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Do More Good blog image of an eagle soaring in the glow of the sun

Do More Good

Do More Good blog image of an eagle soaring in the glow of the sun

Do more good by discovering how to gain more confidence, clarity and choices when it comes to your money.

Cue the drums. Sound the trumpets. Light the fireworks. Drum roll, please.

We’re excited to announce the release of our Financial Freedom Tool!

It’s software which helps you gain more confidence, clarity and choices when it comes to your money.

We talked more about this on The BIGG Success Show today. Here’s a summary of that discussion…

Financial freedom. What does it mean to you? Never mind that for now, we’ll talk about that next time. It’s the “what”.

Today, we want to share with you the “why”. Because the Financial Freedom Tool is more than just a software program. It’s a device to help you do more good.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s start at the beginning…

Personal finance powered by entrepreneurial finance

At BIGG Success, we’ve always been about bringing entrepreneurship to life. Whether or not you ever own a business, you are in charge of a very special enterprise – your life. You own it. So, it pays to think like an owner.

In addition, it can be useful to look at your household as a business. It’s not a large business. It’s more like a small business.

[Mary-Lynn] Since George teaches Entrepreneurial Finance at the University of Illinois, he’s familiar with the tools of the trade.

[George] I realized some of the main tools we use in entrepreneurial finance – tools which help owners really understand what’s going on with their business finances – these tools weren’t available in the personal finance space.

Our Financial Freedom Tool brings these powerful entrepreneurial finance tools to personal finance. We think of it as entrepreneurial personal finance.

Now, regular folks have access to the tools smart business people have used for years to manage their business better. (And while powerful, we make it so easy to use and understand. All you need to know is that smiley faces are good and frowny faces aren’t.)

It provides you with information about your money that you have probably never seen before. So, you can easily pinpoint opportunities to get ahead and make better money moves.

Do more good

Money itself is just a tool. It’s neither good nor bad. Money reflects the nature of the person who holds it. So we asked a question:

What if the good people of the world had more money?

We concluded:

If good people have more money, we can change the world for good.

Good people do good things with money.

What prevents good people from doing more? What holds us back from doing as much as we would like – for ourselves, for our loved ones, for the world?

When we think about how we can do more good, we tend to think in the future tense. It’s almost like a dream.

“It will be awesome when I can do that.”

“Once I’m making more money, I’ll do that.”

“I’d love to help that organization some day.”

But “some day” is usually just another word for “never”. Don’t delay.

Our Financial Freedom Tool helps good people have more money, so they can do more good.

It starts by seeing where you’re at. You may be able to start doing more good sooner than you think.

Hope for today and tomorrow

Let’s face it – we live in challenging times. We have witnessed one of the worst recessions in the history of the world. Even in good times, it’s not unusual for a large company to announce massive layoffs.

All the rules seem to have changed.

We used to have pensions, funded by our employer. Now we largely fund our own retirement.

Health insurance was a benefit for employees. Now its cost is largely paid by employees.

Fewer people have traditional jobs. We are moving to a “gig” economy.

Costs rise, even when wages are stagnant. People have to do more with less today. It’s harder. It can be discouraging.

We built the Financial Freedom Tool to give you more hope for today and tomorrow. It helps you know precisely how your finances stack up and you see exactly what to do to get to the next level. One level at a time, you reach BIGG success!

BIGG Takeaway

“Pinpoint opportunities to make more, save more, and do more good.”
Tweet this BIGG Takeaway

Do more good today

Want to make more? Want to save more? Want to do more good?

Then you owe it to yourself to learn more about our Financial Freedom Tool.

Here’s to your BIGG success!

George “The Professor” & Mary-Lynn
Co-Founders, BIGG Success

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00957-120418.mp3

The Most Important People of 2008

new_year Michael Bailey recently wrote a post about an e-mail you may have received before. It was very timely and got us thinking about events of 2008. Let’s test your memory …

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Who won the World Series? We know it was NOT the Chicago Cubs. Will that ever happen? The Philadelphia Phillies won it this year. Maybe baseball’s not your thing, so let’s try this one …

Who won the Super Bowl last year? The New York Giants.

