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Money by the Book

Most people aren’t where they want to be financially.

Worry over money – a major cause of stress – pulls apart marriages, strains careers and causes health problems. Whether worrying about paying bills or the stock market, we allow money to control our lives instead of us our controlling our money.
 Money issues will arise in life. What are you doing about them?
 To effectively change the situation, we need wisdom. Where will you get the wisdom you need? I use the word wisdom, because you need more than just information to manage your money. In our society, information flows freely from literally millions of sources but wisdom is substantial. It is solid. And it is proven. I only know of one source of wisdom.
 We are not where we want to be financially. We want to change. However, we need help. Does that sound familiar? That sounds familiar to me, both personally and professionally.
 The processes of change lasts a lifetime. Money makes a difference in our lives but it’s important to remember, money is not what we keep score with. It’s a tool to purchase needs, wants and to bless others.
 Eat a dollar bill for lunch today, you will get my point.
 You need a plan to manage money properly. That may sound like torture involving terrible tasks like budgeting and saving. 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. There are over two thousand verses in the Bible discussing money, more that Heaven or Hell. The Author knew that we were walking financial catastrophes.
 The following five rules outline a simple financial plan. They didn’t originate 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. The Bible teaches to tithe to your church first. Great promises follow. 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 may sound funny in that, after you give money to someone else, pay yourself first. It means 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 go into debt if you buy an item before earning it. And managing debt can be difficult. A simple rule of thumb is to not go into to debt for something that is not an asset or an investment. The Bible gives strong warnings against what’s the financial industry calls surety debt. That is 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, get back up and keep moving forward.
 5) Relax: the Bible tells us to be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6). I understand worrying about money. However, if you are taking the right steps, relax.
 The Bible gives us great wisdom on planning 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: 11). If you put those two ideas together you see an idea of ambitious contentment.

July 21, 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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