75% of Americans are Living Paycheck to Paycheck. What are YOU Doing About It?

Did you know that roughly 75% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck? Reality check. That means that 3 out of 4 people you know and meet today are living paycheck to paycheck. It doesn’t matter how much money they make, the problem is the same, and in most cases, it comes back to how people manage their finances. They don’t.

It’s sad, but we go to school for 13 years from K through 12. Then many of us enter college for 2, 4 or more years of additional education. We study English, Science, Math and more. Somehow, we missed and are still missing one of the most important subjects, money.

If you want to be smart about money, you have to study. There’s no way around it. I went to school to be an engineer. Let’s clarify that. Mechanical Engineer. I learned about cars as a teenager and I read books about cars. I went to college for engineering and I learned math. A lot of it. In all, 17 years of math to be proficient as an engineer.

Revisit me at age 25 when I realized I was broke. 25. No money knowledge. No money studies. Just broke. Pure and simple. I made great money, and had nothing but $16,000 in debt and a few trinkets. The good news is, I made a change. I got money smart, and you can too along with the people you know and meet.

Meet Elena Perez

I’ve been blessed by all the stories coming from people who have read my book. Long time friends changing what they’re doing with their money to couples married for 35 years finally getting on the same page with money. It’s so exciting! This week, something new came up that I want to share.

Meet my friend Elena Perez, Financial and Insurance advisor for World Financial Group. I met Elena at a local networking group at Brentwood Baptist’s Connections Cafe several weeks ago. She’s a powerhouse. We chatted and she picked up a copy of The Millionaire Choice.

A few weeks later, we bumped into each other at a different networking group where Elena told me how she gave a copy my book to her friend who was in dire financial straits. After reading The Millionaire Choice, her friend had a plan and hope.

Last week, I discovered Elena had been buying copies of TMC (The Millionaire Choice) off Amazon and giving them away to people she meets. 7 copies so far. Wow! So exciting, but that’s a lot of money to pay for my books!

Yesterday Elena and I met up at Panera Bread where she picked up her first case of The Millionaire Choice (30 copies), at a really steep discount. 🙂

I love that Elena understands that 75% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. She cares. 90% of the potential customers she meets, aren’t ready for investing, but she’s doing everything she can to help the people and families where they are.

No one person can change America or the world, but together, I believe we can. Thanks Elena!

What You Can Do

I believe financial poverty starts to disappear when we’re all financially educated.

I grew up in a low income family. Our power was cut off. Our water was cut off. I was educated. I was an engineer working on million dollar projects, but I was broke. I followed in my family’s financial footsteps. That all changed when I became “financially educated”, and the crazy thing is, it only took me 90 days to figure out that I could become a millionaire. 25 years old. Broke, but realized I could become a millionaire if I did the right things with my life and my money.

I learned a lot of math in school. Once I started learning about money, I realized something. Money is really just a math problem. It’s predictable and if you do the right things with it, you can solve the money problem.

I don’t know your friends or family members. I don’t know the people you work with or the people you’ll meet today. I can’t impact their lives, but you can. Just like Elena. I want to make it as simple as possible for anyone to have a positive impact in someone’s financial life. Grab my free ebook Creating Millionaire Families or give someone a book. I don’t care if its my book or someone elses. Just make sure its a good one they can understand.

Take a little time. Make a little effort, and watch the impact you’ll have in someone’s life. I guarantee you’ll like the results.

2,000 Hours and a More Fulfilled Life

Have you ever thought about your life in the amount of hours you work in a year? Does that sound odd? More than any other activity in your life, you probably spend the majority of your time each year working.

Since graduating college and joining the workforce full time in my 20’s, my goal has been to increase my income while cutting my hours. Who wants to live their life on the job?! My first year as an engineer, I worked 55 to 60 hours per week. I made $39,000. From there, my income went up each year, while I worked to get my hours down.

During those peak years, I worked 2,800 hours per year never losing site of my goal to work less and make more.

Career and Income Growth

My career progressed as an engineer and eventually reached $47,500 a year while working 45 hours a week. Much better than my early years. My hourly rate was roughly $20.30. That particular job required me to average 45 hours a week even with my vacation time. That meant I had to work to make up my hours just to take a vacation. Yes. I know you’re shocked. I was too when I was reprimanded for not hitting my quota.

I changed jobs and careers by moving into technology. Looking for more opportunity, I found it.

The value of my 2,000 hours of work per year went up, up and up. Year after year, I found ways to increase my value. I studied. I worked. I grew more valuable to my company. My $20 per hour rate as an engineer soon jumped to $30, then $40, $50, and eventually breaking the $100 per hour mark. Eventually even that number would continue to increase.

