Wills & Legacy Planning

Learn WHAT it takes (and WHY you must) secure your legacy in this video blog post. Plus, you’ll hear our BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! This ‘vlog’ is part 2 of a two-part live facebook broadcast, to see part one visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/YourPersonalEconomy

A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children… Learn how to do it here http://tinyurl.com/jlecm47 [Tweet this]

Purses, Pearls & Pumps book purchase challenge at:
100% of the proceeds of the next 250 books will benefit the
Alanna T. Mbavarira Scholarship Fund at New Living Word School

and/or you may donate separately online at nlwm.org
or mail check (designating the scholarship name) to:
The Alanna T. Mbavarira Scholarship Fund
c/o New Living Word School
PO Box 2052
Ruston LA 71270

You’ve Been Lied To! The TRUTH about credit cards

Recently I read an article in BE magazine, “5 situations when it’s OK to close a credit card.” On first glance, it seems this article will give enlightenment on the folly of credit/debt- but alas it doesn’t and gives me a perfect entry into this pressing subject.

The title alone set me on edge, “when its OK to close a credit card, as if there was a time when it wasn’t… I still gave the article a chance, but was disappointed none-the-less.

I know many (far too many) people see the value of credit cards and all the things you can do with them, the biggest of which they fail to mention is go in debt.

Part of what I will do with this blog is dispel lies we have been told as it relates to credit, debt, wealth building and general personal finances- the category is called You’ve Been Lied To!

So let’s get to it.
The LIE: There are many positives to credit cards; rebates, sky miles, building credit (score), renting a car, blah, blah…

The TRUTH: There is no positive/upside to credit card use, you are playing with snakes- and even snake handlers gets bit. People spend more when using credit- so even if you’re paying on time and in full you’re not winning. The painful truth is the average balance nationwide (for a family) on credit cards is over $5,000.

If you are feening to use plastic, get a debit card. Using a debit card will let you do all the things you can do with a credit card, except go into debt. The great thing about a debit card is if its not in the checking account, you can’t spend it.

Getting out of debt requires discipline, a debit card- without overdraft protection turned on- will help you have it. I even know something better than a debit card… Cash.

I must admit, there is a positive to using credit cards… you can be positive you’re going to stay in debt if you use them! [Tweet this]

We’d like to hear your take on this, leave us a comment below and let’s discuss.

But Brad & Bonita , How do I get my (______) on board?

After “why is it bad to just have one credit card?”, this is the most common question we get since starting this blog. You’re excited about the idea of being debt free and may have already started taking the steps to get there. After finding out that your spouse, parent, friend, etc, etc. is just fine where they are you wonder “How do I get my (____) on board with trying to live debt free?”

I (Bradley) must confess Bonita was all-in before I was. What follows are not the steps it took to get me involved- I was easy, kind of. Bonita basically said “Let’s try this” and I went along, kicking and screaming, but I went.

We realize all (____) are not like me (Bradley again), so here is what we suggest for them:

1. Prepare.
PRAY. Ask for guidance on what you can do to make this transition easy for your (___). Be prepared to say “I’m Sorry for not being sensitive to how you feel about this”.

2. Slow Down.
Your excitement can be a turn off. At this point you have bought in to the concept of debt freedom, you’re sick and tired of being broke, you have a “why” in mind on the value of being debt free. The Problem is they are not there yet, and all they will hear is the “what” when you talk about being debt free- What they have to do, what they have to give up, what, what, what. You cannot expect them to jump on board a moving train, pull the emergency brake and take the next step…

3. Sell the Dream.
Talk to them about the “why” of being debt free. Talk about your dreams. “What would it be like to have no car payment?” “Wouldn’t it be great to send the kids to college without debt?” “How would it feel if we could go on vacation and pay cash?” “I think it would be cool to do this-or-that” are some good starters. Only after you are on the same page for “why” can the “what” be discussed.

