Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Secret To A Healthy Financial Life

Photo by Jaysonphoto
I Got The Call

Every once and while, I get "the call" from family or friends. This call will somehow be related to giving out some piece of financial advice. Since people know that I do the stewardship/Dave Ramsey thing at my church, then they will occasionally seek me out for advice when they have a big financial decision to make.

So one evening, I got the call from a friend about the need in his family to replace a car. He gave me a financial amount he had to replace the vehicle and then asked for my advice. I told him that I had actually just gone through a similar situation myself a couple of years ago. I even had about the same financial number to work with. I explained to him the process I went through in buying my vehicle. You can read my entire story in this blog post: How I Bought My Newer Car On Craigslist In 4 Hours.

As I was speaking with my friend over the phone, I caught myself saying phrases such as,
  • "I planned ahead of time..."
  • "If you have time..." 
  • "If you can hold out a little longer and wait..."
  • "If you can come up with creative solutions while you wait around and look for a deal..."
The Secret

If there is any one big "secret" in making big financial decisions like this, then my secret advice is to have patience; don't be in a big hurry. This is true for anything in our lives, whether it be buying a car, buying a house, getting married, or changing churches. Any major decision should be proceeded with slowly and bathed in prayer.

We all end up in trouble when we're in a rush. We don't think we have time to wait, so we press the "easy button" to solve our problems. Unfortunately for all of us, pressing the easy button usually means that we end up with long-term problems, such as crushing debt.

So, for example, in the case of buying a replacement vehicle, if we get into a hurry and don't spend enough time looking around, we end up with a car loan that we can't afford long term. Or, maybe we buy too much house because we think we're getting such a great "bargain" in a down economy and then we can't even afford to furnish our new place. We've just saddled ourselves with a major liability going forward.

We've all heard the saying "patience is a virtue." In the case of major financial decisions, patience is crucial for your long term personal financial success.

Learn The Virtue of Patience

In Galatians 5:22-23, we read these words:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we should be "working out" these various fruit of the Spirit. Although I believe the original interpretation has more to deal with our relationships with people, I still think we can apply the principles of peace, patience, faith, and self-control into our financial lives. If we possess these four types of fruit, or we are at least are working on them in our lives, then we can and will make better long-term financial decisions.

How about you? Are you a patient person? And, if you're not very patient, have you struggled financially as a result? What action do you need to take today to turn this around in your life?

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