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Financial

Chris LoCurto

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September 23, 2014

Q&A – Your Questions Answered [Podcast]

September 23, 2014 | By | 3 Comments">3 Comments

On today’s show we have a special guest – YOU!

We receive a lot of questions each week and I thought it was about time we answered some of them.
The questions in todays show are amazing!
Here’s some of the topics we address:

  • How to find people to grow your business and where to start
  • How to incorporate your skills and passion into a business
  • How to overcome people’s negative opinions of you (especially when they are justified)
  • How to repair your reputation

Your Questions Answered

Here’s how to get your questions answered:

Find the “Send Voicemail” tab on the right hand side of ChrisLoCurto.com. (See screenshot below)
Do it now!
Leave us a message

 

 

If you heard Jamie’s question at the end and are wondering, “…so what’s the deal with this LifePlan thing?”, you owe it to yourself to check it out.
When you understand what’s blocking you from moving forward in life you can finally start living the life you were meant to live.
That’s what LifePlan is all about.

Click here to find out more.

Question: What question jumped out at you? What advice do you have?

Chris LoCurto

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February 20, 2014

How to Fund a Business [Video]

February 20, 2014 | By | 14 Comments">14 Comments

This is a question I get all the time and my answer is always the same.

I don’t suggest you get loans or venture capital money to start a business.  

I coach so many entrepreneurs that go into massive amounts of unnecessary debt. Instead of focusing on growing their business, they’re focused on making payments and staying above water. Debt increases risk and magnifies mistakes. It’s a terrible place to be and can become a huge stress in your life.

Instead, start small. When you believe in your vision, bootstrap it! If you make great tacos, dont open a restaurant. Start with a warming cart. When you’ve made enough money, move up to a catering truck. If you’re continuing to make great amounts of money, buy another taco truck or move into a brick and mortar store. Stock pile money then move on to the next step. Self-fund your business growth with sweat equity and profit, not debt.

Question:  How did you fund your business without debt?

Chris LoCurto

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January 7, 2013

77% Of Taxpayers Will Have Their Taxes Raised

January 7, 2013 | By | 73 Comments">73 Comments

So all the debate about the fiscal cliff brought us to this place of raising taxes on people making over $450,000.00.

There’s only one problem…taxes were raised on 77% of taxpayers in this country!

 

Fiscal Cliff

How?  Very simple.

While President Obama didn’t raise the income taxes on folks under the $450,000, he did allow payroll tax cuts to expire in the process. Thus, taxpayers noticed a change when they opened their checks last Friday. You may have noticed the people who shared their disgust on Twitter and Facebook.

And that doesn’t include the people who get paid twice a month who have yet to see the increase.
I’m quite positive they will be shocked.
My question is this, no matter what side of the aisle you’re on, when do we get tired?

When do we get tired of the same old politics?

It really doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or Republican, this is ridiculous!

We have been hearing over and over again about the importance of taxing the wealthy to keep the middle class from increases.

And yet, the moment the deal is done, 77% of taxpayers get a tax increase.

On top of that, according to the USA Today, this whole fiscal cliff deal will add about 4 trillion to the deficit.

4 TRILLION!!! 

So how again did this help?
We’ve raised taxes on most of the country AND ended up with a bigger deficit. Brilliant!

Again, I don’t care who you voted for in November. At some point this has to get old.

Question: Is it old for you yet?      
Chris LoCurto

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December 25, 2012

Christmas Message To You

December 25, 2012 | By | 7 Comments">7 Comments

We were wrapping up in the studio and decided we wanted to take a moment and share some Christmas memories with the people who allow us to do what we do.

From Becky, Collin, Bobby, and myself, Merry Christmas!

To hear this message, click  and download, or subscribe to receive all episodes.

Chris LoCurto

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December 24, 2012

Your Gift

December 24, 2012 | By | 31 Comments">31 Comments

Sitting in my kitchen this morning thinking of you guys and having just made my coffee, I wanted to take this opportunity to remind you of a gift that you’ve already received. One that it greater than any gift you will receive this Christmas, better than any you’ll give.

…she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christa the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

Those of you who’ve followed me for a long time know that the last few Christmas’ have been pretty rough around my house. But no matter how crazy life gets, no matter how painful, my Gift is always there waiting for me. He will never leave me or forsake me. No Apple product, or clothes, or even a brand new Ferrari can ever come close to that.

I’m not saying I would turn them down! I’m just saying that they will fade in time, but God’s love for us never will.

Merry Christmas incredibly loved Children of God!

Chris LoCurto

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August 20, 2012

Share The Wealth

August 20, 2012 | By | 121 Comments">121 Comments

Let me start out by saying that this is in no way a political post. I don’t care what side of the fence you are on, I just want to share an opinion about something that I think is a little crazy. Ok, a TON crazy.

There is a lot of talk right now about sharing “the wealth”. As if the wealth is something that has unfairly been divided out. As if those who have wealth, have been given it by mistake, and those who don’t, somehow didn’t get the memo that the wealth was being “given” out. That type of belief system says that all should receive equal amounts no matter what their personal input.

