Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Finances. How we spend our money.

Hey.  Yoooohoooo. I'm back and I expect some commenting to be happening.  3 measly comments?  YOu better bring it tonight!  I had to get out my Make Today Count book and everything to "make this blog post count". So, show me the love.  Here we go... it's all about our finances.
So, in John Maxwell's chapter on FINANCES, he says as a kid, his brother, Larry, wanted nothing more than to make money.  And this habit never changed.  He always had a strong work ethic and was even able to buy himself his own car at the age of 16. In fact, Larry had to buy John his first car too, in the way of a loan.  John admits he was less "driven" and also realized soon that little finances = little options! So, he made a decision, "We will sacrifice today so that we can have options tomorrow." 
He made a commitment on that very day that he would give 10% to church/ charity, 10% to investments, and 80% to living expenses. Once he made that commitment, he has seen his money build ever since.  And with that growth came options for him and his wife, Margaret.
When discussing money, one must put the value of things into perspective.  People tend to value money and things over what's really important in life: other people.  John speaks of a French historian and political scientist, Alexis de Tocqueville, when he says, "no other country where love of money has such a grip on men's hearts" like the US. He wrote that more than 100 years ago.  John says, "I wonder what he would say if he were alive today." WOW.
So let me take a little break right here and tell you what our plan was with the corresponding art project.  We all made a commitment with how we will start viewing our money.  And how we intend to change our financial futures and thus change our lives.  We wrote these commitments on these little scraps of paper and rolled them right up into a bead.  That way, it remained private and hidden, but still, once worked into a piece of jewelry, it could be worn as a conscious reminder to the wearer of her intentional use of her money.
Back to the book... John writes, "To know whether your attitude about money and possessions is what it should be, ask yourself the following five questions... You readY!?
1.  Am I preoccupied with things?
2.  Am I envious of others?
3.  Do I find my personal value in possessions?
4.  Do I believe that money will make me happy?
5.  Do I continually want more?
Ok, so how'd you do?  Billy Graham said, "If a person gets his attitude toward money straight, it will help straighten out almost every other area of his life."  Materialism is a mind-set.  It's perfectly ok to possess money or nice things, but materialism isn't possession... it's obsession!  John says, "I've known materialistic people with no money and nonmaterialistic people who possess lots of money."  Haven't you?
John points out there are three main seasons to your life... Learning, Earning, and Returning.
During the Learning phase, we should be focusing on exploring our talents and discovering our purpose.  IT's time to start being a good whatever you are going to become!  For some it may be in your teens.  For some it may be in your 40's (if you are a late bloomer), but you will always have to start here.
Once we start to learn, we will find ourselves Earning more and typically, this is occuring during our thirties, forties, and fifties.  During this phase of life, we should be striving to take care of our families and preparing for our futures. 
And then comes Returning.  This is where we need to remember to be generous.  It is the phase of life where you can focus on giving back to others.  Typically, this is in the 50s', 60's or 70's.  That, to me, would be the most rewarding phase of all!
Don't try to speed through these phases.  For instance, you really need to hone your craft in learning before you can expect to earn.  And don't start returning too drastically, before you have adequately earned.  (Although generosity is always a good virtue!)  The more diligently you go after one phase, the greater your potential to maximaize the other phases. 
And now let's visit the ol topic, "Debt".  DId you know that "debt is the leading cause of divorce, lack of sleep and poor work performance?"  That is according to the Get Out of Debt book by Kidwell and Rhode. "It is truly one of the deep dark secrets that peole have.  It robs them of their self-worth and keeps them from achieving dreams."   Debt for appreciable items, like your house or your education is a good thing.  But, for frivolous things, thing that you pay for long after you no longer use it, is a sign of trouble.  The authors aformentioned siad, "there are 5 steps to reducing debt"  They are:
1.  Stop incurring debt.
2. Track your cash.
3.  Plan for the future.
4.  Don't expect instant miracles.
5.  Seek professional help.
And here's a good excerpt: It is said that the difference between the rich and the por is that the rich invest their money and spend what's left, while the poor spend their money and invest what is left. Hmmmm....I"ll have to think on that one.  JM says, "Failing to plan is like planning to fail."
The first discipline of finnces is to maximize your earning potential.  JM clarifies that he is not suggesting that one neglect the other important areas of life to make a bunk, nor that your focus should always be on money, but one should maintian a strong work ethic and learn how to make and manage money.
One of my favorite quotes in this chapter is by Rudyard Kipling.  He said, "Do not pay too much attention to fame, power, or money.  SOme day you will nmeet a person who cares for none of these, and then you will know how poor you are. "  JM goes on to say, "If you work had and maintain an attitude of gratitide, you'll find it easier to manage your finaces every day."
Since money is one of those topics that is "taboo", I am just going to quote JM's words in Make Today Count.  To me, this is why one should strive to be a good steward of money in general. 
"Mondy is another pair of hands ot heal and feed and bless the desperate families of hte earth... In other words, money is my other self.  Money can go where I do not have time to go, where I do not have a passport to go.  My money can go in my place and heal and bless and feed and help.  A man's money is an extension of himself. "  THat' true of your money only if you're willing to part with it.  One last quote by Gun Denhart, "Money is like manure.  IF you let it pile up, it just smells.  ut if you spread it around,  you can encourage things to grow."
Andrew Carnegie said he wanted to spend the first half of his life making money and the second half giving it away.  Pretty good philosophy. 
So, have you made any decisions on how you'd like to view money?  Or how you'd like to spend it or save it or give it away?!  One of the things I say on a regular basis is, "It won't come to you, if it doesn't flow through you!"  I believe that. 
Have a good weekend.  I think we might just be dangerously close to our final Daily Dozen of things that can change your life immediately. Are you taking them to heart?  Have you made any changes/ commitments that you'd like to mention.  Regarding... thinking, commitments, priorities, faith, finances, attitude, health, family, relationships, generosity, values or growth?! 
Makes ya think, huh?


Mama J said...

I am taking my spanking Mo...sorry for lurking and not commenting. I do comment from time to time..because I do enjoy your posts. I just don't think I have anything prolific to add...LOL.. I posted earlier that we are being transfered back to LA so we made an offer on a house in WM. Looking forward to being back and who knows...I just may look you up. I DO enjoy your motivational blogs..I DO appreciate you taking time to share JM's wonderful messages. They are powerful and they are 'right on'. Thanks MO!

Amy K said...

We are very set in our financial ways, and are adamant about how we run our household & business in a fiscally responsible way.
Thanks for sharing another motivating post from your JM series!
BTW - I sent you an email about contributing to the tree, did you receive it?

Mary said...

What a great post. I'm glad to see that education falls into the "ok" category. We have two girls in college and we constantly hear how we should not be spending all this money on a private college. We feel it is an investment in their future. We're not going into debt for it - we've planned ahead (as much as you can for those staggering tuitions!) and have given up some frivelous things and eating out (as much not all together) to make this happen. Why people constantly feel the need to comment on how we spend our money makes me crazy! Most people (including myself) could give up lots of things we buy, vacations, etc. We are all guilty of overspending and overindulging our children (well most I won't say all) that is this generation. As long as you can financially afford it it's ok. Our third child is a sophomore and wants to look at LSU. Everytime he says it ...I think of you and Ellie !

snekcip said...

Great post Mo!! Love this FINANCE segment.

I could learn a thing or two! TWO!!! Seriously!! Did that price tag say 2.00 (see what I mean!!)

In all seriousness, I appreciate all that you have shared. I may not comment "every" post, but I'm reading and taking it all in.

REALLY appreciating this FINANCE segment!

Shannon said...

Buying the JM book!

kimybeee said...

i will just say that jeff and i could not be further apart on the financial realm!!

we make too much money for our daughter to get financial aid in college - yet when we get paid on friday we are usually broke by monday.

my son is one of the driven people to have money. he is 16 and has already started his own business - that he got a loan for and his own business liscense and taken care of everything about it. we do help, but it is solely his!! our daughter is a freshman in college and has still never got a part time job.

i think this post has had more of an impact on me, especially as someone that doesn't follow any particular philosphy or get on any bandwagon when it comes to stuff like this. i am an anti-follower if you know what i mean lol

comment hog lol

kimybeee said...

oh and i have tell my son everytime he says he wants to be rich that we all grew up wanting to live paycheck to paycheck lol lol

jenny said...

Great post, Mo! My hubby and I are working hard to reduce the "stuff" around us - it tends to weigh us down. We LOVE sitting down at the end of each month and praying about how (& how much) we can give. One thing I didn't see in your post is how much FUN it is to give. I've got a long way to go - I still like my "stuff" too much, but I'm making a concerted effort to improve in this area. Thanks for the encouragement!