This will be the first of a small series of post I plan on doing on finances. I figured I should post this first entry both to introduce you to why I will be writing these post, and to create some accountability for me to make sure I do get this information out there.
I’ll start by saying that I have done a fair bit of reading as it relates to financial advice. I learned about Dave Ramsey this summer and read all of his books in the fall. I recently finished reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad. While on a brief financial kick in the past I’ve read Robert Allen’s stuff; The Millionare next door; and a slew of other books I found in the personal finances section of Border’s while Mindy does piles of homework. So, I’ve hopefully learned a little bit. And I must say most of these books have some pretty good advice. Many of them leave me ready to take action on making millions in some form or another, but usually that part of me settles down quite quick.
In future post I will share with you a little of the ways that I have dealt with my finances, and ways I hope to deal with them in the future. I am FAR from a financial expert, and nothing I’ll say here has stood the test of time (at least not that much time), but it is things I believe are steps in the right direction. I’ll try to be as honest as possible. Most of my values come from looking at the life and teachings of Jesus and trying to follow those. Some of the topics I’ll probably talk about is Needs vs. Wants, Fun Money, Giving, Saving, and living on what you need.
Since my life, and these views, are all a work in progress, I’d appreciate as much feedback as each person can give to the things that I share.
I had the great opportunity to talk with my friend Peter Amico on the other side of the globe in China! I decided to do a short interview with him so that he could share his story with a great audience. Here’s a brief interview with him, which I’m sure I will do more of in the months to come.
NOTE: The quality of the podcast is quite clear considering the long distance connection. However, the recording software caused some overlap of my and Peter’s voices. Though a little distracting, you should know that Peter wasn’t constantly interrupting me before I finished my question, and I was listening and answering quickly (not five seconds late). I hope you can still enjoy the podcast.
This podcast I brought a guest speaker in, Nate Manaen, all the way from Las Vegas (He joins us in the study, from inside my cellphone). The topic being discussed was originally brought about by some post Nate put on his Xanga a week ago. You can read his two post and some of the comments here: post 1, post 2.
It appears that though we as a nation have been more generous with the recent disasters, a close look at giving trends shows that we are also becoming more discretionary. It seems we are more interested in giving to those we deem “worthy” of receiving our help. Mostly we want to help those who are innocent in their situation.
Is this the type of giving God has called us to? Does Jesus call us to give, but with stipulations? I’ll have to check my Bible on that one.
Don’t get me wrong, I am SO impressed by the number of people that have signed up at Hurricanehomes.org and openchurches.com. I am amazed at people’s willingness to openly share one of their biggest and most expensive possessions to strangers in need. I pray that many many many more people do this and that there is not a single individual without a place to stay in the aftermath of the hurricane.
At the same time I wonder why more of us weren’t doing this before? I’m guilt of it myself. I was in Minnesota for a summer and I saw that each night about 17,000 people are homeless. I was sure there where at least that many empty guest rooms in “Born-Again” Christian homes in that state. Why don’t we open our homes to every person who needs a place to stay? Why are there homeless when there are empty homes and rooms?
I pray our hearts remain open to the needs of individuals in our own communities even after the hurricane is history. I pray we remember the people down the street in our own community. The one who needs and is looking for shelter and just a place to get their feet on the ground and start again.
I just watched a video of Bush talking about the situation in New Orleans on the BBC.
At the end he encourages all the people who want to help that what is most needed right now is money to the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. It struck me that in my conversation with a very conservative friend that this is exactly how he thinks this sort of thing should be done. No government forcing us to give our money, no forced benevolence.
I guess I just think maybe Bush should have done the same thing with the war in Iraq. You know, if there was a real need for more funds to support that effort, why didn’t Bush do a press conference and ask us to send our money?
To me it seems backwards. If we need to give money for the relief effort after Katrina then by all means take some of our tax dollars to do it. In my opinion, if you need money to relieve people in Sudan, SE Asia, Niger, and Iraq, please take billions and commit billions to care for the needs of those people. But please don’t take our money to buy bullets and missiles and land mines and kill people. Please don’t.