Click below to listen to Episode 23 – 19 Financial Wellness Tips for 2019

19 Financial Wellness Tips for 2019

Check out these 19 financial wellness tips for the year 2019!

January isn’t the only time to make positive changes! We all know how hard making changes and incorporating new habits can be, especially when it comes to finances. However, there’s no time like the present. When you develop a stewardship mentality, you are poised to go on an unforgettable adventure with God.

In this episode of Christian Financial Perspectives, Bob and Mary Jo have put together 19 financial wellness tips for you in the year 2019.This includes the breakdown of topics like:

  • Don’t spend more than you make
  • Improve your credit score
  • Plan for large purchases

 

They also discuss Ron Blue’s Live, Give, Owe, Grow strategy and how it applies to so many aspects of our financial lives. It’s time to get your financial house in order!

HOSTED BY: Bob Barber, CWS® and Mary Jo Lyons, CFP®

19 TIPS FOR 2019 BREAKDOWN

1)  Start and Maintain an Emergency Fund

2)  Stay Disciplined

3)  Don’t Spend More Than You Make

4)  Dollar Cost Average Into the Markets Regardless of What They are Doing

5)  Save, Save, Save

6)  Small Savings Add Up – Don’t Underestimate the Small Changes

7)  Do an Insurance Review

8)  Take Advantage of Technology

9)  Improve Your Credit Score

10) Plan for Large Purchases

11)  Pay Premiums Annually Rather Than Monthly

12)  Minimize Splurges

13)  Create a Budget Plan and Track Expenses

14)  Compare Your Credit Card Offers

15)  Stack Discount Offers for Big Savings

16)  Protect Your Financial Information

17)  Monitor Subscription Services

18)  Take Advantage of the Library

19)  Host a Family Financial Forum

Mentioned In This Episode

Christian Financial Advisors
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Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA®
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Mary Jo Lyons, CFP®, CKA®

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

[INTRODUCTION]

Bob: Welcome to Christian Financial Perspectives, a weekly podcast where we talk about ways to integrate your faith with your finances. This is Bob Barber.

Mary Jo: And I’m Mary Jo Lyons.

Bob: Are you ready to learn how to apply biblical wisdom to everyday financial decisions?

Mary Jo: Join us as we look at integrating your faith with your finances. If it’s your first time listening, welcome to our podcast, and if you’re a returning listener, welcome back.

[EPISODE]

Bob:
Today, we’re going to be talking about 19 tips to help you on your path to financial wellness in 2019, and Mary Jo and I thought 19 for 19. We thought that’d be a good idea, didn’t we Mary Jo?

Mary Jo:
Yep. It works for me, Bob.

Bob:
So we’re going to get our house in financial order today, and when you develop a stewardship mentality, you’re poised to go on an unforgettable adventure with God.

Mary Jo:
We want to thank our friends at Kingdom Advisors and the Ron Blue Institute for a concept of live, give, owe, and grow. And in live, that’s to practice provision, contentment, and enjoyment because money is a tool. From 1 Timothy 5:8, “But those who can’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.”

Bob:
That’s an interesting scripture that he puts behind that in that live part. That’s really saying that we are to provide for our family. When I hear that scripture, it always hits me that it would say that it’s worse than an unbeliever if you’re not taking care of your family.

Mary Jo:
Well, absolutely. And when you think about that, that all goes into living expenses. So that’s your food, your fuel, your housing costs, all those things that go into providing directly for your family and your loved ones.

Bob:
And this is really talking about the breadwinner that you should take care of your family. Don’t just sit around and wait for others. You’ve got to get out there and you’ve got to work. I mean, that’s truly what this is saying. The next one of live, give, owe, grow is give. And that’s where you open your hand to release God’s resources. We’d like to use a good scripture to go with this one. It’s from Matthew 6:19-21, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will be also.”

Mary Jo:
Where your heart is, so goes your money. And you’ve heard that said before. I know we’ve shared that before on the program as well. I love that scripture. I think it speaks very clearly to giving and God loves a cheerful giver.

Bob:
Yes he does. And it’s more blessed to give than receive. And I tell you, there’s just so much blessing. People don’t realize it, but you’ll actually be blessed more by giving.

Mary Jo:
I have found that to be true. You approach everything with a generous heart and you’ll be really surprised what comes back to. Next one is owe, and we owe both debt, if we have debt, and taxes. So we are encouraged to eliminate debt. Debt always presumes upon the future. And in the Bible, it speaks to debt in Proverbs 22:7, “Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender,” and it speaks to taxes in Matthew 22:21, “Then he said, give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what belongs to God.”

Bob:
And we want to remember when we pay taxes, that’s just a provision of what God has given us. So let’s not complain about it.

