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Are you as smart as an ant?

Getting out of debt is an important goal. Hopefully, you can see yourself beyond being in debt. While on the road to getting out of debt, saving should be a priority in your budget. If you don’t like the word budget, we will call it a Spending Plan.

Everyday we are attacked with million dollar marketing techniques. It is in your e-mail inbox, text messages, and pop-ups. They all entice you to hop on the treadmill of consumption. If you catch yourself on that thing jump off! We must free ourselves from giving in to the temptation of spending more than we earn.

We used to be a nation of savers. In Fact, thrift was a foundational element of American society. The architect Louis Sullivan even carved the word thrift over the door of his bank. This concept seems to be a thing of the past.

Calvin Coolidge said, “Industry, thrift and self-control are not sought because they create wealth, but because they create character.”  The discipline of giving to your savings account AKA Freedom Account will cause you to delay buying that expensive name brand purse in the window or the latest tech gadget.

Today Americans save less than ever. Personal savings as a percentage of disposable income were around 10 percent in the 1980’s. They hovered around 5 percent during much of the 1990’s. By 2000 they neared zero percent and have sometimes dropped below zero.

You may be saying to yourself, but why save? Here are a few possibilities. Set aside money in your Freedom Account and label it Emergency Fund. This is essential and should be your first goal in saving. The Freedom Account is to cover unexpected and necessary purchases.

By contrast, other saving and investing may be more long-term. This includes setting aside money for your children’s college fund or providing for your retirement. In this case, liquidity is less important and long-term performance should be your goal.

Are you smarter than an ant? The Bible encourages us to save. In Proverbs it encourages those who don’t save to consider how a lowly creature like the ant prepares for the future: Proverbs 6:6-8 (KJV) says ” Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,  provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. The writer of Proverbs also talks about how wise people save, in contrast to foolish people who don’t. Proverbs 21:20 (NIV)”in the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has”.

You need a Spending Plan. John Maxwell says, “A budget is people telling their money what to do instead of wondering where it went.” A budget is a plan for saving and spending. The book of Proverbs admonishes us to plan. Prov 16:3 says, “Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.” But as we develop these plans for the future, we also need to be sensitive to the Lord’s leading. “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” Prov 16:9.

If you want to be successful you should consider Prov 21:5, it says “good planning and hard work lead to prosperity”. By contrast, the Bible also teaches that our plans will fail if these plans aren’t within the will of God. Isaiah 30:1 says, “You make plans that are contrary to mine”.

Start saving now! In Proverbs 22:5 we read, “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences” Everyone needs a cash reserve for major emergencies, and even for small emergencies and inconveniences.

If the life of a loved one depended on you saving $1,000, how quick could you save it? Would you eat out as much? Think about the things you might do without. Put things in perspective. Decide now that you will begin to put labels on what is a true need and what is well.. just a selfish desire.

Dream with me, you are debt free except for your mortgage. You decide to check your inbox on Friday afternoon just before taking your wife on a date. You see an e-mail from your boss that says, the company no longer needs your services. Suddenly you enter a “transition period”, better known as unemployment. How would you react? Take a deep breath remember we are just dreaming here. Now imagine if you had three to six months of expenses in your.. you guessed it Freedom Account. Would you still have that old fashion hissy fit? Probably not. If you didn’t already plan the date with your bride you would probably go and enjoy a round of golf or maybe go fishing. It goes without saying, but there would be very little stress if you had a fully funded Freedom Account.

Recently we experienced record rainfalls in our area. No you don’t understand, it was more like a 1,000 year flood. Being born in the Delta of Mississippi I have seen that flat land covered with water on several occasions. All I could think was, we live in the hills, the foothills of the Appalachians, water is not supposed to be downtown. I took a walk down to the Talahatchie river bridge where the water was only inches from the bottom of the bridge. What did I see below me? Ants. You may be saying ants? What? Yes there in the water you could plainly see hundreds of ants gathered together. They found one place where the water was still and they gathered together to save their future offspring. I

The QBQ! Ants

QBQ! Ants

will never forget it as long as I live, on top of the ants were tiny eggs. No amount of planning could have prepared them for this. I highly doubt there was a single complaint. They probably even lost their copy of QBQ! You know they had to read it or else they would have been washed down the river while they all asked IQ’s like, why didn’t you see this coming? Why didn’t we listen to Al Gore?

Think about the future of your family tree. What would it look like if you would start cleaning up your mess?

Your Freedom Account may be drenched by the proverbial “rainy day” right now. Don’t be discouraged. If you have to start over or if you have a mess, just start with the simple and basic. Stay consistent and win! You are smarter than the ant, so give it your best and surround yourself with others that will encourage you along this journey.

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