Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Climbing the Financial Ladder

Yesterday I happened upon a conversation with a man who insinuated that the wealth some people had was "sickening."  I confess I have to smile a little when I hear things like that because I myself come from extremely humble roots and through much labor, sacrifice, prayer and faith my parents have financially succeeded in a miraculous way, which has blessed all of their descendents tremendously.  I inherited my mother's financial wisdom and discipline not only by nature but because many lessons in that respect came along with my homemade baby food, and I see no reason I ought not share the wealth in disclosing how to become financially successful.  No need to be sickened -  choose instead to be inspired!  Anyone can do it, and it is very simple.  As a caveat, however, simple does not necessarily mean easy.  

I never went to a McDonald's as a child.  My mother scoffed at fast food as both unhealthy and unnecessarily expensive.  I ate rice, beans and homemade tortillas so much as a child that I hardly remember eating anything else.  We had minimal toys and from my infancy I knew that asking to buy something from the store that was not on my mother's well prepared and researched shopping list would prove a complete waste of time and effort. Buying candy bars was unheard of and my clothes that did not come from Goodwill were homemade.  Credit cards were chains forged by the devil and my parents would rather starve than have anything to do with them.  They worked incessantly and my mother built houses, doing the manual labor of a bricklayer with her father and brothers through much of my childhood.  I learned the importance of hard work and saving every penny.  Could my mother have bought me McDonald's?  Of course.  But she had vision and instead would sometimes make hamburgers at home on the grill, laughing that other silly people wasted their money on food which was not nearly as healthy and fresh.  And with the money she saved she built a beautiful four story house in the foothills, took all four of her children on tours of Western Europe as we graduated high school and paid for our college educations.  Weighing the options of eating at a Happy Meal at McDonald's and enjoying gourmet food in Paris, I think I know which was the wiser choice.  

Let me put it to you plainly.  There are only a few things you need to know in order to strengthen your financial situation, whatever it might be.  Firstly, work.  Secondly, and this is much harder, do not spend money simply because you have it.  Save it.  I think of it often as a game, actually.  How high can I bring the balance of my savings account?  Thirdly and truly most importantly, involve God in your labors.  Devotion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints includes paying tithing, which is 10% of a person's gross income (before taxes).  My parents both swear by this, as do I.  When people say that this is too much and they cannot afford to pay that, I answer that if they want to succeed they cannot afford not to.  My parents own a successful company that weathered the recession with sushi dinners and even bought a house, paid off in full, in this time of widespread financial trouble.  When things get difficult the first thing my mother does is pay more money to the Church.  They have never regretted those decisions and I have often heard them gratefully praise God for protecting them when so many other home builders were crumbling into oblivion.  

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