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

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Step 6. Make a realistic spending plan

We try not to use the “B” word around my house. “Budget” sounds like a grey cinder block prison meant to keep you from living life the way you want to. “Budget” food sounds like it might taste bland and gritty somehow. I imagine a “budget” vacation in a roachy motel with a broken pool. Nobody wants to be on a budget! And even if they’re convinced they NEED to be on a budget, nobody wants to stay on a budget!

Spending Plan, budget
A screen shot of a small part of my spending plan. As you can see, we’re still paying off debt.

That’s why we don’t budget. We make a spending plan.

Before the money comes in at the beginning of the month, we have a plan for where all of that money is going to go.

In Step 3, you dreamed with your spouse the kind of life you’d like to live and some goals you’d like to reach at different time horizons. Now is the time when you make a plan to spend your money toward those goals.

With a spending plan, you and your spouse get to dream about next month and decide how you want to spend your money. There will be some expenses that are fixed (housing, utilities, certain bills, student loans, credit card payments, a certain level of food…), but beyond that, you get to decide where your money is going to go.

If you don’t have your baby emergency fund (Step 4) in place yet, you’ll want to put money toward that.

If you have a baby emergency fund and have significant debts to pay off, you’ll want to be sure your spending plan reflects the goal of paying those off quickly (Step 7).

But together, you get to decide where your money is going to go.

When Kendra and I did our first written spending plan, we freaked out.

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More Calculators!

more_cowbellYou want more calculators? We’ve got more calculators! (unfortuantely, we’ve run fresh out of more cowbell)

This week we’ve added to our growing list of calculators two brand new ones that are sure to tickle your fancy!

Sinking Fund Calculator

Use this calculator to budget money each month for non-monthly or irregular expenses – car insurance, registration, taxes, licenses, subscriptions, yearly renewals, vacation, gifts, etc. This is a great tool for making sure nothing sneaks up on you and ruins your budget!

College Funding Calculator

If you have kids, this calculator is for you! Use this calculator to help you to determine how much money you need to invest on a monthly basis now, to be able to pay for your child’s college education by the time they are ready to start college. Includes current averages for different college types and adjusts for expected inflation and rates of return on investment. When you hit the “compute” button, this calculator spits out a personalized report for you to use in your planning.


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