I realize it’s been over a month since I last posted. Since my goal has been to keep this blog worth reading (i.e. producing content that is interesting and relevant regularly), I feel that I owe you an apology. Instead, I am going to offer you a piece of my “why” – why I’m willing to write a blog for free and update it weekly or biweekly on the sticky topic of personal finances.
– at least, I hope we are. I won’t go into detail because we respect the birthparents and the soon-coming little one too much to expose the situation to public scrutiny. How, you might ask, is that relevant to my “why?” – I’m glad you asked…
Being debt-free is, and has always been, a marker of freedom for me and my family. Making the choice to sacrifice so that we can go where we feel called to go and do what we feel called to do is a huge deal to us. The reality of debt is that you are obligated to someone else. Usually (though not in all circumstances) this is a free choice we make as individuals (or as a couple) that binds us to a person or company and removes our freedom to choose. We are still experiencing that to a very small extent as we still have a small family loan to pay off before we can finally say we are officially debt-free — and that is limiting some of our choices: I would love to be able to take three full months off with our little one, but I don’t know that my former choices will allow me to do that.
We are a giving couple. We have been blessed again and again by people’s kindness and generosity over the years as people gave their time, finances, and other gifts to help us along our journey. We have also had the privilege of investing in others’ lives in various ways and we want to continue to do that and to increase our giving. Right now we invest approximately 11% of our income in charitable giving. I don’t say that to boast, but rather to demonstrate that regardless of how much you make, you can give a significant percentage and make a difference. We believe that we have been charged with the responsibility to care for those who have less than we do and to give to others (groups, church, etc.) that do the same. Being debt-free enables us to put even more than our regular giving aside for special opportunities to be generous with our financial resources.
As we prepare to hopefully welcome a new member of our family, I think more and more about what I want to model and impart to those who we parent (whether full-time or as mentors). I want to see the young people we love making wise financial decisions, choosing the hard but better way, and having freedom, the ability to live generously, and the opportunity to leave a legacy. We couldn’t possibly have been ready to take on the financial burden of adoption if we hadn’t learned how to budget, how to save, and how to tighten up our belts when we need to. Now we have the tools not only to take this opportunity, but also to build a legacy for future generations.
Hopefully you understand now why the last month has been peculiarly silent. I’m hoping to be more regular as we move into the fall, but I know that realistically if we do get this sweet addition, my free time may be a little (or a lot) more beautifully limited. If you have specific questions about financial aid or any of the topics I cover on the blog, please feel free to reach out to me personally!