Monday, August 01, 2011

Day 17 (after a break!)

Smart Money Choices!

Consider the relative importance of stuff: A friend of mine told me this weekend that she had befriended a widow in her neighborhood. The widow went on a trip to Europe and was killed in an accident there. My friend went down to the house, where they were holding an estate sale, and she noticed -- with a pang -- that her friend had left behind lots and lots of stuff which she will now never be able to use.

I'm sure that this widow left behind a legacy of other things -- such as love for her family or faith or perhaps even well managed funds. But, if we are not careful, our legacy can be a lot of stuff that will burden our families when it comes time to clean out our dwelling places. In fact, if we Americans are not careful, we can spend the first part of our adult years accumulating things and the last part trying to get rid of things. I've been thinking about this a lot as I've been dealing with my own accumulation of things. Some of these are things we bought; others are things we inherited. Some do have value. A good many things, however, don't have any real value.

That's not to say that owning things is wrong. But, having too much stuff that you don't enjoy and realistically can't ever use becomes a negative drain. Treasure in heaven, on the other hand, is always positive!

Improve your skills and interests:

Keeping current with skills and interests can put money in your bank. Here are some reasons why: 1) In today's world, it is likely that we will change jobs at some point in our life. The person who is interested in life and who has developed his or her talents is better able to weather changes in work life. 2) Many of us will arrive at the retirement years with the health, time, and energy to begin a new vocation or avocation. We may also need to supplement our retirement income. Again, the person who has stayed invested in learning will be able to take advantage of later life opportunities. (For those who do not enter retirement with physical strength, learning can provide enjoyable stimulation, if nothing else.)
3) Those of us who have chosen to make home our career may need to take a temporary or even permanent job if circumstances change. Again, if you have continued to learn and to develop your skills, you can move into a new line of work if necessary. 4) We may have chosen a field that we find no longer satisfies us. If we have pursued learning a few other interests, we may be able to change to a more enjoyable job. Sometimes, however, we may have to be grateful for the job and the paycheck that we do have, even if it isn't our dream work. In that case, an avocation can add to our enjoyment of life. 5) The woman at home may organize charity events or otherwise be active in church and/or volunteer work. Continuing to learn helps us with this.

How does a busy woman continue to learn? Many have little time left over to study. In that case, we can do several things to develop our talents:

1) Devote just one hour a week or 15 minutes a day to study or practice.
2) Use time with friends to take an interest in their lives. Ask questions and learn about their activities.
3) Jot down things you want to remember on note cards or on your phone or I-pad and glance at them throughout the day.
4) If you are homeschooling, learn on a deeper level the things that you are teaching your children at their level. For example, if you are interested in science, you can teach your fifth grader things a fifth grader can understand while reading a graduate school level book yourself.
5) Keep a collection of books or files about a few subjects that interest you. It's probably better to study a few things deeply than to learn a little about this and that.
6) Keep up with current affairs, particularly in areas that interest you.
7) Take family outings to museums and other places of learning.


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