My Personal Struggles with Finances
I can honestly say that I don’t have a lot of common sense—especially when it comes to handling money.
Looking at my life from the outside, I should have no problem with my finances. Consider the following:
- I’m a 40-something with over 20+ years experience in the professional, working world.
- I’m a college graduate, where I took personal finance courses.
- I have personal relationships with people (i.e., family, friends, my girlfriend) who all make their living in the financial industry.
And yet, somehow, my personal finances are a complete and utter mess.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to a restaurant and sweated and stressed as they swiped my credit card.
“Please don’t let the dreaded CARD DECLINED message come up,” I think as I wait for what seems like an eternity to see if the transaction will go through.
I’m not sure where it all went wrong. Perhaps, it was my first day of college. Down at the union of the University of North Texas, there were pretty co-eds giving away free t-shirts if you signed up for a credit card.
Of course, how could I resist that?
Today, the stakes of my financial irresponsibility are higher than ever. I’m walking a tightrope of disaster. I’m a single father with two young daughters who live with me. If I were to lose my job, I would have to sell everything to maybe (hopefully) survive.
Not only is my livelihood at stake but so is the livelihood of my children.
My financial habits are landmines, ready to blow havoc into my life at any given minute. Perhaps, you can relate. Do you do the following (I certainly do):
- Spend excessively or frivolously
- Have never-ending monthly payments
- Use credit cards and other borrowed money just to make ends meet
- Pay money on a new car
- Spend too much on your house
- Use your 401K or home equity like a piggy bank
- Live paycheck to paycheck
I don’t like how I’m handling my finances. The reality is God doesn’t like how I handle my finances, either.
What Does God Say About Our Finances?
One of the jobs God asks of us is to handle His money and gifts as responsible stewards.
How are you doing with that job?
Me, personally—I’ve done a horrible job. I should be fired on the spot for poor performance. Thankfully, God is forgiving, loving, and accepting. He wants me to get it right.
The Bible states that God wants us to be wise stewards of the resources He gives us.
“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be overflowing and your vats will brim over with new wine.” ~ Proverbs 3:9-10 (NIV)
But how does one unlearn a lifetime of bad financial habits? How does one learn to handle their finances according to biblical principles?
One answer: through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.
Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University
Dave Ramsey is a personal money-management expert, who teaches about financial health. Ramsey is a popular national radio personality and the author of seven bestselling books. His books have sold more than 10 million copies combined.
Ramsey is also the creator of Financial Peace University (FPU), which teaches attendees how to get rid of debt, take care of the money God provides us, and learn new behaviors about money that are founded on commitment and accountability.
Dave Ramsey—like many of us—learned about personal finances the hard way.
By age 26, Ramsey had established a $4 million real estate portfolio. However, by age 30, he had lost it all and brought his family to the brink of financial ruin.
This period inspired Ramsey to begin learning how money really works. This quest led him to realize that our financial issues have to do with changing personal behaviors—not tricky accounting or math or making bigger salaries.
The quest also led Ramsey to learn God’s way of handling money and what the Bible has to say about the subject.
“God says you’re supposed to plan and think and have a vision,” Ramsey says. “It’s not faith to live hand to mouth your whole life. That is not proper biblical stewardship.”
The $20,000 ‘Free’ T-Shirt
So why now…why do I want to change the way I’ve been handling my finances my whole life?
I realize my finances are a problem:
- Having over $1,000 per month in credit card payments is a problem.
- Having to last a week with only $5 in my checking account for groceries and gasoline is a problem.
- Having no emergency fund besides having to sell my house or drain my 401K is a problem.
- Having no money for giving or tithing because it’s all going to bills and debt payments is a problem.
I want to be a good steward of what God has provided me.
The good news is I believe God uses problems to direct us. Problems light fires under us. They get us moving in new directions.
“Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways.” ~ Proverbs 20:30 (GNT)
Maybe you can relate. Maybe you have similar problems with your finances. If so, come join us at Chase Oaks Financial Peace University starting this September.
I would wear the free t-shirt I got all those years ago for signing up for a credit card—if I still had it. However, that shirt is long gone.
If you are struggling to find freedom in your finances, register for Financial Peace University today!