As a luxury homebuilder, I observed something very odd. People buying million dollar homes often didn’t have much wealth – they just had large incomes.
They pulled into the sales office in a luxury automobile and coveted the appearance of wealth. But wealth is much different than income. Wealth is what you accumulate, not what you spend. (Remember my Italian mentor from my first job….. )
Have you dreamed of owning a nicer home? We all love things of beauty. I made my living in the housing industry by identifying a profitable niche. I loved building big, great quality, beautiful homes and neighborhoods. They were my art. However, there is a balance in being able to afford things in the short term and being able to accumulate wealth in the long term.
Flash back to 1985 when I received the best piece of personal finance advice! Picture me, working my summer job as a laborer for a bricklaying company trying to pay for university. What was the best advice and who gave it to me? It came from an Italian bricklayer in his tattered and torn work clothes. You’ll need to read this aloud in an Italian accent while waving your arms enthusiastically to get the full effect.
“Stevie it’s not-a how much-a you make, it’s-a how much-a you save.” The significance of his statement stuck with me! Many of my university professors talked about personal finance but had not been in the marketplace.
These educated professionals were not practicing personal finance as well as this man who earned probably half of what they did. Arriving in Canada from Italy, penniless, this man owned 3 houses in downtown Toronto worth a substantial amount of money. He had learned one of the dirtiest words in personal finance: discipline. As my parents often had, we will have arguments, fights, worries, pain and disappointments until we practice what this wise bricklayer taught me. I believe it is based on the following Biblical personal finance truth.
In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.
Do you have time to do the things you really want? Are you living the life you feel you were called to? Who really is? A recent survey of the top 5 regrets people have on their deathbeds reports that their number one regret is that they hadn’t had the courage to live a life true to themselves. They lived the life others expected of them. What a tragedy!
Dr. Richard Swenson, in his book Margin reveals insight into the space that exists between our limits and our self. Imagine it as the space around the edge of the pages of a book. It’s the little bit extra. Margin is a great book for anyone who is looking for: good health, financial stability, fulfilling relationships and God’s purpose.
If you feel that there are never enough hours in a day, you are right! The clock keeps ticking whether we like it or not. But what are we spending our precious few hours on?
Here are some astounding facts:
- The average person watches TV over 4 hours a day. That’s 28.5 hours each week.
- The average internet usage is 43.5 hours per month. That equates to an hour and a half each and every day.
- The average Canadian spends an unbelievable 32 days each year commuting to and from work. That’s over 768 hours trapped in your car every year!
It’s no wonder we feel we don’t have enough time.
It’s because of that last statistic that Zig Ziglar suggests we turn our vehicles into “rolling universities.” Tossing in a CD or tuning into a podcast can help turn your commute into learning time.
But what should we focus on?
In my life, many things have come easily… and many things frustrate me to no end. There are things that I just cannot seem to do!
In our homebuilding business, I was blessed with the right strengths for managing people’s time, money and expectations for a new place to call home. However, as I transitioned into my second half of life, I didn’t know what my real strengths were. No one ever encouraged me to explore them or told me how to find them. What a frustrating feeling!
Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.
Proverbs 22:29 ESV