Financial Faith

Huh? What is financial faith? Do you believe the Sun will rise tomorrow in the East? Sure you do; it’s been doing that as long as you can remember and you expect it to do so again and again. Financial commentators, for the most part, will assure you that the stock market, home prices, and the economy in general will rise again. That is a tenet of their collective faith in the capitalist economy. They are probably correct, but in the meantime there is plenty of pain to be endured by many of us. For me, financial faith is more closely associated with religious faith than history as the analogy to the Sun is to the faith of the financial world. From the age of seven, after my father’s death, my mother and I survived on Social Security benefits until she passed away when I was sixteen. I still received the benefits for another two years while living with my brother and his family. So I can’t say that I saw much hope of financial well-being while growing up. Through college I scrounged what I could in the way of loans, crappy jobs and the very helpful GI bill. Not until I began practicing Buddhism did I see the means to assure my financial future. Having searched unsuccessfully for a job a full year following my graduation from law school, instead of becoming doubtful or depressed, I became more and more confident of success. The confidence came from the daimoku (chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo) and the determination I had. I had already seen proof of this practice. Six weeks after my last job interview, two weeks after I had given notice to my landlord (since my money had run out) I knew that the call would come and it did. From that call came a retirement 25 years later. Along the way a reduction in force put me in a better position. Along the way I received a great financial education becoming first a consumer educator and later a budget analyst.

For those of you in what seems a solid financial footing today, give thanks this Thursday for your good fortune. For those of you who are not in such a happy place, make the causes you need to make to create a better fortune–it will come. You don’t have to practice Buddhism to create wealth or financial security, but I can assure it will help.