This I believe to be ridiculous. The thought that all folks deserve the same rewards just because they breath air is beyond me. That if I work my gluteus maximus off, someone who hasn’t should receive the same as me. And that if I receive more, it’s unfair to those who’ve decided to sit on their duff while I worked like crazy.

To illustrate this, I had an actual conversation with a very young school teacher a few years ago. This young lady was challenging the thought that perhaps wealth should be a fair split among all people. To that I proposed this quandary;

Imagine you had a room full of students, and a portion of them didn’t work as hard as the others, so they received failing grades. While those who worked really hard received A’s. Then the principal came along and said that it wasn’t fair that the hard working students got A’s, but those who didn’t work as hard, failed.

Therefore, he has decided that the A students need to give up some of their grades to the failing students, so the other students could be on the same level. How would that make you feel? Immediately she said, “That’s ridiculous! If they didn’t work for it, they sure don’t deserve it!” Obviously, I agreed.

I shared how that is the concept of sharing the wealth. It took about a nano second before she was in agreement.

So my question to you is:

Question: What is your take on sharing the wealth? 

Chris LoCurto

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June 5, 2012

Yes You Can Pay Cash For A House!

People are always telling me that it’s impossible to pay cash for a house. With all you have to pay for nowadays, it’s just unrealistic to think that a young couple with average jobs could attempt such a feat. Well, I’m here to tell you that it just ain’t so. Not being able to purchase that is.

Recently one of our team members stood up in staff meeting and shared how it has been a dream of hers to pay cash for a house…since she was 17!! Christy Harvey had seen the impact that debt can have on people and decided that she wasn’t going to partake in that ridiculous process. Instead, she started saving and investing early on.

Now let me put things into perspective – Christy is 30 years old and an administrative assistant at our organization. Her husband Mike is 28 and is a graphic designer. They didn’t get an inheritance. They didn’t strike it big in the lottery. Instead, they were what Christy calls frugal. When she wanted to buy something, she tried to find the best price.

When she could, she worked at baby sitting. She bought her first car for $1800, drove it for 5 years, and sold it for…$1,800!! Neither has ever had a credit card. When they got married, they lived on Mike’s income and saved hers. And this year they saved up enough money to buy a $119,000 house! One that was worth $170,000 a few years ago. (That’s a decent amount of house in Tennessee.) And that’s not all. They saved past the asking price to be able to do some remodels that they want, and go to Italy!

What does that mean? She is 30 years old, completely debt free, with a paid for house, AND THE REST OF HER LIFE TO STILL COME!!! Christy and Mike now have the rest of their lives to do whatever they want to. They can now save for their dream home and pay cash for it as well. All of that from an admin assistant and a graphic designer.

They stayed out of debt, paid cash for things, made smart purchases, and didn’t give up. Now they have a net worth that is greater than most of the people in this country. Pretty impressive if you ask me. There are a lot of people that you know that need this encouragement. Be sure they see this so they know it can be done.

Question: How does their story encourage you?

Chris LoCurto

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April 30, 2012

Social Security – Why You Should Be Worried!

April 30, 2012 | By | 32 Comments">32 Comments

UGH!! I just finished reading an article about Social Security running out a few years earlier than expected. In 2033, Social Security benefits will pay out only 75% of the scheduled amounts.

The article was quick to let those who have already retired know that they don’t need to worry. Their benefits will remain at 100%. But he went on to say, “If you’re under age 40, start worrying.” Really?! The only reason you should be worried about Social InSecurity is if it is your hope and only plan for retirement!

By the way, that’s a horrible plan. Even President Roosevelt felt so. From the SSA website: Social Security was never meant to be the only source of income for people when they retire.

For the love, please have a plan! Don’t put your trust in the government to take care of you when you get older. I can tell you. The government’s way of handling someone I loved wasn’t pretty.

Instead, take some easy steps to “secure” your future:

  • Get out of debt – Over and over, I tell people that debt robs them of their options. When you have all of your income and no debt, you can build wealth and build it faster. How do you do this? Get on a budget that works and live on less than you make. That’s pretty simple. The hard part is the accountability.
  • Invest already! – Investing isn’t as scary as it sounds. Once you are debt-free but your mortgage, start putting 15% away in a 401K and/or Roth IRA. Don’t invest in single stocks or gold. For right now, only focus on Mutual Funds.
  • Insure yourself – What you don’t want to happen is getting to retirement and something catastrophic wipes out all of your investments. Instead, make sure you have Term Life Insurance if someone depends on your income. Also get Long-Term Disability Insurance in case something happens to you and you can’t work, or you have outrageous medical bills. It’s also a good idea to get LTDI on parents over 60. It doesn’t cost that much.

These are just a few of the things you can do to keep from worrying about Social Security, as some would have you do. Now, without making this look like a total promotion instead of me wanting to help, I didn’t advertise all the ways to do it. Instead, you can click on the bullet points to see how. Or just ask a question in the comments.

