Hope for your financial life and beyond

How to Push Through the Scary Questions at the Start

ID-10083769Do you want to finish what you start this year? Maybe you have made a New Year’s resolution and aren’t confident you can do it. Or maybe there are simply so many unanswered questions and doubts in front of you it’s becoming overwhelming.

Finishing is huge for our psyche. It gives us so much confidence that we think anything is possible. It releases pressure and tension when we finally reach our goal. Finishing creates momentum and catapults us forward to even greater things.

Related Content: Winning is More Valuable Than Losing

Unfortunately, we don’t start at the finish and get those great rewards. We start our journey at a more logical place – the start.

The start of anything can be a very confusing place to be. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time. And the start is always full of questions like…

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This Smith and Wesson Stock Chart Reveals Our Biggest Fear

Smith and Wesson stock is reaching heights never seen before in the history of the company. The stock price closed at $29.07 on Friday, just 30 cents shy of it’s all time high. However, that alone doesn’t tell the whole story.

Smith and Wesson stock has been tracing higher for the last five years. As you can see from the stock chart below, on Sept. 26, 2011, it traded at $2.52. If you would have bought then, you’d be looking at a 1,053 percent increase. Not bad for a five-year investment.

smith and wesson stock

Chart courtesy of Morningstar.com

The bulk of the rise in the stock price has occurred since January of 2015. Since that time Smith and Wesson stock has risen from around $10 per share to what we see today. Again, not a bad return for a year and a half investment.

So what’s driving the stock price? Well, in the most basic of investment world terms, it’s company sales. Just a few weeks ago the company announced fourth quarter sales of $221.1 million. That figure was an increase of 22.2% over the fourth quarter of last year.

So the company is growing by selling more of its product. Those sales are leading to increased profits and a healthier company balance sheet. Investors are taking notice and more are purchasing the stock for their portfolios (hence the rise in Smith and Wesson stock price).

“But what’s driving sales?” you might be asking. Well, in case you don’t know Smith and Wesson manufactures and sells firearm products and accessories. That’s right…it’s a gun company.

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An Apprentice Going For It With Courage

Hidden Nuggets Series #94 – “Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.” – Joshua 1:6

As Joshua stood on the doorsteps of Canaan he must have felt a tremendous sense of dread looking into the land. His mentor Moses had died and now he had been given the responsibility of escorting a nation into its new home. Millions of people were counting on him as their next leader.

be strong and courageousThere was no more standing in Moses’ shadow.

No more following orders.

No more on the job training.

Joshua, you are now the man.

I doubt you or could really appreciate what Joshua was going through. He’s following an iconic leader, a man – no check that – a prophet for which the Bible says none had arisen like him – a person whom the Lord had known face to face (Deut. 34:10).

Moses’ leadership abilities were superb…his strength in adversity unique…his humility, patience and perseverance unmatched.

To follow that must have been intimidating. Even though he’d been tutored as Moses’ right hand man, Joshua must have felt like the coach who is instilled as the new leader after the iconic master who has been at a program for decades steps down. Surely Joshua thought he’d fail because he couldn’t live up to the standards of his predecessor or the expectations of the masses.

How could he move forward with such a great task?

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Your Do-Over Moment Is and Isn’t a Big Deal

Hidden Nuggets Series #70 – “Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.'”  – Genesis 12:1

sign reading "now is the time to start"The clock has turned on 2015 and once again a new year stares us in the face. Some relish this flipping of the calendar in anticipation of all that awaits them in the future. For others who experienced failure and multiple setbacks in the past year it’s simply a reminder they’ll have to start over. And lets face it, starting over is never easy to do.

Starting over is a big deal. However, sometimes we make it too big a deal. We get so worked up about the prospects of having to start from scratch that we can’t function. Our fear, worry and uncertainty about beginning again actually serves to hold us back. We get more overwhelmed than we probably should.

You may think your “starting-over moment” is the biggest deal in the world. I got news for you…it isn’t. We’ve all had a do-over moment where we swiped everything off the table and started with a clean slate.

But it’s fair to say your starting over moment is a big deal to you and well it should be. It’s your life. Just don’t become overwhelmed by the magnitude of it, believe you won’t succeed with it or that nobody understands what you are facing. Many have gone before you who had to start over and reaped rewards from their new life.

Bible Characters Who Faced Big Starting Over Challenges

I draw great encouragement on this issue in the pages of the Bible. We sometimes view the lives of Bible characters as working out perfectly when in reality they did not. They all faced the same life issues you and I do and were required to start over at some point. Consider these life issues and the people they impacted:

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Confessing a Really Stupid Money Mistake

Stupid money mistakes. We all try not to make them. Fortunately I’ve done a decent job of avoiding them in my life.

