A lot of people see budgeting as a waste of time, a unnecessary evil, or an ancient way of doing things. But there reality, is that it is probably the number one key to getting control of your money, eliminating debt, hitting your financial goals, and building wealth. It’s such a powerful technique, that Christ himself, said sarcastically, that who would take on a project, like building a tower without a budget. Okay, so he didn’t use the word budget, but he talked about sitting down, counting the cost, and determining if you can build it. That sounds a lot like a budget to me.
Luk 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
Luk 14:29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
Luk 14:30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
Here are couple of reasons why you should use a budget:
1) Budgeting indicates you have a plan – The man that would like to build a tower, should not just one day wake up and start building it. There needs to be an architectural plan first laid out, maybe some ground work that needs to be completed, prior to building. A couple of years ago, my church built a new building. They did not just start throwing cement on the ground and 2×4’s in the air and hope for the best, they designed a plan. They first proved that it would work on paper, before they started making it a reality. And it did become a reality, but only because they first had a plan.
2) Budgeting indicates you can complete the plan – Christ recommends the man to count the cost of the entire project before he started. The same should be true of your budget. Once you get it on paper, and you know that you can make it though the month, you have a sense of assurance. Too many people, just haphazardly spend their money, and don’t know where it is going, or when it’s supposed to be there. If you prove it on paper, and just follow the plan, everything will work out. It’s only when you deviate from the budget, will you have problems.
3) Budgeting indicates what you desire – This man, obviously had a desire to build a tower. He didn’t desire to build a boat, like Noah. He didn’t desire to build a Tabernacle like Moses, he wanted to build a tower. When you create a budget, it indicates your desires. One of the greatest side benefits of creating a budget is that it communicates to your spouse, friends, and yourself, what you desire. When you share your desires, you increase your communication, which in turn increases the strength of your marriage and relationships.
There is nothing as rewarding, as having a desire, making a plan, and executing the plan. If you do that month in and month out, over time you will be successful with your money.
Do you budget regularly? If so, offer some tips. Leave a commend and encourage others.
It is often said, that money problems are a symptom. Meaning that when people are struggling with money, it is usually a result of a different and greater problem, which is the true cause. That true cause, then translates into or manifests itself through money problems.
Proverbs 11:8 The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead.
Here is a list of the top causes that I often see.
1) Lack of a Game Plan – Most people do not have a plan when it comes to their money. They know they get paid, they pay bills, they spend some, and they generally know that they need to save and invest. However, knowing it and doing it are two different things. The reality is that there are so many options out there and everything is competing for your dollars. Imagine a NFL team playing football like a bunch of 10 year olds, which just run around yelling “I’m open, I’m open”. They would get killed. Instead in the NFL when in the huddle, the QB calls the play, and everyone knows exactly what to do. The same should be true about your money.
2) Lack of Knowledge – Like many other success principles, handling money is a learned skill. But sadly, financial literacy is not taught in America. It’s generally not taught in grade school. You don’t learn it in college or the military. If you parents don’t teach you, you really never learn. The first time people learn about a car loan is when they get their first one! This obviously is not a plan. You need to learn about money and how it works.
3) Lack of Drive – Laziness and complacence is easy to creep in when it comes to money. One attribute of Millionaires, according to Dr. Thomas Stanley, is that they spend time working on their money. They put effort and energy into learning, applying, and adjusting their finances. Some people have the idea that money is evil. But the truth is that money is really immoral – neither good nor bad. Like being good at anything else, you have to have the “will” or drive to do well with money.
4) Relationship Issues – The number one cause of divorce in North America is money fights and money problems. If spouses are not on the same page financially, it can destroy a marriage, but in the process also leave a wreckage of financial mess along the way. A house divided cannot stand. Some people also have relational boundary issues with other family or friends, where they are always asking for money or things, and they can’t say no. Many of times, they think they are helping these folks by giving money or things to them, but really they are just enabling them.
