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  • 03:38:21 am on June 1, 2009 | 9 | # |
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    Did I Tell You I’m Afraid of Heights?

    Isn’t there a song that goes: “you picked a fine time to tell us, Lee ….“? ūüėõ

    But, it’s never too late, especially not for Lee … and, I’m sure that there are some great ideas out there … so, let’s get them ‘out there’ and help Lee!


    Now is a heck of a time to share this revelation but I’m afraid of heights, so much so that if there was a social network for ladders you would find me at the bottom.¬† This journey Making Money 101 so far has been a great learning and relearning experience causing me to admit some great¬†failures in my past.¬† But I have learned that like in the Bible not all failures are “unto death” they just feel like it. So my¬†learning¬†has been that in order for me to make my number of $4,000,000 by 20019 I need to do some house cleaning, house building and house hunting.¬† My biggest failure and yes my greatest need at this point is to establish some savings so I will have something to work with when I launch out into¬†Making Money 201.

    Debt retirement is not really a problem for I have no debt except my home¬†,vehicles and student loans. The vehicles¬†will be paid off in less than a year.¬† Sensible Savings for me would be any savings which is better than I have had in the past.¬† I have established an ING account and am having some automatic withdrawals placed in it, so that’s a start.

    Cleaning up my spending style has been a real challenge and 10-1-1-1 exercise and recording my spending opened my eyes pretty quick.¬† So guess what I have a little bit more money now because I’ve adjusted my spending but I’m still a long way from where I want to be.

    I calculated my required Annual Compound Growth Rate and it came up 131.88%. Oh great now I really concerned.¬† It’s kinda like being sized for a space suit only to find out you have to have oxygen also.

    As I stand on the launch pad I am keenly aware that I need some active income, I would like to do some investing and am trying to figure out how to begin. Sensible Investment keeps coming to mind.

    Small Business perhaps online type is where I would really like to go and something that my son and I could join together is my preference.  The issue is a product.

    Bottom line,  what is holding me back? Two things (1). Lack of funds to invest in any effort and (2). Fear of heights.

    On a personal note: Please forgive my tardiness with this post, that’s what happens when you stand at the bottom of a really tall ladder and refuse to look up.

    When I actually begin to climb I just hope I don’t have to look down.

  • 02:15:51 am on May 5, 2009 | 16 | # |
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    “Let the Records Reflect”

    It’s probably no great surprise – given his slightly more advanced age – that Lee found that fully HALF his spending (assuming that April was a typical month) is on the two great American excesses: drugs (of the legal kind) and food (eating out) … now, I’m really curious as to (a) what, if anything Lee will do about it and, (b) what the other MITs found … honestly, I can say that I am already surprised, and this is only the first post!

    Thanks for sharing so candidly, Lee ūüôā


    I once heard this judge say “Let The Records Reflect” and then indicated what he wanted to be in the official records.¬† I thought to myself¬† “that was kinda silly”, especially since the ones that needed to officially know it were setting just a few feet away.¬† Then it dawned on me that once it’s in the official records there will be no denial that it was said.¬† Which is how I feel about our Month of April assignment.¬† Recording everything I spent¬†puts it in writing and I can’t deny it actually happened.

    I found¬†a spiral “Black n’ Red” ruled notebook I had set aside to record “brilliant ideas” that came to my mind (needless to say the notebook was pretty much empty) so I carried it with everywhere I went¬† during the month of April.¬† I recorded it all large and small, bills that came in the mail on a regular basis and last minute cravings.¬† I was quite surprised that it took a lot of pages to record it all.

    I then divided it up into those things I really needed and those I didn’t.¬† My biggest surprise was the following:

    (1).¬† Even with insurance we spend a lot on Prescription Drugs, just our c0-pay was nearly a quarter of our expenses for the month¬†and I don’t see that ever changing for the better as a matter of fact it might even get worse depending on our health.

