Lesson #1: Introduction

Gary North

Benefits and Costs

A good salesman presents the benefits of whatever he is selling. I want to list some of the benefits that you will receive if you adopt the spending program that I present in this course.

You will have greater confidence in yourself.You will have greater confidence in the word of God.

You will receive the foundations of a lifelong success program.

You will find that you have increased income every month after expenses.

You will be able to leave an inheritance for your children. I don’t mean simply an economic inheritance; I mean an inheritance relating to their lifestyle.

An honest salesman also discusses costs. With respect to the material you will be receiving in this course, these costs are actually benefits, but a person who has found himself in deep debt does not initially perceive that these costs are benefits.

It requires a leap of faith.It requires tithing, which means reduced consumption initially.

It requires a systematic program of budgeting.

It requires constant self-assessment through a series of budget reviews.

It requires a savings program.

What should you expect over the next 11 weeks?

First, there will be a weekly homework assignment. This is required to make good use of the following week’s lesson. These steps are cumulative.Second, you will be introduced to a series of tools that you can use to implement the recommended plan.

Third, if you join this site (free), you will be given hundreds of real-world ways that you can cut your spending without sacrificing greatly.

Fourth, if you join this site, you will be able to get advice on the forums.

Fifth, you will be asked to recommend this site to others.

Why should you do all this? Let’s go through the basics.

First you are worrying about money. You find that you have more month than money. If you stick with this course, you will stop worrying about money because you will have more money than month.

Second, you are paying other people for past purchases. When you’re through with this course, you will know how to live comfortably without signing away your future income.

Third, you are burdened by a sense of personal failure. There is a reason for this. You have failed. I am going to show you how to succeed.

Fourth, you lack a lifetime plan of action. I’m going to show you how to construct a new lifetime plan, and then follow through on it.

Fifth, you are consuming your children’s inheritance in the broadest sense of the term. They cannot look to you for guidance in the handling of their personal finances. Even if you know what to do, you’re going to be in the position of generations of parents who tell their children, “Do as I say, and not as I do.” That statement has never convinced very many children.

Where should you be after 11 weeks?

First, you should be rejoicing at your life’s benefits.Second you will be much less of a borrower. You will learn how to become a lender.

Third, you will find that you are expanding your personal influence. This is part of the training of this course.

Fourth, you will find that you are able to fulfill more of your life’s goals. Not only that, you will have new goals that you have not paid any attention to previously.

Fifth, you will find that you are on the road to accumulating wealth. You ought to be there now, but you’re not. This is going to change.

This course is going to show you what you must do. That is not enough. You need greater assistance than this. God is going to deliver you from debt-cursed living, but you can regard me as his nagging messenger. The Bible teaches that the borrower is servant to the lender (Proverbs 22:7). I am going to show you how to cease being a servant to lenders.

A 11-Step Recovery Program

This course is a how-to program. It will show how to get out of debt and stay out of debt for the rest of your life. It will provide the tools needed. The web site’s forums will provide assistance.

Create an email folder for this course. You will use this for filing each of the 12 lessons.

It would not hurt to create a separate folder for Favorites or Bookmarks to file the HTML pages, such as this one.

How-to programs are self-help programs. This is less of a self-help program than a 12-step addiction-deliverance program. If you could do it by yourself, you already would have done it.

The problem that we all face in life is that it is not good enough to know what to do; we then have to do it. Someone may want to lose weight, but he is not going to lose weight if he reads a diet book while munching on chips and bean dip. It may be the best diet book in the world, but unless he changes his eating habits, he is not going to lose any weight. It is exactly the same thing with personal finances.

This is your diet book. You must stay away from the bean dip.

Cure and Prevention

Those of us who are involved in direct-response marketing know that it is always easier to sell a cure than prevention. There is an old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The problem is, most people are unwilling to pay for the ounce of prevention, so they wind up paying a pound of cure.

This is probably your situation.

If people were trained by their parents from an early age to budget their money, they would probably not fall into the trap of massive debt when they become adults. There is no guarantee that this would be the case, because the lure of “buy now, pay later” is very great. But, on the whole, people who learn good habits with respect to their spending when they are teenagers are much less likely to fall into bad habits when they are adults.

If you follow the recommendations that you will receive each week for the next 12 weeks, you will gain a new set of habits. These new habits will change your life. But, as with any new habits, it takes time to make them a part of your life. Even more difficult, when they have replaced a long-entrenched series of bad habits, a person finds that it is very difficult to keep from falling back.

One of the reasons why I divided up the course into 12 weekly lessons is because I know that people need time to make the transition from debt-based living to thrift-based living. It is almost impossible in a brief period of time to make all of the changes that you need to make. So, I have put together a course that will take you through the fundamentals in a 12-week period. The course will not simply tell you the fundamentals; it will enable you to adopt these new habits as part of a new way of living.

In the same way that a diet is not supposed to be a temporary change of a person’s eating habits, so is this program not supposed to be a one-time debt-reduction program. A diet may work for the period of time that you are on the diet, but if you go off the diet, it will have done you no good.

In the same way that a diet does not do you much good if you see it as a temporary change to achieve a short-term goal, such as going back to your high school reunion in a slimmer condition, so this course will do you no good if you think it is merely a means of getting debt free on a one-time basis.

Your goal should not be to get debt-free on a one-time basis. Your goal should be to stay debt-free for the rest your life. A diet will not keep you slender unless it becomes a new way of eating. The same is true of the information that you will receive in this course.

The Curses of Debt

People who are in debt have very little wiggle room with their budget. They have no room for emergencies. The trouble is, I emergencies always arise. So, people go into greater debt in order to handle the emergencies. This is a downward spiral.

When you are in debt, you have low mobility. You have low mobility geographically, and you have low mobility in your career. You are unable to take advantage of opportunities that spring up, because you are so far in debt that you are unable to rely on personal financial reserves long enough to take advantage of the opportunity.

Another curse of debt-based living is that you make purchases that you later feel guilty about. You are tired of the guilt, but you seem to be unable to break the addiction of making purchases. I’m going to show you how to escape that bondage.

You face higher interest costs than other people, precisely because you have so much debt. You cannot take advantage of low mortgage rates, because lenders are not going to lend you money at the lowest possible rates.

You are paying more for the goods that you buy because you are not paying cash. You do not have cash, so you are not in a position to negotiate lower prices. This is always a disadvantage. Money talks. Cash talks loudest of all.

30 Days to Better Spending Habits

It takes 30 consecutive days to break a bad habit. I discuss this here. But debt addiction involves more than one bad habit. This is why deliverance will take you longer than 30 days. With this 12-week course, it will take you at least 84 days.

It took you longer than 84 days to get into bad habits. Remember this law of human action: Things are easier to get into than out of.

This Week’s Homework Assignment

Here is your first homework assignment. Collect as many receipts as you have for your expenditures over the past three months. I hope you have saved the receipts somewhere. If not, you must develop the habit of saving receipts. This is going to help you determine where your money is going. Right now, you need to know where your money went. I hope you are in a position to make this determination. Go through all of your records to find out where your money went.

If you don’t have physical receipts, you have receipts in your credit card statements. Gather those credit card statements together in one location. I am not asking you to go through them yet. I am asking you merely to assemble them as a first step.

There will be an assignment at the end of every lesson.

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