The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. Proverbs 21: 5
To "profit" simply means you still have money left after all your expenses are paid. We all like to be profitable, but why is it so hard to get there sometimes? Many of us seem to be perpetually behind financially. And when our troubles result from poor choices we've made, we may not know how to fix our situation or prevent it from happening again.
A case in point: An episode of a recent talk show featured a family that was about $80,000 in debt. They met with a financial counselor, refinanced their house and were able to take $50,000 from their house and pay off quite a bit of debt. Unfortunately, when they came back on the show a year later, they returned with an additional $37,000 on top of their original debt. The financial counselor said that based on these results, this family didn't really want to be debt free - they just wanted to relieve a little pressure. Once some of the pressure was relieved, they were "done" in their minds and went back to spending money.
This scenario plays out in so many people's lives. Yet, never anyone actually say, "I want to get out of debt - and after that I want to rack up more debt!" Sounds crazy, right?
One of the best remedies for financial stress and yo-yo budgeting is rooted in Proverbs 21: setting financial goals. With goals you are no longer wandering aimlessly but know where you are going and know exactly how far you have to go before arriving.
If you don't have any financial goals yet, you can set aside some time to pray about what goals you want to set and then sit down and write them out. When writing
down your financial goals it's a good idea to include specific time frames for reaching your goals. You may or may not meet those time frames, but at least you'll be able to see how you are doing along the way and adjust as necessary.
If you are married, goal-setting is a great opportunity to sit down with your spouse and communicate about your money and your future dreams and plans. You'll want to make sure you are on the same page or can at least arrive on the same page because if you and your spouse have different goals for the money you share, there will be trouble ahead.
Since everyone's financial situation is different, everyone's goals will be different too. As you pray about this, God will direct you to what areas of your finances need improvement, but to help you get started, consider these ideas:
Create an Emergency Fund: The first thing is creating emergency savings fund. This is important because it can help save you from going into debt when the unexpected occurs. Many Christians sadly assume that God will prevent any catastrophes from occurring in their finances and are very surprised when they do occur. God often gives us the means to set aside money now to take care of future needs. Proverbs 6:6-8 talks about how an ant stores up food in the summer so he will have enough food in the winter when the supply is non-existent.
Some experts suggest somewhere between 3-6 months of living expenses for your emergency fund. That can be quite the big of change, especially if you are struggling to pay your bills. If this is the case, start with a smaller amount, like 1 month or even 2 weeks. Something is better than nothing.
Eliminate (or at least reduce) debt: An ultimate goal should be to pay off all debt. For some, this might take only a few months, but for others it could be a longer and more painful process. If you have a smaller amount of debt, you can make separate goals to pay off specific accounts and an overall goal to be debt free. If you have a larger amount of debt, you might want to set some goals based on a certain percentage or amount of your total debt. For instance, one of your goals may be "We will pay our student loan debt down $5000 this year" or "We will pay off 50% of our current car loan by XX date." Reaching your smaller goals will help give you the motivation to continue onto the larger goals.
Save for a Large Purchase: Maybe you want to buy a car in the near future. Instead of going out and obtaining a loan for a brand new one, maybe your goal can be to save up and pay cash for a car. If that goal is a little far-fetched for you, maybe you can save for a down payment of 25% or 50% of the purchase price.
Give More: For those already giving, set a goal to increase your giving by a certain amount or a higher percentage of your income.
If you aren't currently giving, make a goal to start your giving. Even it may seem like a small amount, but it can make a difference.
Increase Your Net Worth: Your financial net worth is your bottom line for your finances. For those who don't know, your net worth is how much you have in assets minus how much you owe - giving you the amount you really own. If you owe more money that you have in assets, you have a negative net worth. If you have more than you owe, you have a positive net worth.
Setting a goal to increase your net worth can help you stay focused on your bottom line. For instance if you pay off one bill but take out more debt somewhere else, that affects your net worth. If you have a negative net worth, you can set a goal to at least get in the positive. If you already have a positive net worth, set a realistic goal of where you want to be in a year or two or five.
REVIEWING YOUR FINANCIAL GOALS
For all your goals, review them regularly. You can post them on your refrigerator, in your PDA, or wherever is easiest and most convenient for you. When you see your goals often, you are reminded of why you are being disciplined and what your future reward is. And don't worry about choosing the perfect goal. At your goal date you may be just shy or way ahead of your goal. The point is that you are moving in the right direction and you'll eventually get there. Just remember Proverbs 16:3: "Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."
Portion of the article is taken from writing by Cortni Marrazzo.
SUNDAY CHURCH SERVICE
Sunday Church Service on July 27th & August 3rd will be moved to "Acosta Building" in Lombard. Service time will remain the same. Please make note of it.
Address: Acosta Building 665 West North Ave, Lombard, IL 60148
Meeting room: Heron Point (Lower level)
This building is located right next to Fairfield Inn Hotel.
Every Saturday morning 9.30 am@ Peter Kurniali’s Residence (We would love to have you all join us) And Please feel free to contact us with any prayer requests or if anyone need personal/congregational prayer support, We are Here to Help!
All church members are strongly encouraged to join Care Group Meeting. Care Group is not only a place for fellowship but also for spiritual nourishments and discipleship processes where everybody can learn to minister to others and be part of great commission.
CARECELL CONTACT NUMBER
- South Area - Wijaya/Angie Elham 312-731-4621
- Downtown - Felix/Delia 708-351-0594
- Family Fellowship - Kasih/Tan Fie Listiawan 630-566-8602
- Libertyville, IL - Akiong/Merry Gunawan 847-414-4068
- Schaumburg, IL - Peter/Sunny Setiawan 312-863-9407