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

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Hi-Def Resolutions: The New Secret To Making That Resolution Stick This Time

4 01 2010

Let’s pretend it’s July4th… are you still keeping that resolution?

There is a mental trick you can apply to almost any goal that will boost your morale when you feel like falling off the wagon: Stop living for ‘today’ and pretend you are 6 months in the future. Imagine that you’re already 6 solid months into doing the very thing you’re starting today.

Momentum is a funny thing because it’s formed only by perception. If you feel like you’re making progress in something, then you really are making progress. Makes no difference what others say, or the results they are looking for. If you think it’s getting done, then it is!

With this thought in mind let’s jump 6 months ahead and envision fireworks displays, sparklers and flags lining the streets. Now tell yourself that you are incredibly proud of the way you’ve been able to keep from (insert your goal here) these last 6 months! See you’re already half-way home to keeping that resolution for all of 2010! And that percieved momentum will help you move a long way towards ACTUALLY keeping it together till July 4th really swings around.

In many regards this is an extension of the advice I gave in my very last post “Finish FIRST So You Don’t Come In Last!” The same trick is at work here.

Seeing beyond where you are can directly impact your end result. Can you see it yet? Then, Happy 4th of July!

Live Invincibly,

@W 

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Finish FIRST So You Don’t Come In Last!

17 12 2009

The end….

I love movies that start at the end and then spend the rest of the movie showing how they got there. Movies like The Prestige, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Forrest Gump all start off this way. And quite a few good books that do the same.

Well, in this regard life can be an open book as well.

Where do you see yourself finishing, and what steps are you putting in place to get there?

As with the examples of those movies that show you the end first and then spend the rest of the movie bringing you up to that point, I try to envision the end game to whatever I START to do in the very same way. Sometimes it works, most times it doesn’t but it’s infinately better than flying blind and jumping without a parachute.

It’s painfully simple in most instances. If you want to know where a story is going, jump to the end. You want the summary to a Self-help book check the last chapter. That closing chapter should mention all of the primary concepts that the author spent the previous x amount of pages detailing.

Dave Ramsey says “Children do what feels good, but adults devise a plan and stick with it.”  While I agree with that statement, sometimes I still feel like an overgrown Toys-R-Us kid lol. Planning from the end helps me to combat that. It shows me possible obstacles that I may need to consider and helps me plan accordingly.

Unfortunately I’m not sure how to close this post since I took my own advice and started the beginning with the end. Told you it doesn’t work every time 🙂

Finish FIRST,

Adrian





The Absolute BEST Thing About Being Unemployed

8 12 2009

Y’know, being unemployed isn’t really all that bad if you’re trying to get out of debt. I know, I know , you must be thinking I’ve lost my mind but just try to hear me out on this.

The first lesson in getting out of debt is you must be living within or even below your means in order to get it done in the fastest amount of time possible.

When most people say “I’m getting out of debt”, they mean “I pay the minimum balance on all my credit cards.” But when I say ‘My wife and I are getting out of debt.” what I’m actually saying is “This month alone we’ll be sending off over $800 in addition to our minimum payments on everything.”

We want this thing to be over with! We’ve been at it for 2 solid years and it should take us another 2 to clear out the remaining $50k we have left (excluding the house note) before we can truly say we’re debt free.

But having said that, I had a revelation today: There are some major advantages to being unemployed. While I won’t go over all of them now, I do want you to leave with this thought:

Nothing teaches you how to live within your means like a sudden loss of income.  NOTHING.

If you live in a 2 income house and one of those incomes is lost, you STILL have to make things work. Lights have to stay on, foods’ still gotta hit the table, you still need gas to keep the car running, and clothes still need to go on your children’s backs! And those priorities could care less what’s going on with your money, they still need to be met and met often!

So you’re still wondering where the ‘advantage’ part comes in, right? Well, here it is: Once you’ve adjusted to making ends meet on that new consolidated income amount, when the lost income is replaced either by a new job or other stream of income you will find it easier to apply it towards setting up an emergency fund, and then applying it to your debts, past dues, and the stuff that’s gone into collections.

But here’s the catch. (Sorry but you knew there had to be one.) This will only work if you are focused and disciplined with that new money coming in. Don’t treat it like a Raise or a Christmas Bonus or some sort of Promotion because it’s NOT. At least not yet.

