Surviving the Coronavirus Financial Tsunami

As our family of six continues to weather the Wuhan virus and the local, state, and national shutdown that has ensued, and before D.C. politicians spend another trillion or two that this nation doesn’t have on a “bailout,” the Thomas family would like to make something abundantly clear: we don’t need a China-virus check!

This is not because we are wealthy -- at least not by American standards. As I’ve often noted, my main source of income comes from the teaching of mathematics at government schools. That’s right, I’m employed by two government schools: a day school where I’m employed full time and an evening charter high school where I’m employed part time. Like many other states, because of an order by Georgia’s governor, we are now doing school from home until at least the end of March.

Both of the schools where I’m employed are participating in school from home. At my day school, this means all teachers are still fully employed. This is likely the case all over the U.S. My evening school is keeping some teachers (all teachers at this type of school are part-time, hourly workers) employed -- I’m one of them. Thus, at this time -- and I don’t anticipate this changing -- I have suffered no loss of income.

Also, as Michelle and I have pointed out on multiple occasions, Michelle is a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom with little to no income. Though this nationwide shutdown has us quite annoyed, things are running relatively normally at the “Thomas Academy.” In other words, we do not need a “bailout.”

However, we do understand that many across the U.S. are not in our position, and because of this virus and the decisions of those in government, many Americans are suffering financially. This is especially the case with those who own small businesses. We know many such folks in our circle of family and friends. Let any bailout efforts from the government be targeted at those individuals and businesses.

If our wishes here are ignored and we nevertheless receive a China-virus check (or checks), Michelle and I have decided to use that money to help those in our community who own small businesses and are suffering the most during these difficult financial times. For example, we will be intentional about frequenting locally-owned businesses, such as restaurants, our auto mechanic, our karate school, and gun stores -- northeast Georgia is blessed with several of these!

For those who offer them, we will purchase gift certificates that we can use later or give away. Also, we plan to employ local contractors for home-projects that we might otherwise put off or do ourselves. We may, for those we know well and can trust, simply write a check. However, most small business owners we know don’t want a handout and want to work for what monies they receive. However, the best thing government can do, and the quickest way out of this financial mess, is simply to get as many people as possible back to work as quickly as possible!

Also, this is perhaps the best time in my adult life to share God’s wisdom when it comes to money and finances. As Michelle and I have pointed out on multiple occasions, because of the wisdom and direction of God, for over two decades now we have lived debt free. This is another reason that we are able to weather these current times better than most, even those who have significantly more income than do we.

This would be the case even if we had a significant loss of income. Because we are indebted to no one for our possessions, we have no fear of foreclosure or repossession, even if my income went to zero. In addition, we have an emergency savings account that could keep us afloat for several months, if needed. Again, I must confess, our debt-free path was not my plan. It took a wise and financially disciplined wife and a wise and almighty God to open my eyes on most things concerning money.

After marriage, our first financial decision was to honor God by always giving a tenth of all that He provides, and also to begin living on a budget. Over 22 years ago, we established a workable budget (based only on my income, even though Michelle was working full time then) that we maintain to this day. Michelle was already tithing and living on a budget, so she simply brought what she was already practicing into our marriage. All I had to do was agree to go along. Whether we are talking about the government, a business, a church, a family, or an individual, a good budget is essential in maintaining a healthy bottom line. 

A budget can help keep you from overspending during any particular income period or in any particular area; it can help you plan for non-regular expenses such as car and home repairs; and it can help you plan for your financial future. Establishing a budget can be a lengthy process. It can take as long as a full year for an individual or a family to get a budget working well, but the benefits are well worth the hard work involved.

Our budget has played an essential role in guiding us through various financial times. We are a homeschooling family of six, with our four children growing from little ones into teenagers and before long, young adults. Our budget is in constant flux, but it helps us see the adjustments in spending that we need to make in order to maintain sound financial discipline. 

Early in our marriage, after agreeing to tithing and budgeting, I was still completely of the mindset of most when it came to the purchase of big-ticket items -- cars, homes, etc. Because she worked for and was financially discipled by the late, great Larry Burkett, and for various other reasons, very early in our marriage, Michelle was hinting at building our home without a mortgage. I only agreed to this, along with making a life-long commitment to living debt free, after God got my attention.

Lastly, the most important financial principle that I have learned is the biblical principle of stewardship. Tithing, living on a budget, and becoming debt free all hinged on our understanding our roles as stewards. A steward is a manager of someone else’s property. Scripture reveals that God owns everything. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”

Thus, from a biblical perspective, none of us really “owns” anything. We are merely managers of what God has given us. Whether material resources, or our talents and abilities, a proper biblical perspective means that we understand that everything we have comes from the One who made us. Until we come to grips with our role as stewards, we will never truly understand money and wealth and how to deal with financial blessings or difficulties.

I take almost no credit for where we are financially. Michelle has always been more financially disciplined than me. Early in our marriage, through her efforts and the ministry founded by Larry Burkett, Christian Financial Concepts (now Crown Financial Ministries), I embraced the simple, wise truths put forth in Scripture concerning money and debt. In other words, we are where we are financially by the grace and wisdom of God. 

Our situation was and is a unique one (detailed in Debt-Free Living in a Debt-Filled World). I would not necessarily recommend that anyone do things exactly as we did them. Our path was literally “a calling.” However, I do believe that there are tried and true, simple financial principles that we applied and are still living by that would benefit most anyone -- especially in times like these.

Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the 
The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

As our family of six continues to weather the Wuhan virus and the local, state, and national shutdown that has ensued, and before D.C. politicians spend another trillion or two that this nation doesn’t have on a “bailout,” the Thomas family would like to make something abundantly clear: we don’t need a China-virus check!

This is not because we are wealthy -- at least not by American standards. As I’ve often noted, my main source of income comes from the teaching of mathematics at government schools. That’s right, I’m employed by two government schools: a day school where I’m employed full time and an evening charter high school where I’m employed part time. Like many other states, because of an order by Georgia’s governor, we are now doing school from home until at least the end of March.

Both of the schools where I’m employed are participating in school from home. At my day school, this means all teachers are still fully employed. This is likely the case all over the U.S. My evening school is keeping some teachers (all teachers at this type of school are part-time, hourly workers) employed -- I’m one of them. Thus, at this time -- and I don’t anticipate this changing -- I have suffered no loss of income.

Also, as Michelle and I have pointed out on multiple occasions, Michelle is a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom with little to no income. Though this nationwide shutdown has us quite annoyed, things are running relatively normally at the “Thomas Academy.” In other words, we do not need a “bailout.”

However, we do understand that many across the U.S. are not in our position, and because of this virus and the decisions of those in government, many Americans are suffering financially. This is especially the case with those who own small businesses. We know many such folks in our circle of family and friends. Let any bailout efforts from the government be targeted at those individuals and businesses.

If our wishes here are ignored and we nevertheless receive a China-virus check (or checks), Michelle and I have decided to use that money to help those in our community who own small businesses and are suffering the most during these difficult financial times. For example, we will be intentional about frequenting locally-owned businesses, such as restaurants, our auto mechanic, our karate school, and gun stores -- northeast Georgia is blessed with several of these!

For those who offer them, we will purchase gift certificates that we can use later or give away. Also, we plan to employ local contractors for home-projects that we might otherwise put off or do ourselves. We may, for those we know well and can trust, simply write a check. However, most small business owners we know don’t want a handout and want to work for what monies they receive. However, the best thing government can do, and the quickest way out of this financial mess, is simply to get as many people as possible back to work as quickly as possible!

Also, this is perhaps the best time in my adult life to share God’s wisdom when it comes to money and finances. As Michelle and I have pointed out on multiple occasions, because of the wisdom and direction of God, for over two decades now we have lived debt free. This is another reason that we are able to weather these current times better than most, even those who have significantly more income than do we.

This would be the case even if we had a significant loss of income. Because we are indebted to no one for our possessions, we have no fear of foreclosure or repossession, even if my income went to zero. In addition, we have an emergency savings account that could keep us afloat for several months, if needed. Again, I must confess, our debt-free path was not my plan. It took a wise and financially disciplined wife and a wise and almighty God to open my eyes on most things concerning money.

After marriage, our first financial decision was to honor God by always giving a tenth of all that He provides, and also to begin living on a budget. Over 22 years ago, we established a workable budget (based only on my income, even though Michelle was working full time then) that we maintain to this day. Michelle was already tithing and living on a budget, so she simply brought what she was already practicing into our marriage. All I had to do was agree to go along. Whether we are talking about the government, a business, a church, a family, or an individual, a good budget is essential in maintaining a healthy bottom line. 

A budget can help keep you from overspending during any particular income period or in any particular area; it can help you plan for non-regular expenses such as car and home repairs; and it can help you plan for your financial future. Establishing a budget can be a lengthy process. It can take as long as a full year for an individual or a family to get a budget working well, but the benefits are well worth the hard work involved.

Our budget has played an essential role in guiding us through various financial times. We are a homeschooling family of six, with our four children growing from little ones into teenagers and before long, young adults. Our budget is in constant flux, but it helps us see the adjustments in spending that we need to make in order to maintain sound financial discipline. 

Early in our marriage, after agreeing to tithing and budgeting, I was still completely of the mindset of most when it came to the purchase of big-ticket items -- cars, homes, etc. Because she worked for and was financially discipled by the late, great Larry Burkett, and for various other reasons, very early in our marriage, Michelle was hinting at building our home without a mortgage. I only agreed to this, along with making a life-long commitment to living debt free, after God got my attention.

Lastly, the most important financial principle that I have learned is the biblical principle of stewardship. Tithing, living on a budget, and becoming debt free all hinged on our understanding our roles as stewards. A steward is a manager of someone else’s property. Scripture reveals that God owns everything. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”

Thus, from a biblical perspective, none of us really “owns” anything. We are merely managers of what God has given us. Whether material resources, or our talents and abilities, a proper biblical perspective means that we understand that everything we have comes from the One who made us. Until we come to grips with our role as stewards, we will never truly understand money and wealth and how to deal with financial blessings or difficulties.

I take almost no credit for where we are financially. Michelle has always been more financially disciplined than me. Early in our marriage, through her efforts and the ministry founded by Larry Burkett, Christian Financial Concepts (now Crown Financial Ministries), I embraced the simple, wise truths put forth in Scripture concerning money and debt. In other words, we are where we are financially by the grace and wisdom of God. 

Our situation was and is a unique one (detailed in Debt-Free Living in a Debt-Filled World). I would not necessarily recommend that anyone do things exactly as we did them. Our path was literally “a calling.” However, I do believe that there are tried and true, simple financial principles that we applied and are still living by that would benefit most anyone -- especially in times like these.

Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the 
The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com