Saturday, March 18, 2006

"The Millionaire Next Door" - book review

Last week I read this book written by Thomas Stanley and William Danko. If you are a numbers person like me you will certainly enjoy this book. If you can't handle numbers it is likely still worth reading about the first 80 pages to get the main thesises of this book, however you may struggle through the many statistics throughout the rest of the book.

The book is the result of a study conducted by the authors of the wealth people (net worth of more than $1m) in America. Their findings were some what unexpected. The wealthy are NOT the people you expect them to be. The wealthy people live in average homes in modest neighborhoods. They drive modest cars, and generally are not distinguishable to the eye from their middle-class neighbors. These people become wealthy by hard work, wise investment and money mangement, and especially by being very frugal.

For me, this book was a powerful reminder of how average people can become wealthy. It was valuable to think through the importance of living a frugal life, and it allowed me to reevaluate what my money-spending goals are.

On the downside of things, there are certainly some elements of this book that are at odds with the Chirstian faith. The book certainly makes wealth building the number one priority. We are warned in Scriptures against making wealth too high of a priority. Proverbs 28:19-22 says, "He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty. A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished. To show partiality is not good-- yet a man will do wrong for a piece of bread. A stingy man is eager to get rich and is unaware that poverty awaits him."

Another philosophy that the book gets wrong is in its view of charity and giving. The book seems to promote a stingyness in how much you give away. The authors do speak positively of giving money away in retirement, but little until then.

Anyways, it is certainly a worthy read, especially the first 80 pages!


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Olympics and a Cruise and more!

So, obviously it has been a long time since I have posted. That is primarily because of the amazing adventures I have had over the last month. In the last month I have had the amazing opportunity to go on a mission trip to the Olympics, and a couple of weeks later I was able to go on a cruise through my home business! Talk about an exciting time. BUT IT GETS BETTER! While in Italy for the Olympics, I got engaged! My girlfriend Darla agreed to marry me!! So it has been a very exciting time. I am back and focused and ready to go!

I want to quickly reflect on the last couple of months. First of all, the Olympics. This was my third mission trip to the Olympics. I also went to Salt Lake City, and Athens, all with Athletes in Action. Athletes in Action is Christian sports group that works with athletes from around the world. At the Olympics we work with athletes and sharing the Jesus film on DVD with them. Hopefully through the DVD they will learn about the love of Jesus.

I want to share a portion of my thank you letter about this event:

"In this Olympics, venues turned into a great place to meet athletes. A good example of this was at the womenÂ’s skeleton event. We worked our way to the start line to watch the first run of the event. It seemed that when we got up there everywhere we turned we were running into athletes who were there to watch their friends perform. We were able to talk to members of the Swiss bobsleigh team, skiers from New Zealand, and a member of the US menÂ’s skeleton team.

It was later during this same event that one of the neatest experiences of the games occurred. Due to some of the Canadian clothing that a couple of us were wearing, a girl came up and approached us, asking us if we were from Canada. It turns out that this was girl was the third member of the womenÂ’s skeleton team for Canada. Unfortunately Canada was only allowed to enter two athletes in this event and she was left out. Clearly this had to be difficult for such a world class athletes (she had been 3rd at the 2003 World Championships). It was neat to hear her story, and to be able to share our DVD of the Jesus film with her.

Throughout the week these kinds of experiences continued. I was able to give DVDs to athletes from many countries. These included athletes from Russia, Kazakhstan, Switzerland, Ukraine, Japan, France, New Zealand, Italy, the United States, and Canada. Some of the most encouraging of these conversations was with people who spoke very little English. They were often extremely excited to be given a DVD when they were shown that it was in their own language. They were often thrilled for such a gift."

Clearly this was amazing opportunity. However, the blessings didn't stop there as less than two weeks later I was off to the Caribbean for a cruise. My home business company had chartered tmagnificentant ship. Everybody on board was part of our company, and had to earn their way onto the boat. The trip was amazing. It was a great chance to relax, to enjoy the sun, and to spend time reading and praying.

We had stops in Belize, the Cayman Islands, and the Bahamas. It was a wonderful time. In Belize I had the opportunity to go "tubing" down a river through caves and rain forests. It was unbelizeable. On top of that we got amazing seminars and were able to learn a lot about building our business.

Well I'm ready to go and keep moving forward with my newsletter, my business, and this blog. Watch here for more posts soon!