Thinking Outside the Box

Ruts. If you have driven any gravel roads, you know what I mean. The trip to my parents’ house involves at least one mile of gravel road. Depending on how recently the road grader has gone through, this can be an incredibly rough trip. You see, the road gets a fair amount of traffic between residents of the area and farmers headed to their fields with heavy equipment. Throw in a little rain to soften things up and you have a ride that can vibrate your kidneys until they are rattling against your lungs.

Not into rearranging your organs? A little shift of the vehiclegravel rally left or right on the road can make a huge difference. You can usually move your tires out of the ruts where most travel and thereby avoid the washboard that develops there. A little move out of the ruts and you find your trip down the gravel road to be almost enjoyable.

Moving from literal to figurative, where do you find the ruts in your life? Are the ruts jarring you senseless as you travel the road of life? Certainly developing financial security often involves a move out of the ruts and habits you have developed over time. There are changes in spending, income, saving. More important than a change in behaviors is a change in thinking.

Last week I was presented with one of those opportunities. We have a Money and Faith In Motion course that combines financial literacy with Christian values and faith. We certainly don’t hold the corner on this market, but we do provide a great option apart from the others out there.

Perhaps one item that holds people back from the class is the cost. Due to the cost of materials, we do charge $25 per book for those that are going to participate.

“WHAT?!?” you challenge. “Spending money when I’m supposed to be learning how to save?!? That doesn’t make sense!”

Hold on. First, consider it an investment. It is $25 dollars that could end up meaning many times that in your wallet in the future. Second, who says you have to simply fork over $25 dollars?

Last week I had coffee with Joel Neubauer of Thrivent Financial. Thrivent is an organization that provides insurance and financial planning to the Christian community. Along with their sales, a large portionThrivent of their profits are given back through their fraternal programs. They are rolling out a new structure in which every Thrivent member, as I understand it, can apply for two action teams per year. Basically, you are given up to $250 to invest in your community.

So what can you do with $250 dollars? Well, think back to the cost of our Money and Faith In Motion class. That $250 that Thrivent would give you would cover the cost of 10 individuals and couples taking the class. That’s right, it would now be FREE education for them. Have more than one Thrivent member in your congregation? You can each apply for a different class session of 10 students. Free faith-based financial education for EVERYONE!!!

OK, so maybe this particular program doesn’t work for you. But at least look into it. Use it as inspiration for getting out of your rut. There are so many resources out there and available to those who simply ask. Imagine where we would be had the Wright brothers refused to get out of the rut created by 3 years and multiple crashes before actually achieving powered flight.

As a part of Lutheran Social Services, the Center for Financial Resources is able and willing to provide Christian faith-based financial education to any congregation or group that is interested. You can contact us any time to peek out at what lies beyond your current path. Let’s get the conversation started.

written by Breck Miller

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