But wanting it doesn’t mean a thing if I’m not actually doing something about it. The Bible says, “Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26) And, of course, the Bible also says, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” (I Tim. 6:10)
So, is it a sin to be rich? Is it wrong to want to be a millionaire? Yes. That is, if it causes you to “err from the faith.” (I Tim. 6:10) However, if it is achieved through practicing Biblical stewardship, then who is to blame? The Word of God? I don’t think so.
I believe that there are great rewards to being a financial steward. Yet, being a steward and becoming financially smart does not happen by accident; it’s an intentional effort, a purposed mindset, it’s making it a priority.
Here’s a few tips that I try very hard to live by and perhaps one day it will make me a millionaire. Just remember, take anything I say about money with a grain of salt – I AM NO EXPERT:
• Spend less than you earn
Well, duh. I know, it’s simple, but the truth is 90% of the people in our American culture buy things they can’t afford. Live within – emphasis on “within” – your means and you’ll always come out on top on the balance sheet.
• Cash out the savings and pay off the high interest credit cards
Chances are the interest you’re paying on your credit cards is higher (probably much higher) than the interest you’re gaining from your savings account. Therefore, it doesn’t make much sense to save a bunch of money while trying to reduce your credit card debt. You’re savings are not winning anything.
• Don’t use traditional savings accounts – they’re stupid
I’m not going to say anything here. Read my post about “The Traditional Savings Account Scam.”
• Define your financial goals
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. And when you don’t have a vision of where you’re going, you end up spending money on stupid stuff, and then you wonder where it all went. If you are married, it’s imperative that you define your financial goals WITH your spouse.
To some, the word “budget” is a six letter bad word. However, there is simply no way to strive for and achieve your financial goals without a written plan. This is regardless of how much you make or how cyclical your income might be. First and foremost, this is a biblical principal. My advice with budgeting is simply to plan (literally draw it out on paper) for short-term as well as long-term. Know what you spend in a month’s time and what you’ll need to spend in a year’s time (as well as 5 years, 10 years, etc.). And once you’ve figured out a budget that works for you, stick to it.
• Save Regularly – NO EXCEPTIONS
Okay, here I’m going to sound like I’m contradicting myself. Even if you’re carrying credit card debt, I do believe it’s still a good discipline to put a little something into savings – even if it’s just a dollar. The point is: Develop the habit of saving. And once you have, don’t ever break the momentum. You just don’t want to be putting large sums of money into savings while you’re still trying to pay down your credit card debt. Once you’ve paid off the debt, then you can put all that extra money into your savings and have it actually work for you.
• Invest in YOU
Go to back to school, take a course, or a seminar. Get licensed, get certified. Make yourself more valuable, more marketable. Who knows where it might take you or how much it might make you.
That’s right. Giving is probably the most powerful financial tool you could ever exercise. My father-in-law says, “Money is like love. It’s no good to you until you give it away.” And that’s so true. But there are other reasons why we should give. First and foremost, your money doesn’t really even belong to you – it’s God’s. He gave it to you by providing you the ability and opportunity to get it. So when you’re faithful to give to others and to tithe your increase to the Lord, He has promised to return it unto you “pressed down, shaken together, and running over.” (Luke 6:38)
So there you have it. David Ramsey, a financial guru, says that “winning at money is 80 percent behavior and 20 percent head knowledge.” Ultimately, I believe that if you want something bad enough, you will get it. Good or bad. The bare bones of this philosophy is that if you truly want to conquer your woes – and I mean really want to – then you’ll do whatever it takes to change your bad habits and develop better practices. But if you’re content with staying right where you are and not making any adjustments to your strategy, then you’ll just keep getting the same results that you’ve always gotten. Either way, you’ll get exactly what you asked for.
You gotta have the want to!
Rev. Alan C. Oggs
Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.