Thursday, October 25, 2012

Financial Independence

I read an article by Thomas J. Stanley yesterday about the income levels of Goodwill Shoppers.

I was encouraged.  For the past year I have been fairly committed to only buying clothes for the children at resale stores, with the exception of shoes since a couple of the kids tend to need new shoes every other month, I've had to buy those new.  (I'm not sure if that's a run-on sentence.  It's late...)

We have not completed our goal of paying off our consumer debt yet, but we have been making headway and we have two months still to go until January.  I'm usually encouraged by Thomas Stanley's tweets with links to articles about the behavior of the wealthy and the legacy they leave for their children.

In addition to reading Stanley's articles I also listen to Dave Ramsey.  If you have IheartRadio I highly recommend the Dave Ramsey station.  You can listen to his radio broadcasts on a loop.  It's so great!  I'm always inspired to keep on keeping on!  Love him!!!!

To be clear, it's not about wealth so much as it's about my relationship with money.  I am desperate for the stronghold of debt to be released.  I am desperate to be free to fully live for Christ.  That is true independence.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Economic Woes

I was listening to the radio today on my home from the grocery store this morning and I caught something remarkable.  I was listening to the Dennis Prager show and he had on a person named George Gilder.  I've never heard of him, but his common sense was refreshing.

In any case, Dennis Prager said something about having seen a man-on-the-street interview with a woman who said, "I don't care about any economic issues.  I only vote based on same-sex marriage and abortion."  Dennis Prager was shocked but George Gilder was not.  Mr. Gilder went on to say that in an age where our education is largely infiltrated by the left, it's unsurprising that so many people are uneducated about important issues such as economics.

I felt I must try to help stand in the gap.  I read a book this year titled Thou Shall Prosper by Daniel Lapin.  It was one of the most interesting books I read this year, and that post will be forthcoming.  However, in the book, the author points out that Economics was once taught under the Religious Studies wing of colleges.  Economics, the study of human behavior, how a society works, the value of work on society, what happens in societies when subjects don't work, etc, absolutely has everything to do with one's religion, with one's view of sin and mankind.

Is it any wonder that our educational institutions have ceased to actually teach economic theory?

Therefore, I think it's imperative to at least try and explain a little bit of the current economic climate, knowing that many may not think it matters, like the woman above who is only going to vote on her favorite issues.

The American economy is in danger of collapse.  I am concerned that not enough people care, though.  Real wages in August actually dropped, while consumer confidence increased.  What does this mean?  I think it could mean two things: 1. That people are hopeful for the future. Or 2. people are not paying attention.  I think it could be both. If people are thinking Romney will win, then maybe they'll spend money a bit more confidently hoping that a Republican Congress and President will repeal a bunch of the restrictions on business the Obama Administrations have put in place.  Whatever is going on, real wages dropped.  Fewer people are working, and if they are working, they're working for LESS than in 2008.

That's not even touching the atrociously high fuel costs that have made everything more expensive. Does anyone remember the glory days of $1.85 a gallon gasoline?  I would love those days back.  Even if wages remained somewhat stagnant, a relief in gasoline prices would feel like a raise, right?

The real danger is the amount of spending the US government continues to incur.  The Obama administration has incurred more real debt than any other president, and that includes Reagan and George W. Bush.  We can not sustain that kind of spending.  We will end up bankrupt, a la Greece and Spain.  It's an incredibly dangerous place to be.

So, I think it's behooves all of us to think a bit more deeply about economic issues and the larger impact of a society that does not value work and instead thinks government exists to give us things.  I for one trust what the Bible says about work.  It is a joy to work.  It is an honor to have something to do.  Work is a good thing.  Here's just a small sampling.

Psalm 128:2 
You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Proverbs 12:11 
Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.
Proverbs 14:23 
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.
Proverbs 18:9 
One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.
Ecclesiastes 3:22 
So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?