A recent report by Wendy Wang in the Wall Street Journal has highlighted how virtuous living is a key to financial success for young people.
The idea that virtue leads to financial success has become controversial as our liberal politicians try to blame poverty on racism or capitalism or some other cause. But Ms. Wang, director of research for the Institute of Family Success, has the data to back up her claim.
Ms. Wang identifies a "sequence" of early life decisions that are identified with success. This path to success is closely aligned with biblical principles:
Step 1: Finish high school: The Proverbs tell us wisdom brings prosperity (Prov. 8:18) and is the most valuable possession (Prov. 3:13-18).
Step 2: Get a job: The Bible teaches us that God wants us to work and not be dependent on others (1 Thess. 4:11-12), and that work brings promotion and rulership (Prov. 12:24).
Step 3: Then get married and start a family: The great preacher Tony Evens of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas said it best, "Remember that God gave Adam a job before He gave him a wife."
The statistics to back up Ms. Wang's sequence are powerful. Using the data gathered from the National Longstanding Survey of Youth, she and Sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox found that the poverty rate for Millennials aged 28-34 was 53% for those who did not complete high school, did not work and had children out of wedlock. These who completed the first step, completing high school, had a poverty rate of 31%, while those who added work to the high school diploma had 16% poverty rate. Only 3% of those who had children in marriage after completing high school and working ended up in poverty.
Another significant finding was that those from a low-income family who followed the sequence escaped poverty 94% of the time. Eighty percent of them made it into the middle or upper income levels. So financial freedom is still available to those who live virtuously.
In fact, the godly virtues of learning, work and marriage are the greatest anti-poverty program in the history of the world.
We should follow Ms. Wang's final piece of advice and quit keeping it a secret from our young people.
Ron Allen is a Christian businessman, CPA and author who serves in local, national and international ministries, spreading a message of reconciliation to God, to men and between believers. He is founder of the International Star Bible Society, telling how the heavens declare the glory of God; the Emancipation Network, which helps people escape from financial bondage; and co-founder with his wife, Pat, of Corporate Prayer Resources, dedicated to helping intercessors.
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