Since today is Father’s Day, I thought I would address my next blog post to the men out there who are fathers or expect to be fathers some day. I could not get each one of you a present so consider this my Father’s Day gift to all of you. Today I would like to talk about what fathers should leave behind as an inheritance for their kids. The Bible says that “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,” (Proverbs 3:22).

Since this is a financial matters blog, you would think that I am only going to focus on material wealth but that is not really the case. It is important to make sure that your family is taken care of financially even after you pass on. However, in the process of gaining control over your finances and building wealth, you will learn  many valuable lessons that should be passed on to the next generation.

Whether you are aware of it or not, your kids will pick-up and learn more from your behavior than your words. You teach what you know, you reproduce what you are. So make sure that your message is clear. What should your kids learn from your example as it relates to money matters?

1. They should learn that a real man, takes the lead in financial matters in the household. You should work together with your wife and you both have a vote. But you should never abdicate the responsibility simply because “I am not good with numbers” or “I don’t have time to deal with that stuff.” You need to constantly communicate with your wife. That means you speak and lead but you also listen to her wisdom (Proverbs 31:10-11). Never, never, abandon your wife and your kids in this area.

2. They should learn to live on less than they make. There is no reason to spend all the money that comes into the household. They should learn from you the secret of contentment (Philippians 4:11-12).

3. They should learn that success in financial matters (and any other area of life) does not come by accident (Proverbs 21:5). It takes preparation, determination, sacrifice, and hard work. You have to plan for and live on a budget. You may have to work extra or take a second job for a short while to pay down your debt. You may have to learn about insurance, investing, or preparing a will. Make the time!

4. They should learn to prioritize needs over wants.Teach them to protect the four walls of the household (food, shelter/utilities, transportation, and clothing) first (I Timothy 5:8). Teach them not to expect a hand-out or a bail-out from the government or anyone else. It is your job to take care of your family.

5. They should learn to avoid the slavery of debt (Proverbs 22:7). Teach them to save for emergencies, large purchases, and long term goals. There is a great lesson in discipline when  you save for what you want to buy instead of taking the easy way out of borrowing money for everything under the sun.

6. They should learn the joy of giving (I Timothy 6:17-19). Nothing will bring a human being more joy than the ability to help others. We are created in God’s image and He is a giver. The whole point of getting your finances in order is not simply to just pile up more riches. You will have opportunities to bless others. Make sure your kids see that joy in you.

Happy Father’s Day!

It’s Not Over Until It’s Over

Yes, I am quoting the great sports philosopher from the 20th century, Yogi Berra to open this post. If you love basketball (as I do) and if you live in the DFW area (as I do), you most likely watched the great comeback by the Dallas Mavericks (15 down with just over 7 minutes to go) to tie their NBA Finals match-up with the Miami Heat to one game apiece.

Unless you were like me who got upset with the game and forgot Yogi’s advice.

After that Mavs fell behind by 15 I was frustrated and I had had enough of the show-boating by the Heat. It was 10:30 PM and and after all I had an early start of the day on Friday. So I went to bed thinking the Mavs would be down 2-0. However, much to my surprise (and great delight), Dallas found a way. If you analyze what the the Dallas players said after the game it was very simple: “We did not think the game was over.” So they kept playing, they kept trying, they kept playing defense, and they received the reward of a well-earned victory.

So what about your finances? Do you think it is too late? Are you ready to throw in the towel? Do you like living paycheck to paycheck without a plan for your money? Are you resigned to rely on the government to take care of you in your old age? It is never too late. It is not over until it is over.

You can:

  • Start managing your finances with a purpose by living on a budget today. It is simple.
  • Pay off your consumer debt with a proven method.
  • Start saving for emergencies. You need 3 to 6 months of expenses.
  • Start saving for retirement (15% of your income) without wondering if Social Security will be there. By the way, I know Social Security won’t be there for me when I get to that point in my life. The math is simple and the politicians lack the backbone to fix it. So no, I am not counting on them.
  • Get the insurance you need in place today. You need to manage the risks to your financial well being.
  • Put a will in place today. It is simple and inexpensive and it shows you care for your family.

All you can do is all that you can do. As Gandalf explained to Frodo: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” (J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring). The theme for the Dallas Mavericks for this year’s playoff run is this: “The time is now.” So what about you?

“So teach us to number our days,  That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12 – NASB)