Budgeting. . . YUCK! Who likes to have a budget? I know my kids didn’t at first. They would just love to spend all of their money on whatever toy, gizmo, or electronic device strikes them at the time. But, just because people don’t like a budget doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have one or talk about it. It is good to save and have delayed gratification, and if money burns a hole in your pocket your kids will pick up on that and follow in your footsteps.
Budgeting is not bondage, but rather budgeting is freedom! Having a budget and sticking to it will have the following results:
- You will live below your means. That means every month you will have more money than what you need at the end of the month. Sadly, people who do not have a budget generally do the opposite and run out of money while they still have stuff they need to purchase.
- It will help you to save up for things that you want to purchase if a proper budget is set up.
- It will help ensure a comfortable retirement. That may be WAY down the road for of you or right around the corner, but it is never too late (or too early) to start. The cost of waiting even a few years has a massive impact on how much money you will have down the road.
- With a properly established budget you will have more money to give away! You can make an impact on those in need NOW.
My wife and I helped my kids set up a budget. It’s amazing how much money they already have saved up, even being young. It’s important that you reward yourself. Don’t stash away everything, as you need to enjoy life.
So let’s look at a proper budget. These are not my ideas. I have learned from people wiser than myself and I’ve taken what I think are the best practices and rolled them into what works for my family. You don’t have to be a Ph.D. like me for this to make sense as it’s simple. You just need to have the determination to start it and stick to it. It’s easy to get information overload as we are constantly being barraged with stuff. The attack on our senses is relentless! So much so that it seems like our mind needs extra stimuli for stuff to stick. It seems like we can’t read or listen anymore—it’s not enough. We need someone reading to us with visual reinforcements amplifying the points so we know what’s important. And then, even that can get boring so if you are a good presenter you will have some music, videos or a group exercise to break things up a little bit and try to apply what we just heard and saw to a real life situation. I don’t know if our minds are tired, if we are tired, or what the deal is, but the point is if we don’t act on what we learn it just becomes clutter and a waste of time, and it’s becoming more difficult getting things to stick.
James 1:22-24 says this, “Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act
on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.” (MSG) There are a lot of programs that talk about budgeting and finance. Some are great, some are boring, but I am going to hopefully make it short and sweet. A couple years ago I was involved in an amazing video based curriculum project called, THE MISSING CHAPTER (www.themissingchapter.net)
and I did exactly that—short and sweet. In this curriculum we put together our video based economics, finance and entrepreneurship curriculum. We distilled some complex topics into 5-7 minute videos to make it fun and entertaining and then wrapped those videos around dinner table discussion topics to get families talking about the topic. The curriculum has been a hit! We’ve found that parents generally don’t like to talk about any three of those subjects (finance, economics, or entrepreneurship) because they don’t get it. I understand that. I don’t get chemistry. I can’t diagram a sentence and I’m not a good mechanic. So, I rely on others that are in those areas. Economics, finance, and investing are the giftings that the Lord has blessed me with, and to whom much is given, much is required, so I hope that this simple explanation on setting up a budget helps you as it has helped my clients, students, and my own family.
It is important to talk to your kids about money. Impart biblical wisdom on money and living within their means early so when when get older they don’t make the same mistake some of us have made and become a slave to debt before they even start their adult lives. WE ARE NO LONGER SLAVES, so let’s act like it.
Money is money and having it grow or shrink is just simple math. If you spend more than what you earn you will eventually run out of money and go bankrupt. (NOTE: Any politicians out there reading this—that one is for you.) The same concept holds true for a diet. If you consume more calories than you use every day you will gain weight. If you consume less than what you use you will lose weight. So, it’s really pretty simple, but there is more to it than that. WHAT you do with the money you have can make or break you. Are you being a wise steward with what you’ve been entrusted with? There are others who do a really good job at laying out the proper framework for a budget that can be adhered to. Remember, this isn’t just for adults! Get started now living under a budget. If you do, the rest of your life will be so much easier.
Formula for living free
Here we go. From others I have learned from, and what I have found to be the easiest budget to not just start, but keep looks like this:
70 – 10 – 10 – 10
Seventy, ten, ten, ten? What does that mean. It simply means you are living on 70% of your income.
70% is what you use to live on, pay bills (like a car payment, insurance, food, and clothes).
GIVING IS THE FOUNDATION FOR SUCCESS
10% is for giving. THIS COMES RIGHT OFF THE TOP BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE. This is important that you give what is called your “First Fruits.” Give your best, not your worst. If you wait until everything else is allocated, sometimes you may not have any to give.
The recipe for failure
As a wealth manager, when I advise clients on their investments and how to properly allocate their wealth, if the family is having financial problems and just can’t make ends meet, my first question is, “I see…Let me ask you, how much do you give?” Their answer is almost always, “Oh, we can’t afford to give right now. We have to wait until things turn around.” That is a recipe for failure.
