One of my favorite bloggers calls herself Prudence Debtfree. I mostly like her because she's basically a frugal version of my mom (my mom used to be frugal, but not so much anymore).
Anyways, two years ago, she wrote a post about 7 reasons she kept her gym membership even though she was paying off debt. At the time, I didn't have a gym membership, and I couldn't justify having one because the drive was too far (I was working full time). Since then, I've quit full time work, and I got myself a gym membership. Meanwhile, Ruth has gone 180 on me and quit her gym.
Since I think this is an amusing reversal of fortunes, I'm going to give my seven reasons for having a gym membership right now, even though my income is lower than it was when I first commented that I don't need a gym membership.
Are profits and charity opposites? An attempt to thread the needle between idiot and jerk in the wake of Hurricane Harvey
Do you know what makes people bad at economics? Everything. But especially disasters.
I've seen a few tweets that Hurricane Harvey is good for the economy... Ummm. No. If you used to have 100 resources and then an event happened that made it so you have 80 resources, and nobody gets the other 20 resources, are we better off or worse off? Worse. 80 is worse than 100 when it comes to resources. Also when it comes to things like functional city water supplies and houses.
And lest you wonder whether future rebuilding projects are better or worse for the economy, the answer is that even the future is worse. Because the huge majority of people who will do paid work to repair Houston would have been doing work anyway, building something better. Only a tiny fraction of people working will be new to the economy, and they aren't building, they are rebuilding.
So to clarify, hurricanes are bad for the economy.
Now I'm going to rant about something else. Price gouging. Is it bad? Is it good? Is it without morality?
These are the things that most people don't understand about prices during a localized disaster.
Have you ever been to a spice shop that has around 32 varieties of cinnamon?
"I just need cinnamon," you say to yourself. You consider asking the salesperson about the varieties, but you realize that they'll talk over your head, so you just try to find the cheapest cinnamon in the store. If you're lucky, you grab something like Cinnamon Cassia. If you're unlucky, you'll grab something like Ceylon Cinnamon which loses it's flavor during cooking.
Whether you're lucky or unlucky, you still bought cinnamon, and in most cases whatever spice you bought will get you pretty close to the flavor you wanted. But the next time you go to buy cinnamon, you might want to jump on the internet first. Here, I'll help. The wikipedia page for cinnamon.
Thankfully, the same is true of index funds. Unless you really stepped in it, your index funds are probably just fine. But about six more minutes of research can help you make a way better decision. So, here's an article about the 40 flavors of vanilla... I mean about how one index fund differs from the other.
"The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty." Exodus 34:6B-7A
"Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow" Isaiah 1:17
"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourself." James 1:27
If you're a Christian, then you worship a God of extreme mercy. In Exodus, God describes himself. He calls himself Holy (Iam what I am). He proclaims himself merciful and gracious.
Now I'm going to make a theological leap. I started writing it out, but this is a personal finance blog, so we're not going to do all that. If you want the details, start in Genesis, skip to Isaiah, skip to Luke, finish with Revelation, and then go back and fill in the details. A historical commentary helps.
As Christians, we have the privilege to reflect God's extreme mercy to us into the world. We do that in word, saying, "Through Christ Jesus's death and resurection, we can live with God" and deed. Deeds mean addressing felt needs.
Every Christian should live a life of extreme mercy, but putting wheels onto that isn't easy. I've also noticed that finances really get in the way of opportunities to extend mercy to other people. These are five principles for helping a Christian better align their finances with their values.
I'm a wife, a mom, an employee, and a personal finance nerd who is devoted to spreadsheeting my way through life.