How did I get there? I grew up in a lower income area of Nashville. Just making $39,000 a year put me in an income category well past my parents. I found myself at these new levels of success because I did what all the other successful people do. Work hard. Invest in yourself. Learn more. Increase your value and contribution. And quite a bit of prayer. 🙂

The first big investment I made in myself was learning how to program. I spent $1,000 on server software so I could program at home. That $1,000 was an investment in my and my family’s future. After that, it was immersion in learning and books so I could do more of what the company needed. As the company grew, more opportunities came my way, and it was awesome!

Now What About Your 2,000 Hours

Now consider your own life and your own 2,000 hours of work.What do you want to get paid for it? Are you satisfied? If you are satisfied, great. I think of the 2,000 hours more this way. If I have to work 2,000 hours anyway, why not make more money while I do it? It’s a simple concept.

I have friends that are content with their life and job. 2,000 hours a year. $35,000 a year. $17.50 per hour. I have other friends. 2,000 hours a year. $80,000 a year. $40 per hour.

What are you getting for your 2,000 hours? Are you working more than 2,000 hours? What are getting for that? Is it worth it? More money. Less hours. More life. It’s a great goal.

If you want to increase your value, invest in yourself. Turn off the TV. Turn off Netflix. In fact, cancel Netflix. It’s a total wast of time. The average American watches 122 hours of television a month! That’s practically a full time job! Yikes! Too much entertainment will suck away your opportunities and future.

3 Questions

  • What can you do in the next year to increase your value by 10-20%? List several ideas and get to work.
  • Is your work/life out of balance? What can you do cut your work hours back to something reasonable? 2,000-2,300 hours a year. You’ll never get the time back with your family. Figure it out.
  • Where do you want to be in 10 years. If you move your life a little each year, you make huge moves in 10 years. Make it a goal to improve your life 5-10% per year and you’ll see amazing results. Don’t let yourself get stagnant.

Guest Appearance on Change Your Story, Change Your Life Podcast with Louis Di Bianco

Change Your Story

Thanks to Louis Di Bianco for having me on his show, Change Your Story, Change Your Life. Louis has enjoyed a great life as both actor and voice actor. He believes in the power of story and how sharing our own life stories can create power and breakthrough for others.

Louis grew up in the Bronx, a world full of gangs, but never became part of that world. It was all around him. He witnessed it and even connected with a few of its members. But for Louis, another world was calling. A world of education and storytelling. Louis survived the gang world and streets by becoming a storyteller. Louis was a great host and I’m honored to have been a guest on his show.

Episode 170: Millionaire Choices (iTunes)

Episode 170: Millionaire Choices (Web)

Why Do You Build Wealth and Become a Millionaire?

Are you working? Why do you work? Do you have a goal? Seriously, what drives you? Why do you get up, get dressed, and head out to work every day? What’s your goal? What’s your purpose?

If you’re going to spend your life working, you might as well have a goal and a purpose for your money. I started working with my parents around age 10 . My dad was a carpenter. When I worked with him I got to sweep floors, carry wood, and occasionally step on a nail (which wasn’t part of the job, but it happened more often than I’d like). My goals were pretty simple. Buy more toys.

When I wasn’t busy on a job site with my dad, you might find me with my mom at the convenient store(s) she managed. My convenient store life usually included facing and stocking product shelves and the refreshments cooler as long as I kept my hands off the beer. I wasn’t old enough to face and stock the alcoholic beverages. As I got a bit older, my job moved outside to sweep the parking lot (hated it), concrete (hated it), paint the curbs (hated it), and pull the weeds (hated it). Don’t laugh. If you had to pull those thorny weeds that stuck you every time, you’d hate the job too. Yes, gloves would have helped, but they don’t work well when you leave them at home. Honestly, it was the worst job I’ve ever had, but at least I got to buy more stuff and save for a car when I would eventually turn sixteen.

As I got older I found myself working in grocery stores, shipping docks, manufacturing assembly lines, engineering departments, technology departments, and eventually as a corporate executive.

Throughout my early working life, I worked for things I wanted and things I needed. Along the way to becoming a millionaire, something changed. I began working for others. Sure, I still work for things I want and things I need, but now there’s another element. Others. When you build wealth and have a little excess, you’re more equipped to help people in need.

So I ask, “Why do you build wealth and become a millionaire?” My answer is simple. I build wealth to enjoy life and help people in need.

I recently came across this statistic in an article by *Robert Frank from CNBC, and it totally shocked me.

“More than 80 percent of those worth $25 million or more give at least $10,000 a year to charity, and 21 percent give more than $100,000 a year to charity.“*

At first blush, the article is written in a very “positive language”, but these stats aren’t very positive in my opinion. Let’s look at it another way and break it down into pieces. Piece number 1.

