“Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.”
~ Proverbs 13:11
This Old Testament proverb went very well with last Friday’s post about the lottery study. I thought this week I’d let you in on a bit more of my story regarding this truth.
This concept is a very real one for me. No, I never won the lottery – truth be told, I’ve never played the silly game. My story though is similar.
I’ve been in the mortgage and financial advisory services industry since 1994. I joined my brother’s mortgage company, Cornerstone Home Loans, at the end of 1999 and slowly bought into ownership.
We were dedicated to helping home buyers and homeowners with their long-term housing and financial goals and hit the ground running. For the first one or two years we worked long hours and made out okay.
Then at the end of 2002 and for most of 2003 we experienced the lowest interest rates the industry had seen in nearly four decades. This was coupled with VERY EASY financing standards and rising home values.
As a loan officer during this time, I went from funding 5 or 10 transactions per month to regularly funding over 50! During one of these months, my personal team funded 83 mortgage loans.
Needless to say, my income, which was more than I needed even at the lower numbers, rose by a factor of 10 almost overnight. It remained there for a few years.
I was not ready for this.
I very quickly became accustomed to a new way of living – traveling, spending, wining and dining. I justified many of these new habits by increasing my giving as well, but even that was suspect from a heart perspective.
Don’t hear me wrong – none of the money I earned during that time was earned in a dishonest way. I was simply not ready for it spiritually, emotionally, or intellectually.
I was poised to learn some very valuable lessons.
In the middle of 2007, the market turned, and I was ill-equipped to handle it. I did have some assets to show for the good years, but those were gone very quickly due to high spending habits that I was reticent to change.
2008 and 2009, two of the worst financial years that I (and many of you) have ever experienced, will also go down as the very wealthiest intellectual and spiritual years of my life.
I nearly lost every “thing” because I was not ready for the money. My wealth was “gained hastily” and it dwindled, but I gathered so much more in terms of understanding, patience, truth and grace.
I pray I will never be the same, but I’m thankful that I can now apply what I’ve learned as I coach others in building wealth the right way.
If you decided to work with me in the past five or ten years because you thought that I had not made mistakes or somehow had a Midas touch, then I’m sorry to disappoint you.
But the real me is likely to be far more valuable to you than that facade.