Save All You Can (Part 1)

In the book, the Richest Man in Babylon, it says – “pay yourself first.”

It interest me why the author used the word “pay” instead of using the word “save.” I guess by using the word “pay,” there is an obligation attached to it.

Saving is a huge challenge especially these days. In our world of consumerism, immediate gratification is more popular than deferred gratification simply because the second one requires immediate sacrifice.

Some of you may ask; how can I save if I have nothing to save?

It’s sad when Filipino’s abroad have this mindset. Isn’t it the very reason you are working abroad or living abroad (like myself) is for us to have a better life? In my experience, if you are less than 3 to 4 years living abroad, paying yourself first can be a challenge because of many obligations. After 4 years, most of your obligations should already be settled and, you should be able to save. I understand the continuous need of helping others but who’s going to help you when you grow old?

No matter how rewarding immediate gratification is, everyone must be aware that people live longer nowadays. If you do not have enough resources when you reach your age of 70, enjoyment can stop at that age. Would you want that to happen to you?

To avoid this from happening, you need to sacrifice temporarily for deferred gratification.

There are two ways to do this. The first is paying yourself first financially. The second is investing time, talent and treasure to grow your spirituality.

To save all you can, I personally follow this simple rule – Love God, love your neighbor as yourself.

First, let’s talk about loving yourself.

Part of loving yourself is thinking about what future brings you. What do you want your future to be? Do you want to live a fulfilled life, a normal life, or a mediocre life?

People who live a fulfilled life are those who give a lot and share a lot to prosper their own life and lives of others. These people are the ones who end up living a longer life and a life of abundance. Why is this?

Shouldn’t one be losing more because you give more?

The scripture says the more you give the more you will receive. Luke 6:38 says, “Give and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure – pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” I will talk more about this on my next blog.

Part of loving yourself is making sure that you are financially secured especially when you’re old and with no more sources of income. One way of making sure this happens, force yourself to pay yourself first.

When you pay yourself first, you multiply your power to do more in life. Let me show you the numbers.

In the scriptures, Joseph told the Pharaoh of Egypt to prepare for the seven years of famine by saving 20 percent (a fifth of the produce of the land – Genesis 41:34) of their harvest.

What this means is, force yourself to pay yourself 20% percent of your income before paying for anything. Anything means, paying your mortgage, paying your car, paying your credit card, and so on.

The conventional advice is to aim to save 10 percent. Why 10 percent? This is how much Abraham gave to Melchizedek, king of Salem, after blessing him for his victories (see Genesis 14:20c).

Let’s say you are 40 years old and you earn $1,000 each month. If you start saving 10 percent of your income each month, which is $100, by the time you reach 65, your total savings will be $30,000, assuming that you hid your money under your bed and no termite ate it.

What if you place your money is in a bank that gives you a hefty 3 percent interest compounding? The estimated growth of your savings becomes $45,000. It makes a huge difference by placing your money in the bank. But still, the end result of saving 10 percent is none too exciting.

Let’s use the same factors but this time we use the scriptural version of saving 20 percent. By the time you are 65 years old, your money in the bank will have an estimated growth of around $90,000. Saving 20 percent opens up opportunities to do more fun things. At 30 percent, it becomes really exciting.

It is not three times as hard to save 30 percent, as it is to save 10 percent. In some cases, it’s easier. Why? Saving 30 percent is more rewarding. If you are a person who loves to reward yourself, saving more is doing more. But if you want to have that cash flow without hurting your savings, 10 percent is enough. Let me show you how.

Again, using the same factors of saving 10 percent of your income but this time you invested your money earning a consistent 8 percent per year compounding interest. By the time you reach age 65, the total estimate of your money will be… roll the drums please… $95,000 (not bad). This is more than saving 20 percent.

Nowadays, an investment portfolio with an 8 or even 12 percent returns is plausible. However, you may have some sleepless nights because of the risk involved but it is doable.

