“Always continue the climb. It is possible for you to do whatever you choose, if you first get to know who you are and are willing to work with a power that is greater than ourselves to do it.”
-Ella Wheeler Wilcox
-Ella Wheeler Wilcox
OVER THE COURSE of my career, I’ve experienced the financial highs and lows that come with being an entrepreneur. I’ve enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment that comes with starting a successful business and the financial rewards that often accompany that success. I’ve started and built companies that have sold hundreds of millions of dollars of products to thousands of people all over the world.
My success has afforded me the opportunity to enjoy the lifestyle of my dreams. I live with my family in a beautiful home at the foot of a spectacular mountain range. I have a vacation home in the mountains outside of Park City, Utah, where we go to unwind and enjoy snowmobiling in Utah’s backcountry. I drive the cars of my dreams and vacation to exotic locales around the globe. I have a great life and feel very blessed.
I have the freedom to do what I want pretty much whenever and with whomever I choose. I like to think that I understand what it means to be financially free, and I’m going to share with you the secrets that can help you get there yourself.
I’m convinced that part of my deep appreciation for being free financially comes from the fact that I’ve also experienced the stress and anxiety associated with being in debt and not being able to meet my obligations. I know, first hand, that the burden of debt is debilitating and overpowering. After experiencing tremendous success very early in my first business shortly after graduating from college, I encountered some severe challenges that brought the good times to an almost immediate halt.
At the time, I was working harder than I ever had in my entire life—and barely making enough money to pay my employees and keep the business afloat. The situation deteriorated to the point where I stopped taking a paycheck. I thought I had enough in savings to last far longer than it actually did (first mistake—I didn’t stop to carefully do the math), and I quickly went through everything I had socked away.
I then ran up five-figure balances on my credit cards because I was determined to sustain my comfortable lifestyle—all the while thinking that when things turned around, I would just pay them off. I began consciously spreading my purchases over different credit cards to keep the balances down. I would transfer the balance on one card to a new card to avoid having to make a payment. I used the promotional checks I got in the mail to make payments on my existing credit cards because I didn’t have the cash to pay them any other way. I opened and read every credit card offer I received in the mail to see if I could use it to avoid a payment or get a higher credit limit.
Each day when I woke up, the first thing that popped into my head was the tremendous money challenges that awaited me at my office and at home. Plus, it was impossible to leave my problems at the office because they impacted every single part of my life, including my relationship with my wife, my children, and my friends.
After having enjoyed such great success for so many years, my fear of having others see that I was struggling and on the brink of failure kept me from dealing with the realities of my situation and contributed to it getting worse. My pride kept me from letting those most dear to me—my wife and family—know of my financial challenges. Ironically, these are often the ones who can offer the most assistance in dealing with and overcoming such challenges. (And these are also the ones we can destroy our relationships with if we’re not forthcoming.)
When things got so difficult that I didn’t think I could take it anymore, I would escape to the golf course. It was the one place where I could forget about my problems for a few hours and focus on something else. Most people I know have a place they can go to escape the pressures of life. For some it’s a walk in the mountains, and for others it’s skiing or going for a drive in the country. At the other end of the spectrum, there are alcohol and drugs, which inevitably create even bigger challenges.
Many of us find our escape from reality somewhere in the middle, often in a place that has contributed to our financial problems. I’m talking about those who spend money to drown their sorrows. I’m not sure what the psychology is, but buying something new (or, fine, playing a nice golf course) always seems to make us feel better. When it comes to eliminating debt and living a wealthy life, this is the worst possible plan. While we may find some temporary solace in our “happy place” spending money we don’t have, it’s not going to help us solve our money problems. When the joy of that new outfit ends (which usually happens before the credit card bill arrives), we’re still faced with the reality that we are living a life we simply can’t afford. As I’m sure you guessed, none of my trials were solved while I was out on the golf course, and often they actually got worse.
As my financial challenges became more and more difficult to hide, I had to deal with the embarrassment and humiliation of having those close to me find out that the guy they thought was so successful for all these years was really in debt and on the verge of financial ruin.
I finally decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and take some action. The first thing I did was to stop using credit cards to live on. I cut my lifestyle back to a level where I could afford it with the income I made. I shared with my spouse the details of our situation and asked her to help me control our expenses until we were back in the black (which she graciously did). We stopped eating out and started paying extra toward our credit card balances. Dealing with my personal finances gave me more time and energy to deal with my business situation. When the business got turned around and my income stabilized, I consolidated my debts to my lowest interest credit line and used every spare dollar to pay that down fast. In addition, I sold my boat, my truck, and all my other toys to eliminate my credit card debt.
It took about a year after taking these drastic—and sometimes humbling— measures to get back in control. I still wasn’t rich, but I finally had some peace of mind, and I knew I would do anything in my power to avoid dragging myself back into that hole ever again. For me, the lesson was learned. (Sadly, for some, they have to learn it over and over and over again.)
