Often I am asked, how do you achieve success with your finances? I have found it takes vision, discipline and faith to become successful. I am including 12 steps that, if you follow, will help you achieve the results you desire.
Come to a understanding that God has created everything in this world and you must look to him as the source for all your needs. Learning to submit to his authority in the area of money allows you to live a life of peace within your heart and mind as he lovingly will provide everything you need.
Accept your role as a manager or steward since it is your responsibility to submit to The Owner as you will be held accountable for your efforts. With time you will learn he wants you to become a conduit so he can utilize all of his resources through your faithfulness.
3. Tithe /Save/Spend
The simple principle of tithing 10% first, saving 10% second and living within the remaining 80% should be the starting line. As you begin to accept and implement the concept, I encourage you to increase the tithe and savings as your faith, knowledge and self-control increases.
4. Earning Capacity
Everyone has the ability to earn money so let's imagine that you are a money machine that you will deposit money into on a weekly basis. During the remainder of your life you will earn money for the services you provide.
The average adult will earn over one million dollars in their lifetime so you must understand that the management of your money is as important as your earning capacity.
Learn the principle of simple and compound interest. Invest the money you save so it can begin producing a harvest for you. The more your money makes the less you have to deposit into your money machine.
Minimize or eliminate your debt as you are depositing into someone else's money machine. Remember when you have debt you are controlled by the bank or mortgage company and it is their rules that will be applied in uncontrollable situations.
7. Financial Plan
It is imperative to have a written plan with goals, objectives and a budget. The average investor does not and they will not attain what they have not defined. Review the plan at least annually so you can adjust it as your goals and situation will dictate the need.
8. Understanding Risk
Every investment has risk and you must define all your choices into one of three categories minimum, moderate, or aggressive. Utilizing an investor profile will allow you to establish a baseline risk tolerance in which to compare your investment options.
Every investment choice has fees and cost to manage the investment. Management, trading, acquisition, brokerage and governmental fees are the major ones to decipher. It is your responsibility to completely understand and have disclosed to you all fees as they will erode the return on the investment.
10. Tax impact
Income tax will effect your return as we must "pay to Caesar what he is due." Qualified investments like 401k, IRA, and pension defer the principal and interest til they are removed from the account. They will be taxed as ordinary income and the tax will be calculated based upon your income tax bracket for that year. A non- qualified investment means the principal has had the income tax paid on the principal from a previous year. When the investment creates interest , dividend or a capitol gain it will have tax due in that year. It is important to have a tax professional to help you navigate the tax impact as the rules are always changing.
Another way to avoid risk is have your investments diversified. Remember Grandpa always said, 'don't have all your eggs in one basket' and that is what diversity means. If you have money in the stock market I would suggest utilizing a index strategy that buys one of every type of investment in its market place and provides you the diversity with low cost and higher tax efficiency.
12. Engaging Professionals
For some individuals managing their investments is overwhelming and not their gift. It is totally acceptable to look for a professional that can help but make sure you are aligned with them in investment style, temperament, and faith. As a steward you can delegate responsibility but not accountability so review and ask questions so you are at peace with your investment decisions.
The Bible gives us numerous scriptures on money, as God knew the struggles we would have with our finances. The one that gives me comfort shares his promise,"I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity" (Proverbs 8:17-18).
May God bless you in your journey as he will take care of all your financial needs if you will seek him through his word.
Guy Hatcher: The Legacy Guy® – is passionate about helping families plan their legacy. His book, Your Future Reflection: How to Leave a Legacy Beyond Money, is available at amazon.com. Follow him on twitter @guyhatcher or contact him at www.guyhatcher.com
Image courtesy: ©Thinkstock/lovelyday12
Publication date: November 3, 2014