Just a word of caution especially when seeking for high returns – do your due diligence. Invest based on your beliefs and ask for guidance from qualified professionals. Many scammers will be out there to offer you consistent profits through very attractive rates. If you are one of the many individuals who are trying to catch up your savings for your retirement, you can easily be tempted to do something that may result in regretting it for the rest of your life.

Remember, whatever you save today is for your future. Do not risk it.

Please note that the example I just gave you uses constant returns and it does not consider market fluctuations.

At this point, I would like to end the first part of my blog. I did not write about loving God and loving your neighbor yet because I want you to read the boring part first. The great stuff is saved for last and I want to keep it suspense until next week!

God is the greatest!

Gain All You Can

Have you ever wondered why people nowadays are so inclined on getting rich as fast as they can?

Competition is intense especially when you live abroad. I’ve heard the same is true with our fellow Filipinos working overseas.

There is nothing wrong in being competitive.  But when we take shortcuts to get rich quick, most of the time, whatever we gain doesn’t last.  What comes easily doesn’t last long and what lasts long doesn’t come easily.

I have seen people taking shortcuts to get rich quick. They either end up hurting others, their love ones, and most especially themselves.  They end up worst from where they started.  Why does this happen?

Is it wrong to gain all you can as fast as you can?

There is nothing wrong in trying to get rich.  What makes you truly rich is how you answer these two questions; how you got there and how you are using it?

For example, we all know about the corrupt politicians in the Philippines.  It’s sad but, when you see these politicians owning huge mansions and nice cars, one cannot help but think they are corrupt.

How did they get there?  Did they acquire riches through honest work and service?

How are they using it?  Did they use their money to fund their lavish lifestyle while they do nothing for the country?

What are you truly gaining?

Gaining all you can is not only about money.  Truly gaining means winning in all aspects of your life.

This verse has been the foundation of everything I do; “But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”  (Matthew 6:33-34)

The message of Jesus is very clear.  To truly gain in life, “Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness.”

When you do this, “all these things will be given to you.”

If you strive for the glory of God, he will give you the strength you need to accomplish everything. You will be able to do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens us.

“Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)

Again, gaining all you can is not only about money.  Money is just the result of your true honest work but it should not be your reason.  Do not love money because money will never satisfy your deepest needs.  The love of money can get your priorities out of line. Remember, you already have everything you need.  “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1)

Can you strive for the kingdom of God and His righteousness if you have been dishonest in the past?

If this question looks like a stumbling block to you, you are not alone.  I’ve been there done that.  The great thing about the mercy and love of God is – it’s never too late to change.  God’s love does not show partiality.

If you are worried about the dishonest money you accumulated from the past, it’s not too late to use your riches appropriately by giving back, sharing more and giving more.

What causes us to accumulate more in life?  Is it because – “Feasts are made for laughter; wine gladdens life, and money meets every need.” (Ecclesiastes 10:19)

We all know that money is essential in our lives.  Money enables us to do many things in life especially if we have lots of it.  Having material things are not bad. But accumulating material possessions and being attached to them is toxic. Release your attachments so God can fill you more!

Just imagine what your life could be when you set your mind to accumulating treasures in heaven?

Let us read the parable of the rich man.

“As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’”  He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.” (Mark 10:17-22)

The rich man left sad not because he have many possessions. He left sad because he could not let go of his possessions.  He missed the opportunity of gaining all he can because he chooses not to go all-out for the kingdom of God.

So let us do what we are purposed to do.  Love and enjoy what we are doing because I believe this is how God wants us to be – always loving and enjoying the life He gave us.

In my life, my wife and I dream of an early retirement and spend our remaining healthy active days working for our Lord God globally.  It’s almost 22 years ago since we started serving in a community as a couple and we have no plans of stopping what we have started – to value the opportunity given to us and doing whatever it takes to gain all we can for the glory of God.

God is the greatest!

Compromise

Do you always have to fight to get the things you want?

Do you always haggle to get what you want from people, especially with your husband or wife? For almost 25 years of being married, I never have to compromise anything to my wife. I will tell you how we kept our marriage strong at the end of this blog.