5) Additions – This goes without saying. But a person, who has a drug, alcohol, gambling, sex, or even shopping additions, will struggle with money. These addictions eventually consume their lives, to include their finances, if they are not addressed. Addicts put their addictions before basic expenses, and certainly before the idea of saving for retirement.
We live in a cause and effect world. If you want to fix money problems, you have to look at the real problem. Money problems are a usually a symptom, not a cause.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, a steward is a person employed in families to manage the domestic concerns, superintend the other servants, collect the rents or income, and keep the accounts. You and I are both called to stewards or managers of God’s money. He has entrusted us with it, to mange, use, and grow it for his benefit. Today, I want to look at the life of Joseph in the Bible, as he serves as a great picture of what a biblical steward is to be.
1) His circumstances did not change his character - By all accounts of life, Joseph had many things going against him. He brothers did not really like him; actually, the Bible says many times that they hated him. They eventually sold him to be an Egyptian servant. Overtime, his master’s wife falsely accused him of advancing on her sexually and his master put him jail. While in jail, he interpreted a butler’s and baker’s dreams, with the hope that once restored, they would speak favorably to Pharoah, who could get him out of prison. However, when the butler was given parole, he forgot about Joseph for over 2 years. Throughout all these ordeals, you never hear of Joseph complaining. You never see him doing wrong. In fact, the opposite is true. The more he suffered for doing right, the more his character was solidified.
2) Overtime he was given more to manage - At first, he was to manage the house of Potipher. The Bible says in Genesis 39:5 And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had. He had complete control over the man’s house, possessions, and affairs. When he was cast into prison, he there demonstrated leadership and became the manager of the prison and everything in it as recorded in Genesis 39:22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. Later, after he was restored from prison, and helped the country establish an emergency fund, he became the manger of the entire country. It says in Genesis 41:41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. Thus, Joseph went from running a household, to a prison, to an entire country, because he was faithful, dependable, honest, discreet and wise.
3) He did not let his position or prosperity define him - Joseph never let his position or money drive him. When Potipher’s wife put the moves on him, he refrained to sin against God. When put in charge of the prison, he continued to do right. When promoted to rule the land of Egypt, he saw it as an opportunity to serve God and fellow man. When his brother’s come to him, seeking forgiveness for all they did, Joseph replies in Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. He saw his position and life bigger than himself. He saw it as a means to serve his creator and help other people along the way.
We all can learn a lot from reading about Joseph, but in nothing else, he serves as a great example of a humble, yet strong and wise steward.
Tom Corley, a CPA from New Jersey, recently wrote a book entitled Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals. It’s the summary and findings of a 5 year personal study and research efforts to determine what rich people did every day. The idea, is that if you can determine what habits, characteristics, or traits they have, and duplicate them, than you too can be wealthy. Below is a list of 20 of his conclusions.
As an added twist, I took each habit, and found a corresponding verse of scripture to go along with it, hoping to demonstrate that if you follow God’s principles and live in a way that he says, it your be will be better, in this case financially. But the same can be applied to every aspect of life: ”For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Here are 20 habits that the wealthy do every day:
1. 70% of wealthy eat less than 300 junk food calories per day. 97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories per day.
1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection:
2. 80% of wealthy are focused on accomplishing some single goal. Only 12% of the poor do this.
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish:
3. 76% of wealthy exercise aerobically 4 days a week. 23% of poor do this.
1 Timothy 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little:
4. 63% of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5% for poor people.
Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
5. 81% of wealthy maintain a to-do list vs. 19% for poor.
Psalms 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD
6. 63% of wealthy parents make their children read 2 or more non-fiction books a month vs. 3% for poor.
Deuteronomy 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up
7. 70% of wealthy parents make their children volunteer 10 hours or more a month vs. 3% for poor.
