Money is a Necessary Part of Life
Money is something we all need. Life tends to run smoother when we have it, and becomes turbulent when we don’t. Financial struggles are one of if not the leading causes of stress in marriages today. Wouldn’t it be great if you could eliminate much of your financial stress in 2020? Well actually, you can.
Please don’t misconstrue my purpose in writing this post. I’m not trying to suggest in any way that money should be your main focus or priority.
There is nothing wrong with owning a great deal of money, as long as your money doesn’t own you. I believe what the Bible says regarding money. The Bible says “The love of money is the root of all evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10) Notice it doesn’t say MONEY is the root of all evil. It says the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. If your life totally revolves around attempting to amass more money, you’re setting yourself up for a miserable life.
Managers of God’s Money and Provision
Even though money shouldn’t be our life focus, we do need to be good stewards of what God has given us. And, it is God who has given us the ability to obtain money and gain wealth. (See Deuteronomy 8:18)
So, how do we go about being responsible managers of the money God has given us? Notice I used the word managers. That’s what we are when it comes to our money. Everything we have belongs to God. God allows us to use it all, but none of it is actually ours. We’re simply managers of what really belongs to God.
I would like to share with you 5 critical moves to make with your money in 2020 that will help you greatly. If you act upon these bits of advice you will definitely see your finances improve in the coming year. Now bare in mind, these steps aren’t easy. If they were, everyone would be doing it and nobody would have financial struggles. So without further ado, here are the five key money moves to make in 2020.
1. Create a Written Budget
Creating a written budget is absolutely a must if you’re ever going to conquer your financial problems. A budget clarifies what you have to work with in terms of money. It also prioritizes where your money should go. Without a budget you’re just guessing.
Dave Ramsey, who is one of America’s leading financial management experts says it well. Dave says, “A budget tells your money where to go, instead of wondering where your money went.” This is so true. Without a written budget, you will waste money on many things. And, at the end of your paycheck, you’ll have no idea where most of it went. A budget gives every dollar you earn a name and a purpose. The best budgeting method to use is called a “zero based budget”. You can get more information on this budgeting method at https://www.daveramsey.com/budgeting/how-to-budget.
2. Establish an Emergency Fund as Soon as Possible.
According to a recent survey conducted by bankrate.com, only 40% of Americans could pay cash for an emergency event totaling $1000 in costs. That’s sad.
Many things can bring about a $1000 unexpected expense. A medical bill can pop up, an appliance can break down, car repairs become necessary,…the list could go on and on. What normally happens in events like this? Most people pay with a credit card that is charging them 18% or more in interest. Doing that just piles on to their ever increasing mountain of debt.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have cash to pay for your next car repair or your next appliance that needs replacing? I strongly recommend establishing an emergency fund in a savings account of a minimum of $1000 as fast as you can. If you have to sell a bunch of junk in your house to do it, sell it! You don’t need all that junk anyway!
When you set this emergency fund account up, remember it is for emergencies only! It’s not a fund to pay for your latest impulse spending spree! Think of your emergency fund as an insurance policy against potential unexpected expenses.
In time, you should try to set back 3-6 months of your budgeted expenses in your emergency fund. What would happen if you broke your arm and couldn’t work for 6 weeks? This is where an emergency fund of 3-6 months can be a life saver.
3. Start Systematically Paying off Debt using “the Debt Snowball” Method
Debt is a four letter word that should be removed from your vocabulary and your life. There is nothing good to say about debt. The Bible even says a person in debt is a slave to his lender! (See Proverbs 22:7)
The “snowball method” is the most effective way to quickly eliminate debt. This method is simple.
With this method, you start with your smallest debt and pay it off as fast as you can. Then, you take the monthly amount you were paying on the debt you just eliminated, and add that amount to the monthly payment on your next largest debt. You will keep using this pattern until you reach your largest debt. By that time, your payment amount may be quite large. This will allow you to pay off large debts pretty quickly.
For detailed information on the debt snowball method of debt reduction, check out https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/how-the-debt-snowball-method-works
4. Start Investing 15% of Your Income in Tax Sheltered Investments
The sooner you start setting money aside for retirement in tax sheltered and tax deferred accounts, the better off you are. Most financial experts recommend investing at least 15% of your income into these types of accounts. The power of compound interest working in your behalf is incredible when implemented over a period of 30 to 40 years. If you haven’t started investing, start as soon as possible!
You can’t rely solely on Social Security to give you adequate income in your retirement years. In 2019, the average Social Security benefit was about $1,470 a month. That comes to only $17, 640 a year. Another way to look at that is it equates to $8.48 per hour if you were working a full time 40 hour per week job! Nobody can live on that!
You will definitely need other income sources in retirement, and income from long term investments can provide that! I have my own investments, but I’m definitely no expert on investing. Find and talk to a financial adviser. If your employer offers a 401k plan and you’re not in it, get in it as soon as possible, especially if a company match is offered!
5. Become a Generous Giver
I would have listed this first, but you have to create a budget first to set your giving category. Yes, charitable giving is and should be a budgeted expense. As a matter of fact it should be the very first category of expense you deduct in your budget.
Start supporting your church or a local charity on a consistent and regular basis. God blesses those who bless others, and giving of your money is a way to do that. Giving sets in motion the law of sowing and reaping in your finances. Selfish people are rarely happy people. If you want to bring some happiness into your life, start monetarily supporting a good cause. There’s something incredible about being part of something bigger than yourself.
I hope you can use these tips and guidelines to help you make 2020 your most prosperous and financially fit year ever. My hope and prayer is for you and your family to have a safe, happy, and blessed life in 2020 and in the years to come.
Thanks for reading!
Until next time,