Question: What are you doing to ensure your future?

Chris LoCurto

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April 27, 2012

Financial Wellness And Corporate Culture

April 27, 2012 | By | 69 Comments">69 Comments

Financial wellness in business? Here’s a great post on the need for corporate financial programs by Robert Lawrence. Follow Robert on Twitter. You can guest post as well! Read how to here.

Question: If you are dealing with money problems, do you turn to your workplace for help?

For most people, the answer would be “not on your life!” Few of us want anyone to know when we’re dealing with debt-related issues. So most of us manage quietly (or so we think) with the stress. But what if there was a better way? What if you knew your employer really cared about every aspect of your health, including your money?

I think financial wellness is a disposition or an outlook that people have when they are either experiencing financial success/security or are on a path towards that goal. It involves attitude and behavior. It’s why so much of financial wellness is geared toward helping people get out of debt and live within their means.

Teaching people how to become debt-free and live that way has to be at the core of any financial wellness program. Recently, Fox Business News posted a piece about how consumer debt is affecting many workers’ ability to save for retirement. It cites a Financial Wellness Survey that shows how 33% of workers are not saving any money for their retirement. Of these, 59% say they have too many expenses to set aside money for future needs.

When team members face personal money problems, their workplace productivity plummets. They often lose their jobs as a result. If they stay, the level of their participation in company retirement programs is almost nonexistent.

In an effort to protect their ROI (return on invest), employers should look to financial wellness programs to remedy these problems. Certainly every business is concerned about its ROI. But an authentic concern for the personal development and overall well-being of each team member is what defines a truly caring company. This is what creating corporate culture is all about. And when a company culture reflects a genuine concern for its team members, the ROI soars.

Financial problems cause stress, and there are plenty of studies that point to a correlation between stress and declining physical health. These problems also lead to a poor family life and even divorce. By personally promoting financial wellness, businesses are sending their team members a message: We care about your health. We care about your home life. We care about you in every possible way!

Question: How would a financial wellness program in your company benefit team members?

Chris LoCurto

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February 20, 2012

Money, Can You Really Agree With Your Spouse In Business?

February 20, 2012 | By | 12 Comments">12 Comments

Money problems are the number one cause of fights inside a marriage. Some studies show that 57% of the fights inside of a marriage are over money.

So if it’s that bad at home, what happens when a couple works together with the business finances? Well, here’s a very common question from one of our fans:

My husband and his father are running a small real estate management company. My husband hired me to start managing the finances/keeping the books for them beginning in September 2010. After working with their finances for several months now, I see that there is a substantial amount of credit card debt.

I have tried to explain to my husband that I need to apply the principle of the “debt-snowball” to this debt instead of continuing to make several minimum monthly payments that are several hundreds of dollars each. My husband argues with me about this stating that this will destroy the company’s credit rating, etc.

This is the same argument he made with me when I started FPU and told him we needed to start the debt-snowball on our personal credit card debt. In that case, he finally stopped arguing with me and let me go ahead. In terms of the small business, he is being a bit more difficult. I need to be able to show him the specific answer that the debt-snowball is applied in the same manner in a small company like theirs, as it is in personal finance. Please help!

The debt question is one that I get A LOT in EntreLeadership. So many leaders think that people can’t run a business without debt. So inevitably, during my event I will ask how many people are running their business debt free. It’s usually about 30% of the attendees. If people can’t run a business without debt, then how are so many doing it?

There are a few things to consider:

  • What does God say? – The Bible is very clear on the issue of debt. DON’T DO IT! In fact, Proverbs says that if you have gone into debt, get out as quickly as you possibly can. Nowhere in the Bible will you find God blessing someone with debt. Nor do you see Him separating out personal and business. He doesn’t differentiate.
  • It gives me options – Actually, I am a firm believer that debt robs you of your options. When your money is tied up paying off debt, you’re not able to take advantage of situations when they come up. On top of that, you are potentially holding God back from doing some of the things He want to do in His business. (It is His, right?) I have seen plenty of God situations that people weren’t able to capitalize on because they were bound by debt. Going into debt is saying that you know better than God on the speed of growth you should have.
  • But my credit score! – There is only one thing that you need a credit score/rating for – to go into debt. That’s it. It’s there to help you get into more trouble. If you have cash, you don’t need a rating. Besides, you get MUCH better deals when you pay companies with cash. Especially in a time when so many companies are not getting their receivables collected for months on end. Go ahead and destroy the credit rating, it’s not helping you.
  • Proverbs 31 – Who can find a virtuous wife? Her worth is far above rubies. Her husbands heart trusts safely in her; so he will have no lack of gain. Dude, listen to your wife! She’s onto something. Women have a sense of discernment that us guys just don’t have. And like fools, so many guys don’t listen to them when it comes to business. This is a mistake. God has wired them differently than us. Drop the pride and ask for her opinion. You’ll be surprised at how much money, time, and nose bleeds it will save you.

Question: What ways have you experienced this in your life?

Please click on your social networks below to share this post or any others.

