Book: “Girl, Get Your Money Straight!” by Glinda Bridgforth
Every year in celebration of the new beginnings, it is Southern tradition to prepare a special meal to usher in a prosperous new year. So we pull out Aunt Bea’s secret recipe for what we think will help us gain financial prosperity. It is legend that this special meal of black-eyed peas and cabbage greens provides good luck to help us see more clearly into the future; and an abundance and overflow of money that will find its way into our lives. But, what about the right recipe for financial success? How do we grow this abundance and overflow of money into sustainable wealth?
Simply, we must be good stewards, and be very diligent with the money that we are honored to receive in our lifetime. It’s not about how much you make, but what you do with it. If we can’t show diligence in how we manage the $100 we have today, what makes us think we will be able to maintain more blessings and riches tomorrow?
The 2015 US Census determined that the US median household income is $55,775. Now, close your eyes and just take a second. Think about how much you make in a year, now multiply that by 4, now multiply that by 10. That’s a very nice 7 figure income!!! Oh, how exciting it is for the revelation that we are already millionaires! This exercise shows us that we all have the potential to have a million dollars that runs through our hands in our lifetime. Instead of being concerned on how to obtain our million, we should readjust our focus to being diligent stewards of the riches bestowed upon us in order to reap our full harvest.
The 10-40-50 Program: Give first, invest in yourself next, and track the rest!
Tenet #1: Give your first 10%
Now those of us who are of the Christian faith know it is our duty to follow this tenet - Tithe the first 10% and also give of the first fruits of all your increase above and beyond that. For those that don’t ascribe to the Christian faith, this should still be held as a tenet as your cost to existing as a human being on this earth - to give back to others whether it is through a church, charitable organization, or those less fortunate. It is just the right thing to do! First set up a checking account with your bank just for tithes. Next, set up automatic deposits where 10% of your income is sent directly to this account. Many companies have a direct deposit program where you can deposit your income into multiple accounts. Assign 10% of your income to be directly deposited into this separate account. If you don’t have direct deposit available, you can be diligent in depositing money into your tithes account yourself. In addition to your regular income, any money which you get above your normal pay (bonuses, gifts, rebates, etc.), you should try to give at least 10% of this as your offering of the first fruits of all your increase.
Tenet #2: Invest in yourself the next 50%
First, if you don’t have a savings account, set up one immediately! Better yet, stop reading this blog, go and set up your savings account, and then come back to read the rest. I’ll wait…J . Invest 50% of your income into this account. Just like with your tithes, you should set up direct deposit with your company to deposit 50% of your income. (This may take some calculation on your part.) Set the goal of investing a certain portion of this 50% by the end of the year. Investments can include real estate, stocks, bonds, etc. – anything that will increase your overall net worth. This will be a key part of your strategy in creating sustainable wealth. Having savings in an account creates a better mindset and wellbeing, because you are prepared for various life events that may occur. It will reverse the mindset of living paycheck to paycheck and being a constant borrower that imprisons us, because you can rely on the “Bank of Me Loan and Trust, LLC” to cover any and all emergencies!
Tenet #3: Plan and Track the spending of the 40%
Begin by sitting down with all your monthly expenses and make an accurate account of what you spend in the following areas (shelter, food, child expenses, personal well being, etc.) Set up a chart/spreadsheet by writing the areas in one column, and in the next column under the heading “plan”, the allocation of the 40% to cover these expenses, keeping in mind the past history of your bill payments, etc. There are many templates available online that you can choose from. Now, use a small notebook, your “Spending Diary”, and throughout the day, write down every penny you spend. Also in your spending diary, at the end of each day, write down how you felt with regards to spending. (Why did you spend so much on clothing? Were you filling an emotional void?) Then, transfer these daily tallies to your chart/spreadsheet in the next column headed “actual”. Track your spending to the goal. What trends are you noticing? What habits can you identify? You can then use the Lean-Six Your LifeTM process to create an improvement plan for your spending. If you spend less money on that new pair of shoes, those manicures, or those daily cups of coffee, will this get you closer to being able to save 50% of your income? Often times we fly off the handle and spend what is in front of us today, with no regards for tomorrow. This accurate account of your spending on a daily basis builds self-awareness and accountability to make the right choices. Although this may seem difficult and unattainable at first, you can get there with an incremental plan, patience, and strong determination!
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