Archive for August, 2010

Get your car paid for well before it looks like the Beverly Hillbillies!

Paying off your car doesn’t have to take a lifetime.  With auto loan companies allowing you to borrow money on your car for 8 years, it may seem like a lifetime.  Beat them at their own game, take back control, and own your car before you are driving down the street like a Hillbilly!  I know, most of the cars don’t even rust that much, because they are plastic…I was trying to get your attention!

Now that I have your attention, the 7 quick tips to paying off you car:

1.  Talk to your bank about your current interest rate.  In case you haven’t heard, we are in a bit of a recession.  Interest rates are falling and banks are losing money to credit default.  They are more open now than ever before to discuss your interest rate.  They would rather discuss your rate than lose you as a customer.  But, you have to ask, they aren’t coming to you!

2.  Look at your current spending plan AKA Budget.  I know a dirty word.  Look for areas that you are spending that you don’t need to.  Change!  Stop going out to lunch twice a week and brown bag it.  That will save you about $20/week.

3.  Take the extra money you just found and apply it to your principle on your loan.  An extra $80 a month is probably increasing your payment by 30%, thus paying off quicker and reducing your amount of interest you paid the bank.

4.  Track your progress and celebrate.  You must write down how much extra you are paying!  Why, so you can go back and realize what you are doing.  It won’t seem as if your effort is making any progress.  IF you can’t see it, you can’t track it, and you won’t FEEL it!

5.  Visualize how you will feel when paid off.  This will go a long way when you are brown baggin lunch and everyone else is going out to eat.  You are going to feel great, stress free, peace, confident and happy that you paid off your car!

6.  DO NOT pull out your 401k and retirement investments.  You are saving those for the future.  The cost is also astronomical to do so!  IF you pull out of IRA to pay something off, and you are under 59 and a half, it will cost around 33% in taxes and penalties….not a good idea.

7.  Invest the money you saved on your car payment for something you really want.  Now that you have this extra $505 each month ($80 from baggin lunch, and $425 car payment) keep saving it.  You can start to put pictures up of the glorious vacation you are going to take, or the trip to see the kids or grand kids, dinner out at a NICE place…you get the point!

Take a step, you can do it.  Invest in Balance!

What one step can you take today to help you reach your goal?

 p.s.  If you found this beneficial, keep it to yourself and don’t tell a soul, they don’t need any help either.


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Cedars of Lebanon transition area

The Cedars of Lebanon triathlon was the second triathlon I ever did.  It was the first “longer” race, and is definitely a great place to race.  Team Magic is the sponsor and their races are well-organized!  I went back and forth whether I was going to even do the race this year, (feeling a little burnt out from Half Ironman earlier in the year, working through stress, and feeling less than excited recently about training), but I had signed up earlier in the year and thought “you made the commitment, go do it”.

So I awoke around 3 a.m., had ideas of business reeling through my head, and stayed awake until I left around 5.  Did prove to be great quiet time and some good things flowed through my head.  Once on the road you start to notice cars with bikes on the back, heading to the TRI!  The excitement builds and feeling a little nervous too.

Transition area set up!

My favorite part of racing is the people.  Some folks race for the thrill of competing, some come to PR and set a new Personal Record, some come to see if they can win their age group, but I come to socialize and have fun.  Racing is fun, exercise rewarding, but it is the relationships that make the difference.  It also become a heck of a lot easier to come do if you know a few people.  In racking the bike, I look over and there is Niki (a young lady from Excel swim class), all smile and yucking it up.  After a few moments of laughter and exchange, we walk to the pool for a practice swim and prepare to race.  Along the way seeing more friends from past races, run groups, and Excel aquatics.  Great to see Stephanie Knight, Ashley Whitney, Coach Kathleen, Coach Caroline, and bunch of other people—-no idea why I felt the need to start listing them?

The race was pretty much a standard triathlon–swim, bike and run.  The swim was smooth and no one grabbed my ankles or kicked me in the face.  The transition was to bike was good and seemed pretty fast, did discover some new noises while riding and came to realization that I can no longer say my bike will be ok, time for an upgrade!  The run, well the run…the run is the run.  My least favorite part, each time I start by saying “when are you going to get the rest of this weight off and keep it off”?  The run time was faster than last year, so that is good.

The finish is always climatic!  You have fans yelling, cheering, and your name announced.  Someone hands you a water bottle and another volunteer removes your ankle band timing chip.  You quickly see faces you know and share stories of how your day went.  It is amazing the quality of athletes that we are surrounded by, great talent and humble mentality.  What a beautiful combination.

Triathlon’s provide a great way to exercise, meet people, know and realize your strengths and weakness’, push yourself, and be engulfed by positive people.  Where else can you meet good people?  Looking for a place to meet good people?  Come try a tri….the water is great!

Invest in Balance-Physically.

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Preparing to share the insight from this bike ride, ready?

A thought hit me as I was riding my bike the other morning.  I am riding along, it is a somewhat cool morning for Franklin, TN in August, probably around 72 at 6:30 a.m.  During my rides the ideas flow, energy is good and positive, and often clarity and simplicity will follow.  Now, mind you this is in between the deep breaths, gasping for air, and wondering why I ate at the Chinese buffet the day before.  Not sure why I ever eat at the Chinese buffet, momentary lapse I suppose.

