Tag Archive for 'money'

Where does it all go?

“I just don’t know where it all goes. The month is not finished and we’re shot already.” This seems to be a common phenomenon, affecting people with all sizes of income. However much money we earn, there always seems to be more month than money! It is a well-known saying that “money talks”, but all mine seems to say is ‘Goodbye’!

Managing money is not just a matter of adding and subtracting all working with percentages, that is easy; managing money is more of spiritual discipline, because it has to do with our character, priorities, and values.

It seems to be a problem in the old Testament Times. The prophet Haggai passed on Gods words.” Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts; you that your ways. You have sown that much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but never have your Phil. You close yourselves but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.” (Haggai 1:6)

 I must confess I am spender rather than a saver. I like buying  things. Fortunately, I have a wife who is very frugal  and always looking for bargains. I have learnt that spending without a plan is a recipe for disaster. I have experienced first-hand what the wise Solomon so graphically describes. “In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.” (Proverbs 23:5)

God is asking us to consider our ways. He is inviting us to adjust our lives to his ways. Haggai’s picture of bags with holes is a powerful image. In a recession, or financially difficult times, we will probably begin to spend less-reining in our use of credit and so on. But I think the message of Haggai runs deeper. God does not want us to just patch up our bags and wait for things to get back to normal. Instead we must find a new way of living as faithful stewards of all that God has given to us. Don’t patch the bags; get new bags!

Secret to financial success is very easy. Spent less than you are over a long period of time and you will be financially successful. To do this we need to setup a spending plan, together with God who is the owner of our money, to plan our finances so that each month so that we are spending less than is coming in. This requires discipline, the ability to say no to purchasing items we have not budgeted for, to stick to our plan.

Here is a spending plan tool.

Pope Francis slams our economic system

I am not a Roman Catholic but I just love Pope Francis! His humility, humour and insights are so refreshing!  This past week, I had the privilege of being asked to address a number of Members of the European Parliament in Brussels, who were asking for input on a new paradigm for our economy. I spoke on the economics of the Kingdom as our new paradigm.

In a  speech this past week, Pope Francis called for a global economic system that puts people and not “an idol called money”.  Jesus introduced a power behind money – a fallen power and he told us it’s name …’mammon.’  This is a destructive power seeking to destroy relationships – between people, and also between people and God. “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.”  (Matthew 6:24).

Mammon must be overcome by choosing well-being of people above money, by banning the purpose of profit maximisation from our businesses and by encouraging generosity which breaks mammon’s power.

Here is an extract of the section of his  first big, written text of his papacy. The full text of his powerful denouncement of our current financial system, the obsession with consumption, inequality, and the tyranny of capitalism can be found here.

Continue reading ‘Pope Francis slams our economic system’

7 Characteristics of Debt-Free People

Family #1 manages to pay off $40,000 in debt in two years on a $35,000 annual income. Family #2 makes $100,000 a year but can’t seem to make the slightest dent in the same amount of debt.

Why is that?

Obviously, the second family has a spending problem. They make plenty of money—more than enough to pay off that debt in two years. But they have so much money going out, they can’t keep their head above water. Whether it’s in the form of an overbearing mortgage, credit cards, a hefty car payment or just making poor choices like eating out every night, their debt keeps them from making progress.

So all of their income gets sucked up by other stuff, which leaves them making minimum payments on their debts and never gathering any momentum. It’s a difficult, stressful way to live.

At some point, people who become debt-free decide that enough is enough. Their old lifestyle wasn’t working, and they’re ready to make some serious changes. It’s like they have a personality change, but that’s not what really happens. All they are doing is rediscovering aspects of their personality that have always been there.

So what are some of these traits of people who get debt-free? Continue reading ‘7 Characteristics of Debt-Free People’

Deutsche Bank executive: “Only Jesus can save the Eurozone!”

Well, this is a surprising quote from Bilal Hafeez, who is head of the bank’s foreign exchange strategy department, during a recent speech at the annual Deutsche Bank Mittelstand (small and medium-sized enterprises) FX conference in Hamburg, Germany.The speech focuses on the euro area’s economic woes and the need for the currency block to move forward with further integration in order to be economically successful.