Chris LoCurto

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November 21, 2011

Why You Need To Celebrate Progress

November 21, 2011 | By | 29 Comments">29 Comments

“People are afraid to celebrate winning the battle, because the war hasn’t been won yet.” – Kent Singletary

I was having a conversation with Kent, our Momentum Coach, and we were talking about completing the Financial Peace University (FPU) Baby Steps. That’s when he shared with me the above quote. (Yes, I could have written it into this paragraph, but it’s much better as a stand-alone quote.) He said people (especially men) are hesitant to celebrate accomplishing Baby Step 1 of FPU, which is getting $1,000 in an emergency fund, because something might happen and they would have to use that money.

He pointed out that people don’t celebrate what can be taken away. Think about the kinds of cards you can buy at Hallmark – birthday, anniversary, etc. But you don’t see a “Great job losing 10 pounds!” card. The same thing is true for emergency funds. Something might happen, and they will be forced to pull money out of their emergency fund for…wait for it…an emergency!

But that’s what it’s there for. The sad thing is, people feel like they’ve failed if they have an emergency and they have to use the emergency fund. How is that possible? Well, to be honest, it’s because of the financial roller coaster we’ve all been on with our money since we started our lives as adults. We started using debt. We didn’t watch where we spent our money. We’re a culture that celebrates permanence; therefore, we don’t place as much value on the things that might last only a short time.

According to The Wall Street Journal, 70% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. That means that all the money coming in is going right back out again. With life being this tight, any unexpected event is going to be a financial crisis. And what do we do when we have a financial crisis? Well, considering we don’t have cash to handle it, we go into debt. Thus, the pensive feelings when we finally have an emergency fund. These crises leave such deep mental scars that we’re still just waiting for the next bad thing to happen.

We get confused thinking that unless the fund stays at $1,000, we weren’t successful. The truth is, most people have never had that much money in their account on purpose! We also worry that if we have to use the money, and someone finds out, they will look at us as failures. It’s just not true! And if someone does, get that dork out of your life. Look for people who enjoy celebrating milestones.

So what do we do? Here are some suggestions:

  • Celebrate – Make it a point to get excited that you have that money! (Especially you men!) Get up and dance a jig. Or the Hokie Pokie. Or the Macarena. I don’t care, just get happy!
  • Celebrate with others – Again, as humans we are naturally concerned with what others think of us. If you see somebody doing something right, go crazy telling them how well they’ve done. They’ll soon begin to feel it as well. Then it will be okay for them to experience the fun! And don’t be afraid to celebrate the same win again if you have to go backward temporarily.
  • Plan for emergencies – Planning for an emergency doesn’t mean one will happen. It just means you are prepared. What if there is an emergency? What then? Well, since you’ve been working like crazy to protect yourself against emergencies, then it’s okay if you need to use that protection. By the way, stop calling this failure!

Always remember that we don’t get into financial trouble overnight. Therefore, it will take some time to get out. Celebrating the Baby Steps is just a way of saying along the way that you have no intentions of going backward for good. If we do for a time, it’s only for a time.

Question: Have you ever felt this way before, or noticed someone who has? Is there someone you need to celebrate with today?

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Chris LoCurto

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November 4, 2011

More On Student Loan Forgiveness

November 4, 2011 | By | 43 Comments">43 Comments

I … am getting upset … at ignorant people! Why? Because I keep hearing all of the talk from folks wanting the government to pay for their student loans. Listen everyone. The government doesn’t have any money other than what those who ACTUALLY pay taxes give it.

There is no secret presidential bank account with your student loan/mortgage/credit card debt earmarked for payment. And no, big business doesn’t need to pay for your debt either. Why? YOU made the decision to go into debt. Nobody forced you to take out loans.

In fact, I was talking with Brandon Brison, one of our editors here. He said that when he went to college, his student loan papers had a bolded section that said essentially, THIS IS A DEBT. YOU WILL HAVE TO PAY THIS DEBT BACK. YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CANCEL OR FORFEIT THIS DEBT. YOU MUST SIGN THAT YOU REALIZE YOU ARE TAKING ON THIS DEBT.

Sounds pretty clear to me. And yet on a popular Facebook site, I read through tons of comments from people saying how mad they are that they have to …wait for it … pay their loans!! Response after response, they are complaining how unfair it is to have to pay back loans that they took out for an education that most of them never went into that field.

Someone please explain to me how I should be able to make a poor financial decision, and then pass that bad decision on to someone else. Here’s a thought: Work your way through college. Most of the student loan amounts that are posted on the site could have been paid as they went by working at Starbucks.

Or here’s another option: Work and save up the money before you go to school. You don’t have to jump right into college after high school if you can’t afford it. And don’t tell me there’s not work out there. I had a lady from North Dakota come through my last EntreLeadership class who is paying her waitresses/waiters $15 an hour and can’t get enough workers. That’s 30K a year!

That doesn’t include all of the work that’s going on with the natural gas rigs in that area. These companies are paying people 80K a year. “That’s great Chris, but that’s ND!” So? Move! Consider it a tour-of-work duty. (Sorry, I think I just made that up.) Don’t like that option? Enlist in the military. Last time I checked, they were still paying for college.

