Posted in Debt Free Me

Month End: April Snapshot

Every journey has its own setbacks and detours, however despite those moments, you must remain consistent about where you want to be. Will you run into unforeseen expenses and liabilities? Absolutely! I encourage you with this idea: I’m in no way perfect, but I serve a perfect God. He knows an exit strategy into every situation I’m placed into whether it’s good or bad. Repent quick, Forgive quick, and Move on quick. This previous month, I had to adjust my strategy and take advantage of the zero percent balance transfer offered on the Capital One card. As the wedding date draws closer, Jill and I have had to discuss the costs involved in the wedding. I’ve found this discussion very important, because in discussing finances, we’ve come into agreement on how to handle our finances together. I love her more and more each day, because she fills in and covers the weaknesses I never knew I had.

Specifically, I’ve re-focused my debt reduction on paying down the Barclay’s card while slowly reducing the other debts and applying principal reduction payments where I can. Always seek wise counsel where you can and use their counsel to take advantage of the best situations that present themselves. Their counsel will help you discern if the choice you make is the best one for you. When I got out of debt before, all I did was focus on making extra money to pay off debt. This time I’m paying down debt, saving, investing in assets, and growing my assets that produce income. Why? Time is fixed. We only have 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and 52 weeks in a year. Time will run out. Use and manage your energy efficiently and effectively so that you can get as much out of each moment as you can. If you consistently focus on saving and buying assets, then when you finally are out of debt, you will have a larger amount in savings and more income producing assets vs. getting out of debt and then having to build savings and assets. Also, by saving and investing while you are getting out of debt, will create a discipline inside of you. How am I able to do it this way vs. the last time? I have a budget. A budget will put order into your life. Order proceeds increase and increase proceeds multiplication. Knowing your net income number is the key to being able to get out of debt, save, and invest. There is a process that I follow that I will share in future posts. Remain consistent and diligent on your journey.

Have someone to discuss your debt reduction strategy with, and if you need a financial check-up contact me. More details about a financial check-up is in the contact me section.

The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

I believe in your journey to…. A Debt Free Me

Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

April 26, 2016

  • “Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said he expects the value of Saudi Arabian Oil Co. to exceed $2 trillion as the kingdom prepares to sell part of the company in what could be the world’s largest initial public offering.” This IPO is a part of Saudi Arabia’s plan to change the economy and reduce its reliance on oil. It’s important to keep an eye on Aramco.

  • “On April 18 the company announced that it had completed its acquisition of GE Capital Bank‘s online deposit platform and taken on $16 billion in deposits. Retail customers can now open a savings account at GS Bank, an online-only platform, with a deposit of as little as $1.” This account currently offers an Annual Percentage Yield of 1.05% and is competing with Ally and Synchrony Financial. “GS Bank is trying to bring in more mass-market deposits by offering attractive interest rates.” I prefer to keep my options open and not have all my eggs in one basket.

  • “When Facebook made the decision to acquire the new social media startup, Instagram, back in 2012 for $1 billion, critics were skeptical about the prospects of the photo-sharing platform adding value to Facebook’s business. In hindsight, the decision seems to have been a brilliant one on the part of Facebook. In a recent report, analysts at Credit Suisse Group projected Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) will receive more than triple Instagram’s purchase price via the app’s revenue this year alone.” Consider Instagram, and Facebook’s presence in our own lives and in the lives of millennials. “The Credit Suisse report forecasts $572.5 million generated in revenue from Instagram in the first quarter of 2016, and an overall $3.2 billion for the entire year. The projection indicates an accelerated profitability as the photo-sharing app begins to introduce new ad revenue strategies. (To learn more about Instagram, read: The Story of Instagram: The Rise of the #1 Photo-Sharing App (FB).) Premium video is projected to contribute $260 million to Facebook’s total ad revenue.” Sharing technology will only get more and more advanced as the technology accelerates. It’s important to remember that even with this technology to remain genuinely connected to people through their heart, mind, and spirit. People don’t care about how much you know. People want to know how much you care.

