Wednesday, August 29, 2012

We're Debt Free!!!!!!

After many bad decisions that led to credit card debt, car loans and mountainous student loans, we finally were able to work our way out of consumer debt through hard work and sacrifice. We followed most of Dave Ramsey's principles, striving for Financial Peace.  I also listened to several financial podcasts that helped give me other perspectives and kept me focused including:

Our family completed Dave Ramsey's baby step #2 when my student loans were complete paid off on Monday, August 27th.  We completed this step by using the snowball method.  We lined up all of our debts from smallest to largest and paid the minimum payment on all of our debts but the smallest one.  We attacked the smallest one with gazelle intensity and once that was paid off we took the money we were paying on the first loan and added it to the minimum balance on the second.  We continued to do this until we finally are able to call the Dave Ramsey show and yell, "We're Debt Free!" as a family, which we plan on doing soon.  

The next step for our family is to build up our full emergency fund.  While we are excited about how far we have been able to get on our financial journey we are looking forward to the day that we don't owe any money to a bank and are able to be even more generous with God's money. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ways to be a Great Parent!

I head through a booklet produced by the Iowa Family Resource Network about being a great parent.  It laid out 101 different ways and I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you, modify a few and possibly add some of my own.

  1. Provide unconditional love.
  2. Be the best role model you can be. 
  3. Make time to be together.  (Put aside the newspaper, log off the computer, put away the cell phone and enjoy an activity together.)
  4. Admit your mistakes.
  5. Keep your promises. 
  6. Think positively.  
  7. Have patience.  Let your children finish explanations.  Don't interrupt or jump to conclusions.
  8. Try to schedule dinner and other meals together whenever possible.
  9. Do everyday thinks together. 
  10. Read with your children every day.
  11. Make daily exercise part of your child(ren)'s routine.  Join them whenever possible. 
  12. Set an example by keeping your cool and handling anger in the best way possible. 
  13. Take good physical and emotional care of yourself so you can "be there" for your child(ren). 
  14. Give simple and honest answers to your child(ren)'s questions. 
  15. Remember that children are precious and parenting is a privilege. 
Some of these are much easier to do than others.  As parents, we constantly need to remind ourselves that our child(ren) are blessings from God and take advantage of the time we have with them.  What are some other ways you can come up with on how to be a great parent?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Run Your Race

Yesterday I participated in the third of Sleepy Hollow's warrior runs.  This time the theme was fire.  I learned a valuable lesson not to allow things that go wrong to impact my mental capabilities to finish a race strong.  Near the start of the race there was a group of runners (including myself) who were in the front of the pack that were sent the wrong way. This was caught maybe 1/2 a mile after we took the wrong path.  We then were directed back to the race track behind many other runners, which created more problems.  This added many minutes to everyone's final time due to the extra distance, having to get around people, the emotional drain it took to have to rerun parts of the course we ran before and the physical challenge of having our 5K turn into a 4 mile race.  Three of us still finished in the top 5/6 in our heat, but it was tough for me to let it go mentally the rest of the race.

Reflecting back though, the fire run was my favorite course.  I wish I could do it again without the misdirection, but still had a lot of fun. In addition to being able to challenge myself it provided another opportunity to train longer distance races. 

The highlight of the day for me was able to run another mile with my son, William.  He participated in his first ever race for a total of 1 mile but with some pretty tough challenges including running up a monstrous snow tubing hill, climbing a cliff (he was carried on my back since it was a straight up climb with only ropes to get up) a rock wall and ending with a giant slip and slide. William was excited to finish in 1st place in the kids race with a time of 10:56 and is looking forward to participating in more races in the future. 

Now I will focus on the Green Run on September 16th, which will be my first 10K.  I have been using an application to train but haven't been as devoted to my training plan as I should be.  After this weekend I need to remember to just run my race and not allow things that are beyond my control to become extra obstacles. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Get Moving!

I want to encourage everyone to break up their routine and intentionally participate in physical activity on Thursday, September 27th.  Sign up to participate in the JAM World Record 2012.  This is a fun campaign to get people from around the world to take a minute for a fitness break and try to break a world record.  You can sign up to help our state win the national JAM title!  Iowa is currently only at 14th place, let's up Iowa move up!

Another event that I want to encourage you to participate in the Healthiest State Initiative Walk on Wednesday, October 3rd.  You can sign up to commit to be part of the Goodrell Team (even if you plan on walking by yourself) here.  Iowans are encourages to walk 1K (.62 miles) and be part of this movement to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Life Insurance Changes

This post is part of the Life Insurance Movement that is being promoted by Good Financial Cents.

In the past year my wife and I graduated from Financial Peace University and listened to Dave Ramsey's advice of looking into getting 10 times our income in term life insurance.  We got several quotes and found that Zander Insurance was a great broker that got Anna and I both our best quotes.  So we signed up, canceled our old policies and are cashing in the cash value of William's Gerber Life Insurance policy that after doing the math was ripping us off.

Why 10 times our income?
We chose to get 10 times our income because when that money is invested in a good growth stock mutual fund the interest could replace the lost income of either Anna or myself if something would tragically happen to one of us.

Why term life insurance?
We chose to do term life insurance because it is cheaper and we will be disciplined enough to invest the difference in a Roth IRA.  Traditionally, an IRA invested in a good growth stock fund will get much better returns than that of a cash value life insurance policy.  Life insurance should not be where you make your investments because returns are historically low.  When you die with cash value, the insurance company keeps the cash value.  Also, the fees deducted from your returns are extremely high.

