As a person who stays current with hip-hop and popular culture so I don’t become an extremist, I can’t ignore Big Sean’s song “Guap”. I really like Big Sean. He is very charismatic and enthusiastic. He is hood, which I can respect, and he talks about things that people care about, like financial security. I’m being very liberal right now but we all need encouragement and love so I’m throwing some at Sean. I hope he catches it.
Big Sean talks about working hard all year to get one paycheck to pay for the things that he wants. He talks about needing 50k, a house for his mom, a car for his dad, his brother needs a job, he wants a 17 car garage and other things. I can see how people can relate to this message. We all have desires in life. We all want to be superstars who can buy things for our parents, siblings and other family members who we love, like grandma. We all want to have lots of money to blow on any and every whim but are these realistic goals? I know, I know, it’s just entertainment and I shouldn’t take it this seriously but these messages do become engrained into our minds whether we acknowledge it or not and the fact is that these messages do control the thoughts, words and actions of a lot of people.
There are so many people out here trying to use any scheme, gimmick and trick in the book to get money to pay for the things that they want in life. The reality of earning an honest paycheck is that, like Big Sean said, he is self-employed and it takes him an entire year to work and promote himself and his product so he can earn just one paycheck. Granted, his paycheck is probably larger than most but out of his paycheck he has to set aside money for taxes, business expenses including accountants, lawyers, touring, reinvestment, etc., living expenses including rent/mortgage, car payment, gas, groceries, entertainment, clothing, shoes, etc. and then he probably has the occasional oopsie that happens to all of us in life, like speeding tickets. These are the realities of going into business.
So what financial plan will help people go from government dependence to self-sufficiency?
1. I will not work for things and I will not work for money.
The love of money is the root of all types of evil. What does this mean? When I put money ahead of all else, I become engaged in idolatry. Idolatry is bad because the money and the things don’t care how I got that money as long as I buy them and possess them. Idolatry is bad because the seller’s job is not to evaluate how you got the money or whether or not you can afford particular item(s), they just need to make the sale so they can support their family which is not a bad thing.
Instead of putting money and things first, I’m going to put God first and God commanded me to work every day except for the Sabbath day. When I work every day and stay focused on my work, the money follows. I will get so busy working that I will neglect to spend the money I earn and before I know it I will be financially free and never have to work again because my financial plan will be set up to happen automatically as money is deposited into my accounts. God does command us to work so I will work for the rest of my life because if I don’t use it I will lose it.
2. I will rest on the Sabbath Day.
On Saturdays I lounge around the house singing praises to God (in private, not to be seen by people). I play outside, I talk on the phone with my friends, I play board games and I just chill. There is no buying or selling on the Sabbath so I don’t buy anything and I don’t sell anything. On Sunday it’s back to work. I go to church, I volunteer, I cook, clean and get ready for the rest of the week.
In 2016 I will celebrate the Sabbath year for the first time ever. Not working for an entire year every 7th year is part of God’s perfect plan for us. God says that He will prosper us so much in the 6th year that we will have enough for three years so I am going to step out on faith and see what happens.
3. I will put away the first 10% of my pay for the church.
These are the first fruits that God talks about in the Bible. These funds go to my church for the carrying out of God’s will. On top of that I will also give more money, as it is made available to me, to causes that support the development of God’s kingdom on earth.
4. I will save at least 25% of my income.
90% of these savings will go in “safe”, interest bearing investments that beat inflation (this may include mutual funds, stocks and bonds) and the other 10% will be used for speculation on small caps and penny stocks. My speculation will not be gambling because I will never invest in any security that I have not fully vetted first.
5. I will keep my expenses low.
I am committed to keeping my expenses at or below 50% of my take home earnings. The fat will be cut and unnecessary items will be eliminated. I don’t see a use for a brand new car, extravagant items or expensive clothing so I will not be using my money on things such as these.
6. I will create no debt for myself.
When I create any form of debt I become a slave to my creditors. All of my work becomes their profit. Debt means that I have placed myself in the situation where sin (greed, coveting, envy, etc.) has led me to bad financial management because I’m spending too much money on things that I don’t need. When I value things and money above God then I have made an idol of things and money and I would be willing to do anything, including taking out loans, in order to have the appearance of financial freedom when I am actually a mere slave to the one who has managed their finances well enough to loan money.
My no debt pledge will also go for my house (no mortgage) and my car (no car payment). God will prosper me enough to be able to purchase homes and cars with cash.
7. I will loan and not borrow.
Sometimes a small loan will make the difference in someone else’s life if they need to get over a financial hump. This will not be a loan that charges unreasonable interest rates and exploits people; it will be a loan between friends. The loans will be small and affordable for the person to whom I am lending.
I will not necessarily loan to every single person who asks but I will use discernment when loaning to people. The person being able to show that they have the means and the motivation to repay the loan is one important factor for me to know before lending.
This plan leaves me 15% of my income for my liquid savings that will be used for anything that may come up from time to time like giving to a faith-based charity that is in need, going on a mission trip with my church or having my car repaired.
This plan is not as exciting as buying myself, my family and my friends everything that they may want or need but it is a solid plan that will keep me out of debt and will help me avoid being in a situation where I need money. Instead of needing money or wanting money I will be comfortable, lack nothing and I won’t love money because I give generously which also pleases God.
What’s your financial plan?