Your Money or Your Life
Another good book on finance is Joe Dominquez's Your Money or Your Life which shows why and how to be debt-free and financially independent. With disciplined saving and being frugal and goal-oriented anyone can do it. An example given is Amy and Jim Dacyczn. They "had a simple dream. They wanted to raise a family in a big farmhouse in a rural area." But after twenty years of marriage and both of them having worked full-time, they had only $1500 in savings to show for it. They focused on their goal. They visualized it. And they started to be frugal. The number one rule for being frugal is to stop eating out and focusing on wholesome but inexpensive food like whole grains. Amy quit her job as some kind of writer and graphic design artist and focused on the children and being frugal in her home. She came up with hundreds of ways to save money. It was even fun. Often when women give up their job and go home, the family starts having more money. This happened with them. An added benefit was that there was more love between them. We read, "They thrived on this challenge to their creativity, and their relationship thrived on their shared purpose. In seven years they had saved $49,000." They are now in their rural Maine farmhouse, and Amy is famous for her book about this experience, The Tightwad Gazette which is full of practical tips on how to be frugal. They have lots of kids and prove that people can be happy living on one salary. Mary Pride and her friends write that this is the way to live and anyone can do it. Pat Schroeder, the liberal congresswoman who's life's ambition is to get women into combat, writes as many do on the Cain side that "no one" can live off one salary. To live off one salary and within one's means and to pay for everything with cash is spiritual and deeply rewarding. The book being reviewed says it well, "Their story is testimony to the fact that simple dreams, like having a house in the country and staying home to raise a family, are truly within reach." Shakespeare was right: "Neither a lender nor a borrower be." The Bible teaches, "The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender."
The Alternative to Budgeting
Dominquez has many good points on how to get control of money. For example, under the topic of budgeting he says most people don't budget and he gives the reasons why. The following is an idea that has helped me in budgeting. It is the idea of keeping track of every penny.
He says,"Write down everything you spend, every day. It helps to list your expenditures in specific categories, so you can see your running total at a glance for evaluation purposes. Soon you will have a clear picture of where your money is going. At first it may seem difficult to remember to do, but don't give up. Psychologists have learned that it takes just three weeks to make or break a habit. (Incidentally, this principle holds true for establishing any habit, whether it be a daily exercise routine, teaching your kids to make their beds and even quitting smoking!)"
"Remember that no expenditure is too small to be recorded, not even a 50-cent candy bar. There is no cheating allowed on this money diet! As you use this system, you will find that you avoid impulse purchases because you know they will be recorded and reviewed by the family."
"Next, establish a regular savings program, which you can call your 'stake.' This is your investment capital. Don't make impulsive purchases because you know it will take money away from your stake."
"We have found that when people examine their own spending habits, two things generally happen. First, they are often shocked to discover where their money has been going. 'We can't be eating that much!' is a common reaction. Second, and more significantly, they automatically begin to make adjustments that cut the waste from their monthly expenditures, without having to establish a formal budget."
"Once you have decided to use this 'no-budget' budget, you will find that it is very easy to implement. Soon, and without any painful effort, you will begin to make intelligent choices about how you use your money. It is a wonderful feeling to know that, finally, you are controlling your finances instead of letting them control you!"
Writing everything down may not be the answer for everybody. But for those who are serious about wanting to gain control of their spending habits, it is an important beginning."
"If this process seems to be time-consuming, be assured that you will not need to do this for the rest of your life. We have found that a year of intensive self-evaluation is generally enough time for most people to change their attitudes about money and gain control of their spending habits. After that, the evaluation techniques will become an automatic, subconscious element of your spending decisions. You may want to resume the practice occasionally when you face major financial changes -- growing family, different income levels, moving to a new town or adjusting for inflation, for example."
"We conclude that strict formal budgeting will never work for most Americans for one overwhelming reason: it requires a lot of hard work and discipline over a long period of time. Too many forces are at work making it easy to go off the budget --easy credit, impulse buying, inflation and government tax policies that encourage spending. Writing it all down, item by item, on a daily basis will help you get hold of your financial picture."
"The system we have presented here will tell you where you are spending. The next chapters will tell you how to start saving."
Every person should see the spirituality in money. Money represents this earth and getting it consumes the majority of a man's time and effort. How we earn and invest money is highly spiritual. Money can come and go. Millionaires find themselves broke overnight. Big businesses go under. If we handle money correctly it will grow forever. We should look at everything long range. We should earn money honorably and with so much service we have customers for life and we invest in a way that it grows for generations. We should be more in tune with forces of wealth than anyone. Father says we have "to be involved in economics activities." We "must become a professional in economic activities. If not, you can only become a beggar in the satanic world."
To make sure we never become beggars we should invest in our children and grandchildren. If we earn money all of our life and never retire we should be able to set them up with all their physical needs taken care of and they can work to build houses, businesses etc. for their descendants. Children should be set up when they turn 18 with a debt-free house and income from investments so they don't have to worry about every day, mundane concerns and can concentrate on doing work that matches their creativity and personality. In God's ideal a person doesn't work to provide for himself, but for his descendants. There is a deep foundation of wealth coming from well managed businesses that are debt-free and vast. The money should be spread out in everyone's name so that if one person were to lose control of his investments because he got possessed or because he was attacked, as Father has been taken court, if he lost everything then other members of the family and community could come to his aid after he has lost from his lawsuit. No matter what happens everybody should have this kind of insurance as back up to make sure he has food, clothing and shelter and income guaranteed for life, no matter what happens. This doesn't mean that everyone has equal money. If someone becomes a billionaire he doesn't have to distribute it evenly to all relatives. I'm not talking pure socialist equality.
Money is often lost by descendants of wealthy people because they are not united. Blessed couples will be the beginning of empires that will be so united that eventually we will own every square inch of this earth. Our future descendants will never know job or financial insecurity.
How much and how do we tithe?
There are many testimonies of people who say they have been rewarded 10 to 1 by tithing to their church. The UC needs to write a detailed statement about this important topic. Do we give 10%? Or are we supposed to give 20 or 30 percent? Do we give a percentage calculated after taxes or before? Who do we give it to? A percentage to headquarters and other percents to the regional, state and local centers. Are members supposed to tithe if they are poor and don't have the basic necessities? If a member inherits a fortune or earns a large income is he to give it all to the church? Is this decision up to him or is he to ask his immediate Abel and do as he says?