The point I’m making here is that you don’t have to make bad financial decisions when it comes to student loans, mortgages or credit cards. It’s something you choose to do. And if you select it, then take the responsibility that comes with it. Don’t try to pass it off on me.

Question: Ha-ha … thoughts?

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Chris LoCurto

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October 28, 2011

Obama Is Forgiving Student Loans

October 28, 2011 | By | 52 Comments">52 Comments

That’s what I heard from a young lady at the car rental place yesterday. She was very sweet and took good care of us. And on the way out she asked what we do.

Like always, I answered that we teach people how to handle their finances. And before I could talk about leadership, she excitedly asked me what my most important bit of information was. I told her to stay out of debt — Surprise, surprise! That’s when she asked, “What do you think about what Obama’s doing? He’s forgiving student loans.”

Ugh!! How does this happen?!

I told her I don’t think it’s right for people to go into debt and then pass the consequences of their bad money choices on to the rest of the taxpayers.. That’s when she made a comment about Obama having money set aside to take care of the loans. I quickly informed her that Obama doesn’t have any money for these student loans. The money to pay for Obama’s “forgiveness” will come from those of us who actually pay taxes — unlike the 47% of Americans who don’t pay taxes but want big business to pay for all of their debt. (Sorry, had to throw that in there.)

She responded by saying, “So I’ll pay for it anyway? I don’t know that much about it. I haven’t really read up on it.” And since my car wasn’t ready, she walked away and hung out in the little booth outside. I guess our conversation was over. When my car finally came around, she came back out and did the walk around with me. I asked her if what I said made sense to her. She told me she really didn’t read up on it so she didn’t know that much about it.

So I put it to her this way: It would be like me buying this Suburban with debt and then making you pay for it because I made bad money choices and couldn’t make my payments any longer. The government doesn’t have money except what we as tax payers pay.

I watched and waited for the light bulb to go off. It did, but she still seemed confused.

I left thinking about how many millions of people think Obama has some magic vault of money that he must have brought with him from his personal account to D.C. And he’s going to save all the people in America who have made poor decisions with money so they can keep making bad decisions. Or wait…maybe the “forgiveness” will cause all of those folks to start making wise money choices. It could happen…right?

Question: What are your thoughts on how people view the Government’s “bank account”?

Feel free to share this with your friends and family…or those you don’t like who think this way.

Chris LoCurto

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October 17, 2011

Occupy Wall Street….Why?

October 17, 2011 | By | 89 Comments">89 Comments

As I was on my way to the greedy corporate Starbucks in Colorado Springs to get my vanilla latte recently, I saw the Occupy Wall Street protesters. I couldn’t help but notice some of their signs. There were sayings like, “We’re the 99%.” Or my favorite, “Even in a good economy, I’m unemployable.” I couldn’t help but snap a picture of this sign. It made me laugh.

The demonstrators want the upper 1% to pay more taxes, so it’s fair to the 99%. (Although 47% of Americans don’t pay any taxes at all right now.) This makes sense: Most of our country’s taxes are paid by the 1%, but they should pay more. Huh?

When I got back to my room, I decided to look up just what the protesters stand for, since I was confused. I did some research online and found out …. so are they. The group really doesn’t seem to know what they are demonstrating about. The main theme seems to be that corporations are ruining our country. Their greed and tax loops are destroying our landscape.

Seriously? This is what you’re fighting for? Further explanation from an interview said that income and equality are worse than they have ever been in America. That 1% has never had as much as they do now, while the rest of us are buried in debt and have credit card bills piling up. When asked if the protest was anti-government, the interviewee said that it’s not. They want the government to step in to help people who have lost their homes through foreclosures or who are buried under student debt. They believe the government has done a horrific job.

He continued to say it’s not anti-government, it’s better government. Because, apparently, better government means allowing people to go deeply in debt, and then stepping in and cleaning up the mess. That, of course, would be passing their debts onto the rest of us. When asked if the protesters are aiming their fight at the right institution, meaning Wall Street, the interviewee said yes. Corporations have seen their profits rise, while not having to pay taxes.

So essentially, if I get this right, the reason people are suffering in America is because big greedy corporations, which employ much of America, have created products that we have no choice but to purchase by going deeply in debt. This, in turn, causes us to live well beyond our means.  And even though the rich pay the most taxes in this country, they aren’t paying enough. Hmmmm … WHAT?!?!

So again, it’s not my fault if I’ve gone deeply in debt and chose not to save money, as opposed to living beyond my needs. It’s because the 1% don’t pay enough taxes. OK, what if we make it equal by having everyone pay the same exact tax percentage? That way, the 1% can’t “hide” from paying taxes, and the 47% will start paying. Sounds fair to me. I’ll honk for that equality.

Question: What’s your take on the protest?

Chris LoCurto

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March 4, 2011

You Can’t Have That!

