Financial Freedom Starts Now!

Changing Your Finances In 2019

 

Each year you make resolutions, but continue to fail. But why? It may be summarized in a simple scripture found in Proverbs 23 and verse 7: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

Therefore, before you commence making financial resolutions and figuring out what to  do, explore the question what is your attitude towards finances, being broke, spending, and saving, among other things.

If you decide to take the financial journey with us this year, it must begin with a commitment to behavioral and spiritual change. I must warn you that financial resolutions are the most difficult to keep. Consequently, if you are serious about becoming wealthy and wise, spirituality must be integrated into your solution.

Let us assure you if are currently experiencing financial difficulty near the point of being broke.  What should you do to begin digging yourself out of that hole with limited or no resources? Here are a few suggestions:

Face the Music

Many people facing financial challenges, refuse to open their mail and ignore bills, bank statements and notices. The reality is that your financial situation cannot improve by wishing or hoping it goes away. Get a hold of your faith and your God and move forward. It’s not going to fix itself.

Set Small Financial Goals

It may have taken you a long time to get into this hole, so don’t expect miracles overnight. One reason why people fail in honoring their financial resolutions is because the results are not immediate. Financial improvement takes a few months. If I can be honest with you, getting out of debt is painful and takes an awfully long time.

Credit Card Payments

If you have credit card debt and bills, pay only the minimum while you are strapped for cash and working on improving your financial condition. Yes, I know you want to pay off that bill immediately, but if you pay more than the minimum on one card, but cannot afford to pay all the others, you further ruin your credit. If paying the minimum allows you to pay on time and preserve your credit, do it!

Gift Giving

I could never understand it! People who are struggling with their finances seem to purchase gifts for birthdays and holidays which they cannot afford. What’s even worse is that they will purchase an outfit to wear to an event that can only be worn once.

Change Financial Behavior

This point is very simple. You cannot afford cable television so cut the cord. You can vew the show you missed one or two days later, or you can purchase services from a streaming company. You don’t need the hot chocolate or coffee every morning. That money actually represents the interest you are paying on the debt you have incurred. Pay down your debt interest. You can drink later. 

In our next article we will begin to explore one of the major tasks required to bring about real changes in your finances and that is the dreaded budget.

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RUTHVEN R. PHILLIP, Esq., is a tax attorney, Stewardship and Philanthropy Ministry Advisor, and CEO of Give2Getrich, LLC.

Give2Get Rich, LLC 2018. All Rights Reserved. Any distribution or
reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited.




Quicksand of Debt

At times you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of your financial future.  There are some warning signs of danger to determine whether you are actually sinking in the quicksand of debt.  God wants you to live a peaceful life.  Challenges with finances can affect your spirituality and emotional health.  Do any of these situations describe you?