Additionally, fifteen years from today when William is grown and has graduated from college, we will be debt-free (including our mortgage) and we should have investments that have grown to a substantial amount in order to allow us to become self-insured.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A New School Year

I went back to work today and started getting my classroom set up and mentally prepared for a new set of students.  This will be my first year with only one prep and I am looking forward to giving 100% to one curriculum. 

As promised last time, here are some goals I have set for myself for the rest of 2012. 
  • Complete a 10K race
  • Complete a half-marathon
  • Officially pay off my student loans
  • Finish 12 more books (total of 60 for 2012)
  • Do a family activity at Seven Oaks in Boone
  • Continue to read the Bible each day
  • Update my blog each week
  • Lead the new FPU class with a small group
  • Have fun with friends

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Summer is Ending

This is the last weekend of our summer break.  I was able to enjoy some baseball games with my grandfather and family this week and spent the day at the Iowa State Fair yesterday. As summer ends I want to take a look at my goals for the summer and see how I did.  Here were my goals that I posted earlier.


  • Finish at least 6 more books. (I read many more) 
  • Learn something I can implement immediately at each of the 10 meetings/conferences/trainings I am going to this summer. ( I did this)
  • Finish FPU at my church strong. (We did this too)

  • Go on a mini trip with my family.  (We turned this into a bigger trip going to Wisconsin for almost a week with Anna's parents--it was a lot of fun)
  • Schedule time together with friends over the summer.  (We did this some, I wish we would have done more though--I will have to extend this goal into the school year). 
  • Go on at least three date nights this summer. (We did this and some!)

  • Read at least one book to improve myself. (Check)
  • Continue reflecting and updating this blog. (Check)
  • Laugh each day. (Maybe??)

  • Participate in RAGBRAI. (Yes I did this)
  • Train for 10K (September) and ½ Marathon (October).  ( I am doing this)
  • Finish one of the Warrior-Run Races at Sleepy Hallow in less than 30 minutes. (I didn't do this because they made them tougher, though I do still have the Fire Warrior Run on August 25th)

  • Read the Bible daily. (Yes!)
  • Participate in a small group study. (Yes!)
  • Find ways to serve others and make a difference. (Yes!)

My next post will be after I am back to work full time and I may make some goals for the rest of 2012. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Time for Reflection

I am sorry for the lack of posting this week.  My grandmother and Tom Wolfe, a friend of mine from teacher union activities, both passed away last week and I have been in Cedar Rapids spending time with my family.  I am going to miss both very much and have taken this time to be thankful for the time I was able to spend with each and am taking advantage of spending time with my family before school starts up again next week.

William started 1st grade today and I was planning on having a whole post about how proud I am of him with some pictures, but I missed the event.  I was able to talk to him on the phone and he had a great day and enjoyed seeing some old friends and meeting the new kindergarteners in his class.

I will be heading back home on Friday with my mom, my brother and his wife to meet up with Anna and William and go to the state fair and then finish getting ready for the school year to begin.  I will try post an update this weekend based on how I did with my summer goals I made.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Preparing for a garage sale

Our family has been busy the past few weeks going through our old stuff and preparing things to sell at our garage sale this weekend.  You are welcome to come and see if you can find something to take home.  Our money will be split into family/personal fun money accounts and fund to complete baby step 2 of our total money makeover on our journey to Financial Peace.

Here are some pictures of our work as of now.  Come see the sale Friday 8-4 and/or Saturday 8-1.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Graduating from FPU

Yesterday marked a couple milestones for our family.  Anna and I graduated from Financial Peace University last night after finishing our 13th class and William finished the FPU, Jr. program at our house yesterday too.

The final FPU class was titled, "The Great Misunderstanding: Unleashing the Power of Generous Giving".  It was my favorite lesson of the series because it really talks about the why behind all of the financial discipline of baby steps 1-6.  The final of the seven baby steps is to build wealth and give!  I am looking forward to being at the point to have fun generously giving to causes and people.

Some of the key points of the lesson included;
  • You and I are asset managers for the Lord, so if we view it properly we aren't giving our own money, anyway. 
  • Giving makes us more Christ-like; a spiritually mature Christian gives. 
  • Giving moves you to become less selfish, and less selfish people have more a tendency to prosper in relationships and in wealth. 
  • Because we are designed in God's image, we are happiest and most fulfilled when serving and giving. 
  • As Christians we are called to give a tithe (10%) of our first fruits.  The tithe is to go to the local church.  Offerings are above the tithe and are freely given from surplus. 
  • Financial Peace is more than just God's system for understanding money, becoming debt free, and building wealth.  Financial Peace is when the Great Misunderstanding is understood. 
Financial Peace Junior is built around the the main FPU principles of working, saving, giving and spending.  The program is based around a workbook that kids work through along with their parents.  Each lesson comes with a story, an opportunity to practice the lesson, a connection to the Bible, and some fun activities.  Each kit comes with a chore chart that kids begin to earn commission instead of getting allowances, teaching our children that money comes from work and is not given because they deserve it. William really enjoyed going through the workbook with me and learned a great foundation of how to handle money.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Proud Parent

Today I had the privilege of attending the CAP Theatre performance culminating William's week at theatre camp.  William had a great week and Anna and I were both excited to see William perform today.  William learned all of his lines and did a great job.  Here are a few pictures of his performance.

William doing the Waltz
William talking to the frog

William preparing for his role
William taking his final bow