Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fear-Be-Gone! Get Financially Ripped one Baby Step at a Time!

Clank... clank... clank... clank...  thud, whirr, clank, whirrr, whirrr, thud, CLANK. A hushed but audible radio plays in the background. Several sweaty bodies are scattered around the place, in various contortions of abstract motion.

I find myself very uncomfortably standing at the front desk of the Ottawa Nautilus Fitness Center circa 2001...  Hang on for this story, you're gonna laugh!

Looking across the vast gym, I am completely out of my comfort zone and feeling absolutely insecure.

To go back to that place and time I should provide more about my lifestyle at age 22. I'll make this part fast... #1 Goal? Have FUN!  Then work hard and Play Harder! Every night is a new adventure, Never worry about tomorrow! Needless to say, the fitness level of my body and my wallet was completely Out of Shape!

I don't remember exactly what brought me to the Gym. It may have been the latest great idea of the group of guys I ran around with. We were going to be in great shape and have fun doing it!

Honestly though, standing at the front of this gym in downtown Ottawa, all that energy and excitement had drained out and fear was taking over...

My mind observed a whole new and alien world to me. I didn't know what was what. I felt no bearing on where to start. I felt silly for being worried so much about something that seemed so simple to all the other folks in the gym.

I feared looking stupid, doing the wrong things & having my weakness of body and strength on display for all the gym to see.

I had years of guilt washing over me. I never was interested in physical fitness until now. What had I been thinking! Was it too late? Did I deserve a fit body when I had neglected mine so long? I saw myself on square #1.

In my head, everyone here had worked out for 4 hours a day, every-day for their whole lives. They were all triathletes and here I am, the weird new kid who probably will drop the bench-press bar on my face or something! I had beaten myself mentally, before I ever tried.

Anyway, I did sign up to be a member.

I began on the treadmill. I jogged a little and let my new surroundings sink in. I tentatively played with the machines trying not to break them or me. I met "the guys" for some light lifting and low reps. It didn't kill me :)

Over the next few weeks, I began to feel more comfortable with my own capabilites. I did, little by little, learn to enjoy this new facet to my lifestyle. Step by step on the treadmill, my confidence grew and I came closer to being comfortable in my body and in this once terrifying place...

That experience began an understanding for me that I always want physical fitness to be part of my life. A gym-rat I am not. I did later become a big fan of bicyling and had about 3 years of very rewarding miles out on the trail. Although the focus comes and goes, I've never forgotten how good it feels to be in shape and confident in my physical abilities...

Sooo, this world of financial fitness? How does it make you feel?

Are these blog topics, and word Budget or Dave Ramsey, bringing anxiety, just to think about? Is the thought of using cash as your spending tool just as scary as a squat-bar loaded with giant weights? Do you feel guilt for years of couch-potato-like financial habits? Does it feel like it may be too late to start getting in shape?

I know those feelings.

I've lived those feelings too.

I was also the poster-child for out-of-financial-shape-ness!

I had all those same feelings when I began my journey to financial freedom. I thought it was too late. I thought I had too much debt. I thought I had no control on the cost of living my life.

I had that same gym-like anxiety sitting in the waiting room at a hospital reading Dave's book the Total Money Makeover. I was afraid people in public would see that I was out of shape and weak with my money...

Truth is, just by being IN the gym. Just by having that book IN my hand, I had Victory.

I had taken the first baby step. I was TRYING!

Every little step of progress helped me to feel more confident than the last. The fears of "what if I can't", "what if it's too hard" & "what if I fail" start to melt when you get moving in the right direction. The act of trying is what shrinks the fear.

If I can become financially fit, believe me, So Can You!

I see things from the other side now. I have mastered the equipment and techniques of building a solid financial body. I still enjoy the adrenaline of working those money muscles. And Yes, I fall off track every once in a while, just as all humans do :)

If you want a personal trainer who understands. One who has transitioned from taking bill-collector's calls to being completely debt-free, then my coaching services are for you. We'll use the Baby Step approach to gaining confidence and climbing toward debt-freedom.

My money-gym membership info is available at check out "What is Coaching" for details.

You have the ability in you. I can show you how to put it into action. And, YES you will be more attractive, inside and out, when you know that you have a buff & chiseled
financial physique!


Aaron Nichols
True North Financial Fitness Coaching

Got a leaky Wallet? Bulging budget or none at all? Dilapidated Debt that you're sick of living with?  You are losing hard earned dollars every month! Let me show you how to spackle the cracks and firm up your financial foundation. DIY or using my professional services, either way, the best time to fix your finances is Now!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

We're droppin the Green Flag!

Financial Fitness. It's coming on like a nitrous-powered dragster. Can you feel the ground rumbling?

