Financial advisor Lee Jenkins offers 9 critical new ways to think about your finances.
Focusing on Net Worth is In – Focusing on Income is Out
Did you know that how much money you make has very little to do with whether or not you are building wealth? Your focus should be on how much money you keep (net worth), not on how much money you make (income). I know a lot of men who have big incomes, big homes, big debt, but little net worth. They are what I call "income-statement affluent" instead of "balance-sheet affluent." The latter are people who focus on accumulating wealth, and their assets greatly exceed their credit liabilities.
Paying Off Your Mortgage is In – Having a Big House with a Big Fat Mortgage is Out
The new status symbol today is a paid off mortgage! I know you were taught otherwise, but buying a big house with a big mortgage to get the tax deduction is not a wise financial move. Here’s why: if you are in the 28 percent tax bracket, every dollar you spend on mortgage interest reduces your income taxes by 28 cents. So you are paying a dollar to get 28 cents back. If that sounds like a good deal to you, just let me know. I will gladly give you 28 cents for every dollar you give me! The truth is, you’ll be way ahead to pay off your mortgage and give the government their 28 cents in taxes on each income dollar. You get to keep the remaining 72 cents because you won’t be sending that dollar to the mortgage company as interest, and the last time I checked, 72 cents was worth more than 28 cents!
Being an Entrepreneur is In – Job Security is Out
As you probably already know (either by personal experience or someone else’s), there is no such thing as job security anymore. You can be laid off, fired or “downsized” at the drop of a hat. Going forward, you must think and act like an entrepreneur. There are different types: (1) an intrapreneur is one who creates a business within a business, (2) a self-employed person is a half step between being an employee and a true business owner, (3) a business owner; is a person who buys and operates a business.
Developing Multiple Streams of Income is In – Having One Source of Income is Out
Even if you have a good job with a good paycheck, it is still wise to develop multiple streams of income. Begin now to develop and diversify your income streams. Don’t sit idly on ideas you may have. Nurture those God-talents and turn them into money making ventures. You never know when one of those streams will be needed. Ecclesiastes 11:2 says, “Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth.”
Making Purchases with Cash and Debit Cards is In – Going Into debt and Using Credit Cards is Out
Even if you pay your credit cards off at the end of every month (which most people don’t do), credit card users typically spend 12 to 18 percent more when using credit instead of cash. It hurts when you spend cash, and, therefore, you spend less. Stop being fooled by all the propaganda like brownie points, airline miles, use of someone else’s money, etc. An American Bankruptcy Institute study of bankruptcy filers reveals that 69 percent of filers say credit-card debt caused the bankruptcy. They are dangerous, and wealthy people don’t use them.
Buying an Economically Sensible Car is In – Buying a Big, Gas-Guzzling, SUV is Out
Years ago everybody and their grandmother wanted a big SUV. Now with gasoline prices at an all-time high, people are realizing the financial drain that these gas-guzzlers are having on their financial lives. Things have gotten so bad that some auto dealerships won’t even take big SUV’s as trade-ins! Stop driving your way to the poorhouse! Get a vehicle that is large enough to meet your needs and something you can afford (that includes maintenance and upkeep, not just the monthly payment).
Paying Off Your Car Loan is In – Leasing a Car is Out.
Most people should never lease a car (the reason most people do is because they want to drive a car that they really can’t afford, simply to impress people). Pay off your automobile loan, and keep your car for as long as you can. Continue making the car payments into a savings account. Then when you are ready to replace your car, the saved cash plus the trade-in should be sufficient to buy a car without going into a heap of debt.
Investing for the Long Term is In – Getting Rich Quick is out
Remember when stock day-trading was hot? What about when all the dot com and technology stocks were going to through the roof? Those days of excesses are over and today’s investor must have a long-term approach (5 to 7 years). It’s not “timing” the market that builds wealth, but “time in” the market that builds wealth. Be patient, and let your money (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate) work for you.
Stewardship Theology is In – Prosperity Theology is Out
Money Cometh! If you name it, claim it, blab it and grab it, you can have it! We have all heard it, and maybe believed it, but all the financial fads, prosperity pep rallies, and great revelations won’t make you wealthy. But good stewardship might. We have to be faithful with all that God has entrusted to us, and this and only this, will determine whether we are blessed with more. I Corinthians 4:2 says, “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”