2. Decide to Cultivate a Long-Term Perspective
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When our finances feel uncertain, our vision can narrow until all we see is today. We might lose sight of the fact that our decisions today will reap long-term consequences, positive or negative. While Scripture never encourages us to “stockpile” or feed our greed, it does instruct us to plan ahead.
Proverbs 13:22 tells us “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children,” and Proverbs 21:20 says, “The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down” (NIV). To put it another way, fools live for momentary pleasure, without thought for tomorrow or their descendants. But we are far from fools. Instead, we mimic the ants who “stores its provisions in summer and gathers its foods at harvest” (Proverbs 6:8, NIV).
A. Plan for future expenses.
My husband and I started talking about our daughter’s wedding nearly from the moment she was born. We knew this would be a large expense, and so we made plans, well in advance, to fund it. Then, once she became engaged, we determined a reasonable budget, reduced our spending, and found ways to earn extra money so that we were able to cover it all without incurring debt. We also determined to spend within the funds we had. As another example, he and I share a car that currently has 136,000 miles on it. We know we’ll likely need to purchase a new vehicle within the next few years, so we’re making plans now to pay for it so that we don’t have to spend double its worth in financing.
During the C19 scare, that may mean reducing, or cutting entirely, our spending on entertainment, cable, or other unnecessary items so that we have funds for inevitable household repairs. Then, should we lose our jobs and our furnace break, we’ll be less likely to rely on financing.
B. Avoid rash decision making.
In 2018, we had a significant financial hit that scared us. Initially, we both felt tempted to panic. Around this time, we received a letter from our bank inviting us to refinance our house. Curious, my husband spoke with the loan officer, and she began to explain what sounded like such a great offer! If accepted, we could lesson our monthly mortgage and thus give ourselves more breathing room and increased peace—in the short term. However, we also knew our finances would change significantly, for the better, in a few years. Therefore, we didn’t need a drastic solution but rather a plan to carry us through until our situation improved.
After careful investigation, we realized, though refinancing would reduce our payments, the interest we’d accumulate would lead to tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of debt. We determined the expense wasn’t worth the benefit. Instead, we found ways to increase our income and reduce our spending. The result, we made it through that challenging time as strong financially, if not stronger, than before the tax change.
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