March 4, 2011 | By | 2 Comments">2 Comments

Today we are in Kansas City for the EntreLeadership 1-Day event teaching business owners and leaders how to grow and build their business. And I just want to say that I am a capitalist! I have no problem with someone leaving the cave, killing something, dragging it home, and keeping it!

My New iPhone 4 Arrived today! - June 29, 2010

The Bible specifically says the diligent will prosper. If I decide to put my energy into creating a product that changes or enhances lives, and I make money for that, what’s the problem?

There is this crazy idea that you shouldn’t be able to make a lot of money for your hard work. If you do, you should give it all away. Who came up with this idea?

I don’t know who came up with the idea, but I do know who brings it up all the time. It’s always someone who doesn’t have anything. Someone who isn’t willing to work their tail off to obtain a better standard of living.

Someone who thinks that life and money should be handed to them. This is the same person who wants to partake in luxuries but doesn’t want the company who makes those luxuries to have any money.

Question for ya: How would Apple research, develop, and get the iPhone out to market if it didn’t have any cash? “Didn’t a lot of this stuff start in a garage somewhere?” Yes! And do you remember how long it took to get to market? Be reasonable.

Does this mean that I don’t think businesses should give? Not at all. In fact, David Green, CEO of Hobby Lobby, recently gave $70 million to a university. $70 MILLION! Now ya can’t do that if you don’t have any money, can you?

On the way back from lunch today, I saw two people standing in a median, each with a stop sign on a stick that read, “STOP CORPORATE TAKEOVER.” That’s right. Two healthy-looking people, in the middle of a workday, denouncing corporate “greed” to everyone who drove by.

I didn’t see that they were getting much support. After all, most of us were on our way to earn our living by working for those “greedy” corporations who pay us.

I believe most people are not upset about what other people have. They’re upset about what they don’t have. Again, the diligent prosper. If you want more, instead of being jealous of someone else, try working harder. Or come up with other ways to make money.

Don’t be a hater! (That’s street lingo.) I once heard that the difference between jealousy and envy is with envy, you want what someone has. With jealousy, you want what they have, and you don’t want them to have it.

Let’s just work on getting what we want and not worry about what others have, mmmkay? Please share some situations that you’ve experienced.

Chris LoCurto

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March 1, 2011

Celebrating Progress

March 1, 2011 | By | 4 Comments">4 Comments

“People are afraid to celebrate winning the battle, because the war hasn’t been won yet.” – Kent Singletary

A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with Kent, our Momentum Coach, and we were talking about completing the Financial Peace University (FPU) Baby Steps. That’s when he shared with me the above quote. (Yes, I could have written it into this paragraph, but it’s much better as a stand-alone quote.) He said people (especially men) are hesitant to celebrate accomplishing Baby Step 1 of FPU, which is getting $1,000 in an emergency fund, because something might happen and they would have to use that money.

He pointed out that people don’t celebrate what can be taken away. Think about the kinds of cards you can buy at Hallmark – birthday, anniversary, etc. But you don’t see a “Great job losing 10 pounds!” card. The same thing is true for emergency funds. Something might happen, and they will be forced to pull money out of their emergency fund for…wait for it…an emergency!

But that’s what it’s there for. The sad thing is, people feel like they’ve failed if they have an emergency and they have to use the emergency fund. How is that possible? Well, to be honest, it’s because of the financial roller coaster we’ve all been on with our money since we started our lives as adults. We started using debt. We didn’t watch where we spent our money. We’re a culture that celebrates permanence; therefore, we don’t place as much value on the things that might last only a short time.

According to The Wall Street Journal, 70% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. That means that all the money coming in is going right back out again. With life being this tight, any unexpected event is going to be a financial crisis. And what do we do when we have a financial crisis? Well, considering we don’t have cash to handle it, we go into debt. Thus, the pensive feelings when we finally have an emergency fund. These crises leave such deep mental scars that we’re still just waiting for the next bad thing to happen.

We get confused thinking that unless the fund stays at $1,000, we weren’t successful. The truth is, most people have never had that much money in their account on purpose! We also worry that if we have to use the money, and someone finds out, they will look at us as failures. It’s just not true! And if someone does, get that dork out of your life. Look for people who enjoy celebrating milestones.

So what do we do? Here are some suggestions:

  • Celebrate – Make it a point to get excited that you have that money! (Especially you men!) Get up and dance a jig. Or the Hokie Pokie. Or the Macarena. I don’t care, just get happy!
  • Celebrate with others – Again, as humans we are naturally concerned with what others think of us. If you see somebody doing something right, go crazy telling them how well they’ve done. They’ll soon begin to feel it as well. Then it will be okay for them to experience the fun! And don’t be afraid to celebrate the same win again if you have to go backward temporarily.
  • Plan for emergencies – Planning for an emergency doesn’t mean one will happen. It just means you are prepared. What if there is an emergency? What then? Well, since you’ve been working like crazy to protect yourself against emergencies, then it’s okay if you need to use that protection. By the way, stop calling this failure!

