My brother gets a newborn baby girl and I get a (younger) 20 something, how’s that for poetic justice? In all seriousness my wife and I have a new roommate. My (younger) 20 something nephew has moved in with us for the next few months. Having earned his B.A, he is completing a certification course for teaching English overseas. We’ve always put the offer to close family that our home is open to them if they ever find themselves in the Mid-West and this one called us on it.
I already knew that getting your financial house in order makes it easy for you to give, save and spend like no one else, but this has been awesomely exemplified during this time that our new roomie has been here. I can only imagine the amount of stress this scenario would have brought if he had come when my wife and I were “pre-Ramsey:” Living paycheck to paycheck, still with my student loans around, dollars in-dollars out and only the names are changed to protect the innocent, and in that scenario, honestly needing my nephew to help chip in for rent because our own spending was out of control.
Thankfully having lived on a monthly budget for almost three and a half years now when we got the heads up he was coming, we made a simple adjustment to the grocery budget and viola! We were ready. I would like to say though that we aren't a worry free household. Leading up to and (truth be told) to this day I am worried about being a good center of influence for my nephew, and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t want him to start picking up the personal financial practices that my wife and I follow.
But Rome was not built in a day and lives do not change overnight, mine certainly didn’t. So slowly and through baby steps we are in essence living out our sermon rather than preaching to him. He is seeing that we pay for things in cash. He is witnessing my wife and I openly talk about personal finances and making decisions together. He is being exposed to people who thoroughly despise debt, live on less than they make and prioritize saving and giving.
During my nephew’s time here, in addition to his classes, he is on the job hunt and planning to work. We don’t “need” him to contribute rent for expenses. What his uncle “needs” is to look in the mirror everyday and know that he lived out, in front of a family member he loves, God’s ways of handling money. Will that inspire him to live like no one else? Well, that’s up to him, only he can control his destiny and financial decisions. So I am excited that he is here and once his first paycheck comes rolling in, instead of asking for rent or “needing” the money to help with groceries and utilities, I’m going to show him smart things to do with every paycheck and how money is a tool to build your dreams and grow in relationship with God.