What's your why for building wealth?
Is it to get rich so you can retire and never work again, just consuming the rest of your life in luxury?
Is it to get out of the rat race and start doing something you're passionate about versus something you have to do to earn money?
Do you build wealth because you've made money your master and you've become consumed by the love of money?
Are you building wealth in order to change your family tree?
Why are you building wealth?
Today, I feel compelled to share my thoughts on why I am interested in building wealth and how that's shaping our family. I hope that through my reflection, you'll start to think about it as well and figure out what's important to you in your journey.
Financial Peace and Legacy Journey Lays the Foundation For Us.
When we first started Financial Peace University back in 2011, our goal was mainly to just get out of debt. We weren't thinking about the future. We were thinking about paying our bills and getting our heads above water. FPU did a great job of helping us to get on a plan and focus on one thing at a time by creating a budget and sticking to it.
Later on, as we got out of debt and started growing our savings and investments, we've expanded our vision about what goals we are tackling and how fast. Since we've been able to pay off all of our debt, other than our home mortgage, we've been able to start investing and even change our lifestyle, as we went down to a single income household.
As we work on the building wealth side of the equation more, it can be tempting to sacrifice many things that are not driving the bottom line up each month. It seems like we could be making the needle move quicker if we scaled back on things, but I know that it would also possibly lead to us burning out and only making things worse.
Aside from taking FPU to help us get started on our track, I'm very happy that we decided to take Dave Ramsey's follow up class, The Legacy Journey. In it, he talks in the first lesson about expanding your vision. The class is all about "creating a legacy that will change family trees and change the world".
Related Post: Our Story of Working the Baby Steps Since May 2011
Now, Then, Us, Them.
There is a great article about this where Dave Ramsey Explains the Biblical Principles of Wealth and Money, I suggest you head over there and read it when you get a chance. Basically, my biggest takeaway was the "Now, Then, Us, Them" principle.
- Now - This is where you are focusing on your day to day life. You are working to get caught up on your bills and start cleaning up your finances.
- Then - Once you start getting the debt cleared away and cash flow really starts to open up, you can start focusing more on saving for your kid's college and your retirement investments.
- Us - This is where we start thinking beyond ourselves and can help the generation that's going to follow us. We are able to start focusing on teaching our kids and grandchildren about money at an early age so that they hopefully won't make the same mistakes that we have.
- Them - This is where our vision goes beyond our families and is where we can start impacting others' family trees. We are able to give out of surplus and can help meet needs around us outside of just our own family tree.
When we start to think about wealth in the terms of these four stages, we can get past ourselves and our needs and really start to impact others around us. My hope for our family is that we will thrive in the "them" stage as we build wealth and pass on the principles generationally to our children's children over our lifetimes.
Here are some things that I've been thinking about while on our journey.
Building Wealth is Biblical
Being one of those people that thought that growing my money was separate from worshiping God, I had a misunderstanding and thought I could only serve money or God. I thought that if I was handling money well, I was becoming a servant to it. But, what I didn't understand was that by handling my money correctly, I was serving God. When I started handling money as a tool to help worship God, that's when things really started to grow and prosper for our family.
We're called to grow wealth for the good of the kingdom of God.
If we have a right understanding of who owns the money that we are in possession of, than we will realize that it's one of our callings to grow our wealth with the intention of growing the kingdom of God. If we weren't building margin in our lives and living on less than we make, how would we be able to weather emergencies that come up? How would we be able to bless our neighbors when they need our help?
We wouldn't, we'd be too focused on the "now" and not able to see beyond our own situations. God has given us the responsibility of managing money for Him to help bless us.
Building wealth is about stewardship, not ownership.
When we first started out on our financial journey after Financial Peace, I was all, "we're gonna be rich". But, as I've grown the money and surrendered it to Christ, I've learned that I'm not the real owner of this money. It's all God's money! He owns it all. We are merely managers of it and are called to use it wisely. The beauty of using money responsibly is that God blesses us and gives us more to manage as we use it to grow His kingdom!
It wasn't until we learned to start managing the money versus trying to take ownership that things really started growing for us. When we first started out, we were only giving at around 3% of our monthly income. It wasn't until we took the leap to go all the way to 10% that God really started helping to move the needle on our debt. We saw tremendous results. Money was coming in from places that we didn't expect, we found extra overtime and were unified in our goal of eliminating our debt. God blessed us tremendously as we were faithful in our stewardship of the money, even when the numbers didn't make sense!
I would challenge you to take that leap of trust if you haven't already in your giving back to God. It's His to begin with!
Faithful stewardship means that wealth-building can and should be a holy activity.
When we get the ownership part down and realize who the real owner is, wealth building can become a holy activity and we can worship God in how we manage the wealth that is given to us. How much of a blessing is it when you can do for others what they can't do for themselves in a time of need? Think of how much this can shine God's light at a time where someone else is walking through darkness.
Building Wealth Creates Options
You've probably heard the saying, "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer", right? It's so true. When you start doing things that rich people do, you, too, will become rich. And I don't mean the flashy, extravagant rich, they're broke... I mean the rich that Thomas Stanley is talking about in The Millionaire Next Door. Read a great guest post about the book here: 7 Characteristics Millionaires Share.