The recipe for success
A key success strategy for life is LEARN HOW TO GIVE OUT OF YOUR NEED RATHER THAN OUT OF YOUR ABUNDANCE! When you give first you unlock some universal laws of success and I believe when you give with a grateful heart you will not have room enough to contain the outpouring that will happen in your life. My family is LIVING PROOF of that. When my wife and I were newly married we had nothing. We had below nothing we were so far in the hole. We took a leap of faith and decided to give 20% instead of 10%. Granted, it was 20% of almost nothing, but it was a heart issue. From that point on, miraculously, our lives turned around. AMAZING! The old adage is true. It is more blessed to give than to receive.
The second 10% is SAVE. This is for stuff you want to purchase in the near to immediate future.
The last 10% is INVEST. This is something you will never really touch until retirement.
GIVE, LIVE, SAVE, INVEST
So there you have it. 70 -10-10-10. By doing this you are living below your means on 70% of what you make. If you can’t live on 70%, then downsize, sell some stuff to get out of debt or whatever. But, we should all be able to live on 70%. If your expenses don’t add up to 70%, then invest the difference.
MAN’S SYSTEM IS BROKEN, GOD’S IS NOT
It has taken 240 years to accumulate over $19 trillion in debt. With very little demand for the U.S. dollar by foreigners, the Federal Reserve is forced into printing without discretion to fund our lifestyle. Therefore, prepare for at least a $20 trillion debt by the end of 2016. How can we tell that things are spinning out of control and we are playing with borrowed time before interest rates SOAR again? In 2008 our national debt was $10 Trillion. It took America from 1776-2008 to accumulate a national debt of $10 Trillion. But, in just eight years we almost DOUBLED what took 232 years prior to accumulate. Unbelievable. Debt is spiraling out of control. Seventy-three percent of our Federal tax revenue (73%!!!!) goes towards social security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, WIC, and other social entitlements.
LESSONS FROM HISTORY
Consider the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis. The Pharaoh of the time had a dream. He saw in his dream seven fat cows and seven lean cows. He called Joseph in to interpret the dream and God gave Joseph the interpretation. The meaning was this: the seven fat cows meant that they were going to have seven years of plenty, and during that time they needed to store up because there were seven lean years coming, seven years of famine. And the people that heeded that warning actually survived and prospered, just like today the people that heeding the call and listening to God’s words of wisdom, they are not just going to survive but they’re going to thrive. But what happens to the people that don’t listen to God’s warning? What happens to those that don’t follow His protection and the provision that He has for them? Back in Joseph’s day, for those people that didn’t listen, first they had to give the government their money. Then they gave their livestock. Then they gave their land. Then they gave them their bodies as servants in exchange for food. How is it any different now? They’re taking, taking, taking. The government has to take higher taxes because they’re trying to fund all the conspicuous consumption lifestyles that we have in this country. These patterns in the Bible are here for us to learn from, so we don’t make the same mistakes. But just like the Israelites back in the day, we continue to make the same mistakes over and over and over again. We’re really no different.
GOD WANTS US TO PROSPER AND BE SUCCESSFUL
God wants us to be prosperous and successful, and to do that He gives us a blueprint. It’s in His Word. If we meditate on His Word day and night then we will have good success, this is what Joshua 1:8 says. And what does His Word say? In Malachi 3:10 for example, if we tithe (10% of our income for example) then He will open up the floodgates of Heaven so much that we will not have room enough to contain it. So when we give to the church, the church will be able to do what it’s supposed to do. Right now the church can’t do what they need to do because recent surveys have shown that only 3% of evangelicals actually tithe. This is sick and this is sad. No wonder we can’t take care of widows and orphans and the government has to. If we as believers would actually tithe, the church could do what it is supposed to do and what they are called to do and the government wouldn’t have to do it. Then taxes could come down. But the other benefit of this is that when we give, the blessings of Heaven are poured out so much that we won’t even have room enough to contain it, we’ll be more and more successful.
So, God’s Word is there for us to just grab on to and meditate on and act like a magnet that is just stuck to us and we think about it day and night. And when we follow His laws (their not just suggestions) then we will live a successful life. When we do that we won’t have need for all these entitlements because the church can be the church. We need to step up to plate. We need to do what we are supposed to do and love our neighbors. Christianity is all about love and all about reaching out. It’s all about having your arrows pointing outward instead of pointing inward. Stop focusing on yourself. And wow, when we start focusing on everybody else, the world is going to change. We will not have need for a huge government, because the church is able to be the church and do what they’re supposed to do, to take care of the needy.
WE CAN’T AFFORD NOT TO GIVE
God created us to be givers. WE CANNOT AFFORD NOT TO GIVE! Instill a lifestyle of giving into your kids. Talk about money. Set up a budget, live below your means. Put others’ needs above your own and with humility freely give, passionately serve, and strive for excellence in everything. Instill this in your kids. Living like that will impact not only our lives, our retirement, but future generations.