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Finances stressing you out? Here are the 3 major causes and how to overcome them

Updated: Jun 13


Christian investor stressing about finances over a computer with her hands over her head

If your finances have you stressed these days, don’t worry, you are not the only one.

Unfortunately, these times are crazy and uncertain, and I’m sure that your stress levels are super high. But allow me to give you some relief.


Introduction


Maybe not total relief, but a dose of reality.


I think no matter the condition of the economy we will always find something to worry about. Whether it is not having enough money or not being able to pay the bills.


I’m sure during this pandemic that many of you had to dip into that emergency fund. Some were glad that they had it to dip into, and some realized that they needed one.


To be clear, there is never a time where we know for certain, what our future finances will hold.


That is why I want to address 3 Financial Stressors and tips on how to overcome them.


1. Fear of the Unknown


Do you fear secure at your job? Are you concerned about mandates? Are there new policies that conflict with your morality? What will you do if you have to be let go because of budget cuts?


That is why it is important that you have that emergency fund as a cushion. We can’t control if our employers keep us around, but we can ensure that we have enough money to survive, in case they do.

As we spoke on many times, an emergency fund is 6-9 months of savings (depending on how many dependents and streams of income you have), which we maintain in cash, in case something like a pandemic hits, or there is an economic downturn.


If you need help figuring out how much that may be, start with making a budget. Try a program like Mint.com where you can track your expenses and see exactly where your money is going…and not going.


2. Fear of Credit Card Debt


Can’t seem to pay down that credit card? Is the interest rate making it difficult to pay down the principle?


During the pandemic, some had to rely on their emergency fund, but unfortunately, many more Americans who were already in debt, had to lean on their credit cards.


For those who are struggling, managing credit card debt is a huge source of stress.


Here are some tips to help you mange your debt:


Renegotiate your terms.


If you have been paying on time but have fallen on hard times, you may be able to negotiate “hardship terms”, where the credit card company will suspend interest payment for a period of time, to help you get on your feet.


Remember, this is not a chance to relax. Take this time to put as much toward your principle as you can, because the rates are still coming back.


Stop spending and adjust your lifestyle BELOW your income level


The best way to stay IN debt is to keep spending. The reason you are currently in debt is because you are living a lifestyle that is more expensive than you can afford. There are no debt management strategy that can help you until you readjust this aspect of your life.


You have two choices at the end of the day, make more money or spend less money.


Unless you are up for promotion or willing to get a second job to increase your income, the easiest way to get out of debt is to adjust your lifestyle BELOW what you can afford.

It takes humility to say “you can’t afford this life right now” but learning that statement can get you out and keep you out of credit card debt.


Pay the highest interest rate cards first (Avalanche Technique)


I know you have a lot of bills and probably own more than one credit card. To make the largest impact, dollar for dollar, you want to pay the credit card with the highest interest rate first.


Then contribute any additional principle to the balance after paying the minimums on all the other cards.


Let me show you what this looks like:


Let's assume you have $500/month to put towards credit card payments.


Credit Card A: $10,000 @ 6% interest rate and a minimum payment of $100

Credit Card B: $3,000 @ 20% interest rate and a minimum payment of minimum payment $40

Credit Card C: $800 @ 12% interest rate and a minimum payment of minimum payment $5


At first glance, it will be tempting to pay off Credit Card C in full. But remember, every month that Credit Card B goes unpaid, you are being charged at a 20% interest rate, so around $50/month ABOVE your minimum payment. The interest charge on Credit Card C is only $8/month.


So you are saving $42/month just by putting the proper payment on the right credit card. That is saving $504/year.


This is a lot better technique that a little money here, and a little more money there. This is a strategy that works!


So here is an example of how the Avalanche Technique looks:


First we figure out the balance, interest, and minimum payments of each card and rank them from highest interest rate to lowest interest rate.


Credit Card B: $3,000 @ 20% Pay- $395.00 (Highest)

Credit Card C: $800 @ 12% Pay- minimum payment $5

Credit Card A: $10,000 @ 6% Pay - minimum payment $100 (Lowest)


In this example, you would pay down Credit Card B until it is goes to zero and repeat for Credit Card C.


This time taking the minimum payment from Credit Card B and placing it on Credit Card C.


After paying off Credit Card B, your bills should look like this:


Credit Card C: $800 @ 12% Pay -$400

Credit Card A: $10,000 @ 6% Pay minimum payment- $100


And finally, after you paid off Credit Card C, all you have left is Credit Card A where you put the whole $500 every month until it is to ZERO!!!!


Credit Card A: $10,000 @ 6% Pay- $500 until paid off




Professional Tip: Don't make the mistake of not making the minimum payments because late charges and non-payments can wreck your credit score, which would be counter-productive in this process.

3. The Fear of Death


We all aren’t Warren Buffet. We aren't so rich that we can give 99% of our wealth to charity and our kids still receive a quarter billion dollars each.


If you fear not leaving your children anything, here are some things you may want to consider:


Life Insurance


This is a safety net for most who can not afford to pass on $100,000 to their children for funeral cost and other expenses, including credit card debt. Speak with an insurance agent and look into some term insurance that will cover your family in case of an unfortunate accident. There are many calculations to help you determine how much you need but the variables are too many to discuss in this blog. Remember this, Save (emergency fund), Protect (insurance), then Grow (investments).


Name Direct Beneficiaries


Make sure that the money you do leave, goes to the children and not the state. Unclaimed property can leave hundreds of dollars on the table, including but not limited to: old retirement accounts at old jobs, refund checks, and stock holdings. Check your local state for specifics. If you need an example you can check out the site for Louisiana by clicking HERE. Beware of people saying they can find your unclaimed property for a fee. You can do it yourself by going through your state.


An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you are still struggling with credit card debt, you can always speak with a Christian Advisor to help you through this rough patch.


Sometimes just getting a financial plan together can help you develop a strategy that complements your life.


Conclusion


It says in James 1: 2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”


Never forget that the Lord will be with you. This is just a test of your faith. But with patience and perseverance, the Lord will always provide for you.


To learn more visit: www.abrwealthmanagement.com

retired couple reviewing their investments

 

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As Christians, we were taught to be good stewards over our tithing and giving to the less fortunate. But when it came to our personal finances and investing we were left clueless on what the Bible says. What does the Bible say about managing debt, leaving a legacy, investing, and planning for your retirement? Mr. Christian Finance answers these and many other questions because we want to teach you how to become rich and righteous!


Meet A.B. Ridgeway:


A.B. Ridgeway with his hands up

A.B. Ridgeway, MBA, CPWA®️ (info@abrwealthmanagement.com) is the owner and Christian Financial Advisor with A.B. Ridgeway Wealth Management. With a decade in the finance industry, his goal is to give believers clarity around the most confusing topic in the Bible, money, and tithing. A.B. Ridgeway helps tithing Christians become cheerful givers but unlocking their money-making potential, so they can prosper and be the great stewards of the wealth God has entrusted them with.


*Disclaimer: This communication is not intended as an offer or solicitation to buy, hold or sell any financial instrument or investment advisory services. Any information provided has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but we do not guarantee the accuracy or the completeness of any description of securities, markets or developments mentioned. This is strictly for information purposes. We recommend you speak with a professional financial advisor.

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