Are you satisfied?

“He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this too is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 5:10

People who love money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income

Money is a tool to use.

Even in our pursuit of financial freedom, we must never allow money or wealth become the end-goal. It is only a means to a different end: freedom to pursue God’s calling in your life; freedom to give generously; freedom from poverty and its added stresses and anxieties; a legacy of ministry for future generations…

If money for money’s sake is the goal, you will never be satisfied!

What is your end-goal?

Teach Finances to Your Kids

It’s your responsibility to teach finances to your kids.

Teach Finances to Your KidsI grew up as a pastor’s kid. Here’s what I learned about finances:

  • Taxes made dad angry and mean
  • Money problems made my parents yell at each other
  • Being a pastor didn’t pay very well
  • Dad emptied my passbook savings to pay our bills
  • Grandma bought us what we wanted and needed

As I grew older, I learned that:

  • Dad was secretive and controlling with finances
  • We hadn’t given tithes and offerings in years
  • We weren’t paying taxes the last few years before dad filed for bankruptcy
  • Dad had opted out of Social Security and was not saving toward retirement
  • The money was being spent on dad’s porn habit

I grew up with no real intentional education about biblical stewardship, saving, investing, paying bills, debt, or doing taxes. I did have one pretty awesome entrepreneurship experience selling homemade cupcakes to construction workers, but that’s probably a different post.

Now that I’m a pastor, I’ve learned that I could easily make the same mistakes. And for a long time, we were living beyond our means, I was neglecting tax planning, and I found myself resenting the pastoral call… “Why couldn’t God have called me to a job that made decent money?

Once we became intentional about paying off our debts, understanding our taxes, having an emergency fund, and investing and saving for the future, I found that my attitude became better. I enjoy pastoring more now that my finances are under control! (Thanks, Dave Ramsey!) Click To Tweet

Not only have I become passionate about empowering other pastors toward financial wholeness, I’ve also become a little fanatical about teaching finances to my son.

Here’s what we’ve done. It may not be exactly what you would do. But I hope this list helps you to think about how you can be intentional and teach finances to your kids.

Ages 3-6

Allowance and Commission

Very early on, we decided to give Nathaniel money on a regular basis. We gave him an allowance for the express purpose of teaching him how to put the money regularly into his Giving, Saving, Spending Bank.

We did not pay Nathaniel commission. Commission is paying your child for the chores they do. This can be very useful for creating a work=money link in the brain. But it can also teach a child not to contribute to the household unless there is an economic benefit.

I don’t think we made a conscious decision NOT to pay for chores, we just didn’t do it.

At any rate, we paid an allowance and helped Nathaniel divide it into three parts: Giving, Saving, Spending.

Giving, Saving, Spending Bank

Teach Finances to Your KidsWhen Nathaniel was about 4 years old, we bought him “My Giving Bank” by Larry Burkett. This bank is divided into three separate compartments: 1. A Bank (for saving), 2. A Store (for spending), and 3. A Church (for giving).

We would give him $3 and help him put one in the bank, one in the store, and one in the church.

Every week when we went shopping, he would bring the money from the store and try to spend it.

Every week when we went to church, he would empty the money from the church and give it as offering.

And the money in the bank just sat there growing and growing, saving up for something at a later date.

When Nathaniel would get more money ($20 as a gift, for instance), we would help him put at least 10% into church, at least 10% into the bank, and the rest into the store. Sometimes he would want to put more in the church or the bank. And that was okay, as long as he had his reasons.

As he grew older, we increased his allowance and he would establish savings goals and learn to differentiate between tithes and offerings. But this was a great way to start things out.

The Moonjar Moneybox and Money Savvy Pig do the same thing.

Ages 6-8

Read more

Generosity

Generosity can come back to bless you in powerful ways!

“One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.”
-Proverbs 11:24

Generosity

Generosity lifts us beyond ourselves and allows other blessings to enter our lives.

