Over 4 years ago, I wrote a blog post on My Faith and My Finances.
A lot has changed for myself and my family over that time and it’s caused me to reflect and ponder on what I can share that may help other people who read my blog, or at the least to ask some questions for all of us to ponder and consider.
At that time in 2016, finances for our family were good, but not great.
We were saving every month and paying down some business debt from my acquisition back in 2008 causing me to think back in 2017 that there’s no way I could retire by 45 years old.
This year ---- I am turning 40… the big 4-0.
That milestone is enough reason to wonder….
Reflections on Faith and Money
When it comes to faith and money and being a steward over my finances, I think of such commonly known Biblical phrases like…
“Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.”
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
“The love of money is the root of all evil.”
I have to confess. I love looking at the numbers. I love checking our bank accounts daily. I love looking at the revenue that comes.
On the other hand, I experience little shocks of pain when I see money going out for expenses.
When it comes to giving, it’s not easy --- but I know what it’s supposed to do and we do it. It’s about being obedient to my faith and lovingly and willingly doing it. And beyond that---- doing more.
Still, I sometimes wonder…. do I love money?
I surely appreciate what money can do for myself, my family, and others. I enjoy our food and having full tummies. I appreciate our quiet neighborhood and the woods behind our house. I surely feel more secure and far less stress when I see five or even six figure bank accounts. I feel accomplished as I see money rolling into retirement accounts every month.
Not only accomplished --- but also being the kind of person that follows their own advice. That I’m not a hypocrite, telling other people to save for retirement, but not doing it myself. Today, I feel that I can truly point to my situation and say, “Do as I do AND as I say”
Yet, I grapple with cognitive dissonance. I wonder sometimes… is this wrong?
Am I loving money?
As we have grown more and more prosperous, I find myself looking more and more at my faith. I find myself considering more and more how we want to leave an impact on the world.
Should we sell everything--- businesses, houses, material possessions-- and become missionaries overseas?
Or could we make an even bigger impact by reinvesting more and more money to generate more and more wealth to fund other people doing that same thing?
Should we do a hybrid of the two?
I wonder… what is my role in this?
How should I be walking out my faith?
Should I be giving my money? My time? Both?
How should I be going about that?
Could I retire by 45?
Have things changed?
You see I am a financial advisor, but I am so much more than that. I am a business owner of multiple businesses and I launched one of them in late 2017.
Despite the corona virus pandemic, we’ve been very blessed and have prospered with all these different businesses. So much so—that it’s changed my financial projections since I originally wrote the two blog posts mentioned earlier in this one.
Today I think that if we really wanted to that I could retire by 45.
Knowing this has really changed our finances and how I am thinking of them.
You see --- that business debt I mentioned that I had in 2017 ---- it’s gone!
On top of that, I’m projecting that with the relatively small mortgage debt of $170k that we have right now --- it will be gone by the end of 2022.
We will be completely debt free.
I don’t say this to brag and bask in this, but instead to point out how it’s changed our financial goals.
Finances as a River
I’ve really starting to think of our finances as a river --- it’s meant to flow.
It’s meant to flow into us, through us, and out of us.
There’s streams flowing into and out of the river.
Back a few years ago, our river was a nice size--- but it didn’t feed into very many lakes or oceans --- it just kept on going.
As I step back and look at our financial condition today, more of our river is going into lakes that we also have. On top of that, more and more parts of the river are flowing into other people’s lakes and other organization’s lakes.
Because we have been blessed with our rivers and streams flowing in our rivers, we are now giving more than we have ever given before.
Beyond our tithe to our church (which was the largest ever in 2020 for us), we also give to individual missionaries and wonderful organizations that we think we making an impact in the world. I was really excited to DOUBLE in 2021 what we have been doing in 2020 and it’s just the beginning.
As we pay off our mortgage, we might be able to triple or quadruple what we did in 2020.
Does this mean we won’t be able to retire by 45 or 50 or 55?
Yeah, frankly, that’s the trade-off we are making.
But I think it’s worth it!
As you can tell, I struggle with some of these concepts. I think I’m doing what we’re called to do, but I have some nagging self doubts.
I know in many cases that we are doing the right thing. We’re giving time and money to people and organizations that exemplify our faith.
Could we still do more?
I personally don’t feel called to the mission field at this time. But I’m open to the idea. I’m open to change.
I may not like the idea of leaving a bunch of stuff behind… but I’m open.
I do know at least in the meantime that we are making a very positive impact on the organizations and people that we give to.
I hope I can be here a year from now and be able to tell you that we doubled our giving once again.
I guess I put it out there now and you can help hold me accountable to it!
What about you?
How are you feeling about your faith and your finances?
How can you know when the pendulum has swung too far and you are ‘loving money’ rather than people and your faith?
Let me know your thoughts. Send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Material discussed is meant to provide general information and it is not to be construed as specific investment, tax, or legal advice. Individual needs vary & require consideration of your unique objectives & financial situation.