When I was in junior high, my parents divorced. Shortly after, my father was incarcerated. As a result, my mother—without a degree or marketable job skills—was forced to provide for seven children on a very limited income. Times were extremely tough. How did she make it work? By the generosity of others.
I have countless examples of generous acts both big and small which made a huge impact on our family. One of the many larger generous moments I remember was waking up to a car in the driveway with a little red bow on the hood. It wasn’t a new car. In fact, it was an old woody station wagon. But it was a car that worked. It was a car that fit the whole family and something we desperately needed. It was a beautiful gift.
What does the story of my past have to do with baby step number 7? Everything. Baby step 7 is all about giving to others. If it weren’t for people providing for my family when we needed it most, you wouldn’t be reading this blog. I can undeniably say that I am the man I am today and Stewardship is the company it is because of people’s generosity.
So far with Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps, you should have saved $1000, paid off all nonmortgage debt, saved three to six months of monthly expenses in an emergency account, are actively investing 15% of your income in pre-tax retirement funds, saved for your children’s college, and paid off your home! The journey has likely been filled with ups and downs. No doubt you have worked hard to arrive at this step. CONGRATULATIONS! Now it’s time to build wealth and give!
Why build wealth?
With no debt and consistent annual funding of pre-tax retirement accounts, you will likely be in a comfortable financial position when it’s time to retire. So, why build even more wealth?
Simply put, a person who can build wealth has the financial capacity to create opportunities that others don’t. These opportunities may be extraordinary comfort, fun family experiences, or vacations. Sometimes those opportunities are financial family legacies like funding college for grandchildren, funding a start-up business for one of your children, or providing a large down payment on a family member’s mortgage. But there is one common element in most of these opportunities—they are “others” centered.
Throughout the journey of completing each baby step, you realize the decisions you make have a greater impact on others than they do on you. Yes, your personal financial management makes an obvious impact on your life, but the impact made (or not made) on the lives of people around you is even greater. The true motivating factor to completing the baby steps and changing your behaviors is not so you can “win with money.” The real motivation is being able to better provide for the people in your life you care about most.
The most fun you will ever have
Sometimes money gets a bad rap. It often feels like a necessary evil. But, it does have the ability to provide joy. Of course, joy is felt by the recipient of money, but a greater joy is felt by the one giving the money. Giving is one of the most enjoyable things to do on earth. This is especially true when you can give anonymously. Find me a person who is generous with their wealth, and I guarantee you they are one of the most enjoyable people to be around.
I often think of the person who gave my family that car. To this day, I don’t know who it was. What I imagine in that person is not a physical trait, but a feeling. I imagine them having an overwhelming sense of joy as they put a little bow on the hood with the keys and title in the front seat. I imagine an infectious and happy life that was likely filled with one generous act after the other. I imagine a person who was living in Baby Step 7.
Generosity is the heart of Stewardship. If you are interested in creating a plan to get to Baby Step 7, schedule an appointment with us below. We would be honored to help get you to a place of building wealth and joyful generosity.