Saturday, February 23, 2013

Our $24,000 Tell-All From 2012 & 3 Lessons Learned

In doing our taxes for 2012, I finally was able to itemize everything we invested into launching our non-profit for the year. The final tally: ~$24,000+!

We learned a lot from this year of travel and educating. But I wanted to share the actual reality for those of you Rookie Missionaries, beginning humanitarians, or anyone out there curious about what it takes to move a young couple to the field for a year.

Below you will find first the charts so you can get an in-depth look at what it costs to launch a non-profit and spend a gap-year building your foundation. The second section contains the 3 Lessons we learned. Enjoy!

The Charts

Consider this complete transparency our intended mode of operation in launching our own non-profit, PhilanTropics. More on that soon. Happy reading.

1st Chart: Our Expenses for 2012

2nd Chart/Spreadsheets: Our Expenses by Line Item, by Category, and the Chart (again)
The 3 Lessons We Learned from Doing Our Taxes

Our Financial Tell-All From Our Year Abroad


1. Education is Expensive

Marissa and I even scoured high and low for frugal alternatives to the things that cost us money. She chose less expensive dive gear. I rarely bought software for writing or office supplies for the non-profit. We only traveled when necessary. We refused to rent a moped.

In Taos, we ate in the Earthship and not out. We camped in KOA's while driving the country to get back and forth from Taos, New Mexico.

I refused to buy new socks (despite them all having holes) and new shorts (despite the crotch missing out of my last pair!) Still, we spent $24,000+ of our own savings to invest in this life dream.

2. The Biggest Cost of Launching a Non-profit Organization is Not The Biggest Expense

Many people could look at the largest category of our spending and see a fat $11,000 expense for education. That would be the tuition cost of the courses for Dive Instructor, sustainable home designs (Earthship school), and the business of corporate training courses (Pici & Pici Speakers' Boot Camp). 

This is huge. But, think about it a second. It still does not represent the BIGGEST cost(s).

The biggest expenses are the peripheral things. The petty life expenses. The biggest expense is actually the cost of living while obtaining education, researching for a non-profit, and traveling the Caribbean.

3. Your Are Already Paying For the Biggest Expense, So Why Not Do What You Love?

Cell phones, medical care, food and fuel are the top 4 items we spent money on. You and I are already spending this money. This is normal for our lives in the U.S. 

Why not put the rest of your money, if you have any, to living a life of massive significance?

That is we questioned of ourselves. So we put it to the test and it proved true. We have taken a massive step forward. It took a TON of our own money. It took even more from our supporters, friends and family (in the form of places to crash, small donations, and encouragement.)

But, we totally believe that we made no mistake. Our momentum is huge. People are getting on board daily. So, the real lesson is the age-old adage we all know. But I encourage you to take it to heart as you begin to shape a vision for your own explosive life of significance:

A wise master-builder counts the cost.
$24,000+ to jump-start 
our Explosive Life of Significance.

--- Grant R. Nieddu

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Grant,
Please buy some shorts with the crotch intact--it will help you in your mission.

Grant Nieddu said...

Someone just posted a valid comment, but it would not post for some reason. I have copied and pasted it here:

Sorry for stating the obvious but most missionaries won't have the educational expenses you had (which were due to the high costs of the specialized programs you enrolled in).

Grant Nieddu said...

In response to the above, I would agree. Most missionaries would not have these educational expenses. They would typically have more!

I am assuming that most missionaries, though they would not have the up front costs that we had in our first year, would have a monthly payment for Bible college.

The total owed for college are usually far exceeding the total we paid during our time abroad. With monthly education debt that is not going away, they struggle to get their monthly costs down enough to be able to lower their necessary monthly support.

A) You don't need Bible college to be a missionary. College as a monthly cost just seems to be the common denominator for most young missionaries starting out.

B) I am also considering that we are trying to establish a development organization. Thus, an individual missionary may not need to spend some of the money we spent if their vision is to simply live among and evangelize a community/nation. We did spend on some skill sets that we felt contributed to the organization.