No Fear in Your Finances

Jan 13, 2011
No Fear in Your Finances

No Fear of Your Finances
Written by: Amy Doyle

Waving my arms, shaking my head and mouthing the word “No”, I was certain my husband was clear on my opinion of the idea.
“Great, we’ll see you Tuesday at 6 pm”, he confirmed as he hung up the phone.
Sigh.  It wasn’t that I had anything against “financial people”.  Or even that I thought we were all set and didn’t need the help.  In reality, I was intimidated.

I had done what everyone said I should do.  I finished high school, went to college and got a good, decent paying job.  Nowhere in my education, however, was I taught how to manage money or how the financial world works.  Forget about investing too; I was living paycheck to paycheck.  Embarrassed that I was an educated woman who knew nothing about money, I was afraid that allowing a “financial person” to come to my home and talk to me about my finances would expose just how financially illiterate I really was. And I don’t know about you, but I try to steer clear of situations that make me feel or look stupid!
Ironically, in spite of my avoidance of the money topic, it seemed every New Year when I eagerly made my list of resolutions, the one chronic resolution that continued to rear its ugly head was some version of “spend less, save more money”.  I continuously failed miserably at keeping that resolution.
Fortunately, (after much discussion) my husband and I kept that Tuesday, 6 pm appointment, and Praise God, it changed my life.  More importantly, it changed my family tree for generations forward.  We were blessed enough to have a “financial person” come to our home who represented a company that believes in educating their clients, not just selling products.  The knowledge I gained alone showed me how to put my financial house in order and brought to light for me the rules about money that I thought only applied to people who “had money”. 

Before the meeting I had no idea that there were six different ways a credit card company could calculate the interest on my credit card, and that they were free to change the calculation at any time-resulting in higher interest charges for me. When it came to mortgages I was never aware of the Rule of 50/25 vs. the Rule of 50/50, and how it can mean the difference between paying a mortgage off in 30 years vs. 22 years and saving thousands of dollars in interest.  Until that meeting I never understood what a mutual fund was or the Rule of 72; a simple but valuable equation that illustrates how quickly money can grow in an investment; a critical piece of knowledge when planning for retirement. These are just a handful of concepts I learned in that meeting that changed the way I understand and manage my money. 

God certainly had a divine purpose for that meeting, and a sense of humor.  In the year that followed that 6pm appointment, this girl who was afraid of money talk, got trained and licensed and pursued a career as a “financial person”.  Two years later I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior-at an altar call at a company business meeting no less!  Over the last ten years I have helped run a company that takes complex principles and makes them simple and educates others in the very same financial concepts that had such a profound impact on my own life.

Dear Sister in Christ, the Lord has put on my heart to tell you my story in the hope to encourage you.  In my experience I have found that there are three reasons most of us don’t do as well as we could financially:
We fail to plan, we are uninformed and we are misinformed.
We (and I mean women) often never get to the planning part because we are too fearful, like I was, to really sit down and look at the state of our financial house.  Often we are merely afraid we won’t understand the language. The reason I fell short every year of succeeding at my New Year’s Resolution is because I didn’t position myself to succeed.  In Luke 14:28-30 NIV, Jesus commands the importance of “sitting down” and analyzing the condition of your own personal balance sheet:

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower.  Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays a foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, “This fellow began to build and was not able to finish it!”
If it is a command of the Lord to know the state of our finances, can’t we also trust that His Divine hand will guide us and protect us? Remember His promise to us in Psalm 32:8 NIV, that: I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go, I will counsel you and watch over you.  The King James Version reads “I will guide thee with mine eye.” We need not be afraid!
Knowing the state of our financial house positions us to set goals and build a plan to achieve them, step by step.
In Hosea 4:6 KJV, the Scripture tells us that God’s people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.  It’s extremely difficult if not impossible to win any game if we don’t know the rules, wouldn’t you agree?  How can we succeed at our finances if we don’t know the rules to money and how to apply them to our own situation?  How can we succeed if we don’t educate ourselves through credible resources on how to discern good financial advice from bad financial advice?
Having a licensed and trained financial professional that can educate you and coach you is a good idea no matter what your financial situation, but if you are one that is still shy about “money talk”, a good place to start is the book:  The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey. Have confidence and do not despise where you are beginning, no matter how small your beginning may be.  The important thing is you are stepping out in faith and doing it!
Having a plan to follow frees us to operate in wisdom, not emotion. How many times have emotions (namely fear and stress) motivated your purchases? Sister, I was once no stranger to operating in emotion; all one had to do was look at all the new shoes in my closet and the chocolate in my cupboards as evidence!  Operating in wisdom makes us much more effective in the Body of Christ.  An informed, discerning and praying woman with a plan, who knows that God can do everything He says He can do, is a powerful woman for God’s purposes.
  Esther’s Daughter, I encourage you to make 2011 the year you get your financial house in order and position yourself for His blessings and opportunity!

   

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