4. Be Flexible.
When you make it to this step (sometimes it takes a while to get here), its time to be real about the sacrifices needed to get the “whys”. The amount of time it takes to get debt free is directly related to the intensity applied to the steps to get there. This is where flexibility is needed. The newly on-board (____) may not be totally ready to get intense- turning off cable, selling everything that’s not tied down, eating beans and rice, taking extra job(s), etc. Have a plan on discussing the level of sacrifice you are willing to make and be willing to be firm (but flexible) on their level. If your level of sacrifice is intense they are more likely to come along side of you. Sacrifice is not fun, so be prepared for some push-back.

5. Get Ready.
When you both are on board, dreaming together and in agreement on how to get to those dreams, just watch what God will do!

Let us know where you are in the process.

Comments encouraged 🙂


Get more tips like this by joining our FaceBook group. Contact us if you’d like to dig deeper and get customized instruction on how to ‘Master Your Money’.

What financially empowered people do- part 1

There are a lot of blog posts and editorials about “What millionaires do” and why you are broke/poor/etc. because you don’t do those things.

I suggest we change the focus. I am not saying you don’t have a chance of being a millionaire; hey, anything is possible. But, I pride myself on meeting people where they are and I know there are more people who are thinking about catching up on their student loans or seeking methods of paying off their home early than how to be a millionaire.

There are people who are seeking financial empowerment.
Financial empowerment can be obtained long before there are six or more zeros in your net worth (on the positive side…). Following are the first four tips (in no certain order) you can use to get you on the journey to be one of the financially empowered.

TIP 1. Have a Will. For those with ANY assets, it is crucial to have air-tight wills (and trusts when assets accumulate, if needed). Financially empowered people don’t want their state of residence to determine who gets their property or takes care of their minor children should something happen to them. Keys to having a Will: if you are over 18 and have any assets, you need a Will. Get a cheap, state specific Will here. Really good for a ‘starter’ Will, but you may want to consult a lawyer if you have more assets to protect.

TIP 2. Be insured. Life, health, disability — (and don’t forget insurance for your stuff — car, home, apartment, etc). Get enough to protect you and/or your family’s livelihood. Medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy, enough said. (As a side note, it is easier to stay healthy than to get healthy). Financially empowered people have enough life insurance for their family to move forward as if they were still alive and working to support them. 10-12 times yearly income in 20 year level term is what I strongly suggest. Get a quote here. NOTE: ANY life insurance is better than NO life insurance. Do not go without it if you have people depending on your income. If you have a ‘bad’ policy, do not cancel it until you have a better one in place.

TIP 3. Plan for the known AND ‘unknown’. Financially empowered people have a plan for good and bad days — also known as a budget and a rainy day fund (for emergencies) — and basic savings. Don’t forget about birthdays, vacations, school clothing, etc. Imagine going into the holiday season with money you have saved to make cash purchases. The future cannot be predicted, but studies show that 70% of Americans will have a ‘severe’ adverse financial occurrence in a given 10 year period… You have to have a plan so life doesn’t happen to you, be prepared. Get budgeting forms and more on our resources page.

TIP 4. Develop money smarts. Not everybody needs a financial advisor, but everybody needs to understand their own finances. Here’s what I know:

If you’re HANDS OFF managing your money you’ll surely HAND IT OUT to someone else to manage it for you. (Share on Twitter | Facebook |Google+| LinkedIn)

You have to make an effort to learn proven methods of winning with money. Get a book, go to a class, ask Financially empowered people you trust in your life how they got to where they are. Get support; visit our resources page, join our email list, like us on Facebook, follow us on twitter. Join our FREE Master Your Money Challenge on Facebook.

Stay connected to receive more tips. Let us know what you think about the tips so far. Are you presently or plan to use any tips now?

Insurance, by the numbers

Let me preface this post by stating the following two things:
1. Everyone does not need life insurance! The reasons for NOT needing it…
* No one is depending on your income to survive
* There is no family, charity, non-profit organization or cause you desire to leave something for
Otherwise, you need life insurance.

