I’m Not An Expert, I Just Play One On This Blog

26 04 2010

First, allow me to welcome myself back to my own blog! I’ve been away for a while (nearly 4 months, don’t rub it in!) but I’m making an effort to get back to a regular schedule of posting once again.

I really want to thank you as my readers for the support and encouragement you’ve given me as I meet some of you face to face! It really keeps me going when I know that my journey is being of some help to you.

Today I feel the need to talk about the value of your voice. Many people feel that there just is not much worth in what they have to say. They may feel that few people listen to them. But I really need to impress on you that this is simply not true.

Someone is always listening and watching your words and actions. You are always in a position to influence someones thoughts and/or actions with your own.

Before I started this blog, I too thought that no one cared much for what I had to say. No one that is, except for myself. I have since learned that is the most important place to start!

Now, on a daily basis I get calls and emails from people asking for financial advice. They don’t request this advice from me because I’m a PhD or any other type of expert in matters related to money. Instead, they seek my advice because it has proven track-record of results. My expertise comes from the fact that when good advice was sent my way, I took it!

People always use the phrase “It doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to know that…” when something is painfully simple to figure out. And for me it was painfully obvious that we were doing the wrong things with our money, fully expecting things to turn out right.

This blog is my way of sharing the insights we’ve learned without you having to go thru some of the hardships we endured to learn them. I hope it is of some benefit to you!

Live Invincibly,

@W

Advertisements




Success Is A Moving Target

4 12 2009

My wife just got finished pouring into me a few moments ago. The Holy Spirit was speaking out of her mouth in such an undeniable way that it humbles me to think of it. I was empty I’ve BEEN on empty for what feels like weeks now. Overwhelmed, unmotivated and trapped by my lesser self. I was slowly and surely losing a sense of who I was and all that I’d accomplished in the past few years.

4 months…. it’s amazing what 4 short, but painfully necessary months has done to my overall mindset. See while she was speaking into me, it hit home on me that today marks 4 months of me being jobless. I’ve spent a FULL 1/3 of 2009 on my couch. Soon as it occurred to me I just started crying.

4 months of feeling like this is nearly enough to dull every sharp edge I thought I had. Which is why I suppose my wife sensed it was time to express the things she did tonight. She reminded me that I now lay claim to one of the fastest growing blogs (traffic wise) on the entire internet. Here are a few tweets … from the past month or so as proof.

“Traffic report: 10 days ago ranked 17m+, 4 days ago 7m+, today ranked 3,136,590… thanks for reading! https://invincibleliving.wordpress.com 1:41 PM Oct 20th from web”
“Thanks to YOU we broke thru the top 1 million sites in the WORLD (traffic-wise) as of last night we’re ranked 998,624! Can’t stop here… 9:55 AM Nov 11th from web”

In mid-October when I first started monitoring the traffic growth of the blog, we were ranked in the upper 21 millions. Twenty-one MILLION websites were generating more traffic than us here at Invincible Living! As of today we are ranked 606,738 out of ALL sites on the internet according to Alexa Page Rank. In the span of a month and a half we’ve done VERY well, far past my expectations in fact. (please, please hold your applause lol)

She also reminded me that I’m the same man that used to cycle from Leesburg to Tysons Corner twice a week to my job. (36 miles ONE way – or the equivalent of one marathon each direction!)

She continued on to remind me that after spending my whole life not being able to hold my breath longer than a minute, I comfortably held my breath for nearly 4 minutes on 5 different occasions last month after reading this post by Tim Ferris over at 4-hour Work Week blog.

Lastly, for the sake of this post, she also reminded me that I increased my freestyle swim stroke by 60% (!!!) again thanks to Tim Ferris and this post!

Her point in listing these accomplishments – all of which I’ve netted just since July, is that I’m am an EXPERT at quickly and efficiently acquiring tools and skills that help me not only meet, but FAR exceed any type of physical challenge that is thrown at me. But those physical wins seldom translate to other areas of my life. I can make it from my doorstep to Tysons corner in 1hr 45min, but when I try to take on a task that requires me to lock in mentally without any sort of physical challenge to accompany it, I tend to fail.

