10 Years of Financial Peace

10 Years of Financial PeaceDo you remember what your financial situation was 10 years ago? I do and very vividly. It was not a good situation at all. Let me share with you where we were:

I had a very good stable job, with a great income. But we like many people, were living paycheck to paycheck.

We were using credit cards to make up the difference at the end of each month.

We also had almost $50K in consumer debt (car loan, credit cards, student loans, medical bills, etc.) and had no savings for emergencies or retirement and no plan to pay for college for our son.

Worst of all, my wife and I were not working together as a couple and we also realized that we were not honoring God in managing the money He had entrusted to us.

However, and most importantly, we also realized that we needed help to change our situation.

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What Did We Do?

It is true that the first step in solving a problem is admitting that you have a problem. Once we did, we turned to God for help. I prayed for a way to change our situation and He answered in a big way.

In September of 2005, our church offered Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU) course and I attended the course (which back then lasted 13 weeks).

I started learning and applying biblical principles for sound financial management. My wife joined me in the process and we began a life transforming journey for our family.

What Happened?

The changes we made paid off. We are still living on a budget. We still have a plan for our finances. We have learned to live on less than we make.

In 29 months we paid of all of our consumer debt ($50K). We now have a 6 month emergency fund. We were also able to pay for our son’s college education without borrowing money and without him borrowing money.

We have a structured plan for retirement savings which we know will give us options and control of when and how to move on to the next stage in our lives when the time comes.

More importantly: we are honoring the Lord with our financial management and we are working together as a couple in every area of our lives including our money.

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What Have We Learned?

As I reflect on how our lives have changed over these past 10 years, several thoughts come to mind.

First of all, I am always going to be thankful to Dave Ramsey for his FPU course and his financial teachings.

You may not agree with him on everything he teaches or on his methods and you may not like his personality, but for us, what he does was life changing and I know that he has helped millions of people more. So Dave, thanks for what you have done for us and what you continue to do for others.

You truly led us to have financial peace. I hope I can join you in helping others to win with their money.

Second: once I understood the incredible power of learning to control your money I knew I had to share what I learned with others.

That’s why I became a financial coach. That’s why I blog. That’s why I do a Podcast.

I want you to have hope for the future!

If we could achieve victory with our finances, you can too! All you have to do is decide that you need help and that you will do what you need to do to change your financial destiny.

Third: I am fully convinced more than ever that if you are married, you need to work as a team with your money. You can’t have the view that it is “my money” and “your money”. Or “your debt is your problem”.

You have to be all in as a couple. If you are engaged to be married, start talking about money now. Your goals and dreams. Your fears about money. Your mistakes with money. Your view on money.

Put it all on the table and begin your life journey together by getting together on a plan for your money.

And finally, the most fundamental lesson I have learned is that we are to honor and serve God by managing our money well.

It is not only about giving tithes and offerings although that’s important for those of us who claim the name of Christ.

It is also about honoring God in how we use our money. How we save, how we plan for the future.

And it is also about having a lifestyle of generosity. If you are in a position of strength, you are in a position to really help those who are in need. Only the strong can help the weak.

We are designed to be givers. To be rivers through which the blessings of God can flow to others.

Regardless of where you are today, decide that generosity will always be an essential element of your financial plan.

So what about you? Where will you be in 10 years with your money? Or where will you be in 10 months?

Will you have financial peace? Will you be in your way to financial peace or will you simply stay where you are?

The last lesson I have for you: It is all up to you!!!!

Question: What would financial peace look like in your life?

Principal Components of Your Financial Plan

Principal Components of Your Financial PlanIn order to win with your money, you need to have a plan of attack for your finances.

It won’t happen by accident.

Financial success requires that you are steadfast in executing and monitoring each step of your financial plan along the way.

As the great Zig Ziglar said: If you do the things you need to do when you need to do them, then someday you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.

In order to help you, I have created a quick reference for you containing the principal components of your financial plan.

The plan components are grouped around 4 major categories:

  • Build a Firm Foundation: Get your money under control so you can be positioned to win.
  • Protect Your Household: Manage the risks to your finances.
  • Plan For the Future: Think about long term goals.
  • Be a Generous Giver: Self -explanatory.

For each financial plan component, you will find relevant posts as well as useful resources. If you have questions, get in touch with me any time.

I want you to win with your money and be able to dream again. Start today!

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Financial Plan Components

Build a Firm Foundation

Plan Component

Relevant Posts

Resources

Establish a Monthly Budget

The Recipe for a Great Budget

Budget Template

 Budget Guidelines

Budgeting Help: The Envelope System

Budget Priorities: Protecting the Four Walls

Eliminate Consumer Debt

6 Steps To Debt Freedom

Debt Snowball Template

Why I Don’t Use Credit Cards

Why do we stay in Debt?

Protect Your Household

Plan Component

Relevant Posts

Resources

Emergency Savings

The Blessings of Learning to Save Money

Savings Guidelines

15 Tips for Saving Money

The Remedy for the Debt Disease: Learning To Save Money

The Role of Insurance

7 Required Types of Insurance

Zander: Life & ID Theft Insurance

 Wise Insurance Group

Plan for the Future

Plan Component

Relevant Posts

Resources

Save for Retirement

How I Am Preparing For Retirement

Retirement Calculator

Save for College Expenses

College Savings

Dave Ramsey’s College Planning Guide

Book: Debt- Free U

Prepare a Will

3 Reasons You Should Prepare a Will

On-line Will Preparation

Pay off the Mortgage

Time to Buy a House?

Mortgage Calculator

 Be a Generous Giver

Plan Component

Relevant Posts

Resources

Giving should always be part of your financial plan.

10 Stewardship Questions

Book: Thou Shall Prosper

The Purpose of Wealth

Generosity as a Lifestyle

 Question: What would it take for you to get started with your financial plan?

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The Role of Discipline in Your Financial Plan

The Role of Discipline in  Your Financial PlanAll discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Hebrews 12:11 (NASB)

The Scripture verse above highlights the word discipline. So what’s discipline?

In looking at a couple of dictionary definitions, you can see that discipline can be defined as the ability to keep working at something that is difficult.

Another definition states that discipline is an activity that is done regularly as a way of training yourself to do something or to improve your behavior.

So the notion both from the Bible and from the secular definitions is that, discipline involves hard work, dealing with a difficult situation, on a regular basis, for a period of time, with the ultimate reward of improving your current situation.

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Discipline in Your Financial Plan

Discipline enables you to:

  • Prepare and work on your budget every month because you know that’s how you can control your money.
  • Keep track of your expenses so you can manage your money.
  • Stay consistent with your debt snowball and avoid falling for the traps of debt consolidation and credit repair scams. You know there is no quick fix.
  • Wait and you don’t buy a house until you are ready. You are immune to house fever.
  • Learn to save and wait to pay cash for what you really want. You don’t live just for the thrill of the moment.
  • You don’t panic with the ups and downs of the stock market. You stay on track with your investing strategy.

If you are in bad shape with your finances, realize that you did not get here overnight. But also realize that you can turn things around starting today.

Your Challenge

You can make the decision to get on different plan that gives you and your family hope for the future. But wishing for a different outcome is only part of the equation.

You need a plan and you need to act on your plan with urgency and discipline. If you need help, I can coach you through the process.

Don’t wait any longer. The time is now and the only person that can change your financial plan is you. Let’s get going!

Question: What other examples can you share about applying discipline in your financial plan?

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