Tentmaking Tips

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Retirement Account Investing Order

life hacking Mar 22, 2024

In what order should you invest your retirement savings? Which account should you max out first, then second, and so on? I’ll share with you my opinion and process.

Here’s a quick guide:

  1. Employer’s Match - if your employer matches your retirement contributions up to a certain amount, invest at least enough to meet the match. This is free money. Make sure you take it.
  1. Health Savings Account (HSA) - if you’re on a high deductible insurance plan, you may have an HSA plan option. Max this out next. You can contribute tax free, it grows tax free, and you can pull it out tax free for medical expenses (a triple dip). You can invest up to $8,300 in 2024 for families.
  1. Roth IRAs - both you and your spouse can contribute $7,000 in 2024 for a total of $14,000. You can use a Traditional IRA if you are above the income limit for a Roth.
  1. Max Out Employer’s Plan Above the Match - for 2024 this could be up to $23,000 per person.
  1. Taxable Brokerage Account -...
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Building Your E-Mail List

life hacking Mar 14, 2024

One of the first steps in starting an online business is to build an e-mail list of prospective customers that you can serve.

Perhaps the best way to build this list is to create a lead magnet that you give out for free in exchange for an e-mail address.

A lead magnet could be:

  • A PDF Guide
  • An eBook
  • A short course

Or anything you can give away for free that helps your audience accomplish some goal.

For me, I offer 3 free PDF guides on the following topics:

  1. Make $1,200 Quickly Guide
  1. Free Hawaii Trip Guide
  1. Earn Extra $10k Guide

These cater to my audience of pastors, missionaries and Christian leaders wanting to earn extra income in their spare time.

Another way to capture e-mail addresses is by starting a newsletter to offer weekly valuable content to your subscribers.

Once you have your lead magnet and/or a newsletter, you can start encouraging people to grab one of your guides or subscribe to your weekly newsletter.

This will begin to build your e-mail list. And...

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A Great Resource for Pursuing F.I.R.E.

life hacking Feb 23, 2024

I’ve written several newsletters about pursuing F.I.R.E. (financial independence, retire early).

Today I wanted to share a resource that I’ve found especially helpful on the journey.

It’s a website called Early Retirement Now: https://earlyretirementnow.com

This is a technical blog written by Karsten Jeske, a PhD in Economics with a CFA (chartered financial analyst) certification.

He writes about his own story of achieving financial independence and gives a ton of helpful wisdom for those of us on a similar journey.

He talks about topics such as:

  • How much you need to invest to become FI (financially independent)
  • What the safe withdrawal rate is for your portfolio once you hit FI
  • Ways to invest your emergency fund
  • Preferred allocations of your investments to achieve your FI goals

He also has a really helpful calculator to determine how close you are to reaching FI.

You can find it here: https://earlyretirementnow.com/safe-withdrawal-rate-series/


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Should You Invest 15% Into Retirement Accounts?

life hacking Feb 02, 2024

Investing 15% of your income into retirement accounts is Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step 4.

Is that a Baby Step worth following?

Absolutely, but with a caveat!

I think the percentage is too low.


Yep, here’s why.

Let’s assume you are in your early 40s like me (some of these variables will change with your age).

Average net worth of someone in their early 40s is: $549,600

Now, don’t panic if you’re my age or older and you’re not there. Some say median net worth is a more accurate estimate than the average (likely due to some people who are worth tens of millions or more at that age).

Median net worth of someone in their early 40s is: $135,600

Median household income: $74,580

Plugging in the median net worth & income at networthify.com with a 15% savings rate, you’ll be financially free (able to live on your investments) in 33.1 years, or when you’re in your mid 70s.

Is that what you’re hoping for? I would guess not.


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Treat Making Money As a Hobby

life hacking Oct 27, 2023

I once heard an investor say this & it has stuck with me ever since.

Treat making money as a hobby.”

For most of us, we don’t think about making money this way.

A hobby implies you do it on the side for fun. That it’s not your main gig.

But, for most of us, making money is a full-time job or a business that we work in full-time.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that.

But how great would it be if you made all the money you needed as a hobby and you could spend most of your time doing whatever the Lord led you to do?

Some pastors have told me that they’d probably be in a different ministry position if it wasn’t for the money. And they mean this in the most sincere way possible. Not that they’re in their current position for the money, just that what they have a vision for doing doesn’t pay much or anything at all. As a result, they feel they can’t pursue that passion yet, because they need more money than it can...