Longtime readers know I’ve been preaching against debt and the use of credit cards since the early days of this blog. I know some people believe in their use, especially for the reward points they offer. For some reason, we were never able to get credit cards to work in that way. All they created for us was overspending.

stupid moneyDebit cards and cash became our salvation, as we learned to only spend what we earned each month. Taking that step away from credit, coupled with our budgeting efforts were big steps in moving us toward financial freedom. The journey, in the past five years especially, has been a wonderful ride, one that has allowed us to pay off our mortgage earlier than expected.

It would be easy to let my head swell and the buttons on my shirt pop with pride at our financial success. Funny how life has a way of keeping us humble. It did to me this past week when I received a curious and infuriating letter in the mail from Bank of America, informing me of a stupid money  mistake:

The letter read:

“Your above referenced account is currently past due. If you’ve already scheduled a payment, thank you. If not, your current balance is $299.56.”

Pardon me?

My Stupid Money Mistake

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Be Fearless

“The Lord is on my side. I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Psalm 118:6

I’m honored today to be a guest contributor at a new blog dedicated to the courage it requires to face personal financial struggles. Todd and John from FearlessMen.com have branched out with a new site called FearlessDollar. I’m there today with several other bloggers providing some insights and helping them jump start their new project.

When we choose to get radical with our personal finances fear becomes our greatest challenger. It binds us up and locks us down. We become completely immobilized as the multitude of fears line up at our front door.

dark tunnel

Are you ready to confront your fears?

Fear of the unknown.

Fear of change.

Fear of a new money management process.

Fear of ridicule from others who think we are crazy.

Fear of the future.

Fear our past will repeat itself.

Fear of our ability to complete the mission.

Because fear represents the greatest challenge, it needs to become our greatest opportunity. Confronting and overcoming our fears moves us emotionally and spiritually forward in ways we could not possibly dream about.

Please click here to head on over the FearlessDollar.com to give Todd and John a shout out on their new venture.

And be fearless today. It’s time to confront what’s in the dark tunnel.

What was the greatest fear you faced upon decided to tackle your personal finance issues?

Image at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Next Post: The Boy vs. the Blog: Exercises in Giving

Prior Post: How to Get Out of Debt

What My First 50 Blog Posts Taught Me About Myself

shakespeare bloggingOn July 3, 2012 I started writing this blog. It’s taken six months of part time posting to reach this, my 50th blog article. So in honor of this personal milestone, I am writing a two-part series on what my experience has taught me thus far about myself and what it has taught me about blogging.

So, for part one – 50 blog posts have taught me these things about myself:

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Change Your Family Tree – Be a McFly

george mcflyEach Christmas, the church I attend produces a musical comedy/drama to tell the story of how Jesus Christ came to be born into this world. These productions are written and directed by our worship leader who develops each year’s theme around a particular movie title or television show. Over the years, we’ve run the gamut, from “A Star Trek Christmas” to “Castaway” to “O Christmas, Where Art Thou?” Yes, I know, it’s interesting – you would just have to see it to understand. This year I am fortunate enough to play a supporting role as George McFly in “A Back to the Future Christmas.”

Of course, I go through a personal life transformation in the play where my character’s persona changes as the events of time are altered. My wife Lorraine accidentally sets off one of Doc Brown’s experimental time-vortex coffee machines he had left in the care of Marty and Jennifer. In our play, my change was no fault of my own. It was much different, however, in Back to the Future, Part I.

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Why the Rich (And Maybe All Of Us) Can’t Sleep

can't sleepSo, you have finally accomplished your financial dreams. Through sheer hard work and sacrifice you are now able to live comfortably. You have enough money stored up so that you can purchase anything your heart desires.

Your problems are over, or so you thought. Because now there is a new problem to face, one that keeps you up for all hours of the night. You can’t sleep.

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A Simple Answer to Election Results (and Other Life Decisions)

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama won a second term in the White House by defeating Republican challenger Mitt Romney. President Obama prevailed despite a laundry list of national challenges that were present in his first four years in office. Here is a short recap:

– Rising unemployment

– Expansion of national debt

– Higher gas prices

– Lower household incomes

– Controversial health care reform

– Government takeover/bailout of an auto company

– Soon to be higher tax rates

– Tense foreign relations (especially with Israel)

Logic dictates these challenges would not bode well for a sitting President. How did he overcome these seemingly devastating national issues? How was he able to convince 60 million Americans he was still the man for the job? The answer lies in a simple word: pain.

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Of Marathons and Money: Pre-Race Edition

When was your last life-changing day? We have these randomly littered at various points throughout the course of our life. Most life-changing days we never see coming…they just spontaneously happen. The day of that spiritual awakening…the day you get a proposal and a diamond…the day of a personal tragedy…the day we get fed up with __________ (fill in your blank) and decide to do something about it. It is the day we realize, “Huh…things are going to be different.” My most recent one occurred on October 15, 2011, the day I finished my first 5K race.

Something about finishing that race drove me to continue running. Now – almost 800 miles, 7,000+ minutes of running, and 3 half-marathons later – I am set to tackle my first full marathon this coming Sunday. 26.2 miles. Crazy…I know.

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