Friday, April 17, 2015

On The American Dream...

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it. -Ancient Hebrew Proverb
For most of us, the act of budgeting accomplishes two things. First, it destroys the myth that we have more money than we really do. When you started budgeting and began to categorize your spending, weren't there a few categories, perhaps restaurants or clothing, where you just said, "I can't believe I (or we) spend that much!" Budgeting opens our eyes and forces adjustments; and if you stop depending on credit cards you realize that you just don't have as much money as you thought. I think these adjustments can give you a huge sense of freedom because you finally know the truth and have a plan. Part of that plan is that you are choosing to limit your experience of the American Dream -- for now.

But budgeting accomplishes a second thing. The limitations you place on yourself now is intentional preparation for your future. Instead of traveling the world now, you're establishing an emergency fund; instead of buying your dream car now and making payments, you're paying off debt. All of this is setting you up for the rest of your adult life to live the American Dream in a worry-free way. As Dave Ramsey puts it, "You live like no one else so you can live like know one else."

In short, if you actually stick with this, there's a real solid chance that you could be a millionaire by the time you retire with plenty of to spend and give away!

However, whether we have little or much now, or little or much later, my hope is that in this journey we are not only wise with our finances, but deeply loving with one another. This Proverb is a reminder, a smack in the face for those who pursue the American Dream believing that money actually solves our problems. We should all be challenged with the thought of a family happily sitting around the table with only a pea to split because love is the foundation of that fellowship. And we should all be convicted when we are tempted to believe that if we "had it all," but there was no love present, that it would be a fine life to live.

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