A Letter To Myself

This idea was spawned from Ninja over at Punch Debt in the Face. I hope to write this and put it in an envelope and open it in 10 years.

Dear Future Self,

I hope you are doing well in 2020. It has been a short journey in my married life but the most important as far as I’m concerned. We have been debt free since November of 2007 (but of course you know this) and you had still better be debt free as you open this (threat included). Right now we are going through some financial adversity. I thank the Lord everyday that we learned the basics of personal finance from Dave Ramsey. If not we would have to resort to credit cards to cover many of our expenses during this time.

As you are reading this my hope is that you have not forgotten the most important thing in life. I hope that through your financial adversity you have learned to hug your beautiful wife 🙂 a little harder and loved on your kids a little longer. I can’t wait to see how our lives are going to look in 2020. The steps that we have taken now will be so important when you open this letter. I don’t really have the patience for adversity at the moment. My hope is that we will see the end result of our hard work and self discipline by the time you open this letter.

More importantly than finances remember that it has been your relationship with Christ that has brought you to the point where you are today. You have been blessed beyond your knowledge and more importantly your family will be blessed through many generations because of the steps you have taken. Never lose sight of who sustains you and blesses your path. If you do let this letter be a reminder. You are NO ONE without Christ! Remember that your time line is not God’s. Your life will be a whole lot less frustrating when you realize that.

In the end, remember that communication is key. You will not win in life if you can’t learn to communicate in relationships. Your old self is going to be really disappointed if you have abandoned any of your top 3 pillars (God, Wife, and Family in that order). I have 3 instructions for you that you must do in the next week.

1. Open your bible and connect with Christ.

2. Take your wife on a date and do mention the budget ;).

3. Spend a full day with each of your children individually (Greyson 15, Ava 11, and TBD 10)

Do these 3 things amidst whatever victories or struggles may be going on at this point in your life. Never lose faith and never lose sight. See you on the flip side.

Yourself 10 Years Ago

P.S. Thanks Ninja for the idea. This is a really great way to reflect on the most important things in life. I encourage you to do this on paper or on your blog. Shoot me an email or a tweet with the link. I’m interested to read your letters to your future self.

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Friday Faith

I hope you enjoy my nifty new term for my Friday blog posts. I thought it was pretty creative (both start with F ;)). Every Friday I want to present a verse or passage in the Bible and try to dissect it in modern day personal finance lingo. Today we are going to start with one of my favorite verses (because this is my blog :)).

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

Proverbs 22:7

This is one of my favorite verses because:

1. It gets straight to the point. If you borrow money (or goats, cows, or wheat) from another person you are their servant until you return the full amount (plus interest). Debt leads to slavery whether it be bank or family member. Dave Ramsey says “Thanksgiving dinner tastes different when you eat with your master (not verbatim)”. Ever notice the air is different in the room with someone you owe money???

2. The wealthy rule the poor. It is my best guess that this was not some sort of hierarchal babble that was only useful during the time. I believe that wealthy people have different money habits than the poor. When I say poor I mean the person that is financially destitute and owes more to the bank than they have in the bank. Poor money habits will lead to a poor lifestyle.

Do you think God was calling out debt in this scripture?

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Man in the Mirror (Part 2)

Previously I talked about the need to please and the need to feel accepted. Both of these needs, if not handled correctly, can be devastating to your personal and financial well being. There is hope though. Your hope is you. It’s that easy. Here are a few recommendations for recognizing your self worth.

1. Find Your Strengths
Do not pass go, do not collect $200 until you can pin point and understand your strengths. I personally used the Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath. This is a great resource to understand your uniqueness and how you can leverage your strengths to achieve and exceed your goals.

2. Leverage the Power of Positive Thinking
Once you have discovered your strengths begin to surround yourself with a community of positivity. I personally suggest a church community. Norman Vincent Peale suggested reciting Philippians 4:13 to yourself over and over in his book The Power of Positive Thinking. “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me, I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me”. This is a great starting point for you who may feel hopeless and need a quick fix.

3. Seek Counsel
My final suggestion is to seek outside counsel. I am a true believer in seeking a non-biased opinion of what you could be doing better. Your church pastor is always a great starting point. They have many resources to get you started and then launch you into a counsel that is more tailored towards your specific needs. Proverbs 15:22 says it best, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed”.

Are you ready and willing?

What is holding you back?

Resources:

Confessions of a People-Pleaser by Anna Light (annalightministries.com)
Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale (Overstock.com)
Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath (Amazon.com)
YouVersion.com

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Man in the Mirror (Part 1)


Why can’t we get past ourselves? Why do our selfish desires ultimately lead to our demise? There are many psychological behaviors that can lead to many destructiveness with money. In my first post I will explore the problems. The 2 areas that I believe I struggle in the most are:

1. The Need to Please

I ultimately believe that a person has to please others because they deeply yearn for others acceptance. It is through this need of acceptance that we will display various behaviors that we never expect and don’t realize until the actions have already occurred. During extreme needs to please we buy stuff that we can’t afford to please people we don’t even like. Our whole reality takes on a form of a needy child that has never known love. Which leads to the next example.

2. The Need to Feel Accepted

Whether it was being the last picked during basketball (me) or not wearing the right kinds of jeans (you know the ones with all the drawings on the butt). We feel left out. We want to gain acceptance from worldly items. We go out and buy expensive clothes so that we can keep up with the ladies at church. Guys buy toys that they can show off to their buddies. In reality, we just want to have the stage for a few minutes. We want to be talked about for awhile.

And yet in the background we wreck our families. We destroy our homes. We lose the respect that we need the most; our kids and spouse. It doesn’t have to end like that though. Hope is attainable. Your life can be meaningful. You can be happy without worldly possession. You don’t have to die by the sins of the father. I will tackle the steps you must take to find your yourself in my next post and how gaining your identity will help you win with your finances.

Do you struggle with the need to be accepted and please others?

Do you know someone that does?

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Slap Yourself in the Face and Make It Happen

I wonder where I would be if one day I could just get past my selfish wants. I wonder how much further ahead my family would be if I could look in the mirror and not first think of myself. Here are 6 important tips to getting over yourself and begin conquering the giants that hold you back.

1. Vision is key. You have to cast vision for your life journey. You need to write down a statement that will ever define you as a person.

2. Keep the end in mind. You will always here the token phrase “What do you want your epitaph to say”? The challenge is to live that out everyday. You must constantly strive to leave the legacy that you set out when casting your vision.

3. Check your pride at the door. Pride is a common killer to leaps of faith. You were not born to live life with caution. It seems the bigger the feat the more detractors you will have. Put the detractors in a sleeper hold (figuratively) and make your dreams happen.

4. Never go on a trip without a road map. Before you set out you have to make a plan of action. Be careful though not be paralyzed by analysis.

5. Don’t go alone. We were created for relationship. Find a partner whether it be your spouse or close friends. Always have an accountability partner. It is easy to lose yourself without outside perspective.

6. Dream big. A mentor of mine once told me to dream so big that others might laugh at you. Faith is what will help bridge the end of yourself and the beginning of a seemingly impossible reality.

Now GO take a good look in the mirror. If you don’t like what you see SLAP YOURSELF (figuratively) and start conquering your dreams.

Important Resources for Making It Happen:

Family Vision

What is Accountability?

How to Apply a Sleeper Hold (literally)

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Relevant Magazines Interview with Dave Ramsey

Check out the latest article from Relevant Magazine (@RELEVANTMag) with Dave Ramsey (@ramseyshow). He really hits a home run with this all inclusive article facing debt head on.

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