A Bodey in Motion

Building momentum, one step at a time

Quick Hits of the Week

  • Writing your first home budget can be a challenge, especially if you’ve never really thought about all the possible goods and services that your household needs every month. Nothing is worse than getting to the middle of the month and realizing that you’ve forgotten to budget for pet food, or toiletries. To help avoid a surprise, I recommend working from a list like this one to start with. You may still miss something (this list excludes a house alarm, for example) but it’ll get your brain working about where your money is going.
  • I’m not quite up to eliminating 92% of my online arguments, but I’m a lot better than I’ve been in the past. The best thing that I learned to do was to wait until after my knee was done jerking around to start writing. A good 80% of the time that means I won’t feel like writing at all. I think Jon Acuff’s advice might be able to help me knock out that next 12%.

Is there something valuable or important or cool or funny or weird or awesome out there I missed this week? I can’t hit it all, but you should let me know about it by dropping me a line or sharing it in the comments below! I’d appreciate the heads up.

August 16, 2012 Posted by | Quick Hits and Links | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Best Defense…

As a financial coach, one of my key responsibilities is to teach you, my client, strategies to overcome your financial troubles and to start succeeding with money. When that happens, it frees you to be more generous and more available to follow your dreams. When that happens in the lives of enough people, it can change the world, and I love being a part of that.

Not a place. Not a time. But a battle of wit and skill and strategy and little plastic playing pieces with numbers on...I'll come in again.But, I digress.

And I really just want to discuss that word strategy. It’s important. When you’re choosing a strategy, you are deciding on a plan of action, and developing tactics to fall back on when things don’t go according to that plan. Every winning strategy has two key components: Offense and defense.

OFFENSE

This is your income. However it is that you go out and bring the money home is time spent on the offensive.

And we spend a lot of time and effort on the offensive.

We work long hours to earn overtime and get big bonuses.

We fight and negotiate for better raises and compensation.

If the money is good, we move into management. We might even change careers altogether.

There’s nothing wrong with having a great offense. In fact, without it, you’re not even in the game at all. You need to put forth your best effort if you want to succeed. Never sell yourself short when it comes to your income.

However, beware the opposite problem. You can’t spend all of your time and effort on the offense. There’s a common misconception that if you earn enough income, your money will take care of itself. That if your offense is good enough you can ignore your…

DEFENSE

… and that’s a lie.

Your defense is all about your spending. How well you control every dollar leaving your home is time spent on the defensive.

And we don’t usually focus a lot of time or effort on the defensive. Spending still happens, because it has to, but we don’t like to think about the when, where, and why about each dollar that leaves.

Off the top of your head, do you know how much you spent on food last year? What about clothing?

How much do you annually spend on your electric bill? What about your mortgage payment?

How big a chunk of your yearly income do each one of those items take?

Being great on defense means not only knowing how much is going where, but also being careful and frugal when spending.

This is where I spend most of my time when coaching people. When a family is forced to come face to face with their poor spending habits and complete lack of defense, when they see how little they must have to survive, and how much is being wasted, they’re free to change. Their budget becomes the key to achieving goals and their ultimate success.

So, how’s your strategy? Is your offense hurting? There’s only so much you can cut before you have deal with your income. Don’t neglect your offense.

Is your defense in shambles? No matter how much you earn, you will always find ways to spend it if you don’t have a plan. You have to start making a budget. Don’t neglect your defense.

Questions: What’s your strategy? How’s your defense? Get political and think about how great your city government is on offense and defense. How could changing individual families habits affect the community you live in?

August 13, 2012 Posted by | Past and Future, Work and Money | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Best Defense…

Quick Hits of the Week

  • Comfort is a big idol in our home. A lot of the decisions I’ve made have been swayed by how uncomfortable the choices were going to be. That meant our home was uninviting for a long time, because I don’t like to be surrounded with a lot of people or noise. It also meant that I avoided opportunities to lead others, because I’m uncomfortable being responsible for anyone other than myself. Of course, that meant that I missed out on a number of chances to grow and learn and find purpose in my life, because the really important things in life all happen when you’re outside of your comfort zone, and Michael Hyatt wants to encourage all of us to visit there more frequently. So next time a tough decision comes up, I need to be willing to choose the option that makes me the least comfortable. You should, too.
  • We only have a television to watch an occasional movie or to play the Wii, so we don’t have cable and we don’t use an antenna. (An antenna? Really? Are we back in the 80’s?) That means we haven’t watched any of this year’s  Olympic games. Even so, there is no way I could have missed Michael Phelps huge achievement. Fact: He’s earned one medal more than Argentina has in its 112-year Olympic history. Want to know more? Here are 21 other astonishing facts about this astonishing young man and his 22 medals.
  • Based on what I’ve read so far, I find myself liking Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait. He seems like a stand-up guy who is actually working to change the culture of the Anaheim city government in such a way that encourages kindness, service and freedom. He and Newark Mayor Cory Booker should get together and create a how-to series on city leadership. Unfortunately, Mayor Tait’s efforts don’t appear to have filtered down to the Anaheim PD quickly enough. It will be interesting to see his short-term and long-term responses to the situation surrounding the protests. I pray that he finds the wisdom and courage he needs as he goes forward.
  • Allow me to be mean for a few seconds here. I want you to take a few moments and really evaluate the friends that you spend the most time with. Are they the kind of people that you want to be like, or are they just a bunch of losers that are fun to be around? You will be the average of your five closest friends, so it’s important that you’re spending time with the right people. Think about your life as an exclusive club. The people and activities you let past the red velvet rope at the door need to be helping you set the atmosphere you want inside. Keep the negative influences out, and implement strategies to bounce them out when they sneak in. Kick the losers out like Dalton at the Double Deuce.

