Whether you have broken your 2020 new years resolution by now or not, for the most of us, our finances continue to be a concern.
Here is the first step towards planning for a Secure financial future.
Take Stock of Current Financial Status, that is,
- Calculate your current NET WORTH.
- Do this at least quarterly; certainly
- do it once a year!
- Compute the current value of all your assets (what you own).
- The total of non-obligated funds (balance) at all bank accounts
- The fair market value of all real assets you own
- trade-in value of cars, motorcycles, boats, scooters, trucks, etc.
- Current fair market value of all real property you own
- house(s), farm(s), land(s), etc.
- Current trade-in value of equipment and appliances you own
- TV’s, Refrigerator, tools, computers, sound systems, etc.
- Current trade-in value of all furniture, jewelry, antiques, etc.
- Compute the current value of all financial investment instruments
- (these are the value of these instruments
- that will be available to you on demand
- after deductions of all penalties, fees,commissions etc.)
- Cash payout of all retirement accounts
- Cash payout value of bonds, stocks, etc.
- Cash payout of life and other insurance policies
- Cash payout of all other investments
- Compute your total debts (Liabilities);
- Current short term loans
- (those payable within 1-5 years)
- credit card(s) balance(s)
- total current value of all car loans/note(s)
- other short term debt(s)
- e.g. lease or rental obligations
- current value of total long term obligations
- Mortgages/house payments
- Student Loans
- many student loans have a payoff value
- attached to your total balance
- Other Long term contractual Obligations
- current value of total child support payments
- current value of alimony or divorce settlements, etc.
- current value of all other court ordered payments, etc.
- Compute the Net Worth
- = Total Current value of Assets – Total Current Value of all Debts.
- This is the foundation of all planning for a secure financial future!
- The numbers need not be super accurate.
- This is just a birds eye view of your current position
Now that you know your current financial status,
- the Next Step is to SET SOUND FINANCIAL GOALS
- That is, clarify where you want to be
- That’s in the next Post
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Scanning the landscape of your financial future?
There are about six major ways to become wealthy:
Be Born into a Wealthy Family
- It goes without saying that
- if you are the child, relative, or heir of
- Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Sam Walton, or
- Africa’s Aliko Dangote, or Mexico’s Carlos Slim, or
- any of the royal families in Kuwait, Oman, or Dubai, etc.
- you WILL also be wealthy.
- But this path to wealth is not available to over 99% of the planet!
Marry into a Wealthy Family
- Kate Middleton, and Meghan Markle
- married into British Royalty and into Wealth!
- The wives of Rupert Murdoch, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk
- However, this road is reserved
- for only a tiny sliver of humanity.
- It also appears that
- the wealthy generally marry
- people of similar economic status.
Win a Lottery Jackpot with a Big Cash Prize
- The odds of winning the mega million jackpot in the US
- for example, is over 1 in 300 million
- that means it is ‘possible’ to lose over 300 million times
- It also means that you may never win
- if you play the lottery every day
- of a 100-year life span
- (that is about 36,600 days!)
- and never win!
- As a means to wealth,
- winning the Jackpot is therefore a ‘false hope’
- for the majority of us.
- Note: Forget about the publicity
- around those who win;
- the prize money
- (less the portion
- that goes to the organizers)
- is coming from all those who did not win,
- (that is a lot of people!)
Steal Money From Plenty of People or From a Wealthy Person
- The problem with this approach is that
- it is illegal and you may get caught,
- it is anti-biblical, unethical, and immoral; moreover
- people/the wealthy will work to protect their money, and
- therefore the success rate of achieving lifetime wealth
- through thievery is also very low.
- Therefore, this is not a viable approach to wealth
- for average person
- (some still try to make a living
- by scamming people out of their money).
Become a Successful Professional in a Well-paying Industry
- Note: “successful”
- Also Note: “well paying industry” of the economy, meaning
- star athletes, champion sportsmen, movie stars, etc.
- at the top of their profession
- (Usain Bolt
- the 100 meter Jamaican world record holder
- is reportedly worth over $30 million
- professions requiring high qualification, and
- that are in high demand
- but with low supply of workers, for example,
- brain surgeons, computer whiz, fund managers, etc.
- Also Note: Working for income in an excellent but regular job
- is not usually a means to wealth!!
- The possibilities here in my judgment are greater
- than the previous listings
- but still for most people
- it is not a feasible way to build lifetime wealth.
