So I was talking to my financial planner today, Jon, and after we discussed the important business at hand he told me I need to update my blog! I figure since we are trusting him with our financial future, I better do whatever he says - even with regard to my blog!
Since I am on the subject of finances, I might as well camp here a moment. First, I will give a shout out to my forward thinking husband who began planning for his retirement the day he graduated from college. Conversely, I used the 401k I accumulated during my tenure with the United States Senate to buy a nice red Mustang. After all, isn't that what every single girl needs? Unfortunately, for women good financial planning usually involves getting married. That is a very dated and flawed perspective, but many women still plan for their financial future that way. The good part of my Mustang story is, (besides the fact that the car was awesome) the year that I cashed out my 401k I didn't work therefore I didn't pay the penalties on the early withdrawal. Then, I sold that Mustang before I moved to Hawaii for grad school and I used the money I made on the convertible to fund grad school (and by 'fund grad school' I mean pay for an apartment in Waikiki) which was a long term investment in my future. So see, cashing in my 401k wasn't THAT bad of an idea. Right?
Turning to my serious tone, it is astounding the amount of people today who fall into my camp versus Jason's camp. My camp being those who never consider long-term financial planning. Of course once Jason and I got married he got me on board with a reasonable savings and retirement plan and I am hooked! We are firm believers in the basic philosophy of financial guru Dave Ramsey. We do not use credit cards, we pay in cash. The average American has $8,000 in credit card debt. We have zero. We have no debt other than our monthly mortgage (which does not leave us house poor like so many of our friends who are endeavoring to keep up with the Joneses' - who are the Joneses anyway?) And we have enough savings built up to stave off several months worth of disaster, should disaster arise. Plus, we have college savings accounts building for all four of our children. Believe me, those months I really want a mani/pedi instead of contributing $$$ to my 1 year old daughter's college fund do hurt sometimes, but I know this small sacrifice now will pay untold dividends down the road. And truth be told, if I want a pedicure I can get one. It's all a matter of prioritizing resources and sometimes a day at the salon gets priority! Jason and I make serious sacrifices in order to provide a sound financial future for our family. We conserve, cut corners, & clip coupons. We don't take our kids to Disney World on borrowed money and we don't spend February's paycheck to give our children an outlandish Christmas. To quote our buddy Dave Ramsey, we live like no one else, so later we can live like no one else.
The Bible teaches that we are not to live in debt. Therefore, I believe if God lays out a plan for us then he will provide a way financially and otherwise. Case in point, when I felt God leading me to move to Honolulu to attend graduate school at the University of Hawaii. All of my circumstances were indicating this was His plan, however, the money to pay for it all was not available. I was seeking His vision and clarity with all of my heart. It was June of 2000 and I had been accepted to start UH in August, but with no scholarship. It was time to sell my car (yes, the Mustang) and move out of my duplex in Montgomery and pack my belongings and move to Honolulu. But, the money was still not there. I called an amazing prayer warrior friend and told her it was time to get on our faces before our omnipotent God. I went to her house and for two hours we talked, prayed, and read scripture crying out to God to move in this situation.
I left her house, drove home, and when I got home I went straight to the computer to check my emails. I still get teary eyed thinking of opening up the email from the Chairman of the History Department at the University of Hawaii and reading the words, "Ronda, we have reconsidered your request for scholarship and I am pleased to inform you that you have received a full scholarship to the University of Hawaii". I literally tripped over my own feet running to the phone to call my friend and share the miracle!
If God reveals His plan to us, he will also reveal His provision.
Jason and I are far from the Rockefellars, but we live in the black and that makes us rich. Dave Ramsey says that regardless of how much money you bring in, if you are able to live in the black and contribute to savings each month then you are building wealth. I guess the opposite of building wealth would be getting poor so I feel good about what we are doing.
I will end with the quote from my financial planner's voicemail, Jon ends his message with the line, "and please, take the time to plan for tomorrow".
Yes, let's all do that!