At the age of twenty-nine I had my finance degree from Texas A&M and had earned the right to use the marks of a Certified Financial Planner. Other than being tutored by a very entrepreneurial father on the art of making a deal, I knew very little about making, saving or managing money. That’s right, I didn’t have enough experience to really know the ‘secrets’.
Success Leaves Clues
I didn’t have any money of my own and my reference points were of just a few years’ experience. Twenty-five years later, I still believe there’s a lot more to learn but most everything I have learned has come from the invitation from hundreds of good folks who’ve asked me into their lives for a closer look. You see, success really does leave clues. It didn’t take me very long to start really paying attention to the situations where people were doing very well and contrast them to the people who were really hurting; whether they knew they were hurting or not. When you see the same clue appear over and over it’s not hard to connect the dots. You see, the secrets of money are really not secrets at all.
When you know where to look for direction they are actually quite obvious. Whether you’re worth one dollar or a hundred million dollars, there’s always someone who has more and has learned more about how to manage it. From early on I purposed to learn these obvious secrets and then pass them on to others who needed the information.
And so, armed with that information and almost three decades of showing others what someone before them has done to win at the ‘save – get out of debt – retirement’ game, I have decided to begin a series of articles that relays the essence of these secrets to readers of this article. I hope you find one idea every month that motivates you to share it with someone you care about even if you’ve already mastered that particular point.
Every month we’re going to cover the why, where- fore and how-to of a particular subject dealing with one of categories that we all deal with in planning and managing our money. I’m going to share some of the ‘obvious secrets’ of money.
What’s Your Why?
Speaking of ‘why’, that’s really the starting point for about everything in life – including this series and your own money. You see, your core beliefs, your perspective from which you see and interpret the world, and the sum total of your convictions about yourself and your world are all at the center of your financial life; whether you recognize it or not. Your ‘worldview’ should and does drive all of your decisions about money.
Some of the really important questions about money are ‘why do you have it’, ‘who is it for’ and ‘what are you supposed to do with it’? These may seem like really simplistic questions, but most people really haven’t thought about these questions – I mean really thought about them.
For example, we’re here in the heart of the Bible Belt and many of my clients share my same Chris- tian views. Many who read this article also share these same beliefs. So as Christians our ‘worldview’ is one that is shaped by scripture. Yet very few have really put thought into how that particular worldview shapes the daily decisions they make or should make regarding money.
George Barna Research recently interviewed 1008 people by phone, asked them twenty questions about situations to which they responded how they’d deal with the situation. Of the people who were interviewed that professed to be Christians only 14% responded in a way that validated they ‘lived’ (made decisions) that was consistent with that worldview. In fact, 51% answered in a way that was more rules driven (read ‘Pharisaical’) than their worldview would suggest they respond.
Whether you share this same worldview and practice it daily or just show up to church to get your ticket punched at Christmas and Easter, you have a worldview. Even if your worldview dismisses the thought of a Creator, you have a worldview… and it influences every decision you make about money. And it’s a powerful influence that I’m suggesting you get your head around regarding your money. It leads to your ‘why’.
If you’re married and have different worldviews, it’s going to create conflict until you figure out how to resolve it. If you have a particular worldview and live inconsistent with that view, it will lead to very inefficient decision making. I’m certain that there are others much more qualified to take it deeper than this, but I’ve watched this play out time and again.
Take some time this week to write down your “why’s”. Share them with your spouse, partner, or significant other and see if you’re heading in the same direction.
Call our offices at 936-449-5952 if I can be of help on your journey.