Have you ever wondered how some people accomplish so much? Even, how some people make life look easy?


Individuals or even couples that succeed in life do not just leave it to chance. Most often they have a mission in mind and the steps to achieve the mission laid out in front of them. I personally call that Being Intentional. People who aren’t intentional often times can skate through life and get by, however eventually that lack of purpose or attention to the details that matter can catch up to them. When certain life events happen at the wrong time or if it occurs in a large enough way the consequences can be tremendous, possibly even insurmountable. When people have life circumstances that impact them in a large way they appear to have been battered and abused by life, like an old flag that is worn from being pushed around by the wind for too long. If that is you there is hope! If you don’t recognize these traits congratulations, but take greater control now.


I would like to encourage everyone to take charge of your life! Become that person that lives with great purpose and is on task towards being the best person that they can be; for those who are married to become the couple that you wanted to be when you were first married. Recently, I have redesigned my business to help individuals and couples live with greater intention.


Nobody sets out on any particular day to wreck their life. It is generally a slow slide with consistent apathy which allows it to ultimately be lost. I have chosen to establish a program that creates a very intentional process for three of the most important areas of anyone’s life. The primary areas that we focus on are Health, Relationships and Personal Finances. To many these three areas of focus may seem unrelated, however I would suggest that when each of these three areas of life are thriving, you are at your best. Let’s take a closer look:




The busy nature of life and the demands on our time often force the attention on our health to the backburner. The demands on our time allows us the excuse that we don’t have time to exercise. However, eating properly or improperly is a choice that we make about 3 to 4 times each day. The fact is that many do make time to exercise daily. There are even small things that we can do to change our daily routines to increase our overall activity level. Everyone is capable of choosing to eat well just like everyone is capable of making time to exercise or simply become more active as a part of their daily routine. These things are a choice and when treated with intention and we are motivated and held accountable they will typically improve.

From my point of view, as a financial planner, I would like to point out the correlation between exercising and earning. A Cleveland State University study, The Effect of Exercise on Earnings, goes into great detail (34 pages of great detail) to conclude that there is a correlation between those that exercise earn more. The most simplistic portion of the study states that those who exercise typically have more energy throughout the day, greater job satisfaction and a higher promotion rate. It continues to parallel the impact that these traits have on being far less likely to become unemployed. The higher promotion rate had a direct correlation between those that were not overweight attributing to the highest percentage of the workforce that received promotions. From personal experience with my clients over the past 19+ years of working with their personal finances, healthier individuals generally have a larger amount of discretionary income due to lower healthcare costs.


Relationally, the idea mentioned above that those who exercise have more energy and are more positive throughout the day is quite significant. Imagine the impact that couples would experience if everyone had more energy at the end of the day. Imagine the relationship change if you were able to exhibit more patience with your children due to having a better outlook and more energy. To me, this seems like one of the areas that will be impacted first and foremost.


Take charge of your health!




My pastor often states that Love is a Verb! Obviously if it is a verb it requires action. What type of action? An action that is designed specifically for the person that you love, whether your spouse, child, boyfriend or girlfriend. You must meet them where they are!


As a part of the Being Intentional process I would like to introduce a bit of a scientific approach to understanding how to communicate with and how to better understand the person that you love. We use several testing methods that uncover that exact communication styles that your spouse/partner, even children desire from you. Once you have gained a new level of understanding of these techniques we encourage that you both (Spouse/Partner/Child) team up to establish common goals and bonds like you have never done before. An American Express study, related to couples finances, indicated that 78% of couples who actively plan their life together stay together. That’s Huge!


Once we have developed an intentional approach to communicating and planning…. next comes the fun part, Implementing! We create reminder systems and goals for being intentional about staying engaged in the relationships that are most important.


I don’t believe that I have to go very deep into the explanation that it is far more financially rewarding to stay together. If you aren’t certain about what I mean, Google It!


Personal Finances


Life isn’t just about making money, but it is important. It is most important when you have someone to enjoy and share it with for a long time. However, we inherently know that it is important but many people don’t have the time or knowledge to continually investigate the right financial moves to make and when to make them. As a result many people make very few decisions or are at best reactionary, making decisions only when forced. Being intentional as it relates to your personal finances means establishing financial goals and action items that are both in line spiritually and with your future hopes and dreams.


First it is important to understand where you are financially. You can’t get to where you are going without knowing where you are! This is best accomplished with an easy to understand financial model which provides you the clarity that you desire. Next, it is important to eliminate areas where you are wasting money, but you must also maximize all of the areas where you spend money. Lastly, create action items that are monitored and that you are held accountable to achieve. This is a process that allows you to achieve a level of success that goes far beyond most peoples expectations.


The American Express study that I mentioned earlier shared these facts about couples and their financial lives.


  • 61% of couples say that discussions about household finances lead to arguments.
  • 50% of couples say the financial habits of their spouse drive them crazy.
  • 75% of couples have financial secrets they’ve kept from their spouse.

Take control! You don’t have to be like the couples in this study. Be intentional with your personal financial decisions so that it doesn’t undermine your relationships and your health.


Being intentional in the areas of your health, relationships and personal finances will create an impact on your family, friends and certainly you and that is worth it!


Hope that you will allow Drive Planning to help.









Are You Banker Ready?

August 11, 2015 — Leave a comment

Is there a difference between meeting with a bank and a banker?

You’d better believe it; there is a huge difference! A bank is an institution, brick and mortar; even a staid set of rules and provisions that bank employees apply to the general public. Quite different than dealing with a banker, who is a person which is capable of creating a relationship. A banker is not just a set of rules but a living breathing person; one who has the ability to cast judgement upon you in either a favorable or unfavorable manner depending upon the circumstances. Banking rules have tightened over the last several years. Today we need to operate with a set of standards that makes them want to do business with us.

In the past, before I was enlightened, I had made the mistake of telling clients that they should be bank ready at all times. In fact what I actually meant was that a business, family or an individual would benefit from always being Banker Ready. Being banker ready has several components which will be detailed below, but most importantly is the relationship is established in advance. Just as in personal/non-business relationships to be “known” means someone understands who you are and what you stand for, your character, how you do business or simply operate. Hopefully in this type of a true relationship there would even be an understanding of your hopes and dreams that you desire for your family or business.

Being banker ready allows you to expand your business or personal wealth building through the use of other people’s money. Using the leverage that banks provide has the ability to create wealth much faster than someone who works to continually save in order to invest. Therefore, one who is always banker ready has the potential to act quickly when an opportunity is presented. That doesn’t mean that I encourage acting in a hastened manner, but being prudent doesn’t mean being slow.

Here are 5 facets to being Banker Ready.

Be Organized –

Recall the idea that a banker has the human capability to cast judgement? Being organized allows you to provide accurate documentation in a timely manner. If a banker asks for documents and it takes several weeks to gather them; likely they are out of date or incomplete the banker will not believe that you are on top of your business dealings.

Proper Accounting –

There is a difference between accounting and tax returns. Proper accounting means that you have month in and month out an accurate set of books.


  • Cash Flow Analysis
  • Profit and Loss Statements
  • Spending Plan/Budget
  • Merchant Service Receipts

Proper Tax Returns –

This means that you have accurately filed returns. Depreciation schedules that are accurate, ideally with Cost Segregation Studies included. An important fact in this step is to show that you are profitable. Remember this is the proof that you will be able to repay the banker should they loan you money for your investment/business project or home.

Full Economic Value of Insurance –

Remember that a banker is grading each deal on being mutually beneficial. However, the primary concern of the banker is that they get repaid even if you were to die or become disabled. Maintaining maximum levels of life insurance and disability income replacement insurance allows the investor to collateralize a portion of the insurance to the bank which ensures the bank gets made whole, but most importantly your family also doesn’t suffer bankruptcy or additional loss in the event of death or disability. I have seen a number of deals go south, even prior to getting started, when this wasn’t in place ahead of time.

Relationship –

This means to take an intentional approach to creating a business or even personal friendship with a banker prior to needing their services. Drop in a local bank, get a referral from a colleague (best) all best when done in advance. Each year or quarter you should proactively update your records that the bank keeps on file. Provide them in advance! Include a Personal Financial Statement at a minimum along with any of the banks required documents. This will be a WOW Factor that assures you the best deal/rates when it is time to get a loan or credit line.

These are five tips that will ensure that you are ready to take action when the need arises for a good banker relationship.

Are there others that you practice? Please tweet, connect on Facebook or LinkedIn with any other ideas.


An iconic venue familiar to many Atlantans appears to be moving. Smiths Olde Bar, known for hosting great bands, has been ordered to vacate their premises due to the building being placed on the market to sell. This highlights a conversation that many small business owners often choose to ignore. Leasing space vs Owning their property.

Owning the property that your business utilizes can be a great win for your personal wealth building and tax management.

A familiar dilemma that faces many start up businesses is knowing where to place their business and exactly how much space they will need. I certainly recognize the challenge here. Once these items have been ironed out; I encourage a business owner to begin taking steps to own the property that they inhabit. If you have never been through this process before I would encourage you to work with a well healed business consultant/ financial professional to help guide you through the process.


  • How to Own the Property – Likely in a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) for asset protection
  • Consider a Cost Segregation Study – This allows you to properly manage the depreciation on the property. Creating potentially significant tax savings.
  • Pay Yourself Rent – Another way to create tax advantages within your business.
  • Avoid Paying Someone Else Rent! – This is a big one. Most importantly you maintain control over your business. Watch The Smiths Olde Bar Story.
  • Retirement Planning – This property could become an income stream that funds your retirement, whether you own the business or not during that time of your life.
  • Estate Planning – Owning Real Estate has advantages when you consider techniques to manage and mitigate Estate Taxes.

Business Owners, I encourage you to address the issue of your business and the real estate that it inhabits. Whether you are currently in a position to own or not, begin taking the proper steps today. You will be glad that you did!

Please follow Todd Burkhalter and Drive Planning for ideas like this and many others which will enhance your personal net worth and your business’ value.


Follow Todd Burkhalter:  Twitter   Facebook   Blog

Follow Drive Planning: Twitter    Facebook