Anyhow the three insights, Impactful Ideas came during this ride.  On a part of Hwy. 96 heading towards Franklin, the road has these bumps on one side, and on the other side is the rough shoulder.  In the middle is the beautiful sweet spot, the road is real smooth and the riding is the best, most awesome surface you could find, real fast and real easy to cruise.  The problem is staying in this narrow “sweet spot”.

The bumpy rough spots, with the sweet spot narrowly in the middle

The discovery was this….focus on where you are going and you will hit your destination with ease!  I found that if I kept my eyes straight, I could stay right in the sweet spot and smooth sail all the way.  If I took my eyes off the focus of ahead, or looked down…big trouble….into the bumps or rough shoulder I went, making it a heck of a lot tougher to ride, and no cruising for sure, and much tougher to pedal!

The clarity all came together into 3 Quick Hitting Impactful Tips to Reach Your Goals:

1.  Choose your destination.  Set out with a purpose and chart your course (applies to investing, retirement, life)

2.  Focus your attention on your destination.  Look at your goal or target, looking down or backward will cause you to fall off your path.

3.  Get comfortable in your seat.  It may take some time to train our minds to focus on our targets, be patient enjoy the ride and know that you are on a growth path.  There will be bumps, there will be rough, but there will also be smooth spots!

Focus on where you are going, You can get there!

Look forward to seeing you on a ride, and would love to hear what you are striving for in your life.

What is the main focus of your life?

Please share…all the cool kids are doing it!

Enjoy the ride, have a great day.  Invest in Balance!

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Kailey running Molly fondly referred to as "the Mare"

This morning I am standing by the kitchen sink enjoying a nice glass of water and looking out the window.  Out the window of the side of our house you can see this nice walkway bridge covering the creek, worn path to the barn, and the horses eating their breakfast.  It is a very normal site for 8:00 a.m.  The funny part about this morning is my latest discovery.  That Mare will always walk away from her food and come poop right by the path and fence.

Why does that Mare always poop by the Fence?  I stood there laughing out loud at myself.  First, I was laughing thinking “what kind of man even thinks about why a horse poops by the fence”? Then secondly, Why does she?  So that is my question for the day.  I am open and welcome any answers to the above question.  Is the Mare trying to create obstacles because she knows I come to the barn to feed, and she wants me to step in her stuff?  Is she trying to keep strange visitors out of the arena?  Is she PMS (ing) and thinks its funny?  AHH, the mysteries of life.

Kailey and The Mare doing what they do....Turning Barrels!

Please share your insight, and enlighten this young man with your wisdom!

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I recently had the pleasure of visiting Banff, Canada.  What beautiful country and what a blessing it was to visit.

View of Fairmont from hiking trail below

Every year some of the carriers provide incentive trips to exotic locations, this years trip was Banff.  The trips are typically all decked out, and this one was no exception.  The hotel accommodations were the Fairmont just outside downtown Banff.  An old (1800’s) castle, that was renovated into a hotel. 

 The first day was spent traveling, and upon arrival a walk around the hotel, topped off with a well needed strength workout.  Once the workout was complete, a little nap and a nice dinner reception.  Great to get caught up with friends from around the country, and great to spend time with my good friend, Pat Strubbe.

Lake Louise with Glacier in the background, one of areas most photographed spots

The trip included several neat excursions.  The first day we did a bus trip to Lake Louise.  An hour and half ride into the mountains seeing deer, elk and lots of other wildlife along the way.  Once at the Fairmont in lake Louise we had lunch, and took pictures around the lake.  Pat and I also ventured the trek to Lookout mountain, about 30 minute hike straight up, but well worth the views!

Pat and I atop the Lookout over Lake Louise, still huffing and puffing from the hike!

The following day we headed to the golf course.  Another refreshingly chilly morning, about 58 degrees, creeping up to 70 that day, but real cold in the morning.  The course was challenging and fun, I spent a good deal of time in the bunkers and really got to work on the sand game.  One of the high lites, naturally, the beauty of the course.

One of the holes with the hotel in background

The round of golf was complete with an Elk burger, sweet potato fries, and a nice glass of water!

Hiking in and around Banff is also extraordinary.  Pat and I embarked on an 13k hike the following day.  Great conversation, deep insight, and a pondering of meaning of life and how to proceed through it.  We did conclude that the best way to proceed is by trusting in God,  surrender, do your best, treat people with love and kindness, give more than you take, and live each day….day by day!

Fly fishing was a brand new experience for me.  I have fished for lots of different fish, in many different ways, but mastering that fly rod was a whole new experience.  There is definitely an art to mastering the cast on a fly rod, I am thankful for the guide having extreme patience.  Fly fishing was great, I still prefer the old rod and reel.

Fly fishing, look close, by the end of the fish, I went back to rod and reel!

The trip was filled with many great memories, stories, and events.  It was the trip that I will remember forever.  I am thankful for Advisors Excel in providing such a great experience!  Great to see and reconnect with friends from around the country, looking forward to next time!  Cheers!

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