    (2). My wife and I eat out a lot and I make a regular stop to the coffee shop nearly every morning. I was surprised to discover that this was another quarter of our monthly expenses.

    WHAT I ENJOY THE MOST ABOUT BEING A PART OF THE 7MILLIONAIRES IN TRAINING are the really great ideas that cause me to think about what I’m presently doing and the recommendations from others concerning how I can make necessary changes that will impact my future

    I have to admit that from time to time I don’t have a clue what some of the folks are talking about when they are describing their¬†investments but that’s when I “google” (and I google a lot).

    I checked out the “10-10-10” and “10-1-1-1” idea and I’m looking forward to taking some time now and trying to see how that works.

  • 03:06:05 am on April 24, 2009 | 6 | # |
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    picture-12What does a farmer do when his crop has died?

    He doesn’t roll over … he does whatever he can to get by … then: plants more seeds!

    This post is interesting, as Lee talks about increasing income as a Making Money 101 exercise … can you offer any advice?


    Looking over my present financial situation gives me great concern, yet had I looked this closely ten to fifteen years ago I would have seen nothing but disparate frustration, so I can live with “great concern”.¬† My concern drives me to do the following:

    (1). Get my back taxes paid (just in case I am asked to join the presidents cabinet) ūüôā

    (2). Get the small auto loan paid off.

    My plan for these two items has to do with some personal one of a kind art work that has been stacked up in my garage for some time now.¬† I will somehow sell these paintings, some of which are displayed on a personal art blog I have¬†started at http://www.c-1artgallery.blogspot.com I am going to enter into some art shows also.¬† None of this will bring “big bucks” but it will clear the way for me get some bills paid and hopefully have some funds to invest in something that will produce something big.

    Additional plans involve taking my Internet writing to another level, meaning more of it and branching out in different directions.¬† I’m learning a lot about blog writing, affiliate programs and¬†advertising. I am also working with a local publisher on getting my “Stress Management” magazine put together.

    Oh and for the first time in a very long time I have started a savings account.¬† And our project of listing all our expenses this month?¬† It’s a little embarrassing but I guess that’s the purpose isn’t it?

    I have no questions regarding our MM101 but I do fully understand that what has been “wrong” with my financial picture is my sitting around doing “nothing” when I could be planting seeds that will grow toward my goals.

    As can probably figure out by my plans I’m very interested in enjoying this trip and doing I’ve always wanted to do to get to my destination (my Number and Date).

    An important part of this plan places me in the midst of my life’s calling.¬† Without total encouragement and direction from God as I understand him I cannot succeed and as a believer I simply must go on record as saying that my faith will sustain me and that faith without works is dead, so I’m rolling up my sleeves and getting to work.

  • 03:08:51 am on March 31, 2009 | 13 | # |

    Learning Curve

    Lee is representing the typical check-by-check living style that afflicts most of Middle America … the sad thing is that there is a growing percentage of the population that would be jealous, and I fear that with the job losses etc. associated with the current downturn, this is a growing portion of current society.

    However, Lee has two huge advantages over others in his predicament: (a) himself – he knows that he needs to do something different (b) us – he has the 7m7y community behind him.

    Now that I’ve built you up, what advice can you give? ūüėČ


    cash-flow-lee1My being slow to respond to this post request comes about because of the same reason I still live check to check…’I just don’t get it’.¬† But I’ll try anyway:

    What have I learned so far? If it’s possible to get my act together I need to do it now, not yesterday.¬† I’ve learned that the potential of reaching my “number” by “the date” and finally it’s a lot more important to save than I ever imagined.

    My Struggle at this point in our journey is two fold and they are both things that I have “got to do” regardless of where the journey takes me.¬† I need to set up a savings and by the way I have opened and “ING” account, small but nevertheless it’s there.¬† I need to increase the income.¬† Again I have started doing some writing with a couple of on-line writing gigs, but I need to generate some “real income” if I am to come anywhere near my “number”.¬†¬† Getting ready to “Launch” brings with it a certain sense excitement but also discouragement.

