17 JULY 2015 :: Financial preparations

Every day is filled with its own needs. 

I suppose there is a Bible verse that addresses this idea, but it wasn't one I memorized and I'm not energetic enough to go looking for it right now.  It is just about 5:30 am...and I wanted to get this task taken care of before I go through the rest of my day. 

What can you say at 5:30 in the morning?  :-)  World problems seem a bit much, nothing has happened in your own life yet  (except a cup of coffee), and I shut the radio off after the Christian music program finished so I could have silence to think. I haven't read the Bible yet.

I do have a letter getting ready to mail to my son in prison today.  It is filling up with some pages of a book I am going through again, looking for details that will matter to my life.  It's the 2007 version of Dave Ramsey's workbook for his financial program.  In looking for details to share with my son, I remembered it was published right before the recession and the housing crisis. I had to add some notes about the changes I have heard about since that time.

The main one I am referring to is the suggestion to have 3-6 months of living expenses saved for unexpected problems.  Since the recession, I think that went up to 2-3 years.  Jobs became hard to find, older workers and younger workers had a harder time finding opportunities.  Houses were lost because savings ran out.

In listening to the details on the news about the current Greek financial crisis, GOD is allowing us to see how the government control of income creates very different issues than we are use to.  I believe the word they use, austerity, means the government's level of provision is decreased because they have no funds to pay the "wages" that were previously received (promised) for your work or your retirement.  And there's nothing you can do about it.  It is like having your hours cut, or losing your job.  Everything changes in your life and you have to deal with it.

BUT, if the government is the only company you can work for, what can you do to compensate for your own economic crisis?  I would suppose that bartering, moving in with others, and theft, are your only options.  In the US, bartering is considered taxable income.  I'm not sure how that would figure into your survival efforts. 

Since I am now receiving early retirement income, and it is my only cash income, the concept of government dependence for your survival is even more significant to me.  I continue to receive food stamps and now receive mandated health care, so I have returned to my own form of government lifestyle.  The main issue now is that I am too old to do a lot of things to change my income level, which makes that dependence much more critical.  (Unfortunately, my online sales efforts haven't born any financial fruit yet.)
The main issue now is that I am too old
to do a lot of things to change my income level...

In the Greek crisis, and other government bankruptcy events, we can see that payment levels are the first thing that happens.  Retirement funds are often the first to get absorbed for other uses.  Watching Greek banks being closed, accounts being restricted, businesses being suspended or ended, and the value of money being reduced, creates a whole new level of fear about the future.  Our money systems are global now, not just national.

I have shared one of my memories about the value of money before, but it was a long time ago, I think.  I am talking about a history lesson from my youth, about the end of the confederacy during the Civil War.  I remembered that it became worthless, that a barber used it to paper the walls of his business as a political statement about its value.  I don't think I ever imagined that money could become worthless before that.

As I studied the Bible later on, I began to see that putting your faith in your wealth is foolish.  It can become worthless in a very short time... like stock values in the Great Depression.  The Bible also talks about a time when people would be willing to trade their gold and other valuables for food.  All of these references made me see that there is no guarantee that anything we do to prepare for unexpected events will work.
... there is no guarantee that anything we do
to prepare for unexpected events will work.

That doesn't mean we don't prepare, just that we don't put all of our faith in their ability to "save" us from what can happen.  I am currently building an emergency plan for natural disasters, including food and miscellaneous items like flashlights, batteries, a medical kit, etc.  It could turn out that the disaster I am preparing for will make that effort worthless by destroying it.  I don't know that right now, so I will keep preparing for a possible problem -- just in case I need it.

I don't know how we can prepare for what lies ahead, but I still hope to do something.  We know that persecution creates a lot of hardship, and the government isn't going to be the one that wants to help us.  My prayer is that we can find a way to prepare for what is guaranteed to happen, and begin to gather to help and protect each other through the process.