It’s not that I’m not mentally tough, because clearly it takes mental toughness to do each of the things I listed, but it takes even more so to vanquish those physical tasks in the relatively easy way that I often do. But when physical acuity is not in the mix, things fall apart on me.

It’s now a goal of mine to identify and understand that missing link that produces those stellar results.

To be fair, I already know that I’m a HUGE procrastinator…. and in an epiphany I JUST stumbled onto part of the answer to my question. For me procrastination is all in my HEAD! If my body is engaged in the work, I tend not to procrastinate. But if I have a list of 10 tasks I need to complete and they can all be accomplished by sitting in front of a computer, I get distracted easily and end up pulled in 50 different directions. I can train for a month in the pool to shave seconds off of my stroke… but I have 10 items that have been sitting waiting to be posted to craigslist since October! I even wrote this full POST about selling things, but nope I STILL haven’t put them up online! And I’m online ALL DAY! See what I’m up against here? It really is all in my head!

My wife reintroduced me to the VALUE of work again tonight. Everything we (read: YOU) do within a given day is WORK. You are either working on improving your situation and bettering yourself, or working on undoing any progress you’ve made already. You’re either working on things that help you grow and mature, or you’re working on settling.

Success is a moving target and it’s constantly changing shape, position and distance relative to where you are and what you’re doing.

Soooo… what are you working on?

Live Invincibly,

@W





Fear Free Finances: Halloween Edition

29 10 2009

2939182681_16e4702615

“Fear is the greatest diminishing return.” – Adrian Wright

THE MYTH – Mo Money, Mo Problems

I do NOT support Halloween or what it represents, but many do and I feel the need to use this as a teachable moment. See, too many of us are treating our money as something to be FEARED because many of us deal with our money from a place of fear.

“Where am I going to get the money to pay for that?”

“That’s not in the budget, what am I gonna do?!”

“What’s going to happen to my credit score now?!”

THE FEAR – I’m trapped, how do I get out of this?

Too many of us deal with our finances from a reactionary stance.

“Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is a freedom.” – Marilyn Ferguson

Well, today I say it’s high time you come out of that place. I’ve been out of it myself for over 2 years. The stress and tension is completely GONE in regards to matters of money in my life.

I’ll admit, our society is not designed to let you think you can make it to the place where your money no longer pulls on your emotions, but I now know that is no longer a myth. I’m THERE! Where are you?

THE PEACE – Financial Peace…

Because of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, I’ve discovered the tools to help me get over my fear of money and the stress that comes with either not having enough to pay the bills or managing it well enough that it works for you, instead of you for it!

For more information on HOW I made it to this place please go to Dave Ramsey’s site.

Live Invincibly,

@W

Photo courtesy of thetempo




Spark Your Debt Reduction with a Firesale

21 10 2009

match strike

During the past 2 1/2 years that we’ve been trying to get out of debt, my wife and I have exhibited all of the true hallmarks of a “Gazelle Intense” couple… well all except for one. We’ve worked extra jobs, we’ve trimmed our budget to the bare minimum necessities, we’ve just about done it all except SELL some stuff.

Dave Ramsey has a saying that goes like this “Sell so much stuff that the kids think they’re next!”

We’ve – or at least I have — always been on the fence about selling things to raise extra cash. Now, I’ll freely admit that some, no most of the issue is pride. It’s hard letting go of things you worked so hard to purchase. And that is especially the case if you are selling the items because you either need the cash, need the extra space or if the items are in perfect working order. All of the previous 3 examples apply in our case and in some ways that adds to the challenge.

But in all actuality we really do need the space, we have a 2 bedroom condo stuffed to the gills with various items that we are not using. Only 2 people live in this house but somehow we have 3 bikes lol. And up until a few weeks ago our 2nd bedroom was serving as on-site storage for everything that we either didn’t have a staged place for, or didn’t want to use, but also didn’t want to lose.

Then comes the challenge (at least for me) of finding the motivation to come up with a price list, take pictures, and then post a compelling ad on Craigslist and the local want ads and the other various channels (church bulletins, ect)

But alas the time has come to put add a notch to our belt of Gazelle Intensity. We could use the proceeds to pad our Emergency Fund at this time since I’m still unemployed.

