Wednesday, December 23, 2020

A Dog's Eye: The Ultimate Investment

I didn't read The Barefoot Investor from cover to cover, but I still reviewed it and I'll
explain why. I didn't read it all because not all of it is relevant to me at the moment. I gave it a five star review because it rings true. Despite the failings it shares with all self help books, it has an undeniable credibility. It is also inspirational, funny and very practical. This is the kind of book you buy and read through, then re visit those sections of most interest depending on where you are at. Later, you'll pull it off the shelf and dive in for some more wisdom from someone who clearly knows what he's talking about. I felt really encouraged after reading The Barefoot Investor. 
If you're a bit messed up with your money -most people are- get yourself a copy.

It's probably a timing's definitely a timing thing for me. I added this book to my 'to read' list two and half years ago when I was in the middle of a financial crisis. I didn't read it then, but as I had hit rock bottom, I sought help elsewhere, entering into a Part 9 debt agreement with a debt consolidation company. The type of company which Scott Pape doesn't endorse, mainly because they charge a lot for the service. It cost me over five thousand dollars in fees to have this company help me, but it has been worth every cent.

I was never good with money and the yardstick by which I measured success was how often I struggled. For most of my adult life, I have just gotten buy. Always having to make decisions based on the cheapest option, or whether a particular purchase was necessary or not. Saying no more often than yes, and much more often than I wanted to. I learned quite late that I was a stingy person. I had inherited, or absorbed by observation, the parsimony of my father. I also made selfish decisions about how to use my money, some of which had terrible consequences. I am still living with the consequences of those choices.

Over the years, I've learned two major lessons about money.

1. I am called to be generous, not stingy. There are many verses in the Bible which speak against stinginess, but when I read this one, I was convicted. Years and years of calling myself a good steward of money, and being careful, covered up a mean spirit.

"One person is generous and grows all the more wealthy, but another withholds more than he should and comes to poverty."                                                  (Proverbs 11:24)

2. God is my provider. When I lost my job in 2018 and was down to my last two hundred dollars, I recall looking in the mirror, and seeing the anxiety written on my face. God spoke to me, asking a simple question: 'Do you trust me?' For most of my working life, I worked for wages: regular pay deposited into my account. My lifeblood. The second great lesson I learned when I answered God's question honestly with a 'no', was that Christ is my lifeblood. After confessing that my trust was not in God, but in my job, I decided to really trust God instead of just saying that I did. Very soon afterwards, I got a job; a very good job in which I am still employed.

"My God will supply all your needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus."     (Philippians 4:1)

How does this post about financial security connect with Christmas. Simple really. Among other things, Christmas is a celebration of giving. We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, God's greatest gift to mankind: the messiah, the saviour. His was the ultimate investment; an investment in people. In us, his children. This investment is a gift which keeps on giving because God is so generous.

The Barefoot Investor speaks only very briefly about the virtue of generosity, but it is in fact the true key to financial freedom. God is generous and we should be too.

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