I had a chance to catch up with my roommate from college the other day. Jamal is one of the most peaceful, down-to-earth guys that I know. Our discussion inspired me to write this article, because I realize that many Americans have little or no discussion about money. For those of us in the finance industry, we are around the topic of wealth daily. We often hear people ask us the question, “what should I do with my money?” While I am not a financial advisor, I’ve had the privilege of working with financial professionals and entrepreneurs for over 18 years. This association has allowed me to see proper money management and apply these principles to my own life.
If you are a college graduate or a young couple with small kids trying to “fix the money thing”, please believe that you CAN get ahead financially. While money is important, please understand that money is only a resource that is used to work for you. We should never be caught in a situation where money controls us. In fact, we should control money and use it as a tool to be productive in our own lives. With that said, here are six crucial steps to consider as you manage your finances:
1. Tithe 10% of your income – Many reading this may have never heard of this term. The tithe represents the first 10th, or 10% of your income that is given to do God’s work. If you believe in God, please realize that the tithe is what will keep your finances protected. Also, it will help break any attachment to money or fear that exists. (A person may not even realize they have this fear of money)
2. Savings – Automatically save 10% or more of your income. Put a small amount of money away consistently, on either a weekly or monthly basis. A growing savings account will increase confidence in yourself and your ability to control money.
3. Expenses – After the first 2 steps, you can now take care of your personal household expenses. If you find there is not enough left over to handle these expenses, this is a good time for evaluation. Ask yourself, “how can I increase my income AND reduce my non-essential expenses.
4. Pay off debt – Once you increase your income or reduce expenses, apply the extra to paying off debt. Think credit cards, car payment, house, student loans with a ZERO balance. How much more would you keep in your account with no debt?
5. Invest – This could be the most exciting step (for many guys especially). Begin to invest once you have mastered the first three or four steps. When you invest intelligently, you can start to multiply and compound your money to do even greater good for your family and for others.
6. Give more – The last step is to give more. There is a law called seed-time and harvest which means the more of what you give the more of that you receive. At this final step, you are in a position of strength and can make a powerful impact for your community.
For those of you that are truly interested in creating legacy, it is so important that you learn and master the first steps above. In the process, you are indirectly teaching your family a wealth mentality.
While this article is a high-level overview of basic money management, don’t be fooled by the simplicity! These steps above, if followed, will put you on the road to financial success. I hope this message adds value to your life today.