There are three things you need to know in order to develop a “Christian” financial plan. First, you need to know your eternal position because of what Christ Jesus has already accomplished on your behalf. Second, you need to know exactly where you are. And third, you need to know where you want to be. You need to know your eternal position because of what Christ Jesus has already accomplished on your behalf.
“The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
An often used phrase from a past mentor was: “A man without a plan is like a ship without a rudder-he will eventually end up somewhere, but it’s highly unlikely to be anywhere he intended to go.” Many financial journeys can be likened to that saying because the family without a clear, current financial picture and a solid financial map of the future will end up somewhere, but probably not somewhere desirable. “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (Galatians 4:6-7).
At the same time, Christians need to be reminded daily of the Gospel – the glorious good news of what Christ accomplished once for all time for everyone who belongs to Him. When you remember that you are a son or daughter of the King and have a kingdom in heaven already secured for you, it should be good news…it should be really good news. When your plans on earth are rooted in the ultimate truth of the Gospel, you are free to be less than perfect in your planning. You are free to make mistakes along the way;and you are free to be hilariously generous with your resources because you already have everything you need in Christ. Of course, you need to be a responsible steward of God’s provisions and that’s where planning is essential.
So, where are you?
To get a clear picture of where you are, you need to look at household finances like a business. Take a close look at your Income Statement and Balance Sheet. The Income Statement is simply “what’s coming in versus what’s going out.” The Balance Sheet is “what do you own versus what do you owe” – or simply: Assets – Liabilities = Net Worth. Aside from winning the lottery (a terrible “investment” by the way) or getting a substantial inheritance, the only way to build up your financial net worth is by spending less than you make for a long time. Remember, building up net worth is a marathon not a sprint.
“He who gathers money little by little makes it grow” (Proverbs 13:11).
A wise father used to say, “Son, you can’t borrow yourself rich.” If reading that statement stirs up any past financial regrets, just remember that you are not alone. Many people have overspent or overborrowed (including myself). The simple fact is that if you are spending more than you are making, you are on a slow boat to brokesville. That is one destination you definitely want to plan to avoid. Net worth is funded with the excess of income over expenses invested to meet your long-term goals – the “where you want to go” part of planning.
In the months ahead, these financial articles will delve deeper into important topics that will help you secure your financial future. You will learn how to take a closer look at your expenses: giving, taxes, debt service and living expenses; and you will examine your long-term objectives: financial independence, education, freedom from debt, giving, lifestyle enhancements, and maybe starting your own business. According to Ron Blue (founder of Kingdom Advisors), “Financial planning allows us to step back and assess our God-given goals and priorities, ultimately managing our finances in a manner that relieves financial pressure and provides peace of mind.”
No matter where you are on your financial journey, remind yourself that it’s okay to fail. It’s okay to not have it all together. It’s okay to not be okay. Why? Because you a have a wonderful Savior who has done it all perfectly so that you don’t have to! Look to Him and trust Him with all matters and He will work everything out for good. John 19:30, which states “It is finished,” reminds us that He has already taken care of everything.
Robert Audet is the President of audet investment management, inc. which specializes in financial planning and investments Robert and his wife, Astrid, live in East Fort Lauderdale with their two daughters. Please send questions and comments to [email protected] To learn more about Robert, please visit his website at www.robertaudet.com.