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Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can.
—John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church
Like everything else about you, your use of money reflects who you are. If you're disciplined, you can be a good saver of money. If you're selfish, you'll probably surround yourself with toys you can't afford. We've all seen people get rich overnight through a lottery or inheritance and, because of their immaturity, blow the entire fortune. On the other hand, I have seen people who grew more as individuals during financial crises than at any other time in their lives.
All this involves one of life's dirtiest words—discipline. You will have conflict, worry, shortages and a general lack of fun until you achieve some discipline in the handling of your funds. You must recognize that YOU have to bring your finances totally under your control.
At the same time, you've got to realize that money is not God. Our forefathers put a reminder on our currency: "In God We Trust." Please notice that it did not say "In Stuff We Trust." We Americans love stuff, good stuff. Many of us have a condition called "stuffitis"—we've become unable to live without buying more and more stuff.
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We also hotly pursue the concept of being financially independent. But even here, money can't do everything. Can you gain enough money that you can protect your family from injury or sickness? Can you accumulate enough money to be guaranteed you won't lose everything due to war, famine, or the collapse of financial markets? Don't fall prey to excessive pride, of thinking that you and you alone control the circumstances of your life.
It's Not All Yours
Our money isn't for our benefit alone. Personal growth requires that we give money away.
The institutions we give to will survive if we don't give, but we will have missed an opportunity to benefit. Giving reminds us that we are part of a larger community and that no matter what our financial status is, someone is always in need of more help than we are. If you feel like you don't have enough to give, you can start by giving small amounts of money or time.
I don't totally understand what giving does to the human spirit, but I do know that I meet few well-balanced, happy, healthy, wealthy people who don't give money away. You must beware of whom you give to and what they do with the money, but being wary does not mean being cynical; there are no perfect institutions. There are, however, many good ones.
Spend a few minutes thinking about it. Write down your goals and get ready to have some money and do some good! Learn more about the power of giving in Dave Ramsey's class, Financial Peace University.