來自龜兔賽跑的財務課程──FINANCIAL LESSONS FROM THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE

大多數的人都很熟悉伊索寓言中龜兔賽跑的故事:卑微的烏龜挑戰驕傲的兔子來賽跑。敏捷的兔子很早就取得領先的位置,所以他決定睡個午覺。但是當他一覺醒來卻發現烏龜在長途跋涉之後,已經超越了他並贏得比賽了。這個故事的寓意是:緩慢和穩定才能贏得比賽。但是如果你要小孩子解釋這個故事,他們都會說:兔子跑的很快但他不應該停下來小睡,沒有人想要被定位成緩慢而穩定的烏龜。

我喜歡把財務的安全視為一場漫長、穩定、有時甚至無聊的競賽,它是馬拉松而不是短跑。對我來說,擁有財務安全意味著不必在晚上睡不著、擔心錢或付不出帳單。財務的安全不是要很有錢,而是能制定計劃時,不會受到缺乏財務資源的限制。

我的朋友中有幾位百萬富翁。他們沒人贏過彩券;沒有發明過甚麼特別的東西;也沒有出過熱門唱片或得到一筆大生意。他們只是長時間所花費的少於所賺的,付清了應付的帳單,並且把剩下的錢拿去做長期投資。箴言28章19-20節說:「耕種自己田地的,必得飽食;追隨虛浮的,足受窮乏。誠實人必多得福;想要急速發財的,不免受罰。」

華倫·巴菲特(Warren Buffet)是地球上最富有的人之一。他很樂意回答任何向他提出問題的人,並給出財務建議。一位記者曾經問過他,為什麼很少有人接受他的建議呢?他迅速回答:「因為沒人想慢慢致富。」像巴菲特一樣「慢慢積累財富」的致富方式,其實不困難,只不過不令人興奮。

聖經的舊約箴言就提供了如何正確處理金錢和財富許多非常好的原則。以下是一些例子:

快速致富是一種非常不可靠的財務管理方法。就像寓言裡的兔子跑得很快一樣,快速致富似乎很容易,但去的也快。「誠實人必多得福;想要急速發財的,不免受罰。」(箴言28章20節)。

不要成為債務的僕人。用信用卡購物,無論是個人或企業用途,都很誘人。它甚至看起來像是我們實現目標的捷徑。但是,更重要的是我們要意識到欠債還是要還的,債務限制了人們使用自己財務資源的自由。正如箴言22章7節所說的:「富戶管轄窮人;欠債的是債主的僕人。」

不要為別人的債務負責。即使是家庭成員或密友,成為共同擔保人或為別人作保是非常危險的。如果對方無能還債,你寧可借他錢也比為他作保更為明智。「不要與人擊掌,不要為欠債的作保。你若沒有甚麼償還,何必使人奪去你睡臥的床呢?」(箴言22章26-27節)。

如果不儲蓄,以後可能要付出昂貴的代價。沒有儲蓄或盈餘、賺多少花多少的習慣,跟成為卡奴,一樣危險。那發生意外時你要怎麼辦呢?「智慧人家中積蓄寶物膏油;愚昧人隨得來隨吞下。」(箴言21章20節)。

©2021 JimMathis是堪薩斯州歐弗蘭帕克的作家,攝影師和企業主。他的最新著作是《駱駝和針The Camel and the Needle》,《基督徒看財富和金錢A Christian Looks at Wealth and Money》。他曾任堪薩斯州堪薩斯城和密蘇里州堪薩斯城的CBMC咖啡店經理和執行理事。

反省與問題討論

  1. 你以前聽過龜兔賽跑的寓言故事嗎?如果有,你覺得這個故事的寓意是什麼?這與財務管理的原則有關嗎?請解釋你的答案。
  2. 你是如何描述自己的財務處理方式的?如果有機會,你會做任何改變嗎?
  3. 有很多人告訴你一些保證「快速致富計劃」。你是否曾經認真考慮過其中任何一個呢?他們的吸引力是什麼?你是否認為它們有什麼問題呢?
  4. 個人或是企業如何處理自己的財務狀況,可以反映出他們的屬靈信仰和信念嗎?請解釋你的答案。

