A $4000 Mistake

Money will not make you happy, but debt will make you unhappy. – John C Maxwell. If you have ever been in debt you know this to be a painful reality. King Solomon who was literally the wisest and wealthiest man to ever live said, “the borrower is servant to the lender.” Before we move any further I want you to see the connection between wealth and wisdom. Yes there are rich fools, but there is a undeniable connection between wisdom and wealth. With that being said, I want to share with you one of the stupidest things that I have even done. It cost me $4000 dollars to know the difference between faith and presumption. John C Maxwell said, “if you want to impress someone tell them about your successes. If you want to impact someone tell them the stupidest thing that you have ever done and the lessons that you learned from it.” I am more interested in having a positive impact than portraying a false image of myself. In others words I am sharing my pain for your gain.

On June 27th, 2009 at 12:00 pm I married Sarah Bruce and in a moment she became Sarah LiVecchi. The next day we left for the beautiful Dominican Republic. There we helped lead a missions team and then stayed in the 5 star RIU Palace Punta Cana right on the beach for a 15 day honeymoon. We came home for about two weeks and then headed to Nicaragua to serve the poor with Impact Nations. It was exciting, we were newly married excited about life, each other and what we were doing. The $4000 mistake was the Nicaragua trip. The mistake wasn’t going and serving the poor. Remember what Jesus said, “what you have done to the least of these you have done unto me.” The mistake was not being prepared for the trip, not fundraising before the trip. The mistake was using a credit card when we didn’t have the money to pay for the trip. It became very apparent to me why MasterCard is called MasterCard. If you use the card and do not have the money that card will really become your master. What we were doing was right, but how we went about it was wrong. The problem was that we presumed we would have enough money from our wedding to pay for the trip, unfortunately we were both sincerely wrong. Our motives were right, our actions were right, but our presumption cost us $4000 dollars. Remember this, faith prepares not presumes. Faith is about preparation not presumption. Faith plans and prepares, faith does not assume and presume. It is important to know that having the right motives is not enough. You also need to make the right plans and the right preparations. I no longer have any regret from this mistake, now I have a lesson learned. I didn’t have foresight, but I gained some priceless insight for the price of $4000 USD. I am hoping that my lesson learned can be your problem avoided.

The $100 Rule

Financial freedom is not just about having more than enough money. Financial freedom is also about money not having you. There are many people who have no money, but money has them. Then there are a few people who have money, but money doesn’t have them. The question is not how much money do you have. The real question is how much does money have you? As a young man I had an almost fatal attraction to money, and what you can acquire with money. Over the last 13 years I have learned that the most valuable things in life are priceless and no amount of money can buy what people really want. I know we need money to pay bills and live, I am not naive to the reality of real life, in fact the website you are reading this blog on isn’t free so I get it.

I want to share something that I did that was really stupid. This is very personal but I am sharing it with you because I think it can benefit you. Your well being is more important to me than my ego or image. About 6 years ago I was a newly married. Sarah and I were married less than a year or so when I made a rookie mistake. The mistake wasn’t what I bought, it was when I bought it and how I bought it; with a credit card. I bought a Thompson Chain Bible, sent it to Texas and had it wrapped in calfskin and then had it sent to me in New Jersey. This Bible is so nice, they wouldn’t write my name on it. When I asked if they could engrave my name on the bottom right of the front cover of the Bible they said, “we don’t do that, this is a calfskin Bible.” This was a $250.00 purchase. When my wife found out what I did she was pretty upset, and for her to be upset is very uncommon. In fact in my marriage if I don’t create a problem I will have no problems. My wife Sarah is a beautiful, patient, considerate woman. So this purchase led us to what we call the $100 rule. Neither one of us will spend more than $99.99 without the consent of the other. What this says is that – you are more important than what I want. We have both committed to value each other over what we may want in the moment. This rule is easy for her but hard for me. It has become easier over time now. If I was a perfect steward of money we probably wouldn’t need this rule, but it has served us well. As we pay off debt and earn more the rule may become the $250 rule but for now we are keeping it the $100 rule. A large portion of fighting and divorce is over money. Setting financial rules of engagement is very important especially if you want to have a peaceful and lifelong marriage. If you are single it still pays to set financial boundaries for yourself. I am hoping that my transparency and vulnerability can save you an unnecessary calamity. If you choose to be accountable now with your spouse or a trusted friend you are actually protecting your future. This is only the beginning. I can’t wait to tell you about a $4000.00 mistake I made. My intentions for sharing my mistakes is so that my lessons learned would be your problems avoided. I just want to save you pain, tears, money and time.