Over 80 percent of people worth $25 million or more are only giving $10,000 or more a year to charity.

$10,000, really? That’s the low bar? Then there’s this. If 80% is the high number, that still leaves 20%. What are those people doing?

20% of people worth $25 million are giving less than $10,000 a year to charity.

Pardon me, but WTH? Seriously? You have a $25 million net worth and you give less than $10,000 a year to help people in need?

Okay, now it’s time for piece number 2. In Robert’s words…

“21 percent of people worth $25 million or more give more than $100,000 a year to charity.” – Robert Frank, CNBC

Let’s write it up this way.

Only 21 percent of people worth $25 million or more give over  $100,000 a year to charity.

Now I agree $100,000 a year is a lot of money, and it sounds very “generous”. That is until you realize that people with over $25 million net worth are generating millions per year off their investments. You can very safely assume they are getting at least 5-7% off their investments. In many cases, much more. At 5%, that’s at least $1,250,000 a year income. The statistic is pitiful. Just pitiful.

I’m sure there are some very generous people in the mix that are quite generous, but the overall number is well below where it should be for serious altruistic giving, helping people in need, and changing the world.

Robert provides a another valuable statistic in his article, just how many people are worth $25 million or more in the United States? The answer, “there are now 142,000 households worth $25 million or more” according to Robert. From the numbers, we know that means roughly 29,000 households gave $100,000 or more to charity, and since 20% gave less than $10,000 to charity, we know that’s roughly 28,400. Interesting how the upper end of the scale and the lower end of the scale are virtually equal. 20% of the “Ultra High Net Worth” people are pretty generous, and 20% are well…grinches. Being just 11 days before Christmas, I had to work that in.

So I ask again, “Why do you build wealth and become a millionaire?” Keep this purpose in mind as you’re building your own wealth, and don’t disappoint me. Enjoy life and help others in need.

How Just $10,000 Can Turn Kids into Millionaires

As a father of six kids, yes six, it is my responsibility to teach my kids how to manage and multiply their money. Most parents, like mine, taught me how to work, make money and spend it. They did not teach me how to manage or multiply my money. I had to learn how to do that on my own, and thankfully, I did learn.

Now, it is my responsibility to pass on what I’ve learned to my children. Hopefully, since they are learning about money as children and not as a twenty five year old as I did, they will be much more successful with their money. If I do a good job teaching them, they may be able to become millionaires as well, and we can keep building family wealth and our ability to help other people in need.

Lately though, I’ve been thinking a little differently. Sure I can teach my kids how to manage and multiply money. They may even become millionaires, but what if there was a way I could virtually guarantee they would become millionaires. And, I could do it for just $10,000 per kid.

Well, it turns out, that idea isn’t so far fetched. I first got the idea last year while out on a walk in downtown Salt Lake City. I’m sure it was a chilly evening since March is usually cold in Salt Lake. After a bit of work and pondering, the idea started to have legs, and it is continuing to evolve.

Now you may be thinking, $10,000 can’t make someone a millionaire. And, you would be dead wrong. In fact, $10,000 can make someone a multimillionaire, if you start soon enough. The problem is, we all wait too long to get started on our investing. Many Americans wait well into their 30s or 40s to begin investing and saving for retirement. While it’s better late than never, the real opportunity to build wealth needs to start much sooner especially if you are going to turn $10,000 into a $1,000,000.

I know it sounds little like magic or hocus pocus, but it really just boils down to time…and economic and political stability. Let’s indulge ourselves a bit by assuming economic and political stability will exist in the future. Then we just need to concern ourselves with what happens when we invest $10,000.

According to Investopedia, the average growth rate for the S&P 500 dating back to 1928 is 10%. At 10% growth, it takes money about 7.2 years to double your money, which allows us to multiply our money like this over a 70 year period.

  • Initial Investment: $10,000
  • 7 years: $19,487
  • 14 years: $37,975
  • 21 years: $74,002
  • 28 years: $144,210
  • 35 years: $281,024
  • 42 years: $547,637
  • 49 years: $1,067,190
  • 56 years: $2,079,651
  • 63 years: $4,052,651
  • 70 years: $7,897,470

Now, why did I use a 70 year period for this example? The answer is simple. Because if you put $10,000 into an investment fund the year a child is born, allows it to grow in this manner. The number years mirror the child’s age. Are you getting the picture yet? $10,000 in an S&P Index Fund could become $1,067,190 by age 49 based on historical returns.

Now I know that sounds like a long time however, based on statistics, the average population life expectancy worldwide is approximately 70 years. In theory even with economic downturns, $10,000 will turn into $1,000,000 within a person’s lifetime between 49 and 70 years. If everything goes well, $10,000 could even make a person into a multimillionaire. So let’s look at the chart a bit differently based on age.

  • Initial Investment at birth: $10,000
  • Age 7 years: $19,487
  • Age 14 years: $37,975
  • Age 21 years: $74,002
  • Age 28 years: $144,210
  • Age 35 years: $281,024
  • Age 42 years: $547,637
  • Age 49 years: $1,067,190
  • Age 56 years: $2,079,651
  • Age 63 years: $4,052,651
  • Age 70 years: $7,897,470

Time for some questions.

  • “If you could make your kids into multimillionaires, why wouldn’t you?”
  • “How would it change a your child’s thinking if they KNEW they were going to be a millionaire?”
  • “If money were not an issue, what would your children and grandchildren do to help others? How much good could they do?”
  • “If there were more millionaires, with good hearts and values, how would our world change?”

I came from financially challenged family. The idea of being a millionaire was not in my head nor in my vocabulary. The possibility of being a millionaire was a foreign concept to me. At age 25, that all changed, and along with it how I thought about money and myself. The perception of who I would become grew together with the possibilities of what I could accomplish in life.

Now, I have six children. My oldest is headed of to college in the fall. My youngest is six. I look forward to how they will use the principles and the money they will be empowered with to help others in need and to change our world for the better.

With a bit of work and vision, it’s possible to change the financial outlook of our families, our children, our country and the world. Now what will you do? A great option to start is with a Vanguard S&P Index Fund.

Detours on Life’s Journey.

What a crazy couple of years my life has been. Quite a few of my friends often accuse me of TMI, and I confess I’m guilty as charged. Today may be one of those TMI days, but I’m a pretty open book. I like it that way.

Two years ago on May 2, 2016, I was released, fired, from an amazing company working in the personal finance education space. After fifteen years and seeing the company grow from 30 people to 550, it was my time to go. I tell people one of the best things that ever happened to me was joining that company, and when it was my time to leave, one of the best things that happened to me was to leave. Although I found it emotionally easier than I expected to move on, the resetting of life and career had to take place, and after fifteen years with the same company, some unplugging too. In the midst of all this, the timing was uncanny.

My mother-in-law had been battling cancer for about a year. She passed away in July 2016 and was buried on July 29th, my youngest son’s birthday. Without a job, I was better able to support my wife, her family, and my family through this time.

My mother was diagnosed with cancer in August 2016. She passed away in early November and was buried on November 15th, my middle daughter’s birthday.

As you can imagine, 2016 was quite an upheaval time for our family, and in the midst of it all, I spent an enormous amount of time delving into politics. I discovered how utterly naive I was about our national and global politics. What I learned truly shocked me and transformed my thinking, but I’ll save that for in person discussions with interested parties.

In January 2017, I found myself yet again working in the personal financial education space for a small company out of Salt Lake City, UT. I hadn’t sought out our planned to re-enter the personal finance space, but there I was as COO for a company that was trying to compete with my previous employer. With a little team of 12 people, my new journey began.

In the first 30 days, I stopped a $500,000 mobile app project, released 4 people, discovered how bad our financial position really was, and put together a brand, product and marketing plan to get things moving in the right direction.

In the next 30 days, the CEO revealed he and his five companies were under investigation. As expected, investment funds dried up quickly, and my time with the company ended May 31, 2017. After a short five month stint, I was once again unemployed. Five months, may not sound like a long time, but its what you do with the time that matters.

During my five months in Salt Lake City, I did a lot of soul searching and thinking. A lot. Searching for what was really important to me as 46 year old husband, father of six, Christian, and digital entrepreneurial minded guy. I thought about what possibilities the future held and where I wanted to go.

Being away from family five days a week, three weeks a month, makes you realize how valuable your family really is. Working sixteen hours a day, five days a week, makes you realize how valuable life really is. Seeing people struggle with life and money helps you realize how important people really are. Helping and inspiring struggling people is extremely satisfying.

And then there was all this free time I had from being unemployed. Hmmm. I kinda liked this freedom. Freedom to explore new endeavors. Freedom to be with my family. Freedom to be with my kids. Freedom to be with my wife as I sit in a coffee shop now with her writing this blog post. I rather enjoy this freedom, and I am very reluctant to give it up. It was interesting to me why hadn’t I thought this way before.

