The Power of a Transformed Wife; Lori Alexander; Financial Teaching
This is a book review series of The Power of a Transformed Wife by Lori Alexander. If you are just joining us, you may click on previous chapter reviews if you’d like to catch up.
Chapter 14 – Talking About Your Financial Health
It is no surprise to anyone that people are living in debt today. Since the 2008 financial crisis, consumer debt has continued to rise and is now back up to the level prior to the Great Recession. Many Americans are one medical emergency away from financial ruin. In my work in human resources, specifically for those taking leave of absence, I can affirm that medical issues cause financial stress.
Personally, we have lived most of our married life paycheck to paycheck. We went into our marriage with credit card debt. Even though we both worked, we didn’t make enough to create a large savings. Rent was high in Southern California, then there was a car payment and paying for my schooling. Once kid #2 came into the picture we dropped down to one income for ten years. Forget saving for college – we had enough trouble paying for the mortgage, a car, food, gas, and expenses that go into raising kids.
I am not going to nitpick about some of the money advice Lori offers. We have never been good at sticking to a budget, so I don’t think I can offer much sage advice (except to seek professional financial counseling). However, I will cover some of the inconsistencies that I see in her book and what she shares on her blog and social media.
First off, Lori gives statistics and offers no sources to her findings. She states:
60 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account.
Based on an analysis of Federal Reserve Statistics and other governmental data, the average household owes an astonishing $15,762 on their credit cards. These families are adding (and paying) at least $3,310 a year in interest (at 21 percent), which is a huge burden. Since American families have historically added 5 percent per year to this staggering amount, this figure will surely hurdle past the $20,000 mark – which means more bondage.
These statistics may be true, however, Lori never cites her sources. This is simply how Lori writes and it truly aggravates me. Numbers change all the time and it would be nice to know the dates of the data. I’m still amazed that her editor let this information through without the sourcing.
Lori’s advice to wives keeping their families financially afloat is:
Better yet, I think the Transformed Wife can be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. A stay-at-home mom can save a family all kinds of money, starting with having time to shop for the best deals on clothes, shoes, and groceries. She saves money by doing the house cleaning (no need to hire a maid service), as well as cooking and preparing healthy, delicious meals that are a fraction of what it costs to eat out. I’ve told young moms to look at the kitchen as a profit center.
All the stay-at-home moms out there who have time to spend hours pouring over grocery ads and drive to several stores to save money raise your hand! I know people do it, but I would venture to guess that a small minority of stay-at-home moms have enough time or energy to devote finding all those great deals. When you factor in the amount of time it takes to research deals and gas and wear and tear on your car, is it really worth it? Plus, if you’re homeschooling all those kids you’re supposed to be having, how do you have time for extreme couponing?
Let’s also talk about “no need to hire a maid service.” It is well known among people who cover Lori’s teachings that she had a house cleaner and nanny at one point when her children were little. She talked about this on her old blog, Always Learning. As far as I can tell all of these posts have been scrubbed off the blog. Lori has always dealt with medical issues and I certainly do not fault her for having a nanny or house cleaner to help while she was sick. The problem is that in her current teachings, she never acknowledges that at one time she relied upon these resources. And, she teaches that a woman is designed to be a keeper of the home, therefore a godly wife does not need to rely upon these resources.
I like living a frugal life.
It seems that a “frugal life” for Lori looks different than a frugal life for others. Let’s look at her Instagram post about making “Simple Homemade Kefir: Powerhouse of Nutrition”:
On Amazon you can buy Maple Hill Creamery Grass-Fed Organic Plain Kefir for $46.99!!! Is it really this expensive in the store? Clover Sonoma Organic Whole Milk is sold by a delivery service in San Francisco for $3.99 for a half gallon.
Or, her post about what she uses to make bread:
The two pack of flour on Amazon costs $20.64. This is not my idea of frugal bread making.
Or, the sunscreen she encourages people to buy:
Beauty Counter Protect All Over SPF30 for $32. I could buy at least four bottles of regular sunscreen for the same price. I could also buy a tank of gas for my van or one bottle of sunscreen.
Lori encourages women to buy organic, yet live frugally. Sometimes it is difficult to find good organic products at a reasonable price. It is obvious that Lori has the money to buy organic products from health food stores and high-end skin care. That is nice for her. The problem is that when she tells women who might already be struggling financially that living organically is the way to go.
But there’s another aspect to keep in mind: saving money on household items may allow you to support that missionary family you met on furlough, or let you financially respond when your church announces a building drive. The Lord delights in our gifts – not because He needs them – but because we are faithful in supporting his work.
The ironic thing about this is that in the years I have been reading Lori’s posts I have never heard her talk about any charitable organization that she thinks is worthy of supporting financially. Maybe she gives and does not feel comfortable about disclosing that information. I would understand that. However, she doesn’t have a problem promoting products she uses. I would think she would be happy to promote non-profits that she finds worthy of time and money.
Lori ends this chapter with a blog post highlighting Carla, a woman who left a comment on one of her financial posts:
I work at our local YMCA to get a free family membership.
Well, well….the “amazing woman” she highlights works. I will say, this woman is smart! She’s earning money and her family receives the benefit of a place to exercise for free. Which leads me to my final point regarding talking about financial health.
Lori insists that a woman’s place is in the home and that she should not work. A woman facing financial difficulties needs to trust that God will provide. What if God’s provision is a job to help ease financial burdens on the family? If an opportunity arises where she can help support the family, and a woman insists that she cannot work outside the home because it is not “God’s design,” is she disobeying God? Perhaps it’s time for Lori to ease up on those who are struggling financially. Especially when she has a lifestyle that many of her readers would love to have.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.