Financial Self-Care Checklist
The new year is a great time to review your financial plan and goals. At Ronald Blue Trust, we value financial planning and believe it is the first step in a journey to financial freedom. We’ve prepared this simple check list to help you see where you are now and how you can gain more motivation to pursue and achieve your desired outcomes.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I have a long-term, written plan that details my financial goals?
- Am I spending less than I earn and following a disciplined budget that fits my lifestyle?
- Have I avoided the dangers of taking on consumer debt?
- Have I diversified my investments?
- Do I have a plan for incorporating generosity into my budget and investing strategies?
If you answered ‘yes’ to each of these, then you’re on track. Keep it up! If you answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, then there are some important principles to consider as you approach the new year and sharpen your financial strategies. The Bible provides the following insights on money management that work regardless of the current economic climate.
- Understand that God owns it all. (Psalm 24:1) Acknowledging that everything we have is a gift from God allows you to hold your wealth with an open hand. Despite all of the ups and downs of the past 10- to 15 years, many of our clients have found that when they acknowledge God’s ownership, they receive the reassurance they need to navigate uncertainty and stick to their financial plan.
- Follow a budget that allows you to spend less than you earn. (Proverbs 27:23) Spending less than you earn is a critical discipline that gives you options, but it must be exercised on a consistent basis. We cannot save, give, pay off debt, or reach our financial goals without living within our income. If we are spending more than we make, then unfortunately nothing else in our financial lives can work. If you want to learn more about this topic, then contact your advisor or email [email protected] to request a complimentary copy of Your Money Made Simple by Russ Crosson.
- Reduce and avoid consumer debt. (Proverbs 22:7) Taking on debt (such as credit card debt, student loans, and car loans) affects our future because when we incur debt we presume on the future and enslave some of our future income to pay for our current spending. We have an obligation to repay the lender first before any other use of our money, which limits our options for giving, saving, and spending. It is important to always work towards paying off your current debt and not take on any new consumer debt. See chapter 5 in Your Money Made Simple to learn more about how to reduce your debt.
- Develop a plan with your advisor that aligns with your time-based cash needs. (Proverbs 28:20-22) Our investment process at Ronald Blue Trust includes a systematic, principles-based approach that allows you to look at the purpose for your wealth and when you need it. Matching investments to your needs — how much money is needed and when — is one key to achieving your financial goals.
- Seek diversification. (Ecclesiastes 11:1-2) Our investment team positions portfolios to increase the probability that clients will successfully achieve the intended use of their assets. We counsel clients on how to set aside money needed in the near term into short-term, more stable investments so that it is less affected by market volatility. Longer-term investments are positioned for growth — although they may be impacted by volatility, they have time to recover since those funds are not needed for some time.
- Pursue generosity. (Luke 6:38) At Ronald Blue Trust, we believe everyone is called to live a generous life. We help our clients determine “How much is enough?” so they can hold their resources with an open hand. Even in the midst of economic turbulence, giving is a tangible expression of faith that can help those in need and support God’s work in your community and around the world. As God has blessed us, we honor Him and love others by allowing His resources to flow through us for His purposes.
If you need assistance and would like to talk to a Ronald Blue Trust advisor, please contact us at 800.987.2987 or email [email protected].