3 Tips for Financial Peace
America is not suffering from a shortage of financial advice. It’s easier than ever to get information about what to do with your paycheck. Numerous cable stations devote 24/7 to covering every millisecond of stock market activity. Thousands of websites promise to guide you to riches. And armies of financial planners stand ready to manage your money.
Despite all that, Americans are worse off financially than ever before. And while the Word of God instructs believers to live within their means, very few seem able to do it. If you’re among those struggling to be financially content, maybe it’s time to shake up the way you think about money. Here are some counter-intuitive strategies to redirect your financial life:
- Stop thinking about how much you give.
And instead, start thinking about how much you keep. Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe every follower of Christ should give generously. I teach the 10/10/80 principle of giving ten percent, saving ten percent, and living on the remaining 80 percent. But it’s easy to get into a routine of giving to the Lord’s work as if it’s just another bill. Take some time to think about what you’re doing with all your resources—time, talent and treasure—and be certain every expenditure honors Christ. ONE THING: Pray specifically about the money you keep. Ask God to show you how it can be used to bless others.
- Stop thinking about spending.
And focus on investing … real investing. Have you noticed how clever marketers have commandeered the term “investment?” Everything from new cars to rotisserie grills are touted as “great investments,” even though you well know the value of those things will drop like rocks. The only great investments are those which advance God’s Kingdom. So, when you must spend on things that are perishable, be shrewd. My friends Steve and Annette Economides have some great ideas about minimizing spending on the temporary so you can maximize investing in the eternal. ONE THING: Identify one service or product you use regularly and go “generic,” and make an intentional decision about what you’ll do with the savings.
- Stop planning for retirement.
And get ready instead to “re-tire,” as in, to install a fresh set of tires and continue the journey. Much of the world’s financial wisdom is centered on helping you quit work at age 60 or 65. It’s not biblical. There’s nothing wrong with changing pace, but your spiritual gift is not shuffleboard. Think beyond your 401K to how you’ll be able to serve God in new ways in your senior years. ONE THING: What would you like to do when you re-tire? Jot down a list of skills, education or resources you will need to develop to make it happen.