2. Insurance is income replacement
* By that definition, children who do not contribute to the survival of a family with their income DO NOT need life insurance (only a burial rider on your policy is needed)

Now, back to the post.

According to research(1), most Americans don’t have enough life insurance or the right kind. Many Americans have no life insurance at all. The reasons vary and following are supporting numbers.

Here’s a look at those numbers:
85 percent of consumers agree that most people need life insurance, but only 62 percent of those surveyed say they have it.

In 2010, it was reported that 44 percent of U.S. households had individual life insurance. That’s a 50 year low. In the 60’s, 72 percent had insurance, in the 90’s only 55 percent.

A Genworth Life Insurance study found that 40 percent of people in the U.S. that have life insurance don’t believe they have enough.

What is ’enough?’ Thanks for asking.

We strongly suggest 10 to 12 times your yearly income in life insurance coverage for each family sustaining bread-winner, not just the top earner. If someone has “stay-at-home” status, they need insurance also. The money it’s going to take to replace what that person does for the family if they were to pass away falls into the category of depending on their “income.” Calculate the savings that the family enjoys because of the at-home adult (child care, etc), add around $20,000 then multiply by 10 or 12 to find a good ball park amount of coverage.

Why 10 to 12 times? Another good question. Let’s say person “A” has $480,000 of term life insurance (12 times a $40k/yr income). They die. Family cashes in policy. After burial expenses the family invests the remainder. With returns of 8 to 10 recent on their investment (a good broker can help you with this), the family can move forward living off the interest as if person “A” were still alive and working.

When polled, 70 percent of U.S. households with children under 18 said they would have ‘trouble’ meeting everyday living expenses within a few months if a primary wage earner were to die today.

40 percent say if they found themselves in the same situation they would immediately have trouble meeting everyday living expenses.

The ‘enough’ question is a big issue, mainly because people feel they cannot afford it. 84 percent claim it’s just too expensive to have proper coverage, but this same group drastically overestimated the cost, by over 3 times in most cases.

For 20-year, $250,000 of level term life insurance for a healthy 30 year old
* Most Americans believe it costs $400/year
* The actual cost, approximately $150/year. See for yourself (then get a quote while you’re there).

And finally, 70 percent of Americans failed a 10-question basic life insurance IQ test conducted by LIMRA, proving that most just don’t understand the product of life insurance. Click here to take the test and see how you do.

Protect your legacy, get proper life insurance to cover your family. There’s one number I left out that we all need to be aware of… 100 percent of us are going to die, so be prepared.

Be Blessed, Be Free!

Questions, comments, how did you do on the test?

Having ANY Life Insurance is better than having NO Life Insurance. If you decide to change the type of insurance you currently have, DO NOT cancel your existing insurance until the new insurance is fully processed and in place.
(1) LIMRA’s (formerly known as Life Insurance and Market Research Association) Life Insurance Barometer Study 2013

It takes more than money

In a recent blog post/newsletter I spoke on a seemingly non-financial topic and I had reservations about it. Much like the topic of that post, I had to ‘cast the net’ and let God do what He does. The submitted comments and feedback was very encouraging.

My reservations stemmed from the idea that our newsletter was about “financial” topics and how does spiritual topics fit in that mold? The truth is spiritual issues are tied to many of our financial issues.

In my book, “Men, Get Real With Your Finances”, I dedicate a chapter to just that entitled It Takes More Than Money. As I wrote in that chapter,

It was through my growing relationship with God throughout the process of getting control of my finances that gave it all meaning. Not to be able to purchase things or pay off bills, but to better manage His resources. If you get everything this book teaches you and you miss the fact that God is all you need, I have failed you.

