Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, March 30, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page A:6



Mountain View News Saturday, March 30, 2019 

177 East Colorado Boulevard, Suite 550, Pasadena, California 91105 
(626) 792-2228 | 
Providing Objective and Experienced 
Investment Counsel to Financially 
Successful Families since 1915 


[Nyerges is the author of 
various books such as “Extreme 
Simplicity: Homesteading 
in the City,” 
“Self-Sufficient Home,” 
“Squatter in Los Angeles,” 
and other books. He has 
led outdoor field trips since 1974. His schedule 
is available at www.SchoolofSelf-Reliance.comor 
at Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041]

 I don’t like seeing people waste money, their 
own or other people’s. For most of us, money 
represents the transfer of our work into a tangible 
abstract which we use to get the things and 
services we need in life. Money equals our time, 
our work, our life. If you think that I am placing 
too much value on money it’s undoubtedly 
because I place money right up there with oxygen 
as something that is essential. (yes, stolen 

 I am not optimistic about the state of our economic 
health, with the government doing what 
no one of us can do – survive decade after 
decade with “deficit spending,” which means 
money we don’t have, which means, literally, 

 The individual should do everything possible 
to live within their economic means both as a 
lifestyle, a mentality, and as a way to avoid personal 

 Though this is part of a much longer series 
about personal economics, let’s start with credit 

 The convenience of a credit card is obvious. 
I can go to Trader Joes and not have to worry 
about carrying sufficient cash, and I can buy 
what I need, slide my card, and go home with 
groceries. The problem with this is that too 
many users – especially in the beginning – get 
addicted to the card in the same way that one 
gets addicted to heroin. It is so easy, and it feels 
so good, but it is not free.

 Let me begin with my conclusion, something 
that too many have learned too late. If you cannot 
pay off your credit card at the end of each 
month, you cannot afford what you have purchased, 
and you should not buy whatever it is 
you think you need or want. There are a few 
exceptions, however, as my friend Robert Blair 
always told me: A house, obviously. An education, 
because the education presumably will 
enable you, long-term, to earn much more than 
you would have earned without it. And, unfortunately, 
a vehicle. More on these three later.

Remember, if you cannot pay off the balance of 
your card every month, you cannot afford the 
items in question, and should not buy them in 
the first place.

 But everyone forgets that last sentence, at one 
time or another, to their peril.

 The balance – and interest – build. You learn 
to pay the minimum required by the credit card 
company, as the principle gets bigger. Eventually, 
you learn to juggle your credit card debt from 
card to card to try and find the lowest interest 
rate to handle your balance.

 Evtually, all your money goes to paying off 
the minimum amount due, and it seems that 
you will never get out of debt. Was it worth it? 
You’re now a slave of the banks. 

 I once overhead a conversation where the individual 
was describing how much money they 
had left. “What does that mean?” I inquired. 
They were describing how much more credit 
they had left on their credit card, as if that was 
their own money in a wallet somewhere. In fact, 
the person had NO money “left”—the amount 
being discussed was simply the amount of more 
money that the credit card company would allow 
the person to go even deeper into debt 
without worrying too much. 

 Though lots of people use credit cards without 
any serious problems, for many others, the use 
of easy credit is part of the fast road to financial 
failure. If you’re one of those people, one 
of your best courses of action is to first take a 
complete assessment of all your actual needs. 
Stop buying anything you absolutely cannot live 
without. In fact, if you are having difficulty paying 
off your credit cards each month, you might 
be well advised to cut up those cards and operate 
on a cash basis until you know you are back 
on solid footing. 

 There are also legitimate agencies that help you 
manage your debt so you can get out of debt. 
This means the agency will re-negotiate your 
debt so that you can pay one fee each month, 
often at a lower interest rate. Obviously, however, 
you must change your behavior or you will 
never get out of debt, and you will be “poor” 

 When I read statistics about how up to 90% of 
the American public are dissatisfied and unfulfilled 
in their life, I have to look at the possible 
reasons. One of the biggest reasons is a dissatisfaction 
with one’s chosen employment, because 
– let’s face it – everyone needs an income 
and sometimes we take whatever we can get. If 
we do not continually seek employment that is 
more personally fulfilling, we begin to wonder 
what our life is all about. I have seen it all too often. 
Then, too many of us try to find fulfillment 
or happiness with the junk that we buy, and then 
we lose ourselves into our technological world 
of emails and smart phones and facebook and 
twitters and television. And that choice to seek 
meaning with more stuff, and more technology, 
proves to be a futile path, where we don’t find 
happiness and we get even poorer.