    My monthly income statement including my spouse is approximately $3,354 (broken down that figures her after tax take home of $2,400 if she gets over time) I then receive with my retirement $354.00 and some non dependable income (Remember I am self employed) of $600.00.¬† My monthly expenses including mortgage, car payment, utilities, gas, church donation, food and just plain wasteful spending is usually $2, 650 which should leave me with about $700 each month,¬† but I usually don’t know what pocket I left it in in. ūüė¶¬† My Assets¬† are $183,515 made up of my small retirement, house, car and less that 100 bucks in cash. Then the Liabilities $109,000 include the house, student loan, car payment and back taxes.

  • 05:56:12 am on March 18, 2009 | 3 | # |
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    Man Speak Few Words Carry Big Debt. How?

    … I don’t know, you tell me? ūüôā


    Well let’s see I’ve been around a long time¬†and I have spent gobs of money, got into too much trouble too many times but finally I’m where I can actually see light at the end of the tunnel.¬† Along with my mortgage and car loanI have a student loan of approximately $ 20,000 that is growing monthly due to my not paying anything on it ūüė¶¬† and I have always struggled with my taxes.¬† Being self employed you must make sure you pay up and I usually wait until he end of the year and then it’s too much to do at once. “Lesson Learned”? Pay you taxes when they are due.

    Anyway ‘bottom line’ Liability figure is approximately $109,000.

  • 02:47:42 am on February 24, 2009 | 13 | # |
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    Really Bad Decisions

    Who knows? Lee might be racing for bottom rung on the 401k ladder … but, he also knows that his path to wealth lies elsewhere. That, in itself, is a good thing ūüėČ


    How about hearing the worst first?

    For 27 of the 40 years I worked in church related ministry, most but not all of the churches I worked for had a retirement plan where I would pay $52.50 per month and they would match it.¬† Now remember not all those churches were part of that plan, I “could” have done it myself but decided not to more time than not.¬† The last 13 years I have been self employed and put “nothing into retirement”¬† I didn’t even have a savings account. I literally lived check to check.¬†I ended up with less than $50,000 in a retirement plan that I am now drawing approximately $435.00 a month.

    My wife had a $10,000 in a retirement plan from a previous employer but was used for downpayment of a house years ago.¬† She has been working for companies that have very small retirement plans and I’m not exactly sure what they are.

    LESSON LEARNED:¬† If I could do this all over again I would put more into retirement and faithfully do so¬†regardless of what the employer did.¬† I would also have a savings account ūüôā

  • 02:42:15 am on February 11, 2009 | 13 | # |
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    You Have Got to Be Kidding!

    Speaking of ‘shooting’: every time I read a post from this guy, I’m glad that he decided to shoot for – and hit! – a spot in the Final 7

    I only have one question (for now): how does a dirty ol’ pickup truck haul ITSELF off to the dump?! ūüėõ


    I’m going to shoot a lot of blanks here, but you asked, so here goes:

    My Vehicles?

    (1). 1981 Ford Ranger F-100 Pick Up purchased in 1983 .. What did I pay for it?¬† YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING.¬† I’ve had it for 25 years, I don’t have a clue what I paid for it.¬† I have replaced the engine, transmission and everything else except the body.¬† I have approximately 85,000 on this engine.¬† My son learned to drive in this truck and for him it was a “chic magnet”.¬† My Daughter was afraid of it. “Respectfully” this truck has rust older than some of the 7m7y community:)¬† As close as I can figure,¬† if I could get $1,000 for it I’d be¬†arrested for theft.¬† Did I pay cash? YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING.¬† The good news is, it’s totally paid for:)

    (2). My wife has a 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix which we¬†purchased in 2004 for approximately $12,000…. Cash?… YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING.¬† The¬†pay off¬†of the loan is $3,179.95 (I have refinanced it once) and the estimated value is about $4,000.

