How Much Am I Worth?

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I am in the middle of a series right now at our church called “Shattered Things” where we are talking about living in the freedom we already have. You can check out the messages here.

But this week we talked about the problems we have when it comes to finances. When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, so many people want to “make more money” or “pay off more debt”. It is a gnawing problem that eats away at us year after year… and many times is left unfulfilled.

Let me tell you… those two resolutions are SO much different from each other! The idea of paying off debt comes from the desire to be more ‘disciplined’. The idea of making more money comes from the desire to be more ‘affluent’. One stems from greed and the desire to own MORE and the other comes from determination and the desire to owe LESS.

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I wanted to let you in on a little secret… something that I did a long time ago and have counselled many couples, individuals, and organizational teams to do and seen incredible results.

I have determined how much I am worth.

Not in value. Not based on an asset portfolio. But as it pertains to my work.

Let me explain…

Every week I get paid. I receive a set amount of money based on a said agreement with myself and my employ. I also, from time to time, receive funds for other things (birthdays, etc).

Well instead of putting ALL that money in some bank account to go who knows where and pay for things that bring no joy (mortgage, utilities, car payments, etc), I pre-determine how much I am worth and at the end of the week I take that money out (as cash) and then the rest gets used to ensure that all of other stuff gets paid off.

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If I want to buy something for myself, I have the money available to do it. If I want something more expensive, I now know that I need to save ‘my’ money to get it.

It makes me think twice before spending ‘my’ money because once it’s gone, it’s gone.

It also makes me not feel like a martyr for putting ALL of my money in the bank and NEVER benefitting from it.

Now let me be clear. It’s NOT a lot of money that I take out for myself every week. But that ‘little bit’ keeps me from feeling like I ‘deserve’ some big expense and justifying to whip out the debit card and buy it.

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Here’s the cool thing… As you get disciplined at choosing how to spend your money at a MICRO level (personal life), you will begin to carry that over into the MACRO level (family / organizational). When you pick and choose how you spend ‘your’ money, you will begin to do the same thing on how you spend the ‘family’ money (or joint account, etc). Instead of putting your family vacation on your credit card and worrying about it later, you will begin to forgo some instant gratifications and put aside the money needed for that trip.

I have found that when you determine how much money you are worth (percentage or set amount) and take only ‘that’ portion out on a regular basis, you begin to make better buying choices. And what is WAY BETTER is that when you have the urge to bless someone else, you may just will have the money to do it.

When money controls you… you will be void of joy. But when YOU control your money… that’s when you know that you can really start to make a difference.

At least that’s how I see it,

 

C

 

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3 Keys to Financial Freedom

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I find it interesting that in looking for a graphic for ‘financial freedom’ all that seemed to come up were pictures of chairs facing the water. C’mon… is THAT what we are really longing for in our financial freedom?

If you are like me, facing a lake for the rest of my life is NOT why I want to seek financial freedom. I want financial freedom to give myself the ability to CHOOSE what I want to do with my resources; not the prospect of doing nothing for the rest of my life.

That said, if you are like many other people, you are restricted on what you can do and where you can spend your money.

So, in order to save time, brain cells, and discussions on the cacophony of financial counsel, I’m going to boil it down to three SIMPLE rules of what to do with your money to make the biggest difference in how you get to choose how to live your life.

SAVE more than you SPEND – I know that it doesn’t take much calculus to put this together but… if your income is always greater than your expenses, you will SAVE MONEY. It seems trite… but this common sense is unfortunately not so common with people’s current spending habits. Credit cards, pay it later, impulse buyers, ‘sales’ (don’t get me started on THAT fallacy) all breed into the desire to forego keeping spending within one’s means. Keep your spending aligned with your income and you will launch ahead of the pack like Usain Bolt!

OWN more than you OWE – This needs to be looked at as a sliding scale. Understandably there are mortgages, car payments, etc. that can mix up someone’s “net worth” but to dumb this down for this blog, what I am getting at is that every month you should have less debt, and more assets (including cash, savings, emergency money… yada yada yada – I’m trying to keep this simple for ‘this’ version of the blog). If you have less bills, less overdue payments, less overdraft… and/or more savings, more RRSP’s (401K’s for the ‘Mericans who read this), more cash on hand, then you are getting ahead of the game. Make a goal to make each month (or pay) less indebted to others and more financially prosperous for yourself (yourselves) and you will feel the stress roll off your shoulders.

BLESS more than you BURDEN – This is the power of charity. Financial freedom is not designed to make you more charitable… as much as it is designed to make you more available to BE charitable. How many times are you ‘wanting’ to support a cause yet ‘unable’ to simply because of your financial bondage. The quicker that you free up your finances, the quicker you will experience the joy of being able to come alongside a cause and support it without the pain of wondering what you are going to have to cut out of your spending. Charity truly builds character.

Follow these three rules of financial freedom and I cannot promise you two Adirondack chairs at the end of a dock… but I can assure you that your future will look a whole lot better than it will if you continue to be shackled by spending too much, owing beyond your limit, and scraping by to take care of yourself, instead of the possibility of blessing others.

Onward… to thicker wallets and bigger hearts.