Friday, March 14, 2008

The Three Uses of Money

Last night, my wife and I were going over our budget plans, deciding how much we were willing to sacrifice to get out of debt faster. I could tell that what I was suggesting about it was putting a lot of stress on her, and I stopped and said, "Where's the book?" referring to The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. She told me and I went to get it. I started to read at the passage that explains what the three uses of money are:

1) To have FUN


3) To GIVE

I wanted to read that chapter to her because those three uses are very much in line with how I think. I want wealth, but not because I want to be rich. I want to be able to take care of my family without borrowing other people's money, but after that I want to be able to help the world around me. When I was younger, I wanted to write for a living in the hopes of becoming well known and perhaps wealthy so I could actually help people with my knowledge and wealth. My writing skills were not what they needed to be, so that dream went by the wayside, but I still would like to have the ability to help people and organizations that I believe in or care about. I have seen how much my father has done for others in my life, and his influence has changed lives for the better. He has never had to be ruthless or cruel to build wealth, and he has lived as a humble, honest man of integrity. He has given a great deal to his university, to scholarships, and to people down on their luck. I have always wanted to have the same ability, but I have lacked the means. Dave Ramsey has shown me how I can get there - and what he teaches is very much in line with what I already believed on the matter - and given me hope that the day will come when I can honor my father's legacy of goodness.

It is good to enjoy wealth, to a point. If a person has made millions, or even hundreds of thousands, they should be able to enjoy some luxuries now and then. It is good to invest because it helps others build their ventures and allows the investor to grow wealth along with those ventures. Investing is how money begins to work for someone instead of someone having to work for money. The most enjoyable, enriching, positive experience with money, though, in my experience, comes from giving it away. I have felt the joy of receiving generosity from others - I went to college on scholarships and an assistantship in graduate school - and I have had seen the appreciation in the eyes of recipients of scholarships when I got to hand them checks at awards ceremonies. I have seen the tears when I had the privilege of dropping off food and toys to a family who would not have had Christmas without it. I have felt the blessings of service and of giving throughout my life, and I want to have wealth so I can share it.

I want to have a Total Money Makeover because I know that wealth can be tremendously rewarding when it is handled well, and it can be the key to bringing positive change to a world in such desperate need. I recommend that anyone who has doubts about Dave Ramsey's views read the second to last chapter in the book which describes the three uses of money. If tears don't well up... I won't make a character judgment. Truly, though, I believe in what Dave Ramsey teaches because he is not trying to make corporate moguls who crush people who get in their way. He is trying to help good people become wealthy so they can share their goodness. What a wonderful message of hope, but not empty promises, but real hope that tomorrow can be better for all of us. I can think of no better idea of success.

-- Robert

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