How Leaders Inspire People to Act – Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek is a brilliant speaker and this particular talk shows it. This TED Talk cuts leadership to the core. It seems a little long, but it’s totally worth the time spent watching it.

Look back in your life and think about a time that you did well at something. You will undoubtedly see that it was because you believed in what you were doing. Not only that, but your conveyed that energy to the people around you.

What you didn’t do was only tell people the “what” or the “how” you did it. If that is all you did then It would have failed. People need to know what you believe or “why” before they care about “how” or “what” you do.

I believe this TED Talk illustrates that point well!

Gabby’s First Round of Golf

20110529-073903.jpg Gabby and I went out for her first round of golf. A few weeks ago, I had the afternoon off so I picked Gabby up from school early. It was a “just Gabby and Daddy” day I told her.

We went to Bartram Trail and I was going to let her just putt some balls around. Gabby brought her putter we got her a while back. She is a natural.

We decided to play 9. I didn’t think she’d last much more than that. The pace of play was pretty slow due to Bartram Trail switching their tee boxes around. That gave us a chance to let her hit while we waited on the folks in front of us to get out of the way.

She did surprisingly well. She had fun too. She even got to drive!

Bloom Where You’re Planted

Bloom Where You’re Planted

I heard a lady say this on the prayer section of the podcast a while back. This little saying was no doubt meant for me to hear. It may have been meant for a lot of people to hear, but I’m glad I did.

Always looking to the horizon for what is coming or always peeking over the fence at that greener grass keeps you from realizing the potential you have to positively affect your environment. “Bloom where you’re planted” says a lot.

Don’t forget about the horizon or that greener grass, but go for it. Go for it by being the best at what you are doing right now.
If you are given only a “little” job to do, do it better than anyone else could possibly conceive.

Here’s a little story for you:
Jan became a librarian quite by accident. She was looking for a job and the library was looking for someone to do a job. She complained a lot early on in her job that there were no “good” jobs left out there. The economy was bad and no one would hire her to do “important” work. Granted, the economy was awful, but she was missing it. She did have a job. A very important one at that. Maybe it wasn’t important to her at the time, because it wasn’t what she expected to be doing.

It was very important to the kids that came in the library during the evening hours. Turns out she had previous teaching assistant experience and 2 of the kids coming to the library were there to help each other get better at algebra (her specialty). The kids were not very good at the concepts, but that didn’t stop them from asking for help.

After finding out what the two students needed help with she was delighted to help them. She spent the next few weeks helping the students grasp the concepts in ways they hadn’t been able to before. She realized that when she was helping them she wasn’t bellyaching or griping about the jobs she couldn’t find. She decided that day to give it all she had and help those two students get A’s in there classes.

Because of her efforts and the kids eagerness to learn from their new-found tutor the kids did indeed get A’s on their next exams. Now remember, these kids were awful at algebra. That’s why it raised the eyebrows of the students algebra teacher.
“How did you two improve so much in so little time?” the teacher asked the students skeptically.
“We had a tutor. The librarian.”

The teacher didn’t believe that these two “problem” learners really had help learning and paid a visit to the library to see the source.
Jan was surprised that the teacher paid a visit to her and the teacher was surprised she actually existed!

The teacher was so impressed that he brought Jan to meet his boss and recommended her for the teaching assistant position that would be coming open the following year. She got the job because she put her efforts into what she was doing now, not what she would be doing in the future.

Leave a comment telling about a time when you or someone you know bloomed where they were planted.

What Percentage of My Monthly Income Should I Spend On A Car Payment?


What Percentage of My Monthly Income Should I Spend On A Car Payment?

The short answer is none. The best way to pay for a car is with cash. Now that we have that out of the way, the 2nd best way is to finance as little as possible.

I get asked this question all the time and the answer will vary based on the amount of income you have.
For example, if you make $200,000 annually you should NOT spend 10% of your income monthly. You might however spend 10% of your income on a car payment if you bring home $2,000/month.

So, how do you know what to do? Here are a couple of “rules of thumb” that may help. Ultimately, it will come down to common sense.