Since childhood, I was programmed for the job mentality getting my first real job at thirteen. From there, the job mentality continued to get more deeply ingrained. Over the last two years, I have been blessed to meet dozens of people who have broken free of the “job” mentality, and they have inspired me to do the same. Jobs are great tools for many people, but for me, they’ve run their course. I’m looking forward to taking months off with my kids through the summer and traveling. Even as a top level executive, I wouldn’t get that level of freedom if I’d stayed with either of my former employers.

Where has my journey and all of my thinking and soul searching led me over the last two years? Well, it has led me to a place I never imagined. In May 2017, I decided to write a book and began the task. In June 2017 with all my free time, I completed the first draft of 60,000 words. This month, I am putting on the finishing touches, and turning over a finished manuscript to my publisher on Monday, April 2 with my book due to release later this year. Crazy.

So let’s do an inventory of the last three years, marriage on the rocks in 2015 (did I forget to mention that?), lost job of 15 years as top level executive, loss of mother in law and mother due to cancer, and “reboot” job ended. Yet, through all of that, now my family is stronger and happier than it has ever been, my marriage is better than its ever been (pretty freaking amazing actually), and I’m finishing my first book (more to follow).

Aren’t the detours on life’s journey interesting? Even when things are crashing around you, do your best to keep moving forward. You’ll be amazed at what can happen.

Through this season of life, I found a few things that really helped me keep moving forward.

  1. Marriage Counseling. Recently, I’ve spoken with several friends that are going through divorces, and I admit that my wife and I were dangerously close as well. However, we chose a different road when facing our marital issues.

    I’ve spoken with people that say, “we went to marriage counseling.” Then I ask, “how often?”, and they reply monthly for three months. Sadly, my friends were not serious about saving their marriage.

    When I first suggested marriage counseling to my wife, she was reluctant and a bit afraid. I simply asked, “Do you want the next 18 years of our marriage to look like the last 18 years?”, and she replied, “No.”

    At the end of our first session, the counselor asked when we would like to come back. I said next month. My wife said next week. That was the beginning of weekly marriage counseling for six months, and it was the beginning of reshaping our marriage into what we have today as we sit together at the coffee shop writing. She’s amazing.

  2. Learn and explore. When I lost my job, I spent a lot of time learning about politics, real estate, investing, raising kids, being a better husband and other things. I should have been doing that all along, but with a job and six kids, life gets a little overwhelming.

    During my jobless season, we were fortunate to have enough money in place to give me flexibility to learn and explore new areas in life. Now once again, it’s a continuing part of who I am. My reading list has ballooned into new topics causing my mind to expand.

  3. Good people. It is so important to surround yourself with good people. As a working family man, I had allowed myself to become too isolated from other men. Truthfully, my parents had very few friends and were very isolated. I followed their example, and it was unhealthy. The additional free time to reflect on life, allowed me to address this issue in my life.
  4. Be open to new things and new opportunities. Over the last year, I’ve been exposed to new ideas and opportunities. Things like cryptocurrency which I’ve avoided for the last seven years are now on my radar. While one day I wanted to write a book, I didn’t think it would be in my 40s, and I didn’t think I’d write it an be published all in one year! But, I had the time, idea, and desire, so why not? After that, it just became work to do.

Life’s detours sure can be interesting.

Taking Advantage of Our Millionaire Opportunities.

What an exciting time it is to be in the financial space. The financial markets are at all time highs with the Dow Jones breaking 25,000. Personal and governmental debt has reached extremes possibly causing an implosion of the entire western financial system at any time. Russia and China are weaning themselves off the western financial system by working to create a gold backed alternative currency with the goal of dethroning the US dollar as the only world reserve currency. And then there’s cryptocurrency, where new “Bitcoin Millionaires” are being minted regularly.

In this crazy financial climate, the question is, “what are you doing to build and protect your family’s wealth?” Too many of us are going for the immediate gratification of that new car, luxury vacation, or indulging in some other way to spend your hard earned money. The reality is, it’s what you do with your money today that will determine if you will be a millionaire or multi-millionaire tomorrow. Does that make you think differently about how you are going to spend your money today? It should. Every dollar you spend costs you multi-dollars in the future.

At a meager 10% annual growth rate, $500 spent this month would have become $2,000 in just 14 years if you had invested it. $8,000 in 28 years. Now, how will you spend that $500 this month?

Perhaps, you have a bit more disposable income than the average person. Maybe you have $5,000 to spend this month. If you spend that $5,000 this month, you just cost yourself $20,000 in 14 years or $80,000 in 28 years.

Whatever money you have available, if you want to be a millionaire, you have to learn to multiply your money rather than spend it. To multiply your money you have to practice taking what you have and turning it into more. You can’t do that by spending it all on the latest gadget or your favorite latte at Starbucks.