What movie won the Oscar for best film?    No Country for Old Men

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georgeI have to admit that I haven’t seen this movie. On the other hand, I don’t have a country either!

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marylynn
You aren't an old man either…yet!

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Who topped the Forbes 400 this year? Warren Buffett overtook Bill Gates to be named the richest person in the world. Of course, this was long before the recent financial turmoil. We’ll see how he rates this next year.

Who was the American Idol? You may say, “Who cares?” You may not, but millions do. It was David Cook.

So how did you do? We found it interesting that we didn’t really remember many of these events without some prodding.

The surprising list of the most important people of 2008

We had to look many of these up. For example, as soon as we realized the Giants won the Super Bowl, we could picture in our minds the pass from Eli Manning, escaping the nearby defenders, to David Tyree, who caught the ball on top of his helmet. That catch allowed the Giants to keep the drive going that ultimately lead to the winning touchdown.

As we discussed it, we realized there are people who you remember without having to really think about it. So here are a few questions for you to think about to help discover the most important people of 2008:

  • Name a friend who helped you through a difficult time in 2008.
    They deserve a toast!
  • Name a person who taught you something worthwhile in 2008.
    Roll out the red carpet for them!
  • Name someone who made you feel special in 2008.
    Give them a bigg party horn toot!
  • Name a person who you particularly enjoyed spending time with in 2008.
    Reach out and touch them – figuratively, not literally!

This list is not exhaustive. Feel free to add categories. But you get the point – in spite of the fact that there are people who accomplish bigg things, who excel in their chosen field, we often don’t remember it.

It’s the people who affect us individually that we remember. We recall those little acts of kindness, that one-to-one help, individual caring and sharing. These things may seem small and inconsequential, but they’re not because they affect us personally.

So here’s one more question: Who would put you on their list?

We do! You’re on our list of the most important people of 2008 because you take time to check in on us. We thank you so much and wish you a peaceful, prosperous, and happy New Year! Here’s to your bigg success in 2009!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00298-123108.mp3

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Gift It Forward

gifts_2 It’s the day after Christmas. Here in the United States, that means the customer service lines are long as people return their gifts. In other parts of the world – Australia, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand – it’s Boxing Day.

If you’re not familiar with it, you might suspect that there’s fist-a-cuffs over gift exchanges! But Boxing Day is a tradition of giving gifts to people who are less fortunate.

We don’t want to leave the impression that we think us Yanks are Scrooges. A lot of people here are very generous throughout the holiday season. But we think Boxing Day is an interesting tradition, truly in tune with the spirit of this time of the year.

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The son who learned to give

We found a great story about a mom who taught her son about the value of giving. We’ll hit the highlights here. It’s written from the son’s point-of-view.

The first Christmas that he remembers, he was thoroughly excited about all of his gifts. His mom soon squashed his enthusiasm; she told him he had to choose one present to give away to a little kid who wasn’t as lucky as he was. It was a hard decision, but he finally chose a present to give away.

Another Christmas, he really had trouble deciding between his gifts before finally settling on his new checker set. His mom left the room, only to return a short time later with a piece of cardboard, crayons, and his bottle cap collection. They proceeded to make a checker set by hand.

The author remembers one year, when his mom had been laid off, that he didn’t get many gifts. She told him that he didn’t have to give any presents away that year. But he decided he still wanted to observe the tradition. That year, he gave away his new football. Six months later, he asked his mom what she wanted for her birthday. Being a wonderful mom, she requested a football!

The son continued this tradition of giving away one of his presents every year, even as an adult. He ended up passing it on to his own son.

A reserve to give

This boy’s mom made it clear to him that they gave something every year to what she called “poor people.” He says that, years later, he realized they were poor themselves. Isn’t it interesting – to some extent, poor is a state of mind. If we have enough in reserve that we can afford to give something away, we must not be poor.