  1. Keep the Term Short
    Finance the car for no more than 36 – 48 months. If you cannot pay it off in 36 – 48 months it could cause problems. Cars depreciate or go down in value and you could end up “upside down” or owing more than the car is worth. That can create its own set of problems. Particularly if you get in an accident, total the thing, and have to pay out of pocket to pay off your loan. Yikes!
  2. Budget Wisely
    Realize that to budget for what your car will truly cost you you should double your car payment amount. WHAT? That’s right. Match the car payment amount in order to budget for what you will average monthly for gas and maintenance like oil changes, tire rotation, and things like that. For example: If your car payment = $250 then your monthly gas will probably = $200. Now also add $50/month for maintenance for the car. You will not change the oil or rotate the tires monthly, but when something comes up (and it will) you will be prepared for it.
  3. Percentages Can Be Misleading
    If your income is $3000 – $5000 monthly, 10% – 5% respectively is probably a good mark to shoot for.
    For example:
    (1.) you bring home $3,000 use 10%
    (2.) you bring home $5,000 use 5%.
    It may sound strange, but think about it. If you bring home more you should save more for a down payment and thus finance less leaving you with a lower payment. If that is too much for you, just use 5% and some COMMON SENSE and move on.
  4. Use An Online Financial Calculator
    Figure out what your payment would be by using an Online Payment Calculator and plugging in the numbers for the car you are going to buy. You can change the one I’ve linked to, to let you plug in the payment and calculate for the amount financed. That will let you know how much you can shop for. Make sure to change the Payment Option to “fixed loan term”.
    $11,629 — Price including tax, tag, title.
    -$3,000 — Down Payment
    $8,629 — Amount Financed
    2.75% — Rate
    36 — Months
    $250.00 — Payment
  5. Pay Yourself First, Automatically.
    Once you have calculated that payment amount, start making monthly payments to your savings account long before you buy your car. Target 10 months if you can. Set this up as an Auto Transfer from checking or a direct deposit. It’s a fact. Making saving automatic not only helps you get to your goal, but also most banks will give you a rate discount to Auto-Draft your loan payments from a checking account. This “automatic savings payment” will get you used to the auto-drafting of payments too.

    While you are at it, load the “maintenance” amount you have to budget in there too. I would say put the gas portion in savings, but you will probably be using that to buy gas with for your current auto.After 10 months of saving a $250 payment plus $50 for monthly maintenance budget you will have accomplished 2 things.
    One, you will have a real feel for what that payment is going to cost you.
    Two, you will have $3,000 to put down on the vehicle. You will also have had time to think through the right car for you and shop around for the best financing.

Of course you know where I think the best financing is. If you get tired of using the online calculators or just want a real person to do the work besides you, call me. That’s what good Bankers are for.

Hello Mr. Banker! | Gabby’s Class Goes To The Bank

20110523-045656.jpgField Trips were an amazing time when I was a kid. I hope that didn’t change for Gabby’s Pre-K class last week. Her class, all 19 kids, came to visit my Bank last week.

You can imagine the amount of pressure on a well-to-do dad like myself to impress my daughter in front of her friends.  After all, she talked about the Papa John’s guy for months after he taught them how to make pizza on their other field trip.

All I do is run a Bank. How fun, right?  How could I make their visit to a bank interesting?

It began a week before they arrived. I visited Gabby’s class and explained to the kids what banks do.
“Ok kids. Banks help people borrow money, save money, and use money.  Pretty simple, huh?”

Then I explained to them that when they came to visit me, I’d show them all of the places and people in a bank that help people borrow, save and use money. I also explained that if they had time I’d like to get them to help me find something. A key… to a special box called a safe deposit box that’s kept in a special safe called a vault.

Of course, I explained that a safe deposit box is where people keep valuables like diamonds and jewelry (even though my safe deposit box only has birth certificates and titles in it!). The kids eyes lighted up with excitement.

When they arrived at the bank I asked them if they remembered the three things that banks do. Imagine, 19 four and five year olds screaming in unison “borrow, save, use”.  That’s what I imagined too. Too bad that’s not what they said.  If you were there, you would have heard “buy Barbies.. go to the movies…” etc.

Finally, I got them to remember all three things after some careful questioning.

We began in the lobby and I gave an overview of what we’d see during their visit.
“First let’s get a look at that box with the missing key” I said. So we did.  The kids could hardly concentrate on the rest of the tour they were so excited.

“Now let’s go to the teller line. Which of the three things that banks help us with do you think Mrs. Barbara does?”  They watched as she cashed a check for a customer and with a resounding “use!” they cheered out. We were on to something!

We then went to the personal bankers desk and asked the same thing. As Teresa, our Personal Banker, began to explain that she helped people borrow and save the kids became anxious and couldn’t help but to ask, “Have you seen a key?”
“No.” she said. “Maybe you should check outside by the ATM. I saw some people out there earlier.”

The line of kids shuffled outside to see the ATM. Pretty UNimpressive… unless you are a five-year old looking for treasure! I explained what the ATM does for people and they yelled out “use!”.

Then I suggested we take a look at the vacuum tubes in the drive through.

As we sent the tubes back and forth the kids noticed something shiny in the tube.  It was a key.   A key was stuck in the tube.  All of as sudden I had 19 very ecstatic 5 year-olds on my hands.

There was no stopping them.  We hurried in to see what was in that box.  Before we opened it, I agreed to share whatever we found in the box since it was abandoned.  I called Gabby to the front and handed her the key.  The Safe Deposit Boxes are dual control meaning it requires a guard key and the box key which the kids found.  I had Gabby turn the box key as I turned the guard key.  The box clicked and the door swung open.

The kids were on pins and needles! I opened the box and they all shouted “Gold!” and they were right.  Well, gold dollar coins anyway.  I bought them and put them in there before the kids got there.
They were so excited! The kids had come to the bank, learned what banks do, and got to take home some money!

The treasure was all mine though. The look of pride on Gabby’s face as she beamed and said, “That’s MY daddy!”