Now, let’s get a little radical. 10% is a great annual return if you’re using real estate or the stock market, but what about getting a better return? Sometimes opportunities are all around us, but we miss them. I missed one in 2003 when my wife told me to invest in Apple Computers at $4 a share. Ouch. That one still hurts. Hindsight is usually 20/20, and we recognize our missed opportunities. Why do we miss these millionaire maker opportunities? That is a great question. Sometimes we’re just clueless about the opportunity, and it isn’t on our radar. At other times, we’re just not willing to take the risks. Well, the opportunity is here again and it’s called cryptocurrency. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and the like. How do I know this is a millionaire opportunity? Because I’ve met quite a few people who have already become millionaires through cryptocurrencies. I’ve recently met several people who invested modest amounts between $5,000 and $50,000 who saw their investments grow to over $1,000,000.

Over the last several months as I’ve continue to get deeper into the cryptocurrency industry, I’ve recognized we’re still in the early stages of the industry, and we are quickly entering the early adoption phase where the industry takes a deeper hold on society and becomes more mainstream. The news is all around if you look for it. Crypto Coins News and Coin Telegraph keep you abreast of the daily industry news.

During my cryptocurrency dive, I’ve talked with dozens of people about cryptocurrency. Some people are taking the risks with cryptocurrency investments, and some are skeptics. The skeptics are usually the tradition financial and investing guys committed to the status quo and what they know. I would call these guys safe traditional investors. Cryptocurrency is too new and volatile for them. To them it’s a bubble waiting to pop. What I believe they are missing is that cryptocurrency is the birth of an industry. It won’t follow all the traditional rules of investing. When Ford created the car, he created an industry. It changed everything. Here we are again with Bitcoin in the financial market

I believe the “wise” risk takers will be smiling with millionaire, and I believe that the skeptics will once again be reliving the “missed opportunity moment.” In time, we will know who is right and who is wrong.

In any case, you can’t be a fool with your money or investing. Whether you want to stick with traditional investing tools like real estate and the stock market or you prefer riskier investments like crytpocurrency, it is important to take advantage of your millionaire opportunities and be smart about them. Educate yourself and sync up with people who are smarter than you on the topic. As part of my cryptocurrency learning, I connected with the team at Crypto Capital Club’s Telegram Chat and Adela Investment, the first Cryptocurrency Investment Fund based in Nashville, TN. Adela’s team has helped bring me up to speed on the cryptocurrency space. A few other great resources include Chris Dunn and The Bitcoin Knowledge Podcast hosted by Trace Mayer.

I always remember to consider the risks with any investment. Here are some simple rules that I follow.

  1. I never invest more money than I am willing to lose if things go 100% south.
  2. I never risk money I need. I could lose it all.
  3. I know cryptocurrency is considered a “high risk” investment at this time. It is very volatile. As the industry matures, the risk should become lower.
  4. I only put at risk 5-10% of my net worth. If things blow up, I have plenty of money to fall back on to keep going.

Let me know if you become a “Cryptocurrency Millionaire”. I’d love to hear your story.

How to Survive Being Away from Your Family and Kids for Work

2017 has found me in a much different situation than anything I have experienced. I am 46, soon to be 47 in November, and I am for the first time working in a different state from where I live. My family resides in Franklin, TN while I am currently working in Salt Lake City, UT. Not exactly how I would have planned things, but it is nonetheless where I find myself. One thing I know for sure is that I am in the center of God’s will, and that is absolutely the best place to be no matter what the circumstances are. However, it does present it’s challenges, and there are many.

Beginning January 2, 2017, I started commuting from Franklin, TN to Salt Lake City, UT for my new COO gig with Financially Fit. In my previous position with Dave Ramsey, travel was very limited with only 2-3 trips per year. Now, I travel 2-3 weeks a month. Normally, I begin my commute early Monday morning with my lovely wife dropping me off at the airport around 5:30 AM. After a long week, she picks me up Friday night around 9:30 PM where we then finish off the evening with a rather late night out. With 6 kids at home from ages 5-17, it can be a little difficult to say the least. My wonderful wife has done an amazing job holding down the fort and keeping the insanity of our lives in balance…if there is such a thing with 6 kids. 🙂

As a husband, father and professional, this new lifestyle is requiring to me step up and adjust my game. Not to mention my new company is a startup which presents all sorts of challenges. The stakes are extremely high. Employees depending on my doing a good job…long hours of the startup. 6 little lives depend on me doing a good job as a father, and 1 amazing woman depending on me as well. Demanding? Yes. Challenging? Absolutely. Impossible? No.

So here’s how I’ve adjusted my parenting, husbanding, and professional game. I’m just beginning, but I’m happy with the results so far.

