Reprinted From ReadyAimLife
As I write this, I am sitting in Red Lobster about to celebrate with my wife and seven year old son in regards to him successfully navigating the travails of the 1st grade. He not only passed but also passed with flying colors. I have to admit I was pretty proud him as I reviewed his report card. In our school system we have reports cards that show every quarter on the same sheet so I was able to look at every category for the entire year. He received all 3s and 4s (that’s As and Bs for you old scholars) All Ss (satisfactory) on conduct. Not one tardy the entire year. Man what a great report card! That effort earned him $100 ($25 each quarter) and now a half-pound of Crab Legs.
This week we are taking on an area of life that can make or break you: your finances. How you manage your money says a lot about you. Your credit score reveals more than just your ability to purchase the things you want. It also reveals your ability or lack thereof to manage your self in the area of money and resources. I heard it said one time that if you took all the money in the world and distributed it evenly to every person in the world so that everyone was even, within a very short time the money would end back in the same places it started because of the way people manage their wealth. The Wasters would waste theirs. The Spenders would spend all theirs. The Savers would continue to save and grow theirs. The Investors would invest. And the Managers would manage their way back into a healthy portfolio using sound management strategies.
Let’s take a moment and have you give yourself a grade in some key areas of financial management. These may not be the only things that should go on the list but they are important ones.
- Cash Management/budgeting – Do you do a good job in budgeting your money? Do you know where you are spending your money?
- Discipline– What kind of self discipline do you exert in controlling your impulses in the area of finances. Do you need some accountability to help you?
- Debt Management– if we looked at your debt ratios would you be proud or ashamed.
- Savings– what does your savings account look like? Are you a hoarder or is the cupboard bare. If you got fired today or had a major emergency are you in trouble?
- Investment Abilities– Do you know the basics of how to invest your resources?
- Retirement Planning– When you get older, will you be able to retire or are you planning to work to the grave. Nothing wrong with working hard but many of us do not have a plan for our later years.
- Giving/Generosity– Do you spend all your money on yourself or are you generous to the needs around you. I have heard that it is better to give than to receive.
- Priorities– Are you clear as to where you want to utilize your finances or are you just living by the seat of your pants? If we did an audit on your checkbook what would it reveal about what you value?
- Teaching your Children– What kind of money management skills are you passing on to the next generation? What do you and your kids talk about when the topic of finances comes up? Are they giving, saving and managing their money effectively?
- Character– If we dug down deep in your heart and evaluated how your character is revealed in your finances what would we find. What kind of person are you?
- Stewardship/Manager– this is a question for people of faith. Who owns your money: you or God? Are you the owner or the manager? What does your money management reveal about your view of God? If you really believed that God was the owner and you were the steward, how would that change the way you are managing the resources entrusted to you?
- Social Aspects– Are you keeping up with the Jones’. Or are you kicking their butts. How important is status to you? What about your family? Is your financial management helping or hurting your family? Does your standard of living affect your marriage? What do you and your wife talk about when the topic of finances comes up?
A couple of days ago, I received some change and one of the dollars had www.wheresgeorge.com on it. It seems that there is this Internet tracking program that observes the movement of money. You enter the serial number and series number of a bill and you can see where that bill had been. My dollar was a pretty boring one. It had just gotten registered and had only moved 20 miles. But, that got me to thinking about where the rest of my Georges had gone. Seems that my money travels a lot farther and quicker. Over the next few months we will begin to address strategies to help you manage your finances. We should be Living Large in this area but because of poor strategies or bad character or bad choices or just some bad circumstance many of us are struggling. If you look around the country it is obvious that we are not doing a great job in this area. Heck all you need to do is look around this restaurant starting with my table. Well gotta go for now, our crab legs have arrived and it is time to celebrate!
Photo by T o n y