Is your financial house built on rock or sand?
I have been advising and counseling others on how to build true wealth for the past fifteen years. I have seen my personal share of ups and downs and witnessed thousands of others. The 2008-2009 financial crises was sure a wake-up call for many investors as they watched the financial system they trusted for their future collapse in a few short months.
It got me thinking about how many people, Christians included, built and continue to build their financial houses on sand. I am reminded of Matthew 7:24-26:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.”
Five steps to help you build a solid foundation
Early this year I set out on a journey to see who thrived in 2009 and who barely survived. I conducted nearly 600 interviews to determine if there was a solid difference between those who did well in difficult times and those who fell apart. The numbers were alarming! Only 5% thrived and moved forward financially during the difficult times in 2009 while 95% of those I interviewed took major setbacks and fell deeper into debt or lost major ground.
Of the 5% who thrived, there were some major common threads:
- They identified what they valued most in life. They had spent time finding what they loved to do and how to get paid generously for it.
- They discovered their meaningful purpose in life. They concentrated on using their key strengths and abilities to add value to the world and bless others.
- They designed their compelling vision for their future. Most had three, five, and ten year goals almost memorized! They knew where they were heading and had a good idea on how they were going to get there.
- They had a real personal mission statement. Though many of them did not call it a “mission statement”, they lived their life like they were on a mission. Their financial and business lives had clarity and purpose; they created a sense of urgency, and were persistent in their attempts to succeed. If your personal goals and dreams have deep meaning to you then you are far more likely to succeed financially.
- They not only set goals, they created an action plan. This helped them implement their mission, live their values, and work toward achieving their vision. They hired a good team of advisors and had great council and accountability to set their paths straight.
Because of my key learning and my desire to help others see how they can thrive and not just survive, I just finished an eBook called “Thrive in Your Life – Creating the life you were meant to live”. It describes the Five to Thrive Principles I uncovered as I interviewed those who were succeeding financially.
Thrive Principle One: Become a passionate income earner
Of those who become wealthy, very few become wealthy from the stock market itself. By far, the number one way to becoming wealthy is through finding a way to get paid doing something you absolutely love.
Thrive Principle Two: Become a generous giver
Many fail to give back to our society because they insist they have the lack of two precious resources – time and money. However, those who are most successful often give more than 10% of their income away and spend countless hours volunteering and sharing their time and talents to bless others.
Thrive Principle Three: Become a wise investor
Investing does not just mean haphazardly investing in a mutual fund. Most investors hand over their hard earned dollars to let someone else handle their investments. This can often be the worst thing you can do. Those who are successful invest rather than gamble. Warren Buffet, for example, does not invest a dime in anything unless he is quite certain it will go up in value. That is investing. Gambling, on the other hand, is committing money to a stock, a mutual fund, or something else without a clue as to whether it will go up or down. Too many people gamble rather than invest.
Thrive Principle Four: Become a cautious debtor
If 2008-2009 didn’t teach us anything, debt can be a huge deterrent from gaining wealth. There are good, bad, and ugly uses of debt. Far too many American use debt foolishly and it keeps them enslaved rather than reaching the desired destination – financial freedom!
Thrive Principle Five: become a prudent spender
Those who succeed financially evaluate each spending decision from a variety of angles. They look at price, value, durability, and how it lines up with their life purpose. Just because you have more money doesn’t mean you can or should spend more, especially if your spending doesn’t line up with you life’s values. Those who are successful, despite having wealth, still carefully analyze. Want to the results of being wealthy and missing this principle? How many lottery winners, sports stars, actors and actresses, and other celebrities go bankrupt after earning millions of dollars?