Get out of the cycle of sending your money away from people you always need to pay back! And do it starting with your smallest lender no matter who they may be. The purpose of getting out of debt is to stop owing folks so that you can use ALL of YOUR money for YOU! For the average person it usually takes about 2 years to do depending on their income level and the amount of debt they have. But the majority of people it should take far less time than that.

So what do you think? Agree or disagree? Well for us, I know that it’s worked in the past because for every promotion and pay increase we’ve gotten we’ve rationed some to adjust our cost of living but the vast majority has gone right toward paying down our debt. There’s just no way we could have paid off over $65k in the last 2 days without putting this concept to use.

Live Invincibly,

@W





Six Days Shalt Thou Labor…

4 12 2009

Ok, let’s just put it out there: I’m Seventh-Day Adventist. It’s an oft misunderstood denomination which is pretty ironic since the name very plainly tells you what makes us ‘different’. We go to church on Saturday (the 7th day), and we anxiously await the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ. It’s just that simple lol.

So why do we go to church on Saturday? Well, first if you are Christian and do not go to church on Saturday have you ever asked yourself why? Have you ever even thought about it?

Well in a few quick bullet points I’m going to break it down for you. I’m not out to convince you of who’s right or wrong, that’s not my job. Having said that, I will nevertheless try to keep this as objective and factual and biblically sound as possible. You will have to decide for yourself if you want to look into this thing further beyond that.

So let’s start at the beginning: Genesis chapter 2:1-3 is my first point of reference. There are 2 eternal institutions that were given to mankind in the Garden of Eden. The first was the 7th Day Sabbath, and the other was Marriage! After God created the world and all of it’s contents in 6 days he ‘rested’ on the 7th day. He didn’t rest because he was tired, (can God get tired at all?) but instead He wanted to show that what He made was perfectly complete. (The number 7 symbolically represents completion.) This 7th day of rest was not something that was ‘Jewish’ because we can see here that it came way before the ‘Jews’ were around. If the Sabbath is strictly ‘Jewish’ then so is Marriage because they were given at the same time lol! Also this 7th day of rest was not a one-time thing because we later see it observed as the Sabbath throughout all the rest of the Old Testament, and ALL of the New Testament, but we’ll deal with that shortly.

After this first Sabbath observance in Genesis there are literally dozens of scriptures mentioning it by name but our next point of reference is the most obvious of them all. It’s part of the 10 commandments found in Exodus 20.

The 4th commandment starts with the word ‘Remember’… which means it was not a new concept it had already been given before. Something else of note is that none of the other 9 commandments has ever been considered as ‘open to interpretation’, but somehow this particular commandment – which is also the most DETAILED and descriptive of ALL the 10 is the ONE that is not observed the way God originally instructed.

So how did most Christians end up in church on Sunday instead of Saturday? Here is where things get interesting. First let me say that there is absolutely no record of a ‘change’ of the day of rest/worship in the Old or New Testament, therefore it is not biblical, it’s just not found anywhere in the bible. God never said to do it, Jesus never said to do it, and the 12 Disciples/Apostles never said do it.

This change was made by common men who had no authority to do so. Imagine this with me: I just moved your birthday to the following day and I’m now telling all of your friends and family, co-workers, and classmates to do the same… and they up and DO IT!! That’s basically what happened.

Most Sunday keepers will tell you that Sunday became the day of rest to commemorate Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday. Ah, yes the resurrection let’s start there. Well, let’s back up a bit to the Last Supper first.

Before He was crucified Jesus gave just ONE and only ONE way to remember his sacrifice on the cross. Communion is the ONE and only gesture that Jesus himself told the disciples to maintain when he said ” Do this in remembrance of Me.” If He had intended to change the day of worship, He would have said so at this time. Or He would have taken the time to make a NEW commandment the same way He did in Matthew 22:36-40 when He gave the ‘greatest commandment’ to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart… and Love your neighbor as yourself.”

In fact it was Jesus, who gave the perfect example even in death when he died on Good Friday, rested in the tomb on Sabbath, and rose on Easter Sunday. He RESTED from the GREATEST ‘work’ ever done (dying to save us from Sin) after saying “It is finished”. Not once did He ever alter or change Sabbath observance from Saturday to Sunday.

