by Kayla McCullough
I’ll put it bluntly: 2020 has been objectively awful. The times we live in are far from ideal, and sometimes it can be all too easy to give in to the darkness. When the news looks more like a Hollywood film and less like the world as we know it, a months-long retreat into one’s hallow bedroom can seem as an enticing alternative.
One of the many predicaments that plague our current reality is that of the COVID economy - a troubling, stressful thing which strikes anxiety into even the most level-headed of workers. With unemployment commonplace, legacy businesses filing for bankruptcy and job opportunities hard to come by- the economy is a field day for pessimists. Though I am not too familiar with the economy, I am abundantly well-versed in the art of panicking about the world around me; most in my generation are. Even before 2020 erupted, ‘Gen Z’ was shown to have much higher depression rates and, coincidentally, much lower motivation rates than those who came before them. With all external circumstances considered, how do you think the recent high school and college graduates—the world over—are holding up?
Ryan Mack, author of “Provisions for Abundance: A Christian’s Guide to Money Management, Gratitude and Giving Back,” offers the following words to the young people currently feeling the burden of life’s misfortunes, “When we are going through these challenging times, keeping firm to walking His will is our assurance that we can get out of this rut and onto level ground.” The self-titled, “financial evangelist,” knows how off-putting organized religion can seem at first to burgeoning cynics but encourages them to, “Think about all of the times in your life when you could have quit but somehow found the strength to keep going. We have all had those difficult times… but you made it!”
Regardless of what some may prematurely ascertain, Provisions for Abundance reads like a comforting collection of sage advice, grounded in right now’s reality. Mack offers attainable solutions to seemingly impossible dilemmas in prose that resonates easily, with a tone that reassures the frantic, troubled mind. He soothes the reader’s anxieties about the rapidly changing world we live in, while providing doable tips for navigating such. A concern most pressing to my contemporaries and I is how to economically enter into our ideal industries in such an unprecedented time. Mack recommends to the graduating classes of 2020, “starting a business is one of the best ways to empower yourself and your community…Find something you are passionate about that also fulfills a need in society.”
COVID aside, one of the underlying issues contributing to the overall unhappiness of my generation is the ostentatiously parasitic phenomenon known simply as “flex culture.” In recent years celebrities, namely social media “influencers,” have been relentlessly flaunting their ludicrous wealth to their impressionable audiences, thus creating an atmosphere of “spend money, worry later” among the youth. When asked what one can do to quell this all-permeating mentality, Mack relays, “Never let someone else’s commission influence your investment selection. Your needs, goals, wants, risk tolerance and financial picture should be the driver for your investments.” Though Provisions for Abundance is primarily about staying afloat in a compromised economy, the book is generally quite educational regarding overall financial security.
Navigating the realms of money, stability and mental health is incredibly difficult to do all on one’s own, even in a less foreboding economy and at any age. Ryan Mack’s Provisions for Abundance radiates a kind of quiet power and unbridled optimism that instills hope within the reader for the unforeseeable future we have ahead of us. As a representative of the most cynical generation, his words offer a peaceful reprieve midst a time where such things are a hot commodity.