It is with that in mind that we’ve decided the blog found on YPE and our newsletter updates will include spiritual topics and encouragement along with the financial empowerment tips, topics and updates you are accustomed to receiving. Our desire is to empower and serve the ‘whole (wo)man’, not just their purses and wallets. This holistic array of content also mirrors how we teach and coach.

We pray that you stay on this journey with us and encourage others to join us.

Be Blessed, Be Free!

We’d love your feedback on this and other posts. Please join the conversation.

Blocking your blessing WHILE being blessed

You can block the size of a blessing WHILE you’re being blessed

Luke 5:1-10

This scripture doesn’t directly relate, but stick with me.

Several months ago I posted a praise report of an incredible weekend for our “businistry”, YPE. It was a great weekend, but I minimized the blessing (and the potential for others being blessed) and God chastised me for it.

SONY DSCI spoke at a church and was given the opportunity to sell our books and speak with people individually. I was happy for the opportunity and I was riding a high from giving the people a good word.

I went out to the car to get books (we always bring some with us, actually the trunk was full because we had another event coming up). Then “Brad” got in the way. I said to myself “This is a SMALL church, there won’t be any sales here” and grabbed two partial boxes of books and brought them in.

When we were done there was 4-5 books left from the two partial boxes. I was happy I didn’t expend a bunch of energy bringing in all those boxes and only had to bring a few books back to the car. I prepared to leave then God spoke to me. “I filled the net you cast”. When I thought back on it, traffic to the table just turned off instantly (including questions and conversations) when the books dropped down to the 4-5 mentioned. I immediately apologized and confessed to my wife what happened. I minimized what God’s people could/would do.

Don’t misinterpret this to be about selling books, it’s much deeper than that.

The next day I was to speak to a group of Pastors and had prepared a message I was excited to present. Due to program changes I was instead scheduled to speak to ALL the conference participants, not just the specialized Pastors group. I was extremely excited about this new opportunity–and nervous. I rewrote the entire presentation for a more general (secular) audience. It went well, but I didn’t feel good about it. The fear of alienating someone made me water down the message and blocked the opportunity for business owners to hear what God says about finances as it relates to their businesses.

My spirit was quickened and I confided to my wife that I would NEVER deliver a financial message without a biblical foundation. You want me to speak, you’re going to get the Word. You want the world’s view on finances, find somebody else.

When you’re ministering to someone and a few more people walk up and you cut off the conversation, you’re blocking the bigger blessing.

When you buy the next person in line a coffee, and they have that ‘I need to talk to someone’ look in their eyes after they say “thank you” and you just say, “no problem, have a good day”- you blocked the bigger blessing.

When God gives the opportunity and command to “cast your net” you just cast it, He’ll fill it.

We need to work on building bigger nets. Get out into the deep water and cast those nets!

Be Blessed, Be Free!


What nearly running out of gas taught me about finances

I will admit that I’m not a car guy. I take care of minor maintenance; gas, washer fluid, bulbs, etc. I rarely wash my car and take it to get oil changes and tune-ups a little too infrequently to be honest.

nearly-emptySo fast forward to earlier this week, the car had been running rough for a few weeks AND it was time to fill up (based on the warning light). We’re freshly back from vacation and now the things I put off (which I planned to do before we left) are more than overdue to be resolved.

I finally drug myself into the “kwik” place to get my oil changed. I expected them to find something since I hadn’t done as good by my car as I should, but I got away with only an oil change and a new air filter. I didn’t get gas though; I was too tired and figured I could get it the next morning.

Next morning, on the move I had no time for gas again and said to myself, “I’ll get some this evening”. Well, evening came and I was on the road to head to the gas station… then the warning light goes off. At that moment I had several choices that needed to be made that would determine my future and the likelihood of making it to where I needed to go–to the gas station.

After a short prayer for no traffic I made the following decisions:
1. I’m going to the gas station near my house
2. I’m letting down my windows and shutting off the A/C (I need to check myth busters to see if that actually works). Did I mention it was over 100 degrees?
3. I’m not putting myself in this position anymore. The inconvenience of walking miles to the gas station is far more than the inconvenience of stopping by the station with half a tank of gas on a busy day.

