I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
I made a $500 mistake in my checkbook. Not good. At Christmas. Really not good.
I have spent the morning trying to figure out what I did and unfortunately, I found it. I screwed up. Just didn’t write a couple of expenses down in my checkbook. Mistakes like this can put the screws to what is looking like a tight Christmas to begin with. I have to admit, my gut reaction is to panic. But then I remember- this is not the first time that God has gotten me out of a tight jam. This is definitely not my first rodeo, nor will it be my last.
The earth is the Lord’s and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it. Psalms 24:1
One of my favorite movies of all time is It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart. Stewart is cast as the super-thrifty, ever-ambitious George Bailey, who has languished in his hometown and made a somewhat unassuming difference in the lives of everyone he knows.
The whole plot of the movie builds to the central crisis where George is in an excruciating financial difficulty in his business. The potential for ruin and scandal are everywhere. George (actually Uncle Billy) has lost $8,000, which was a fortune in the 1940s.
He seeks help from Potter, his arch nemesis in the movie, and is rebuffed. Additionally, he is told that because of his life insurance, he is worth more dead than alive. So he begins to plot a swan dive off a bridge.
In desperation, George even goes as far as praying. Hear his prayer: “God, oh God, dear Father in Heaven. I’m not a praying man, but if you’re up there and can hear me, show me the way. I am at the end of my rope. Show me the way, God.” Continue reading “Go to God in a Crisis”→
Proverbs says “a wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.” (Proverbs 1:5)
When I was a younger man, I ran across a story by Bob Biehl where he talked about growing up on lake Michigan. According to Biehl, the difference between a snowstorm and a blizzard is the wind. When the winds came whipping off the lake, a regular snowfall became a disorienting mess. They called that a blizzard.
I love that imagery. Because life gets messy at times, and we find ourselves in the middle of a raging storm, and we don’t know where to turn. In times like these, we need someone to stop the wind. We need a break from the tyranny of the urgent and the pressure of creditor calls and the emotional toll that out-of-control finances causes. Continue reading “Find Wisdom in a Crisis”→
I remember the first time my wife and I took a trip alone together after our son was born. We were headed to Kansas City for our anniversary. About halfway there, I turned to my wife and morbidly asked her, “I wonder what happens to Josh if we die on this trip.” That is not exactly what my wife had hoped we were going to talk about, but we realized our estate plan was not in place.
Dave Ramsey has made getting out of debt cool. His organization and resources have helped millions of families get debt free. Check them out at www.daveramsey.com. They have a great class called Financial Peace University, and we use his Total Money Makeover with all our clients.
However, during a financial hurricane is not the time to spend your extra money trying to get debt free. It is time to hunker down.
Our advice is to pay the minimum amounts on your debts. Stay current if possible. There will be time to accelerate your debt payoff later.
A few years ago, my family was going through a difficult time, and for the first time in my adult life, I was late on a bill. Not just one bill, but a lot of bills. Not just grace-period-late, but a month behind. Then one month became two months and then three months behind. Continue reading “Pay Debt Minimums in a Crisis”→
If your family lost all your income, how much money does your family need to pay all your bills? This is an important number. This is your “Survival Budget Number.” This can give you hope or a target to shoot for in a downturn.
Let me illustrate, for a family of three that I have worked a budget with, their simplified budget is about $3,500 per month. That is taking out all the fluff, such as eating out, concert tickets, etc… If they had to really tighten their belts, they could probably cut another $500 a month before selling houses and cars. Continue reading “Curb Spending in a Crisis”→
We are trying to anticipate the needs of families as we begin to transition out of this crisis. Enter for a chance at a $100 Walmart Gift Card. Click here to take the survey https://freedom5one.com/financial-hotline/
I must tell you about a young couple I know. They are an inspiration to me. In the middle of this pandemic, he lost his job, and her hours were cut back. But they have a tremendous heart for generosity, and they view their giving as separate from their normal expenses. Said another way, their giving account is not intermingled with their living account. So, during this crazy time, they were able to give $4,500 towards a cause that the Lord laid on their heart to give to. Wow!! Continue reading “Be Generous in a Crisis”→
This should go without saying, but Grandma was right. We should all be saving for a rainy day. When I was in high school, I lived with my grandmother. For my senior project, I had to interview someone who had lived through the Great Depression in the 1930s. So I sat down with my grandmother at our kitchen table and helped her remember things that had happened to her 50 years prior.
One of the themes that came out of the interview was that using real money that you actually have in the bank (or the cookie jar) makes a difference in a crisis. She told me a story about how she had gone down to the company store (my grandfather was a foreman in a sawmill business), and the gentleman at the store implored her to put the groceries on a line of credit for her family. He said, “Mrs. Sasser, I know you and Pete are good for this, and this depression will all be over soon. Please charge some more food for your family.” Continue reading “Add to Your Savings in a Crisis”→
Crisis come in all shapes and sizes. As I write this, the whole world is experiencing the Coronavirus Pandemic. We are all huddled at home watching the news trying to figure out when the government is going to give us the all clear. In this particular crisis we are all struggling with the vulnerability of our health and our finances.
If you happen upon this article at a later time- the crisis you may be experiencing may not be as life altering as a pandemic, but a crisis is a crisis no matter the cause.
I assume that the reason that you are checking out this booklet is that you or someone you know is experiencing some kind of financial challenge. The content contained here is very basic and is meant to be a quick reminder of how to manage your finances in a crisis.
Our ministry has coached hundreds of families through many difficult situations. From sudden job loss, divorce, medical emergencies, transitions and the like. We find that there are few basic things that you need to be working through and evaluating. That is the purpose and content of this study. We want to help you work through 7 Financial Ideas for Weathering a Crisis.
We don’t know what kind of problem you are going through. But we are sorry you are where you are, and we do hope that this exercise will be helpful. If you would like to talk to a Freedom 5:one Financial Coach go to our website (www.freedom5one.com) and contact us. We would love to help.
Click here to download this on our Financial Hotline.