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Millenial Manifesto: Money

 

MONEY!

Don't do it! Don't do it!

I may be overestimating my own uniqueness here, but money really isn’t THAT big of a deal to me.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the value of money and I’m not trying to imply that I am somehow above the desire for money. I just try to use money as what it is: a medium.

I don’t love money. I love travel. I love space to sprawl out in my house. I’d love to pay for my kid’s college and private high school. Money can get me those things. So I work to increase the amount of money I earn every year.

I know that distinction may seems obvious, but I am afraid I have met too many people chasing money for the sake of having more money to believe that everyone shares my perspective.

Along those lines, I wanted to share a bit of an insight into my thoughts on money. I’m not sure I have the exact same perspective as fellow Millenials, but I have heard enough to know that I’m not far off. So, I call this part of the Millenial Manifesto, but, as always, I don’t claim universality for my views.

My money isn’t mine – The first thing you should know about my relationship with my money is that I don’t believe it belongs to me. As a Christian, I believe that everything that I have been given belongs to God. I’m not trying to tell you what you should believe or where you should go to church. But, I do derive my views on money from the Biblical perspective and therefore think of myself as the money’s steward rather than its owner. I have found that thinking of myself as a steward of God’s money helps me maintain perspective on the importance of “my stuff.”

With that in mind, let me share with you my basic goals for money:

1. Provide for my wife. My wife is the (second) greatest thing that ever happened to me and I want to be able to show my affection through trips, jewelry, and any other nice things that might show her how much I cherish her. That isn’t to say I buy every pair of jeans that catch her eye or that we need to hop on a jet to Bhutan every 30 days, but I like to show her that part of the reason I work for my money is to provide for her comfort.

2. Provide for the brood. I don’t have any kids yet, but I plan to. If I am blessed enough to have little Dukes, I want to be able to send them to private school, keep them clothed and fed, and give them some life experiences before college that will shape them into great young men or women. Senior year at Westminster costs about $20k per year right now and in 20 years, with 3% inflation, that will be $35,070 per year. So, I need $35k in extra income, per child, to simply pay for a private education in Atlanta. Then . . .they go to college. Sigh.

3. Give generously. I believe in tithing. 10% of every dollar I make goes to some charitable organization or my church. I’m told that 10% of $1,000,000 is more than 10% of $50,000. Gifts can change our city for the better. I want to be in a position to change someone or some organization through focused charitable giving.

4. Save for a rainy day. My wife and I currently have 6 months of paychecks saved up in an Emergency Fund in case the worst happens. I had to bite into that a little last year when I was working for myself and we have almost completely rebuilt it. My wife and I both sleep better at night knowing that no matter what happens tomorrow (excluding Armageddon or Dec 12, 2012), we will be covered financially for a little while.

5. See some of God’s green earth. Some of the greatest memories of my life have been hiking up a trail in the Swiss Alps, strolling the shorelines of the Oregon Coast, and gazing in wonder over the edge of the Grand Canyon. To paraphrase Meet Joe Black, I want to have some nice pictures from my life when my time is up.

6. Live in the city. Fact: Living in Atlanta is more expensive than living outside Atlanta. I know that it costs more, but I will gladly pay the premium to live here instead of Cumming, Grayson, Kennesaw, or McDonough. If I had to sit in that traffic every day of my working career, I would go insane and assault defenseless kittens. I gotta live in town. If you care about kittens at all, don’t make me live in the suburbs.

You did it. I saw you.

7. Do what I WANT to do, not what I have to do. I want to get to a point in my career where I am doing what I love to do because I love to do it. Not because I need the money or because there are no other ways to pay the bills. I want to get paid to do what I would gladly do for free. Another off-shoot of this would be controlling my time. I want to get to a point where I can work when, where, and how I want so I have plenty of time to spend with family or coaching baseball.

8. Elbow room. You probably wouldn’t call me petite. I am 6’7″ tall and about 235 lbs. Ceiling fans and doorways are my enemies. I would love to have a point in my life where I can come home to a house where I don’t have to duck under doorways, bend down to get in the water in the shower, strain my back to bend down to the sink/counter, turn sideways to get into my bed, etc. I’d just like a little more head and elbow room in my home. That probably means I need to build my own home in town (see point 6), but so be it. I don’t think that’s an outlandish request, but we’ll see.

9. Own land. This one is pretty far down on the list because it isn’t a huge priority, but this seems to be an inherent desire of mine. I just love open space and raw land in GA. Maybe it’s because I grew up running around the pastures of my grandparents’ farm, but I love having room to roam. This is pretty similar to point 8 and may be another way of saying how I like elbow room.

BONUS*** (This one is just in case I re-invent the toilet and become a gajillionaire)

10. A Plane. This is my pie-in-the-sky, best case scenario. If I strike it rich and become wealthy beyond my dreams . . . I’m buyin’ a plane. Keep your mansions. Keep your Aston Martin. Keep your private island. I want a plane. After reading points 5, 8, and 9, you can probably guess why. I love traveling. I hate flying. I have never slept on a plane in my life and cross-continent trips are torture. In addition to being outrageously tall, I have broad shoulders. So, I am constantly touching the dude next to me. He usually smells. The whole experience is just terrible and I want to be able to control the entire experience for myself. So, you heard it here first. When Duke becomes a billionaire, he’s buying a plane. (Wakes up from dream. Looks around confused and smelling fat men on planes)

There you have it. Those are my sometimes reasonable goals for my financial future. Notice that none of them compared my wealth or status to my peers. That doesn’t matter to me. What I care about is my family and our lifestyle.

What did I miss? Do you have any of your own to add? Leave them in the comments I will comment back!

– Duke

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