We have learned so much from world’s financial experts on how to manage our finances. Yet the world is in financial crisis not only individuals but governments as well. What is shocking, not only poor countries are in financial trouble but rich countries included, like countries in Europe. United States of America is not an exception. It was once considered the richest country in the world, but now the number one debtor-country in the world with a total staggering debt of more than 16.5 trillion dollars and counting. According to an expert, to count the said amount of money at one dollar every second, it would take about one million years. The question is why is this happening in our world today? Is this because we do not follow God’s way of managing our finances?
To answer to the above question let us look at God’s way of managing our finances in five - part series:1st part, “Causes of Financial Trouble”; 2nd part, “Signs of Financial Trouble”; 3rd part, “How to Avoid Financial Crises”; 4th part, “Nine Steps Out of Financial Crisis”; and 5th part, “Difference Between Man’s Way and God’s Way of Managing Finances”. After you read them all, you can answer the above question yourself.
How to Avoid Financial Crisis:
First, keep good record. Proverbs 27:23-24, “Riches can disappear fast … so watch your business interest closely. Know the state of your flocks.” Whether in business or personal financial management, an accurate record of your income and expenses should be maintained. Without accurate record you may be spending more than you should. Common causes of financial problem is spending more than as it is necessary. Keeping accurate records of your income and expenses could help avoid spending more than you earn.
Second, plan your spending. Proverbs 21:5, “Plan carefully and you will have plenty. If you will never have enough.” Moreover, Proverbs 21:20b, “… stupid people spend their money as fast as they get!” There are people with decent income and yet living in a “hand to mouth” existence. Why? Because they do not plan ahead of time of the things they buy. They purchase items on spar of the moment basis. As a result, they purchase items that they do not need. The passages simply mean to exercise prudence in your purchases by carefully planning your spending.
Third, save for the future. Proverbs 21:20a, “The wise man saves for the future….” Furthermore, Proverbs 13:11 says, “… he grows rich who accumulates little by little.” No matter how big is your income is, if you do not save, you will never reached to the level of what is commonly called, “financial independence.” It is not important the amount you earn, but the amount you save. Ideally, you need to set aside 10% of your income as force savings every payday. Do not touch said savings unless it is for emergency. Contributing to your RRSP is one of your good options as it is tax-deductible.
Fourth, “tithe back to God.” Proverbs 3:9-10, “Honor the Lord by giving him the first part of all your income, and He will fill your barns… to OVERFLOW!” If you are a believer, and believe that everything you have including your life is not yours but God’s (Psalm 24:1), you will return to God 10% (tithe) of your income through your local church (to cover the church’s ministries and administrative expenses). Those believers who faithfully (not grudgingly) return their tithe experience abundance blessings (Malachi 3:10) not only materially but spiritually and peace of mind as well.
Fifth, enjoy what you have. Eccl. 6:9, “It is better to be satisfied with what you have than to always be wanting something else.” In addition, Eccl. 5:19, “If God give a man wealth and property… he should be grateful and enjoy what he has worked for. It is a gift from God.” One of the common weaknesses of people who experience financial difficulties including those with decent income is disposing what they have, even if they are still in good condition to replace them with a latest model of an item or a property they own. Examples: cell phones, computers, furniture, appliances, cars, and even their house. To replace them with a latest model would cost them more money and they would succumb to the use of their credit cards, line of credit or even apply for a loan to finance their new purchase. The result is more debts. The foregoing passages simply mean, be satisfied with what you have and enjoy it for as long as it is usable to avoid unnecessary expenses or additional debts.
The bottom line of the foregoing passages is we should not be materialistic. Our happiness should not depend on material wealth like money and those things that money can buy, for they could lead to financial ruin. Job 31:24, 28, “If I have put my trust in money, if my happiness depends on wealth… it would mean that I have denied the God of heaven.”