And as an added benefit my mother is preparing to move to Florida next month and she’s already offering for us to post anything she’s not taking down there with her AND we get to keep those proceeds as well!

In truth maybe this won’t be so bad. And besides we know this is only temporary. So if you’re in the market for a bunch of gently used stuff (we take really good care of our things, which is a blessing.) hit me up lol! I’ve got a leather office chair, L-shaped glass desk, high-powered telescope, set of 2 grey video chairs, printer-copier-scanner, stainless-steel mini-fridge (perfect for a man cave), Full-sized bed frame/mattress/box-spring, 27-inch tv, M&F mountain bikes, and a whole lot more that’s getting ready to be posted.

The 2009 Invincible Living Firesale… get it while it’s HOTT!! Lol

Live Invincibly,

@W

Photo courtesy of mad_airbrush





I Think We Need A Change…

29 07 2009


Photo courtesy of Forgotten memory

As you know if you’ve been around us for even 5 minutes, we’ve been at this for almost 2 full years now! September 13th – which also happens to be my birthday – will make it official.

Within those 2 years we’ve picked up a lot of personal insight and we’ve also tweaked a number of techniques to find a more ‘custom’ fit than most of the major programs provide. We took all of the info and then applied our personal filter to it based on our beleif system, our financial situation at the time, and our decisions based on just how aggressive we wanted to be at the outset. Once we got the hang of it we essentially just let it run it’s course without much change. Sure there was a streamlining process that we had to go thru but it mostly happened as a result of our weekly budget meetings and in very small increments.

But now I’m coming to a place where I feel we need a change in strategy. And I’d prefer for it to be a MAJOR change! At times I question if we are somehow too ‘comfortable’ with the pace we’ve settled into lately. Quite honestly there are times where I dont feel very “Gazelle Intense” at all about what we’re doing.

And then when you couple with that the fact that we are quickly becoming role models through the ever-extending reach of this blog, Facebook and Twitter it becomes a challenge sometimes to manage a balance between what we’re doing as a household vs. what we want to empower you to do as a person/family.

The bottom line is that I feel the need to possibly change the way we are approaching our debt. I’m looking for a way to make it ‘fresh’ again to us in spite of the fact that we’ve accomplished so much and are now at our virtual halfway point in the journey.

I’d love to hear ideas from any of you who have felt this same way and done something about it! Please leave me a comment below or hit me up on Twitter with your suggestions!

See ya next time,

@W

If you enjoyed this post, please make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!





Simple Secrets: Paying on it vs. Paying it OFF

28 05 2009


Photo courtesy of Tea & Jam

Ok folks. In my last post we went over the basics of the 7 Baby Steps that have helped us pay off over $53,000 in debt in the last 20 months. But today, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: There should actually be 8 baby steps!

Step Zero: Stop using currently established and available forms of credit, and also stop accepting NEW forms of credit.

This step contains the key to your Total Money Makeover, and it’s such a radical shift from ‘the norm’ that it causes many to fail even before they start. Some folks just cant get their head around living off of CASH.

When you really get the point of this program, you will soon realize that you really don’t need credit at all. Not for credit reports, or FICO scores, or for your cash back rewards. You don’t need it.

Minor tangent: Speaking of cash back rewards… how much CASH are you really getting BACK when the creditor is charging you interest for the use of your credit line? Think about it!

Now, in my last post I promised to tell you why we REALLY chose to stick with this system, and here is the reason: Because at first we felt like we were doing something WRONG. And when I say ‘wrong’ I mean we felt like we were being disloyal to the credit industry in some way. It’s hard to articulate, but Visa and MasterCard have become so prevalent in our society and in our spending habits, that it felt truly odd to simply make the decision not to use our charge cards! How sick is that?

The entire credit system is propped upon the fact that they NEED you to NEED them. They constantly send the message that if you aren’t using credit in some way, you simply will not be able to ‘compete’ with or keep up with the average consumer. It’s a very Pied Piper mentality!

Once we realized why it felt so wrong, it lit a fire in us! And it opened our eyes to the many tactics and tricks that are pressed upon the average consumer.

