A common New Year’s resolution is the improvement of personal finances. Unfortunately, statistics say that 80% of people have dropped their resolution by Valentine’s Day. If you are struggling to get your personal finances in order, there is hope for you.
Certified Financial Planner Steve Repak says to have a healthy financial future, we need to know why we want our finances to improve in the first place.
“We have to understand, why do we want our finances to be better? We think of the selfish reasons like ‘I want less stress’ or ‘I more stuff’, but the reason why we want to be good with our finances and to be good stewards, is so we can be more effective in ministry and in general.”
“We have to understand the basic concept that money is not going to buy me happiness; money is not going to buy me choices. At the end of the day, once we die, our money is going to go somewhere else.”
Steve says that after we understand why we want to improve our personal finances, we can begin to implement healthy money habits. He shares helpful advice on how to get started.
“The key thing is we have to be able to spend less; that’s the cornerstone of personal finance. If you don’t get that concept right, nothing else matters.”
“The way that we spend less is to be able to track our expenditures; we have to know exactly what we are making and exactly know how much we are spending. Once we figure out what we are spending, that kind determines all of the other financial goals out there.”
The next area of our personal finances that we need to focus on is minimizing or eliminating any existing debt.
“There are a lot of people who are not going to be able to buy a house or a car with cash. There will be times where we’re going to have to accumulate some debt. But the key is that little or no debt is going to make our life a lot less stressful, and we’re going to be able to honor God with our finances.”
Savings is another key area of improvement for a healthy financial future. Steve speaks to the importance of having a savings plan to prepare for unexpected expenditures.
“A lot of times you think, ‘If I have any extra money, I should be giving it to the poor for the needy.’ However, God told us in the Bible that there is going to be famines, earthquakes and natural disasters, and there is going to be recessions and bad things that are going to happen – we just need to be prepared for them.”
Steve reminds us that we shouldn’t save money for selfish reasons or because we don’t trust God, but because God wants us to be prepared and steward our resources wisely to be more effective in His kingdom.
Steve Repak is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional, financial literacy speaker, Army veteran, and author. His inspiring financial literacy presentations and one-on-one financial coaching have helped many people turn their finances around.