My Personal (and Spiritual) Beliefs About Wealth – What About You??

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beliefs about wealthI’m a Christian…and that’s where the topic of wealth can get really confusing…

Some Christians believe that it’s almost a sin to create wealth, because by doing so you’re hoarding money for yourself instead of giving it away to the poor and needy. Therefore, if you’re rich, you must be selfish…and you may even be going to hell…

Other Christians believe in something called the ‘prosperity gospel‘, which basically says that if you tithe regularly and continue to have faith in God, you’ll be rewarded with great financial riches. Something like…give away $1,000 and God will bless you with $10,000.

And this is why most people don’t like to talk about money…because beliefs about wealth – even among one religion – can be polarizingly opposite from one another!!

My Personal (and Spiritual) Beliefs About Wealth

This post is going to get a little personal (as you may have already gathered by the introduction about wealth and religion), but just know that I don’t intend to be pushy about either topic.

  • If you like my viewpoints and agree with them, great.
  • If you think everything I’m saying here is totally absurd and you’ll never believe this way in a million years…great.

My intent here isn’t to change your mind about money. It’s merely to give you an insight into my thoughts and beliefs because they naturally spill out into my writings each and every day.

If you like what I’m saying here, then you’ll probably want to follow this blog for many years as I live out my beliefs and share with you the blessings they bring. If you’re already appalled, then I really wouldn’t recommend following my Facebook or Twitter feed… 😉

So what is it that I believe already? What are my personal (and spiritual) beliefs about wealth? There are four majors, as described in detail below…

1) It Is Okay to Be Wealthy

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” –Matthew 19:24

This Bible verse is quoted by poor Christians all the time. They think they’re holier than you are because they don’t have a dependence on money. Because after all, money is the root of all evil…. oh, wait a minute. That’s a misquote too – it turns out that actually “the love of money is the root of all evil.”

Sometimes when people want something so badly – or to justify a lifestyle that they can’t seem to get out of – they’ll start looking for reasons why their situation is okay. Or, take it one step further – they’ll hunt down Bible scriptures that make them feel more spiritual than everyone else.

Whew, I’m coming out of the gate with guns-a-blazin’ aren’t I??

Let me step back a bit and get back on point here. The camel…

Just two verses later, the camel confusion is clarified:

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'”

Not all rich people are going to hell, and not all poor people are going to heaven. It comes down to a belief in God.

Long story short, I believe that it’s okay to be wealthy, even if you are a religious person.

2) Anyone Can Become Rich

The motto of this site is (and has always been), “Get out of debt, save money, and be rich!”

That’s pretty much all you need to know about wealth building.

  • Claw your way out of credit card debt, student loan debt, car debt, and yes, even home mortgage debt
  • Live within your means and save money for your future
  • Invest that money and over time you’ll become insanely wealthy

There really are no hidden secrets to wealth. It’s almost too basic actually – so simple that people look for more complex methods to building wealth, and then land flat on their face when the so-called sophisticated (perhaps even secret) methods fall through.

Anyone can be rich. I firmly believe that.

3) Great Things Can Be Done With Wealth

Ever hear the phrase, “Money is power”?

It’s absolutely true, isn’t it? Those who have the gold make the rules. So isn’t it in our best interest as Godly, law-abiding citizens to gain as much wealth as possible? With it, we could change the world for good.

We could:

  • Donate more to the orphanages
  • Give money to treat terrible diseases
  • Put more money into our school systems

As we discussed earlier (in a fiery, preachy way…sorry for that), there are quite a few Christians today that have the belief that poverty is righteousness – that somehow they’re a better Christian because they live in a shack that’s about to fall over while donating 50% of their income to their local church. While I certainly don’t disagree with their donation, I can’t possibly agree with their logic.

They give 50% of a $20,000 per year income – so, they give $10,000.

A rich man – also a Christian believer – gives 10% of his 50 million dollar a year income, which equates to $5,000,000.

Who is doing more good with their donation?

The rich man of course! This isn’t to say that he’s any more righteous or blessed. He just has the ability to do more good on this earth, which I think is a quite important thing to do. Instead of aiming for poverty, why not do more good for this world and target wealth?

4) Hold Onto the Goose that Lays the Golden Egg

beliefs about wealth legacy journeyThis concept is a recent revelation for me. It was introduced to me by Dave Ramsey through his book, “The Legacy Journey“.

In the paragraphs above, we all nodded our heads in agreement that more money given away is better for everyone, but we may not agree with how that’s done. Let’s take two extreme examples and see which camp you land in.

The Man That Gave Away All He Had

Karl Rabeder was a multi-millionaire. He owned a fancy villa on the lake, had sprawling acreage in the country, and owned a fricken sweet Audi. Then, one day, he decided that it was all making him miserable, so he sold it all and gave the money to his favorite charities – roughly $3 million worth. He now lives in a small cabin in the woods and owns practically nothing.

Through his unselfish efforts, hundreds of poor individuals in South America are now able to receive micro-loans to start their own businesses and make a better life for themselves.

