Monday, November 17, 2008

Recession Proof Living Part 1

I thought I would use this space to process a few of the ideas that will be going into my new book, "Recession Proof Living". This will give me a vehicle to toss around some concepts and either refine or discard them as I write the book.

As my loyal reader would tell you, I'm big on written budgets. I call it 'fantasy spending'. That means spending each paycheck on paper before spending it in real life. Doing so, gives each dollar a job, a home, a sense of purpose. If we don't focus our money, it has a tendency to go rogue and run away from home.

I'm also big on promoting a financial revolution. I want people to take back their lives and have financial peace of mind. I long for families to live debt free and not have to panic when the economy nose dives. I wish for us to do more than survive, I believe we can thrive in tough times and in good ones.

The first thing we must do is establish a perimeter. That has a good revolutionary ring to it. My original idea was to talk about circling the wagons. But in the end I decided that connoted too defensive a posture. I want people to think more like an invasion force. Establishing a perimeter sounds much more like creating a base of operations with aggressive intent, while circling the wagons sounds a lot like fending off and an attack from hostile desperados.

Sometimes we have to play defense, that's a given. But we don't want to live defensively. We will establish a perimeter and protect everything within that safety zone (ie. our families)at all costs. Once the perimeter is solid, we will use it as a base of operations to move forward and capture new territory. We will not give up until we have liberated a nation. After that, the world.

Our perimeter covers all four points of the compass. These are the first four categories for which we budget. And we address them in a specific order. If we are in dire financial circumstances they may be the only categories in our budget. But eventually, we will be able to advance and conquer more area.

The North Perimeter is God. Our giving to God should always come first. A strong Spiritual foundation is critical to a balanced, full, prosperous life. Let me make a comparison to our physical bodies. We can diet, exercise, lift weights, do pilates, run miles a day, but if inside we have a cancer, or anemia or some other disease, we can never reach our full potential. In fact, if we get sick enough, our outer bodies deteriorate no matter what we do. If, however, our insides are good, then we can sculpt our outer bodies pretty much any way we like.

In the same way, we can work like crazy to get our financial house in order, but if we're unhealthy spiritually, we will never reach our full potential and we may even be doing ourselves more harm than good. On the other hand, if we put God first, we increase our chances of winning many hundred fold.

I love the third chapter of Malachi in the Old Testament, where God tells the people to stop robbing Him and bring the whole tithe into the store house. He says, "test me and see if I don't pour out all the blessings of Heaven on you." Go back and read it. I think you will find it most challenging.

Tithing is a good place to start. That's the traditional 10%. By the time we get through with our plan, we will be giving away 20% of our income. Yep. And we'll be thriving beyond our wildest imaginations. But we're a long way from that. So we'll start with 10%. Some won't even have the courage to start there. I didn't. I started with about 6%. I was a coward. I was afraid that my debt was too great to give God the full 10%. I'm ashamed of that now, but I need to be honest.

Fortunately, God took my feeble act of Faith and blessed it. After a couple of years, I finally got up the courage to give Him the Full 10%. I've never regretted it. Our tithe check is the first check Brittan and I write on payday. God gets the first of the best and the best of the first.

The Bible says, "If God is for us, who can stand against us." In other words, if our Spiritual perimeter is strong, we become both the immovable object and the irresistible force.

Coming soon.... Part 2, the South Perimeter, Food.


Snobound said...

Oooohhh, this sounds really good. I like it so far!