In my drive to make it to the station, this lesson came to mind…

I was willing to go through a little discomfort to make it to my destination.
What is debt freedom worth to you? Giving up eating out for a while? Taking an extra job (or two)? Selling some stuff? Riding the bus? To get to the position of financial empowerment, many will face discomfort. When I speak to groups I often say, “If you are hurting anyway, hurt while working toward something.” Why just hurt and struggle to pay bills?

I passed up other convenience stores (options) to get to the store I knew was open.
This was actually a risky thing that I did; I went to what was comfortable. I ‘knew’ the station not too far from my home was never busy (I was afraid I’d have to wait in line somewhere else), and I was just unsure the other signs I saw from the freeway were for stations that were potentially closed, full, or whatever.

In times of stress, we go back to what’s comfortable, this happens in many areas of life. I suggest you pass up those comfortable options; credit cleaning services, payday loans, lottery, and the like, and try a proven process to win. We just happen to know that process.

I constantly monitored my gas gauge (to know where I stood).
Do you really know where you stand financially? Based on statistics, most reading this post do not. How can you improve or strengthen something without knowing where it presently stands? Just knowing where you stand will help you develop a plan for where you want to go. We can help you with that, and have resources to support you.

I got into this position by being lazy (I was just too tired to do it then I kept putting it off), which didn’t change the situation; it only made it more critical to take care of.
Your financial situation is not going to fix itself; you have to take charge of it. You need to have a “Sick and Tired” moment and move to make the changes needed to be financially empowered. Watch your spending, save for rainy days, budget. Plan for birthdays, Christmas and travel and commit to making these things cash-only expenses.

I hope this little story helped you. Drop by our free resources page to help you figure out where you stand financially, set up a rainy day fund, budget, save for purchases, and more.

Be Blessed, Be Free!

Stop Dreaming, Start Planning!

Father’s Day weekend I presented to young men ages 8-18 about financial fitness at the B.O.L.D. (Believe Obey Lead Disciple) conference in Irving, TX. They were broken into three groups based on age and I was given the task of teaching them about money; how to better handle it, how it impacts their future, why they need to develop a giving spirit and more.

The middle group (12-14 year olds) was the toughest group- I used candy on the 8-11 year olds and talked to the older guys “as men”, since they are closer to my target audience (I speak a lot to mens groups)- these ‘tweeners’ are a hard bunch to figure out.

So I hit them with a deep, thought-provoking question, “What’s the difference between dreams and goals?”

Ultimately we came to the conclusion that dreams are things you hope for, goals are things you plan for.

Many had dreams of college, good jobs, cars, homes- you know, the things many adults seem to have. I then hit them with another whopper, “Do you need money to fulfill your dreams?” “No, dreams are free.” “Ok, then do you need money to fulfill your plans?” That had a mixed response. “What if I plan to do nothing but play video games all day?” one said. “You plan on eating?” I said. “and how do you plan to play your games without electricity? All these things cost money.”

We coach a lot to adults that talk of the dreams they used to have; going to college, traveling, starting a business. Dreams die because they stay dreams and are never turned to goals. Goals REQUIRE a plan.

The problem is many think dreams and goals are the same, they’re not. Thinking they are the same allows you to not work on your goals and just hope they will come to be.

I don’t minimize the importance of dreams, dreaming is a very important step in believing, but you have to get those dreams off the shelf and give them life and purpose.

Where do you want to be financially in a year, five years, in retirement? Do you dream of traveling? writing a book? starting a non-profit organization?

I encourage you to turn your dreams into goals, make a plan to accomplish them, then get to work!

Start here:
* Figure out where you stand financially
* Set up a budget
* Eliminate debt

What are some of your GOALS? Join us on FaceBook or leave a comment below to talk about it.