You have heard it said that people don’t plan to fail – they fail to plan!
After two decades as a financial planner, I certainly have seen first hand
how risky and even devastating life can be without a plan. So, is the answer
to chronic money woes simply the idea of developing a plan? Yes, but not in
the traditional way you might be thinking.
Whether you have $10 million or $10, the real root of “money problems” lies
not in the amount that you have, but rather in its purpose. I have watched
people evolve from having virtually no discretionary money at all, to having
hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest. Generally, they are not more
fulfilled, less stressed, and more motivated simply because they acquired
some degree of wealth. Rather, whatever life problems challenged them before
they had money continued to challenge them after they gained money. In fact,
I read an article about how the new, young wealthy who gained from the
recent technology economy were doing as a result of becoming millionaires
almost overnight. The article chronicled ten such people. At the end of the
story there was a summary point quoted by one of the individuals featured,
which read something like, “Money doesn’t really change people for better or
worse. Rather, whatever worries, frustrations and personality quirks they
had before they had money remained the same personal challenges for them
after they became wealthy”.
Money is similar to oxygen in that you have to have it to live your life. A
basketball player involved in a tournament is going to need large quantities
of oxygen in order to accomplish his personal goal for the game. Conversely,
a fisherman lounging on the end of a small pier watching his bobber float
lazily in a late afternoon breeze will require very little oxygen to achieve
his goal of rest and relaxation. How much oxygen do you need? That depends
on what you are trying to accomplish.
Life. Purpose. Plan. Money. That is the correct order. Most people, without
consciously thinking about it, live life backwards… Money – Plan – Purpose
– Life. They think they have to have money first, then they can begin to
plan for their life goals, and in those goals they will find a life purpose,
and in that purpose they will find the meaning of life!
Instead, prayerfully consider, digest and appreciate who you are in Christ.
That understanding and only that understanding will give you life. From that
Christ-directed life, you then have purpose. And in that purpose, you can
begin thinking about specific life plans and goals. Then, once you know what
you want to achieve, you simply do the math and find out how much money
you’ll need, when you’ll need it, and for how long.
Money, like everything else in your unique life, is simply a means to
manifest God. Regardless of how much money you do, or don’t have, with this
as your fundamental focus you will have all that you need.
Stephen R. Bolt is the author of the book Money for Life, and Your Money,