Mary Jo:
That’s right.

Bob:
It’s kind of hard though.

Mary Jo:
We’re only paying on taxes on what we’ve been blessed to receive.

Bob:
You got it. So we got live, give, owe, and then we have grow. Growing is demonstrating financial maturity by giving up today’s desires for tomorrow’s benefits. I love the scripture we’ve used many times, Matthew 6:6-8, “Take a lesson from the ants, you lazy bones. Learn their ways and become wise. They labor all summer gathering food for the winter.”

Mary Jo:
Another good one. And I know, Bob, you like the version that says the word sluggards in there as opposed to the lazy bones.

Bob:
Yeah. Yes I do. You’ve heard me say that one, many, many times.

Mary Jo:
Well, you are listening to Bob Barber and Mary Jo Lyons with Christian Financial Perspectives. If you like what you’re hearing and you’d like to learn more, give us a call during business hours at Christian Financial Advisors at (830) 609-6986.

Bob:
We’ve gotten through the first part live, give, owe, grow. So let’s get into these 19 tips.

Mary Jo:
Okay. I think the first one and the most important is start and maintain an emergency fund. Without an emergency fund, you’re going to have to go back to the use of credit or other things that are going to cost you a whole lot more in the long run. So, I really encourage starting and maintaining an emergency fund. And that should be a minimum of three to six months of expenses. You can go with less. Some people say, well, I have availability of credit cards. I have balances, rebalances on there, that I could use in case of an emergency. That’s true, but that also comes with interest. I also think that you should increase this as you age. Age discrimination is real. And the older we get, the more money we make and we’re finding ourselves out of a job, the harder it is to replace that paycheck and the longer it takes to find a job that’s going to replace that. So, you should increase that as you get older because you may be out of the workforce longer in case of an emergency.

Bob:
The second of our 19 tips is stay disciplined. Pay yourself first. You need to schedule your giving, schedule your savings, and your payments. Schedule that out so that it automatically comes out of your bank account. I’ve learned personally that I will not miss that tithe if I schedule it and set it up as a recurring payment. I’ve done that with my church. Most churches are starting to do that today, where you can set that up with your giving and you set up your savings. You can set that up with your 401k and even talk to your bank about setting up where a certain amount goes to savings each time on an automatic, systematic day of the month. And then we’ve got increase your retirement plan contributions by $25 to a $100 a month, or at the beginning of every quarter. If you just increase by $25 a quarter what you’re putting into, say, your 401k, over a year, you’ve increased that by a hundred a month. You think about it, over three years, you’ve increased that up to $300 a month

Mary Jo:
Times three years, that’s a pretty big savings increase. So, you won’t even feel it. The next one comes to don’t spend more than you make live within your means. I think that stands alone and speaks to itself. Otherwise, we are living on debt, which presumes on the future.

Bob:
That was the aha moment there, right, Mary Jo? Somebody heard that for the first time. Hmm. Don’t spend more than I make.

Mary Jo:
Well, I hope it wasn’t an aha moment for anyone for the first time, but it’s a good reminder.

Bob:
I think it is. That’s what people find when they get in high debt very quickly.

Mary Jo:
And Bob, your comment before on tip number two, this speaks very clearly to the next one. Why don’t you kind of tie those two together for us?

Bob:
So we were talking about staying disciplined. Number four is dollar cost average into the markets, regardless of what they are doing. So, in the last few months we’ve had a down market, but you just keep putting money in systematically in that downmarket if you’re still saving for your retirement. We call that dollar cost averaging, let’s say something is $100 a share, and you’re putting $100 in, you’re getting 10 shares. If it were to go to half of that and you still put a hundred dollars in, you’d get 20 shares. And then if it rebounded even close to back to the $100, you’ve made money. The numbers work, and it just makes so much sense because you’re buying more when the market’s down and you’re buying less when the market’s up, but Mary Jo, we’ve had some conversations just recently. It seems like everybody wants to buy everything on sale, except when it comes to stocks and mutual funds.

Mary Jo:
Well, if we could time it, we all would time it and we’d be retired on a beach. And I don’t know, what’s best beach you know of?

Bob:
The best beach I can think of is in Maui.

Mary Jo:
There you go. We wouldn’t be here on this dreary day, but I think that’s true and we can’t time. It that’s been proven time and time again. So buying over the course of time averages out there.

Bob:
So Mary Jo, what’s going to be our fifth tip?