Start and Run Your Own Successful Business
- Note again “successful”
- Starting and running a business requires
- special skills
- which many people do not appear to have;
- willingness to take risks,
- willingness to bear full responsibility
- But with risks comes financial reward
- that can grow without limit
- into lifetime wealth,
- as long as the business continues to grow
- The proportion of people who can take this is also greater
- than than the previous options!
Get A regular career and invest wisely
- in other Successful Businesses
- over a long period of time!
- Note: you do not have to be successful at
- starting and running a business; but
- you must be good at picking successful businesses
- over a long period of time!
- This means using modest regular income, and
- saving all you can, while
- investing in businesses that are successful,
- over a long period of time,
- will generally compound into wealth!
- This is the most available route for most people!
On a final note:
- Becoming ‘wealthy’ need not be your goal, rather
- Make it your goal to become Financially Free:
- Have enough to tithe and give to the work of the Lord.
- Have enough to cover your budgeted expense
- including miscellaneous, as well as
- unplanned and unexpected expenses.
- Have enough to cover for emergencies.
- Save enough to guarantee a desired standard of living in retirement.
- Have enough to leave a legacy for the next generation!
- Have enough to be generous and make a difference in the lives of others.
- This we can all do
- If we start early,
- with much planning, prayer, and discipline!!
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I NO LONGER MAKE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS!!
WHY? Two things!
- I have come to view the end of one year and the start of another as
- a little too artificial.
- Imagine looking back to the earth
- from the vantage point of the moon.
- What is the difference between
- December 31st and
- January 1st?
- Or Imagine being a bird, or another animal.
- What is the difference in the experience
- of December 31st relative to January 1st?
- I have resolutions,
- but they are no longer bound by an artificial timeline.
- My resolutions
- like time itself,
- are always on a continuum; and they
- are about
- ‘always growing’;
- always becoming a better version of me.
- I don’t stop striving to become better version of me
- just because I broke a resolution after two months.
- Neither do I wait until the next December 31st
- to resolve to start again;
- to become a better version of me;
- after I fail by February 1st each year.
So what should we do on the 31st of December each year?
- Do celebrate
- the end of a block of (man made) ‘time’ and the start of a new one,
- like everybody else; and
- it is useful to have time markers along the way, but
- Do, never become obsessive
- that you must meet all your benchmarks within the year
- to consider yourself successful!
So here is the ONE AND ONLY RESOLUTION you need to have:
- Always strive to become a better version of yourself with each passing day:
- Be better at your faith, you know,
- trust, pray, love, give, testify, know, and serve more, etc.,
- about and as a result of your faith!
- Better in your character
- (the real you;
- what’s inside;
- like toothpaste,
- what comes out when pressure is applied);
- Be more dependable, more patient, more truthful,
- more balanced, less self-centered, more at peace with yourself,
- more generous with others,
- with your resources as well as with their faults etc.,
- more self disciplined with time, words, and actions; wiser.
- Better in your relationships: more
- serving, self-less, open, forgiving, listening and less talking,
- considerate, gentle, humble, and more self-control.
- Better at your Career: Make it your goal to be
- more dependable, knowledgeable, skillful, useful, available, etc.
A wise man once said, long ago:
“…One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize…” Paul (ca. AD 52-62, Phil 3.13-14)
HAPPY NEW YEAR!! PLEASE LIKE AND SHARE!!
In Developing Countries;
- it is easier to come up with gift ideas,
- (if you have the funds for it),
- there are many things that people need
- but do not have; indeed
- cooked food was the gift that
- my mother dispatched
- (through us children)
- to neighbors, extended family, and friends
- as a sign of good will at Christmas time;
- watches, shoes, garments, jewelry, dishes, sheets,
- pens, books, personal music player, TV, computers, toys, etc.
- are all also great gift ideas.
In affluent societies like in the Western World
- coming up with the perfect gift at Christmas
- can be a challenge;
- because most people use
- their regular incomes or
- credit cards to buy what they
- One option is to buy
- high-end gifts or
- exotic and rare versions
- (which can be very pricey)
- of things people use on a regular basis.
- Regular folks therefore have to work harder to give the perfect gift;
- here are a few suggestions of how to give the perfect gift.
The perfect gift takes time
- Start early, as early as September;
- listen to everyday conversations,
- listen to expressed desires and aspirations
- and make a note for gift ideas from those conversations.
