Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"What If He Dies?" A Follow Up To Bringing Home Rebecca


A serious and sobering question came in recently on one of our comment forms. It is a question that our family has addressed many times over the past decade. We felt it necessary to address it in the form of a post. The question is as follows:


"So what happens when your husband dies or loses his job?

You then have no job skills, no recent work history, and a mortgage to pay and kids to feed. Life insurance and unemployment are never enough to last more than a year. So how, exactly, do you plan to get by when your source of financial support goes away?

Husbands don't live forever. Jobs don't last forever. Unless you have a backup plan, you're stuck trying to make ends meet on welfare or church assistance--neither of which goes very far.

ALL women should keep up their education and job skills in order to serve their families in times of crisis. Taking off a little time here and there to be with infants is understandable. But don't fall into the trap of letting job skills go to seed."

It is true that the thought of being left alone with few resources to draw on is a scary one. In fact, today families in which both husband and wife work a job have great difficulty paying their bills and meeting the needs of their family. Our family sees this daily in our consulting business. So what happens when the income is cut in two? Is there such a thing as a good back-up plan? Will the church help? Is conventional education the best plan?

My father is currently working with a young man in his twenties that had a horrible motorcycle accident, which left him in ICU for a month at the rate of $20,000 a day. 2 years later he has returned to the workforce in a wheel chair and he and his girlfriend, who has stuck with him through it all, are currently looking for what options they have now. What can they do to enable themselves to pursue what all American's dream of, a nice home, marriage, family, and financial stability or the ability to make the best choices for themselves and their families?

Our perspective is this, that it is not merely the absence of a "man" that takes a toll on a family, church and society. It is the absence of understanding and living according to God’s wisdom regarding finances.

Being financially mature and responsible has been bred out of us Americans by the influence of the public school system whether we attended it or not. We have been brainwashed to believe that if we go to school and get a good education and a good job we can achieve the American dream. We have been told to leverage ourselves all the way there. Most people are forced into trading their time for more money because they no longer have money due to their indebtedness. Working 9-5 and living paycheck to paycheck, the two resources we rely on, time and money are, well, all used up. The future looks down right scary at times and now that we are on this course we are learning the truth, it is not like they said. We’ve been mislead, we’ve been lied to. With mounting debts from credit cards that were only supposed to tide-us-over temporarily along with inflation and gas prices rising as they are, hope for things to get better seem more like an illusion.
Questions that begin with, "What happens if..." haunt us. We are spread thin as it is. If hubby dies or gets hurt, contributing to that indebtedness, as well as increasing the emotional burden and workload will take a toll on us.

It is time to face reality. It is true, our commenter is right, “jobs do not last.” It is also true that families in which both husband and wife have jobs or they are self-employed in a way in which their income is dependent upon their ability to perform and put in their time, are not saving money in the event that a catastrophe happens. They can't and if they did what use would it be? It wouldn’t be enough. Families need to face the reality that if it is not working now with two wage incomes, it will not work with one wage income in the event that Daddy dies. And since jobs don’t last, why would banking on one being there that is good enough to meet the needs of a two income household in the future be a good back-up plan? It is a delusion. Putting a wife to work is not a "good back-up plan." It is rather setting ourselves up to become a societal burden and is not wise or a responsible use of our talents and abilities as women.

Through the course of our education and from our job choice counselors we are told to focus on what we are good at & what we enjoy doing. We are tested in order to determine our talents. Prescribed “suitable” choices and encouraged to seek scholarships to colleges that can best enhance our talents and equip us to shine in our professions. And don’t forget that the particular college recommended is the top recruiting pool for particular big name corporations. Where you to go there your chances of being selected and working in the field you are best suited for are better.

But another thing to consider is that we are not taught today that our ability to produce an income at a job is capped by market value. If we choose to earn money at a job, we are not paid based on our talents, our capabilities and our full potential, but rather we are paid according to what the market will allow. We are a resource, a commodity rather. That scholarship money that you worked so hard to get was given to the college you attended by the corporation that recruited you. It’s a business. Colleges teach the curriculum that will create for the corporations the employees they need.

We do enjoy pay increases for a short time while working a job, but this is not the same as “getting ahead.” The day comes in every wage-earning profession that the income plateaus because said profession is only worth so much on the market and around 10 years into our professions we find it harder than ever to make ends meet as inflation eats away at our budget and the pay increases cease.

We are then persuaded with benefits and titles and if we buy into it we end up carrying more workload and managerial responsibilities for the same or less pay.

That's the way it is and that is the way it will always be if we choose to earn our income with a job.

