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Do You Tithe Thyself

How much money do you give to charity?
How much of your hard earned cash do you give your church?
How much of your income do you give others?  Others, you feel, need it more than you.

Don’t get me wrong. There is a need for donations. Donations build churches, schools, orphanages and other ‘things’ critical to our society – our human growth.  But my question still stands. Do you tithe thyself?

I was recently asked if I would go on an African trip to help with charity work. A noble cause for sure. One, I shouldn’t even need to think about. But I decided very quickly there are a few things I need to get straight before I could even consider such a wonderful, giving task.

I’m getting off track. My question is how much money do you save for yourself out of your earnings? I’m talking about savings. Let me guess. $0. Zilch, Nothing? I’m sure you give either to your church, or charity. I’m sure you even give the guy on the corner once in a while. But how much have you saved for yourself and your family?

Why do so many people give 10% of their income to their church but don’t have one penny saved to cover an emergency medical procedure – possibly even to save their own lives? Will their church step in? Will the charity they’ve donated to suddenly appear at their door with a cure? Will the man on the corner volunteer a needed organ? Sadly, in most cases, the answer is no.

I sound harsh, and in some cases a church, the state, or an organization will step in to help. ARE YOU REALLY GOING TO TAKE THAT RISK?

So why don’t you save? It seems to me like saving is out of style. Is it the negative connotation of being greedy, materialistic and selfish? But why?

Just imagine if you were to put away just 10% of everything you earned. Every tip, poker pot, gift, and paycheck. Imagine how much money and security you and your family would have right now.

Security? Now Andy. What does that have to do with being greedy, materialistic and selfish? I ask you: wouldn’t you sleep better at night knowing that your children will be able to attend any college, or live, work, or play in any country in the world. They would be free to make their own decisions. Not have them made for them. Your family would have the best medical care available – in the world! You could and would create a great legacy for generations to come. And you would give more to charity than you could ever dream. You doubt me?

The power of money can be mind blowing. Take a look at this example: Would you take a job for a month (just 31 days) beginning with a wage of just a penny a day and doubling it if you just showed up the next day? It will be difficult work. You will get messy and stinky and you’ll want to die after the second day. You have 3 seconds to decide… 3… 2… 1… buzzzzz. What did you decide? Let’s play it out.

The second day you’d be earning 2 cents, on the third, 4 cents, on the fourth, 8 cents and so on. It takes almost half the month just to get to minimum wage, and by the following day you’d almost be earning a living.
By day twenty-one, you’d be earning over $10,000 per day, and would probably be growing quite enamored with the job. On day twenty-five, you would earn enough to buy a decent home, and with your previous twenty-four days’ earnings, you could furnish it and buy sports cars to fill the double garage, as well as a modest summer home.
On day twenty-eight, you’d earn more than the average wage-earner would over his whole working life, and by day thirty, you’d be earning the equivalent of a state lottery’s winnings. On the final day (day 31), you’d be earning almost eleven million dollars, and would have earned a grand total for the month of $21, 474, 836.47!!!

Not bad for a job that started at a penny a day. The job was tough, you got messy and stinky, but I don’t think you would care at this point.
At first saving 10% a paycheck might be painful. But you would manage. You would adjust your spending habits, but soon enough you wouldn’t even notice it missing. But missing it isn’t. It’s growing!

If you are to take just $100.00 every month, put it in the bank where it will earn an average of say 10%.  With the power of compounding interest the value would grow to $1320. Not very much you say. Stay with me.

The average median income in Utah was $53,693 in 2008. If you don’t make that much the point is the same. If you were to save just 10% of your income every month the amount of savings after just one year would be over $5900.

After that one-year you take the $5900 and (while still saving 10%) start to pay down your highest interest rate credit cards. With the average Utahan owing over $8000 in credit card debt you could have that paid off in a year and a half – even faster if you were to take that 10% monthly tithe and start paying it down in the first month!

At 21% + interest charged monthly on credit cards the savings alone is enormous. Now after the first year you have already paid off your credit card debt and continued to save.  Even at the $100 a month, the savings will be substantial. What if you are lucky enough to not have any credit card debt? Then you take the next highest interest debt and start paying that down. Methodically paying down until quite possibly in just a few short years you’ll find yourself to be debt free. The effect on your credit score will also be amazing. (This leads to a later discussion about how your credit score can really effect your life)

This is not rocket science. All it takes is just a little discipline. It will come natural – like brushing your teeth. And if you don’t brush your teeth naturally – well you have bigger problems than I can help with.

Now, what do you do in year two? You do it all again. By paying down credit card debt you’re actually keeping more of your money. I just gave you a raise. It’s funny, you could read about all these money making secret formulas in long drawn out boring books, you could spend thousands of dollars going to seminars. I just gave you the secret for free. I am a realtor. I work for money. You owe me. Just kidding.

Let’s keep going.

After you have quickly paid off all of your debt, now have a credit score in the upper 700’s, and have made saving a natural part of your financial discipline, you start to learn. Learn about money. It’s not scary. I just gave you a simple secret that eludes millions of people and relegates them into eternal poverty. Could you imagine what doors will open when you really learn how to use the power of money?

Say you were to find yourself debt free. Now you can use all the money you make to grow your fortune.  Let’s see, you have $53000 a year with no debt. Sounds like a good problem to have.

I started out asking three questions about giving to churches, charities or others. After you have paid off all your debt and ensured your family’s future, how much do you think you could then tithe? I’ll bet the answer is more than you originally did. In fact, you could give more in charitable contributions in a single year than you would have in an entire lifetime. That is the power of Tithe Thyself.

Does saving still sound difficult? Is it really greedy, materialistic and selfish? Then do it. Start today.

I’ll be going to Africa soon I hope. But for right now, I need to ensure my family’s security.  I’m working toward that goal and hope you are as well.

In this blog I briefly covered quite a few principles. Over the next few weeks we’ll expand on them and hopefully answer any questions. Feel free to send me an email at blog@tieronere.com with any comments.

Licensed with the Utah Division of Real Estate