Thursday, July 22, 2010

Integrity Tests

I don't travel on business as much as I used to.  I'm ok with that. But this week I had occasion to travel out west to a business conference.  I was reminded just how many integrity tests business travellers take every day.  There is little accountability on the road.  There are many opportunities to hedge, fudge, accomodate and compromise core values.  I will share a simple one that relates to money.

Two of my colleagues and I shared a taxi ride from our hotel to the airport.  Our driver was a pleasant woman who seemed to enjoy her job and chatted politely about the usual surface topics that accompany these kinds of routine shuttles. 

When we arrived at the airport, I paid the fare and tipped her generously (for the record, I am a pretty good tipper. Good service deserves good rewards.).  She thanked me and asked if I needed a receipt.  When I replied in the affirmative, she pulled out the company receipt pad a proceeded to tear off a copy for me.  She handed it to me and thanked me again for my generosity.  As I took the slip of paper, folded it and put it in my pocket, I noticed it was blank.  I smiled, somewhat saddened.

Our company will gladly reimburse me for the cab fare, but not the tip.  I have no problem with that.  A blank receipt provides me a perfect opportunity to put whatever number I choose on that pink piece of paper.  No one in my company will question the amount I write down.

Integrity tests.  We take them daily.  Who are we when no one is watching?  Some are big ones.  We've all heard, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."  Some a little ones, like fill in the blank taxi receipts. 

For the record, in case you're wondering, I passed.  This time.  But each new day has fresh challenges.  I tremble at the prospect of facing the constant barage of attacks upon my character.  I am flesh and flesh is so frail.  I try and follow two simple rules, that are framed by questions; 1.  Would I be embarrassed if my wife or Jesus walked in on me right now?  and 2. What would I do in this situation if my wife or Jesus was standing beside me?  Since both are always with me, one in my heart by a commitment we made before God and witnesses, and one quite literally omnipresent, it's hard to get away with much.  :-)

Have a great day.  Good luck with your test.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Protect Us From The "Consumer Protection Bill"

Yesterday congress passed the "Financial Overhaul" or Consumer Protection Act  bill.  But who will protect us from Govt.  As with the Health Care Bill, the 2300 page bill was not read and passed with the help of three liberal Republicans.

The short version of what happened is, this bill will grow Govt. but not the economy.  This was bad for America and it's very sad.

All these things remind us that we must each take charge of our own financial lives.  Pay attention, live within your means, avoid debt like a plague.  Use cash.  Trust God.  Win.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Back Online

Twice now, I've tried to lay this blog to rest.  Twice now, it's been resurrected because of demand and need.  Perhaps I should learn my lesson.

Thank you to everyone who has emailed me over the last few months.  It seems that the IOU NO MORE revolution still resounds with many people.  I am touched and blessed.

In the spririt of full disclosure, some of my money management views, especially regarding wealth building have changed in the three and a half years since IOU NO MORE was published.  Those changes will probably require a rewrite of some portions of the book.  But since discretionary time is an endangered species with me, I'm not sure when that writing will happen. 

The final incident that drove me back to this blog came in two steps.  Working backwards, I read an article last week of the continual growth of bankruptcy claims in the USA.  It seems that even with all refinancing of delinquent mortgages and low interest rates, people still can't get a handle on their debt and are giving up.

That article instantly reminded me of a conversation I had with an attorney from the midwest who said that he has become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of bankruptcy cases that have come to his office.  He said the number of files in his drawer is staggering.

With those two pieces of information nagging at my mind, I feel God is leading me to reopen this door.  I don't know what will happen once it's open, but here goes.......