Monthly Archives: March 2014

BBM Interviews Mary Johnson: A College Student’s Money Perspective

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Mary Johnson is the daughter of Lisa and Darren Johnson, a Godly couple my wife and I befriended while attending Calvary CHapel of Idaho Falls, ID. Both parents are hard-working, dedicated to God and very friendly to those around them. It is no surprise that their work ethic and perspective on money has been passed down to their daughter who exhibits discipline, kindness and a great head on her shoulders. I am very glad to have interviewed this young lady. Keep reading and you’ll see why.

BBM: Is the Bible one of your Financial Education sources? Why or why not?

Mary: Yes. If I use the Bible to guide other aspects of my life like avoiding sin or loving others, I can apply it to my finances. Dave Ramsey helped me see how much the Bible actually talks about money.

BBM: Do you believe that small business contributes positively to the economy? If yes, how so?

Mary: I’m not too educated on this topic, but yes I do. I think it allows average people to have a say regarding governments laws on business and have- even though it may be small- a piece of the market “pie”.

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BBM: How do you manage your finances? (Examples: Financial adviser, spreadsheets, envelope system, checkbook register, a combination of tools, or something else)

Mary: I currently use a form of the envelope system. At the beginning of the month, I estimate how much I’ll make and list all of my expenses, including “fun money”. The most important things are at the top: tithe, gas, and other bills. Every dollar gets accounted for, before I even spend a dollar. I then get out some categories in cash, like tithe and my fun” money. Some of the other expenses are only on my card, like my phone payment and gas. If I have any left over at the end of the month, it either goes towards savings or towards next months expenses. I’ve been told that it takes time to really perfect this system, but so far I’ve enjoyed it. It takes away a lot of my spending guilt when I know what I have in my wallet is what I can spend:)

BBM: At what age did you begin to form a “Financial Freedom mindset”?

Mary: I began this mindset literally 7 weeks ago, so age 18.

BBM: Why do you believe financial wisdom is important?

Mary: Debt has the power to steal away so much peace. It can ruin marriages, keep people stuck doing something they didn’t want to do in life, and above all, it can keep one from pursuing the Lords calling. If i know I have the power to avoid all that, I’m going to take advantage of it. Wouldn’t you?

BBM: How do you feel about credit cards as a young lady getting ready to enter college?

Mary: I know I could go my entire life without ever needing one. I know that sounds crazy, but if I plan on never needing loans for anything, I don’t need to “build my credit”. They can be OK if you have good self discipline and are maybe at a later stage in life than I’m currently positioned, but for college students, I recommend they stay far away from them.

BBM: Is “giving back” part of your future financial strategy? If yes, how so? If no, do you think it should be added to your plan?

Mary: Yes. Tithing has always been something I have done since I got my first paycheck. Besides tithing, I believe it is important to be open financially to give if an opportunity comes along. My dream is to be able to give back by going on a mission (or multiple) and though you’re going to serve others, you have to pay your way out there.

BBM: Have you read the book “Do Hard Things”? If yes, did you enjoy it? If no, would you read it if it was bought for you?

Mary: Yes! I love it.

BBM: Do you think society expects too little of adolescents & teens?

Mary: Definitely. Still being in the teens myself, I feel the drag of society pulling on me saying you don’t need to be responsible, you’re young. You can’t really do much anyway”. As a result, our young people feel that they can’t accomplish anything until later, so they usually don’t even try. What would our world be like if young people took a stand and started really doing the hard stuff while they were young?.

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That is a perfect question to pose at the ending of this interview. It is a question that both parents and their adolescent/teen children should ask themselves. Let’s stop acting as if our young ones cannot achieve extraordinary things. In fact, let’s start requiring it of them!!

Grace And The Rough Draft

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On January 30th, 2014 I received a very unexpected email from Grace Centered Magazine. With a wrinkled forehead I opened the letter and read very exciting news. They were willing to accept me as a contributing writer on their site. I did my happy dance, thanked God over and over and over, smiled, grinned and posted the good news on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Then, still grinning from ear to ear, I thanked God some more!

While the laid-back, celebratory side of me threw a one-man party the practical side of me reared its annoying head saying, “Hey you, with the cheesy smile, I don’t remember sending that email. In fact I don’t remember ever polishing it to a professional level, worthy of presentation at all!”

