What Kind of Company Do You Keep?

November 01, 2013

Dan (top left) with his daughter, wife, son, and his father and mother.

Dan Lewis (back left) with his daugher Bonnie and wife Mary
standing behind his son James and Dan's parents, Jim and Joan Lewis.

My mom was right about many things.  At fifty years old, I can say that it does matter what company I keep.  I can also say that giving and saving come first and careful spending then follows. 

I grew up in the 1960’s, the son of committed, working-class parents.  My mother always allowed us to watch her keep our family books that started with giving to our church, savings for rainy days and careful spending on mostly our needs and sometimes even our wants.  My parents taught me the same and now, having been married over 50 years, are still generous in there giving, faithful in their savings, and conservative in their spending – living a modest, but comfortable retired life.

I went to college in the early 1980’s and studied business and economics in a time when “credit was king” and one’s ability to leverage their assets had become an art if not, a magic show. My mom also said that bad company corrupts good morals and so it was with me.  The company I kept proclaimed buy now and pay later. I learned how to make the most of my income, get bang for my buck, and leverage my actual assets to create an appearance of more.  The result was that as a young adult into my mid-forties, I lived just at, if not a little beyond, my means and saved very little.

Fast forward to the past five years of my life, and I ended up working for people who had the same mindset of my parents.  I have been challenged to be careful with debt, pay off unsecured debt, save for the future and to give generously.  I am challenged every day to live in the paradigm that I grew up in and to stay the steady course.  It does matter who I hang around, and I can safely say that this “good company” I’m keeping has corrupted me – in a good way! 

I challenge you to ask yourself the question, are you hanging around folks who have the wisdom and capacity to live a financial life that is in balance?  If not, I encourage you to begin looking for them today, they are out there waiting to corrupt you for the good!

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