  • For the Game of Thrones fans, here’s an interesting article found on “Both ‘Game of Thrones’ (and the books) have more to teach us about economic and social life than we might think,” says McCaffrey, a postdoctoral fellow who teaches economics at the University of Illinois at Springfield.” It’s never too soon to prepare for what’s ahead. “A great way to prepare for your future is to begin saving early. Starting in your 20s gives you at least 40 years to grow your money.” It’s important to pay your debts. “Paying your debts promptly is always wise advice. Even better is to make sure you don’t incur more debt than you can pay.” It is important to carefully plan your estate. “The show demonstrates — in extreme terms — how badly things can go when you don’t designate heirs.” Use all the financial tools and resources available before you entrust your money to a “financial expert.” “The constant backstabbing on “Game of Thrones” makes a viewer wonder about the challenge of thriving in a world where trust is in short supply.” You must have a global macroeconomic perspective, because the world will impact your world. “Like the characters in “Game of Thrones,” we live in a big world. But unlike those characters, we have ways of staying informed about the faraway forces that impact our lives and wallets — whether it’s a European debt crisis or economic pressures from China.” Women unfortunately do not receive the same equal pay as men. “Though women have achieved positions of power and wealth in our society, challenges remain, just as Brienne and Arya have found.” You should have an insurance plan in place to cover a long term disability. “Having good health insurance is one thing, but even the best policies cover only your immediate medical care. If you’re unable to work because of a disability, you need a financial Hodor to carry you.” These examples are valuable lessons that can be applied in your daily life. “The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.” (Proverbs 21:20 NIV)

  • In this article, Bryan Flanagan from More Encouragement for the Sales Professional uses the story of David from 1 Samuel in the Old Testament to show that following through on a goal can be a battle. “First and foremost, David’s attitude was very positive,” Flanagan writes. David didn’t care that Goliath was much larger than him, he only cared about going out there and winning. Approaching the process of setting goals and following through begins with a hopeful, positive outlook. You should be excited to not only reach your goals, but also eager to work for your goals despite knowing hardships may be waiting for you. “Secondly, David was prepared. You noticed that he chose five rocks.  And, he chose five smooth, flat river rocks.  (His plan was to have a few stones in reserve in case he ran into any objections),” Flanagan writes. David knew exactly what he needed to win, a key component of setting goals and following through. Give yourself all of the tools to succeed—most of which you already have inside you. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, David had “an incentive, a goal, a motivator.” David came from humble beginnings, Flanagan reminds us, he was never wealthy, famous or noble. What does this teach us? Setting goals and following through isn’t something reserved for those who are already successful. Let your hardships and your desires become motivators for you to set higher standards for yourself. Being action oriented and taking initiative to set yourself up for success is something David definitely showed us how to do.” The key piece is to follow all three steps, and more importantly to be consistent.


Please let me know if you have anything I can agree with you in prayer about, or if you’re in need of a financial checkup. Go to the contact me section located at the top.

“But those who want the best for me, Let them have the last word—a glad shout!— and say, over and over and over, “ GOD is great—everything works together for good for his servant.” I’ll tell the world how great and good you are, I’ll shout Hallelujah all day, every day.”

Psalm 35:27-28 MSG

Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

April 19, 2016

  • “Whether you’re brand-new to investing or you’re a seasoned pro who simply needs a little refresher, you can learn from this video from Brittney Castro of Financially Wise Women. Here, she shares her top-12 investing do’s and don’ts.” Do your research, do invest for the long term, and do hire help when you need it. Don’t invest blindly, don’t invest for the short term (short term defined as 6 months to 1 year), don’t let your emotions get involved, don’t listen to chicken little, don’t think you can do it all alone. Brittney encourages the viewer to continue his or her education through books, videos, audio, and seeking counsel where appropriate. If you want to be wise walk with wise people, but a crowd of fools suffers much harm.

  • I’d ignore the pop up window offer from penny hoarder to get straight into this interesting article. Also as a side note, the $10s in the photo do not represent a true strap of $1000 in $10s. “No matter how you slice it, having $10,000 to spend would be nice. But it’s a lot of money to save!” This article highlights 19 different ways to make $10000. I found it fun to read and here are some of the weird ways to earn cash: start a cricket farm, watch youtube-like videos, drive for uber, and share stories about your kids on Scary Mommy. These were just a few of the writer’s suggestions. This article highlights the truth that the wealth of the wicked is laid up for the just. In other words, it’s out there if you have the desire to seek it, the discernment to see it, and the wisdom of the Lord to use it for its true purpose.

  • I enjoy watching a show on CNBC called the Filthy Rich Guide to. Basically the show highlights the lifestyle of a billionaire vs everyone else. The truth is they operate differently than most in their actions, but they do certain processes consistently. This article tells of 5 strange facts about billionaires. “This year, the world’s billionaires clocked in an aggregate net worth of $6.48 trillion, according to the Forbes Billionaires list released this month, with the usual suspects topping the list – including Bill Gates ($75 billion), Inditex founder Amancio Ortega ($67 billion) and Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett ($60.8 billion).” Aquarius is the most popular astrological sign of elite billionaires, God is a billionaire (I chuckled at this one), the billionaire school-dropout saga is a myth, billionaires have a lot of children, and two billionaires can’t legally drink in the U.S. Billionaires are people just like you and me, and even a rich man needs the salvation of our Lord, so I encourage you to lift them up in prayer to make God decisions and not just good decisions. The final article highlights an alarming truth. Also, we both know God is more than a billionaire.

  • Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” (John 12:7-8 NLT). In this moment, Jesus corrected Judas Iscariot for complaining about the usage of perfume which was worth a year’s wages, and said it could be used to help the poor. The truth is that Judas didn’t care for the poor and often used that money for himself. There’s currently an income gap between the rich and the poor, but this article highlights that there’s something more alarming than an income gap. There is a wealth gap between the rich and even the average person. Wealth is your money making money for you. “Combined net worth of 4 U.S. billionaires almost as much as the total wealth of the bottom 40% of U.S. households. Last year, just 62 people held wealth equivalent to the amount owned by 3.6 billion, about half the world’s population, according to the anti-poverty charity.” The article itself isn’t an indictment against the wealthy, but it highlights where most of the wealth resides, and fortunately there are a few like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett who are looking to bring a better world. But our source of hope should not be on those of this world, rather on the One who was, is and will always be. Finally, here’s a link that allows you to see where you stand among the global rich. Enter your numbers here

Please let me know if you have anything I can agree with you in prayer about, or if you’re in need of a financial checkup.

“But those who want the best for me, Let them have the last word—a glad shout!— and say, over and over and over, “ GOD is great—everything works together for good for his servant.” I’ll tell the world how great and good you are, I’ll shout Hallelujah all day, every day.”

Psalm 35:27-28 MSG


Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

April 12, 2016

Below are the articles for the week with a short summary:

  • Tax havens have existed as far back as the Greeks, and more familiar examples to us are Switzerland and Panama. There are three key attributes classified by the OECD: No or only nominal taxes, protection of personal financial information, and lack of transparency. The United States Government Accountability Office has listed two additional attributes of a tax haven: No requirement of substantial local presence and self-promotion as an offshore financial centre. According to this article there are at least 7 socio economic factors that make a particular destination a popular tax haven. A few examples of popular tax havens are the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, and the Isle of Man. “The existence of tax havens has many effects. At one level, the lower taxes or no taxes in one country put pressure on other countries for keeping their taxes low. This is good for taxpayers in the short term, but the secrecy and opacity associated with some of the tax havens may encourage money laundering or other illegal activities that can harm the world economy in the long term. The crackdown on tax evaders in some countries shows that taxpayers need to tread with caution.” Make sure you give to Caesar’s what is Caesar’s, but more importantly give God what is God’s.

  • “Small-business owners usually start a company because they have a passion for a particular product or service. However, people should not open a bakery just because they love baking cakes. If you love baking, get a job as a baker.” Remember that running a business requires many essential components.  Those components include having the right legal entity in place, having a good financial structure, having a clearly defined value system etc. As your business grows create margins to keep it running efficiently. If you’re building a business define why you’re doing it. “The first step for most entrepreneurs is to sell something. Put in place the minimum amount of infrastructure that you can get by with and focus on generating revenue. Many new businesses fail because they simply cannot generate enough revenue to sustain themselves. Test the viability of your business as quickly and as inexpensively as possible.” It’s important to keep your infrastructure as efficient as possible without cutting back on quality. As your business grows, you should start weighing your cost-benefit options. You have to start accounting for these options, because your business will reach its capacity. “For example, would the business be better off if you spent time putting entries into QuickBooks or if you hired someone to do that work and spent your time selling? You are in effect buying yourself more time that you can invest in other aspects of the business.” Time is fixed. There is only 24 hours to complete a set amount of work in day. Investors care about time value. Our Lord is a redeemer of lost time so make sure you Sabbath.