THIS IS A WAR PEOPLE! And if you haven’t noticed, take a look at what this nation has been through in the last 16 months as proof. The housing market collapse, the banking and financial institution implosions, the economy woes, the employment issues. They are all mutations of one virus: CREDIT…

Credit tells you it’s ok to spend more than you actually possess. Credit tells you it’s ok to borrow against your future, to acquire something today. Credit can erode your character and your sense of delayed gratification, and it can also ease you into a place of irresponsibility and ‘living for the moment’ emotional purchasing.

Because of this, you are required to make a change in your approach toward money. This is where the title of my post comes in. People who are comfortable with debt, have no problem “paying on” something far longer then they ever intended to, because they get lulled to sleep by the convenience factor of a payment plan.

Meanwhile, those who have had enough of this game of debt become addicted to “paying off” things as quickly as possible so that they can free up their income and truly live a life that’s not dictated by a three digit score, and the limits on their cards.

Thanks for tuning in, I hope you’re enjoying this expose’ series.

Next up: “The $1,000 Scramble”

You are worthy of the journey!

@W

If you liked this post, please click on an ad. Or you can click this link to donate.





These "Baby Steps" AIN’T for Babies!

28 04 2009


Photo coutesy of Bettina.Schwarz

In the last 2 posts I’ve kind of gone thru a sort of ‘reset’. Maybe it’s a second wind of sorts? I dont know. But I’ve felt the need to simplify the emotions and actions WE (my wife and I) faced when we first started out so that YOU can duplicate them as much as possible.

In the first post of this mini-series, I laid out exactly what we’re doing and how it has helped us pay off $49,000 in debt in only 19 months! In the second post I continued to zoom in on the mindset and underlying philosophy of “Living Like No One Else”.

Luckily we never felt overwhelmed with the process, and I think that is in part due to what I intend to share with you in this post. In his book The Total Money Makeover, Dave Ramsey calls them the Baby Steps. They are meant to be simple bullet points on your journey to debt freedom.

But please dont sleep! Just because these steps are simple, doesnt mean they’re for ‘simple’ people. It takes vision, committment, and perseverance to see these steps through to completion!

I want to take a few moments to list them out below, but I’ll delve deeper into each step in future posts.

Step One: Save $1000.00 CASH as quickly as you can to start “Emergency Fund”

Step Two: Pay off ALL debt in order from smallest to largest using “Debt Snowball”.

Step Three: Save 3-6 months worth of expenses, to fully fund “Emergency Fund”.

Step Four: Invest 15% of income into Roth IRA’s and Pre-tax retirement.

Step Five: Begin funding your childrens’ College Educations.

Step Six: Pay off your home early

Step Seven: Build Wealth & GIVE! (Mutual Funds, Real Estate, ect.)

Step “Zero”: STOP using any forms of credit and accepting new forms of credit.
Pretty simple and straight forward right? Well yes, and no. Yes, because they set a framework for you to follow. No, because if you dont follow the framework that has been set… you’ll only be making it harder for yourself. In addition, these steps can’t tell you how aggressive to be in your Total Money Makeover. The intensity level must be left up to you.
The downfall to the simplicity of this plan is that so many “SMART” people in this world think they need to re-invent the wheel and make it more sophisticated. But as the saying goes “K-I-S-S” (Keep It Simple Stupid).
As I said before, I’ll be breaking each step down and explaining why the order is so important. I’ll also be sharing exactly why we REALLY chose to stick with this system. As you become more and more familiar with the steps, you will inevitably feel that something is “wrong” about them. This is natural! At first, I did too, until I realized how CONDITIONED i had become by the FICO scores and the credit card industry! They NEED you to NEED them, and they’re NOT going to make it EASY for you to cut them loose!
We’ll talk about that further in my next post where I’ll address the ‘objections’ I’ve heard toward getting out of debt. The reason objections is in quotes is because the people objecting were spitting out all the BS that is fed to them daily by the media and credit card industry.
Next Episode: “Paying On It VS. Paying it Off”

You are worthy of the journey!

@W

If you liked this post, please click on an ad. Or you can click this link to donate.