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Dear Bro and Co.,

     Yesterday  I had a splitting headache;  one in a series of small maladies to have come along putting my melon in a total funk. 

     Yeah, I’ve been in a bit of a funk; a little on edge – not cranky mind you, just a tad touchy.  In addition to the headache, I’ve had stings by some sorta mystery bug that swelled up and itched like mad and a piece of light globe break off the ceiling fan fixture and jab my hand.  That was a bloody mess; literally.  I think I’m being attacked.  Why?  Because I’m in a funk.  Why?  Because I let it happen.  Simple, huh?  Not really, actually it’s quite complicated.  Amanda is back in the workforce – started at Macaroni Grill.  I guess I’m spoiled.  I like having her home.  As tough as it is on me and the kids; it’s toughest for Amanda – so I, as her husband, have a horrible cocktail of wounded pride and guilt stirring within.  I could go and work a minimum wage job on the side, but we need to pay off our debts as quick as we can – this is the fastest way to accomplish our goal (legal anyways). 🙂  Unless something better presents itself, we’ll have to weather this for a season.  We can do it!  We’ve done it before; it just isn’t ideal – or pleasant. 

Financial Peace

     Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University is great!  We’re learning a lot and we see the steps required to get us out of the cellar.  That said, I guess going into the class, I was hoping for a quick fix, warm fuzzies, and an easy peaceful feeling.  Fact is, there’s no easy fix just like there’s no such thing as easy money.  Strangely enough, I’ll quote Metallica here;  “To secure peace is to prepare for war!”

     Well, if you are ill prepared as we were and parachute yourself behind enemy lines of debt as we have; unfortunately you have to fight your way out of hostile territories in order to reach the land of the free and the place of peace.  The sharks aren’t evil, but they are sharks.  If we jump in their waters it should come as no surprise when they try to eat us, or at least devour our dollars. 

     Every week I leave the course encouraged and humiliated:  encouraged to gain knowledge and wisdom and hope, humiliated with a big piece of humble pie for all the foolish mistakes I’ve made.  I almost think it should be called Financial Piece University.  It would seem that most everyone gets served at least one slice. 

     After each class we get in little discussion groups.  In our group, there is this older fella that I call “Froggy” cause he has a froggy voice and I can’t remember his real name.  He may  not be rich per se, but you can tell he’s been savvy with his money.  Where I tend to sit in quiet contemplation, he is rather vocal.  Usually looking rather confident he says stuff like, “I’m glad me and Mildred have been doing most of the things Dave talks about.  We’re doing good, and we’re gonna get better!”  Which is cool.  I’m glad they’re doing good….then came the lesson on insurance (get term life, not whole life by the way – whole life insurance is a rip…the insurance company is the one making money).  I thought I might catch a break on this one.  Wrong!!!  I got served another slice….apparently so did Froggy – Mildred said he was so upset he left.  While I am truly sorry he was upset, I can’t help but feel a little like this:

     Hopefully Mr. Froggy will be back for the next class. Perhaps he is like me; although I haven’t bailed on the class, I still find myself in this funk.  We shall overcome, for we are more than conquerors in Christ; just trying to motivate myself to rise up and march on to claim the victory rather than wallowing in defeat. 

     Not only is living in defeat when ya don’t have to foolish – it down right stinks.  Most every man knows how to earn money.  One in a million knows how to spend it. -Henry Davin Thoreau

     One of the things I’ve learned in my years of financial floundering is that bail outs don’t work.  Mom and dad have been generous and gracious enough to bail us out of some jams here and there.  Unlike the government they used money they actually had rather that spiking up the “National Debt”.  And, while we were and still are grateful for the help and relief given; it didn’t fix the underlying issues that were the cause of our dollar dilemmas.

     We thought that living modestly meant being good stewards.  Turns out that is false if “modest Living” is above your means.  We had bought into some terrible myths and it cost us dearly: 1. You need a credit card for emergencies!!!  Turns out, cash works better for emergency and non-emergency situations.  One of our first goals is to set up a $1000 emergency savings account.  Eventually we will have another account with 3-6 months living expenses saved up – for major emergencies.  By doing these two things, not only will we have a “peace” cushion; we will break the cycle of crisis living.  **Seems like every time we paid our debts down or completely off, something would happen like a car repair and then it would start all over again. ** Get rid of all credit cards!!   Cash works better.   2. Everybody has to have a house and a car payment.  Again we thought by buying a modest house and driving modest vehicles we were being responsible and conservative.  Turns out we shouldn’t have bought the house or any of the vehicles that we’ve purchased.  Good news; it can be overcome.  Dave Ramsey fell into the same trap many years ago and now not only is he financially secure (Dude is rich!); he’s teaching others how to overcome as well.  Seeing his and others success is an encouragement. 

     ….Going back to bail outs, they don’t work!  Nowhere is this more evident than in the Bible.  In the Old Testament under the covenant with Abraham an annual sacrifice was required for the people’s sins (debt) to be relieved.  “Oy, what a relief!”  Two problems remained:  1. While the balance was brought current; the account (or debt) was not satisfied (paid in full, paid off).  2.  The sinful nature that accrued such debt still remained and would accrue some more in the year to come.

     So essentially it was like making a monthly payment of $30 on a credit card with a $3 trillion debt.  Why did God set this up?  Why not send Jesus straight away after the fall in the Garden?  Surely, I do not know all of His reasons;  for just as God is in His Heavens and I upon the earth, so are His thoughts higher than mine.. and probably a little more.  What I do know is this:  it shows all the more just how perfect Christ’s sacrifice really is. 

  • Our debt is paid in full – eternally!
  • We are new creations in Christ with new natures

     Hence, grace (God’s power) to overcome sin eternally and grace to overcome sin in the here and now.

     Our God is an Awesome God!!!!

….speaking of not smoking, a few stats to pass on: 

  • $3/day; $90/month
  • invested from age 16 to age 76 in a 12% Money Market Account
  • =$11,622,00

Yep that’s over ELEVEN MILLION DOLLARS – not a typo!

Smoking doesn’t make good CENTS!!!

    

 

 

 

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. – III John 2

     We got the Financial Peace Junior curriculum so not only are we arming and equipping ourselves, we are going to teach and equip the kids as well.  Ready for battle.  Ready for class.  Ready to eat my slice of pie like a man and kick the devil’s rattle!!  😉

Love and God bless, Uncle Buck “Wango” Lamb and the Tango Tribe