial picture.  First, my wife and I decided to have one account that we have joint access to.  Most people don’t do this.  Yes, a hard concept for many to grasp, but it works for us.  My wife and I went through FPU and it is one of the things that has made our marriage successful in the area of finance.  I am the “nerd” and she is the “free spirit”.  Since I get paid every 1st and 15th of the month, I do the budget and we later discuss together where we can make adjustments.  In the beginning, she basically reminded me that there are things we need to budget for that I may have forgotten or had not thought about.  For example, the grocery budget.  I chuckle because she had always said that she could never understand how I ate as a bachelor due to what little budget I put aside for groceries. At the time, I was single and I rarely cooked. There was just no need for groceries.

The Debt Snowball

Fast forward to learning and implementing Dave Ramsey’s “Debt Snowball.” If you are not familiar with this concept I highly suggest you check out Dave Ramsey and his 7 baby steps (you can Google it).  The particular step that my wife and I committed to was Baby Step 2 which is the Debt Snowball.  When you go through FPU Dave mentioned you will be begin the process of telling your money what to do instead of wondering where it all went.  By implementing the principles, I’ve been able to snowball most of the huge consumer debts I had accumulated over the years as well as one in particular that my wife had brought into our marriage.  Remember when I said we are now one?  Well, that was a big one.

It was my wife’s student loan and I’m happy to report that we paid it off years earlier than if we were just paying the minimum owed.  We averaged paying about $1,000 a month in just about a year.  When we finally paid this loan off, my wife and I felt such a big relief that we didn’t have this bill to pay for anymore.  It goes to show that you need to be up front and honest with your finances and believe that YOU can do this!  If you are struggling with your personal finances, there are tools available to you that can help.  Trust me, I know how it feels to have big debt staring you in the face.  It just takes you saying to yourself that you’ve had enough and that you are willing to take massive action.

The picture below is the last debt that we paid off together.  My wife and I didn’t make anything extra or take on an extra job.  We did this with the income we were already making.  This goes to show you the power of a budget and what it takes when you and your spouse can be in partnership about finances.  What are your thoughts on this subject?  Comment below or connect with me on Social Media.  I’d love to show you how you can too make progress in reducing your debt with the current income you are making!

Student Loan PAID OFF!

Attitude Is The Key To All Behavior … The Key To Action

Apr 13, 2016

So the title of this blog post is from a book I read at a seminar I attended a few years ago.  It seems more fitting after the last week that I’ve experienced while working at my day job.  Don’t get me wrong, my day job as a Personnel Officer in the United States Marine Corps is rewarding and challenging.  It also doesn’t feel like a “job”.  It has become something that I’ve enjoyed doing, especially in the last decade.  This quote from Napoleon Hill says it best, “It would be no great overstatement of the truth if we said that mental attitude is EVERYTHING.”  A positive mental attitude can get you places.

What does it mean to take responsibility for our attitude?

As I read this question again from the book, I am searching myself for how that just made me feel.  Taking responsibility for my attitude can mean a lot of things to many people.  For me it is I am responsible for how I respond.  So think of this.  If I constantly go around and blame others for the car I drive, the money I make, or where I end up in life, then things will turn out to be really hard.  In order for things to change, I have to change.  No one will make me change.  When you recognize this, things will start to become easier to accomplish.  Again, I am responsible for how I feel.  No one made me feel that way, its just the meaning that I gave to it.  So in a sense its a program that I have learned.  This happens so my automatic programed response is this.  Think about it.  You’d probably be surprised in what you find.

How do we create positive attitude habits?

This is a tough one.  First, it takes a lot of mental energy to break through your automatic programed responses.  Most of your “programs” have been working for you so long that it has become part of your subconscious mind and part of your identity.  Is that really you?  If not then change it.  I hope I haven’t lost you here.  Let me explain.  Being conscious that you are attempting to change a negative attitude habit will take time with the new positive habit you want to replace it with.  Eventually your new positive habit will become your new automatic response.  To start you can create two lists.  The first list is of habits you currently like and the second is a list of habits you want to create.  I’ll share some of mine now.

HABITS I CURRENTLY LIKE:

I budget my money monthly.

I wake up at 5 am daily.

I meditate for 15 minutes daily before I begin my day at work.

I read to my son every night before bed.

HABITS I WANT TO CREATE:

I blog weekly.

I get a laugh out of life everyday.

I give praise and acknowledge to those around me.

I am a podcaster.

I willingly pay the price.

What is the price you must pay for success?

Some of the habits that I want to create came verbatim out of the book I read.  The last habit especially is one that I want to create.  I am willing to pay the price.  My definition of that is giving one thing up to get another.  Does it always have to be that way?  No, not always.  Although, I can give some examples of what I’m referring to when I say “price to pay”.  The person that wants to quit smoking and can’t.  The person that wants to loose weight and can’t.  The person that wants to save money and can’t.  These three examples are one that each of these individuals was not willing to pay the price of attaining their goal of not smoking, loosing weight, and having money saved for emergencies.  Are you willing to pay the price to achieve your goals?

In The End

The key to action is attitude.  So what would your answer be to these three questions?  I’d love to hear some of your answers so comment below!  Don’t forget to subscribe and drop by my Facebook page and leave a comment and let me know how you found me!