Surely you are noticing this new wave of thinking. It's actually old school that is now becoming cool again :)
  • Interest in having savings.
  • Pride in conservative spending.
  • People starting to go on a Stuff Diet.
  • Less impulse to get a loan for a purchase.
  • Overall more emphasis on wise money habits.
This is absolutely the best thing to come out of the change in our economy in the last couple years. The growth of our relationship with debt and it's impacts on our lives is tremendous.

We all had a wonderful chance to learn how important it is to not be spread too thin with our money. I see GREAT things in the future for those who've learned from the mistakes of our culture in recent years.

Wise people from Ottawa and the surrounding areas about to embark on a financial learning journey. They have chosen to attend Financial Peace University. These classes are being held all over the nation. I am volunteering to host one at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Ottawa. It starts on Monday night... I AM EXCITED!!!!!

"More than one million families have attended Financial Peace University with amazing results. On average, these families paid off $5,300 in debt and saved $2,700 in just the first 90 days!" (from DR's website)

All 18 people in my class had a pivotal moment when they made the decision to do this. With one little three letter word of "yes", they've transformed thier financial future forever. VICTORY with a word.

It won't be easy, but Everyone who attends all 13 weeks and implements the changes, will be driving a fast moving dragster toward Financial Peace!

Proud and honored are just a couple of the things I feel about being the host for this event.

I have personally lived the experience of the ride to debt-freedom. It will be inspiring to watch this class develop toward the same goal. In this group setting they will see that they are not alone. Together they'll support and encourage each other. It will be a wonderful gathering of energy focused on the acceptance of debt-reality and real action toward improvement!

My individual coaching services are best for the kickstart needed to get your financial engine rebuilt and idling correctly. We can even work together toward a sweet tune-up and solid reliable ride.

Financial Peace University is always a recommended follow-up to that package. For the long term health of your money-motor, FPU provides instruction for You to become your own certified mechanic, customizer and driver of a Real Financial Hot Rod! Are you ready? 

Visit the first night of an FPU Class near you. It is free with no obligation. I warn you, it is tough to see the fun and not want to join up. In this race, Everybody gets to win!


Aaron Nichols
True North Financial Fitness Coaching

Got a leaky Wallet? Bulging budget or none at all? Dilapidated Debt that you're sick of living with?  You are losing hard earned dollars every month! Let me show you how to spackle the cracks and firm up your financial foundation. DIY or using my professional services, either way, the best time to fix your finances is Now!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sno' Money

Good Morning from a Brightly Snowlit, Chilly and Debt-Free Corner of Princeton, Kansas.

Honestly, I've been wanting this fluffy white stuff to show up!  I've had a snow-blog idea that's been rolling around in my mind for awhile now. Hope you enjoy!

Here it is, Your Challenge: Cover a thousand square miles in 5 inches of white fluffy frozen powder in just a few hours... Okay...

How would you begin a process like this? What would be your first step? Can you even fathom it?

Well it's a huge area - so you need something really really big right? Where would you start? Seems like waaaay to big a project to ever get going!

And from these pictures from south and west of Princeton, we have proof once again that it can be done. It is proven time and again every winter here in Kansas...

I am amazed when seeing this beauty and realizing that it is all done with billions of tiny snowflakes that are each created unique. The first several billion of these creations fall to the ground and melt immediately! They Give of themselves to cool down the surface so the others can take hold. Eventually with more and more and more flake effort, the whiteness starts to stick and then takes over...

How opposite of thinking is this from anything that ever crossed the mind of a human. Our creator's ways are just beautifully amazing.

A day of country cruising and enjoying the new-fallen snow reminds me that we are not nearly as smart as we think we are. Our minds are not built like that of our creator. But we can learn those ways.

When it comes to finances, we believe we have the right answer. We believe that our way of Spending Money Wisely and Having the Things We Need is best.

With research we find out that these are not the ways of the wise and learned in the recorded history. Dave Ramsey will say he teaches God's and Grandma's ways of dealing with money. It actually goes way beyond that. The wise teachings of old from all over the world, every faith and nationality, are all chock-full of emphasis on Giving, Saving and Then Spending.

Is this the way that your mind approaches payday?

Our universe has such a perfect rhythm and balance, but we are not using this architecture in our own lives. The more we can find out about the True ways of handling money, the more we find out that our potential is surprisingly inconceivable.

Not all winter blessings are out in the cold. Not all rich blessings are money. Case in point: I was blessed to share Monday's Snow Day Drive with the beautifully adventurous Lindsay. Yup, God likes me :)

We do have the ability and responsibility to blanket our financial future with snowy white riches.  