Give away the good stuff

Picture yourself as a kid. Do you remember being excited by just about every single gift? What if your mom would have told you that you had to give one of them away? That would have been pretty hard, huh?

We often give what we don’t want any longer or we buy something new just for the purpose of giving it away. We don’t have an attachment to it. It seems to us that giving away something you just received would really pack a punch – even for an adult, but especially for a kid. 

The gift of time

Then there’s the checker set. After much debate, he decided to give that away, but his mom gave him a different option. He learned that material possessions are valuable, but the gift of our time is even more valuable. The checker set he gave away was one-of-a-kind and probably worth more than the mass-produced one he kept.

Giving when it hurts

We thought it was touching that, in the bad year when his mom said he didn’t have to give anything away, he still chose to give up his football. It showed how much he had learned from his mom.

She taught him another lesson when she asked for a football for her birthday. Sometimes when you give, it comes back to you, even when it’s unexpected.

Pass it on

He passed on this tradition of passing on gifts to his own son. Of all the Christmas traditions we could pass on to our kids, what could be better than establishing a tradition of giving?

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00295-122608.mp3

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The Best Present of All, No Matter How It’s Wrapped

(Image in today's post by zerobug)

Unwrapping Special Gifts

gifts The other night we saw an episode of According to Jim. Jim (played by Jim Belushi) was stressing because he had not had a good year – money was tight and it was Christmas time. He was afraid he wouldn’t be able to buy his kids the gifts they wanted.

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His wife, Cheryl (Courtney Thorne-Smith) pointed out to him that the kids had barely looked at the presents they got the year before. In fact, one was still in its original package – it had been unwrapped but never opened and played with!

Maybe that kid was just a collector at heart!

But this show made us think … sometimes we get caught up on getting something new and not reflecting on the gifts we already have. So today we want to unwrap some of our most special gifts.

If you want to listen to us open these gifts, just click the “play” button above. Otherwise, picture each package being opened …

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george
Why don’t you kick it off, Mary-Lynn?

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marylynnThis one is a real, real special one. It’s the gift of my Dad. He had a bit of a health scare going into the holidays. He’s fine – clean bill of health. So thank you, God. I love my gift this year! Alright George, it’s your turn.

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georgeMy gift is memories of Mom and Dad. Mom’s been gone a couple of years now so it’s still somewhat fresh, I guess. I think about the things I learned from them, the things that helped make me who I am, for better or worse – I can blame them! I had a very special Mom and Dad and I’m very thankful for that. Now, you’re up Mary-Lynn.

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marylynnOh, yes … we’ve had a cold winter here in Illinois. There have been nights when you just hear that wind outside howling and I am inside and toasty warm! So the gift of a nice warm house is something I’m very, very grateful for this year.

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georgeWe often don’t stop to think about the basics and how many people there are who don’t even have something as simple as that.

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marylynn
Exactly. Alright, George, tear into the next one.

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georgeOne of the features of our car is remote unlock. Man, as we’ve been out shopping in the cold, it’s really nice to be able to find your car quickly because it winks at us. And of course, to be able to get right in once you’re to it.

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marylynnThat’s a good one. Okay, I’ll open the next one. Ah, the gifts of our kitty cats – Fifi and Fraidy. We have original cat names, don’t we? Boy, they just give us gifts all year long … loving and purring.

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george
Yeah, and sometimes they leave us a little something on the floor!

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marylynn
We don’t like those gifts at all!

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georgeOkay, let’s open the next one. It’s for both of us, Mary-Lynn. Let’s see what it is … ah, it’s our families. You have a great family, Mary-Lynn. Love your dad and your sister.

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marylynnYou have a great family, too. Your sisters are all so fun – listening to all of the siblings laughing together. It’s just so nice!

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georgeYes, and the in-laws aren’t so bad either. A cool group of nephews and now, one little niece. And Mary-Lynn, while we’re on family, I have to say that I’m also very thankful for you.

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marylynn
Ah, that’s so sweet. I’m thankful for you too. You’re a special man!

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georgeIt brings up the point, though. I think sometimes those closest to us are the people we most take for granted. We often don’t show them the appreciation we should.

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marylynn
Yeah, I forget about you all the time, George.

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george
I know you do!

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marylynn
George, I’ve got to tell you … I think we scored this Christmas.

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georgeI’m with you on that – but Mary-Lynn, I just noticed something … over there in the corner, it looks like there’s another bigg present for us.

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marylynn
Alright, let’s open it up … ah yes, of course. This is something we’re really grateful for.

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georgeWe’re grateful for you! The fact that you spend time with us like you do – you share your insights, you listen to our show, you read our blog posts. However you spend time with us, we’re just so thankful.

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marylynnYou are the reason that we get to do what we love to do! That is such an amazing gift and we thank you so much.

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So to you we say, whatever your chosen holiday at this time of year, we wish you and yours the very best. For us, it’s Christmas … so Merry Christmas!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00294-122508.mp3

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The Best Present of All, No Matter How It’s Wrapped

(Image in today's post by orangeNess)

The Best Present of All, No Matter How It's Wrapped

present As if there’s not enough to do this time of year, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves, not only to find the perfect gift, but also to make sure it’s wrapped just right.

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marylynnA lot of people laugh at using the comic section as wrapping paper, but I just love that idea!

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georgeMy secret … I only buy from stores that gift-wrap. I know they’ll make it look a lot better than I could!

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And think about it – where does the wrapping paper end up anyway?

We think everything needs to be perfect or we’ll disappoint people. But will we?

We found a true story of a little girl who felt that same pressure. She was a third-grader in rural Central Kentucky. This story was originally published on Christmas Day of 1987. It happened the week before. The teacher told the story with the understanding that her name, the name of the school, and the name of the student would not be revealed.

The classroom was full of excitement as the teacher opened her gifts. She thanked each student by name as she admired their exquisitely wrapped presents. One of the students mentioned that someone was crying in the cloakroom.

The teacher went to the cloakroom and discovered a girl holding a gift. She asked, “Don't you want to give me your gift?"

The child was sobbing as she said, “Mine's not pretty."

"Well, now, why don't you let me be the judge of that," the teacher responded.

The little girl, still crying, handed her teacher the present, which was wrapped in pink wallpaper. Instead of ribbon, there were flowers.

As she looked at the present, the teacher was so touched that she began to cry. This little girl had tried so hard to make her present pretty. But after she saw her classmates’ gifts, she was too ashamed to put it under the tree with theirs.

A few days before, the class went to a local nursing home with presents for the residents. The teacher recalled that the little girl’s gift was a bar of motel soap, wrapped in notebook paper. On it was written, “To a friend with love”.

The teacher realized that day how special this little girl was. She came from a very poor family, but she had so much to give. For instance, she saw a woman sitting alone crying. The little girl left her group to visit with the woman.

“It doesn’t matter what’s in a package,” the teacher said. “All I ask of you for Christmas is your love, and you’ve already given me that. So if you didn’t give me anything else, that would be enough.”

At that moment, the little girl grabbed the teacher around the neck, gave her a big hug, and cried and cried.

The teacher pulled the pink wallpaper off the gift. She found a box that had originally held Lipton tea bags. She opened the box to discover a small blue towel, which was wrapped around two little glass votive cups – complete with dust around the candles. The child had brought these candles from home.

“I thought you would like these,” the little girl said. “Mama wrapped them up in the towel to keep them from breaking."

As the teacher fought the tears forming in her eyes, she thanked the child and told her that this was the perfect gift. A little girl, who had no money to buy a gift, and no wrapping paper or ribbon, had reminded her once again that a gift of love is the best present of all, no matter how it’s wrapped.

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We thank you for reading our post today. Join us next time when we’ll find out how the angel ended up on top of the tree. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00292-122308.mp3

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(Images in today's post by mai05)