As I continue to grow in my Christian faith, I have become interested in seeing what the bible has to say about money. That is what drew me to reading "The Legacy Journey" by Dave Ramsey. Dave calls this book a radical view of what the Bible says about money. So, I bought it on audio book and I have listened to it multiple times so I can form my opinion and take notes. This book quotes a lot of scripture and Dave has formed his opinions based on what the bible states. This book is over six hours long and there is so much to cover. This is why I am breaking the review up into multiple parts.
Dave introduces the concepts in the book and reviews his baby steps from "The Total Money Makeover (Reviewed here)." He then goes on to introduce the main steps in leaving a legacy for your family and building wealth. There are four steps introduced, which are Now, Then, Us, and Them.
In the 'now' step, you are focused only on yourself. This step is the getting out of debt and building an emergency fund (steps 1, 2, and 3 of the baby steps). He calls this the now stage, because you have to be focused on making sure that you can handle the expenses that occur today. There is no way that you could be looking in the future, because your debt is an emergency and you must get yourself out of debt ASAP!
In the 'then' step, you start to focus on the future. The future includes retirement, homeownership and kid's college. This includes baby steps 4, 5 and 6. In this step, you are still focused on yourself, but your future self. The money that you are saving is being put towards financial security and college expenses in the future.
In the 'us' step, you start to focus on your family. In the 'now' and 'then' step, you are more focused on yourself, because you are setting yourself up for success. After you reach the point of financial security, then you can start to look at leaving a legacy for your family. You are now saving money to be able to leave financial blessings for your children. Dave quotes proverbs 13:22 as a reason for focussing on leaving a financial legacy for your children.
In this stage, you must make sure that you are teaching your children how to manage money correctly. Your children will be managing your blessings and you don't want them waisting the money that you blessed them with. And if children don't know how to handle money, then it could ruin their lives. You must also teach your children that God owns everything, including money. Therefore, you are managing God's money.
In the 'them' step, you have enough money that you can start helping people in need. This does not mean that you skip giving in the earlier steps. It means that you donate the minimum required in the scripture (10%) and then begin to give extra when you reach the 'them' step. This is the stage of life when you can become outrageously generous. You can start looking for places to donate such as to the people of Haiti that need water wells drilled or the people in your community that need help paying for dinner.
In review of chapter 1, I personally think that process that Dave laid out is a logical process. Some people can try to do too much with their money and could have nothing left for themselves in the end. These four life steps are a great guide for how we should live and plan our lives. I also really enjoy the fact that Dave continually quotes scripture to enhance his point of view.
This chapter tends to focus on proving that it is perfectly fine to build wealth. He discussed many personal stories about wealthy people who were criticized for their purchases of nice cars and nice homes. He mentions that these people already give large amounts of money yearly and that purchasing a nice car is small percentage of their net worth. He believes that people tend to misunderstand the scripture quote 1 Timothy 6:10. The people who misunderstand this scripture verse tend to send hate mail to wealthy people who spend their money on nice things. The scripture is quoted below:
Dave makes a good point in this chapter, when he discusses that if good people are never suppose to have a lot of money, then only bad people would have money. A society with only villains and corrupt individuals that are wealthy would be a society that is deteriorating. Wealthy individuals also need to be good people, so that they can help the people in need. I can't see corrupt individuals helping people in need.
Dave also talks about three spirits of money. He mentions two of the spirits are incorrect ways of handling money. The three spirits listed in this chapter are pride, poverty and gratitude.
Pride: The pride spirit is when somebody works really hard and they believe that all of their earnings were only because of their hard work. There is nothing wrong with hard work, because hard work is the way to become successful, but the problem is the mindset that your hard work was the only reason for your success. That is a position a pride with out thanking the Lord for providing the skills or even the work ethic.
Poverty: The poverty spirit is when somebody believes that all earnings should be sent to the people in poverty. Once again, helping out people in need is a great thing to do, but you can't only do that. You have to support your family and you have to save for retirement so you won't have to live off of the government.
Gratitude: The gratitude spirit is when you are thankful to the Lord for what he has given you and you understand that wealth is from God and belongs to God. I talked about learning to live a life of contentment, by understanding that the Lord is the owner of everything and he is giving you wealth to mange.
Dave believes that the best spirit is the gratitude spirit. I tend to agree with Dave, because the spirits of pride and poverty tend to make people unhappy. With pride, you are only happy when you are being successful. What happens to a prideful person, when their life is turned upside down. Will they be able to pick themselves up? The same could be said about a person with a spirit of poverty. This spirit will continually put stress on your family, because you continue to give more money than you have. Your family should always come first and then you should be willing to donate money to people in need.
The gratitude spirit allows us to see the bigger picture. If you lose a job, you understand that it was part of God's will and you understand that God will give you another opportunity on his schedule. The gratitude spirit will also help you understand that you are managing God's money based on his teachings and nobody could guilt you into giving more than is in your financial plan.
Dave talks about the snares that can trip up success of wealth. Before he talks about the snares, he talks about some non-negotiables that need to be done consistently. You must always do a budget monthly and you must avoid debt. These two requirements should be no surprise to fans of Dave Ramsey. Dave then moves to wealth and he even mentions that money is a fact of life and you have to be able to manage it. He made a very powerful statement in the book and it is quoted below:
He also quotes Proverbs 11:28:
The two quotes above are very connected and I think send a powerful message. We all must strive for wealth, but we also must understand that wealth comes with responsibility. If we don't handle our wealth in a responsible way, then we will lose all of our wealth. If we manage the Lord's money in a righteous way, then we will flourish. Those two quotes paint a wonderful warning and message, and Dave continues to quote multiple scriptures and states powerful messages throughout this chapter. I am going to list all the powerful statements that I found in this chapter and I will comment on them below.
"God is the provider, money is the provision." - Dave Ramsey, Chapter 3
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." - Collisions 3:23-24
"Wealth is a result of faithful diligent hard work" - Dave Ramsey, Chapter 3
"Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow." - Proverbs 13:11
"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment." - 1 Timothy 6:17
All five statements above have a common theme. The theme is that we can't trust wealth, but we can trust the Lord. When we put our trust in the Lord and work hard, then we will be rewarded. Proverbs 13:11 is one of my favorites, because it shows the proper way to build wealth. The proper way to build wealth is over time. By continually saving money monthly, you will eventually become wealthy.
Overall, I have really enjoyed "The Legacy Journey" and it has taught me a lot about being a responsible steward of God's provisions. Dave laid out a lot of good things in a very easy way to understand. He keeps you interested with personal stories and good examples. Read more reviews about this book in later articles (Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4).