Guest Post: Financial Lessons From a Billionaire

Lessons from a Billionaire”
This past weekend, I spoke about
Financial Legacy™ during
a women’s conference, hosted by Outside the Box International Ministry, at New
Hope Church in Lorton, VA. It was a day filled with praise, worship, and empowerment.
I took an excerpt from my 3-hour Financial Legacy™ Workshop and extracted key points of information from
it. I delivered a message of financial hope to those in attendance. 
One of the topics I discussed included a
section of my workshop that I call ‘Financial Lessons from a Billionaire’.  One thing that I’ve learned about finances is
that in order to reach your financial destiny, there are certain principles you
must follow. Once you’ve determined what you want your financial future to look
like, it’s important to learn from individuals who have been where you want to
One said example is none other than the
first American to earn a billion dollars, John D. Rockefeller. There are
financial lessons we can learn from his life and apply to ours. The following
are just a few.
·       John D. Rockefeller was an American industrialist and
philanthropist who lived from 1839-1937.
was the founder of the Standard Oil Company, which dominated the oil
industry at the turn of the 20th Century.
Adjusting for inflation, he is considered the richest person in modern
history (with a net worth of $663.4 billion dollars in 2007 dollars).
He spent the last 40 years of his life in retirement.
His foundations pioneered the development of medical research, and were
instrumental in the eradication of hookworm and yellow fever.
He is also the founder of both the University of Chicago and
Rockefeller University.
The full salary for his first three months’ work (age 16) was $50. From
the beginning, he donated about 6% of his earnings to charity, which increased
to 10% by the age of 20, when he tithed to his church.
In 1864, Rockefeller married Laura Celestia “Cettie” Spelman.
Rockefeller said later, “Her judgment was always better than mine. Without her
keen advice, I would be a poor man.”
He was a member of the Erie Street Baptist Mission Church, where he
taught Sunday school, and served as a trustee, clerk, and occasional janitor.
Religion was a guiding force throughout his life, and Rockefeller
believed it to be the source of his success. As he said, “God gave me money”.
He felt at ease following John Wesley’s quote, “gain all you can, save all you
can, and give all you can.”
In 1884, Rockefeller provided major funding for a college in Atlanta
for African-American women, which became Spelman College, named for
Rockefeller’s in-laws.
Rockefeller Biographer, Allan Nevins, said about Rockefeller’s business
“The rise of the Standard Oil men to great wealth was not from poverty. It was
not meteor-like, but accomplished over a quarter of a century…”
John D. Rockefeller, the richest man in
modern history, believed and followed specific financial principles including: working,
tithing, seeking the counsel of his spouse, serving, understanding that God was
the source of his wealth, and leaving a financial legacy to his family as well
as to his community. One of the most important financial lessons that he
learned was that, in business and in life, success doesn’t happen overnight. I
teach my students and my clients this same principle. I teach them that they
didn’t get into their financial situation overnight and they’re not going to
get out of it overnight.
John D. Rockefeller followed the
financial principles that God ordained and what took me years to figure out:
reaching your financial destiny requires knowledge, understanding, obedience,
diligence, and patience.  And that true
Financial Legacy™ is a
marathon, not a sprint.
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Sherri Gray, The Money Mom
Certified Personal Finance Counselor Candidate