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”.
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?.
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!!