    Why Do I need a “TRUCK” because I have a house and yard… My personal opinion is that everyone who purchases a home should have a pickup to haul “stuff” off to the dump.

    Why do I need the “CAR”¬†…. YOU HAVE¬†GOT TO BE KIDDING…My wife works nights and buses don’t run at night and a taxi¬†would be more expensive than buying gas for the car. Topeka’s population is only 126,000 and from one side of town to the other is less than 10 miles.

    Why don’t I take public transportation or¬†ride a bike?¬†¬†YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING. You Younger guys can if you want, I’ll be glad to be your designated driver.

    What/when/how is my next planned vehicle purchase and how do I plan to pay for it? YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING.¬† I don’t plan on purchasing another car unless I just have to or until I reach the goal of my 7m7y journey and then I’ll pay cash. THAT WOULD BE WAY COOL.

    While I understand the purpose of the exercise my journey over the last 61 years has taken me from Missouri, to Oklahoma, to New Mexico, back to Oklahoma and finally Kansas.

    You guys can have all your little fu fu cars that go real fast¬†but I’m keeping my truck:) ūüôā

    [AJC: Does ‘fu’ here mean what I think it means (??!!) or is it meant to be pronounced, in this context, “foo foo”? ;)]

  • 02:48:07 am on January 29, 2009 | 11 | # |
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    House or Home?

    It’s probably not appropriate for us to make any ‘confessional’ jokes … but, we appreciate the candor, Lee. You’ll need to also look at Lee’s NWiQ profile to calculate the 20% Equity Rule for yourselves, and take a chance that Lee’s $71k a year income is before or after tax (?) in order to check Lee’s calc’s on the 25% Income Rule.

    Any sage words for Lee?


    2009 marks our 40th year of being married. In 1969 many ministers had the mixed blessing of living in a church owned parsonage.¬† This was great for all concerned.¬† The church didn’t have to pay a livable income because they there was no house payments, insurance or utilities. Pretty sweet deal.¬† But on the other hand in terms of future investments and a place to retire in this was not such a great idea.¬† But again for young couples just starting out and for church that couldn’t pay large incomes this was just the way things seemed to work out.¬† But Now it’s 2009 and church owned parsonages are not so popular, things have changed pretty much across the board.

    Nearly 15 of my 40 years of ministry and marriage was tied up in the parsonage era and has put me behind the eight ball so to speak.¬† Then add to that poor money management, bad decisions, and an inability to sell a previously owned home in a low income community which made us have two mortgages for several years and eventually the heart ache of bankruptcy¬† Oh and let’s not forget the good old GI Loan that¬†wasn’t all it is made out to be.¬† All this said my housing situation is not where it should be for a man 61 years of age with a 40 year work history…Oh I didn’t mention numerous refinancings did I?

    Housing lenders and bankers must really like me, I can tell that by the way the laugh when I go to do business with them. ūüôā

    Anyway the present value on my home is $120,000 and the current Mortgage is $82,000 and we make $732 a month payments which figures out to be¬†a little less than¬†11% of our annual income.¬† So I would guess that on the 20% rule I’m ok on but with only making approx $71,000 a year the¬† 25%Income Rule is out of¬† line.

    WHAT ARE MY PLANS? #1 plan is to better understand early retirement (another not so smart decision) being self employed for the past 15 years and putting literally nothing aside¬†shot a huge hole in my retirement holdings.¬†¬†¬† #2 Learn to live with my present housing situation since it also serves as housing for my daughter and her two children who can’t at this time afford to pay anything on the mortgage. #3 make plans to¬†get out from under the mortgage altogether as soon as possible.

