By Julie Cole
Stories of poor choices, when used as a lesson, can help us stay out of financial trouble. As facilitator of local Financial Peace University seminars, I run across stories of misfortune and anguish. Most of the time these are just life lessons, but sometimes the stories are very sad.
Here is one story that’s worth repeating, as told by recent Financial Peace University graduates Jane and Brian. Jane and Brian attended Financial Peace University because they wanted to make sure they were doing all the right things. They came to a class I was facilitating shortly after they were married. They received a wedding gift of $10,000 from Jane’s parents and were contemplating the use of this money. They were renting a small apartment at the time and their first inclination was to make a down payment on their first home, but they had some doubts. They had a story to share about Jane’s brother and his wife that caused them to be very cautious.
Jane’s brother Jim and his wife had received a similar gift of $10,000 from his parents 10 years earlier when they married. Jim and his wife, Alice, used their $10,000 to purchase a new car. The car had long ago been replaced and they were making monthly payments on a SUV. Jim, an ordained minister, had the opportunity to move to a new church in a growing community. The church they exited had provided a parsonage home, but the new church that called him did not provide a parsonage, yet did offer him a much larger salary.
Jim, Alice, and their three children wanted to buy a home in their new town that would fit their family’s needs. They had never saved money for a down payment. The only asset they had with any value was a $100,000 face, whole life insurance policy that Jim’s parents had started when Jim was a baby. It had $18,000 of cash value. So, they cashed in the life insurance to make a sizeable down payment on their dream home. They packed up their furniture and proceeded with the move to a new church and home. Jim had intentions of purchasing new life insurance after they were settled in their new church, but didn’t get the chance to do so.
During the move, Jim became ill. What he thought was a cold, later turned out to be streptococcus infection. Unfortunately, Jim died just one week after his family moved into the new home. Alice collects a social security benefit, but it’s not enough to make payments on the new home and feed her family. Within a few months, Alice and her children moved in with Jim’s parents. This sad story is just one example of why we should put “First Things First.” Are your purchases and actions a reflection of what is most important and beneficial to your family? Call your Western Fraternal agent today and strive to put “First Things First.” For more financial advice and topics from Julie visit our website at http://www.wflains.org.