All through the Gospels Jesus was attacked by the Pharisees regarding how to ‘keep’ the Sabbath. But in Mark 2:27-28 He asserts, first, that the Sabbath was made for all mankind, not merely the Jews (verse 27), and second, that He is “Lord of the Sabbath” (verse 28). Thus, any change to the Sabbath commandment must come from Him!

I think we can safely consider this case closed here but just to be sure let’s take a final look at the rest of the New Testament after Christ’s resurrection and ascension.

In the book of Acts ALONE you can still see the Sabbath in effect in the following verses: Acts 13:14-15, Acts 13:42-44, Acts 15:1-2, Acts 15:14-21, Acts 16:12-15, Acts 17:2, Acts 18:1-11.

I just provided 7 examples of the Sabbath still being observed in the book of Acts ALONE by the Apostles and the early church after Easter Sunday has passed. But in the ENTIRE New Testament there are only 8 mentions of ‘The first day of the week’ and the words “Easter” and “Sunday” never even appear in the bible AT ALL. Of those 8, none give any instruction to observe a new day of worship, treat the first day (Sunday) in any special way , nor do they give ANY type of reverence to the day at all. They are: Matt 28:1, Mark 16:2, Mark 16:9, Luke 24:1, John 20:1, John 20:19, Acts 20:7, 1st Corinthians 16:2

I know this post has been a LONG one, but I hope it has at least peaked your interest so that you can research it further on your own. This all comes down to whether you choose to observe a tradition created by man, or a commandment given by God Himself.

Oh and that reminds me… I just changed my mind and I think your birthday should be TOMORROW! So I guess that means “Happy Birthday’s” are in order?

Live Invincibly,

@W





ThanksVision: One Year Later (Guest Post)

26 11 2009

Below is a guest post from a close friend of mine. This time last year he was involved in a pretty serious car accident, but walked away with just an injured hand. I thought his testimony was perfect for the Thanksgiving season so I asked him if he would mind if I shared it with all of you. It’s completely unedited with the exception of the post title which I provided.

Be blessed on this Thanksgiving holiday, and be thankful for the testimony you’ve been given. – @W

I just want to take a second to praise God for all of the blessings we all enjoy in the midst of whatever we’re complaining about.

rear view
Image by rappensuncle via Flickr

Today is the one year anniversary of the car accident that should have caused me alot more “discomfort” (I use that word lightly) than it did. A year later, I still feel residuals (physically and emotionally), but for the most part, I’m just as healthy as I was Nov 11th of last year. My wife and I lost our car that day, now we have a replacement. Thousands of $ worth of medical bills have been covered by insurance/legal recovery.

I don’t know all of the reasons God spared my life that day, but I’m guessing that at least one reason is so that I can share my testimony and give hope to others. (FYI, this week at church, we were informed that another guy went through a similar accident, but his car flipped 3 times. Still like me, he walked away with a broken hand).

I encourage any and all of you to also share your testimonies. We owe God that much at the very least for bringing us through them. Sharing our testimonies is one of the best ways to share God’s goodness with others. Not what He could or should do, but what He has already done.

God is still in the saving business.

Dre





You Will Fail @ *Blank* If You Don’t…

24 11 2009

Let’s play a little game! For each word below, repeat the phrase in the title of this post, then read the word, and then think about how that complete phrase applies to something in YOUR life.

For example: “You will fail at _____ if you don’t Communicate.” *A.  Marriage

*A. Is rhetorical, there is no right/wrong answer, only examples that may apply to the associated word.

Try not to move on to the next word until you’ve mentally answered the current word. Also, when reading a new word, try repeating the entire phrase “You will fail at ______ if you don’t…”

Got it? Good, now let’s get started…

You will fail at _____ if you don’t:

Believe

Work

Move

Communicate

Hustle

Act

Care

Motivate

Play

Exercise

Risk

Calculate

Heal

Budget

Compete

Run

Survive

Rise

Ask

Study

Assert

Prioritize

Sweat

Own

Shine

Dream

Change

Rest

Pray

Persevere

Give

Read

Obey

Learn

Perform

Mature

Let’s face it, we could continue this game forever right? The basic point of this post was to basically offer you a mind check. If you feel you’re lagging in a certain area, or procrastinating on moving forward with something you want or need to do, I hope this was of help to you.

If you came up with some other words that resonated with you more than the ones I listed, please let me know in the comments section, I’d love to know what they are!

Thanks for playing along and…

Live Invincibly,

@W