Managing Family Finances
Your Family’s Finances
Dr. Terry Bertrand, Associate Pastor of Administration and Reggie Jacob, Director of Young Adult Ministry
The Bible has a lot to say about money and much that is valuable for someone trying to be intentional about family relationships. A financial treadmill of working and consuming can dominate your energy and thoughts to the degree that your good intentions for family relationships get squeezed out.
Statistics of the average American family today:
- “71% of Americans say debts are making their home lives unhappy.”
- “A recent study in The Wall Street Journal states that 70% of the American public lives from paycheck to paycheck.”
- “The #1 cause of divorce in America today is money fights and money problems.”
“It is the Christian’s spiritual duty to take dominion (control) over money. If we don’t, we surrender God’s resources to the enemy!”
“You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.” –Dave Ramsey
Here are some insights that can help as you intentionally map out your family finances.
Create a written budget
Preparing a written monthly budget is one of the keys to financial success. “A budget is simply telling your money where it should go, instead of wondering where it went.”
- Spend less than you make
- Save at least 10% of each paycheck, and put it in a savings account
- Tithe 10% of each paycheck and give it to your church
Money is not evil
The Bible says in 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Note that it didn’t say “money is the root of all evil”… it says the LOVE of money is.
Be content and faithful in little
We often think the answer to our money problems is to have a little more, but Solomon observed, “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
The Bible says “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).
Being content with what you have doesn’t mean God can’t bless you with more. Two of the servants in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 learned the value of being faithful with whatever they had. To them the master said, “You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.” We learn from this parable that God wants to see what we will do with a little before He’ll entrust us with more.
Value relationships over things
In Romans 13:8, the apostle Paul says, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law.” Most Christian financial advisers stress the value in eliminating and staying out of debt as much as possible. The less debt you have, the more you’re able to focus on the “debt to love one another.” Focusing on relationships over things also can cause you to reconsider your purchasing and work decisions. Isaiah 55:2 asks the question, “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?” Do you ever feel like you’re working hard to pay off debt for purchases that weren’t essential and didn’t even satisfy? How could you simplify your expenses and make them more consistent with your family priorities in this season of life?
Re-orient your fears and desires
People with various relationship goals—wanting to get married, considering starting a family or wanting to help a child through a tough season—may not realize just how much those goals can be undermined by a consumer-driven culture playing on their fears and desires. We live in a microwave culture where everything must be instant, including gratification. We don’t want to wait and save up for something like the old days. We “need” the stuff, and we want it right NOW. Delay gratification. If you can’t pay cash, you can’t really afford it!
God tells us we shouldn’t fear what the world fears (1 Peter 1:17 and 3:13-15) or desire what it desires (2 Peter 1:3-8). What would it look like in your life if you re-oriented your fears and desires toward God’s design? The more you look to Him for your security and provisions (1 Peter 5:7 and Philippians 4:19), the more you are directed to the eternal relationships around you (Ephesians 3:14-19 and John 13:34-35). Allowing God to re-direct your fears and desires frees you up to invest in family and to give generously to your church and to other families who are praying for God’s provision.
GOING FURTHER – Resources
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
The success stories speak for themselves in this book from money maestro Dave Ramsey. Instead of promising the normal dose of quick fixes, Ramsey offers a bold, no-nonsense approach to money matters, providing not only the how-to but also a grounded and uplifting hope for getting out of debt and achieving total financial health. The Total Money Makeover isn’t theory. It works every single time. It works because it is simple. It works because it gets to the heart of the money problems: you.
Smart Money, Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Moneyby Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze
Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze teach parents how to raise money-smart kids in a debt-filled world. In Smart Money, Smart Kids, financial expert and best-selling author Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel Cruze equip parents to teach their children how to win with money. Starting with the basics like working, spending, saving, and giving, and moving into more challenging issues like avoiding debt for life, paying cash for college, and battling discontentment, Dave and Rachel present a no-nonsense, common-sense approach for changing your family tree.
The New Master Your Money by Jeremy White and Ron Blue
Offers a financial planning book that presents concepts in an easy-to-understand format. Do you know if you have enough? Do you know how much is enough?
The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn
Explores Jesus teaching on our finances – something about which he had more to say than most topics, including heaven.
GOING FURTHER – Church Support
Financial Peace University- 9 week course
We all need a plan for our money. Financial Peace University (FPU) is that plan! It teaches God’s ways of handling money. Through video teaching, class discussions and interactive small group activities, FPU presents biblical, practical steps to get from where you are to where you’ve dreamed you could be. This plan will show you how to get rid of debt, manage your money, spend and save wisely, and much more!
FPU classes meet for around an hour and a half each week for nine weeks. For more info, contact Carol Johnson or call 817-277-6410.