What will you do… with the next dollar?
First, a distinction: people who read this weekly blog – people like you – usually are not from the lower socio-economic quartile… or, the second, or the third. “Upper Quartile” – today – means about $115,000 in household income, nationally.
Folks in that economic neighborhood listen/think/speak/act differently than the people who occupy the other three quartiles. If that number climbs to $195,000, they’re now 90% percentile… and, again, the listen/think/speak/act circumstances change. If they cross the threshold of $480,000… they become part of the now-vilified 99th percentile where the one-percenters wear targets in the Land of Political Campaigns, where candidates are waiting with new high-caliber tax bullets.
Let me assume that you’re not part of the growing homeless population in a major American city; further, you aren’t dodging phone calls from creditors who are looking for minimum payments on a credit card that you’ve maxed-out. Getting a hardship scholarship for Financial Peace University is not on top of your personal Christmas list, hoping that Dave Ramsey might give you the magic formula to bail you out of some faulty long-term spending habits. You’re doing okay, at minimum… and, likely, above that baseline. Are we on common ground?
The question of the moment: what will you do… with your next dollar?
The options are really simple; once the basics have been secured (food, clothing, shelter: the stuff on the lower tier of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs), the options that are open to the abundance that follows tells a significant story.
Let me reduce personal economics to the most basic biblical understanding. According to the Scriptures, treasure is anything more than we need (that’s need, not want). When treasure is now the issue, the options narrow: consume, conserve or convert.
Consumption is the American Way. Our economy is dependent on sparking consumer envy and preaching personal entitlement. “You deserve better” is the line whose shadow is cast across most advertising; the lust-for-more joins hands with the longing-for-upgrade, and cash registers in retail heaven join in the chorus of GDP hallelujahs. America has taught the world to run on consumer spending…
But, even folks in the 99th percentile can only consume so much. The next, next dollar now demands direction: where will it be sent? Two options remain: conserve, or convert.
Conserve seems like the ultimate breakthrough. Only the disciplined make conserving an art form; they find ways to stash the cash for security, and to invest the capital for growth. Risk tolerance is the only critical factor: the virtual mattress is there for the faint-of-heart; private equity and blue-sky start-ups that couldn’t qualify for Shark Tank are the playground for the gamblers who grow net worth the way farmers grow corn.
Or… you can convert. To convert means that – in anticipation of a future relocation – you allocate resources for transfer into vehicles that will make it possible to make the ultimate move, from an unstable climate with undesirable factors to a paradise everyone talks about, but never seem to occupy.
Convert: change currencies, then do a fund transfer that moves the money to a place where you will one day be, yourself. How can one do that?
A wise advisor once said: “The people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” (Jesus, in Luke 16:8-9).
Bottom line: invest earth dollars in the ultimate friend-making enterprise. Fund the services that result in changing the eternal destiny of people from hell-bound to heaven-certain, and when you arrive in Glory, those redirected people will be waiting for you, to thank you for investing in them.
Oh, by the way: Jesus will be waiting there, as well: to reward you for that wise investment decision. A “win” on every level: for Jesus, for now-saved people… and for you.
What are you planning to do with the next dollar?