Always remember that we don’t get into financial trouble overnight. Therefore, it will take some time to get out. Celebrating the Baby Steps is just a way of saying along the way that you have no intentions of going backward for good. If we do for a time, it’s only for a time.

Have you ever felt this way before or noticed someone who has? Is there someone you need to celebrate with today?

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Chris LoCurto

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February 22, 2011

Playing Bankers and Indians!

February 22, 2011 | By | One Comment">One Comment

The Wall Street Journal recently reported something that I just had to share; banks and Indian reservations are now hookin’ up to do payday loans. Some of them are charging 300% for the loan! Now let me give you some background. Payday loan companies have been charging outrageous rates to customers for years. Now granted, I think it’s absolutely stupid to get loans, and getting one on a paycheck is even worse. So it could be said that if you are dumb enough to take out a loan with a high interest rate, you deserve what you get. The problem is, that doesn’t take into account desperation. And really, that’s why payday loans exist: desperation!

What payday loan companies don’t consider…or care about, is how they take someone who is already in a bad situation and compound it greatly by charging them an insane interest rate. All in the name of the mighty dollar. Now, if you know me, you know I’m a capitalist. All throughout the Bible, God tells us to work our tails off and to build wealth. Never does He say that if you just sit around and pray for it, He will give it to you. Instead, He says that the diligent prosper.

But taking advantage of someone to the tune of 300% is absolutely ridiculous. I seriously don’t understand how someone can go home at night and sleep when doing that each day. The crazy thing is they don’t seem to have a problem with it. In fact, one of the chiefs was asked about how much money the tribes are making off the loans: “We don’t want to brag, ” said Bill Follis, a former loan office at a bank who has been the Modoc chief since 1974, “But it’s good.”

The good news is that some states are doing their best to get rid of these companies. Seventeen states have either banned payday loans or put a cap on the amount that can be charged. Because of this, the amount of payday loans are down 24%. The bad news is that Indian reservations have their own sovereignty; therefore, they don’t have to abide by the state laws.

Here are three ways to avoid the “need” of a payday loan:

  • Get an emergency fund – As fast as you can, get $1000 set aside that is only to be used for emergencies. Pay minimum payments on all of your bills and stop investing completely for now.
  • Live on a budget – You have to start by spending every dollar on paper on purpose before the month begins. Also, for thirty days, collect a receipt on everything you purchase, even if it’s a pack of gum. At the end of thirty days, categorize the receipts and lay them out on a table. You will be blown away when you see where you actually spend money.
  • Stop spending money – You have to realize that the only way to get out of crisis, is to quit putting yourself there. It is vital to live on less than you make. That way you can use what is left over to accelerate getting out of debt.

The important thing to remember is that when you have an emergency fund, a budget, and a debt elimination plan, then a crisis becomes just an inconvenience.

What are your thoughts on the tribes and banks doing this kind of business?

Chris LoCurto

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February 4, 2011

Get A Job!

February 4, 2011 | By | No Comments">No Comments

Jobless not hopeless, Ask for my resume - Chri...

Image by Steve Rhodes via Flickr

Last week I was sitting in my hotel room in Colorado Springs. I turned the TV on for some background noise, no particular channel. I was blogging, so I wasn’t really listening to what was going on. Until something jumped out at me. Turns out it was MSNBC, and they were reporting on the jobless and how hard it was for them. I commend them on that, and I praise God that He lets me do what I do everyday! But the part that really got to me was when they said that one out of every five jobless persons…people…I dunno, have searched for a job for two months and then….wait for it….put their resumes up and stopped searching. WHAT?!?! And then what? No seriously, then what? Nothing?

They didn’t answer my questions, so I can only assume living off of the government is the answer. (I applaud those that aren’t giving up!) That’s pretty cool though, ’cause the government has the money. Oh wait, that’s tax money so WE are the ones they are living off of!! Dorks! Get your backside out there and find a job! Two months of, what I’m sure was an exhaustive effort, and you give up. What in the world must your life be like? I can tell you what the Bible says, it says…what does it say…oh yeah, the diligent prosper! Not the lazy sittin’ on my couch waitin’ for my unemployment check. Ugh!

Later at breakfast I was talking with Teresa Duke and explained what I had heard and her comment was, “I wouldn’t want to hire someone who gave up anyway.” Well put T! (I call her T.) Neither would I. She then went on to say, “My husband can’t hire anyone right now. He has plenty of applicants, but the quality is terrible. No morals, no communication skills, no human relations, and no education. They just don’t answer the interview questions right.”

I started working when I was fourteen years old. Once when I was nineteen I was laid off and unemployed for one short period of time. During that time, I went ballistic trying to get something that paid. It didn’t really matter; I understood the concept that you have to actually give money for food. And homeboy liked to eat. So this concept of try for two months and give up is just foreign to me. I would never be where I am now if that’s how I looked at life. Instead, I would have spent my life surviving. And while there’s nothing wrong with being a survivor, I believe surviving is a different situation all together. One is overcoming obstacles, and the other is living in them. Don’t just survive. Get back out there and change your life. Be diligent because God has promised that you will prosper. It may take more than two months, but don’t quit! You’ll be happy you didn’t!