The perfect gift may be an ‘experience’
- Gift ideas do not have to be ‘things‘
- they can be
- a vacation, cruises, concert, a trip to a destination
- museum/zoo visits or theme park rides, air fare, special trips;
- time off work, housekeeping, or baby sitting;
- an offer of cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping;
- scholarship, tuition contribution, tutoring,
- a special radio station/you-tube, blog post announcement, etc.
The perfect gift should be personalized, customized or handmade;
- an autographed book/ticket/music/fan wear,
- (from the author or composer, or admired person)
- monogrammed items:
- a person’s name, initials or special message,
- can be inscribed on
- silverware, bathroom set, plaque, musical instrument;
The perfect gift must fit the personality of the receiver
- Some people want big
- (the amount spent is impressive)
- others look for small details
- (how rare, how much effort, how much thoughtfulness!)
- Some people are visual
- others are action oriented, still
- others are moved by sound, etc.
- Some people like things, others like ‘experiences.’
- Some people want to keep up with their peers
- (they get gifts that are popular)
- others want to know that ‘they’ are unique
- (they get gifts just for them);
- How do you know what is the perfect gift?
- People usually give the type of gift
- that THEY like to receive;
- use that to guide your gift giving
- TO THEM!
- not the other way around
- do not give what you cherish
- (I once gifted a hat to my wife
- that she has never used;
- it was something I fancied for myself!)
The perfect gift may be what someone tells you they want
- They tell you directly or respond if/when you ask.
- Some apps make it easy to create a registry for gift requests.
This should have been posted before Thanksgiving Day. All the same,
“Better Late than never,” and on thanksgiving week,
I heard one radio announcer say:
“Thanksgiving is not a day, it is an attitude of the heart.”
T – THANK and PRAISE God
- for all things BIG and SMALL!
- And do not forget
- the precious people in your life!
H – HEALTH AND LIFE
- are things we can all be thankful for
- even if we are ill at a hospital
A – APPRECIATE and ADMIRE
- the beauty of God’s creation around you.
N – NAME and NUMBER
- your blessings,
- its a rewarding experience,
- including the precious people in your life.
K – KINDNESS and THANKSGIVING
- in the heart
- are twin siblings in the same home.
S – A SMILE and a CHEER;
- want to see it on the face of the deserving?
- Just say, “Thank You!”
- from the heart
- and with a warm smile!
G – GIVING and RECEIVING:
- The one exists not without the other
I – ICTUS;
- Five Greek letters for ‘fish‘:
- Jesus, Christ, God, Son, Savior:
- at least one reason to “give thanks!”
V – VISION and VALUE:
- Nothing says:
- “I see and I value what you have done” like when you say
I – INSIDE and OUTSIDE:
- A thankful heart, expressed outwardly in sincere words
N – NICE and NEW:
- Thanksgiving is always that
G – GOOD to GREAT:
- ‘Good Gifts’ become ‘GREAT GIFTS,’
- when it is received with a heartfelt:
Where does Satan and our Sinful Nature fit
- in explaining the evil that is in the World Today?
As a Christian
- I learn about the existence of ‘Satan‘ and of the ‘Sinful Nature,’ but
- I have not fully resolved
- how those two (sinful nature and Satan) interact to bring evil in the world.
Regarding Satan (the devil, serpent, tempter, accuser, destroyer, etc.)
- Is he present everywhere at the same time?
- everyone appears to be constantly being affected or
- How is he able to tempt each person individually?
- How come he knows what we are thinking?
- How come he knows so much
- about our individual histories, personalities and weaknesses?
- If Satan, ‘the devil’
- can tempt, deceive, dissuade, discourage, destroy individuals
- even as the human population on the earth
- continues to grow and
- has reached over 4 billion; and if he
- can work his evil from generation to generation for thousands of years;
- the way some people say he does,
- does not that make him a very powerful person
- with some attributes like God(!)?
- But he is NOT GOD!
This brings us to another source of evil in the world:
- The Sinful/Evil Nature in all of us.
A ‘celebrity’ (in the early church) once said this about himself:
- (in the first century)
- “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me,
- that is, in my sinful nature.
- For I have the desire to do what is good,
- but I cannot carry it out.
- For I do not do the good I want to do,
- but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”
This is what that sinful nature looks like:
- He(She) is lazy, slow, and a procrastinator.
