My money story is fairly uneventful.
Sure, I’ve made some mistakes. But there wasn’t a time when I made really bad money decisions that led me to financial ruin, only to rebound in a remarkable way through good money decisions.
My money story just isn’t that exciting.
In my money story, I am more of the tortoise, not the hare.
And I am grateful for it.
Through my experience I have learned that sound, biblical money habits can really lead to financial health. The story of these people may not be extraordinary but their habits are.
What are some of these extraordinary habits of financially healthy people? Let me give you six:
1. They give every time they get.
God designed us to be givers. Generosity is essential to managing your money in a way that aligns with the Bible. When we give, greed is weakened. And greed can lead us to make all types of poor financial decisions. Ordinary, yet financially healthy, people give every time they get.
2. They save every time they get.
Many of them do it automatically. They have a portion of their paycheck go toward retirement and their emergency savings. How much should you set aside? Work to set aside 15% of your paycheck for retirement and have 3 to 6 months in livings expenses set aside for an emergency. Ordinary, yet financially health people, save every time they get.
3. They pay down debt every time they get.
First, they try to avoid debt, especially credit card debt. Second, if they do have debt, they work hard to pay it off. Ordinary, yet financially health, people know that keeping debt balances is very costly.
4. They never spend all that they get.
They could spend every last dime of their paycheck, but they don’t. They maintain a budget so that they do not spend more than they make. Living below your means is key to saving for now and later. These ordinary, yet financially healthy, people do not see their paycheck as something to be spent in its entirety, but as a resource to manage well for the present and the future.
5. They keep their expectations low.
At least when it comes to lifestyle expectations. Unrealistic lifestyle expectations causes people to spend more than they should and be more dissatisfied with what they have. Ordinary, yet financially healthy, people keep expectations low. This causes them to spend less and enjoy what they do have more.
6. They start ASAP.
I started saving for retirement at age 17. And I wish I had started a couple of years earlier, as soon as I got my first part-time job. Ordinary, yet financially healthy, people understand the value of time. They know that there is no better time to start working on their financial picture than now.
I love to hear great financial turnaround stories.
But what do I love more?
Stories that don’t require a turnaround, stories that demonstrate how implementing just a few habits can lead to financial health.
Sure, they are filled with less heartbreak, but I am okay with that. And I bet, at least in your own life, you are as well.
This article was originally published by Art Rainer on his website. Art Rainer is a Vice President at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He holds a Doctor of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University and an MBA from the University of Kentucky. He writes widely about issues related to finance, wealth, and generosity.