As our story has evolved, we've been able to take advantage of some amazing options that we wouldn't have been able to if we weren't building wealth.
The first way was in the margin that our wealth building created. While in debt, we were shelling out $750 a month just to cover the minimums at one point in our debt payoff journey. As we eliminated the debt, this money was then able to be allocated to other things. In that time, we've had a couple of kids, changed jobs and even bought a house. This would not have been possible if we hadn't paid off the debt and built margin in our lives.
I remember living in our apartment and feeling like we would never be able to afford a house to call our own because of the difference in cost compared to our rent. Our house does cost two times as much as our rent did when you include the taxes and insurance. As we paid off the debt and built up savings, we were able to see that home ownership was actually affordable from us. But, it was also two-fold. We are making more now and we have less expenses. Our lifestyle has increased from the time when we were paying off debt.
In August of 2016, I was actually able to quit my job after my wife was able to score a significant raise, allowing us to go down to one income. This has afforded our family the opportunity to eliminate daycare costs and the ability to spend more time together. Even though we're making less then before I left, because we've built wealth and created margin, we're able to take advantage of this lifestyle shift.
As you are building wealth, it's amazing the amount of opportunities open up.
- We have been able to build equity in our home by purchasing in a recovering market at a good price.
- Compound interest is finally working in our favor as we have put investing on auto pilot and are contributing every paycheck.
- I get to be a much bigger influence in my two girls lives as I'm able to stay home with them instead of dropping them off at a daycare every day longer than we're around them.
- We get to help others in need as we are seeing it around us through our giving.
- I'm able to work on my passion, this site, and hopefully reach more people and inspire others to make changes and create an even better story for their family.
Building Wealth Allows For More Contentment In My Life
Learning to be content in whatever stage you are in is a good idea. As you learn to control "shiny object" syndrome, you will find that you have more money in the bank and a greater sense of well being as you free yourself from the comparison race and learn to count your blessings of what you have versus what you are looking to attain.
Related Post: Contentment – An Important Money Principle
Learning when enough is enough
As we go through life, we can get into accumulation mode. When we can draw our line and say "enough is enough", we can start to enjoy what we have and use our overflow to build wealth. One thing that's been heavy on my mind lately is setting my lifestyle cost at a certain level and then staying within that boundary. As we create more and more margin, I think we will see more opportunity to build wealth and create more chances to give generously. What is your enough?
Becoming more others' centered
When we learn to be content with what we have in our lives, it allows us to look around beyond ourselves and focus on others. As we have built wealth, one thing that I love is that we've been in the position to give more generously to others in need at opportune times. There's no better joy than to be able to bless others in need and share the light of Christ and join Him in what He's working to accomplish.
Quit trying to "keep up with the Jones's"
When we become content with what we have, we give ourselves permission to quit the comparison race sometimes referred to as "keeping up with the Jones's". When we learn to think for ourselves and not try to meet others' standards, we give ourselves the freedom to be ourselves. This is an amazing ability to let creativity shine through while we are building wealth because we don't have to compare our status to anyone else.
Building Wealth Allows Me To Leave a Legacy
One way or another, we are going to leave a legacy when we depart from this world. Is it one that other's strive to navigate away from? Or will it be one that other's grab onto and want to continue on?
Wealth magnifies what you are; good or bad.
Whether we like it or not, wealth is going to show more of us as we have more of it to manage. So, if you are a greedy person with a little bit of money, it will really show how greedy you are with more wealth. If you are a more generous person even with little, you will be extremely generous with more. Learning the value of a dollar is so important. Many times, business owners will see the value of a dollar whether they are making a $10 purchase or a $10 million purchase.
It's not my money to begin with.
Ownership is crucial here. Learning to handle the money as a steward versus an owner is a humbling experience. When we manage God's money well for Him, we allow His blessing to come back and bless us. If we continue to walk our finances as a manager versus and owner, it should be easier to make better decisions around how we spend it.
I want to set my children's children up for success.
What's the end game for wealth building? For my wife and I, it's about changing our family tree. We want to establish a pattern of wealth that goes beyond us; for it to even go beyond our kids. We want it to get so firmly established that it gets ingrained in our grandchildren's lives so that they will continue to pass it on long after we are gone as well.
Related Post: How An Attitude Of Gratitude Can Transform Your Finances
So, why are you building wealth?
I will ask it again because hopefully, if you've come this far, you will have a bigger understanding about building wealth. It's not all about the money. Wealth building is about changing lives. It's about being able to bless others and walk in God's blessings for us. Building wealth is biblical, creates options, gives us more contentment and allows us to leave a legacy. I would love to hear your thoughts on your why for building wealth below.
Are you ready to finally take control of your finances? Let my budgeting spreadsheets help!
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Good post Steven.
We are creating wealth so we can:
-Have options and opportunities
-Give our kid(s) a head start
-Help other kids especially underprivileged kids
-Leave a legacy
-Leave the world a little bit better than we found it
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Those are great reasons to be building wealth! Thanks for reading!