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Dave begins this chapter by talking about how families shape their kids lives. He gave an example of a congressman who grew up in the governor's mansion as a kid. His father talked about being a public servant and his son followed suit. He then gave an example of a kid whose father was a mechanic and he grew up to be a gear head. Now, this doesn't always apply with all families, but Dave believes that this method is used by wealthy families to teach their kids how to handle money.
How do you keep wealth from ruining your life, marriage and kids?
Dave has been asked this question many times. It shocked him at first, but all you have to do is look around at the culture and you will see families who have let wealth destroy them. To protect against wealth destroying family life, you must place safeguards to keep wealth from running your lives and relationships.
To do this Dave talks about how you get to choose how you handle your money. Will you use it for blessings or curses? These decisions will rule the type of legacy we leave. He states, "If you are intentional about protecting your marriage, teaching your kids about money, giving generously, managing your wealth using ratios, and maintaining healthy relationships, then you'll leave a legacy of wealth, love and respect." On the other hand, he feels that if you aren't intentional about safeguarding your wealth and relationships, then you will pass on a curse to your family.
Dave believes that there are four areas of our lives that we must start safeguarding today. These four areas are Personal, Marriage, Family and Other Relationships. The first relationship is personal and this one talks about who you are as a person. This will affect all other relationships, so it is the most important one. The second relationship is marriage and this one requires you to avoid traps that could ruin your marriage. The third relationship is family and this one requires you protect your kids from the dangers of wealth. The last relationship is other relationships and this one talks about the legacy you leave with your extended family and friends. You need to find a way to make these relationships a blessing and not a curse.
Dave feels that you can do this by looking at each relationship in three different lenses. Below you will find a picture of my notes from when I first listened to this chapter. The way I drew the notes makes sense in my mind.
As you can see, the three different lenses are ownership, magnification and community. With ownership, it connects to my article on contentment. In that article, I talked about how we don't own anything. The Lord owns everything and when you understand that, then it is harder to let money destroy you and your family. People who don't understand this principle can let money ruin their relationships and their life. With magnification, the more money you have, then the more magnified your personality will become. For example, if you are jerk when broke, then you will become an enormous jerk with wealth. If you have a temper problem when you are broke, then with wealth you will become an out of control angry person. The opposite of this principle is true also. Whatever you are as a person, will become magnified. Lastly, we look at community. The community is important because it gives you people that can help you walk through life. Dave talks about how he has met with a group of men every Wednesday for the last 14 years. This has allowed him to grow and has allowed him to have friends who can keep him accountable.
Dave uses the rest of this chapter to talk about how the three lenses affects each of the four areas of your life. He has lots of good information in the rest of this chapter and I suggest that you take the time to read the rest of the chapter.
In this chapter, Dave talks about passing a Generational Legacy. By this, he means not only passing a legacy down to your children, but also down to your grandchildren and your great grandchildren. He used the example of his grandfather and how his grandfather would tell stories and teach him about life, money and humility. The legacy that you pass down is not just financial, but it is everything that you taught your children and grandchildren about how to live a fulfilling life.
To do this, the first thing that Dave talks about is how anyone in America can become a millionaire. He uses an example of saving just $100 a month and how that can turn into a million dollars over the course of your lifetime. Just think of what can happen if you save more than $100 a month. In this chapter, he poses a question, "If anyone in America can become a millionaire, then why aren't there more millionaires?" He believes that the answer can be found in Proverbs 21:20.
This bible verse is so true. There are many fools who spend and spend and spend in this culture. They believe that they are living life to the fullest, but they don't know how stressed a person can become living paycheck to paycheck. Anyone who lives paycheck to paycheck will tell you that they are worried about losing their job, just read this article by Neal Gabler, "The Secret Shame of Middle Class Americans." The article is long but sure points out a lot of the struggles that many Americans are going thru today.
I have been a fool. I have worried about money. I had spent money like crazy, to the point that I was deeply in debt. Most everyone can relate to this point of view, but then I grew wiser and learned the right way to handle money. And of course, I started saving and now my wife and I are on a solid financial footing. The question is, "Do you believe that you can reach this point?" To become successful, you have to believe in yourself and believe that you can do it.
After pointing out that everybody can become a millionaire, talks about three important ways to leave a legacy for your family. These three ways are teaching kids how to handle money, writing of wills, creating a family mission statement and leaving a legacy box. I will elaborate on each of these below.
Teaching Kids How to Handle Money
The best legacy that anyone can leave are the things that you learned from someone else. Dave talks about the importance of teaching children how to handle money and how to be productive adults. He uses great examples of teaching children to be the perfect child as opposed to teaching them how to be adults. Teaching kids how to be adults requires the parents to give the children some freedom to make mistakes. He believes that you want the kids to make their biggest mistakes while still living under your roof, because this allows you to help guide them through anything. This also includes a lifetime of conversations about money, with the idea being that the only way that kids will understand how to handle money is by being taught how to handle money.
This is a hot button topic for Dave, and I have heard him talk about the importance of wills many times on his radio show. He goes even more in depth in this book and explains that you need a will to make sure that your wishes are followed. Without a will, it causes a huge headache for your family. Without a will, you don't leave them a blessing, instead you leave them a burden. The next thing that he preaches about regularly is the importance of telling everyone what is in the will. He does not believe that the will should be read after your death. He believes that everyone should know ahead of time, so there is no fighting or bickering. The family can't claim that it wasn't your wishes, because they were told by their mother or father what was in the will ahead of time.
Family Mission Statement
This is an interesting idea and I hadn't thought about it before, but Dave believes that by having a mission statement, then everyone in the family knows how they are expected to act. He gave an example of how they started their family statement, which uses the bible verse Joshua 24:15. This verse ends with, "But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Dave then stated that they base the rest of the mission on that specific bible verse. Only things that serve the Lord can be in their family mission statement.
The legacy box is a place where all important documents are stored. This box allows the family to be able to access life insurance policies, bank accounts, retirement accounts and it will help them know who to contact for water, lights and other utilities. This box will make things a lot easier for your family to be able to access needed funds when they need to.
In the last two chapters, there was a lot covered and I can not even begin to explain everything covered as well as Dave does. Therefore, go out and get this book, if you are interested in leaving a legacy for your family. I learned so much and can use lots of the information that I even just typed in this article.