This is a repost of my first blog post in July of 2012. Enjoy.
The Godfather trilogy is my favorite group movies. The characters of Vito and Michael Corleone are fascinating to me. They were viewed as the leaders of their families and were looked up to and respected.
Here are ways you can become the “Godfather “of your family. I have left out the murder, gambling, and all other illegal aspects of the Corleone Family Business. The five ways include:
- Manage your personal finances by using a cash flow plan (budget) and get out of debt. When I mean get out of debt, I mean cutting up the credit cards and stop borrowing money. You don’t want to be controlled or owe someone money. The Corleone family’s mission was not to be controlled like “puppets on a string.” Even better, make it a goal to get your FICO score to zero (I will discuss in another post).
- After you are debt free (except for your mortgage), invest 15% of your gross income into retirement. Build wealth (legally) and leave something for your children when you die. Proverbs 13:22 says, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s’ children” indicating that God wants us to make a difference, financially, in our family tree. Build that legacy of prosperity. The Godfather (Vito and Michael) had a vision for their family.
- Payoff the house and you will have earned the “Godfather pinky ring.” With no debt, a paid off house, and on a wealth building plan, just think of how much you could save, spend, and GIVE. Your family will see your disciplined, yet big heart.
- Teach your kids how to handle money. Remember, they will do what you do. If you borrow money, they will eventually borrow money. If you spend carelessly, they will too. Vito Corleone taught his son Michael many things about running the family business (some I don’t suggest).
- Never complain or be negative (I have struggled with this step). You are supposed to be the “rock” of the family. No one has faith in a leader that complains. Lead by example.
- It can be very difficult for you to make family members follow your way of handling money, I know from personal experience. I still have relatives who borrow money, leverage themselves, and refuse to get a will. That is ok, serve as an example and don’t lecture them, they will eventually seek you out for advice because they know you are right and they are wrong (just kidding, but not so much). If not, they are probably like Fredo Corleone, Michael’s brother. In that case, you may have to take them out on a lake for a fishing trip for a personal finance lesson (we know how that ends).
Question: Ask yourself; are you the “Godfather” of your family? If not, what steps do you need to take to build a financial legacy and change your family tree?