Mary Jo:
Well, it’s one that’s near and dear to my passions. Save, save, save. So you cannot invest your way to retirement security, you have to save your way to retirement security. So a couple of different ways to think about savings. You want to fund your IRA, fund your 401k, but fund your IRA for any of the stay at home spouses. I think that we’ve talked about before, but it’s just a good reminder. Also, you want to max out your retirement plan contribution. So, if you’re not fully funding your available contribution, start to increase that. You can do that in increments over time, but you need to max that out as soon as possible. You also want to make sure you’re taking advantage of any employee matching. If you’re not contributing up to the employee match, you should start that immediately because that’s free money that you’re giving away. Also, in front of your employer benefit plans. If they offer an HSA, health savings account, or an FSA, a flexible spending account, you want to make sure you’re funding those. This is another one that we forget about, but you want to save your change. You want to kind of dig under those couch cushions. Here at home, my husband just comes in every day and he takes all his change out of his pocket and he puts it in a coffee can. And you’d be surprised how that adds up.

Bob:
Now, Mary Jo, you’re giving away your age there because the younger generation…

Mary Jo:
They don’t have coffee cans anymore.

Bob:
No, they don’t use money. They just use their debit card. So, they never have any change.

Mary Jo:
That’s true, but I know my husband just hates carrying it around. So, the coffee can is overflowing, and now it’s on the floor of the closet. I keep telling him he needs to go cash it in and go for a windfall.

Bob:
Wow. Number six, the small savings add up. Don’t underestimate the small changes. Mary Jo, when I’m going to buy a car, I wait three to five weeks before I ever buy cause the big savings add up there. So really the bottom line is don’t let your emotions get involved in buying decisions. And that’s where those small savings, you really save a lot of money if you can wait and compare those prices.

Mary Jo:
Next one is an insurance review, and we definitely think you should do this every couple of years. So you want to review the available carriers, look at multiple different carriers, including a regional broker that handles multiple providers. You want to make sure see if you can get the same coverage for less and make sure you’re not buying on price alone. So you certainly want to take advantage and understand what the coverages are that you’re getting in each of the quotes. Are you also taking advantage of discounts that are available for bundling with one carrier and a safe driving discount, for example. Also, understand what your liability levels are. The liability on your automobile coverage should coordinate with the liability on your general liability insurance.

Bob:
Number eight is you want to take advantage of the technologies out there of our 19 tips that we’re talking about today here on Christian Financial Perspectives. When we refer to technology, things like using a mobile app that will integrate all of your different accounts. So if you have a bank account, you have a credit card account, you have some investment accounts, we have a great app here that we give to our clients of Christian Financial Advisors that integrates all that so at one time you can see the balances in all your accounts. It goes in once a day and updates those. It also goes in once a day and updates all of the debits that you’ve done or credit cards that you’ve used. So you can see your spending and you can even set up criteria, like as an example, say, I don’t want to eat out because I don’t want to spend more than $500 a month on eating out. Well, you can set that limit and it keeps an account of that and adds up once you’ve hit that point or it lets you know throughout the month, well, I’ve got $200 left or I have $75 left and it keeps an ongoing balance of that automatically. And that’s taken advantage of the technology. There’s other apps out there, too, that just help you save money like gas buddy. When you’re going to go fill up your car with gas, gas buddy will find where the lowest prices gas are in your area. And right there, that can save sometimes $5 or $6.

Mary Jo:
Yes, I’ve used that one many times. The next one is about improving your credit score. So you want to make sure you’re checking your credit score. And typically, any credit card company now puts that available on their website. And you want to monitor the changes and understand what might impact that. Also, understand the credit score rating and how it impacts you. One of the things is even on your car insurance, if you’re going to apply for insurance, they’re going to do a credit check and see how credit worthy you are. And they’re going to quote that based on your credit score. Certainly it’s going to impact you on a mortgage or what you’re paying for other sources of credit. You’d be really surprised how this will impact you and reduce your costs over the course of any kind of financing that you encounter in your life.

Bob:
Number 10, plan for large purchases. Avoid financing, unless sometimes it’s 0%, but you definitely want to make sure you pay that off while it’s in that free 0% range. If not, don’t do it because I’ve seen more people than not, They’ll get caught up in charging something. They’ll pay that minimum for six months. And then at the end of six months, they don’t pay it off. And all of a sudden the credit card rate goes to 18%. So you want to be very careful of not paying on time to get that 0% with any large purchases, and plan for them in advance.

Mary Jo:
Absolutely. Bob, another tip is to pay premiums annually rather than monthly. That’s those small savings that add up there again.

Bob:
Number 12, minimize splurges. Drink coffee from home. What a thought. Like the old fashioned days. You mean you don’t need to go out and pay $3.50 to $5 for a cup of coffee? No, you don’t. And we’ve actually learned, you can make as good a coffee from home as you can get at the local coffee house. Eat at home. Plan ahead for meals. Cook in large quantities, and freeze lunch sized portions. Buy what’s on sale and in season, and make that time to go grocery shopping.

