I met with this amazing man last night. Mark Cook is a stock market trader who lives in the small town of East Sparta, Ohio. Mark’s financial worth is lots of millions of dollars. But you would never know it by looking at him, where he lives or what he drives.
I had a fascinating two hour conversation with Mark. He was quick to point out that his life is not about making money, but rather it’s about serving God and loving people. I gained some very imortant insights from Mark:
*When money is your God, you will get into all kinds of trouble. Money just doesn’t matter.
*One of the pitfalls of most of us is that we don’t have a financial plan for our lives. We let money “happen” or “not happen” to us. Where do we want to be in 3-5 years?
*The vast majority of Americans live beyond their income always expecting next year to be better. Unfortunately, for most, it’s often worse.
Mark had a framed article hanging on his office wall from a story Forbes Magazine did about him. In the article it asked him what he did for relaxation. He responded, “When life gets too stressful, I shovel manure.” (Mark lives on his family farm.)
Julie and I are going to be working with Mark to put a financial plan together for our lives. A strategy that will help us be more responsible, more frugal, more generous. Do you have a plan?
Our family has a plan and have been working the plan for over 10 years. It involves living below our means and always saving something. All of our friends think we are nuts! We are compulsive about not spending money. We never go to the theater and spend full price….it’s alway the dollar theater. We get DVDs at the library, never pay for them. We shop the goodwills and thrift shops for clothes (not all clothes, but most of our daughters stuff is thrift) I “rescue” furniture from friends and road sides. (I’ve made a bit of a business out of this!) We always buy generic not name brand stuff. There are so many more things…..if you do this for 10 or more years, you literally save 10’s of thousands of dollars. Our whole family is into the saving and we enjoy being able to tithe and “adopt” 2 compassion kids. It is tempting and frustrating at times, but we know we are doing the right thing. We teach our daughter all of these methods and also involve her in the math of it all. She writes the tithe check every Sunday, figuring out 10 percent of all that we have made. We want her to see that we live cheaply so that we can be generous with others. We hope that when she is in her twenties and has been doing this for over ten years, it will be habit and also enjoyable.
Thanks for sharing your family’s plan. It is a great encouragment for me to live more frugally and more generously.