It is here where most families find that something has to change.

We suggest that families consider…

What does biblically responsible manhood/womanhood look like?
What would their current situation look like if they had been taught biblically sound financial stewardship skills?
What would their future look like if they had been taught biblical entrepreneurialism and the pursuit of creating residual income?

…and then ask themselves, “What options would we have now and in the event hard circumstances arise in our lives?”

Biblical Manhood / Womanhood:
God teaches men to become established financially before they wed and have children. What if sons and daughters alike went to their parents and pastors first and asked them “What do I need to know and be capable of before I marry?” Paul Washer has excellent advice in his 2 part courtship series.

What if strong biblical manhood was the norm in our nation today? What would our situation look like if men planned ahead in order to meet the needs of the families they created rather than delegating the responsibility to their wives, children, church and society now and in the event of their death? Vision Forum has some excellent advice here. What if men pursued entrepreneurialism following the biblical admonition to lay up an inheritance for their children's children? Proverbs 13:22

What if strong biblical womanhood was the norm today and faithful women had the courage and fortitude to support their husband’s ideals and plans for entrepreneurialism. What if instead of going to college a wife invested in helping her husband develop and organize the cumulative family talents and ambitions in a way that produced a product, service or business that in turn produced residual income for them, income that repeatedly came into the family business and was not dependent on their ability to perform? Would she play the “What if” game? Would she worry while lying on the sofa suffering morning sickness, or when the family went on an extended vacation, or when the husband broke his leg on vacation? We suggest listening to, “The wise Woman’s Guide to Blessing Her Husband’s Vision.”

What if we went to churches where strong biblical manhood and womanhood was the norm and the church fulfilled their role and met the needs of widows and orphans. What if men took seriously, "a man that does not provide for his own is worse than an infidel?" I Tim 5:8 See Kevin Swanson’s sermon, “Suffer the children

What if we believed in God’s Sovereignty and put our hope in the Lord and followed his plan? Would our faith show us, and would we begin to believe, that there are possibilities, options, provision and people there to help us in times of financial confusion and or crisis?

Biblical Financial Stewardship:
We recommend I.B.L.P.’s Financial Freedom Seminar and Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover Seminar for advice about how to handle current financial problems and future money management.

Here you will learn the biblical principles of living debt-free and delaying gratification of our dreams until we were able to support them in a financially responsible way and much more.

Biblical Entrepreneurialism:
God teaches men and women alike to be wise stewards and pursue entrepreneurialism and not voluntary slavery. God made us creative and expects us to use our creativity to establish ourselves financially. It is only when we realize that there are better ways of making money that are not capped by market values, that we have come to a place were we will begin to see opportunities where we can really use the talents that God has given us and we will begin to see what we are truly capable of by God's grace and our dreams come to fruition. Are we not capable of more than trading our 8 hours a day doing what someone else tells us to do?

The truth of the matter is that families are so caught up on a course of trading their time for money with their noses to the grindstone milling over and over the financial stresses they face that they fail to see that there are others that are setting themselves in a place of financial stability, utilizing creative ideas that, families that are taking responsibility of the financial choices they have made in the past and are creating for themselves the freedom to have and make choices, not based on cost or the effect it will have on their bank account, but rather based on what is best for my family.

It comes down to the fact that time doesn’t buy money, but enough money, if created wisely, buys us back our time and gives us the ability to make choices based on what is best for our family.

Families that have pursued this wiser course of action have options and security.

They are able to pay their bills. They do not fear corporate lay offs and pay cuts.

They are able to raise and educate their children to higher standards outside of the indoctrinating public education system. Sparing their children the faulty education they got and a misdirected, financially unstable course.

They are capable of employing the best doctors in times of need and because they are not time for money, they are able to be there for their loved ones the whole time with love and support.

They are able to travel and see places most will not, taking their children with them all the while educating them on the histories of nations.

They are able to hire professional help to maintain their homes all the while they are gone.

They are able to do creative and culturally influential projects as a family.

They can eat what they want to eat and/or what is good for them and not just what is on sale or what is convenient

They are able to meet the needs of widows and orphans.

And it goes on and on…because they have options most families don’t.

Getting finances under control is only the first step. Learning about entrepreneurialism is the next.

As a family we see the great needs that other families have and the situations that they are in. We’ve been there and we feel your pain. There is a great need for mentorship in this area and so this is what we do. As a family we offer mentorship that will empower families, who are seeking to take control of their finances, who want to learn how to be entrepreneurial, who want to create more options for themselves and financial stability in their future.