備註:如果你手上有聖經,想要閱讀更多經文,請參考:
箴言10章2節
10:2 不義之財毫無益處;惟有公義能救人脫離死亡。
箴言11章4、28節
11:4 發怒的日子資財無益;惟有公義能救人脫離死亡。
11:28 倚仗自己財物的,必跌倒;義人必發旺,如青葉。
箴言13章11節
13:11 不勞而得之財必然消耗;勤勞積蓄的,必見加增。
箴言15章16節
15:16 少有財寶,敬畏耶和華,強如多有財寶,煩亂不安。
箴言23章4-5節
23:4 不要勞碌求富,休仗自己的聰明。
23:5 你豈要定睛在虛無的錢財上嗎?因錢財必長翅膀,如鷹向天飛去。
箴言28章22、25節
28:22 人有惡眼想要急速發財,卻不知窮乏必臨到他身。
28:25 心中貪婪的,挑起爭端;倚靠耶和華的,必得豐裕。
箴言30章8-9節
30:8 求你使虛假和謊言遠離我;使我也不貧窮也不富足;賜給我需用的飲食,
30:9 恐怕我飽足不認你,說:耶和華是誰呢?又恐怕我貧窮就偷竊,以致褻瀆我 神的名。


FINANCIAL LESSONS FROM THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE

By Jim Mathis

 Most of us are familiar with Aesop’s fable about “The Tortoise and the Hare.” The humble tortoise challenges the arrogant hare to a race. The quick rabbit jumps to an early lead, then decides to take a nap. He awakens to find the tortoise has trudged pass him to win the race. The supposed moral of this story is that slow and steady wins the race, but often when children are asked their interpretation, they say that the hare is clearly faster, but he shouldn’t have stopped for the nap. Nobody really wants to identify with the slow and steady turtle.

I like to think of financial security as a long, steady, and sometimes boring race, a marathon not a sprint. To me, having financial security means not being awake at night worrying about money or paying the bills. It is not about being rich, but being able to make plans without being limited by a lack of financial resources. 

Among my friends are several millionaires. None of them won the lottery, came up with a brilliant invention, made a hit recording, or landed a huge business deal. They all just spent less than they earned, paid their bills, and invested the rest over a long period of time. Proverbs 28:19-20 says, “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty. A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.”

Warren Buffet is one of the wealthiest people on the planet. He freely gives financial advice to anyone who asks. A reporter once asked him why so few people take his advice. He quickly answered, “No one wants to get rich slow.” Accumulating wealth the “Buffet Way” is not hard; it just is not exciting. 

The Bible’s Old Testament book of Proverbs offers a number of excellent principles about how to properly handle money and wealth. Here are some other examples:

Haste is a very unreliable approach to financial management. Like the proverbial speedy rabbit, it may seem easy to acquire wealth in a hurry. But it can be lost just as quickly. “A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished” (Proverbs 28:20).

Do not become a servant to debt. Purchasing things on credit, whether for personal use or a business, is tempting. It might even seem like a shortcut to our goals. However, it is important to realize debts must be repaid, limiting one’s freedom in the use of financial resources. As Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”

Do not become obligated for the debts of others. Cosigning, or serving as a guarantee for payment of someone else’s loans, even if it is for a family member or close friend, can be dangerous. It is wiser to give money than to become liable if the other person fails to meet the obligations. “Do not be a make who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you” (Proverbs 22:26-27).

Failure to save a portion of your earnings can prove costly. Almost as dangerous as trying to live on credit is a habit of spending everything that you earn, leaving no savings or surplus. What will you do in an emergency? “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has” (Proverbs 21:20).

© 2021. Jim Mathis is a writer, photographer and small business owner in Overland Park, Kansas. His latest book is The Camel and the Needle, A Christian Looks at Wealth and Money. He formerly was executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. Had you heard the fable of “The Tortoise and the Hare” before? If so, what did you conclude was the moral – the underlying message – of this story? Do you think it is relevant for a discussion of financial management.
  2. How would you describe the way you handle your finances? If you had the opportunity, would you make any changes?
  3. There are many people who promise “get rich quick” schemes. Have you ever considered any of them seriously? What is their appeal? And what do you think are problems with them?
  4. Do you think how a person handles their finances, whether personally or in a business, can be a reflection of their spiritual faith and convictions? Explain your answer.

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about principles it presents, consider the following passages: Proverbs 10:2, 11:4,28, 13:11, 15:16, 23:4-5, 28:22,25, 30:8-9


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