If you're ready to begin this process, throw out all your smart ideas. Get some of God's. He seems to know what he's doing :)


Aaron Nichols
True North Financial Fitness Coaching
Got a leaky Wallet? Bulging budget or none at all? Dilapidated Debt that you're sick of living with?  You are losing hard earned dollars every month! Let me show you how to spackle the cracks and firm up your financial foundation. DIY or using my professional services, either way, the best time to fix your finances is Now!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

College Prep Chemistry at Ottawa High

Good Morning from a nice sunny January Day in Princeton!

Waaaaaay back in the 90's when I attended Ottawa High School, in Ottawa, Kansas, There were a couple words that could strike fear in the heart of this slightly above average student: "Doc Cain!" Although I had no rational basis for being so scared of Mr. Cain and his College Prep Chemistry Class, I just plain was.

I took the course in my Junior Year and have many vivid memories. College Prep Chemistry was the most comprehensive and in-depth study that I had experienced in my 16 years. The kids in class were your typical over-achievers. We felt this was important stuff that was preparing us for the courses we'd take at University level in the years to come. We did experiments and bent little glass pipettes. We used crucibles and torches and took notes and were very serious about it all. The work load was tough, the subjects abstract.

Big projects required extra time in class. Somehow no matter how early you showed up, it seemed that Mr. Cain had already been there for hours. The classical music on NPR was a mind-bending contrast from the CD's I was spinnin in my 84' pickup truck.

We spent many hours after school as well. Small groups in the Cyclone Room would be head-down and scribbling pages and pages worth of equations, observations and solutions to complex problems. Usually we would work together and share ideas on how to complete the task at hand. Among these kids, we would usually find a suitable answer.

The most crushing moments came for me while working on a several page written document, and coming to a point where I could continue no more. The problem was not solved, and I was stuck! I would have had an hour or maybe many involved in this one equation. After asking the other smarties, and seeing their looks of confusion at what I had created, I knew there was only one thing to do... I had to go back into the class and ask Him for help... Mr. Cain was always glad to assist, but the pain of showing my stupidity to him on paper was an ego-killer!

I remember several of these moments, I always had the same experience. EVERY SINGLE time I went to him for help, I had two pages or more worth of words, numbers and symbols written by hand. I wanted help with the last two sentences or equations where I had become stuck. I proudly showed him all the work that went into this huge mess of lead on paper and asked him for just a little boost or fix for this little issue I had run into...

EVERY SINGLE TIME I had made my mistake Waaaaaay up at the beginning.  Every single time, he would look at the place on the page I was pointing, disregard that, and run his eyes hours back in time, up the sheet, to the place I started my screw-up. Aaaggghhhhh! NO!!

Humbled, Crushed and feeling stupid, I would sulk back to the booth by the windows and start all over...

You know what? When I would use his advice and do it right from the beginning, the problem would usually be Much faster, easier and more satisfying to complete than before. Even in starting over, the problem could get finished on time and turned in with a good grade.

In that world and in our financial world we are allowed to continue with our mistakes for awhile. We get to struggle along and think we're getting somewhere. It may even look, at first glance, like we are. These denials of the truth and false-identities are what Debt gives to us. Our metaphorical chemistry assignment page of life can look like we've accomplished much. A nice big house, expensive college degree, newer cars and lots of trips to the city for Stuff we Need. This is what the average American's written page looks like.

But, we are not living at a level of True Wealth. We have financial problems. Our money stresses do not stem from this month's high utility bills. The issue is not our unexpected flat tire. It's not Christmas's fault or the cost of the kids' traveling sports team.

Truth is, we've made a mistake waay back at the beginning. Our behavior pattern, our perception of money and wealth in general is Wrong. I guess I'll be just as unpopular as Mr. Cain when I tell you that you've got to start over with your ideas about money in general. We've got to go back to square one and learn new things. That is, if you ever want to get unstuck from your finances and move on to the exciting and prosperous next level.

The shining silver lining here parallels my experience with a long chemistry equation back in 1996. When you start over and get it right from the beginning, the answer to the problem comes so much Faster, Easier and More Satisfying that you forget all about the years and years of doing it the wrong way. That moment of regret from being dumb, is blown away by the Fun and Thrilling stride after stride you're taking when you know you're on the right track.

Stay tuned to my blog, check out my website or go to . The truth is out there and I'd like to introduce you to it. You deserve it! You work too hard to not be enjoying the level of peace, security and generosity that you have earned. Take it from me, a debt-free kid from Ottawa High, it is absolutely worth the ego-hit to start all over and get it right.

Thanks Mr. Cain, for the chemistry and more importantly: Life Lessons!


Aaron Nichols
True North Financial Fitness Coaching

Got a leaky Wallet? Bulging budget or none at all? Delapidated Debt that you're sick of living with?  You are losing hard earned dollars every month! Let me show you how to spackle the cracks and firm up your financial foundation. DIY or using my professional services, either way, the best time to fix your finances is Now!