Friday, October 03, 2008

Ode to a Wise Man

I watched the vice presidential debate last night, as well as all the pundit spinning afterward. (We have digital cable now, so I jumped around from CNN to Fox News to MNBC – Whee!)

One of the interesting points a couple of journalists made was that during the debate one moment received a huge positive reaction from Americans, be they Republicans, Democrats or Undecided. When Sarah Palin talked about personal responsibility with regard to personal finances, most of those watching reacted positively. She called us all to do our part to not let this kind of financial crisis happen again, but simply living within our means.

My heart and mind is filled with gratitude this morning as I recall that moment. Not because I am a Sarah Palin fan, but because I live with a man who has made that choice for our family – to live within our means.

When we married, we were in our thirties and selfish and stupid. Both of us admit this. Part of our growth as a couple and as individuals was making some big money mistakes, based solely on greed. Time passed. We learned.

Almost two years ago, we moved to Denver from San Diego. In California, we had never been able to buy a home. Because our maturity (or I should say John’s :0)) led us to start saying NO to things we couldn’t afford, we found ourselves in a position to buy a home in Colorado.

John talked to our mortgage guy and discovered that we could get a substantial loan. I am talking enough to buy a nice house! I was beside myself with joy. Initially, we discussed that we could probably only afford a condo. Now we could get a house!

John thought about it and prayed about it. He made a decision to get a loan for the amount we could afford. No more.

What? I “discussed” with him the dreams of having our own home. We could do such ministry in a big house, John. We could dedicate it to Jesus!

I remember John grinning at me and saying, “We should buy something we can’t afford so God will bless it?”


John told our realtor the amount of money we wanted to spend. Our realtor, a very nice guy, lined up all sorts of places for us to see. As we drove from one place to the next, it became clear to us that every home, townhouse or condo he showed us was OVER our spending limit. Later on, I was to discover that this is a regular practice of many real estate agents.

I’ll be honest and say I was fine with it. I wanted something good. The mortgage company was going to loan us whatever we needed so why not?

Again, my wise husband said no. He took a deep breath and told our real estate agent in no uncertain terms that we only wanted to see places that were at or below the amount he had stipulated.

We found a lovely condo that is our home today.

These days, I look back on the integrity of my husband and I am so grateful. We could’ve easily been in the same spot so many Americans are in today. We could be caught up in possible foreclosure simply because our greed caught up with us.

Thank you God, for telling my husband to say NO to greed and to say YES to living within our means.

Thank you John, for listening.


Kay Day said...

Sweet. And so nice to not have to learn that lesson the hard way! Living within our means is very difficult in this culture. Way to go, John!

Jan Parrish said...

A wise man is a blessing and you are very blessed.

Kathryn said...

I'm surprised Justin has not commented on this yet. This is a hot issue for him, and we so agree with this idea of living within what God has given you. The hard truth is, not every American should own a home, but no one wants to admit that. Of course we would love to buy a house and be able to have something of our own, but we've been too busy paying off school loans to put away for a down payment, so it might not happen for some time. I have to admit, our generation is the worst when it comes to the thought that we DESERVE a big home, new SUV, big screen TV, etc. It's such a disgusting lie that we can't be happy without it. Sorry to rant, I just believe our country is out of control when it comes to spending and for all the wrong reasons.

Momstheword said...

I wrote a comment but it disappeared. My cousin, who married at 19, worked his way from a laborer to the boss in a large construction company. They still live in the house they bought when they were first married, probably 50 years ago.

Money Honey said...

Aren't wise husbands a tremendous blessing? Our house hunting story is similar to yours. I am so greatful that my husband took control of the spending limit. He determined what our monthly payment should be and did the math backwards to determine how much house we could afford. Even with our irregular income over the past five years, we've never been strapped to make a payment. I am so blessed!!!