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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Willing to Be Weird

We drive old cars, we pay for things in cash, our bonuses go towards retirement, we sell off our stuff, we love network marketing, we hate going shopping, we are still investing in mutual funds, we don’t watch television, and we still use hand-me-down furniture in the home we built. We’re weird.

I love it. It lets me know we're on the right path.

Lately, I have heard so much talk about “this economy.” Honestly, I’ve been surprised to hear so many people are STRESSED about the nation’s economy. “Aren’t you?” I’ve been asked on several occasions. No, I’m not. I have never felt so fiscally hopeful in my entire life.

Don’t get me wrong. I have my days where I wonder, how the heck we are going to cover THAT? And days where I kinda want to throw all plans out the window and say “Screw it! Let’s go to Spain!” But I don’t feel doom, gloom, and anxiety.

What I HAVE felt recently is confused about the huge disparity in my and my friends’ feelings on the topic of economics. I had been trying to figure out why I feel hope and at peace about my family’s economy. I thought about spiritual matters: I trust in God. I thought about career matters: Network marketing always booms in economic downturns. I thought about personal matters: I have a solid marriage, and solidity at home often projects on to other facets of one's life.

But, today, I heard Dave Ramsey say: When you don’t have any payments, it changes your whole outlook on the economy.

Simply put, yeah. That’s it.

Some of our friends may drive beautiful cars and own gorgeous things and go frequently on fantastic vacations, but I do not feel the least bit jealous because I know what they are trading in for those things.

Jimmy, a business associate of mine, who is also a multi-millionaire says: Do today what others aren't willing to do, so you can do tomorrow what they can't do.

We met with our accountant Joe yesterday. Joe deals with people in all income categories. A couple years ago, when I commented on how small our savings interest was, he said, “That’s a lot more than some guys I work with who earn 5-6 times your income.” I suspected as much, but it was nice to be reassured of it.

Yesterday, Joe shared a couple stories with us. One was about a financial planner who had paid off his house and then decided to take out loans on it for investment purposes. Today, he is leveraged out, stressed out, and at risk of losing his home AND is also facing retirement. Joe decided that was not a financial planner he would ever go to for advice. How many people do you know who did the same thing when the market was good?

In another case, Joe told us about a couple who started a business and had seen a sharp increase in their income. The wife said “we’re going to pay off the house.” The husband said, “Over my dead body. I’m not giving up that tax break!” Joe then used the oranges in the fruit bowl on the table to illustrate a point. “It takes 4 oranges to pay your mortgage, and the government gives you back one orange at the end of the year.” How many times have you heard financial “experts” say “you should never pay off your house”?

There is a LOT I don't know about wealth, but I know this: To attract wealth, one must study it, understand it, and then act on that knowledge. Wealth doesn't happen by accident.

Wealth is not complicated or mysterious, but the knowledge on how to accrue it is not common because (1) it is not taught in school and (2) most people don’t want to do the “boring” work of studying it on their own. The good news is that there is plenty of material out there ALREADY compiled and you don’t have to do the tedious footwork, the interviews, or the mathematical research. You can learn today what you didn't know yesterday!

To get started, I recommend:
The Richest Man in Babylon (George S. Clason)
The Total Money Makeover (Dave Ramsey)

The Millionaire Next Door (Thomas J. Stanley, William D. Danko)
Think & Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill)

The first two books are pretty easy reads. The other two involve reading more charts and giving longer thought. But these are great springboards. From there, you will have a better idea about where to go next for the information you want.

Going against the grain in money matters is not always easy because on a regular basis we are being bombarded with messages about spending and credit from media, institutions, and relatives' or friends' attitudes. But every so often, we get crystal clear confirmation that what we are doing invites peace.

At the end of our meeting with Joe yesterday, he said, “You were my therapy today.” What he doesn’t know is that he was ours.

Here’s to all of you who are on the path to financial peace and just need reassurance along the way.


Katy said...

As you know, I am one of those who is terribly worried about "this economy". Until the past year, we have always been very financially secure (not rich by any stretch of the imagination - but definitely secure). Because of what's happened with the economy and due to where our assets were, we have never been less secure or more stressed than we are now.

We never thought we'd be in this position and honestly didn't see it coming. I CAN NOT WAIT to get out of this position and regain that security, and I am SO happy for you and others who are not feeling the strain of all things economical these days!

Jennica said...

I am with you! Thanks for this post. =)

Jackie (updated profile) said...

"Some of our friends may drive beautiful cars and own gorgeous things and go frequently on fantastic vacations, but I do not feel the least bit jealous because I know what they are trading in for those things."

Please let me know who is taking a fantastic vacation so I know who to be jealous of.

Janet said...

That's why Ben loves talking to your husband when they come home teaching! They are pretty similiar.

Marie said...

Great post, Adhis! Thanks for the reassurance!

islandgirl said...

Okay, so explain to my slow brain, lol. Do you advocate paying off your house or NOT paying off your house?

Great book recommendations, I've read them all. Dang it, why aren't I rich? ;) I know, I know....apply what you learn!

Amannda Ashby said...

I have to tell you that I give so much thanks to both you and Aubrey Woolcott. Aubrey invited me to book group and you introduced my family to the total money make over. I would say that I still struggle a bit with not being jeolous of others that go on big vacations and have fancy stuff, but I try to remind my self that no body knows that my jeans only cost $6.00 from the DI. I love it that my husband is proud me for saving our family money! It's nice to take control of our MONEY!

Kristen said...

I like being weird too.

Different people have different ways of doing things, and that's alright. I think the peace of mind is what determines if you're on the right track.

But what do I know? I'm weird.

sarahandtim said...

I have that same thought - let's just go to Spain!

Kelly(M&M) said...

Hey Adhis,

Fantastic Post!!!We just read Dave Ramsey over Christmas and we are very much on board. We have always been the "cheap" ones compared to our friends- no fancy dinners, furniture, etc, but we never really had a "plan" for our money. We did fine because we were frugal, not because we were being proactive with our budget. I am excited to have a goal to work toward with Jeff, and I am happy to say I will be weird with you and Dave. We will have to chat more about it sometime.

The only thing I am not on board with is the MLM. I am a terrible salesman, I take "no" too personally! I tried selling Discovery Toys and loved the toys, but found the selling wasn't for me. Congrats for making it a success for you!!
Were you already following Dave Ramsey when you bought your house? Were you able to pay cash? Sorry if that's too personal.

chelon:) said...

missing your posts!! where are you?

Adhis said...

Kelly-- I know what you mean, I don't like sales either.

Chelon-- I JUST got home from Phoenix. I should be in bed instead of checking email. :)

Adhis said...

Kelly-- oops, forgot to answer your question. No, we had not read Dave Ramsey's book before buying the house, so we did not pay cash for it. But after reading the book, we converted our 30-year mortgage to a 15-year.