Anyone that is interested in more information is welcome to contact us through the blog email ahthelife@gmail.com

Also, as a follow-up to the “Bringing Home Rebecca” story about our friends the Colemans, Rebecca’s husband Sam has quit his job as well. They now have 3 businesses of their own. They are also beginning to see one of their dreams become possible as they are currently making plans to adopt 2 children China.

7 comments:

The Brown Family said...

Great post!
I have been enjoying your blog since you introduced yourself on my families' blog. We had a good laugh at the post about the movie "Gods and Generals".
Great to get to know you a little bit through your blog.
Camelia

Megan said...

Hi Andrea! I just wanted to let you know that you are back in the drawing to win my Elsie Dinsmore book that you entered your name in back in April. To view all the details go to:

http://mdlife.wordpress.com/2008/07/02/regiveaway-elsie-dinsmore-book/

Hopefully the link worked!

the delapers said...

Ok, its been while sine I've had time to read through your site. Today I read the "cheerios" post, and watched the "what's in your food" videos. That is SO NASTY!! I've seen the labels on milk and other dairy, but never took the time to research it! I've often wished we could get raw milk, but David isn't to keen on the idea right now, and living in the city makes it rather hard... Do you drink raw milk? Thanks for the post.

Michael said...

Yes! Your reasoning rings true! You might not be in the conventional workforce, but you seem to have a more mature and grounded perspective of the labour market than many people who are in it.

If I can augment your post, several churches do a poor (or no) job of caring for widows and the fatherless. By thinking that the individual is the most important economic unit (at the expense of family and church), it seems like believers are taking a syncretic approach to economics while letting the church off the hook. It seems that so many believers are letting the tail wag the dog.

Also, I thought that the "what if" line of reasoning was what Jesus was preaching against in Matthew 6:25-33.

Nice post!

Retha said...

Hi.

You quote "a man that does not provide for his own is worse than an infidel?" I Tim 5:8

Since it is important to understand scripture right, this: The verse, as originally written in Greek, has no gender in it. The translaters into English found it good to choose "a man"and "he"as they thought both could still be understood generically, to apply to both genders. I don't know what Greek resources you have, but here are things you can check out in English: 1 Tim 5:16 make provision a women's role, and many women provided for Jesus out of their own resources.(Luk. 8:3)

The Bible does not call provision a male role, and Jesus had no problem with female providers.

Callie G. Lewis said...

I am college and public school educated. I have ZERO credit card debt. The only credit cards that my husband and have are a Lowes card that gives us 5% back on our purchases which we pay back in full at the end of the month and a Macy's card so we can take advantage of the sales. Again, we never let the balance carry over to the next month.

If you didn't go to public school then you can't speak about it. I work, and I am pursuing a graduate degree. My husband is doing the same. Without my job he wouldn't be able to quit his job and get his degree faster so that he can provide better. And I work to support our family and give my children a comfortable life. We don't live a luxurious life. Our house is rather small and we drive used cars that we paid cash for. We don't go on luxurious vacations or buy fancy electronics. We do save so that we will not be a burden to our children when we are old and so that we can have a comfortable retirement. We plan on making sure our kids get an excellent education and follow whatever paths they want.

Meals at our home are almost always cooked from scratch and our home is clean. Our kids either have one of us or a grandparent to greet them when they come home from school. Its not very nice for you to make assumptions or create fairy stories that are untrue in order to justify your decisions.

Hopefully your husband will be a good provider and not die and will treat you well. I'm more worried about women like yourself staying in unhealthy marriages because you have no options for supporting yourselves outside of that marriage.

Lisa said...

You missed the mark entirely. Praying and living a godly life won't put money in the bank account. It takes money to start businesses, and not every family has that money. And for those who do manage, businesses can go under. My father worked hard for his business, and then he died, leaving a wife and 7 kids with a struggling business that was flattened with the recession when even larger technology companies were going under. All the praying and godly living in the world didn't prevent losing the family home and the girls having to get jobs in the absence of brothers.

Even with a working father, it takes being wealthy to afford to travel the world, employ the BEST doctors (without insurance, of course), hire home professionals, eat whatever foods they want, not worry about the possibility of losing work or what will happen if there's death.

You're living in a dream world if you think all it takes is praying and living a godly life. Businesses go under, and not everyone can own one. Who would you employ? Jobs get lost. People die. Sometimes a job gets lost and someone dies right after. What happens when your family isn't one of the popular few at church, and so it's no help for you, and you didn't realize it was a popularity contest until you needed help?

Open your eyes and look at the world in a realistic manner instead of your position of privilege.