Books about finances and money are always good reminders. I recently read The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach. This older book doesn’t have the most up-to-date tricks and tips, but the principles are good.
I’m not a financial planner – at all – but I do have thoughts about the relationship we have with our money and have seen interestingly unique situations arise when you are in mission or ministry. These principles apply to both.
How Much You Make vs. How Much You Spend
Most often, the richest-looking people are in the worst financial shape. Those who live more modestly are often in better financial shape. The key is spending less than you earn. As you work hard to live within your means, you will develop the skills and disciplines to deal well with money as your money grows.
Little Habits Can Derail Financial Success
The Latte Factor shows how small habits easily erode our finances. If you spend $5 every weekday on special coffee and an additional $7 during the day for a snack, drink, and/or sandwich, you would spend $12 a day. If you invested $10 of that into an account earning 7 to 8 percent, that money can grow to over $1 million over time.
There’s nothing wrong with something special now and then, but many people nickel and dime themselves into sticky financial situations. The latte factor can be motivating. You’re not just spending $10 today — you’re wasting your $1 million retirement possibility.
Carve Out Your Tithe First
Joyfully giving a tithe to the Lord through the church will make a difference in your financial situation. As you tithe on a regular basis, you reinforce the thought that it’s all God’s and we are stewards. We teach ourselves again and again to put our trust in God alone and not in earthly treasure. We live with a heart of generosity and are blessed in miraculous ways.
Saving for the future is the next commitment you should have. This doesn’t need to be huge amount. The key is to begin now while time is on your side.
Automate Your Giving and Saving
When you automate the giving and saving part of your financial life, you are much more likely to keep it going systematically. Too many people overestimate what they can do in two weeks and underestimate what they can do in a year. If you save $10 a day over the course of the year, you will have a nice little chunk of money.
No Quick Rich Schemes
Too often, we think about the big windfall, the big inheritance, or a huge raise. While possible, those don’t happen as often as you might think. The more surefire way to grow in wealth is to be more like the tortoise than the hare, Start now, go slowly, and stay consistent.
If you are a pastor, church staff, missionary, or ministry leader, be encouraged. Being content and having a limit to the amount you can earn working in a church or ministry is not always easy. You may deal with financial pressure through most of your vocational ministry life But hang in there. Have faith. Don’t play the comparison game. Trust God’s calling and provision. Celebrate what you have. Live with the end in mind. Heaven in your home. Legacy can be left through faithful living and being a faithful witness.