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How to Pay Back Your Student Loans Quickly

life hacking Oct 13, 2023

A few weeks ago, student loan payments resumed after a significant pause due to the pandemic.

I’m constantly amazed by how much student loan debt is out there.

Even people who didn’t do masters or doctoral work can have tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of student loan debt.

And I know it is suffocating so many people.

If you have student loan debt, I want to help you get it paid off ASAP. For many of you, it’s hung around way too long.

While paying off a little at time will eventually get you there (after years & years), putting huge chunks of cash on it will certainly get you there much quicker.

Where can you get huge chunks of cash?

You may be able to guess my answer.

Real estate.

In real estate, you are paid for value delivered, not for time spent. As a result, you can generate significant chunks of cash without spending the time you’d have to spend working overtime or at an hourly side gig.

There’s multiple ways to do this.


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Why You Should Own a Business

life hacking Sep 15, 2023

Do you own a business?

I’d guess that most pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders do not.

I’d like to give you 10 reasons why I think you should consider it.

  1. A business can add an additional stream of income. I’ve talked extensively in these newsletters about the importance of having multiple streams of income. I advocate having enough streams of income that if one dries up, the others can cover your basic expenses.
  2. A business can protect you if you lose your job. Jobs are not guaranteed. Most of us in ministry know this first-hand. Your church/ministry/organization may have the funds to pay you now, but they may not be able to pay you 6 months from now. Many church leaders learned this during the pandemic. Having a business allows you to be in control of at least one of your sources of income.
  3. A business can give you great flexibility. This is ideal for those of us in ministry. You can come & go as you please. And you can make extra money on the side in...
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My Favorite Index Funds And How to Invest In Them

life hacking Aug 25, 2023

I’ve written about index funds in the past & encourage you to start with that article here: Why You Should Invest in Index Funds

That article spoke about the why.

Today, I’ll share about the how.

Of the many advantages of broad-based index funds, two stand out:

  1. You’re buying the entire market, so you win with the winners & lose with the losers & make the average market return (which is better than most fund advisors can do for you over time)
  1. The expense ratios can be very low because it’s not actively managed (and thus you’re not having to pay a significant amount for salaries, research, etc)

For long-term investments, I like to buy broad-based index funds, rather than sector-focused index funds.

Broad-based index funds are funds that buy most of the market.

Sector-based index funds are funds that buy a portion of the market.

The best broad-based index funds are the ones with the lowest fees.

Vanguard & Fidelity are two brokerages...

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Get Up to $700 When You Fund a New Account

life hacking Jul 07, 2023

I recently funded a JP Morgan (Chase) Self-Directed Investing Account and plan to earn the bonus in a few months.

Here’s the link: https://account.chase.com/investing/self-directedoffer

The Self-Directed Account doesn’t charge fees or commissions when you purchase most stocks/bonds/funds online. It will charge you if you use a representative to transact for you, so you should definitely do it yourself.

They do charge a $75 fee if you ever withdraw all of the money.

But that is more than offset by the bonus you receive if you transfer a significant amount of investments in.

You can see their fees here: https://www.jpmorgan.com/content/dam/jpm/global/documents/self-directed-fee-schedule.pdf

Another benefit of transferring investments in is that you may qualify for Chase Private Client as a result, which is a concierge banking service. https://www.chase.com/personal/checking/private-client

The current offer from JP Morgan is:

$50 bonus when you transfer in $5,000-$24,999

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Sam’s Club and Costco Are Your Friends

life hacking Jun 23, 2023

As I’m writing this, my wife is about to leave for a Sam’s Club trip.

She used to go to Costco.

Where she goes just depends on which one is closer to our house.

One way to save significant money over the long-term is to buy as many items in bulk as you can.

I know it’s a pain to store a bunch of extra stuff, but the financial savings can make it worthwhile.

I asked my wife for some of the examples of items that cost a lot less at Sam’s than at Kroger.

Off the top of her head, she said, “Produce, paper towels, toilet paper, laundry detergent, and chips.”

I’m sure the list could go on.

The big shopping trip is always to Sam’s or Costco and then if there’s anything she can’t get there, she’ll make a quick trip to Kroger.

The goal is to spend as much as we can at Sam’s/Costco and as little as we can at Kroger.

It’s important to remember that in your efforts to generate extra income, it’s not only adding...

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