About Me

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Fork Union, VA, United States
I am a self confessed HELPER! All of my life I have wanted to help people and serve them. I was born with a desire to serve other people. My entire life has been about serving. I have finally found a way that I can make an impact in other's lives immediately and in a lasting way. Over the past year I have become a student and proponent, same may say fanatic follower of Dave Ramsey the NY Time bestselling author and Financial Coach who has developed a passionate desire to help people regain Financial Peace in their lives by following the simple philosophy of learning “to live like no one else, so later they can LIVE like no one else” . I have also met and become a follower of Richard Paul Evans, another NY Times bestselling author and successful entrepreneur who has a mission to create one million compassionate millionaires in America in conjunction with his 5 Lessons Institute. As a result of the stories of these two men and my good friend Scott Lucas, I have a very clear idea of how I can help people move to the next level in their financial lives. Come follow me and my wife on our journey to financial peace. Kind Regards, Rudy

Monday, March 2, 2009

Where we were before deciding to seek Financial Peace

My goodness time flies when you are having fun. Yes, I am having fun. In my last post, I provided some background information about me and my relationship with money. Today I want to talk a bit about why Catherine and I were convicted to become DEBT FREE! Since March of 2006 I have been completely free of having a JOB. March 2006 was the month that my corporate employer and I decided I was not a good fit for the corporate world and I received my Freedom from having an employer. It was at once the most invigorating and terrifying time of my working life. I had no idea what I wanted to do. All I knew (or thought I knew) was that I needed to find something to generate some income quickly, as I had just suffered a $90,000 a year pay cut. Yes, you see that corporate job I had; it was paying a $90,000 base plus almost 100% of all my living expenses. Nice gig for the right person. I was not the right person. While it sounded fun at first and was indeed exciting, I realized that while I thought I craved structure, I had reached the point in my life where I was no longer able to sit by idly and do what someone else told me to do. So, off we went to the land of…What? Yes, that was the true question Catherine and I faced. What was I going to do now that I was all grown up? In order to keep some income rolling in, I did the obligatory job searches and resume submissions for the next few months, but my heart was not in it. So, while I was pondering my place in the cosmos, I did the truly great American thing, I took money out of our savings accounts and proceeded to undertake a major building project. Along with my neighbor Jim, I embarked on the construction of an art studio for my lovely bride. Over the next few months, Jim helped me build the largest project I had ever tackled, a two story gable-roofed studio on a footprint of 560 sf. It was great fun! I learned a lot, and more importantly, I spent a lot of money.

It was during this time that my son EJ convinced me to try my hand at real estate investing. So once again I dug into the savings (remember now, I have no income other than the $341 a week from unemployment) and started going to investing seminars across the country. Obviously, in order to get the most out of each seminar, I had to buy copious amounts of the educational material I found there. What an education I got. I learned a lot about real estate of all sorts, but more importantly I learned that there is a limit to how much money one can take out of savings and still have any hope of having an emergency fund. Finally, after much soul searching and gnashing of teeth (plus the looming termination of my unemployment insurance) Catherine and I decided that while real estate investing was beyond our reach for the time being, I should get my license and become a Real Estate Agent. But not just any Real Estate Agent, a COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE Agent. You see, I realized, while I was attending all the seminars and doing all of my studying, that I really did not have any desire to sell homes to people other than as investments. I felt that with my background in the Federal Government, contracting for and managing real estate, I would do much better by devoting my time and energy into building a Commercial Practice. While this was a great idea at the time, and I still feel strongly that in the Real Estate World I am a much better fit for a Commercial rather than Residential Practitioner, I did not know that in order to build a Commercial Practice, having some connections in the business world would probably be a good thing! You see, when I hung my license out and said I was open for business, I started out in a residential office in a city where I knew NOBODY and had ZERO connections to the business community. It was not the brightest move I could make, but that is another seminar. Suffice it to say, that it is extremely difficult to make money in Commercial Real Estate without clients and with no real idea of how to get clients. So, I began my life as a Real Estate entrepreneur in August of 2006 in Richmond Virginia. Do you know what else happened that summer? The real estate market in Richmond Virginia hit its PEAK! Yes indeed, I bought HIGH and was forced to sell LOW for the whole time I was trying to build my practice.

This leads me, finally, to the point of this blog entry. My entry into the world of entrepreneurship should have been devastating. I mean let's examine it for a minute. I left FEMA in October 2003 where I was making in excess of $80,000 per year plus 100% of expenses to the corporate gig where I was making $90,000 per year plus expenses to a new startup where I was not only not making money, I was feeding the business to the tune of $3,500-$4,000 a month. That was quite a financial swing. Yet, in spite of racking up expenses of over $50,000 a year for two and a half years, because of our previous lifestyle and our independence (for the most part) from consumer debt, we were in remarkably good shape in December of 2008, when we had our EPIPHANY between December 20th and December 24th. By this point we had already been discussing our discomfort with the increasing balances on the various credit cards and bemoaning the fact that we were no longer not only not able to payoff balances, but we were increasing those balances monthly. This did not make us happy campers and for several months I felt an increased pressure to do something to bring in more money. What we discovered over the Christmas Holidays in 2008 was that WE WERE MAKING POOR FINANCIAL DECISIONS LEADING TO UNNECESSARY STRESS in our lives! The breakthrough was amazing and truly LIFE CHANGING! Next time, the epiphany…

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Welcome to Rudy Talks Money

Welcome friends and friends of friends. This is my newest attempt to help my friends, family, and clients get in better touch with their relationship with their money. This first post is nothing more than a quick introduction.

I come from a family that has always had a dysfunctional relationship with money. My parents took out a loan to help my grandparents out in the business in the 1960s from HFC and they were still paying on it in the 1980s. Crazy!

My brother in Cali and I are the only two of 6 siblings that have opened and run businesses that were profitable and we are the only two who seem to understand that putting off our immediate desires to plan for the future might just be the ticket if we don't want to work until we are in our nineties!

I started developing a healthier relationship to money while I was in the Army. The Army in the 70s and 80s frowned on its leaders getting into financial trouble and a bounced check for a NonCom was anathema (the death knell of a career). I had my problems after I retired and had a wife who thought credit cards were there for her to spend every penny on them in the shortest possible time. In just 11 short months she tried to prove her theory by spending over $70,000 of my credit line. The straw that broke the camel's back so to speak was when she changed the locks on the house, had one of her “friends” loosen all the lug nuts on my truck and took out $15,000 in cash advances on two cards in three days while simultaneously spending $5,000 at Wal-Mart and $4,000 at Target in the same week!

Needless to say, that whole experience really gave me a new way of looking at money and until I actually started my own business in 2006, my current wife Catherine and I did not carry a significant balance on any of our credit lines. The real estate business required some substantial investment and over the past three years we ran up a sizeable balance on a couple of cards but never more than 15% of all of our available authorizations. The remainder of that debt should be paid off by December of 2009.

Now here is the good news, in December of 2008 we made a conscious decision to become debt free. We are following the principles Dave Ramsey espouses and are 100% committed to being completely debt free within 5 years. Yes, I said completely debt free. No debt at all. None. Zero. Nada. Zip. How we are doing that and why, are the subject of many more posts to this blog. I welcome you to participate with us on this fantastic journey into financial peace and freedom.