Saving is hard. And saving for a day you may not live to see, is harder. But let me tell you, living during an emergency with no money, is the hardest thing you will ever do.
Scripture: Romans 8:8- Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
We all make mistakes with our faith, and our finances...---even millionaires and priest.
So the next time that you are down, thinking you are not doing as well as your friends or other family members, just remember, we ALL made mistakes that cost us...BIG TIME!
But here is the blessing.
You still see them as successful, right? You still think they are great individuals with a good life, right?
That means, there is still a chance for you.
I am going to list 2 of the BIGGEST mistakes we make and how to fix them so you can live the successful life you deserve.
Mistake #1: Not Contributing To Your Company's 401k
When we get our first job, we calculate how much we are going to make based on our hourly wage, we open the envelope, and what happened? The government has taken out almost half of your anticipated earnings. Thinking this is a mistake, you run to your manager and ask them, "Who is F.I.C.A, my name is John, and why did they get so much of my money?!?!"😂
F.I.C.A. tax stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act. It is deducted from each check and contributes to credits which will be used to calculate your Social Security benefits
Disappointed, you decide that you are going to hold on to the little bit of money that you have left and NEVER invest another penny.
🛑STOP! DON'T DO THIS🛑
That is where you could be leaving money on the table. Check with your employer. If they have a 401k plan, this may be a great way to get some of that money back. Some employees will even match your contributions into a 401k retirement plan, dollar for dollar up to 4% or more.
That's FREE money!!!!
Now before you go and throw everything into your retirement, there are some things you will want to have in order before you do.
Things to consider:
This is a retirement account and there may be penalties for early withdrawals if you are under the age of 59.5 years old (there are exceptions for first time home purchases and education but consult with an advisor to figure out your options)
What are you living expenses and debt owed? If you have outstanding debt with high interest rates, you may want to get your daily finances under control first.
What is the match? All retirement plans are not created equal. Request a copy of your Employee Benefits from your Human Resource department and have a representative discuss your specific plan
There is no doubt that when investing, those who start earlier, with all things being considered equal, will do better than those who start later in life.
So make sure you take some time to review your retirement options and see where you can pick up a few more dollars from your company.
Mistake #2: Not Having An Emergency Fund
You are having the time of your life!
You have friends. You have income. You are living on your own. And the world seems perfect until... you blow out a tire.
Now you are looking at a $200 bill and no way to get to work. Now what do you do? If you are like the typical 20 year old, you will put it on your credit card and put the extra $5 you save to pay the minimum balance.
Well after 6 months, a few missed payments, and late charges, you see that your $200 bill is now $245!!!
This is the story of how a majority of credit card debt starts and the story doesn't end well for most individuals. The reason is because people are paying today's debt with tomorrow's money.
That is why you should consider having an emergency fund.
How much is enough? Well that depends on a few variables. I'll give you a short list to consider.
Calculating how much you should keep in an emergency fund:
Calculate your monthly living expenses.
Count how many working individuals and dependents you have in the household.
Add together the net amount of income.
Subtract your expenses from your income and pick a percentage to save.
The general rule of thumb is 6-9 months of living expenses is a good start. Other variables such as: number of dependents, plans for a large purchase, job changes, and major life events such as the birth of children and marriages will all also affect the amount you should save.
*Professional tip: When you chose a percentage to save as opposed to a dollar amount 5% vs. $20...even when your cash flows change, you can always save. You may not always have $20, but you will always have 5% of even $1. And this consistency can build strength in the saving habit.
The more streams of income you have, the more conservative you can be on the emergency fund. But these rules are not laws. Savings is a feeling process. You want to feel secure, but with too much cash and cash equivalents, you still can run into purchasing power risk. So more is not always better.
Inflation Risk (Purchasing Power Risk): when the price of goods go up, you are unable to buy the same amount goods with the same amount of money.
So before you start investing in the hottest stock, or you buy an NFT, make sure your debt is paid off, and you have money in case of an emergency.
Paul explains in Romans that we are divided into two parts, the flesh and the spirit. He reminds us that we should be led by the Spirit and not the flesh.
Our financial lives are also divided into two parts, the NICE TO HAVE and the HAVE TO HAVE.
If we take a legitimate inventory of our life and the things we spend our money on, we will find out that the things we THINK we have to have, are merely things that are nice to have.
Netflix, is nice to have. Three pair of shoes, is nice to have. Having food delivered to your door, is nice to have.
God instructs us to be led by the Spirit. And this is pleasing to God. This is what Paul meant when he said those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. The flesh will distract us for the true purpose of our financial spirit. Paul is pleading with us to seek our higher selves above the animalistic nature that is the flesh and pursue the things that are righteous.
Taking care of your family is righteous. Being able to financially take care of yourself and the people you love, is righteous.
Prayer: Lord, please remove the anxiety in my life as I move from a mind of the flesh, into a mind of the Spirit. As I forgive myself for any financial mistakes I may have made in the past. I look to you for provision and trust in your guidance. I will not lean on my own understanding but seek the Spirit to guide me to righteousness.
Thank you for reading!
Subscribe today and receive our Christian Resource for Tithing Christians
4 Biblical Principles Every Christian Should Know About Finances and Creating Generational Wealth.
About the blog:
Many Christians struggle with the seemingly conflicting views about our faith and the pursuit of financial gain. They were taught that poverty was piety and that a lack of money was the only way to truly detach themselves from the love of money. Our blog debunks some of those claims, teaches you that you can be rich and righteous, and at the same time fulfill your obligation to tithe and give to the less fortunate. We are dedicated to helping you become cheerful givers by organizing your personal finances, providing investment tips to help you create wealth, and encouraging you to create a gifting strategy that will make your family and God proud.
Meet the Author:
A.B. Ridgeway, MBA (email@example.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.
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.