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?