Father Sez

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Please help me to help a friend advise his daughters on PF

Tuesday March 4th, 2008 by fathersez

BC is one my best friends at work. He is a civil engineer cum MBA who qualified after having worked as a general laborer, a brick layer, a plasterer and a site supervisor for a number of years. He is the one all of us look to for technical advice and what BC says is taken as the gospel truth. 

He converted to Christianity when he was in his twenties, I think. Since then he has lived life as a good Christian. He has two daughters, and he has dipped deep into his savings to ensure they got an excellent education.  The elder girl is a lawyer and presently works in one of our country’s leading legal firms. The younger girl is now in her final year of medical studies in one of the best medical schools in the UK. Both the girls are outstanding students and well behaved. The type that every mother would want their sons to bring home.  

The two girls have been very active in Church affairs since young. The elder girl is the Youth leader of her Church, and is very well versed in the Bible.  

BC and I have traveled often together and our work is often intertwined. Not surprisingly, we have discussed often our respective journeys in raising our children and doing what we could to ensure they get a better start at life than either of us did. Lately the talk turned to how to inculcate good pf habits in our children. And what BC told me took me aback. 

The elder girl gives her mother her entire pay check. (I am not sure if she has her own bank account). Her credit card is a supplementary card under BC’s name. (In all fairness, this has been the arrangement since her University days). She uses the card quite responsibly, for example to pay for a meal with her friends, when they go Dutch. The cash received from her friends as their share is given back to BC.  She collects a weekly allowance from BC.  

Though she lives below her means, a lot of her expenses are paid for by BC. She has no budget. In effect, BC is still paying for her upkeep. He does not begrudge this, but he is concerned that his daughter may be a little naïve when it comes to affairs of Dollars and Sense.  

Historically, BC has been her provider all her life. In a way, BC blames himself for not having given his children some grounding in PF when they were much younger.  

Now BC has a feeling that his elder girl seems unable or even unwilling to fit into this secular world. She does not express contentment as a lawyer, but she comes to life in serving the Church. BC feels that his daughter has taken it as a “calling” to serve. To do Theology and to devote her life in the cause of her faith seems to be what she has set her sights on.

BC is sure that she is just waiting for a sign before she embarks on the journey of her life’s calling.  As such, pf seems to be not too high in her list of priorities, and she is taking the view of “The Lord will provide”.  

Naturally, as a father, BC has no objections. He would be much happier if his daughter took it upon her to have a firmer grasp of pf before she embarks on this journey. 

I suggested that he should speak to his Pastor and maybe get the  Pastor to speak at a sermon on the need for us to manage ourselves as well as we can, and then seek the Lord’s blessings and provision. 

(BC had told me that his elder girl wanted to do Theology rather than Law. It was her Pastor who had suggested she should do Law first, and work. This would allow her to understand better the problems faced by working people. And if she chose to do Theology later, her experience would help her address these problems much better. Sound advice, I thought. ) 

For some reason, BC believes that approaching the Pastor may not be the best solution now. I remembered Lynnae’s post on “Discerning God’s Will”. I believe there are some similarities in the situation that my friend BC finds himself in.

I am sure that BC’s girls would sort themselves out somehow should push ever come to shove. However isn’t the main point of sound PFM to prepare ourselves ahead of time? 

I ask for your help now. I would really like to be able to suggest some ways he could talk to his wife and girls. Ways that weave verses from the Bible with the need for sound PF management. Verses that support the view that we should endeavor and help ourselves as much as we can and then seek the Lord’s blessings. 

Please help me to help my friend. 

PS:     In my earlier draft, I mentioned some names of bloggers whom I thought would be the best people to advise my friend. I have now taken off their names, based on a suggestion by one of the bloggers I contacted.  The draft has also been amended a little, after discussions with BC.  

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9 Comments for “Please help me to help a friend advise his daughters on PF”

by plonkee
On March 4, 2008
At 8:58 pm

Ok, I’m certainly not the best placed person to offer Bible based personal finance advice, but I think that one of the best things they could do is to make the elder daughter do her own finances. I’m sure there’s something from Proverbs about being a good woman/wife that they can use to back this up - I’m thinking of a sort of good household management.

I’d also angle it that taking up a life in the Church is likely to mean a low income, and that needs better money management skills. Clearly (from her/their point of view) God has given here a good brain, so it’s her responsibility to learn to manage money since there’s no reason why she can’t. The parable of the talents springs to mind.

Honestly, it sounds like, nice as I’m sure they are, neither of them have grown up and they aren’t being treated / treating themselves as adults. That needs to change now.

On March 5, 2008
At 7:17 am

Hi, Plonkee,

You have made some great points.

Like the statement that a life of service to the Church might mean a low income and hence need better money management skills. This should make them sit up and think.

And as a finance professional, you are more than amply qualified to offer advice.

Thank you for dropping by.

On March 6, 2008
At 7:15 am

I’ve been thinking about this one for a while before I answered. I’d say the best example I can think of is the parable of the talents. God gives us talents and expects us to use them wisely. If we have a great writing talent, we should use it gratefully and responsibly, not waste it. In the same way, if we have money—salary, etc, the right thing to do is manage that money responsibly.

Proverbs 31 is another good passage.

A number of Christian PF blogs also talk about debt being slavery and making you serve “mammon” (money) when Jesus said that you can’t have two masters, you can’t serve both God and wealth. It’s easier to serve God when you don’t have debt and when you’re managing your money wisely and not letting it control you…

by rocketc
On March 6, 2008
At 11:33 am

Two things - I believe that everything we do in life is a reflection of our view of God or is a demonstration of our theology. Furthermore, God states on more than one occasion that we demonstrate our priorities in life by how we use our finances. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” “The debtor is slave to the lender” Save for the future: “Go to the ant, you sluggard, consider her ways and be wise, who works all summer so that he may have meat for the winter”

The second matter is a bit more controversial - I believe that Scripture clearly states that the pastorate is reserved for a man. I believe that it is a noble thing for a woman to study theology and seek ways to minister in the church, but she should not hold the office of a pastor. I believe that the New Testament is clear on this fact.

On March 6, 2008
At 12:04 pm

Mrs. M and RocketC,

Thank you very much for the time and trouble you have taken to pen your comments.

Both my friend and I are reading and noting all your comments.

I truly hope this post will help resolve my friend’s dilemma.

On March 6, 2008
At 10:22 pm

And to counter rocketc, I believe the NT is extremely unclear on that fact, since there were female apostles and whatnots apparently leading churches.

by Phoebe
On March 7, 2008
At 1:24 am

I can think of a good motive for her to understand personal finance outside of her own personal needs — if she is setting herself up for a pastoral role, than she is putting herself into a position where people will come to her for advice. Many times, that advice will be related to financial issues. She’ll need to understand how to manage finances in order to offer well-rounded advice.

On March 7, 2008
At 7:37 am

Phoebe,

Thanks for dropping by.

BC should draw up a list of “why’s” and your excellent point should be an anchor.

On March 7, 2008
At 5:19 pm

I sincerely believe that God does provide, but God also says that what is given to idle hands turns into waste (I’m paraphrasing). So we are given this money, and we are supposed to manage it. There was also a parable about the good servant who took his master’s money and brought back more. We are given money to serve God, not to ignore it or squander it. So learning about finances is very important for everyone.

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