Grasping on to our money might make us feel safer, but a stingy mentality cuts off the avenues and relationships that God naturally uses to bless us.

Who to pay when you can’t pay everyone

When we first made a commitment to NEVER use debt again and started putting together a real budget, we realized we were coming up $300 short of being able to make all of our payments each month!

who to payThis isn’t as rare as it should be. Most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and have no emergency fund or savings they can go to if something goes sideways.

So when you’re short of funds, which bills do you pay and which ones do you let slide? Who to pay first?

Believe it or not, most people prioritize the wrong payments. And that can really get them into trouble.

I’ve counseled several pastors who can’t pay their rent, but they’re all up to date on their MasterCard payment… You’ll notice that your credit card payment is all they way down at the bottom of this list.

Here’s who to pay first and why.

1. Tithe
Biblically, tithing is not just about funding the church. We return 10% to God as a radical core understanding that God owns everything and we are His managers. This is about prioritizing God and trusting our lives completely to Him. This is also about building a habit of giving and generosity into our characters. For many pastors, tithing is actually a condition of employment. If you don’t tithe, you may get fired. I know that takes the joy out of giving. But seriously, why are we pastors if we can’t get this one right?

2. Food
This is a “necessity.” You need food to live. Buy food.

3. Housing and Utilities
This is a “necessity.” You need to make sure you and your family have a place to live–with heat, electricity, and water. If it doesn’t fit your budget, you might need to live in a smaller place, but you MUST pay your mortgage or rent.

4. Transportation
You probably need transportation to do your job. You may not need the SPECIFIC car you have… But you do need transportation to get where you need to go. If this means you get rid of your car and use Uber or public transportation, fine. But some form of transportation is a “necessity.”

5. Taxes
Taxes and government obligations, like child support, come before your other “debts.” The IRS is notoriously nasty if they don’t get their money, so be sure to pay them on time every time. If you don’t pay them, the penalties and fees are high and they’ll garnish your wages (i.e. you’ll pay them anyway, just more).

6. Secured Debt
Secured debt is anything you bought on payments using collateral. Your home improvement loan may have placed a lien on your house. That means if you don’t pay your debt, they can come and take your house. If you buy a new sofa or dining room set on credit, they can come take away your furniture if you don’t pay. Car loans are also secured debt. If you don’t pay your car loan, they can come take your car away. Pay secured debt BEFORE you pay unsecured debt.

7. Unsecured Debt 
Unsecured debt is the LAST thing you should pay. I know it feels like it’s the first thing you should pay, but that’s because you’ve been using your unsecured debt (credit cards) in place of an emergency fund. So you’re afraid if you don’t pay your debt, they won’t let you use your credit card anymore. Yes. That may be true. But unsecured debt, like credit card debt and medical debt are the safest debts to let slide.

If you find that you can’t pay all of your debts, don’t hide in shame from the debt collectors. Be proactive. Call your creditors before they call you. Tell them you won’t be making a payment this month and why. Tell them what you can afford to pay, if anything.

We were able to work with a credit card company to reduce our monthly payment from $980 down to $422 per month. That gave us just enough wiggle room in our budget to start getting some traction. They shut down the card and we couldn’t use it anymore. But the new arrangement brought the interest down from 24.24% to a measly 2% for repayment.

Let me know if there’s any way Clergy Financial Coaching can walk alongside you and support you in your pursuit of financial wholeness. It’s our specialty. Schedule a FREE 30-minute strategy session and I’ll be more than happy to help you get on the right path with your finances!

Make, Save, Give

“Make all you can; save all you can; give all you can.”
– John Wesley, Founder of Methodism

WesleyMakeSaveGive

Wesley’s advice is still good after all these years.

Are you earning all you can? Are you saving all you can? Are you giving all you can?

Contact me for a free 30-minute consultation to see if we can brainstorm how to make more, save more, and give more.

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