If you are going to go anywhere or do anything in today’s society, chances are you are going to need money. Our society runs on money. But how are you going to go about making it, and what are you going to do with it once you have it? How can you be financially successful in a world where the economy is not stable? How will you be able to weather the financial storms ahead?
There is a sound source of advice that you can base your financial decisions on. It contains principles that have allowed human beings to prosper for thousands of years, even during periods of drought, flood, famine and war, through the rise and fall of empires. Many of the world’s richest businessmen have a copy of this book at home or in the office.
It is the Holy Bible
The many financial dos and don’ts that the Bible supplies are sound principles that will work for you—even as a youth! These principles worked for America’s Founding Fathers, and they have also worked for the millionaires and billionaires of today, although many of them don’t realize they are following biblical principles. Why do these principles work? The laws the Bible outlines bring success. Prove it for yourself!
1. Is there profit in hard work? Proverbs 14:23.
No matter how smart you are, you will never be a success unless you are diligent. Plain old hard work is often the best way to generate income.
Some people are offered jobs because of their reputation as hard workers, but most are sought out because they have worked diligently to become skilled in their field. The word diligent can mean skillful; it can refer to an expert or teacher.
2. Becoming an expert or a teacher requires hard work, but are the rewards of that work obvious? Proverbs 10:4; 22:29.
Prepare now, in your youth, for the highest and most well-paid job you can. Don’t be afraid of putting in extra hours (Exodus 20:9). A second job or even night classes may be required for when you are first starting out. Be creative. Consider all your options.
3. Will poverty come if you are slothful? Proverbs 21:25; 24:30-34.
Don’t assume poverty is not your fault—although some situations do occur that are beyond our control. Still, take responsibility for yourself with the money you have to handle.
4. Does the Bible command that you work to provide for yourself? Galatians 6:5; 2 Thessalonians 3:10; 1 Timothy 5:8.
Don’t think you are entitled to something. Even under your parent’s roof, you can take accountability for your financial stability.
1. Does seeking counsel from qualified advisers boost the likelihood of accomplishing your dreams and financial goals? Proverbs 11:14; 13:20; 20:18.
Seeking counsel and advice may be one of the most underused yet vital tools for financial security. Most seek counsel only when they are in trouble. Had they sought counsel before acting, problems could have been avoided before they developed. Remember, Solomon—probably the richest man who ever lived—first sought wisdom, or counsel from God; only then was financial prosperity given to him.
It doesn’t make sense to wait until calamity strikes before asking for advice, especially when the benefits of seeking counsel are so numerous.
2. What are the consequences if you don’t seek counsel? Proverbs 11:14; 13:18; 26:12.
When it comes to making big monetary decisions, it is important to seek counsel and knowledge from your parents, the ministry and any other qualified advisers. Seek a multitude of wise counsel, and you will make the right decision.
1. Is slavery a result of debt? Proverbs 22:7.
Make sure that there is a good reason behind your decision any time you borrow money. Although there may be legitimate reasons for taking out a loan, people are often too casual about going into debt.
If you ever go into debt, you must “service” the debt, meaning you have to pay interest on top of the amount you owe. Remember, lenders only lend money because they are making a profit. Their profit is your loss. The best course is to not go into debt in the first place.
Debt is particularly bad during economic downturns, especially periods of deflation. When economies shrink and jobs become scarce, debt is servitude and cash is king. Eliminating debt is imperative to preparing financially for your future.
1. Is it important to be careful about how much you allow yourself to splurge? Proverbs 21:17.
Don’t spend more than you earn. Simply put, if your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall. Instead, live beneath your means. Accumulating a healthy savings is essential to weathering financial storms.
Always save at least a little bit, no matter how much or how little you make. Monitor and pare down any unnecessary expenses that prevent you from continually increasing your safety net. Learn to save money now, while you still live at home and have fewer expenses, so that you have established good habits when you go out on your own.
Although this sounds simple, application can be difficult. It requires developing self-control and learning the difference between needs and wants. If you can survive without it, it is a want. You need to be disciplined about what you let yourself buy today if you want to create a stable financial house in the future.
It is true that the Bible prophesies of difficult times ahead. Some people, however, use this as an excuse to not work hard or plan for the future. The Bible condemns such short-sightedness. Regardless of our age, we should plan and save for the future.
2. Are we to take care of ourselves and provide for the needs of others when we are able? 1 Timothy 5:3-8. If you are responsible, will you live in such a way where you can leave an inheritance to your grandchildren? Proverbs 13:22.
God expects us to live responsibly so we don’t burden family members, charitable organizations or even unnecessary government sources of welfare.
3. Can the future be unpredictable? Proverbs 27:1; James 4:13-17. Does a wise person save money for the unexpected circumstances while the fool spends it? Proverbs 6:6-8; 21:20.
Set aside money each paycheck for known future expenses such as clothes you want to buy, trips, college tuition, etc. When you are working full time, it is important to save for emergencies and the unexpected, such as job loss, health problems, repairs, accidents or disasters. A prudent strategy, once you have a full time job, would be to work toward building an emergency fund to cover all of your expenses for six months to a year.