Mary Jo:
All right, the next one is to create a budget plan and track your expenses. And do this, I would say, for at least six months. You’ve got to really know what you’re spending and if you don’t take some time to track it, you make assumptions. And those assumptions are certainly just not valid. You’re spending a lot more than you think you are. Understand what you’re really spending. Know what you owe on your liability. Understand what your pay off is on your mortgage and any car loans or other debts that you may own as well. Create a budget plan and track those expenses.

Bob:
Number 14, compare your credit card offers. We emphasize that you pay off your credit card every month, but these credit card companies out here, many of them offer cash back, or they offer a rewards card and look for the best one because they’re very, very competitive and avoid paying an annual fee. Now be careful, again, of using credit cards and make sure that you’re budgeting well because there’s been studies that have been done over the years. I remember when I used to teach a class on budgeting that you use more even when you pay off the credit card every single month. So be very, very careful about how and what you put on credit cards.

Mary Jo:
That’s a great tip. You do tend to spend more of it. It doesn’t hurt when you’re putting it on plastic. But on the other hand, in this day and age of fraud, I think that using a credit card if you’re extremely disciplined and you’re paying that off monthly, is better than using a debit card, because if they get ahold of your debit card and they can wipe out your bank account, but with a credit card, there’s a layer of protection there and you’re not liable if fraudsters get it. And that happens to us repeatedly. So that is some good use for a credit card in that situation. Okay. So the next tip we have for you, number 15, is review those discount offers and stack them for big savings. Use a cash back credit card as we were just describing. And you can also buy gift cards at discounts of where you plan to shop. So if you know you’re going to go to the Gap, go buy a discount and credit card for the Gap or gift card for the Gap, rather. Also, take advantage of any loyalty programs and use discount offers such as “I bought a”. Now I’ve never done that, but I have friends that have, and they say they can get some really big savings that way.

Bob:
All right, we’re getting close to the end. We’re number 16 of our 19 financial tips. Remember, you can always call us and get a copy of these notes that we’re using today. Number 16 is protect your financial information. Don’t overshare. Use only secure browsers. Avoid the use of public WiHi. Oh, that’s such a big one. Freeze your credit. Set up fraud alerts. Check the security of ATM’s, and the list goes on.

Mary Jo:
Sure does. Also, I want to remind you to monitor your subscription services. So keep track of what you’ve committed to. I would maybe have a note section in your phone and start recording those. I just got reminded that I have a Google memory and you pay an annual subscription for that. So, there are so many other offers like that. Your Netflix subscription, your streaming services, all of those subscription services add up over time. So, know where all the ongoing fees are.

Bob:
I just heard that Netflix is raising their prices, too. So, that’s another example. You’ve really got to watch it because before you know it, those ongoing fees have added up. Number 18, take advantage of the library. Oh, really? There’s still libraries?

Mary Jo:
There are. And it’s so convenient for me. It’s right down the street. I have to admit, I have a price limit. I read a lot. I read a lot of eBooks, but I’m not paying over $6 anymore. And some of them now are $12 and $15. So that’s kind of my break even point. Now, I’m going to the library.

Bob:
You can actually get them for free there.

Mary Jo:
Yes, that’s a good concept.

Bob:
And 19, the last one of our 19 tips, Mary Jo, go ahead.

Mary Jo:
I think this is a really important one for a strong, Christian family. You want to host a family financial forum. You’ve heard us talk about spousal unity to make sure that you and your spouse are on the same page. And if you’re not on the same page, that you’ve talked about it and you shared your goals and you’re both working towards the same thing. Maybe meet monthly to talk about the family budget, what big expenses are coming up, make sure everybody’s in the know, and get the kids involved. What are they willing to give up for that trip to Disney and explain how the budget helps the entire family. Maybe ask them what they’re willing to help with. They need to have skin in the game. So involve the kids. I really recommend that as well.

Bob:
So to end us up and kind of sum it up today, start where you are and make those small changes. There is no one size fits all and your use of money best reflects your relationship with God. That’s all for today.

[DISCLOSURES]

Comments from today’s show are for informational purposes only and not to be considered investment advice or recommendations to buy or sell any company that may have been mentioned or discussed. The opinions expressed are solely those of the hosts, Bob Barber and Mary Jo Lyons. Bob and Mary Jo do not provide tax advice and encourage you to seek guidance from a tax professional. Investment advisory services offered through Christian Investment Advisors Inc. DBA Christian Financial Advisors, a registered investment advisor. Dollar cost averaging does not assure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets. Such a plan involves continuous investments in securities, regardless of fluctuating price levels of such securities and the investor should consider his for her financial ability to continue purchases through periods of low levels.