Keeping it simple: Money matters and words from the heart
Many years ago, I went through a Compass Financial Ministries small group study. There are many good resources out there on how to manage your money according to Biblical principles, but Compass helped me understand the “why?”
One of the lessons was on how we should teach our children the principles we were learning in the small group. One morning as I was thinking about how to boil it down into simple terms, these four things came to me:
Debt is bad,
Saving is good,
Giving is fun!
Stuff is meaningless.
My husband loved it and used the quote in speeches, including a couple of college commencements. A fellow in North Carolina liked it so much he put it on a plaque and added scripture. That quote now hangs in the offices of business people from California to New York.
At my husband’s encouragement, it was included in my novel, Grounded, as something taught to my main character by her grandfather. Honestly, it’s been surprising to see how this quote has taken on a life all its own. As a writer, I would have spent much more time on it had I known it would be spread far and wide.
But if I had known, I would likely have complicated it. And the simplicity is what makes it easy to remember.
In an age where we are told you must establish credit (my husband is a banker and he says it’s not true!), it is against the cultural flow to say debt is bad. Of course, there are business debts and home mortgages that are difficult to avoid, but even those should be paid off as quickly as possible, not paid down enough to borrow more.
Saving is good and the earlier our kids learn this, the better it is. There will be emergencies and things we don’t plan for in our budget. Savings are necessary to keep us out of debt when those unexpected crises come up . . . and they will!
Giving can be one of the most pleasurable activities we engage in, and it’s even better when it’s anonymous! Be creative about your generosity and see how contagious it can be. Involve your children early so they catch the joy of giving.
The last principal truly affects the other three. If we buy into the fact that stuff is meaningless — no, REALLY buy into that — then debt, savings, and giving all take their proper place.
There’s no better time than the beginning of the year to simplify our view of money and alter our spending habits. Consider using these four basic principles to filter your 2014 financial decisions.
My hope is that you will find yourself at the end of the year with more financial margin in your life and more joy in your heart.