Friday, September 18, 2009

Daddy, are we rich?

Hey all,

I don't know about you but work has picked up a bit.
It feels pretty good right now. We are not breaking any records but...
I run with a real estate attorney, and he said work has picked up for him as well. He says it is not huge deals or anything but it is things.

No movies this week because something weird happened. I put my Netflix movies into the sleeve but not into the envelope. I put them by my wallet and phone for the next morning. I usually mail them from work. I get to work, and I only have the envelopes. Hmmm, that is weird. I must have left them on the table where I picked up my wallet and phone. I got home and they weren't there. I went back to my car thinking the movies might have slipped through a crack in the seats or something. Long story short, I have lost both movies. I think between leaving my house and getting in my car I threw the trash. I must have inadvertently thrown them away.
This whole week I have looked for these movies. They are not around.
I have to call Netflix and ask for their mercy.

I am still reading The Power of One. I have to admit the book is dragging but it is partially my fault. I have no time to read lately. I am now falling asleep on the couch before 10:30 every night. It is weird. I have always been a 11:30-12 kind of guy but...I am telling you, I am getting old. I am going to be that grandpa who is passed out on the couch at 2pm with my dentures hanging out of my mouth.

Big weekend this weekend.
Going to a fancy steak dinner tonight.
Running 20 miles at 4:30am tomorrow. Soccer game at noon (great time for a soccer game in an open field. I think the weather is really turning in central Florida, it will only be 93).
Then birthday party and football watching the rest of the day. Gator football at 3:30 and then who cares after that.

I was at a 10 year old birthday party a month or so ago and I was talking to another mother. She was complaining that her daughter is the only girl in the neighborhood that goes to private school. And she says her daughter is always complaining that the kids in the neighborhood give her a hard time because she is rich. You know, "Whatever rich girl, just go back to your private school, I think you just missed your tea time." Or something like that.
Now this woman was complaining because she doesn't consider herself and her family to be rich.
Before we go on I want to put things into perspective. Perspective is a good word when it comes to money.
First I want you to take a minute and think in your mind what RICH is. Don't read on. Is it how much you have in the bank? Is it how much you make? Is it the people you see on TV?
Did you think about it?
Okay let's think about this a minute.
The United States of America is the richest country in the world by far (if you go by resources and labor force but if you go by GDP we are 6th or 7th. We are trying so hard to catch up to Liechtenstein....shout out to Lindsey for pointing that out).
According to the Washington Post in 2006 (which was a much better economy than now) 50% of Americans made less than 48,000.
Only 10% households earn more than $100,000 and only 1% earned more than $350,000.

So are you rich? I think by these numbers if you are making over a $100k you are in the top are rich.
The problem is that we compare ourselves to Warren Buffett , Sam Walton, and JayZ. But that is not reality. We read People magazine and see Tiger Woods on his 300 foot yacht and think that is rich. We drive by the gated communities on the lake and see the tops of the mansions and think that is rich. We see the Aston Martin coupes and say now that is rich.
I used to ask my father if we were rich. He would say NO, kind of strongly. Now we lived in a big house, we had nice cars, I had me and four brothers and sisters all in private school, we had a boat.
I mean, come on dad.
Now to someone who has a lot of their money going out, it doesn't seem like enough is coming in, so your perspective is different. But this does not mean you are not earning in the top 4%. You are just spending more than the top 3%.
So, back to this woman. They live in a nice house. Her kids go to private school.
She has a very nice ring on her finger and a Rolex, and she drives a Cadillac.
Come are rich.
I talked to a guy that has kids that go to our school and asked him what he thought rich was. And he said some crazy number, he said something like, "if you make over 1 million dollars a year."
To me that isn't rich, that is mega rich. According to The Post only the top 1% make over a million dollars a year.

I am not saying being rich is a bad thing. I am part of the upper 10%. My wife wears a Rolex (which I bought for her before I had a clue about anything) and has a nice ring (please see last parentheses) , we live in a nice house and our kids go to private school.
Just so we are all clear, just because you have stuff doesn't make you rich.

So what does it mean to be rich? Well I can tell you that there are about 1600-2500 verses about money in the Bible. There are more verses about money in the Bible than there are about Faith. Jesus told something like 39 parables, more than half were about money.
So what does that tell you. God wasn't lying when He said that it is harder for a rich man to get into heaven than a camel to get through the eye of a needle.
Or when He says, "No one can serve two masters (interesting how he calls money a master. We all can identify that...chasing after money.) Either you hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."

Understanding what rich really is and recognizing how much we have has comes with some responsibility.
Responsibility to use this talent (we all have a skill that God gave us) and use it for good. For me it is teeth. For you it might be law or teaching or administration.
But we have a skill and we have money. That is not it. It is what we do with it that takes responsibility.
I have to tell you that I love stuff and my comfort, I have told you that.
But it surely can be an idol of mine. But I am finding that this stuff (as the Bible would say) gets eaten by moths or rusts.
I am loving stuff that fades away.

So when my kids ask me if we are rich I tell them yes. But I tell him the above. I tell them it is hard not to love money. It is hard to save, it is hard to tithe, it is hard to make the decision to pay a gajillion dollars for your Christian education. It is tough giving your money away to the poor (ask Joe Biden). It is tough making a bunch of money and choosing to give it away than hoard it.
But that is what the Gammichia's choose to do.
I have to tell you the truth, when I give it away I love money less. I love the Creator of the money more. I am rich by the standards of the Washington Post, but I can tell you I am so much richer than that.
I have been richly blessed in so many more ways than money, and I am truly thankful for that.
And I don't have any problems telling my kids that (and hopefully the neighborhood kids will talk about us).

Have a great weekend,

Go Gators

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unfortuately almost everyone measures success in terms of money wealth. I agree with you. The most important thing is for your belly to be full, a roof over your head, be healthy and for you to be truly happy in life. Money can't buy happiness but everyone believes it certainly can. Even me sometimes. I go out and buy something and realize I really don't need it.


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