Update: I’m way behind on my blogging, due to lots to do! I left my position at the unnamed giant retailer that I’ve been working at since the close of the Happy Turtle. I’m now once again, working for myself as a sole-proprietor in the form of a private contractor. However, being paid much better than previously, and with the hard to quantify value of being able to work pretty much as I want. Not unobligated, you understand, but no uniform, no pretending people are right when they are wrong, that sort of thing.
Bloggery: But I’ve been wanting to post. I’ve had several ideas. Some include continuing to open cans of worms of doctrine, but I’m kind of seeing the wisdom in why even the clearest revelation of Elohim (the Mashiach) chose to hide doctrine in parables. I’ve thought of political posts, but … blech.
But during the process of this new business venture, my woman and I decided to get a vehicle, requiring a car loan. Now, I’m anti-debt in the sense that I think debt represents the symptom of generational mismanagement. I include myself in that. With a more clear thought process and vision, I could have been a land lord by now. But it’s not a sin to take on debt, especially in a country that operates contrary to Torah anyway. Debt would not be nearly so tempting if the Yovel year was kept for example.
We did decide that any debt taken on must be payable within a schmita cycle so that the lender is not left incriminated for not forgiving our debt.
So we sit down to take out this loan, and frankly, we’ve over drafted our accounts with an embarrassing frequency, mainly due to our previous business venture. Needless to say, I was joyfully astonished to find that our rating was north of 800. I felt quite good, despite how much I listen to Dave Ramsey (who I respect).
And it got me thinking. Forgive me if I brag. But, I didn’t have good credit because of a moments decision or because I scored really well on some intellectual test. I have a great credit score because I’ve lived a boring life. I’ve never had a smart phone (though that may change). I’ve never bought a TV on credit. In fact, other than a car paid off nine years ago, and credit used in the course of business, I haven’t done much of that.
The point is that I did nothing exceptional. I simply had a habit of making those boring, adult decisions in terms of finances. So it occurred to me, that here I was benefitting because I’ve been boring.
Lately, I’ve become increasingly enamored with the idea of building an estate, and leaving inheritances, etc. Listening to Dave Ramsey, watching Downton Abbey, and restoring a farm haven’t hurt that. For example, the other day I looked at getting a tractor repaired. This tractor, used, goes for $5,000. It is 60 years old. Think about that, a piece of equipment that has been used consistently and still runs 60 years after it came off the line. And we’re lucky if a car makes it 5????
The other day, I heard about how some college students are leaving college with 120,000 in loans. And I thought . . . 50,000 would get you maybe 50 acres of land. You could built a decent economical, efficiency house for 20,000 maybe. Buy a tractor for 30,000. Clear any trees (you can sell those or use them for construction or heating for a good many years), make back some extra cash. Buy a butt load of farm implements (little stuff) say another 10,000. We’re at 110,000. Get a good farm truck for delivering. There you go. You’ve now got direct income potential immediately and all of that invested is directly secured by physical collateral rather than unsecured debt.
That was just an example to say, we’re throwing money at institutions so that they can train our children how to work for someone else–and they’ll need to because of the debt. Instead of using that same money to create the ability to build more wealth independently.
I may right a book to more elaborately explain this, but essentially it comes down to something I heard years ago:
- The poor see money for spending. That’s not a criticism, because when you have little, it has to go directly to living. But you need to be looking, mentally, to graduating to the next worldview.
- The middle class see money for saving. That sound’s like a good idea. And it is, that means you are not simply spending because you can, you are saving for future expenses. You are looking to the future, but even that needs to be graduated beyond.
- The rich see money for investing. How is in investing better than saving? Saving retains the surplus that you already had. It means keeping things from getting worse. Investing means making the money make more money. But, we think that investing means buying stocks and making money off of other people’s efforts. The truth is that investing is simply growing your capacity to create new wealth.
For example, I got a tax return this year, and I planned to get solar power, to cut my energy costs. But a friend told me, “At some point you cannot cut your way to wealth, you have to increase your earning.” So instead, we turned to infrastructure upgrades that would allow us to make more, like the purchase of the vehicle. Pasture fencing. A grain mill.
I’ve gotten off subject, cause it looks like I’m talking down education. I’m not. It’s great if you have a specialized purpose for knowledge that you can’t easily attain. But I do believe that most people need a better basic training at home in the form of estate vision than they do college education. I mean if you build a company and hand it down successfully to your children, you should have trained them it. That means they have the real world knowledge to run a company and they have the company and the experience, what the crap would they need the degree for? And if people viewed their family wealth like a companies wealth (net worth and each family member as a shareholder) then they could create internally growing wealth, and each generation should be able to grow without “needing” to get a mortgage worth of education to learn what frankly they could have been learning all their lives.
And they wouldn’t need to go to the bank for a vehicle loan, they would go to the family. Or maybe the congregational body.
But the main point is that all this requires is those boring choices. The simply saying save instead of spend. Buying things that make money or improve the family infrastructure more than entertain it. Buy a chain saw, not a new cell phone every year. Start paying yourself a car payment so the car gets paid for and you get the interest instead of the bank. Encourage the generations to live together so they grow in assets instead of debt.
Little boring decisions. Be the boring guy. Does that mean you won’t be as cool?
It depends when you ask the question.