10 Essential Steps to Financial Wellness
Just as physical and mental fitness are important to healthy aging, so is your financial well-being. Below are a few tips to get you on the road to a financially healthy life:
Stop Worrying About Money So Much
Worry stifles creativity. Worry causes stress. Worry is the enemy to your peace of mind. Worrying will keep you broke and your financial potential unfulfilled. Use that energy you are spending worrying thinking of ways you can make money! Matthew 6:31-33 says; “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Get Tenacious About Living Beneath Your Means
This is easier said than done, so that’s why you have to be tenacious about it! Studies have shown that most people live from paycheck to paycheck (even people who earn $100,000 or more!). You must create some financial margin in your life. Sometimes you have to do something radical like getting rid of the Escalade, buying a smaller home, staying out of the shopping malls, postponing the flat screen T.V. purchase, etc. Listen, whatever you need to do to get financially healthy then do it! Don’t worry about what others will say about you. Obey God, and He will prosper you in due time. “There is one who pretends to be rich, but has nothing; another pretends to be poor, but has great wealth” (Proverbs 13:7).
Pay Off Your Credit Cards
I know you hear this over and over, but I have to keep saying it because most people don’t just use credit cards, they abuse credit cards! There are people out there who are addicted to credit cards like a junkie is addicted to crack! Credit cards are usually the most expensive form of debt. Commit yourself to always paying more than the minimum required on your credit card. You’ll save incredible sums of cash by paying off credit card balances.
Change Your Associations
Who you hang around is a prophecy of your future. Now I’m not saying you should dump all your broke friends, but I am saying there ought to be somebody in your life who can stretch your thinking. If you always hang around people who think like you, then you will never grow financially. If you are always the smartest person in your social circles then something is wrong. The Bible says that; “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).
Save at Least Three Months of Living Expenses
The reason a lot of people get in credit card debt is because of emergencies. The kids need clothes, the car needs repair, the appliances need replacing, etc. Credit cards have become emergency funds because we don’t have adequate cash reserves. It’s critical to have a “rainy day” fund because sometimes “life happens.” For most people, three to six months of net living expenses will provide an adequate cushion to weather most unexpected financial storms.
Make a Will
There are two things in this life that are guaranteed: taxes and death! Nobody likes to think about either one of them, especially dying! Since we can’t do anything about death; go ahead and prepare for it now by making a will. Seven out of ten people die without one. If you want to see your family members get their “fighting and fussing on,” then go ahead and die without a will. It can be ugly. This is an essential step for all adults, especially those with dependents.
Seek Wise Counsel
Don’t try to go it alone when making tough financial decisions. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” Always bounce major financial decisions off of someone who has some financial wisdom and who will tell you the truth. Don’t let pride keep you from seeking counsel. No matter how much you know about money; we all have blind spots.
Fund Company-Sponsored Savings Plans to the Maximum
Through payroll deduction and tax-deductible contributions, you can accumulate significant savings in company-sponsored plans like a 401-k or a 403-b. If there is a company match, then you simply have to do it! Don’t pass up any money a company will give you towards retirement. If you are a business owner then your retirement planning options are even wider. Consider a SEP-IRA, Simple IRA, as well as many other plans. Force yourself to put something away for your future.
Plan Major Expenses
If a house, new car, college education, or other large purchase is in your future, take the time to make a plan to reach your desired goal. Don’t just wing it! A little planning goes a long way. “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28).
Educate Yourself, Think Big, and Don’t Give Up
Read financial publications and consider going back to school or getting some additional training in your field. Most importantly think big! Don’t succumb to the poverty mentality. You may be going through something right now, but it won’t always be that way! God wants you to be financially healthy. He wants to bless you so you can be a blessing! Don’t give up! Your best and brightest financial days are still ahead of you!