Dr. Phearmonger

Joey Garcia

A friend forwarded an e-mail she received summarizing a recent Dr. Phil show featuring a financial planner and an economist, peddling advice about managing money during the recession. On the surface, their advice (in bold below) seems sensible. But read their suggestions thoughtfully. You’ll discover, as I quickly did, the aim is fear. So I offer my own spiritual advice in response to each of their boldfaced assertions. Check it out:

Don’t have a job? Take anything offered to gain income.

Not quite. Don’t buy into the desperation fostered by the “take anything” mentality. Yes, get yourself to work, and be willing to do work two or three paygrades below what you’ve been hired at in the past. But accept new job opportunities with an attitude of humility. Work is a privilege, not a right. Be humble and grateful for the privilege of working.

If you have a job, do anything to keep it.

Sure, if burnout is your target. Instead, do the job you were hired to do plus a couple of extra tasks that you would want an employee to handle if you were the boss. And leave time in your daily schedule for prayer, self-care and connecting with loved ones. After all, stress and resentment escalate into illness when we fail to tend to our spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health.

Reduce extravagant vacation trips and do local day trips.

Don’t make your world smaller. Save the money you would have spent on a staycation and use it toward a trip to a developing country. They need your dollars more than you do.

Buy grocery-store brands. When shopping for anything, only buy what you need for survival.

For groceries, shop your local farmers’ market. For other items, remember you live better than the majority of the people in this world. Shifting into survival mode is obscene.

Eat out less and cook more at home.

No, really, cook. Don’t microwave this or eat packaged that. Get together with friends to cook and eat real food. Keep supporting your favorite restaurants, too. Otherwise we’ll soon be living among a lot of boarded-up, vacant buildings.

Interest rates are on the rise.

Well, duh. Really, an economist said this? Hey, read the book Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin if you want sanity about finances.

Maintain medical insurance; pay your bills; use cash, not credit cards; keep a savings account.

Finally, advice I agree with! I know it’s terribly difficult to manage this if you live paycheck to paycheck because you are supporting family members or advancing your education, or because you pay for one unexpected home or car repair after another. Still, keep trying. I know that I am.

So, dear readers, weather this recession without fear by investing in what matters to God: people. Cherish family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Reach out to serve people you don’t yet know but who are waiting for your friendship on the other side of the world. Remember, by the world’s standards you are rich even while you are struggling through foreclosure, job loss or stacks of bills. Choose to live in knowledge of that abundance while also working to streamline your financial life until it brings you peace.

Meditation of the week
“Optimists are right. So are pessimists. It’s up to you to choose which you will be,” says Harvey Mackay, author and motivational speaker. Which attitude best serves the birth of God’s dream for the world?

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