A couple of days ago, I received a call from a local pastor at a church. Before I get into the call, let me assure you this article will not be about religion. As Seinfeld famously said, "Not that there's anything wrong with that."
The pastor asked if I was interested in helping manage the church's endowment. Despite my best efforts, I guess word has gotten around town that I know a thing or two about money. However, I have no clue if my knowledge translates to managing a 1.5 million dollar endowment. They are spending around 60K or 70K a year. Using a simple rule of 4% that's popular in retirement planning circles, they should be able to hit the low end, but it is cutting it close. In any case, I'm hoping the key word is "helping."
I mentioned to the pastor that I focus more on personal finance. She's got a Dave Ramsey bumper sticker on the back of her car, so I knew we could speak that common language. The church uses a lot of Dave Ramsey's philosophy. I explained that I simply disagree with much of what he says about personal finance.
Her response hit me like a ton of bricks. She said that no system is perfect. However, she's seen military people come in the door with $30,000 of debt and leave with none. The system works.
For a long time, I've had this ideal, perfect system in my head. I realized that perfect is the enemy of good. If Ramsey's philosophy gets people interested in personal finance and that helps them get out of debt it's a huge win. I shouldn't over-critique his game, because we are all on the same team. I've written that you should ignore Your personal finance guru. Today I'd like take that back.
Getting back to the call, I agreed to look at doing what I can to help the church. I'm not sure my religious beliefs match up with its teachings, but I definitely agree with their charitable causes.
The pastor's story about the military families carrying big debt hit home. I was talking with my wife a few night ago about how it happens far too often. Our nation's bravest deserve better, hopefully I can use this endowment thing as a stepping stone to help as an unofficial money coach.
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