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Money by the Book

Are you where you want to be financially? Oh no, another financial guru spouting advice on how to get so rich that banks ask for a loan. If you think that, I agree with you.

However, most people would answer “No,” when asked if they are where they want to be financially.
 What are you doing about it?
 Where are you getting the wisdom to do something about it?
 Are you where you want to be financially? Most people are not. One of the leading causes of personal stress, marital stress, career stress, and health issues, is worry over money. Whether we worry about paying bills or the stock market, we often allow money to control our life instead of us controlling our money.
 So, what are you doing about it? Money issues are a part of life.
 Therefore, where are you getting the wisdom that you need to do something about it? That is a funny way to ask that question. I use the word wisdom, because you need more than just information to manage your money. Information flows freely around our society. However, wisdom is substantial, it is solid, and it is proven. There are very few sources of wisdom, I only know of one.
 “We are not where we want to be financially. We want to do something about that. However, we need help.” Does that sound familiar? That sounds familiar to me, both personally and professionally.
 You have answered the first two questions, either yes or no to your financial position and that you 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. However, money is not what you keep score with. It is a tool to purchase needs, wants, and to bless others. Eat a dollar bill for lunch today, you will see my point.
 You need a plan to manage money properly. That may sound like torture, terrible tasks like budgets and savings. Don’t worry, it is not so bad.
 Build a plan that fits you. The plan is a wasted effort if it is too complex and difficult to follow.
 Wisdom for this plan must be good. I use the Bible as my source. Over two thousand verses in the Bible discuss money, more than either Heaven or Hell. The Author knew that we were potentially walking financial catastrophes.
 The following are fives guidelines for a simple financial plan. These are not original with me. They are not fancy financial planner rules. They are simple rules that my wife and I followed in a very difficult financial period in our lives.
 1) Tithe; be charitable, as the Bible teaches, to your church first and great promises go with it. Many wealthy individuals have taught this for years. A weird rule of money is that if you kindly give some away you may go further on what remains.
 2) Pay yourself first. This sounds funny, after you give tithe money 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. You have purchased an item before you have earned it by going into debt to pay for it. Managing debt is a funny issue. A simple rule of thumb is to not go into debt to purchase something that is not an asset or an investment. The Bible gives strong warnings against surety debt, personal guaranteed debt, such as credit card debt.
 4) Plan; decide what you want your financial picture to look like. Plan the steps to create that picture. Planning is a process. The picture changes throughout your life. You will have starts and stops. When you stumble at planning, get back up and move forward.
 5) Relax; the Bible tells us in Philippians 4: 6, “Be anxious for nothing.” I understand worrying about money. However, if you are taking the right steps, relax.
 The Bible gives us great wisdom on living life and contentment. It states that the plans of the diligent lead to profit, Proverbs 21:5. Yet it is written to be content in whatever the circumstances, Philippians 4: 1. If you put those two ideas together you see an idea of ambitious contentment.

June 28, 2010

Investment Advisory Services offered through Sound Financial Strategies Group, Inc. (“SFSG”), a Registered Investment Adviser. Certain representatives of SFSG are also Registered Representatives offering securities through APW Capital, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC, 100 Enterprise Drive, Suite 504, Rockaway, NJ 07866 (800)637-3211. SFSG and APW Capital 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 APW Capital.

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