(man that guy’s a kill joy)

I ended the celebration and investigated my email Draft folder. It wasn’t there. I went to my Sent folder, found it and discovered my “Mr. Practical” side was right. (he gloated, of course) See, I had not finished dotting my i’s and crossing my Ts. Most of the information required by the GCM staff was in the email but I had intended to include my bio, a few photos and another blog as an example of my writing style. But, apparently God had other plans because I accidentally sent the email without realizing it.

This got me thinking:

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The staff at GCM saw a good fit despite my opinion that the email was not worthy of presentation. In my mind it wasn’t good enough, it was flawed, lacking and needed improvement. Isn’t that what we tell The Father? “Well God, I’m not good enough to go to Church. Let me fix a few things about myself then I’ll come serve you. I’m definitely not good enough to greet people at the Church doors. Sing in the chior? Me? I don’t have a pretty voice like that girl does, no way!”

Have you ever noticed how flawed and unworthy of presentation the heroes of the Bible were?

In Judges 14:1-3 we see Samson was a womanizing brute (I’ll confess, that gives me hope).

Paul was on a mission to kill all Christians as seen in Acts 9:2. This former torturer wrote in 2 Corinthians 12 concerning a weakness he asked God to take away from him but verse nine tells us Christ’s reply: Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” Paul expressed his understanding by saying, “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me”.

Moses murdered an Egyptian,(Exodus 12:12) Nathanael was a bit racist (John 1:46) and Peter was quick to get rowdy with a sword (John 18:10) The harlot Rahab, rescued from Jericho, is recorded in Matthew 1:1-16 in Jesus’ genealogy. By no means were these Biblical figures polished, perfect, clean-cut or “worthy of presentation” to a Holy, perfect God. But, in His infinite wisdom, He used them anyway. Wow!!

We’re all rough drafts. We have weaknesses, flaws, lusts and skeletons in our closet. We want to do good but fail just as Paul spoke of in Romans 7:15-20. Our good intentions pave the road of failure we so often walk. We contradict our own belief system, stab each other in the back and throw temper tantrums in our supposedly adult years. But, just as God used an adulterous, murderer like king David, He can use you and I. All we have to do is make ourselves available. Come to Him with an honest, open heart. Show Him your flaws and shortcomings and let Him smooth the rough patches. He is more than willing and able to use you just as you are.

Financial matters are no different. We’ll make mistakes, we’ll fail and we may not bring home what we think is enough money. But what we consider “enough” to be used by God, may be more than enough in His eyes. God does not depend on our limited, flawed perspective. His decisions concerning our financial futures are not limited to what we consider possible, reasonable or logical. Thankfully He works outside that….WAY OUTSIDE THAT!

So go ahead, hit the Send button!

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Head on over to Grace Centered Magazine and enjoy their many great articles: http://www.gracecentered.com

BBM Interviews Mrs. Autumn Lee: A Busy Wife/Mother’s Financial Perspective!

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When I think of busy, organized, energetic folks who never stop moving and shaking and who also accomplish A LOT, I honestly think of this long-time friend, Christian, dancer, mother, photographer and all around sweet heart, Autumn Lee!

She’s the owner of Dash Photography, currently serving the Colorado and Texas areas.

With such a productive life and successful business, I thought it would be essential to dig into her mind concerning financial matters. This is truly someone we can all learn from. Here are her words of wisdom.

Autumn's photography talents :)

Autumn’s photography talents 🙂

BBM: Is the Bible one of your Financial Education sources? Why or why not?

Autumn: The Bible has not been one of my financial resources, other than when it talks about greed. I am trying to change that though because I know there is some good advice and some truth in there that will guide our family in the right direction.

BBM: Do you believe that small business contributes positively to the economy?

Autumn: I am a HUGE believer in small business, we need to quit putting money into big CEO pockets and support our local community. I think you feel better when you can see where your money is going and who it’s impacting and you can also see where your products etc are coming from.

BBM: How do you manage your finances? (Example: Financial Adviser, checkbook register, a combination of tools or a favorite tool you’d like to mention)

Autumn: We sit down once a month and plan our budget for the month and then every 2 weeks before payday we go over it again and make any changes. We try to use cash as much as possible and stick to the budget we have made. This has not only worked great for us getting out of debt, but it’s brought us closer in our marriage as well because we are communicating and we are finally on the same page.

BBM:At what age did you begin to form a “Financial Freedom” mindset?

Autumn: At some point in my 20s I started trying to be more wise with my money but it wasn’t until my 30s that I actually buckled down to do it.

BBM: Why do you believe Financial Wisdom is important?

