Celebrating the first day of school

A teacher in the Dominican Republic celebrates the first day of school — and his financial success

Sometimes, our financial lives overwhelm us and we may start to feel defeated and helpless to improve our situations. I encourage you to read this story and see how one man totally changed his financial life.

Three years ago when we were in the Dominican Republic, I presented a financial workshop about the importance of creating a spending plan. In preparing for the workshop, I spent time with the missionary and the pastor’s wife to develop a spending plan that would make sense to the audience at the workshop.

We used a teacher’s salary as the income for the spending plan because that was pretty similar to the total income for most families in Jacagua. When we were discussing the funds needed for food each month, the pastor’s wife shared that it would cost more than a teacher’s monthly salary to provide three meals a day including meat for a family of four. What a predicament to be in! That helped explain why most folks had chickens.

During the workshop, besides preparing a spending plan, we discussed ways to save money on regular monthly expenses, particularly for food. In addition, we talked about the importance of paying attention to those little expenses that add up over time. For Americans, those expenses would be that daily cup of coffee from the coffee shop or the daily bottle of soda. For the Dominicans, it is a fruit smoothie.

After the workshop, a man who is a teacher in the school that is part of the mission shared this: what he had learned in the workshop had given him hope that he does have the power to change his situation and improve his life.

This year, when we returned to the Dominican Republic, that same man told me he had changed his financial behavior and is paying attention to the little expenses that can deplete his earnings. Over the past three years, he has consistently put money in his savings account. He now has enough money saved to purchase land and build his own home. He even showed me the blueprints for his home.

He sent me the photo above of the first day of school.

What a change for a man who lives (and saves) on a teacher’s salary!


Judith Ackland has more than 26 years of experience in accountancy and financial planning, including seventeen years as a CFO of a diverse business. She started Crystal Financial in 2010 to help a wide array of individuals, families, and business owners better understand their finances and how good financial management could help them achieve their goals. Judith has an MA in Professional Accountancy from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln as well as a Certified Public Accountant Certificate and a Certified Financial Planner designation.

Powered by Pixel Fire Marketing Pixel Fire Marketing