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Money by the Book

In this introductory article, in January 2007, I will simply ask a question. Are you where you want to be financially? Oh no, you may say, another financial guru spouting advice on how to get so rich or be so debt free that banks ask for a loan. If you think that, I would probably agree with you. However, if you really answer that question, most people would probably say no that they were not. I would ask a second question, what are you doing about it? Then ask a third question, where are you getting the wisdom that you need to do something about it?

Are you where you want to be financially? National statistics show that most of us are not. I won’t bore you with the exact statistics. However, it is safe to say that one of the leading causes of personal stress, marital stress, career stress, health issues, and the list could go on, is the fact that people are worried about money. Whether your worry is about paying the bills, making your next investment, or somewhere in between people are allowing money to control their life instead of the other way around.

 So, what are you doing about it? Unless, you have a process of managing your money today and even if you do, issues with money still come up.
 Therefore, where are you getting the wisdom that you need to do something about it? That is a funny way to ask that question, using the word wisdom. I use that word because you will need more than just information to control your money. Information flows freely around our society. However, wisdom is something that is substantial, it is solid, and it is proven. There are very few sources of wisdom like this, I really only know of one.

 Here is how we sit; we are not where we want to be financially, we want to do something about that, but we need help doing something about that. Does that sound familiar? That sounds familiar to me, both personally and professionally. Once you have answered the first two questions, which we all have done, either yes or no to your financial position and that we will or will not do something about it; the next question and the processes that go with it will last a lifetime whether you like it or not. Money is liquid, it is always moving because of the pressures that our society can put on money; therefore we must always manage our money. Let’s make one thing clear, money is not what you keep score with; it is simply a tool to purchase our needs and wants and to bless others. If you don’t believe me try eating a dollar bill for lunch today and I think that you will see my point.
 To manage your money properly you will need a plan. I know that sounds like torture to you, you are afraid that you will have to do terrible things like budgets and save money. Don’t worry we will get to that and it is not so bad. You can build a plan that fits you, if it is so complex and difficult that you will not follow it, the plans are no good and a wasted effort. Therefore build a simple plan. The source of the wisdom for this plan must be good. In these articles I will use the Bible as my source. I will not use it in a way that will that will be a turn off to individuals that don’t read the Bible. Among others things, the Bible is a source of wisdom that is beyond dispute. On top of that there are over two thousand verses in the Bible discussing money, more that Heaven or Hell. I think that the author of the book knew that we were going to mess up in this area of our lives.

 If you are looking for a simple financial start to 2007 here are five rules. These rules are not original with me, they are not fancy financial planner or investment advisor rules; they are simple rules that my wife and I followed in a very difficult financial period in our own lives. 1)Tithe, be charitable, the Bible teaches to your church first and great promises with it; wealthy individuals have taught this for years, it is a weird rule of money that if you kindly give some away you may go further on what you have left over 2) Pay yourself first, that sounds funny but after you give some to someone else, pay yourself first, meaning before you pay for bills, food, and toys consider your ability to save or invest a little for the future 3) Don’t buy it unless you’ve earned it, by going into debt to purchase something, you have purchased that item before you’ve earned it, managing debt is a funny issue, a simple rule of thumb is to not go into to debt to purchase something that is not an asset or an investment, there are big warnings against something called surety debt, personal guaranteed debt, i.e. credit card debt. There are two other rules that we followed, however you can go a long way with these three rules, the other two are have a plan and relax. The Bible gives us great wisdom on living life and being content with where we are. It says that the plans of the diligent lead to profit (Proverbs 21:5 ); yet Paul in the Bible told us to be content whatever the circumstances, that godliness with contentment is great gain (Philippians 4: 11 & Timothy 6: 6). If you put those two ideas together you see that you can have an “ambitious contentment” if your heart is in the right place. I will explain more about all of these in later articles.

 Good luck in 2007, I wish you a happy new year. If a New Year’s resolution of yours is to better manage your finances, then make it a goal, put it on paper, set dates of accomplishment to it, and make it happen.

January 3, 2007

Investment advisory services offered through Sound Financial Strategies Group, Inc.("SFSG"), a Registered Investment Adviser.  Securities offered through Comprehensive Asset Management and Servicing, Inc., ("CAMAS") Member FINRA/SIPC.  SFSG and CAMAS are separate and unrelated companies. The opinions voiced in this article are for general information only. They are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual and do not constitute an endorsement by CAMAS

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