  1. Be Intentional. Whether its work, the kids or your spouse, be intentional. Don’t let any time slip away from you. When I’m home on the weekends, I start early and end late. Cooking Saturday morning breakfast with my girls. Yard work our projects with my boys. Campfires and smores. Taking the kids to school every morning and putting them to bed every evening. As soon as I get off the plane Friday evening, its spouse time. A late night snack, dessert or a movie, she gets my full attention. Whether I’m in Salt Lake City at work or in Nashville, focused intensity is the most important thing. My Salt Lake work schedule is typically 8:00 AM till 10:00 PM. I like it that way and I keep my life simple. No TV. No distractions. My Nashville schedule is a little different. Work starts at 8:00 and goes till 5 or 6, with a dinner and family break from 6-10, then the day closes out with a little work from 10-11. This week, I’ll be sending my first surprise “care package” home to the kids and my wife, being sure to leverage Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages in the notes and gifts I send everyone.
  2. Keep Life Fun. I’m probably more focused on fun family time and keeping life exciting that I ever have been. When I’m home, we’re always finding fun things to do on the weekends or during the week. Cooking together. Walking the neighborhood. Spring break to Salt Lake City for snowboarding. Family games like Mafia, Pokemon, etc. Anything the kids enjoy is fair game.
  3. Cut Back the Distractions. Since I am spending a lot of time in Salt Lake City, I want the time away from my family to count. I’ve chosen a simple lifestyle. No car. No TV. No frills lifestyle. It’s allowed me to keep my thoughts much more clear and stay more focused on productivity than every before. The clarity and direction I see now is extremely refreshing, and I’ve found it to help me be even more focused and productive when I’m at home with my family.

2017 has been an interesting journey so far and I have plenty to learn before I can say I’ve figured it out.

A Visit with Global Media Outreach

There are many great leaders and groups doing wonderful work in sharing Jesus with the world. Several weeks ago I was introduced to Global Media Outreach. GMO as they call it was founded by Walt Wilson. I could write several books about Walt and you’d never be able to put them down. Former marine and former Apple team member and leader on Steve Job’s team, Walt walked away from the professional business world to focus on using digital media to reach the world for Christ. What God has used him to do is simply amazing.

Walt Wilson: Video 1 , Video 2 , Article

Global Media Outreach was started in 2003. Since that time, GMO has served up the Gospel to over 1.5 Billion times worldwide and achieved an astounding 150 million decisions for Christ. With over 4,000 volunteer online missionaries, GMO reaches people for Christ in 126 countries and across 6 languages.

GMOs unique approach targets language groups and then leverages online and mobile digital to reach people for Christ. Early on Walt recognized the power of the internet to reach people for Christ and set about preparing for the day when he would be able to embrace the mission full time. Now 13 years later, GMO is able to present the gospel of Jesus for 10 cents! 10 cents will serve up the gospel to someone in the middle east where not even the most courageous missionaries are able to go.

Being a numbers geek myself, GMO’s use of numbers and analytics made me smile. They have the best numbers on Christian expansion in the world. Serving up the gospel over 250,000 times per day and seeing roughly 25,000 decisions for Christ, GMO has put together what is probably one of the best estimates on where the gospel is being sought.

I’m looking forward to getting more involved with Walt and Global Media Outreach. Take time to look at their ministry. It is truly amazing. http://www.globalmediaoutreach.com

Leading Your Family. Loving Them Well.

Tuesday morning. Dropped the kids off at 7:58 just before the 8:00 buzzer. Whew! I was running late because the printer wasn’t working and my 13 year old son needed his homework printed. Quick lecture on printing it and having it ready the night before all while fixing the printer. Done. 3 kids waiting in the car…my girls 11, 8, 6. Yes, I have 6 kids. 3 boys. 3 girls. Ages 16, 13, 11, 8, 6, 5. Boy. Boy. Girl. Girl. Girl. Boy…who has his mom rapped around his finger.

I love my family, but I don’t think I’ve always appreciated them as much as I should have. I certainly didn’t show it. I married late…one month shy of 28…sometimes you have to wait on quality. 7 months later, my wife was pregnant with our son. The plan was to wait 3 years, but what the heck…time for a child. That was 1999.

Life is hard. Marriage is hard. Parenting is hard. Unfortunately, we don’t do a good job these days equipping our young marriages and young parents. While I grew up in a very loving home, my father wasn’t a great example of a leader in our family which doesn’t surprise me. He came from a broken home where he had to drop out of school in 9th grade to survive. As a young man newly married with a child, it did leave me on my own to figure some things out. After all, I hadn’t seen an example of how to do it right. Unfortunately, that’s not an uncommon story in today’s society.

