Recession Lessons: Detroitonomics part two

“When the nation gets a cold, Detroit gets the flu, Pastor.” So said a businessman in the auto industry. I’ve learned some lessons from this recession that I’d like to share with you. Remember when Becky and I moved to Detroit in 1999 there were more jobs available than people to fill them. People were working overtime and our community generally speaking was prospering.

First lesson: there will be another recession. Wikipedia states, “There have been as many as 47 recessions in the United States since 1790…”

Second lesson: prepare for the next one now. The beginning of a sound financial plan is the 10-10-80 plan. 10%, tithe, 10% savings, 80% living expenses. God promises to bless us when we tithe. Secondly, you work hard for your money and you should pay yourself. Finally budget for your living expenses on the 80%. My uncle told me years ago sitting at my grandmother’s dining room table, “A thousand dollars isn’t a lot of money unless you don’t have a thousand dollars.” Dave Ramsey strongly teaches that you should put a thousand dollars in your bank account and use that for emergencies and then pay yourself back. It would sure reduce the use of credit cards.

Third lesson: Get out debt, stay out of debt by living debt free. Larry Burkett taught, “If you can’t afford to pay cash, you can’t afford to charge it.” Personally, I apply this principle to consumer items, like computers, television, etc. If you are like most of us to buy a home, you’ll need a mortgage. Save up a 20% down payment and then don’t extend yourself beyond 28-30% for your mortgage. This last recession was a shock. The price of housing declined severely. However rent didn’t. My real estate agent friends have told me that rental property is in demand and that rents have increased because of so many foreclosures.

Rent has it’s advantages as well. You’re not liable for a mortgage or repairs. However, you can be assured your landlord will figure in taxes, maintenance, etc in the rent they collect.

Either way, you’ll need safe and healthy shelter for your family to live in.

Fourth lesson: Keep your work skills sharp and marketable. I’ve watched men and women, who were in the habit of attending seminars or learning new skills stay sharp. They are well read and diligent. Employers were loathe to let them go. If they were the victims of a downsizing they were able to find other employment rather quickly. Additionally they did more than a post a resume on the internet. They met people, networked and extended helping hands to others who were looking for jobs. Sometimes the ones that they helped were the ones that gave them a successful job lead. Unfortunately for us, some of them had to be willing to relocate to other parts of the country.

So when you leave a conference or luncheon exchange contact information. Follow-up right away while your face is still familiar. If you are looking for a job, get to know the gatekeepers. Who makes the appointments for the employer. Be kind and thoughful to them. If you are unable to get an appointment right away. Your thank-you card will help make room for the next available appointment. What new skill are you learning? What are you reading? How do you let others know you are available?

Fifth lesson: Stay connected with your church and small group. We truly need one another. When we gather together to worship our heavenly Father, there is dynamic that takes place. We are touched by our unseen by ever present God. We sing, pray, fellowship, heed the Scriptures by applying them to our lives. We leave strengthened and renewed. Our families are stronger, our work is better, and our faith renewed. In a small group we are known and loved. We are able to help one another or to recieve help our family needs it.

1. It is not a matter of if but when the next recession will come. What do you think about that? How does it make you feel?

2. The Bible’s financial plan is absolutely brilliant. The 10/10/80 is a beginning. Have you put it into practice. The scripture teaches us through tithing we “learn to revere the LORD your God always.” Deuteronomy 14:23, NIV. There is more to our lives than a beginning and end existence in a material world. God created us for himself and calls us into an adventure of life! Are you a tither?

Further the Bible teaches us the virtue of thrift and saving. When we do this we are prepared for future expenses, when productive work or harvest is slow or nonexistent. By the way don’t be a miser or a hoarder. The Bible uses the illustration of an ant, “they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.” Proverbs 6:8, NLT

3. Stay sharp! What new skills are you learning? What are your strengths? What are your contingency plans? What are you reading? Who is in your network?

4. A passionate follower of Christ is a committed member of a local congregation that believes and trusts God’s Word. Further we are committed to doing life and studying the Bible with a small group of people we know, trust, love and pray with.

I love you hear your thoughts. By the way if you think this would be helpful to someone why not share the blog post with them. I’d appreciate it if you would.

Peace, Love and Joy in the Holy Spirit to you!

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