While everyone else is posting about Christmas and the holidays, I want to take a minute to talk about money. *GASP*
I started writing this post last week and stopped halfway through realizing it was a much larger endeavor than anticipated. Growing up I learned three things about money: you give, you save, you spend.
At the ripe age of 19 (four days away from 20), I got married. Suddenly my paradigm and understanding about money met my husband’s. We were married after our first year of university and finished school as a young married couple. We both worked as much as we could while in school and borrowed as little as possible.
I’d like to think we did the best we could with our finances with the knowledge we had. It’s easy to look back with regret on past decisions, but it’s neither helpful nor healthy.
Fast forward six years. We’re both working full-time. We’re paying off our student loans as fast as we can. Or as fast as we think we can. We have a plan to pay them off in two years and then I get pregnant. We quickly learn that we know nothing about insurance. And for those of you who aren’t American. Insurance in the U.S. is like the Wild West.
Long story short, we had two kids in three years and both had complications during their birth (for very different reasons), which racked up $25,000 in hospital bills between the two of them. That’s $25,000 with insurance! Like I said, The Wild West. So we paid the minimum on our student loans and paid $25,000 in three years to hospitals instead.
I wrote about restoration a couple months ago. Had we had two births without complications, we would have totally paid off our student loans. It’s strange feeling like you’ve been robbed, but that’s what it felt like for me. All the planning and expectation for financial freedom was thrown out the door.
In all of this, God has taught me two things.
- Fear of the Lord trumps fear of finance.
- Faith, knowledge, and wisdom work together not in conflict
At the beginning of this year, I felt God speak to me about money and finances. He began to speak to me about leaving an inheritance for our grandchildren.
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. (Prov. 13:22)
While an inheritance can be and should be many things, I felt strongly that this year was meant to be the beginning of thinking about money and wealth differently than ever before. A few things happened this year. We set a budget based primarily on percentages. (If you haven’t heard of Everydollar, this is the BEST thing that happened to our budget.) We felt prompted to give more than ever before in a variety of areas. And we started to read about and research different ways to build wealth.
Money is a sensitive topic and for a long time I would immediately be on the defense whenever talking about financial decisions. Over the course of this year I’ve realized that because of lack of money in the past, I often froze and reacted intensely whenever discussing our monthly budget. It’s been a process for God to work out the fear of lack and fear of failure when it comes to money.
Years from now I hope to have a wealth of knowledge and wisdom and experience when it comes to money because I want to raise up a generation who surpasses me in this area. I want to see my kids and grandkids flourishing and blessing the world around them.