Somebody is watching you

By glblguy

Somebody is watching you

Who’s watching, Tell me, who’s watching, Who’s watching me
Somebody’s Watching Me, Rockwell, 1984

I love going to church and listening to our pastor’s sermons. Funny, I remember a time when I would literally count down the time to when church service was over. Now that I am older and and a more mature Christian, I’ve really come to appreciate the sermon each Sunday and really get a great deal from them. To be honest, many of the sermons influence articles I write here on Gather Little by Little, and this is one such article.

Two weeks or so ago, our pastor was delivering his sermon and reminded us that as Christians we are constantly being watched, both by fellow Christians and non-Christians. We are being watched by others to determine how a Christian should or does act. Our actions set the standard for how others perceive Christians to be.

Listening to this and reflecting on it some, I realized this applies to many situations. I’m an IT manager at a financial services company and am sure I’m watched by my staff and peers to help determine how a manager should act. I know I watch my manager and peers for this very same reason.

This concept also applies to our personal finances. As we begin our financial journey to regain control of our finances people will notice. The more vocal we are about it, the more they will notice. I am very open about my financial turnaround. Most people that know me are fully aware of my loathing for credit cards and credit card companies. They are also aware I am fairly frugal and always on the hunt for a great deal. I do blog anonymously here on Gather Little by Little though, otherwise people would know a whole lot more.

I’m okay with people knowing about my finances, at least at a high level. I’m not comfortable disclosing specific numbers, but it’s not a secret that I had and still have a fairly large amount of debt, until a year and half ago had little to no savings and frankly was on a path to quick financial self destruction.

As I reflected further on the sermon, I began to wonder how many people are not only watching me as a Christian, but how many people are watching how I manage my financial life? When I tell people I am frugal and then go purchase something that isn’t how does that effect how people view me? Are people watching me as a model for how to regain control of their financial lives? I hope so, but it sure does impose a great deal of pressure for me to stay on track and not mess up.

Somebody is watching you

I can almost guarantee that right now, not matter what state your personal finances are in, somebody is watching you. Maybe your neighbor, a co-worker, a friend, a family member, or maybe even your child. Someone is looking at your financial life and learning from it. Let that “marinate” for a minute.

Does that reality change your thinking a bit? It sure did mine and was one of the many reasons I started Gather Little by Little. I figured if I wrote about what I was doing and shared my journey with people than I would be far more likely to actually stay on track. After all, I had to answer up if I didn’t right?

Tips in case you are being watched

Here are just a few tips you can follow in case you are being watched:

  1. Make sure you do what you say – This is probably the most important thing you can do. If you say you hate credit cards, then cut them up and don’t use them. If you say you save 10%, than you better save 10%. When we say we do something, then don’t, it impacts are credibility with others.
  2. Nobody is perfect – Nobody on this earth is perfect, and for most of us we’re a whole lot further away from perfect than we would like to be. Don’t ever forgot that. We all make mistakes, stumble, and even fall flat on our face. This can occur at anytime. When you do make a mistake (and you will) admit it. Share your mistake with others, and share what you learned from it. I was reminded of this a few months back when I slacked on my personal finances.
  3. Talk about your finances and beliefs – I don’t mean tell them how much you make, but talk openly to people about how you manage your finances. Tell then what budget software you do, how you pay your bills on time each month, how you track your net worth, etc. People around you will get far more from hearing you discuss your finances than they will just watching.
  4. Respect Others – Not everyone is going to have the same opinion you do regarding personal finance. Some believe in budgets, some don’t. Others love credit cards and some like me can’t stand them. Take time to listen and learn from others. You don’t always have to agree, but always respect the opinions and perspectives of others.
  5. Be a great example – Do such a great job with your finances, that others can’t say a bad thing about you. Let me tell you, this is a tough one, but striving for this can only help. Work so hard at being financially secure that others can look to you as an example.

Who’s watching you? What influence does this have on your financial life? What do you do to help and encourage those that might be watching you? Add a comment!

Photo by: Seth Tisue

8 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Somebody is watching you”

  1. plonkee Says:

    Your pastor is right by the way, I’m one of the non-Christians who watches what you (collectively) do and I form my opinions based on your actions not your ideals.

    As far as money goes, I guess I’m relatively open about money, that I invest for the future, and that I don’t really approve of debt. With close friends or family, I point out that I am accountable to my own readers.

  2. Ryan @ Smarter Wealth Says:

    I am also a Christian and I lead a small group at my church. I lead guys aged 15-18 and they are watching me in everything. In finances, in relationships, in christianity.
    I also run a wealth blog and people are now watching me and how I deal with finances. Personally I dont have a loathing for credit card because I learnt how to control myself with money very early in my life when I used to bank all of the money I earnt.
    So thanks for the post. I always try to get something out of every sermon I listen to. I hope everyone that reads my wealth blog gets something out of what they read. Even if it is a little thing

  3. MITBeta @ Don't Feed the Alligators Says:

    I think about this frequently. We are well known to friends and family as frugal. It is also well known that we research and analyze every expenditure to the Nth degree. I still worry, however, that the $10,000 saved in a Roth IRA this year already gets lost on some of our friends and family who see our purchase of a Nintendo Wii and think that if we can buy something like that then they must be able to also…

  4. Denise Says:

    Thankyou so, so, much for this article and your related blog. I don’t know you, but I admire you very much for admitting your mistakes. I have fallen off of the budget bandwagon, many times, usually around Christmas. I learned that I needed to budget more money for Christmas gifts and the related socializing. It is really worth it to cut back now for xtra money to have in the budget over the holidays. Also, I have learned that socializing is important but eating out is not. I will order a coffee and then eat home latter on. Snacks, to keep in the car and at work helps when that hunger strikes. Keep on with your blog; I get alot out of it.

  5. maze Says:

    This article is a great reminder for me. I am an observer of things and people and I think that I often forget that just as I am watching, others are watching me too.

  6. fathersez Says:

    Your pastor is wise. Our holy book also says the same…something like there is never a secret meeting amongst two, where God is not the third.

    Ultimately we will be judged by what we do, not by what we say we should or you should do.

    Thanks for this reminder.

    Best regards

  7. Pete Says:

    Great post, it certainly gives me a lot to think about.

    Our pastor this week was talking about humility, and how we need to be humble in everything we do as Christians. That plays well into your thought theme that we’re always being watched. Since we’re being watched it is good to be humble and righteous in all our dealings..