  1. You’ve robbed God: You do not return a faithful tithe to God and rationalize your disobedience.  God “can put holes in your pocket and blow on it”. In Malachi 3:8-10, God seeks from us a faithful tithe to Him. Tithe is 10% of whatever your increase is.  When you spend it on something else, God considers it to be robbery.  He also promises a blessing to those who faithfully return His tithe and give a freewill offering.  In Deuteronomy 30:9, 10, God promises a blessing to the obedient.  In 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, God encourages us to give cheerfully.
  2. You do not know how much money you have.  This is due to a failure to keep track of your expenditures.  Try writing down on an index card or in a small notebook every expense for a week.  Then continue to document your spending for a month.  Keep receipts.  You may prefer an online program or app to track your spending.  Every single time you spend money, it should be accounted for.  These records will be beneficial when you are trying to distinguish between wants and needs.  You will be able to create a budget or spending plan.
  3. You run out of money. Is there more month than money?  A budget or spending plan will help you determine how you will use your money.  Are you spending, sharing, saving, or investing money?
  4. You get disturbing calls and letters. Are bill collectors calling and writing you?  Are you afraid to answer your phone or open your mail?
  5. You shuffle money around. You are shuffling money around to make payments.  Some call this robbing Peter to Pay Paul.  The money never seems to cover expenses.
  6. You have no savings. You can’t even save a small amount.
  7. In an emergency, you’re out of luck. You do not have any money set aside for an emergency.  You must prepare in advance because a rainy day will eventually come when you least expect it.  Although $1,000 is commonly suggested, get started now even if you struggle to save $100 or $500.  Don’t continue to procrastinate.
  8. You pay bills late, or only the minimum on your credit card bills: You don’t pay bills on time and get assessed a late fee. If you only pay the minimum, you will be paying for many years and accruing interest.
  9. You use Credit Cards Too Often: You charge daily expenses and/or bills on credit cards.  This will cause you to sink deeper in the quicksand of debt.  Debit cards deduct money directly from your checking account.  Credit cards rack up charges and are simply loans with interest if not paid before the grace date.  Remember that swiping with either plastic card leads to excessive spending.
  10. You use payday or title loans: If you resort to payday or title loans, you may get caught in a cycle of loans.  A budget or spending plan will help you control your spending.
  11. You are worried about your finances: You worry about money.  This can become so stressful that your physical and emotional health may suffer.
  12. You argue over money: You and your spouse or other family members argue over money.  Stress and discord as a result of debt can lead to the breakup of families.  Teach children and teens that “money does not grow on trees”.

1 Timothy 6:10 is often misquoted.  It reads “For the love of money is the root of all evil for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

Money is a neutral tool.  When we deal honestly and fairly with God, our thoughts and actions will be more positive and productive.  Let God help you get out of the quicksand of debt.

 

Try these Helpful Money Management Apps

It is possible to track daily expenditures the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper.  However, some prefer to use an App on their phones.  Here are several popular money management apps.

Mint.com

This popular, free online mobile app will help you track and manage your money.  You can create a personalized budget with it.  It provides financial summaries and alerts by text message or email.

EveryDollar: Monthly Expense Tracker & Manager (Ramsey Solutions)

Track your monthly expenses and view spending habits.  Users who reviewed it claim it as an easy to use and helpful budget app.  Dave Ramsey fans will enjoy this one.

GoodBudget

This app functions as a cash envelope budget system without carrying around actual physical envelopes.  You determine the categories for your envelopes.  It does not require connection to a bank account to begin creation of your envelopes.

Pinterest

The social networking on Pinterest allows you to access the wealth of wisdom from other individuals seeking to be financially secure.  Enter phrases such as money management, money saving challenge, no-spend weekend or month, financial planning, financial freedom, debt reduction, debt free, meal planning, or money saving tips and see what you find!

 

I recommend any older books written by Larry Burkett that you can find.  He was a trailblazer in money management from a Christian perspective.  Crown Financial continues his legacy and also provides a Money Map that is impressive.  You may notice Burkett’s influence on popular advisors and authors.

 

Your Money Counts by Howard Dayton

Money and Marriage God’s Way by Howard Dayton

Debt-Proof Your Marriage by Mary Hunt

Debt Proof Your Kids by Mary Hunt

The Financially Confident Woman by Mary Hunt

Personal Finances (Includes Family Budget Models) by Larry Burkett

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey (Famous for his Financial Peace Seminars)

More Than Enough by Dave Ramsey

Smart Money Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey & Rachel Cruze

Faith-Based Family Finances by Ron Blue

 

 

 




Cosign If You Dare

Wisdom For the Ages: Don’t Cosign! Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Monday, March 5, 2018

Listen to “Thoughts in Worship 03.05.2018” on Spreaker.
This is devotional thought number 29 in our devotional series titled, “Wisdom for the Ages.”

“My child, if you have made a pledge for your neighbor, and have become a guarantor for a stranger, if you have been ensnared by the words you have uttered, and have been caught by the words you have spoken, then, my child, do this in order to deliver yourself, because you have fallen into your neighbor’s power: go, humble yourself, and appeal firmly to your neighbor. Permit no sleep to your eyes or slumber to your eyelids. Deliver yourself like a gazelle from a snare, and like a bird from the trap of the fowler” (Proverbs 6:1–5, NET).