4. Does God always want us to be the best possible stewards with whatever blessings He gives us? Matthew 24:45-47; Luke 19:12-27. Should our primary goal in conducting our financial affairs wisely be physical or spiritual wealth? Matthew 6:19-21, 33.
Don’t covet wealth because you think that being rich means you’ll be able to get out of working (Luke 12:15-21). Working and managing our increase is a major means by which God can develop our spiritual character. God expects us to labor all the days of our lives. Start now, and demonstrate to God that you are not only meeting today’s financial demands, but also preparing for the future.
No Get-Rich-Quick Schemes
1. Should you make the time to fully examine whatever you are buying or investing in? Proverbs 14:15; 22:3.
When a deal sounds too good to be true, stop—it probably is. The essence of a get-rich-quick scheme is most often speed and greed. The promoter urges the potential buyer to act quickly before the opportunity is missed and someone else snaps up the deal and reaps huge financial rewards.
Don’t leap without looking; “everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5; New American Standard). Money does not come easily, so don’t be tricked into carelessly throwing it away.
2. What does the Bible say about staying away from unethical businesses and practices? Proverbs 22:16; 28:6, 20, 22; Romans 13:1, 7.
Faithfully stick to the plan of staying out of debt and increasing savings little by little until you have enough to meet your needs, emergencies and even some of your wants. Don’t waste hard-earned dollars on gambling, lotteries or other get-rich-quick schemes.
Oftentimes, people quit when just a few more steps would reveal rays of light on the horizon. Does saving money seem overwhelming? Is there something you are tempted to buy, even though it means you’d have to go into debt? Do not give up or into the temptation. Hebrews 12:1 tells us to run our spiritual race with patience, but smartly, casting off those things that impede our progress. The same principle applies in our financial “race.” Seek God’s guidance. Work hard. Don’t just sit at home and say, “It’s no use!” Don’t procrastinate. Keep thinking. Keep planning. Keep working. Stick with it (Proverbs 24:10).
And start giving.
1. Does giving create a cycle where financial benefits and other blessings will return to you? Luke 6:38.
While giving may seem illogical as a wealth-gaining process, and you may feel like you have nothing to give, God promises that when you sacrifice to serve someone else’s needs in whatever way you can, you will be rewarded. Therefore, give generously to others, as your means allow. As your hard work and financial planning provides increase, share that blessing with the less fortunate (Acts 20:35; Psalm 41:1).
2. Is it possible that there may be a time when you will need help from others? 2 Corinthians 8:14. Will selfishly hoarding all that you gain actually lead to poverty and curses? Proverbs 11:24-26; 21:25-26.
3. Is it most important to give generously back to God, who created all things and claims the Earth and its fullness as His? Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 10:14; Haggai 2:8; 1 Corinthians 10:26.
God can make us poor or rich (1 Samuel 2:7). By giving mankind dominion over His creation and allowing us to use it, God has, in effect, made every man and woman His business partner (Psalm 8:6; Matthew 25:14-30).
4. Should you keep God as your business partner by tithing on your increase? Leviticus 27:30. Does God love, bless and promise to supply the needs of a cheerful giver? 2 Corinthians 9:7-9. Did Christ confirm that tithing is a command? Matthew 23:23.
When you give God His portion—one tenth—of your income, He shares in your profits and then reinvests even more in you and your ventures. Tithing to the organization through which God is performing His Work is mandatory for anyone who wants to prosper in all areas.
5. If you follow God’s directions, increase what you have been given, and use that increase to serve Him and others, will He take care of you and bless you with more? Malachi 3:8-10.
Even if you feel like you can’t afford to tithe, God makes certain you can—when you just step out and obey Him. (For more information on how to tithe, request a copy of The Financial Law You Can’t Afford to Ignore.)
God wants us to be prosperous both physically and spiritually. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, said that one of the main purposes for His being sent to Earth was that we “might have life” and that we “might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). The Apostle John concurred: “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health …” (3 John 2).
Put the Spiritual First
1. Because God provides laws for prosperity, does that mean He intends for you to be filthy rich? Proverbs 13:7.
God’s laws on proper financial preparation and management are just one set of laws in a way of life intended to make us happy. Obedience to all His laws is what brings true blessings and prosperity (Deuteronomy 30:16).
2. What principle is an absolute guarantee against starvation and perpetual poverty? Matthew 6:33.
Knowledge of this principle is often the only reason that poor people are able to keep their heads up in the face of adversity. Ignoring this one principle is the reason that many wealthy individuals, in the unexpected moment of adversity, consider or commit suicide.
3. If greed, lust of money or possessing physical riches causes us to neglect our relationship with God or to break His laws, will God remove His blessings? Proverbs 1:19; 28:20. Is it far better to be physically poor than spiritually poor? Ecclesiastes 4:13; Mark 8:36.
Put the focus on storing up spiritual treasure, not physical wealth. If you do so, then as Matthew 6:33 says, all else, including financial security, will be added unto you.
Act now to build a strong financial position. Look first to God, who provides and protects, and build upon God’s rock-solid principles of financial—and, far more importantly, spiritual—success. Then, as Christ said in Luke 6:48-49, when the storm comes and the waves beat against it, while houses built on sand get washed away, yours will remain intact.