I have a very unique family background. My father was Jewish and a very good businessman. He owned several different businesses and spent a lot of time, effort and energy making them work. For many years he ran a store in Atlanta, Georgia, called Regenstein’s, which was a ladies’ ready-to-wear clothing business. After Mr. Regenstein died, my father went into the jewelry business in Miami, Florida. That is where he and my mother went on their honeymoon! He started many of the evening auctions on Miami Beach that still continue to this day. Finally, he started an antique business in Georgia and that is what he did for the balance of his life. He loved business and invested himself in the principles that make a person financially successful.
My mother, on the other hand, was a Christian. She spent most of her time studying the Bible or leading Bible studies in churches and small home groups. I cannot remember a day of my life when I did not wake up to the sight my mother sitting at the kitchen table studying her Bible and the smell of her morning coffee.
Not too long ago I came across one of my mother’s Bibles. I turned through five or six pages in this well-worn book. The pages are falling out of the book because nearly every page has a note or a verse underlined. She loved God and devoted her life to the study of Biblical truth.
So, you see, I grew up in two very different worlds. My mother taught me to love God and follow His ways, but my father taught me the ways of the world. By that, I mean the “ways of the world” in a good sense.
He taught me to pay my bills, be wherever I was supposed to be on time or a little early, let my handshake be my bond, and always honor my word. He trained me to keep my commitments, to always be a person of integrity and good character. Then often he would smile at me and say, “And be sure to have a friend at the bank.” When I asked what that meant, he explained to me how important it is to have a friend when it comes to financial dealings. He said, “Robert, you will be surprised how often you will need money in this life. If you have a friend at the bank, you will have someone who knows your character and reputation who can help you if there is ever a need.” Because of that advice, I have made it my business to always have a friend at the bank. I know my local banker on a first name basis. Let me tell you how important this is.
On one occasion several years ago, I was with my family in Cancun, Mexico. One of my daughters realized that she had written a check but did not have quite enough money in her account to cover it. She told me that the check would bounce and there would be service fees not only from the bank, but also from the company to whom she had written the check. Although the check was just for a small amount, her mistake would lead to big charges and other complications for her. I picked up the phone and called my friend who ran the local bank back in my hometown. I explained what had happened and asked if she could move some money from my account to my daughter’s account in order to take care of everything. (Now, remember, I am in Cancun when this happened and not even in the United States! I had no way to go into the bank, sign any papers or transfer any funds except by phone.) When I finished explaining to my banker friend what was going on, she laughed and told me that it was no problem and that she would take care of everything. We made arrangements for me to sign all of the paperwork when I returned home. I thanked her graciously and also thanked God for a father who told me to have a friend at the bank.
I am in and out of the bank several times each week. When I told my banker friend, Sam, about the good advice my father gave me, he laughed and said, “Your father was a wise man. It is important to love God, but it is also important to have a friend at the bank!”
I do not know if you have a close relationship with your banker or not, but I would certainly encourage you to do so. It makes life much easier when things are going well, but it also helps when things are not going so well!
I would also encourage you to love God. The same principle applies. He is a wonderful friend to have when things are good. And, He is certainly important to have in your life when things are not so good.
This Tip is about as practical as they come. I hope you will apply it this week.
Tip: Love God, and have a friend at the bank!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm