Thursday, November 21, 2013

Children's Children- "True financial planning begins with eternity and works backwards."

Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
    who walks in his ways!
 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
    you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.
 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
    around your table.
 Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
    who fears the Lord.
 The Lord bless you from Zion!
    May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
    all the days of your life!
 May you see your children's children!
    Peace be upon Israel!

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children, but the sinner's wealth is laid up for the righteous.

I've been thinking quite a bit about leaving a legacy these days. Maybe it's the amount of time I spend thinking about financial intelligence, maybe it's the coldness of winter or maybe it's that the grand-babies will be here for Christmas and I think about what kind of country we are going to leave for them.

Regardless of the reason it's stuck in my brain, there is a call for us to leave earth a better place than when we got here. We can talk GMO's, Obamacare, central banks and the stratospheric topics but I believe on a more granular level there are things that don't seem so far from reach that we can do as we pass the baton to the next generation, but it takes purposeful thought and planning on our parts.

It's not all about money and living and leaving life is more than a monetary issue but the unfortunate part about life today is that we need money to live. There aren't many who are living on 1000 acres, that have a alternative energy source and are truly off the grid enough to go without having some sort of monetary transaction on an on-going basis; it's just where we live and it doesn't seem to be changing direction anytime soon. Plain and simple- we need money.

But again, it's not all about money and how would it be if money was something low on our list of things we had to think about? How would it be if your organization needed to raise $1m to purchase something and your family could plunk down half or all of that because you believed enough in the endeavor to be that benevolent? That could change things around the board room table or the kitchen table.

Imagine what it must feel like to think and give on those kinds of levels without having to wonder if you were going to make it next year. Imagine if that was you right now; maybe it is and if so, good for you. Seriously.

But for most people they are not living in that kind of world they are living in the world that saw 6 million people in the US fall into poverty since 2004. That's not the kind of legacy we want to be leaving.

So what kind of legacy to we want to hand down to future generations? If it's not all about the money but they will need money to live and give where's the balance?

My dad never really had lots money and I have never had what would be considered lots of money either, though neither of has been without basic necessities. Growing up there were lots of chores to do, we worked in the berry fields and the picked green beans, we canned lots of things each year to stretch the dollars, though we didn't know that then, and just generally lived on a lower budget than some other folks. 

One of the things I learned from my dad without him ever "teaching" me was generosity. We didn't have a lot but everything we had was open to those who had need. I remember us bringing grocery bags full of produce that we grew in our garden to church to share with others and how excited dad was at Christmas to give some very special thing that cost way more than was necessary but was what one of the kids wanted; like the year I got a new 10 speed.

What are your children's children going to learn from you and what are you going to leave for them to deal with? Are they going to be dealing with the weight of a mess or the weight of having big shoes to fill? Are they going to be dealing with trying to survive financially or figuring out the best ways to increase the inheritance you have left for them to manage.

Just the other day I had someone say, "I don't want to leave my kids a bunch of money because I want them to know how to work". Are you kidding me? I wanted to slap this person-but I didn't. I've had enough money to know that it's still work to be a good fiduciary. Just because someone has way more money than they can spend in a lifetime does NOT mean that they automatically don't know how to work, in fact they probably understand hard work more than someone who doesn't have any money.

Our job is to set up the next generation for success as much and in every way possible. Whether that's in teaching them to be good stewards of the money, earning lots of money, being generous, making as many disciples as God allows, building schools and churches that are full of God-worshippers or showing them that leaders serve and sacrifice, in all those things and more we are to leave them something to build on and with.

I leave you with this quote:

"True financial planning begins with eternity and works backwards." 

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