Chris LoCurto

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February 1, 2011

Show Me The Money!

February 1, 2011 | By | One Comment">One Comment

Day two of ECL and by now the brains of the attendees are sizzling! Yesterday was a big day with a lot of information. Yesterday I taught on:

  • EntreLeadership Defined
  • Dreams, Visions, and Goal Setting
  • Time Management
  • Personality Styles
  • Communication
  • Building Unity and Loyalty
  • Compensation

Today I teach on:

  • Team Math – Adding and Subtracting
  • Delegation
  • Recognition
  • Financial Peace for the EntreLeader
  • Accounting
  • Art of Outsourcing

Of all of today’s lessons, the one question we get the most is, “You can’t really run a business debt free, right?” In “Oh, I Wasn’t Supposed To Do That?” I talked about how you can run your business debt free. It is THE most vital part of running your business as far as I am concerned. (Well, right after having a product that people actually want, hello Colgate Kitchen Entrees!) And the reason for that is, it gives you options when you don’t have debt. So check that out.

On top of that, I want to talk about the importance of accounting. Today I will ask a room full of entrepreneurs, “Who likes to do the accounting?” Inevitably, no hands will go up. Business owners don’t like to mess around in the accounting. It’s a pain, it’s not exciting, and it’s too many details. It’s like a root canal that happens every month. The problem is, when you don’t do the accounting early and often, you don’t have an actual clue where you really are. It’s like not balancing your checkbook at home and wondering why you bounced checks!

When you get on the accounting and get it done, you can budget and forecast better, as well as predict the future by looking at the past. You can see where your high and low months are; that way you can save money out of the high months to cover the low months. I know, there’s that crazy idea of saving money to spend thing! Then you don’t have to go into debt in the down months, which most companies don’t pay back in the high months anyways. So when it comes to accounting, your new mantra is “Early and Often!” Get it done so you know where you’re going.

Chris LoCurto

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January 27, 2011

Hmmm…Why Would I Do That?

January 27, 2011 | By | No Comments">No Comments

Let me say that the Harry Potter theme park at Universal is truly a magical place. (All pun intended.) Of all of the themed areas, they have really done this one up right.

From the moment you walk through the gates, you feel like you’ve been transported into a fantasy. Approaching the gates you hear the music playing from the movie. As soon as you clear the gates you see the train all massive in size and blowing steam like a political pundit. You see Daigon Alley in all its splendor, with Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, and Ollivander’s Wand Shop, and a huge Butterbeer keg, and Muggles, and you can see the roof tops for what seems like forever…until, way off in the distance, you see Hogwarts!

That’s when you really feel like you’ve been transported into a fantasy. We got the chance to eat an English breakfast at The Three Broomsticks Inn, sit at an old wooden table, and drink Butterbeer. Then on to Hogwarts where we walked and rode through the castle and received quite a few tips on wizardry from the cast…or at least videos of them.

And finally, we rode………the Dueling Dragons roller coasters. They have two: the Chinese Fireball and the Hungarian Horntail. It was exciting to make our way through the line while listening to the current riders screaming as if they were being eaten by the dragons themselves. We made it to the front, we boarded our specific dragon, and then we took off like we were being chased by Dementors.

We turned and zoomed and did three sixties and all the amazing things that a great roller coaster can do. We came flying around a turn towards the platform, where we once left all hope of future life, only to leave our spleens in the claws of the Hungarian Hornet when we went from fifty miles an hour to two in less time than it takes to say “Accio!”.

As we gingerly tried to find what appeared to be the ground in front of us, I remembered something very important……..I don’t ride roller coasters ’cause they make me sick!!! You see, ever since I moved to the South, my sinuses have been messed up. With messed up sinuses, you tend to have a messed up equilibrium. If you divide the sinus by the equilibrium, carry the Hungarian Horntail, multiply by the lack of spleen, and you get a sick Chris.

If there’s one thing missing from the Wizarding World, it would be the much-needed rest area at the exit of the Dueling Dragons with oxygen, water, cots, and a hologram of a mother yelling, “What were you thinking?!” I think I just got caught up in the fantasy and convinced myself that I could do something that my body disagreed with.

Sometimes I think that’s exactly the way we make decisions in life. Sometimes we just get caught up in the fantasy and beauty of what we’re experiencing, only to find out that we’re deceiving ourselves.

I believe that’s why so many people go deeply in debt. There is this magical world of…STUFF that has been constructed before us. And by the looks of how many people are enjoying it, certainly we should as well. Unfortunately, no matter how fun, and exciting, and magical the Wizarding World is…it’s not real.

You realize this when you leave the gates and the music changes to Dr. Suess. And while we can use debt to buy all kinds of fun and exciting magical stuff…eventually you realize that you have to actually pay for it all. You realize that you’re going to have to come up with the money somehow to get out of that mess. It’s when that understanding comes rushing in…you wish they had a little rest area!