Hafeez likened the currency which was formed in 1999 to a 14-year-old teenager showing all the signs of puberty and causing parents all kinds of trouble!
According to Hafeez, “It has all the hallmarks of teenage angst. It is ridden with internal conflicts, it is groping around for structure, and it is suspicious of authority. So who can be a positive role model for the Euro-Area? Well it cannot be the “fathers”: Germany or France. It has to be an external figure that all Europeans respect, and whose motives and character are beyond dispute. That rules out anyone living as even the most competent person will make missteps or have something from their past dredged up to undermine them. That leaves us with historical figures whose lives have been laid bare by history. I can only think of one figure that is respected by most Europeans and has never sinned, Jesus!” Continue reading ‘Deutsche Bank executive: “Only Jesus can save the Eurozone!”’

The one-cent solution!

The Bible teaches that debt removes freedom. “Solomon stated that “just as the rich rule over the poor, so the debtor becomes a servant to the lender.” 

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said the same regarding national debt; “It poses a national security threat in two ways: it undermines our capacity to act in our own interest and it does constrain us where constraint may be undesirable.” Spending on essential services for social and health care is at risk. As we have recently seen, investment in a nation which is addicted to overspending is considered very risky and the economy will suffer. Other nations demand influence in domestic affairs and a nations people lose the right to determine their future.

As the government borrows more and more money, interest rates for business and home owners increase, businesses will be hindered in their development, jobs will continue to become scarce and the economy suffers. We are leaving our children and grandchildren a burden which they should not have to bear!

There is only one solution. When you are in a hole, stop digging and find a way out!

Some US Christians have come up with a novel programme, called the One Cent Solution’ to US problems. This comprises spending one cent less in every dollar over a period of six years. In that time, the national debt will be halved  (…) from 14 trillion now to 7,5 trillion and the federal budget will be balanced in 2019.

Spending less is a lot easier way to earn disposable money than earning more!  Doing this over  a long period of time will seriously help you to get out of debt and regain freedom to use your money as you would like.

The impact on our daily life could be this (as quoted from the web site www.onecentsolution.org)… it is not a pretty picture! It is happening right now!

Imagine driving to the grocery to get bread and other essentials, but the shelves of the store are picked clean because the store has lost the line of credit it uses to purchase its inventory. You then travel to the gas station to fill up, but there’s no gas. Without credit, the gas station owner was unable to fill his tanks.

The “For Sale” sign you have had in your front yard will be there for much longer, because with interest rates high and rising, and banks pulling back on their lending, finding a qualified buyer is now next to impossible. Because of the credit squeeze and the rise in interest rates, many of your neighbors can no longer make their mortgage payments. They will soon put their homes on the market, causing the value of your home to drop quickly.

And the value of your retirement account sinks by the day.

At home, you turn on the news and learn that Congress has just enacted an “Emergency Deficit Reduction Act” to address the fears of creditors and the financial markets. Because it failed to act sooner, spending reductions make up only a small part of the package. It takes time for spending cuts to take effect, and Congress doesn’t have time. In their place, your taxes are going up. Way up.

You call your spouse and decide to cancel this year’s vacation and use the money to pay down your credit card debts instead. After all, the interest rates have become unaffordable, and with your taxes going up, something has to give.

Other families do the same, and the resort you booked goes out of business, causing several hundred people to lose their jobs and apply for unemployment benefits. As this occurs across the nation, the cost of the federal government’s safety net explodes, putting even more pressure on the deficit, interest rates, and the government’s ability to borrow.”


Money and value

The market will tell you the price of everything but the value of nothing!

Money is not about bank balances, savings, debt or about buying things or investing.  It is a way in which we express our values, which in itself is a way in which we express what we consider to be the most important in life.

Money facilitates what is the most meaningful for us in the world. It is meant to help us design a life which expresses

who we are; our gifts and talents, creativity, compassion, integrity and our mission in life. We strive to use our money in such a way that we can express our unique personality in the world in which we live, and this has everything to do with our Life goals. What do I really want out of life?

Discovering our life purpose and goals which will help us to ma
ximise our expression of who were really are, is a long process but a very worthwhile exercise.

The process of financial planning is not just for the rich and wealthy!  Financial life planning is the key to sorting out the unconscious way we behave with money so our personal energies and financial resources can work in harmony to create the life we most want to live.

I have heard it said that money seeks to delude us by focusing on things and not what those things will bring to our life that which we desire for most.

You can buy a house but not a home; medicine but not health; sex but not love; books but not education; vacation but not rest; a bank account but not security; even religion, but not a saviour!

Jesus said, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

So, what are your life goals?  How are you using your money for life’s really wonderful things like investing in people trough generous giving and compassion; and investing in eternity by supporting Gods Kingdom with your time, talents and treasure?

That’s what I am working on!