“If you don’t like the way you feel, change it.  It is your responsibility.”  ~Thomas D. Willhite

Why I Started This Blog

Apr 6, 2016

As I sit here staring at my blinking cursor I start to think to myself what I labeled this post as.  Why did I started this blog?  Well, to be honest I have a lot to share and I have this desire to share something with the world what my talents are.  So what are my talents?  What are my dreams?   So in not any particular order these are some of the questions I continue to ask myself everyday.  I guess by the time that I end this post I can circle back and answer this question.

The Beginning

I’ve had this blog for quite some time.  So last year around August 2015 I reached out to an old friend that was offering her services for designing a logo and getting you started online with a blog.  Getting tired of hearing myself say “I should start something” I took the leap and reached out to take her up on her offer of creating something for me.  Mainly what I was looking for was a logo that would represent me and my style or otherwise known as “my brand” and getting my blog up and running. So what you see here is what she created for me to begin my blogging adventures.

This is not the first time that I have attempted to create something online.  This would actually be my second attempt.  My first attempt was in 2008 where I dabbled in internet marketing and went down the rabbit hole of the “making money from home” thing.  After buying information products, e-books, watching webinars (when it was considered new territory), I just consumed information but I lacked one thing.  I didn’t take much action.  I was afraid and that kept me from progressing in anything that I attempted.  There is more to the story, but I guess that will have to be saved for another post.

So having a blog was a main thing that I have always kept in the back of my mind, regardless of in I got involved in a home based business or promote someone else’s products as an affiliate.  I have to apologize up front that I may ramble and jump around a bit in my story so forgive me.  I will attempt to keep much of it in chronological order.

Personal Development

Much of what I know in this area I would say was limited to what I was taught through school and what my parents passed on to me about life.  I love them and I know that they did the best they could with the resources they had at the time and I would say that I had a great childhood.  Where I think many of my life lessons came from was when I made the ultimate decision to enlist in the United States Marine Corps.  This was something that I don’t think was an option in my head until I came closer to  graduation from high school.  From there it seams that life just started to take off.  Fast forward a few years, I became a “careerist” by reenlisting and then eventually took the step of moving from an enlisted Marine to becoming and Officer of Marines.

Over the years in my career I have taken many classes and distance education courses but I eventually stumbled upon personal development seminars and it made me realize that I have so much hidden potential that I have been suppressing my talents for fear of what others may say or think.  Being involved in actual live seminars (my first was in May 2007) and volunteering in them as a way to give back because I have learned so much about myself is something that I believe will help draw out of me my talents that have just been lying dormant inside of me and my head.

What Are My Talents?

My talents have evolved over the past 10 years and I have only recently acknowledged to myself that I do have talents that I know can benefit others.  One area is in budgeting money. Your own personal finances.  I wasn’t always like this, except when I started exploring how to make money I actually learned how to keep more of the money I was already making.  It was a blessing in disguise.

I also through my work have a good idea of how to solve a problem when it comes to tracking massive amounts of data that need to get to a resolution of being closed or completed or sent to another office for processing.  Because of attending personal development workshops, I have learned to take an unorthodox approach to solving my problems at work and not have to rely on the comment of “we have always done it this way” and to look past the status quo.

As I blog more I will definitely dedicate posts specifically addressing some of my talents and also going into more detail.  Hey, it gives you something to come back for doesn’t it!

What Are My Dreams?

Wow, when I look at this question on here and now that it will be publicly out here is a very vulnerable feeling.  Not many people that know who I am and are my friends know what my dreams are.  Not that I don’t want to share it with them.  Its just I don’t think the opportunity has allowed me to share it in a setting that would permit it.  The only setting was in all the personal development workshops that I have participated in and when I wrote in in a journal that I kept to myself.

Since May of 2007 I have accomplished many things that I would consider to be part of my “dream”.  I’ve met the woman of my dreams in my wife.  I have earned both am Associates Degree and Bachelors Degree from a 4 year university.  I have completed all of my military professional military education requirements.  I have cash in the bank for emergencies.  Paid off most of my consumer debt and will be investing the recommended 15% into my families retirement account next month (April 2016).  I have two wonderful kids that bring joy and challenges into my life.

Are there any new dreams that I have?  Sure, I do have more new dreams to pursue.  I believe this blog is a way of expressing that desire.  The beauty of it is I get to share it along the way with you.  My triumphs  and failures with complete transparency.  Learn from my successes so that you can benefit from it or learn from my failures so you know what not to do.

Why Did I Start This Blog? 

Well, I started this blog as a way for me to share what I have in my head.  Share my ideas no matter how crazy they may seem.  Also, I believe this would be a good place to have in one specific place that I can gather my thoughts and categorize them in a neat fashion.  I also think it would be fun to look back and see how far I’ve progressed in my writing skills or even my communication skills with others who maybe complete strangers at first.  I’m sure over time I’ll be able to connect in a way that they know, like, and trust me.  I don’t have a product in mind right now but I wouldn’t rule out the fact that one is inside me to produce.  I’ve followed a lot of blogs and people over these past several years and I finally built up the courage to share.

Another reason for this blog is I believe its great to have another medium to share my thoughts on a platform that is not on social media.  Having a blog seemed like the most logical choice to start.  I do have a personal Facebook profile to include a personal fan page link to my profile that has also become my sudo blog.  Check it out sometime and connect with me there.  Tell me how you found me, like my page,  and sign up for notifications via my email list to ensure you don’t miss out on any of my content below!