It’s Important to Keep Your Personal Finances in Order (and Here’s Why)
I am always interested in attending educational conferences and seminars in order to learn why people give and what motivates people to give. I recently attended the Rethinking Wealth meeting in Indianapolis sponsored by the National Christian Foundation and OneAscent. Pastor Ralph Browne “Chip” Ingram was the keystone speaker. He has been a pastor, coach and teacher for more than 25 years. He is currently senior pastor of the Venture Christian Church in Los Gatos, Calif.
His inspiring message promoted many concepts, including the thought that people need to think differently about money. One concept from Pastor Ingram that made me think was “when we lose our why, we lose our way.” He asked questions such as “Why are you a financial planner (fundraising professional),” “What does success look like in your world” and “How do you accomplish success?”
I received a book from Pastor Ingram titled the “Genius of Generosity.” This book influenced me to approach others in a different way regarding making financial contributions in the future.
Some key points from this book that relate to giving are:
• Where your money goes, your heart flows.
• Generous givers make God and His purposes their highest priority.
• Faith increases giving and giving increases faith.
• God measures generosity not by the size of the gift, but by the size of the sacrifice.
• True generosity doesn’t stop with possessions; it starts with them.
I was also fortunate to attend a session at the Rethinking Wealth meeting that related to the academic side of educating others in the field of money management related to giving. This session was directed by Justin M. Henegar, PhD, CFP, ChFC, CRPC. Henegar is executive director for research and scholarship at the Ron Blue Institute for Financial Planning at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Ind. The institute serves as a national and international recognized source of authority, scholarship and practice in the discipline and profession of biblically integrated financial planning and decision-making.
I particularly enjoyed Henegar’s presentation regarding the creation of the NEXUS Financial Discipleship Center. The center, which is managed by the Ron Blue Institute for Financial Planning, hires college student coaches to aid students with sound financial decision-making.
These student coaches are well versed on topics such as financial goal development, budgeting, credit, investing, managing debt, student loan planning and repayments. Each coach receives financial training and must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Key financial points that Henegar stressed to better understand finances include:
• Spend less than you earn.
• Avoid the use of debt.
• Maintain savings.
• Set long-term financial goals.
• Give generously.
These points are like rooms in a house. Common sense denotes that individuals should have their personal financial house in order before they make financial contributions. I believe each room in this house contains financial components that must be understood and maintained. You need to have each financial room in a constant positive state. I was thrilled to see Indiana Wesleyan University promote this student peer financial educational program. Many individuals do not understand the world of personal finance. To what degree can you be a generous giver when you do not know how much you have to give?
The six key areas of personal financial planning, as suggested by the Financial Planning Standards Board, are financial position of personal resources, adequate protection from unforeseen risks, tax planning for income taxes, investment and accumulation goals of wealth, retirement planning and estate planning. Personal finance education is needed to help an individual or family make rational financial decisions throughout their life and meet typical financial goals and objectives, such as making charitable contributions of various sizes based upon available resources.
As Pastor Ingram notes in his book, “The Genius of Generosity,” the problem is “the great majority of people don’t live on a budget. We pay the bills and then spend the rest somewhat randomly or without clear intentions. This is one reason personal debt is such a problem; it’s easy to overspend in a credit-card culture, especially when we aren’t living according to a budget.” If you budget and start tracking where your money goes, you may decide you would rather spend some funds on something else more worthwhile, which could mean to help others in need through philanthropy.
Sir Thomas Browne said: “Charity begins at home.” That is true, but if this home is in good financial order, there is a greater likelihood that charity will be spread to benefit many others!
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last nine years and has had the CFRE designation for the last 25 years. He has also been a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals for over 35 years. He received his doctorate from West Virginia University with an emphasis in philanthropy, masters from Marshall University with an emphasis on resource development and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with emphasis in marketing/management. Currently he is executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org.