People can either make their money work for them or work against them, and more often than not, they unknowingly choose the latter. This is because they are approaching their money in one of two ways; either from a state of fear or a state of greed. They may be fearful of the future, constantly worrying about whether the market will crash again or what is going to happen ten years from now, paralyzing their ability to make positive decisions with their money. Or they may save out of greed — stashing away as much money as they can only to recklessly spend it with the “I’ve got to have what everyone else has” type of mindset. What’s the problem with these two ways of managing money? The problem is there’s no long term goal or planning behind their spending decisions. Down the line this can create some real money problems. It’s time for people to get clarity on managing their money.
So, how can people make their money work FOR them? I believe there are two principals needed in order to manage your money wisely and make it work for you – stewardship and provision. These two principals allow people to have confidence in their finances and feel empowered because they are creating a stable future for themselves and their loved ones.
Money Management Principle #1: Stewardship
Stewardship is the opposite of greed; it’s an approach that will help you make decisions with your money that are responsible and respectful of YOUR future and needs, rather than spending recklessly or saving solely for the sake of having a huge bank account balance.
Here is how I like to think of it: imagine everything you own actually belongs to someone else, someone who you care deeply for and have the highest respect for. This person happily allows you to be the caretaker of everything they have, including their money. All they ask for in return is that you spend it responsibly and check in with them every so often giving them an account of how you have been spending their money.
The thought alone of having to justify your spending to someone you respect is enough to help guide your financial planning and purchasing process. This is what stewardship is all about.
For example, let’s say that you have the choice of spending a $500 bonus you just received from work on a trendy new Apple watch, or applying the $500 towards your credit card bill. As a steward, you see the value in putting the money towards your credit card bill, rather than making a decision based on greed to experience immediate gratification of a watch you can’t afford. Also, you keep in mind that it would be embarrassing to explain the unnecessary watch purchase to the person whose money you are caring for.
Money Management Principle #2: Provision
Provision is the opposite of fear; it’s about preparing and planning your money management decisions to ensure you will be able to provide for your “today and tomorrow” and not making decisions because you are fearful of what the future may hold. I feel the principal of provision comes into play not only regarding your savings accounts, but also in the decisions you make when purchasing insurance and investing your dollars, all of which have an affect on your future.
What is the difference between provision and fear? Really, they are opposites. An example of provision is purchasing life insurance for your family, with the thought in mind that should anything happen to you, your family will still be provided with the same resources available to them today. My wife and I homeschool our 3 young children; I purchase life insurance so I know if anything happens to me, then my wife will be able continue to raise and homeschool our children as if I still were generating an income.
There are two types of ways to practice provision and that’s through insurance and investments. Both represent a future for provision, if you get sick, your child breaks an arm, etc. And both enable you to have a plan for the future and not leave your loved ones in a helpless financial situation.
It’s Your Money, Be Wise With It
At the end of the day, both philosophies of stewardship and provision come down to support one point: it’s your money, act wisely and be smart with it. When you make decisions with your money based on the princiapals of stewardship and provision, you will feel empowered and confident about the decisions you made to provide for yourself today and in the future. Don’t manage your money out of fear and greed, manage it with stewardship and provision and make your money work for YOU.