Have you ever wondered why money is so hard to manage? I used to think about that a lot when I was just starting out. Then, later on in life, we discover techniques as to how to save money. We learn how to budget, we learn about the impact of investments, and we learn different ways of how to win long term. If you don’t know these things yet, we have several articles in this same website that talk about that, too. In this article, we’re going to talk about the things you must have before investing.
When we see people invest, we are sometimes just astonished by how well they handle their investments. We are also given this drive to invest because we see the growth of their money. I mean, really? 9.5% PA? Who doesn’t want that? But guess what… it isn’t that simple. These people, like it or not, have a purpose as to why they are investing. As a Bancassurance Sales Executive. I’ve encountered people who handle their investments well. You know what their common denominator is? Purpose. They know WHY they are investing. Some are saving up for retirement, some are just adding a bit of growth for next year’s tuition fee, and some are already placing their funds so that their children and grandchildren could benefit from their money without the tax eating it all up. Whatever your purpose is, you need to know what exactly that is. The people who usually fail in investments are those who do not know why they are investing in the first place. “Growth” isn’t just going to cut it.
Each purpose has a different timeline, ergo, a different investment body. You might invest in the right fund with the wrong purpose. Don’t ever, ever make that mistake. Pray about it. Your money is meant to be handled with good stewardship.
2. Budget Discipline
Read up. Know your basic budgeting system. How can you invest if you don’t know how to make a budget plan? A budget plan is really important. I think, of all the 3 things in this article, this is the one you probably know about already. You need to be disciplined in following this plan.
I failed many times in this area. You know what my problem was? I knew how to make a budget plan. It was easy! It only took simple math! What was hard was applying it. It took GREAT discipline. Before making a budget plan, pray for it first and pray for the discipline that comes with it. You cannot do it alone. More often that, you’re going to compromise a budget plan for a simple want. Discipline yourself. Stick to the PURPOSE of the budget plan. If you want to know how to make a budget plan, refer to the other articles in this website that talk about it.
3. Emergency Fund
Many people think that this is savings. That is a big NO. An Emergency Fund is a fund that you build so that if an emergency comes along that will require a lot of money, you wouldn’t have to sacrifice your savings and investments. An emergency can put all your hard work down the drain. Years of saving and investing will get to waste if you do not have an emergency fund. This is the wall you build to protect your savings and investments from life’s uncertainties. If you do not have this, you are exposing your investments to more risks than it already has. An ideal emergency fund is 3-6 times the amount of your monthly salary. It’s going to take some time but you won’t regret it.
Remember, these things change with the times. Finance keeps up and changes every time. Make sure that you do, too. Because if you don’t study up and read every now and then, finances could be really tricky for you. Instead of money being a blessing, in might end up being a burden without correct stewardship.
To sum it all up, just make sure why you’re investing. Once you know why you need to invest, use that as a driving force to discipline yourself to create a budget that is required for you to be able to reach your financial goals. Once you are already consistent with the budget plan that you have, build your emergency fund. After you have all of these things, then it’s time for you to know more and to get yourself in the market because you are financially ready.
I pray to God that He will give you the discernment as to what your financial path is going to be. In the end, don’t let these 3 things hinder you if God is instructing you to do something else with your finances. After all, everything that we have, including our finances, are His. He has the final authority in everything that we do. I’ll let you in on a secret; this is the best thing that you could do with your finances: surrender it to Him. Let Him have the final say because that is the benchmark of being a great steward.