I’ve met dozens of people who have experienced similar challenges, turned things around, and gotten back on top of the mountain. In talking with these people, I’ve found that the one trait they all have in common is that they finally grew tired of living a life full of stress and anxiety about money, and they set their minds to doing something about. It wasn’t just a casual change of heart, but a total and complete conviction to do whatever it took to improve their financial life.
I understand that some have faced circumstances beyond their control or been hit with just plain bad luck. Even so, we’re in control of how we respond to such circumstances, financially and otherwise. The simple truth is that in order for you to change your financial course, you need to stop feeling like a victim, accept responsibility for your poor money decisions, and begin to take control of your money, rather than letting your money control you.
Let’s face it, the reason we get in trouble in the first place is by spending more money than we make. The only way to get back on track is to make some temporary sacrifices. I use the word temporary intentionally here, because if you make the necessary sacrifices to get back on the right path financially, you’ll eventually find yourself in a better financial position to afford a few of life’s simple luxuries. The more temporary sacrifices you’re willing to make to scale down the lifestyle you can’t afford, the sooner you’ll be debt-free.
If you’re like most people, you’ll be able to find enough fat in your monthly budget to free up the cash flow you’ll need to eliminate your debt fast. Once you make those initial sacrifices, you’ll probably find at least a dozen other things that really are not that tough to do without. That means you’re making progress, because it’s not likely you’ll make the same mistake again. You know the saying, “Fool me once, shame on you; but fool me twice, shame on me.” Once you see the foolishness of your past poor decisions, you’ll be wiser when the same situations present themselves again, and I can assure you they will present themselves again!
Here’s a little exercise to help me prove this point. Ladies, go look in your closet and identify all the clothes you haven’t worn in the last year. You’ll likely be surprised at how many items fall into that category. I’m willing to bet that if you were to take these outfits to the local thrift store, you’d probably never miss a single one. You’d still keep all the clothes you like to wear, and you’d free up a ton of space in your closet. Who knows, some of those items may even have enough value to others that you could sell them on eBay to help pay down your debts. But I guarantee that you’ll find a lot you could do without and still have plenty to wear.
Now, men, let’s take a quick trip to the garage or the storage shed and do the same thing. You and I both know that we boys like our toys. And I’ll bet there are some toys or tools that simply sit and collect dust. They’ve sat long enough. Let’s turn them into money to help take our lives back.
I have a couple of boys who know their way around the computer pretty well, and if I offer to pay a little commission, they seem to be able to sell anything I give them online. Later in this book, I’ll share with you lots of simple strategies you can use to find the buried treasures in your home to help you get out of debt faster than you ever thought possible. Who knows, if you’ve got a lot of stuff, maybe this isn’t going to be that painful after all.
At this point, I just want you to know that this transformation from where you’re at to a debt-free and wealthy life can happen to you. Both are closer than you ever imagined, but nothing will ever change if you don’t make the decision right now that you want something better. If you follow the steps outlined in this book, you can be on the right track in just 60-Days. Decide today that you want to create your own 60-Day Money Miracle.
Most of us dream of a better life and imagine what it would be like to be debt-free and in a position to spend money on things we want without feeling guilty or digging ourselves into a bigger hole of debt. The problem is that after dreaming of that better life, we wake back up in reality—and all our problems are still there. For many, the dream of a better, more financially secure life is nothing more than a fantasy. It’s something we dream of but know we’ll never achieve.
The difference between people who turn their dreams into reality and those who only fantasize is whether they are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to change course and get on the path to financial freedom. Those who realize their dreams know that if they don’t sacrifice and change their spending and saving habits, that better life will never come.
I wish I could say there is a simple fix that will make all your money problems go away, but there simply isn’t one. It takes a multitude of poor decisions over an extended period of time for most people to get into debt. It’s going to take some good decisions over time to get out of it. The good news is that it’s not hopeless. You can have a better life and it can begin to change almost immediately—if you’re willing to follow a few simple steps and then stay the course.
If you follow the steps I’ve outlined in this book, I’m confident that you will start to see positive changes in your financial situation in a matter of days. You won’t have to wait months or years to see that you’re making progress, and your confidence will grow with each new success. When you start to see success, you’ll be inspired to keep doing what you’re doing—and do more to stay the course. Your confidence and commitment will grow with each new success. The hardest part is taking that first step.
Here’s a little analogy I like to use to illustrate the importance of taking that first step towards a debt-free wealthy life
When it comes to our physical health, we know to go see a doctor when we don’t feel well. The doctor checks us over to determine what’s wrong, and then prescribes some medicine or treatment to help us heal. If we do what the doctor says, we can return to perfect health.
Many Americans are financially sick right now. They have all the symptoms, and their circumstances are only getting worse. This book is your financial medicine. Following the steps outlined in this book is your prescription for a better financial life. Decide today that you want to be financially well—and then make it happen!