Before You Sign

Making vows is a serious matter, not to be taken lightly. Sometimes, while feeling the pressure of the moment, we make vows to keep peace, save face, or quiet conscience. This is why we need God to order our steps in all things. This is why it’s so critical to lay our plans before Him in the morning. That way when we face potentially life altering decisions, we can hear from the Holy Spirit, “This is the way; walk ye in it.”

How many times have you watched the litigants on TV small claims court shows argue over a debt? Some friend or relative, welched on the promise to pay a debt for which an unwary companion stood surety?

Every Surety’s Saga

The saga goes a little like this: someone needs or wants a car. That someone is not credit-worthy. That someone knows another person who is. The one who is, feels like he or she is doing a good deed by cosigning a loan for the one whose credit is too low to qualify or their income is too low.

The unwary guarantor somehow believes that the one whose credit or income disqualifies them, will miraculously be able to come up with the money to satisfy the debt. Invariably they don’t pay. the guarantor’s credit score suffers, and creditors want to seize something to satisfy the companion’s debt.

The guarantor is confused about why the debt was not paid and heartily believes it was not his or her responsibility to pay the debt, despite the cosigner contract’s agreement to the contrary. He wishes the court to award damages, requiring the companion to repay the guarantor.

Friendly Guarantors Beware

This happens time and time again, not only due to the slackness of the companions whose credit or income are not sufficient to carry the load, but also because guarantors disregard Bible counsel from the wisest king who ever lived. Under inspiration, he said not to cosign for friends, neighbors, or strangers. If, for some reason you do, humble yourself and beg to somehow be released from the contract.

Such contracts are a trap! I know it seems hard, but this is wise counsel. I suppose there are cases where the companion pays the debt and preserves the guarantor’s credit and their relationship, but we must ask ourselves if it’s worth the risk.

Now, one might decide to enter into such an agreement knowing that cosigning may become a donation to cover the cost of whatever’s associated with the debt. So, if you are a philanthropist, then disregard this entire devotional thought. If not, please do yourself a favor and take heed. The Bible says, “Pay everyone what is owed: taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:7–8, NET).

A word to the foolish is wasteful. A word to the wise is sufficient.




When The Forgiven Forget About Mercy

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sabbath, January 9, 2016

The Bible tells of story about a king whose servant owed him a lot of money. The bill was so hefty that it was impossible for the servant to pay. The king obviously was not happy, and thus he commanded that the servant and his wife and children be sold until he figured out how to pay his debt. The servant begged for mercy and the king compassionately forgave him.

Ironically, the recently forgiven servant went and found a fellow servant who owed him a pittance. Unbelievably, he choked the fellow servant and commanded him to pay the debt. When he could not pay the debt, the forgiven servant commanded that he be taken to prison until he could pay.

When the king learned what happened, he sent for the forgiven servant. He reminded him that he had been forgiven a much larger debt because he begged for it. Was it fair that he should behave this way toward his fellow servant for a pittance of debt, when he had been forgiven for a mountain of debt?

Then it happened: the king commanded that the ungrateful servant be taken to jail and be tortured, because he obviously did not appreciate the king’s mercy, which he demonstrated by mistreating his fellow for a much smaller offense.

The story continues: that this is the way God, the King of the universe, will handle those of us who do not forgive/have mercy (toward everyone) from our hearts.

mercy, forgiveness
Forgive: Whatever someone has done to us pales in comparison to our offenses against God.

God loves to be merciful toward us. He is abundant in mercy and truth. It is our privilege, not our right, to receive mercy. Therefore, having received God’s abundant mercy, we should consider it a privilege to show mercy to others. After all, whatever anyone has done to us pales in comparison to the sins we have committed against God.

Today’s Scripture Promise:

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matthew 5:7).

Today’s Marching Orders:

Seek out people to forgive today. Show compassion and mercy for Jesus’ sake.