During one of our weekly Life Group meetings, one of our fellow LG member, Harvee talked about the life of Joseph the dreamer. Most of us are familiar with the story of Joseph the dreamer, right? You know, Jacob’s son with the multi-colored robe who was sold to slavery, worked for Potiphar in Egypt, sent to jail on a false charge from Potiphar’s wife, and while in jail, he interpreted the dreams of his fellow prisoners and then that of the Pharaoh’s and was then made second in command of all Egypt. It was during this time that Joseph helped to save Egypt and many other nations from the great famine that came later.
When I first read about Joseph in the Bible I didn’t really get a lot from it, but after a more thorough reading and discussion last night, I learned that there’s actually a thing or two we can learn from Joseph’s story specially in the area of planning and preparing for the worst. Lessons from 1600-1700 BC that helped save Egypt from the great famine, and can still help save lives today and in the coming years.
Joseph had a gift. He was gifted with visions in the form of dreams, and Joseph was able to interpret these dreams accordingly. When Pharaoh had a dream about the seven healthy cows and seven thin cows who devoured former; and had a second dream about seven healthy stalks of grain and seven gaunt and withered stalks which also devoured the healthy ones, Joseph was called to interpret these dreams. Joseph accurately interpreted that the healthy cows and stalks represented the times of abundance, and that the withered stalks and thin cows represented the famine that would come upon the land.
You and I don’t need to have visions or have people interpret dreams for us to know that rainy days will come because they will! Even the strongest and biggest of economies are not immune against periods of recession after enjoying years of double digit growth and market expansion. We simply need to know and understand that good times will not last forever. Forget the YOLO mentality. You Only Live Once, so do it right! While we are still capable of earning money and making a living we need to make sure that we don’t spend all our money in one go lest we end up with nothing when we lose our jobs or when the economy of the country we’re living and working in suffers a downturn. Economies and businesses go in cycles. Always have, and always will. We cannot control market forces, but we can always prepare financially to make sure that we will always have enough in times of scarcity.
Save and Set aside
After Joseph was made governor of Egypt, he set out to implement a plan to save Egypt from the great famine. He established storehouses in each city and made sure to set aside a fifth or 20% of each harvest, and because of this, when the seven years of famine came upon the land, Egypt had more than enough grain to feed its people, and even managed to sell some of their grain to the other nations as well who were also affected by the famine.
In Personal Financial Planning, a widely accepted and highly encouraged practice is that you set aside at least 20% of your income for savings and investments. If you can manage to set aside and save more, even better. It’s very important to start saving and investing as early as you can because doing so gives you more time to accumulate assets, grow your savings and let your investments grow over time which will then give you much better returns. This is not to say that it’s wrong to spend some money on life’s simple pleasures like eating out, watching movies, or traveling to new places. The key is to find a balance, and manage your finances based on your priorities. Create a budget so that you are still able to set aside money for enjoyment and save for your future as well.
Do something now that your future self will thank you for
When you’re young and making a lot of money it can be difficult at times to avoid the temptation of splurging on a few luxuries or booking that promo flight to a nearby foreign country that you’ve never been before. I know. I’ve been there. It’s not easy to say no to certain things like buying the latest gadgets, or buying that pair of sneakers you’ve always wanted that just went on sale. It’s not easy to just look away and choose to save and invest that extra cash in your bank account, but we have to do it. It’s hard, but it’s a choice that can spell the difference between a secure financial future or one filled with financial struggles and debt. Don’t rob yourself of future income by spending more than what you earn and incurring debts.
As soon as you land your first job, don’t spend all your earnings on luxuries and trips. Be prudent with your finances. Set aside 20% of your income for future needs because you never know when the good times stop so it’s best to be prepared for it. Remember that money only speaks one language.
If you save me today, I will save you tomorrow