  • Before you take your Social Security benefits early make sure you’ve explored the benefits and consequences of your decision. This author points out three key points: you only have 12 months to change your mind, your decision can reduce someone else’s benefits, and there’s less incentive to wait than there used to be. This information is helpful, but in conclusion there is an advertisement at the bottom for a service that you may or may not need. Rather than recommend his last piece, I suggest you listen to the Lord and decide as He leads you. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’” (Isiah 30:21 NIV)

  • “The idea of building wealth through passive income has understandable appeal, especially if you’re worried about being able to save enough from your work earnings to meet your retirement goals…Passive income includes regular earnings from a source other than an employer or contractor. The IRS says passive income can come from just 2 sources: rental income or a business in which an individual does not actively participate. Examples include book royalties and dividend-paying stocks. Investopedia defines passive income as “earnings an individual derives from a rental property, limited partnership or other enterprise in which he or she is not actively involved.” Popular culture, however, defines it as “any money you earn while sitting on a beach sipping mojitos.” Financial coach and expert Todd Tresidder thinks it falls somewhere between the two, defining passive income as the money you earn from a project or investment after you’ve made an initial contribution of time or money.” It takes work to build a passive income generating asset. All things in this world operate under the principle of seed, time, and harvest. You have to be willing to put in the time to reap the harvest. This article provides 5 passive income strategies as an example: selling information products, rental income, affiliate marketing, peer to peer lending, and dividend yielding stocks. Each strategy requires diligent work, and I suggest you find a strategy that works for you, and seek the Lord. If you want to build wealth, build assets that generate passive income that is greater than your monthly expenses. If you were to lose your job today, do you have any passive income generating assets that can replace your income? The game Cashflow Classic simulates life with and without passive income. If you want to be wise walk with wise people.

Please let me know if you have any anything I can agree with you in prayer about, or if you’re in need of a financial check up.

“But those who want the best for me, Let them have the last word—a glad shout!— and say, over and over and over, “ GOD is great—everything works together for good for his servant.” I’ll tell the world how great and good you are, I’ll shout Hallelujah all day, every day.”

Psalm 35:27-28 MSG

Posted in Pursuit of Excellence

April 5, 2016

Below are the articles for the week with a short summary:

  • “To get from launch to limitless trajectory, entrepreneurs need to make the right moves to ensure that the business can scale at a sustainable pace, says Jim Canfield, CEO of Renaissance Executive Forums, a La Jolla, California-based membership organization for small to mid-sized businesses, focused on helping them grow. “That early stage is like the lift-off of the rocket. It’s going to be violent. It’s going to be loud. It’s going to be intense. The key is to get through it and create a successful orbit,” he says” Here are six important actions to take: look for bottlenecks, hire for the company you want to have, ask for feedback, embrace necessary change, implement systems, and build it as if you’re going to sell it. What I’m astonished by is the growth of our church. Obviously it is a mighty move of God, which supersedes all natural sense. In this article, I see the importance of being better together, the proper use of the Jethro principle, and the importance of order, because it will lead to increase.

  • “Warren Buffett has described writing as a key way of refining his thoughts (and that guy reads and thinks a whole lot). Richard Branson once said “my most essential possession is a standard-sized school notebook,” which he uses for regular writing.” “For instance, one form of expressive writing might be thinking about and writing out your goals in life—an activity that research has shown is beneficial for motivation.” Writing can lead to better thinking and communicating. Other key arguments are writing keeps you sharp with age, and writing leads to increased attitude. There are many further key points, and even a simple system that encourages regular writing. What’s the common denominator in thinking, talking, and writing? Words. Our words have power. Life and death is in the power of the tongue. God’s word does not return void. We as image bearers of the Lord, our words don’t return void either. Our words can become flesh too.


  • “Psychologist Elain Aron has studied this phenomenon extensively, and using MRI scans of highly sensitive people’s brains, she’s found that they experience sounds, feelings, and even the presence of other people much more intensely than the average person.” Here are 9 traits of a highly sensitive person: you think deeply, you’re detail-oriented, you take longer to reach decisions, you’re crushed by bad decisions, you’re emotionally reactive, you take criticism harshly, you work well in teams, you have great manners, and open offices drive you crazy. We are all uniquely and wonderfully made. The Lord has put his gifts in you that are best uncovered over time, through Step 3 of the Growth Track, and or as the Lord leads. In the end, the Lord does have a plan for your life and it’s important to seek Him to uncover it.


  • Here’s a fun link. You use a graphic and it will suggest what type of real estate investment will bring you a good return based on your investment style and risk appetite. At the end my result was: “Buy the actual bricks and mortar. Purchase a one-family home, an apartment house, an office building, an industrial property like a warehouse or a retail establishment such as a strip mall or retail condo.”

At the end of the day remember: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’” (Isiah 30:21 NIV) Hope you have a good week. Look forward to hearing from all of you again. Please let me know if you have any anything I can agree with you about.

James Hawk

“But those who want the best for me, Let them have the last word—a glad shout!— and say, over and over and over, “ GOD is great—everything works together for good for his servant.” I’ll tell the world how great and good you are, I’ll shout Hallelujah all day, every day.”
Psalm 35:27-28 MSG