Are you worried about money? Chances are good that you are, since nearly 40% of Millennials worry about money at least once a week or more.
There’s also a good chance that you’re seriously worried about your debt. Forbes recently covered a story that said 30% of Millennials are so desperate about their student loan debt that they would sell one of their body organs to pay it off. Overall, student loan debt in the United States exceeds $1 trillion. That’s a million times a million. Our generation is not handling money well.
How are you doing with your money? Do you make enough? Do you have enough? Do you worry about it? Are you drowning in debt? Last Tuesday at the Porch we talked about the problem of discontentment, and how the world’s solution is often to try to make more money. That doesn’t work, since contentment has nothing to do with money, and the love of money and desire to get rich is an extremely dangerous trap. Christ is the only cure for discontentment.
So how can you be wise with your money as a young adult (or at any age)? The Bible lays out principles and perspectives on money that will help you handle your finances in a way that honors God and frees you from being foolish with money or worried about it.
News flash: you don’t actually own anything. It all belongs to God. That means that it’s not your money, it’s God’s money, and you just take care of it for Him. You are a steward, which is someone who manages resources that belong to someone else, and does it according to the owner’s vision and values. Think you earned your money, so it should belong to you? God is the one who gave you the ability to earn it, so you can’t claim that either.
Your main job as a steward is to know and love the Owner, and to be faithful with how you manage His resources. And since the sovereign God of the universe controls all the resources in the world, and knows exactly what you need, it means that you can trust Him with your money and possessions, and not worry about them. Wise money management starts with a heart that trusts God.
There are three main financial facts that you need to gather and maintain in order to manage your money wisely:
What you OWN
What you OWE
Where your money GOES
That means you need to build a budget and spending plan that honor God, and then track your expenses vs. that plan. Talk about #adulting! Doing this will allow you to give every dollar a job and control your money, instead of finding out that your money is out of control and you need another job to pay for everything. And you can’t just do it once and then forget about it; you’ll need to keep this updated all the time. Yup, it’s called “responsibility”.
Generosity is a heart issue too, just like stewardship. For many people, being generous is an unplanned afterthought, which makes their giving sporadic, spontaneous, and sparing. But the point of managing money well isn’t just to get better at spending money on ourselves; it’s also to help provide for the needs of others. The Bible calls us to be generous and cheerful givers, and this is a really big deal, because according to Jesus, where your treasure is, your heart is too. Make a plan for how you’ll be a generous giver.
As you look to the future, you should be thinking about getting out of debt and saving wisely.
The Bible doesn’t forbid debt, but it does compare borrowers to slaves, and tells you to work hard to free yourself from financial commitments that may have trapped you. Hint: this means paying them back. To do this well, you’ll need to put together a plan to pay down your debt.
Saving money means setting it aside for the future; it does NOT mean buying something that is on sale. More than half of Millennials have less than $1,000 in savings. So we’ve got some work to do. The Bible says thatwise people store up for the future, but it also warns against saving money out of a desire to get rich. You’re not supposed to turn into a hoarder, but it is wise to consider future needs today.
These points were adapted from Watermark’s Moneywise ministry, which offers classes and resources to help you to develop solid money management skills and to have an eternal perspective about money and resources. You can check out this webpage to see when the next class is, and also download resources to help you start managing your money wisely right now, like creating a budget and putting together a plan to pay down debt. You can also listen to many other messages that we’ve given about money.
Don’t let your money or debt own you. Apply the wise principles of managing money that are found in the Bible, and experience the freedom that comes from following God’s plan!
How are you doing with your money?