I have a passion for volunteering and have spent most of my free time working for organizations that help women in some way. It is my hobby and my calling. A number of years ago one of my volunteer gigs was being a mentor to a single mother I will call Mary. Mary had applied to a program through the Salvation Army called Project Breakthrough. The program matched families that were on welfare with mentors to help them break the cycle of poverty. My job as her mentor was to help her towards self-sufficiency. Because I was in the financial services industry, I felt I knew everything about how to help her get off welfare. What I learned was that I had no idea what it was like to be where Mary was!
Our first meeting was at the Cedar Riverside apartments; I could see them from my home in downtown Minneapolis. Some of you may have seen these apartments in the news over the years. Shootings happen there on occasion. At our first meeting, I learned that Mary was a nineteen-year-old single mom raising two children, a boy and a girl that were in elementary school at the time. The boy’s father was in prison, and the girl’s father was around once in a while. Mary was the oldest in a family of ten children. Her mother was a cocaine addict, and so not only did Mary have her own children to raise, but she was also seen as the mother to her nine younger brothers and sisters.
After we discussed her family background, I asked her why she applied to the Project Breakthrough program and she said, “I want a better life for my kids.”
Through the course of the next three years, Mary faced many obstacles in reaching her vision. She didn’t drive and didn’t have a car, so all the laundry and grocery shopping were done by bus or taxi. There were times when she would cancel our meetings because she had to get her younger brother out of jail or tend to her other siblings because of her mom’s addiction. She couldn’t study as much as she needed to, so it was slower to complete her coursework. When she wanted to move her kids to a better neighborhood, she didn’t have a credit card to reserve a U-Haul to move her things.
At the end of the three years, Mary got her GED certificate, graduated from a two-year college program, and got a job in a bank. She was off welfare. She was working and supporting her family, and she had moved her kids to a safer neighborhood. Mary had a vision for her future, and it was nothing like how she grew up or the current state of her life.
I tell you this story because it shows the power of connecting with the God-given vision for your life. As I work with women and their families on their financial plans, there is a distinct difference in how a woman behaves with her money when she has a vision of what her preferred future looks. She may have no idea how she will actually get there, but it is the vision that guides her and her family’s decisions.
Those decisions are made every day, every time she pulls out her purse to buy something. Every purchase is a decision to move closer or farther away from the God-given vision for her life.
Where would you like to see yourself, your family, and the causes you believe in 10 ,15, or 20 years from now?
Let’s go back to the Mary’s story. Mary didn’t care about investment performance or the rate of return she was getting on her savings, or any other technical aspect of her financial situation. Mary cared about her children and her future lifestyle. She was passionate about her vision for her future. She was committed to that future. I would assert that every one of us has a version of her passion. You care deeply about something, someone, or a preferred future.
A woman tends to see money as a tool to impact the people in her life or in her community, not as something to accumulate. Sometimes this leads women to save less because they are using all their money today to impact others and not putting any money away for a future they envision.
What is the God-given vision for your life, and are you managing the resources God gives you to build that future? Or are you letting the culture decide what you buy and how you spend God’s money?
Kristi Andersen works with women and their famlies to help them live out the God-given vision they have for their lives. (www.KristiLAndersen.com). Registered representative of and securities offered through Financial Network Investment Corporation, member SIPC. Advisory services offered through Financial Network or AdvisorNet Financial, if applicable. Financial Network is not affiliated with Kristi L Andersen Financial Partners, LLC or Advisornet Financial.