There’s a thirty-something I know who looked out his window the other day to see his neighbor urinating on a garage. I asked him what he did about it, and he said, “I just smiled and waved at the guy. He was very embarrassed, believe me.” This thirty-something, he very recently made a decision to buy a duplex, and now he and his family are living in one unit. They’re going to rent the other. It’s only temporary, but the thing is, his strategy comes with sacrifices. The unit is small for his family of three and his large dog. The purchase stretches his budget to the max, and then a little beyond. And–well–occasionally he might see his next door neighbor urinating on a garage. Nevertheless, I think this thirty-something has made a very wise decision only a small percentage of people make. He is planning for his financial future.
Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,
Which, having not chief,
Officer or ruler,
Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest (Proverbs 6:6-8)
One of the wisest (and richest) men who ever walked planet earth wrote that. This thirty-something’s decision will require a lot of work. The duplex he purchased was the cheapest and best valued multi-family property in the entire Portland area. But as is usually the case with such bargains, his duplex is also somewhat of a fixer-upper. So yes, it will require work. But it’s worth it.
When you look at what God says about finances in the Bible you find that He wants you to have wisdom, and he wants you to manage your money wisely. (James 1:5) Wisdom has been described as doing now what you will wish you had done in five years–had you not done it. In other words, five years from now, my thirty-something friend will be very glad he made his investment. And twenty-five years from now he’ll be even gladder.
Summer Is Here But…
His property will require a lot of work. But even as the ant worked in summer, so must he, and so must we. Because winter is coming.
Ask people you know in their fifties, sixties, and seventies: you won’t be able to work forever. You might think it will never happen to you but the truth is it happens to all of us. There was a common diagnosis we recognized for the many debilitating health problems we saw on medical calls in the fire department. It’s called TMB–Too Many Birthdays. We all slow down eventually. Unless you die from trauma at a young age you’ll experience health problems that will reduce or eliminate your ability to work. So it makes sense to prepare for that time now.
An older friend who is wise in the ways of finance once told me, “You never want to find yourself both old and poor. Because when you’re old and poor you can no longer make your own decisions. Someone else will be making decisions for you. It might be a relative. It might be the state. But it won’t be you if you can’t support yourself.”
Be wise and work while it’s summer.
Be smart and prepare while you can.
Winter comes for us all.
Work, plan, prepare. Even if it means sacrifice.
Be like God’s ant.
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Image via Christopher “Cricket” Hynes – Creative Commons