- He(She) lies, exaggerates, and deceives
- He(She) is incredibly selfish;
- He(She) is greedy, proud, boastful, and self-promoting
- He(She) can be lewd, nasty, and insensitive
- He(She) is utterly against God
- He(she) does not want to submit to God’s rule or to worship him;
- He(She) does not like to humble himself before God;
- He(She) does not like to pray;
- He(She) does not want to read sacred scriptures;
- He(She) does not like limits
- if the speed limit is 40 mph, he(she) wants to go at 45 mph or
- if the speed limit is 55 mph, 65 mph seems attractive to him/her
- He(She) lacks self control, prefers excesses,
- he(she) does not want to wait or to accept limit on him/herself
- whether it’s with regard to food and drink, or
- in relation to social interactions,
- including sex, and marital fidelity;
- he(she) does not want to go to bed or to wake up early;
- with regards to words and conversations,
- he(she) can be mean, insensitive, inconsiderate, gossipy, and crass.
- He(She) is never satisfied, always wants more.
- He(She) works against the interest of the person in whom he dwells;
- the excesses of the sinful nature may cause
- disease, physical harm, crime and punishment;
- auto accidents, fire, financial ruin,
- ruined relationships and broken families,
- loss of face and status, loss of power, etc.;
- but this does not stop him or cause him to change direction .
I believe that
- this sinful/evil nature is in every human being;
- it can be conditioned/tempered by
- parental discipline and personal experiences;
- Christian (religious) conversion and education, and by
- custom, and the laws of society;
- this sinful nature is a “he/she” because
- it is a part of but
- not the totality of who we are as individuals
- because he(she) appears to operate by ‘reason’ and ‘persuasion’
- to our minds and/or to our will
- (See Paul above in Romans 7.15-25);
- as individuals we have still have the ability
- TO MAKE A CHOICE between what
- the persuasion of what the sinful nature wants and what
- commons sense, conscience, laws of society, and the dictates of our faith, tell us.
- (Personally, I refer to this sinful nature as “THE BEAST”).
- Bring a community of people together
- with this sinful nature and its tendencies,
- we then have endless possibilities for evil,
NEXT POST: BRINGING THE TWO TOGETHER:
- SATAN, OUR SINFUL NATURE, AND THE PREVALENCE OF EVIL IN OUR WORLD!!
I ADMIT IT!!!
I have had a lot of questions that have plagued me for a long time
- about pain, suffering, evil, and God!
I have seen (first person) or heard and read about
- Christian men and women (young and old)
- faithful to Jesus Christ,
- active witnesses for Christ,
- righteous in their lifestyle choices,
- selfless in service to others,
- regular and authentic worshipers,
- loved by all, and then
- fall ill and die,
- drown at a Church outing or swimming in a home pool, or
- killed in gruesome road accidents, sometimes
- while out or soon after evangelizing, or
- while going about their normal business;
- leaving behind grieving
- (sometimes young) families,
- congregations and the church at large,
- while their ‘less worthy’ and sometimes criminal compatriots
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I have read about
- how about five million Jews (‘God’s people’)
- were killed in the second World War;
- how over two hundred thousand people
- were killed during the Tsunami in Asia in 2004,
- how hundreds of thousands (including many innocents) were killed during
- World War I, World War II,
- Genghis Khan Wars, Alexandra the Great wars, Roman Empire Wars,
- wars of Independence in US, India, Nigeria, Pakistan,
- in South America, Africa, Asia, East Asia, Europe,
- in civil wars and terrorist plots all over the world, etc. etc.
I/We have seen TV/Video clips of infants and babies
- struggling with cancer and other horrible diseases
- that adults find it difficult to cope with, much less little children
- born with birth defects
- (blind, deaf, without limbs, joined with other children etc.)
I/We have seen the crooked and the unrighteous
- get rich and powerful
- by engaging in ruthless, unethical, and evil schemes,
- swindling their customers, investors, and society as a whole,
- beat the system instead of paying for their crimes,
- appear to continue on with their lives
- after destroying the lives of others
- including family, trusting friends, and associates.
I/we have also seen
- the poor remaining poor
- the sick remaining sick
- the rebellious child remaining rebellious
- the marriage not becoming healed
- even after a lot of prayers!
PAIN, SUFFERING, AND EVIL, GOD! QUESTIONS?!!
I CAN NOW SAY THAT I HAVE ANSWERS THAT SATISFY ME AND I WANT TO SHARE THEM WITH YOU.