The Man That Keeps His Wealth to Give More

Bill has been very successful in his life. He started earning serious money while still in his 20’s and, with his own company, has now amassed billions of dollars in wealth. Feeling the need to help others, Bill set up a foundation in 2000 and has given away an average of $3 billion a year, all while keeping his nest egg steady at around $90 billion.

By now, you may have guessed that I’m speaking of Bill Gates, the 2nd richest man in the world.

Who’s Doing It Better?

Bill has a massive goose (his net worth) that continues to pop out golden eggs every single day (millions of dollars in residual income). He takes those eggs, gives them away, but always keeps and takes care of his goose. Upon his death, Bill and Melinda will give away nearly all of their wealth as it’s slated for various charities around the world. Instead of just giving away $90 billion today and calling it a win, Bill is actually giving away even more by keeping the bulk of his wealth.

To date, the Gates Foundation has given away approximately $41 billion. If Bill lives another 30 years, his foundation will probably give away another $100 billion, and upon his death, his $90 billion goose will be given to the world.

In total, by holding onto his wealth, Bill and Melinda are able to donate $230 billion….an exorbitant amount of money. Way more than the $90 billion he could have given away when the foundation started.

Karl’s method may have honestly been more difficult (after all, he gave up all his wealth while he was alive), but I personally believe it was the coward’s way out. 

He got fed up with money because he was managing it unwisely, he simply got rid of it all, and now has nothing left to give. He had the mental capacity to earn much and could have done great things and helped many people with his abilities. But instead, he’s squandering this opportunity and is no longer helping anyone.

My Personal Beliefs About Wealth? Earn, Give, Repeat.

Life every other area of my life, my personal beliefs about wealth are pretty simple:

  • My wife and I earn as much as we can with the talents we’re given
  • We give approximately 10% of our income away and invest heavily
  • We’ll hold onto wealth for much of our lives and continue to give more and more away
  • Then, at the end of our lives, we’ll earmark the money for good so it can continue to be a blessing for others.

That’s it. It’s pretty basic. Earn a pile of money, give portions of it away at all times, and keep repeating the process until we return back to the dust underneath us.

What are your personal beliefs about wealth? Are they polar opposite of mine? Or do you agree with my views on wealth?

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8 comments to My Personal (and Spiritual) Beliefs About Wealth – What About You??

  • Kathy

    A very interesting topic, Derek, and one that I’ve given a lot of thought to as well. I struggled with the Christian attitude toward wealth, probably when I was growing up I received some signals from my mom that wealthy people were usually bad. I remember her talking somewhat derisively about one of the churches in our small town because “only rich people can go there.” And I can’t count the number of times she said that she never aspired to be rich. I do think that she took the very quotes you mention to be her guiding principle. I also read Ramsey’s The Legacy Journey and felt comforted that my approach to money was at least shared by someone who is an acknowledged Christian. I do struggle from time to time with minute details of giving away money. Such as….is it better to clean my own house and give the money I would have paid a cleaning lady to charity. Or is it better to hire someone who wants to work and perhaps help that person stay off welfare. Or…..does giving to charity count, or does the money given have to be to a church for it to count {in the eyes of God}? I suspect this topic will have as many opinions as there are people who respond.

    • Hi Kathy – thanks for the comment! Those details you gave, you’re exactly right – they’re minute. If I were you, I wouldn’t worry too much about them. Just continue to be a blessing to others and always keep the faith.

  • Robbie

    Compelling topic to tackle Derek. I was raised as a Christian. I now count myself as agnostic with a heavy lean towards atheism. That being said I don’t think it matters what people choose to believe about money and religion as long as they respect others choices. Being wealthy and a good Christian are not mutually exclusive. We should be judged by our actions not by the car we drive.

    • Hi Robbie – thanks for the transparent comment!

      Like I said in the post, there are amazing rich people and terrible selfish rich people – wealth merely accentuates your character and morality – good or bad.

  • Excellent topic Derek. Like you, I do not see anything wrong with becoming wealthy/rich but hoarding the money is another thing. I believed that in this world, every living person’s ultimate goal is to help others. I remember a few years ago my five-year-old son came up to me and told me that he doesn’t want to have a lot of money simply because he’s not sure what he wants to do with them. I told him that if given the opportunity that he should make as much money as he can and that the more money, the more people he can help. He smiled at me but looked somewhat confused and then walked away.

    • Thanks Bernz JP! Yes, hoarding money is another story. It’s not good for one’s faith or their heart. It’s a blast to help people with your money. I think more people should try it.

  • Bruce

    Derek, great subject and agree with your thoughts. It can be a struggle to decide what/to whom to give. When a large charitable opportunity arises, my wife and I usually ponder (pray) about the opportunity individually, then discuss. What is amazing, usually we come to the same conclusion (amount of $) individually. If we don’t have the same conclusion, we will “err” to the higher number. A wise man once told us “to err on the side of grace” when making decisions. I try to do this not just personally, but also in my business decisions. Another thought “live your life such that others will want to know your God.” In this statement, “God” can be substituted with many other words– up to each of us individually to decide!

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