Bible Verses About Finances...
Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is perverse in his ways. -Proverbs 28:6
The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. -Proverbs 22:7
A poor man is honored for his knowledge, while a rich man is honored for his wealth. A man honored in poverty, how much more in wealth! And a man dishonored in wealth, how much more in poverty! -Sirach 10:30-31
No one can serve two masters; for he will either hate one and love the other, or he will be loyal to the first and look down on the second. You cannot at the same time serve God and money. -Matthew 6:24
Jesus looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasure box; He also saw a poor widow dropping in two small coins. And He said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow put in more than all of them. For all gave an offering from their plenty, but she, out of her poverty, gave all she had to live on.” -Luke 21:1-4
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The Importance of Planning
Failing to manage your finances properly will hurt you. You'll find your money controlling you rather than the other way around. When that happens, you become money's slave. God is okay with the process of planning, as long as we always place our plans at his feet. In Tobit 4:19, we are encouraged to pray about our plans: "Bless the Lord God on every occasion; ask Him that your ways may be made straight and that all your paths and plans may prosper." It can be tempting to take shortcuts, but God warns of consequences when we do so...In the Gospel of Luke 14:28-30, he gives a very specific example that all builders can relate to: "For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build, and was not able to finish.'" Clearly, planning is an important part of success...There will be times when your money issues would take care of themselves, just like your wishes about homework and the dishes and every other tedious task. Persevere. The rewards of managing your money as a steward of Providence are abundant and worth the effort...
My personal preference is to use annual budgets. Why? I want a time frame that's long enough to see the big picture - one that makes it possible to capture all the expenses I expect to incur during the course of a year...My brother-in-law is a priest. He once shared a Latin saying with me: "Serva ordinem, et ordo servabit te," which means, "Serve order and order will serve you." Those words contain a lot of truth! By developing and continuing to "work" your financial plan, not only will you always know where you are financially, but you'll be able to anticipate where you need to be in the future, along with the steps you should be taking today to get there. Great freedom comes with that knowledge.
Building a Savings and Investment Model for the Future: First Things First
A big, bad, and highly common mistake people make is failing to save and invest for future obligations. Then when they find themselves in a financial hole, they dig a bigger one by borrowing. You can avoid this trap. After you've given a portion of your increase back to the Lord in the form of charitable giving (first fruits), set aside the savings you'll need for the future. Then you can use your remaining income for regular living expenses. If you don't make a savings a part of your plan, you won't save. It makes sense to take care of some basics first. Make sure you have an initial emergency fund...pay down any unproductive debt you have, especially high-interest-rate credit card debt, then develop a rainy day fund consisting of at least six months' expenses, but a year would be better...
Student Loans: Productive or Unproductive?
What about student loans? Are they productive or unproductive? This gets a bit more subjective, but to the extent that they increase your capacity to earn income, they can be productive. It's all a function of how much debt you are taking on and how much your earnings potential is being increased. That's not to say there aren't other valuable reasons to get a college education, especially in a Catholic environment. But you'll want to weigh very carefully how much debt you'll leave college with. Once, when I was a guest on a radio show, a woman called in and said her daughter had been admitted to the most prestigious music school in the country. The four-year education was expected to cost $250,000 and the school was not offering any scholarship funds. The caller asked my advice... I suggested she consider applying to other well - respected music schools where she could be expected to receive substantial scholarship funds - and potentially a complete scholarship. The woman was perturbed by my suggestion and asked how I could limit her daughter's potential in this way...Although borrowing for college can be productive, students and parents need to be realistic about the full amount that will be borrowed and the ramifications left by such debt after graduation.