Why are more Americans in debt and financially fragile despite the many money management programs and services? Why are credit repair agencies, debt consolidation companies, and bankruptcies on the rise?
Everyone has heard of the phrase, “you reap what you sow.” That phrase is an agreed upon spiritual law from people of all religious groups. The phrase reminds us that you must put something in the ground to see a harvest. Thus, to see harvest in your financial life, you must give.
So how do we yield a harvest if we are suffering from Broke-i$m? Well for starters, Rick Warren, in his book, The Purpose Driven Life, reminds us that it is not all about us. We must realize our existence has a greater purpose, and guess what, so does the money we receive. I know I sound ridiculous, but trust me on this. As a single mom of three wonderful children, I had to come to this realization, and my story (that I will share in the next few posts), I pray, will give you hope.
Before behavior can change, mindsets must change. Below are some of the mindset and practical approaches that I found successful on my journey to a better financial future.
- It’s not your money! I know that you worked diligently for it and the check has your name on it, but it’s not your money. God gave you the skill and ability to get the job to earn the money. Therefore, when you receive it, you should consult Him on how to disperse it. Remember, it is not about you!
- Commit to give! Before you spend anything on yourself, give a percentage away. I usually suggest at least 10% because it has a Biblical foundation, but be obedient to what God tells you to do. Do not limit His ability by focusing on what you do not have. He is God and quite capable of getting you what you need.
- Commit to save! According to an article in Forbes magazine, 63% of Americans don’t have the savings to cover a $500 emergency. Save at least 10% of your income. When you receive your paycheck, after giving 10%, save that same amount in a separate account. It’s the same as paying yourself first. Doing this takes the stress off you when life happens; because guess what, life is going to happen, and you must be prepared.
- Commit your financial situation to God. I cannot tell you how important this step is. This in no way absolves you of being fiscally responsible; in fact, when you trust God, something happens and you WANT to be fiscally responsible. You will subconsciously begin to make decisions that positively affect your finances. Your mindset begins to change, your behavior begins to change, and the outcome changes.
- Get an accountability partner. This is difficult because not everyone believes like you; however, this is important. The steps listed above are not easy in our society, but God does not want you to do this alone. Find a friend or adviser who believes like you and will help you stay committed to your financial goals. Make sure it is someone who will hold you accountable; someone who will pray for and with you. You must be honest with God, yourself, and your accountability partner to see success in this area.
Broke-i$m is not the way God wants you to live. Begin the journey spiritually, emotionally, and physically to improve your financial situation. I’m doing it too, and I’d love to help.