Is there something valuable or important or cool or funny or weird or awesome out there I missed this week? I can’t hit it all, but you should let me know about it by dropping me a line or sharing it in the comments below! I’d appreciate the heads up. First person to identify the movie reference above will receive an official Bodey-Bonus-Buck worth absolutely nothing, and my gratitude for actually paying attention. Thanks.

August 9, 2012 Posted by | Quick Hits and Links | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Quick Hits of the Week

The Money Story, Revisited

I’ve covered this story before, but it’s been a couple of years. We’re going to be teaching another session of Financial Peace University (New and Improved! Only 9 weeks long!) in a couple of weeks, and I always like to start it by sharing my family’s money story. The story continues, and some things have changed.  So, it’s time to revisit it.

When my wife and I got married almost 16 years ago, we were both broke and in debt. We both had credit card balances. I had a car payment. She had a student loan. Neither of us any money saved in the bank. Financially, we were in sorry shape. Fortunately, we were both young and in love. Our relationship was strong and we didn’t know any better.

Unfortunately, we were both young, and we didn’t know any better.

After a couple of months of failing to pay the bills on time, I turned my back on it all and handed the money management of our home completely over to my wife. She handled the payments and the debts while I went out and started bringing in an ever-growing income, and that suited me just fine.

She’d whittle our debts down month after month and finish them off when we received a windfall, like a big tax return or a cash gift for the holidays. It would have been a good system if I’d been more involved, or if we’d had a better understanding of the principles we needed to follow to treat our money correctly. Instead we’d wind up using the freed up money poorly.

A new car. A mortgage. Appliances and furniture. Every loose dime was tied up with a new payment, and credit cards caught our slack. We’d pay it all off quickly enough, but there was always something new, and it was always what we thought we could “afford” – not what could we actually pay for out of our savings.

Twelve years of this nonsense. Twelve years of bigger incomes and zero financial headway. Twelve years and I have no one to blame but myself. I’d finally had enough. With our third child on the way we knew that everything had to change. Fortunately, my wife knew how to start.

The Total Money MakeoverWe began with a few couples gathered together in a family room reading through Dave Ramsey’s book, the Total Money Makeover. We bought in completely. We struggled through writing our first budget. We talked and fought about things that we’d ignored for over a decade. We compromised, made hard choices, and sacrificed together.

Nearly four years later, we have money set aside for emergencies and no consumer debt. No car payments. No student loans. We’re saving for the future. If all goes well, our house will be paid off in just four more years. I’d say that all the pain was worth it.

It doesn’t stop there, though. To keep ourselves fired up we went to a Total Money Makeover Live Event. The next time our church did a Total Money Makeover book study, we were helping to lead it. Then we took FPU at a local church to learn more, and the next time it was hosted there we were helping to coordinate it, and we’re ramping up to do it again for the third time.

These days, I read four or five work and money related books a year. I’m constantly trying to improve my knowledge about the right principles to follow regarding money. It’s drawn me closer to my wife. It’s made me more available to my children. It’s given me a purpose, and all of that is thanks to God.

No radio hosts were harmed in the taking of this picture.Also, I’ve started to coach and mentor people who are struggling with their finances. People who are searching for a plan and principles to follow. People who are struggling and fighting, learning how to compromise and sacrifice. I even took a trip out to Nashville recently to learn to do it better.

The last few years have been a wild ride.

Maybe you’re at a point in your life where you’ve had enough. If you are, great. It’s time to start learning how to do it right. Read a book, take a class, find a mentor. Find a voice that inspires you to change. And you don’t have to go as crazy as we did, but it helps.

What’s your biggest struggle with money? Do you have a money story to tell? Have you given up? Have I gone completely mad? Comment below or drop me an email to let me know.

August 6, 2012 Posted by | Marriage and Family, Past and Future, Work and Money | , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments