More people filed for bankruptcy last year than graduated from college. In America last year there was 772 billion dollars in credit card debt and 65% of Americans lived paycheck to paycheck. Which translates to, if there is a sudden need that is unplanned for, there is no money to pay for the unplanned expense–sickness, flat tire, broken washing machine, etc.
Money is an issue that for some reason people have a hard time facing….it is the elephant in the room. An obvious problem that people avoid discussing or acknowledging. I have no idea what anyone’s financial picture looks like and I am certainly not a guru on financial planning, but I want to take the time to write about some things I do know. Principles I have been taught and am seeking to shore up and do a better job at from 2015 on.
In my personal spending going forward…I am stopping to ask myself if it is a want or a need. There is a big difference! The one thing I know is that God gave us a mind and He expects us to use it. After reading the current statistics on money in America…I have decided God doesn’t want me or anyone else to be in the “debt” statistic.
What I know is this–if you incur major debt, you are not free.
You lack peace.
You are driven by your debt.
Financial difficulties are the number one reason for divorce in this country. The love of money can be your enemy. But, money can be your friend, if you are not owned by it. The first way for money to be your friend is the proper use of it. Who wants Visa to dictate your life? Not me! Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Everyone is given the same amount of hours in a day. If you are reading this post and you are healthy, the one valuable asset you have is your health! If you have your health and time, then how you spend your time is of extreme importance! If you want to get ahead in life, you have to work. Plain and simple. You cannot spend more than you make. If you want to make more, maybe you have to work two jobs, work longer hours and spend less.
I was fortunate enough to go to college and have a father who desired that my sister and I earn a degree. He didn’t get to go to college. He worked, saved and insisted that I go to college. He paid for my college. Funny thing, I can say today that everything I have learned about money…I didn’t learn in college. I have learned it from watching my dad!
Growing up…I can honestly say my dad didn’t adhere to a 40 hour work week. For many years he worked on Saturday and his job Monday through Friday didn’t start at 8 and end at 5. It was more like 4:30 a.m. until 7 p.m., but he never worked on Sunday. For years, as a young girl and all the way through college, those were the hours I witnessed my dad putting in.
His vacation was one week a year…the week of the 4th of July. He didn’t have a college education, but he did have a need. He had very little money and he had a family he was responsible for so he worked. My dad was not an overnight success. He is now 84 and has logged a lot of work hours. I’ve witnessed his spending, his saving, his tithing. And when he didn’t have much, he was still generous out of the little that he had.
Those things have been a constant in his life! After my mother had children, she didn’t work outside of the home but she worked just as hard in the home. I watched her make our clothes. I watched her work in our garden and can vegetables. She cooked every night. For years she packed my dad’s lunch and ours when we went to school. She washed. She cleaned. She cooked and, yes, she helped those less fortunate. She paid the bills and did all the banking while my dad worked to make the money. They were an awesome team.
Today…it is the best education…I have ever received. Just watching their lives ….being lived out loud…especially with their money. Today, I realize, in many ways, times have changed. We do live in America and there is no limit on how many hours I/you/we can work. I do know that we need rest but look at where 65% of Americans are. Are we resting or spending?
Dave Ramsey, a noted author and great teacher on finances, who I respect totally, often encourages people to get a second job to get out of debt or to get ahead. Today, I know many young people…who have a full-time job and are waiting tables at night. This isn’t to get ahead. It is so they can pay off student loans! I applaud them for realizing they will never be free if they don’t use their youth and time to pay off the “debt” that is hanging over their head!
Too many people though, for some reason, don’t value their time. For some reason…they have the 8 to 5 mentality and take multiple vacations. In their mind, weekends are never meant for work. They aren’t willing to put in the time now to have the “pay off” later.
Exactly 12 years ago, Bill and I were introduced to a direct sales company, AdvoCare. At first, I will have to admit, I was the biggest skeptic. My reservations were:
1. I didn’t know the fellow that approached Bill, even though he was a long-time friend of Bill’s.
2. I had never heard of AdvoCare…and I wasn’t sure of the products.
3. I knew that it was direct sales and I wasn’t sure at all that I wanted to approach others I knew about the products and sell them.
Thankfully, Bill trusted Mark and was in need of better health and weight loss. Because of Bill’s background in sports and his nutrition knowledge, he was favorable to what AdvoCare offered. He took the products, while I watched from the sidelines. He lost over 30 pounds and he felt better. People started asking him what he was doing.
You see, when Bill started AdvoCare, we were not looking for another business opportunity…but who isn’t interested in better health, energy, and possibly weight loss? As we started helping people have the results Bill was having, the business opportunity just happened. I was not looking to lose but maybe 5 pounds but I knew I wanted energy (I have hypothyroid disease..lack of energy is one of the side effects). I also knew I wanted to supplement my diet because I wasn’t the healthiest eater.
When I first went to a corporate sponsored event, one of the first sessions painted a picture of American Debt. That was 12 years ago. They talked about incorporating AdvoCare as a work from home business, just part-time. Taking the hours after work to work AdvoCare, helping the people you knew who may be looking for what the products offered.
This is what I have learned. First, AdvoCare can be one of many solutions to earning extra income. There are many work from home part-time businesses. AdvoCare is just the one God brought to us. I have no ulterior motive in pushing AdvoCare in my Back 9 post but as to offer it as one of many solutions, if you have debt. Or, if you don’t see yourself getting ahead and feel trapped financially.
One of the things I have learned from my experience with direct sales is that it is a great opportunity, if you have a “great product”. So, if you are considering any part-time or work from home business, I would investigate to make sure it is a reputable company and has a great track record for a quality product. When I attend an AdvoCare corporate event now, I love to hear the personal testimonies of people becoming debt-free by helping others receive better health benefits! I am only sharing AdvoCare here because it is our personal experience.
I encourage you in 2015…to look at the elephant in the room…finances. This is one area where God does want you to look back, and ahead, and then devise a plan so that money doesn’t own you…that debt doesn’t entrap you.
In the Bible there are 500 scriptures about prayer, 500 scriptures about faith but over 2000 about money. How you deal with money is an important issue to God. Money in and of itself is not evil, it is being controlled by it that is the problem. Money is a tool. It can be used to do good or evil. It is all in how we choose to address it. I Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
I am called to encourage people to live a life of significance. In order to live that life of significance, I do not believe God intends for us to be consumed with debt. I do believe He has given us a great asset–time. Proverbs 6:6-11, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest–and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.”
I just want to encourage you to look at the elephant that may be in your life….it may not be…and to God be the glory if it is not. I have to believe, though, that we all could do a better job with our money and our time.