As you might guess, I stumbled along for years. Neglecting and failing in many areas at home. I spent my time focused on work, my own projects, and distractions.

I guess it was around 2008 when I started to wake up. One day after my 35 minute drive home, I walked through the front door and said “Hi” to my kids who were sitting on the couch watching TV. They essentially ignored me, and I went on to my routine. Eat. Get the kids ready for bed. Go do my thing. A routine. A daily routine. A daily routine for years. However on that day, something was different. This wasn’t how it should be. If I was the father I should be, my kids would be jumping off that couch to meet me at the door. They would greet me with excited smiles and eyes. I needed to change.

So where did I start? Babysteps.

My First Step: Make My Kids My Primary Focus When I Arrive Home From Work
On your drive home, stop thinking about what you want to do after your kids are in bed. Think about what you want to do with your kids when you get home. Make your kids your focus.

Some starter ideas…
Sit on the couch, watch tv and hold them
Tickle them
Play hide and seek in the house (it’s so much fun!)
Ask them about their day
Flip them on the bed

It didn’t take long to accomplished my basic goal. Kids greeted me at the door. They smiled. They screamed. They jumped into my arms. That’s fantastic! Yet as I’ve learned after 6 kids and 18 years of marriage there’s so much more to being a parent…and a husband. Remember. Life is hard. Marriage is hard. Parenting is hard. There’s a secret to making it all work. Want to know what it is? It’s really very simple.

You have to be intentional. Kids don’t just turn into good kids. Kids don’t just turn into good adults. Marriages don’t just turn into good marriages and last. You have to be intentional. Ridiculously intentional.

So that was 8 years ago and here I sit, just 7 short months after separating from my job of 15 years. This life halftime has afforded me a much needed time to reflect on my life. During that time,  I’ve come to know my wife, my kids and my family in a whole new way…a deeper way. And I want to leave you with a few tips on loving your kids, your spouse and your family well.

My girls (11, 8, 6)

  • Put them to bed every night
  • Pray with them. Take Turns letting them pray. Pray over them: “God, I thank you for my daughters and how beautiful and smart they are. Please watch over them and keep them safe. Always remind them of how much you love them and I pray that they always tell you how much they love you and that they will never let anyone trick them into believing you aren’t real. We love you so much Jesus. Amen.”
  • Kiss and hug them goodnight. Tell them “I love you. You are so beautiful and smart.”
  • Play games…in house hide and seek, ball tag outside.

My boys (16, 13)

  • Go to their rooms. Hang out with them in their room.
  • Tell them goodnight…every night. Hug them. Ask them if they prayed. Make sure I pray with them at least occasionally.
  • Tell them how proud I am of them.
  • Tell them how much I respect them.
  • Wrestle them. Tell them how strong they are and how they can get stronger. Challenge them. They need to be strong to protect their family some day.
  • Encourage and challenge them to be their best.
  • Give them a book to read. (Recently gave my 13 year old a leadership book on Bear Bryant)
  • Play games…in house hide and seek, ball tag outside.

My boy (5)

  • Don’t let him get lost in the family.
  • Tell him how much you love him.
  • Hug him. Tickle him…a lot. Chase him…a lot. Swing him with a family member…a lot.
  • Play with him even when you don’t have time.
  • He’s not a morning person. Wake him up in a fun way (The woodpecker. They tickle worm. The spider with a pinching bite. The scratching, licking dog.)

My wife

Confession. I have not loved my wife well over the years. 2015 was a rebuilding year for us after 17 years of marriage. What began as trying 1 marriage counseling session turned into weekly marriage counseling for 6 months. It was worth it. It helped me to wake up and make some much needed changes. Everybody needs a marriage tune up once a year. I learned that from one of the greatest leaders in my life, Dave Ramsey.

  • Hold her…a lot. Kiss her…a lot.
  • Tell her and show her you love her…a lot. Tell her she’s beautiful…a lot. (Unfortunately, many women grow up not hearing this from their fathers. Men, this is a must. If you’re not doing it. Fix it. Your marriage will exceed your wildest expectations.)
  • Come up with amazing romantic nicknames…not the same stuff everyone uses.
  • Watch romantic stuff.
  • Establish a regular date night. We’ve done weekly date nights for 11 years. Although we’re not always able to stay on track, we’ve been faithful to our date night 80% of the time. Our budget is tight now, so we spend more time at the coffee shop together writing or reading.
  • Discover her love language and fulfill it every day.

A well run and lead family is the most amazing and fulfilling things I have experienced in my lifetime of 45 years. Why did I wait so long to get it together? It’s  not easy, but it is oh so worth it. Get it together. Be Intentional.