Getting the Finances in Order
July 18th, 2011
Last week, Shawn and I paid off our American student loans- all £31000. We have been throwing every bit of extra cash at our debt, and holding off thinking about anything else until that was dealt with. So we had a meeting with a financial advisor, who thankfully is a lovely man from our church and didn't seem amused or worried or disapproving about the childlike way we have been living. This is the situation: no savings, no assets, one small pension between two of us, no insurance, no will, no clue how to proceed.
I know people don't generally speak about their finances even to friends, let alone publically in a blog, but I think we ought to air this kind of thing more. Money makes the world go round ("And so does a bang on the head," said the puffin). As a result of the meeting, we have signed up for life insurance, I have begun to contribute voluntarily to national insurance so I will qualify for the state pension, we have looked into how much we would need to save to put down a deposit on a buy to let house.
The thing I am feeling strange about is that I can see how easy it is to transfer any sense of security or hope or excitement onto fairly meaningless and not even very impressive possessions and wealth. I don't want to clutch at stuff instead of God, but if I start to amass stuff that I could clutch at, I can see that is very tempting.
And yet, it seems irresponsible not to prepare for the future, for old age and the possiblity of one of us dying early. Suddenly there is a safety net there- and I like it being there. Is that wrong? I always hoped that my faith would make a radical difference to how I lived, and not just be words, and I'm wondering if I'm selling out at the first opportunity to choose an alternative way of doing things. Maybe we could give our monthly margin away to someone who needs it more instead of paying out on insurance and saving for a house we won't need to live in for another thirty years?
What are your thoughts?
Leave your comment
Helk~ July 18th, 2011 ~ 18:07
Good article Jo.
The question of money in Christian circles tends to veer to one of two extremes. The one is the corrupt televangelistic where all manner of distortion is propagated (name and claim, sow a seed, God wants you to be wealthy etc) and the other is to not talk about it. And yet the fact that Jesus talks about money many times means we should heed his words. It's not sinful or un-Spiritual to practise good stewardship of money. Proverbs says that a wise man leaves his children an inheritance. Whatever way you interpret that, if you leave your offspring an inheritance you have done well. At the same time generosity is encouraged but never at the expense of your immediate because that's what infidels do. I suppose wisdom trick is finding the balance. We are called not to be wealthy, or just generous but to be wise.
I don't think there is anything wrong with planning for the future. We live in financially uncertain times, and I think God gives us the intelligence to make wise decisions about monetary matters.
I think we need to keep a sense of gratitude for being 'fortunate' enough to live in a country which affords such luxuries as pensions and houses, whilst looking for ways we can help others less fortunate. Your buy-to-let option sounds great, for example, and could lead to extra income that you could then choose to donate some of.
And also, not planning could result in ending up in older age as those who 'need it more'! And that wouldn't help. :)
Totally agree with both above comments.
Jo - you are so good at seeing potential pitfalls / sin traps! which means by God's grace you will be better able to avoid them. Being materialistic and putting your security in financial decisions is indeed wrong - but wisely using financial knowledge to honour biblical principles is not wrong. Jesus was not even against extravagance (Mary and the perfume) in the right setting. There will always be one more poor person we could help... our responsibility is to pray for wisdom as to what to do with the material gifts God has given us *at this time*. That can change! I was in your position before I had a business that went wrong, had to sell a house and the equity went to pay the debts. I moved into rented accomodation with a husband earning an income, even that changed when he left and I ended up a single parent on benefits. You can only do what is right for now.... and trust God fro the future, whether that's using the investments you make now, or some other path. I would say, however that james1v27 shows we should always have means either physical or financial to help those less fortunate than ourselves. I find sponsoring widows and orphans in foreign countries enables my meager donations to do more good.
Anne~ July 21st, 2011 ~ 02:07
My mother was poor --a widow with 4 children. And yet she gave away at least 1/3 of her income to people poorer than herself. It's something I'll never forget. And like the widow in the scripture her jar was always full--it seems like hers was--she left each of the 4 children a small inheritance and I have not idea where it came from. Is this the way for all people---probably not. But we do need to always be mindful of those less fortunant than ourselves.Fi Ivin~ August 16th, 2011 ~ 20:08
Hmmm... that's an interesting one. Two thoughts... My dad died and left my mum with nothing - apart from the house to sell. I think it is responsible to provide for ourselves and our futures so we aren't a burden to others/the state.Secondly there is the parable re NOT burying our talents which presumably might encompass our financial resources and thirdly (sorry, didn't know there was going to be a third one when I started) having resources enables us to support/provide for others.I think it is a good thing to invest wisely but recognise some are called to a very different life style.bh cosmetics 28 neutral palette tutorial~ April 9th, 2013 ~ 09:04
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Jo Swinney - Getting the Finances in Order