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Good Ol' Fashioned Financial Common Sense

August 25th, 2011 at 08:39 pm



Occasionally, some well-intentioned soul makes the argument that having an emergency fund or planning for retirement means that you’re “a pessimist” or that you “don’t have enough faith,” and you “just need to trust God more.” Now I can appreciate people’s varying points of view. But there are times that I just want to say “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” Of course I don’t actually yell at them…that would be rude…but I do think it.

With all my heart, I want you to be debt free and prepared for the future, which includes a 3-6 month emergency fund and a solid retirement plan. Would that mean you don’t have enough faith or that you’re a worry-wart? I don’t think so!

Consider this famous story from Aesop’s Fables, circa 600 B.C. You may have read it before, but its’ wisdom is worth revisiting. You may remember that Aesop also gave us the morals of such stories as The Boy Who Cried Wolf and The Tortoise and the Hare. I think he was on to something!


The Ant and The Grasshopper


In a field one summer's day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart's content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.

"Why not come and chat with me," said the Grasshopper, "instead of toiling and moiling in that way?"

"I am helping to lay up food for the winter," said the Ant, "and recommend you to do the same."

"Why bother about winter?" said the Grasshopper; we have got plenty of food at present." But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil.

When the winter came the Grasshopper found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing, every day, corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer.

Then the Grasshopper knew...

It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.



Of course, this concept of preparing for the future goes back even farther. Consider the words of the wise King Solomon, circa 1,000 B.C.:

Go watch the ants, you lazy person.
Watch what they do and be wise.
Ants have no commander,
no leader or ruler,
but they store up food in the summer
and gather their supplies at harvest.
-Proverbs 6:6-8


The moral of the story:

Become debt free, stay debt free, save up a 3-6 month emergency fund and plan for future expenses and your retirement. That’s just good ol’ common sense!



Yours In Freedom,

Clint



The original post can be found here: Debt Free

10 Responses to “Good Ol' Fashioned Financial Common Sense”

  1. MonkeyMama Says:

    ...

  2. MonkeyMama Says:

    I've always been a planner, which has served me VERY WELL in life. & I don't mean in the sense that I flip out if things don't go my way. (You can certainly go too far in any direction. We all know the micro-managing types who simply can't function). That is probably why I love that old saying about controlling the things you can, not worrying about things you can't control, and having the wisdom to know the difference. Amen. Having a plan doesn't mean you are trying to control the impossible. I think that's where people get hung up, and equate "planning" with "believing we can control everything."

    Ironically, it was only in the last few months or so (I am 35) that someone said to me directly - "You live in fear." HA!! It just never occured to me in the least that I put out that perception. Anyway, I can't help but see the irony that the reality is very opposite. We've faced many general financial hardships that everyone else does, but it always seems to impact us far less, with our tendency to forward think and plan. It seems to me that to live beyond your means, to have no savings, to have no retirement plan, and to have no ambition, has a lot more to do with living in fear. Even if you can get by blissfully unaware, it will catch up to you at some point...

    Great post, as always!

  3. scottish girl Says:

    I've just started trying to build my emergency fund. Right now it only has £10 in it, but I am trying. I did have more last month but had to use the money for a family funeral.

  4. LuckyRobin Says:

    I know what post inspired this. Some folks really do not have much in the way of common sense. It reminds me of this joke:

    A city was flooding and a man went to the top of a hill. The flood waters were about four feet deep and another man in a row boat came by and said, "Get in, I'll take you to safety."

    The man turned his head to the heavens and said firmly, "No thank you, God will save me."

    The flood waters continued to rise, leaving the man about five feet between himself and danger. A coast guard motorboat came along and said, "Get in, I will save you."

    The man said, "No, thank you, God will save me," and stubbornly remained on his hill.

    As the waters rose higher, the man found himself waist deep in water. A helicopter came by with a chain link ladder and the rescuers tried to get him to climb on, but he refused saying yet again that God would save him.

    The man drowned and when he got to the pearly gates and finally met God he said, "I waited for you to save me, God. Why didn't you save me?"

    God looked at him and said, "I sent you a row boat, a motor boat and a helicopter. What more did you want?"

    Moral of the story? God believes in common sense. Big Grin

  5. ClintDavis Says:

    Hey MonkeyMama,

    Thanks for the reply. I couldn't agree more. Planning ahead and being prepared don't have anything to do with fear. It's just a reality of the world we live in that things don't always go the way we'd like them to. You have to be prepared! That's why debt is so dangerous...it presumes that everything will go according to plan. But we all know that's rarely the case. And going on in blissful ignorance is a sure-fire way to end up bankrupt or living in your kids' basement!

    Thanks again!

  6. ClintDavis Says:

    Hey ScottishGirl,

    That's AWESOME! I'm proud that you are taking the first steps to build up an emergency fund! Keep it up..even if it's slow. Think about another one of Aesop's fables...The Tortoise and the Hare. "Slow and steady wins the race." Very proud of you...keep at it! Thanks for sharing with us!

  7. ClintDavis Says:

    LuckyRobin, I love that story. I guess the first time I heard it (or a version of it) was on ""The Pursuit of Happyness." And I absolutely agree that God loves common sense. When I was a Youth Pastor, one of my High School seniors said to me, "Wow, I love that God is so logical." I said, "well ya, He invented logic!" Thanks for the comment Lucky!

  8. Petunia 100 Says:

    I have encountered this attitude with a certain relative of mine. IMO, it is more of an excuse. "I don't bother to plan ahead or save because I will just trust in God." It absolves them of all responsibility.

  9. baselle Says:

    Its funny - I've always thought that saving was an OPTIMISTIC action, not a pessimistic one. You are deferring spending now for spending in the future. Aren't you assuming you're going to have a future?

  10. Jerry Says:

    I like baselle's point. The fact is that you can look at savings from a whole lot of angles, but it makes the most sense to choose one that leads to a positive outlook about it! Having that EF means that you are freeing yourself up with your very own insurance policy against the crap that happens in everyday life, so you DON'T have to stress out about it. Great points.
    Jerry

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