Autumn: Being tied down to debt makes it hard to truly live the life God planned for you. There is always stress and unhappiness and depression. When you are debt free or working towards it, you see the light at the end of the tunnel, you feel okay splurging from time to time and you actually have the means to do things in life like travel or donate etc. It’s a good feeling.

Autumn is 100% correct. Being tied down by debt seriously cripples one’s ability to contrbute financially to great things God may have planned for your life. How many times have we heard others say (or have said ourselves) “I wish I could help…” or “One day I’ll be able to contribute…” or maybe “If I had a million dollars I’d donate it to…” My friend Mrs. Autumn Lee has an amazing future ahead of her because she has chosed to follow GOd’s prescribed path of financial stewardship.

Thanks a million for allowing us into your mind Autumn!!

If you’re searching for a great photographer you really should check ojt Autum’s web page:
dash-photography.net

You’ll be impressed, I assure you!

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Teen Business Owners-Part Four: The Stigma of Network Marketing

“Word of mouth is still the best advertizing”.

“Most people look for work, successful people form networks”.

Both these quotes were part of a conversation I took part in with two other business owners the other day. And these comments are not uncommon.

It is a well-accepted fact among Entreprenuers that people spreading their positive opinions about your business is the best form of advertizing. It’s highly effective, mainly because people trust recommendations from their friends a great deal more than commercials, newspaper ads or celebrety endorsements. Also, one of the main advantages to the business owner is that this highly effective form of advertizing is completely free!

Think of the most successful business owners in your community and the world. Do they stay to themselves, work alone or avoid associating with people? No, they don’t. Instead, they create teams and groups aka, Networks.

Yes, there have been network marketing companies who’ve sullied the industry with unethical behavior. And, folks have run with this fact saying that all network marketing is a scam, a pyramid scheme or some other illegal form of money making.

But, do we make this generality when we experience a horrible meal at just one restaurant? Or, does one car wreck mean all cars are not to be trusted? Obviously the answer is no!

The benefits of network marketing are proven and varied. Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki both defend network marketing in their book, “Why We Want You To Be Rich”. Robert Kiyosaki’s book, “The Business of the 21st Century” is cover to cover about why network marketing is the business of the future. Personally I think the track record of these business men is cause to, in the very least, investigate the Network Marketing industry.

Picture yourself and your children standing at a fork in the road. On the left you see a sign that says “Employment in an industry that brings a bit over average pay”. On the right the sign says “Extraordinarily high income, travel, debt-free living- as long as you work hard”. I cannot imagine a single parent reading those signs telling their children to choose the left side of the fork. Do you? Of course they wouldn’t. All parents want their children to achieve extraordinary success. Well, according to the congressman I mentioned, this type of success is available through Network Marketing for those willing to step outside the norm, be coachable and work hard.

I remember a while back a well-meaning friend heard that I am a network marketer. His advice to me was to not do it because “the number of people who really succeed” is really low. First, this was a friend who had ever researched the industry. Like many folks he based his conclusion on hearsay, news reports and the fact that he knew a hand-full of people who had failed in their network marketing business. Let’s consider a few folks who tried and tried again despite the low odds of success: Abraham Lincoln, the Wright Broghters, Nelson Mandella, Martin Luther King Jr., Robert Kiyosaki, Donald Trump, Roger Bannister, Jackie Robinson, Lee Iacocca, Neal Armstrong, Spud Webb and Harriet Tubman. The list could go on for pages and pages.

How dare we look our friends and also our youth and tell them not to aim for something extraordinary and unconventional because the odd of success are low. I can tell you first-hand that the reaons most people fail at network marketing is because they do not put forth the same amount of energy and time they would put forth in a traditional job. That’s not a flaw in the industry, it’s laziness and fear on the part of the participant.

Have you ever visited http://www.bbb.org and investigated the ratings of network marketing businesses. Legal Shield is a network marketing company I’m a part of and they have the highest Better Business Bureau rating of A+. Mary Kay Inc. shares this same rating. A while back Legal Shield enjoyed the honor of receiving a letter from a congressman who explained that Legal Shield and companies like it were at the forefront of creating financial independance for more individuals and families than any other industry in human history!

What does this mean for our teens? It means that there is a viable business avenue we should teach them about. It means that we, as adults, should push passed the knee-jerk reflex of avoiding Network Marketing we should educate ourselves on how it can teach our teens to:
1. Leverage their time
2. Create a network
3. Lead a team &
4. Help others succeed

Isn’t that what we should want for the next generation?

For more information visit
http://www.ebright.legalshield.com