    By the way, confessing to past mistakes takes a lot out of a guy but this does give me a better picture of myself. ūüė¶

  • 02:59:47 am on January 6, 2009 | 13 | # |
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    My Growth Engine(s)

    Lee’s post is crisp and clear … let’s see if we can give him any ideas/encouragement to help him along the way, in much the same way as he has (no doubt) helped others over the years in his role as preacher and chaplain


    Rather than showing you a chart with 40 years worth of earning, spending, ability and doing let me summerize for you that nothing showed¬† up in all four columns.¬† But¬† public speaking, teaching, writing, communicating, mentoring ¬†and creative efforts like abstract art work showed up in three columns. The final two columns had Retreat Center, wood working and photography.¬† Factor into this the reality that my entire adult life except for a three year period in the military has been spent¬†within the “marketplace”¬† instead of up on some hill behind stained glass windows¬†inviting the world to come to me.¬† By the way this is preacher talk for saying most all of my ministry or jobs have been outside the walls of the church but always a representative of the church.

    Add all this up and my growth engine looks something like being involved in a  service type business that helps people to grow.

    Personal Life Coaching

    Consulting with law enforcement agencies

    Writing for law enforcement trade magazines

    Creating greeting cards that focus on police & fire personnel

    Developing a “Speakers Board” for agencies

    Develop an online store for Christian artists

    Freelance online creative writing (such as my newest site located at http://newlifesupport.wordpress.com

    Beyond that is the possibility of investing and real estate.

    A final thought that just came to me is that this all reminds me of auto racing.¬† Really good racers do not have just “one car” or “one engine” but they are always looking at the fact that to finish the race they might very well need several.¬† And serious “owners” and “sponsors” have several cars in their stable not to mention they are always looking for good drivers to come join them.

  • 03:05:32 am on December 16, 2008 | 10 | # |
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    Baggage Inspection

    Hmmm … one of my challenges will be working out how to help a 60 year old ‘semi retired’ preacher find his way through the income, debt, and investment mazes. Fortunately, Lee is very quick at picking things up and seems to be pretty committed and enthusiastic to me. Luckily, he has case studies like Ray Kroc (of McDonalds fame) and ‘Colonel’ Sanders (of KFC fame) to draw from …. 60 is the new 30!


    One of the most difficult parts of travel for me is the fact that I¬†have to always¬†double check again and again to make sure that I haven’t packed something that will get me in trouble at the airport baggage check.¬† I’m always fearful that they take away my after shave or manicure set.¬† But this is the first time I’ve been more concerned about making sure that I have backed everything I need.

    When at the airport returning from an overseas trip I’m asked if I have anything to “declare”.¬† Being a “preacher” I have to bite my tongue to not be seen as some kind of wise guy using this opportunity to further my cause.

    Regarding my 7m7y journey I do have something to declare.¬† So let me unpack my bags to show you what I’ll be traveling with.¬† Oh by the way you’ll notice it’s a small bag:)

    First I declare that my net worth can be found at http://www.networthiq.com/people/topekac1 this declaration includes what I have in savings ūüôā ūüôā ūüôā¬† I’m sorry but that’s something that I’ve never had other than a Christmas Savings when I was a kid.¬† Please excuse my laughter.

    Secondly I declare my current income as being less then desirable. While my wife still works and makes approximately $35,000 a year I am semi retired meaning that I started receiving retirement funds from an annuity last year at age 60 and that figure was factored into my net-worth figure.

    Thirdly I declare that my Final Number was rounded off to $3,000,000.  The Date to reach that was in 11 years.

    Fourthly I declare that my Annual Compound Growth Rate is approximately 42% which if I did the math correctly is again approximately $272,000 a year.

    WOW the baggage for this trip is larger that I thought.  There are more comments regarding this journey to be found at http://www.shareyournumber.org/profile/LeeMartin go navigate around the site and check out some of the other travelers.

    Finally I declare that this is not a trip that I’m taking lightly.¬† I’m carefully moving forward praying all along the way making sure that everything I do does not violate my personal beliefs of damage my witness to other who might be watching.

    If you have something that you think me on my journey I would appreciate hearing from you, just click “comment” below and tell me what you think.

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