If you are in a situation where conflict is inevitable, is to compromise the only solution to end the conflict?

What does it really mean when you compromise?

From the dictionary, compromise means a settlement of differences in which each side makes concessions.  It is the result of such a settlement.

It’s been said that those who compromise reduce the quality, value, or degree of something, such as your ideals and beliefs.  Compromise weakens your principle and it reduces your standards.

But, is to compromise really a solution?

In relationships, to compromise seems to solve a lot of issues. On the other hand, unhealthy compromise feels a lot like a disaster especially when you’re the only one giving up things and getting nothing or not much back.

I’m not in favor of compromise. I will avoid it as much as I can whether they are healthy or positive. The scriptures says, “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.” (Matthew 5:37)

If I have to compromise in a relationship, I do it in a healthy and positive way that would result to both parties feeling valued and fulfilled. I will give you some examples:

1. When you compromise, both parties need to give their share. Before you ask for someone to give up something, be prepared to offer something to the table yourself.

2. Do your best to engage in positive compromise rather than in a sacrificial way. One person does not have to suffer more than the other. Suffering is painful but it becomes positive when shared.

3. Compromise should only be used when you’re not angry.  Discussions is achieved better when you’re both calm and feeling open. Negative compromise with resentment built into is unhealthy in both the short and long term.  People who engage in negative compromise always end up bitter in the end.

4. Set everything on the table and know what is negotiable and non-negotiable before you start talking.  Be flexible on the things that are negotiable. For the things that are non-negotiable, state your reason why and how important it is for you to stick to it.

5. Ask for the other parties help. From the famous line of the movie Gerry McGuire he said, “Help me help you.”

We all know that every person understands the need to compromise from time to time. Your ability to consider the needs of others as reasonable is necessary in a happy life but there will be occasions when you should never settle for anything less than exactly what you want.

Although positive compromises gives results to move forward, in some situations, it’s best not to move forward at all whether this could be your work, business, relationship, or sometimes even your dream.

I’ll tell you when you should stop compromising.

1. When you try to save something that shouldn’t be saved.  When you are faced with losing a relationship that you desperately want to keep but you continue to compromise in an unhealthy way, this will just create more division.  When you compromise with a toxic person who continues to hurt you, they will eventually destroy you. There will always be problems even after you compromise. The only way to stop your pain is to end the relationship itself.

2. When you are being manipulated by the lies of other people. Compromise can be used in a dishonest way by making the other person think you are working on a problem, when in fact you are being manipulated in the situation to their own advantage. Don’t put too much effort in helping people who does not want to be helped. This is not because you don’t care, it’s because they don’t.

3. Avoid compromising when you know you are mentally and spiritually weak. One of the hardest things to do is to be assertive to get your needs, while at the same time being sensitive and willing to engage in a give and take. Some people think this is humility.  Humility is not being weak.  When you appear weak and unable to express your needs in a healthy manner, you allow yourself to be lowered in a relationship.  This is weakness, not humility.

4. When compromise is a failure to meet one’s own needs. When you are willing to be unhappy so that the others are happy, then that’s the beginning of your end. Compromise should always be undertaken gladly and in an honest and open way with compassion and understanding. It should never be undertaken to abuse anybody.

Finally, there are some areas when you don’t compromise like your investments and your faith.

You don’t place your investments when you know you cannot handle risks.  Do you due diligence and stop when you are unsure – no compromise.

When it comes to our faith, imagine if Jesus compromised his divinity to earthly kingship, Christianity would never exist.  I would not be here writing about faith and money.

At the start of my blog I wrote, I never compromise anything with my wife.  Here is what I have learned in my 25 years of being married – when you cannot get what you want from your wife, don’t try to understand her – but accept her.  This is my secret.

Acceptance is more powerful than compromise because with acceptance, you embrace everything. Compromise is accepting only 50%.

Believe me, you will last together for the rest of your life because there’s no compromise in acceptance.

Wishing you all the best in life – without compromise!

God is the greatest!