Leaving a Legacy of Disciplined Financial Planning | American Funds

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Leaving a Legacy of Disciplined Financial Planning

Working in the ministry, the Sutphins learned to be disciplined about saving, spending and giving to meet the needs of their growing family. Now that their children are having kids of their own, they share the wisdom of living within your means and making sound financial choices.



The Sutphin Family


Recorded May 31, 2013

David Sutphin: We were 26 years old when we became pastors. That sounds very young now — we thought it was old then. We thought we were ready for retirement. We didn’t grow up with a lot of money to work with. And so we didn’t have a lot to work with in our first years of ministry, either. So our philosophy was, if you didn’t have it, you didn’t spend it.

Jason Sutphin: When I was a kid I probably viewed it the same way he viewed his childhood. I thought we were kind of poor. But what it really was, is Mom and Dad actually did have money. We may not have had a lot. But they had money, they were just being smart with it.

But growing up I was told “no” quite a bit. Or, “We’re going to the store to buy new shoes: you got $20.” Or whatever it was, and that’s it, and when that’s gone, you’re done.

Marilyn Sutphin: I think with children — and we are seeing that now with our grandchildren — is just teaching them to be deliberate in their saving, their giving and their spending.

Angie Sutphin: I think inside he’s a spender.

Jason: But I have to be an adult now ...

Angie: Exactly.

Jason: ... and say okay, as much as I want to spend this, we’ve got to save it, we’ve got to. It should be a lifestyle: the give, save, spend.

I think the biggest lesson for Angie and I that we learned is that we got married and we went out and got a home and all the things. But like my parent always said, it took them 30 years to get it. We didn’t realize that … it took us about 30 days to get it. Credit took us a long way, but little did we know we were going to pay for it in the end, in more than one way.

Marilyn: That’s when a parent just has to sit back and let them make their mistake and learn their own way. You know, you just have to do that.

David: See, you always want the next generation to have it better than you had. But at what cost? We need to give our kids more than stuff. We need to give them things that will help them make good choices throughout their lives.

Our church has always been kind and generous to us, so they set us up a 403(b). And since then we have a Roth and then our personal savings. So the past few years we’ve been playing catch up. We should have been doing it all along, but to be honest, we just didn’t know. And plus, we didn’t have a lot to work with raising three boys, sending them to school. So it was just one of those things you, like everyone else, you put off.

I think the good thing about the financial planner — the advisor I had — was that I knew where I wanted to go and he was able to map out a plan for me to get there. That’s what I always appreciate. I think he has our best interests in mind.

The way we grew up … if you grow up tough, it helps you in other areas of life. And so it’s helped us to form a philosophy of there’s a lot of things you can do without and still do well.

We’re not about just investing to accumulate wealth. I mean, that’s a good side to it. But it’s what can we do with this? How can we use it to serve our world, our family? It’s not just about us, because we’re going to be okay. With a little money and a lot of faith you can go a long ways.

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