 Yes, I know this is just the tip of an iceberg. 
In summary, you really must work hard to stay 
out of debt by always delineating need from 
want. If your life doesn’t depend on it, don’t 
buy it. And your fulfillment in life will come 
from your face-to-face interactions and workings 
with other people. Go on a diet from your 
technological toys for a while. You might find a 
new life that was there all along, and you might 
find that your wallet is a bit healthier too.


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder


I am not sure why I think of some things, however, 
every occasionally I remember something 
that happened a million years ago. Or so it 

This week for some reason, I happened to think of my fifth grade 
elementary school teacher. Her name was Miss Ammon. She was a 
wonderful teacher in many regards and taught me quite a bit or at 
least she tried.

As a fifth-grader, I looked at her as a very old woman. She might’ve 
been 50, I’m not sure. One of my friends joked and asked her, “Miss 
Ammon, how was Noah as a student?”

I am glad he asked and not me because the class was then introduced 
to her “Hickory Stick.” I say we, but it was my friend with the 
stupid question that was actually introduced to it.

After the incident, she told the class, “I have here in my hand the 
Board of Education which shall be applied to the seat of your learning 
when necessary.” Nobody even snickered, but left that alone.

Miss Ammon did not have a sense of humor. Everything was very 
serious to her and I do not remember ever seeing her even smile. 
She probably did, but that is not a memory that I have of her.

I remember the day that the government ruled against Bible reading 
and the Lord’s Prayer in school. Being young, I did not quite understand 
the significance of it. The next day in school Miss Ammon 
stood in front of the class with a hickory stick in her right hand. As 
she was smacking her left hand she said, “Let them come into my 
class and tell me I can’t read the Bible or say the Lord’s Prayer.”

Knowing her as we knew her then, she would have been very good 
on her word. In fact, when we were outside at recess (remember 
recess?) we all talked about how exciting it would be for them come 
into our class and face-off with our dear Miss Ammon. She is the 
only woman that could have gotten away with something like that. 
She was afraid of no one. Everyone was afraid of her; even the principal 
but that is another story.

Once I was to give a little oral report before the class and Miss Ammon 
called me up front and asked me if I was ready. I stupidly said, 
“I rehearsed this in my sleep last night.” Some of my friends snickered, 
but Miss Ammon said, “Well, I hope you can repeat it while 
you’re awake.” That was the only time I ever saw something close to 
a twinkle in her eyes. That was not the encouragement to put me in 
a positive position of presenting my little speech.

I well remember the day that my seat of learning was introduced to 
her Board of Education. I was chewing gum in class, and back then, 
you were not allowed to chew gum in class. I knew it, but for some 
reason I thought I could get away with it. When she saw me chewing 
the gum she said to me, “Get rid of that gum right now!”

I had forgotten I was chewing it because at that time that was a natural 
thing to do. She alarmed me and I turned to my left and spit 
the gum out on the floor. Then I laughed. It was a natural response 
for me and then I was introduced to the natural response of Miss 

She quietly turned around, went to the corner of the room and 
picked up her hickory stick. I could hear everybody in the class sighing. 
“Mr. Snyder,” she said in a very reverent tone, too reverent for 
me. “Will you please come to the front of the class?” I knew it was 
not a question. I knew it was a direct order from “the boss.”

To show how old she was, she was my father’s teacher when he was 
in grade school. Banking on that she said, “You tell your father about 
this and it will be repeated.” There in front of the class, I bent over 
on her command and received four swats of her hickory stick. She 
did not miss a lick.

I did not tell my father. He had a rule in our home that if you got a 
spanking in school you also got a spanking when you got home. This 
is the first time I am telling anyone about that episode.

Occasionally I feel a little tingle on the “seat of my learning” reminding 
me of Miss Ammon. I have not chewed gum since.

Many years later when I was an adult and had published several 
books, I took some to her and thanked her for teaching me to read 
and write.

We need more Miss Ammon’s in our school system today. Personally, 
I would like to see every politician bow before her and be 

I’m not sure and I never asked, but I think her favorite verse was, 
“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth 
him betimes” (Proverbs 13:24).

At the time, I did not know how much Miss Ammon really loved her 
students. We learned a lot from her, and she is desperately needed in 
our school culture today.

Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, and 
lives with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage in Ocala, FL. Call 
him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail The church 
web site is

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