What is the Intentional Academy? Overview

Last week I set out to answer two questions: “What is the Intentional Academy?” and “Who is it for?”. The tricky part about answering these is that it takes deep reflection – I’ve had an idea in my head for a while. It’s been so hard to put words to it.

Here’s the recap on my progress: I managed to answer the “WHO” question by writing a manifesto. I started to answer the “WHAT” question by painting a picture of the destination. This week, I’ll be hashing out what the vehicle needs to look like to get you there. That vehicle is The Intentional Academy.

Any vehicle is made up of key components – none of them will get you there on their own. But when used together? Well, you know. What are the key components?

  • A Mission – not The Intentional Academy’s mission, YOUR mission to reach your destination
  • A Community – of those who have gone before and those who are coming behind
  • A Collection of Resources – that will enable to you complete your mission

This week I’ll tell you all about the Community and the Resources we’re putting together for you.

I will say this: we’re in the very beginning stages of building the Intentional Academy. Signing up now requires a bit of faith on your part. We want to thank you for your trust: if you join now, you’re automatically an Intentional Academy Founding Member. You’ll have special access, free for life. Sign up now with the form on this page.

Where are we going? (Part 2: Money)

This week, my goal is to answer two important questions: “What is the Intentional Academy?” and “Who is it for?”

When it comes to money, this is where The Intentional Academy is going:

Money: The Intentional Academy is going to take you to a place where you know what to do with your money to enjoy life now, while setting yourself up for prosperity in the future. You’ll know the difference between “broke” and “poor.” You’ll understand how debt can take over your life, and how to break free. Most importantly, you’ll know how to control your money so that it doesn’t control you.

Would you like to be there? Then join the Intentional Academy. It’s free. Sign up today using the form on this page.

Who Is the Intentional Academy For?

Yesterday I shared that we’re in a special time at the Intentional Academy. We’re on a quest to answer two questions: “What is the Intentional Academy?” and “Who is it for?”

There’s an educational principle called backward design. As common sense as it sounds, the principle isn’t applied very often. The basic idea is that we start with the intended outcome, and then work backwards to design experiences that cause a learner to grow and achieve it.

That principle applies here: before I can answer WHAT the Intentional Academy is, I need to determine the outcomes it is trying to create. I’ll also need to define WHO I’m guiding towards these outcomes. Then I’ll build the Intentional Academy to serve those people, and get them where they’re headed.

Today let’s answer the WHO question:

Go read The Intentional Learner’s Manifesto (yesterday’s post). After reading it, were you:

  • Tempted to argue? Did you rail against the ideas, talking about how the world “should” be? Did words like “fairness” come into your mind? Did you want to find other people who agree with you and start throwing rocks? Then the Intentional Academy isn’t for you. Not yet anyway.
  • Slightly angry, but mostly hopeful? Did you have trouble sitting down, feel an uncontrollable urge to DO SOMETHING. Did you want to be the person that the words describe? Did you start to believe that you COULD be that person? Did you want to connect to other people on the same journey so you could help each other grow? Then the sign up form is on this page and we can’t wait to meet you!

Brainstorming an Intentional Learner’s Manifesto

I am an Intentional Learner.

I see a gap between what I learn in school and what I need to succeed. I don’t wait for the system to fix itself, I leverage its strengths and overcome its weaknesses.

I believe that my life is my fault. I may have started from a different point than everyone else. My path may be easier or harder than everyone else’s. But I will not let my past dictate my future. I have the power to act and succeed, or to do nothing and fail.

I own my time and my money. I realize that both are finite and I decide how I spend them. I do not allow either to limit my future.

I learn to add incredible value, not to make grades. I add value by meeting people’s needs. My grades are a reflection of my performance, not the reason for it.

I affirm that my ability to breathe does not entitle me to an income. My ability to create something that changes a person’s life leads to payment proportional to the impact. I am not paid by the hour, I am paid by the result.

I may not know my dream yet, but I know where my current path leads. I am not burying my head in the sand, hoping that if I follow the herd good things will happen. I embrace the future I see for myself, but I hold it loosely. I am in the business of opening doors.

I know that I will perform as I practice, so I practice well. I am not waiting for certification. My results are my certification.

This is my time. This is my money. This is my career. I am an Intentional Learner.

Want to be a part of a community of people like this? Join the Intentional Academy using the form on the this page. It’s free!

New ways to make money as a student

One of the scariest things we can do is step out on our own. It’s much more comfortable to follow the pack, to take advantage of the same opportunities that we’ve been taking advantage of for years.

Let me ask a question to drive home the point: imagine you’re a broke college student in need of some part-time work. What do you do?

Here’s a typical list: retail jobs (clerk, bagger, stocker), labor (construction, auto repair, landscaping), or on-campus jobs (dining hall, library, tutoring center, research assistant).

What’s interesting about this list is that it hasn’t changed.

I worked at one of each of these jobs as a student 10 years ago. My parents had these jobs in the 70’s, my grandparents in the 50’s.

Yet the jobs themselves have changed. We’ve been perfecting these processes for a century. We’ve figured out how to squeeze every last drop of value out of them. What this means for you is that they pay as little as possible.

So why do we flock to these jobs? They’re easy to get.

If you hadn’t noticed, the internet has changed everything.

Here are some new part-time jobs you could have: copywriter, editor, web designer, graphic designer, social media marketer, app developer.

Are there full-timers with experience and degrees dominating these markets? Sure. Can you compete? Not directly.

But there are a whole lot of motivated part-timers. And thank goodness: small fledgling companies can’t afford the big dogs. You could make great money doing these things if you just spent a little time hunting for opportunities with your social network and favorite search engine.

If you’d like to learn how to look for the opportunities everyone else is missing, join the Intentional Academy. It’s free. Sign up today using the form at the top of this page.

In the Black

In the black. Today, for the first time in our lives (that’s my wife and I), our net worth is a positive number! What does that mean? It means that if you took everything of value that we own (a car, a retirement fund, the cash in the bank) and sold it, we could pay off our debt and have a bit left over.

25 months ago, we had credit card debt, a car loan, a furniture loan, and student loans. Just. Like. Everyone. Else.

All of that is now gone, except for one final student loan! $76,000 paid in 25 months!

Today is a celebration. The message I am sending you is this: 25 months ago we had over $1400 a month in MINIMUM payments. Our income barely covered living expenses and these bills. There was no room for fun, whatsoever. We realized that this is no way to live.

So we got to work! We earned extra income. We sold things. We ate a lot of peanut butter. And while we haven’t yet reached our goal of being completely debt free, we have the end in sight!

Best of all, we didn’t do anything magical to get here. You can come too. If you’d like some help and support along the way, you should join the Intentional Academy. It’s a community for people who want to take control of their time, money, and careers. It’s free. Sign up using the form at the top of this page!

The shortcut to Loser-ville

Last week I talked about cars, and how to own one without damaging your future. I received several responses that sounded like:

“I deserve to drive a nice car. I work hard.”

I hate to break it to you, but working hard doesn’t grant you an exception to grade school arithmetic. If you deserved a nice car, you’d have the money to buy one.

You don’t deserve nice things because you WORK hard.

You deserve them because you WORKED hard.

If you want to spend the rest your life as a loser keep talking about what you deserve.

If you want to spend the rest of your life broke, keep up the entitlement attitude.

If you want to be in the upper 5%, do what 95% of people aren’t willing to!

You don’t deserve anything because you work hard. You deserve things because you worked hard.

I’ll do you one better: eliminate the words “I deserve it” from your vocabulary. They’re usually a justification for a purchase you know you shouldn’t make anyhow.

If you’re tired of promising away your future to pay for your past, then you should join the Intentional Academy. It’s a free community for people who want to manage their time, get control of their money, and launch their dream careers. Sign up with the form at the top of this page!

How FutureRich people buy cars

I’ve been ranting about cars this week. Wednesday I talked about how much a car payment actually costs you over your life. Hint: it’s millions of dollars. Yesterday I pointed out how cars lose much of their value in the first two years. Today I want to give you a new way of thinking about buying cars.

Buy used cars with cash.

The two biggest mistakes people make here are (1) buying too much car and (2) keeping the car too long. They’re related.

If you don’t have a huge pile of cash that you’re willing to drop on a used car, then you should buy a less expensive one and move up. Save a $2,000 and buy a “beater”. Save six months and move up to a $3,000 car. Wait another six and move up again. Depending on how much you make and how much you care, you’ll be driving a $15,000 used car in no time. That’s a really nice used car by the way.

You’ll have minimized losses on depreciation, and you’ll never have made a payment.

What most people do is hold on to used cars for years and years. That’s when they start breaking down and now you’re dumping money into repairs that you could have spent on a replacement.

Why does my idea work so well? Used cars aren’t dropping much value in 6 months. You get most of your money back out. Once you’ve hit your goal (whatever level of car that is), the sweet spot is to buy 2 year old cars and sell them when they’re about 4 (that’s the timeframe that cars seem to lose the least value). You can easily save the difference in that time and move into another 2-year old car.

One disclaimer: this doesn’t work at dealerships.

Go private party or expect to spend a lot more money (they’ve got to pay for all those screaming ads on the radio after all). There’s bothing saying you have to play fair either. Buy cars at auction and MAKE money on them six months later…

If you’d like to learn about other ways to think differently about money, you should join the Intentional Academy. It’s free. Sign up using the form at the top of this page.

Should I buy a brand new car?

Yesterday I showed how an average new car, bought on payments, costs you between $100,000 and $200,000 over your life. You should always pay cash, rather than going into debt. But if you have the cash, should you buy brand new?

Buying brand-new cars is something wealthy people should do.

How wealthy? Let me put it this way: I bought a brand-new car for about $20,000. It was worth $4,000 with a full tank of gas 4 years later (and it was in immaculate condition). So that car was a machine that destroyed $16,000. When you’re wealthy enough to be able light a pile of $16,000 cash on fire and not flinch, buy a brand new car.

So what to do instead? Buy used cars with cash.

The two biggest mistakes people make here are (1) buying too much car and (2) keeping the car too long. They’re related.

Tomorrow, I’d like to present an alternate plan.

In the meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more ways to think differently about your money, you should join the Intentional Academy. It’s free. Sign with the form at the top of this page.

How much does an average new car cost? The answer will shock you.

How much does a new car cost? Let’s do an experiment to find out.

Grab a partner and take a drive to that stretch of road in your town where all of the car dealers seem to have agreed to open shop. As you drive past, have your buddy write down the prices in the wind shields. Inevitably, you won’t have a single actual price in your list. You will have what the down payment is, the cash back value (does anyone even know what that means?), and the monthly payment.

The average monthly payment will be over $400/month if you’re in America.

Visit the dealers’ websites. Find the prices there. Oh wait, you can’t. You’ll find people who look happy standing around cars with big letters on top of the image:

“0% apr* for 72 months!”

“No credit, no problem! We finance*”

*I’m not sure what the asterisks point to, but they’re always there.The average new vehicle loses about 75% of its value in the first 3 years. Which means at the end of that 72 months, the new tires and full tank of gas will be worth more than your car. So what do car dealers sell? Debt. And if you think for one minute that the “0%” rate is because the car dealer is giving you charity, guess again. They make out like bandits on the markup, selling your debt to a third party, and late payment penalties that about half the customers will face.

FYI $400/month over your working lifetime (40 years) invested at 10% is $2.5million.

Even if I am half wrong, that’s a lot of money to pay for 7 cars (that’s how many you would get if you traded each one in at the end of the 72-month payment plan).

So what’s the average new car cost?

Between $100,000 and $200,000.

Hate these numbers? Me too. Come over to the Intentional Academy to learn how to do better. It’s free. Fill out the form at the top of this page.