Luke 22:26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
8. 80% of wealthy make happy birthday calls vs. 11% of poor
James 2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
9. 67% of wealthy write down their goals vs. 17% for poor
Proverbs 10:4 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
10. 88% of wealthy read 30 minutes or more each day for education or career reasons vs 2% for poor.
1 Timothy 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading
11. 6% of wealthy say what’s on their mind vs. 69% for poor.
Proverbs 12:23 A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.
12. 79% of wealthy network 5 hours or more each month vs. 16% for poor.
Proverbs 11:14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
13. 67% of wealthy watch 1 hour or less of TV. every day vs. 23% for poor
Ephesians 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
14. 6% of wealthy watch reality TV vs. 78% for poor.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
15. 44% of wealthy wake up 3 hours before work starts vs.3% for poor.
Genesis 19:27 And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD:
16. 74% of wealthy teach good daily success habits to their children vs. 1% for poor.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it
17. 84% of wealthy believe good habits create opportunity luck vs. 4% for poor.
Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
18. 76% of wealthy believe bad habits create detrimental luck vs. 9% for poor.
Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
19. 86% of wealthy believe in life-long educational self-improvement vs. 5% for poor.
Proverbs 16:16 How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
20. 86% of wealthy love to read vs. 26% for poor.
2 Corinthians 1:13 For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end;
Which habit surprised you the most, or that you find the most interesting? Leave a comment and encourage others.
Some have you may have heard and/or read this before, but I continually get asked, how I got into the financial coaching and advising sector. Others ask, why and how Financial Proverbs got started. Hopefully, will fill in the gaps, or provide you the story behind the story. If you want to read part 1, click here. If you want to read part 2, click here.
Since that time, we saved our emergency fund, starting funding our retirement, and bought another house. Lord willing, we are on our way to financial freedom. Along this journey, I have continued to read a lot of business and financial-based books, earned an MBA, became a certified financial counselor, and continued my financial education from as many sources as possible. During this time, I also continued to read my King James Bible on a daily basis, and an interesting thing was taking place. As I would learn something from a secular source (class, book, web, etc) I also would run across it in the Bible. Maybe it was not as clear, and maybe not as thorough, but the principles and concepts were certainly there. It then dawned on me, that had I simply knew and followed what God said about money in the scriptures, this financial mess could have been avoided. That is what Financial Proverbs is all about: Helping others learn from our mistakes. Helping them avoid the pain that my family experienced, so that they can have financial blessings without the financial scars.
Unfortunately, I am not alone
Along the way, I was sharing and teaching what I was learning with a lot of people, Christians included. I sadly discovered this: the majority of Americans, Christians included are broke, deeply in debt, and struggling financially. And it does not have to be that way. You are where you are today, because of the choices that you made in the past. You can change where you will be in the future by making different choices today, and I have a desire to help you. Thus, the reason I teach, speak, and write. My desire is that my story can be a warning for those to avoid, and encouragement for those in a financial mess. The way forward may not be easy, but you too can overcome your financial problems with a lot of hard work and God’s help!
And the Story isn’t Complete
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I am certainly not the smartest man, nor the most enlightened. I am just a guy that believes what God said, and am living proof that if you apply what he says about money, it will work. My passion and purpose is to help you better handle you money God’s way. I don’t know exactly where the story will end. For us as a family, it continues. We have peace about our financial situation. We don’t fight over money. We can give like never before. I now own my own business, doing what I love everyday. It seems that more and more opportunities are opening up all the time. We have a plan of where we are going. We certainly don’t know exactly what the future holds, but we’ll do what we can and trust God for the rest.
I never would have thought that my failure and poor choices, would have lead to this. I can look back on it now, and can confidently say, that other than accepting Jesus Christ as my savior, marrying my wife, and having our children, the events leading to and resulting from my financial mess, is one of the greatest things that every happened to me. My hope again, is that you never have to be anywhere I was. But if you are, I hope that my story and the things I teach, can help provide you the encouragement, education, and motivation to fight your way out.
Thank you again for taking the time to read this. God bless you.