If you made a resolution for the New Year, chances are, improving your physical fitness ended up somewhere on your list. And while taking care of your physical health and wellness is important, so is taking care of your financial health.
Our culture puts a strong emphasis on giving (and spending!) during the holiday season. Most of the advertisements you hear during the season involve a sale to help you buy a present to give to someone you care about. At the same time, you hear organizations making their final push to meet their year-end budget goals and potentially attract new donors. It is rare to go the holiday season without being solicited to give a tax-deductible year end gift. This is all for good reason. Giving charitable contributions isn’t only a good thing to do, but qualified charitable contributions to qualified organizations are tax deductible in the year the contribution is made. Sometimes it is even wise to accelerate giving you intend on doing in the beginning of the next year into the end of the current year.
In this season of Thanksgiving, the question must be asked regarding our wealth: do we have a handle on our finances, or does our wealth have a hold on us?
I well remember thanking the good Lord when my husband asked me to marry him 34 years ago. I was deeply in love, thoroughly moon-eyed and so thankful he had asked! But, let me share the rest of the story.
With tax reform and other issues looming that impact churches and pastors, I was privileged recently to be invited by the Church Alliance (a national organization committed to working on church tax and retirement issues) to work on Capitol Hill. Over the two day period I met with numerous Senators, Congressmen and their staff members to discuss issues important to churches and pastors. These interactions were fruitful and helpful to our continual goal at Servant Solutions to “Improve Financial Security for Servants of the Church.”
This seems like a simple question that can be answered by looking at your income, expenses, dreams, and goals. Even though the question is simple, the answer can leave many with a feeling of anxiety. The reason for the anxiety is not because what we have is too little or what we have is too much. The anxiety comes because no matter what we have, the answer to the question “how much is enough?” is almost always “more than I have right now.”
Many people believe retirement means withdrawing from work or labor in order to enjoy life to the fullest without obligation, commitment, or worry. You can do what you feel like doing whenever you want to do it. Retirement is all about you. It is a reward for all your hard work.
Through the arc of time in ministry, families experience different chapters. Different periods are very unique containing times of challenge, times of waiting, and times of great fruit. These are often intertwined through the periods when ministry begins and fully through the seasoned years of ministry.
After graduating from college and entering the world of full-time work, I was faced with more responsibilities and more decisions than I was expecting. While in college, I had big ideas about how fast I could pay off my student debt, establish an emergency fund, buy another car, save for retirement, and start saving to buy a house.
At Servant Solutions, we often receive questions about investment advice. “Where should I invest?” and “How can I squeeze out more return?” are common questions….but are they where our main focus should be for those with a long-term investment approach needed for retirement investing? Although these are important considerations, we believe that your Contribution Rate is more critical than your Investment Rate. To put it simply, your “personal savings” behavior (how much, how often) is more important than “market” behavior (the ebb and flow of stock/bond prices). The article below from Ronald Blue & Co. provides keen insight into these dynamics. Our hope is it gives you a new and better perspective on investing for a lifetime. Enjoy!