We all have been somewhat spoiled by the smooth upward rise of the market for the last several years, but now that “roller coaster” feeling of the stock market is back. So far, February has been an eventful month for the stock market, dropping nearly 8% from recent highs. Although investors experienced an unusually calm and positive ride in 2017, volatility is back.
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.”