How We Think About What We Do Matters. What Are You Building?

What do Beavers and Bees have in common? Both are characterized as being “busy”. If you look a bit deeper you see that both not only  work hard, but have a vision of what they are building and proceed patiently and consistently. As a result, they build wonderful and purposeful structures that we would not normally expect from animals. They do so by working together and maintaining focus on what they are building. The beaver does not get discouraged by the fact that he must move one stick at a time… he just prepares to do so and keeps in mind the end goal.. .ultimately working hard and building a dam or safe home. Bees build the honeycomb in like manner with patience and perseverance.

We can take a lesson from the beaver and the bee. We should plan our personal financial strategy with many of the same qualities… patience, perseverance, hard work, and vision. We must take care not to be discouraged by focusing on how much time it takes to start putting the pieces together… earning income, minimize spending, paying down debt, establishing emergency fund, saving for future expenses like cars and college, and starting an investment fund Focus not on the time it takes to put in place each piece of the plan, but rather the need to progress each piece in a thoughtful and well planned manner. No shortcuts! If you hurry and get it wrong you may learn that it falls out of place and you have to start over.

If you are working on reducing spending, for example, instead of thinking of each thing you “can’t buy”, remind yourself of the end goal you are working toward. A clearly defined vision and positive experience will encourage you and help you succeed.

There is a story about a man who was walking near a construction site. He saw three separate workers laying bricks. He stopped and asked each one what they were doing.

The first man looked tired and was not very enthusiastic. He was looking at his watch every few minutes waiting on the next break or end of the day. He answered, “I am laying bricks.” The man had little purpose or sense of what he was accomplishing and was not motivated.

The second man was more upbeat. He worked with a little more energy and replied, “I am building a wall. Look how much we have accomplished already.” He seemed to be satisfied with what he was doing.

The third was whistling joyfully as he worked. He perked up when asked what he was doing. With enthusiasm in his voice he replied, “I am building a cathedral in which many people will worship God and devote their lives to Him. Many people’s lives will be improved. It is going to be beautiful!” The man was excited to be a part of it and that vision inspired him daily as he did his work.

The right focus can inspire and motivate us as we make our daily choices … even if they seem hard or boring on the surface. Avoid focusing only on the budgeting, or decisions on what not to spend, or what you feel you are giving up. Instead focus on what your life will be like when you manage your finances consistent with God’s word and are able to be a good steward of what He provides for your own family and for helping others.

Clearly define your vision… your personal financial strategy. Review our Guiding Framework as a way to get started. Then continue to fill in specific details to develop a specific plan for you. Remember it and visualize it while you make the small and big daily decisions (laying the bricks) that will get you there. Then work hard, stay focused, be patient and you will be amazed what you can accomplish.


Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit .

Wealth Gained Through Righteous Effort Should Not Be Condemned

Using God’s gift of wisdom to achieve wealth and financial gain is not wrong, if done in a righteous way in which you plan and invest wisely, avoid deceit and trickery, and live according to God’s commands. Joseph was a man who was faithful to God throughout his life in good times and in bad. God blessed him with the ability to interpret dreams and then God used that gift to place Joseph in a significant leadership role as governor over all of Egypt. Through Joseph, God blessed the descendants of Israel (formerly known as Jacob) and he also blessed Pharaoh, making him very wealthy and protecting his people from famine.

Genesis 47:1-27

Jacob’s Family Settles in Goshen

      1Then Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, and said, “My father and my brothers and their flocks and their herds and all that they have, have come out of the land of Canaan; and behold, they are in the land of Goshen.” 2He took five men from among his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh. 3Then Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” So they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, both we and our fathers.” 4They said to Pharaoh, “We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. Now, therefore, please let your servants live in the land of Goshen.” 5Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. 6“The land of Egypt is at your disposal; settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land, let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know any capable men among them, then put them in charge of my livestock.”

      7Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him to Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many years have you lived?” 9So Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning.” 10And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from his presence. 11So Joseph settled his father and his brothers and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had ordered. 12Joseph provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to their little ones.

      13Now there was no food in all the land, because the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine. 14Joseph gathered all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan for the grain which they bought, and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. 15When the money was all spent in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give us food, for why should we die in your presence? For our money is gone.” 16Then Joseph said, “Give up your livestock, and I will give you food for your livestock, since your money is gone.” 17So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses and the flocks and the herds and the donkeys; and he fed them with food in exchange for all their livestock that year. 18When that year was ended, they came to him the next year and said to him, “We will not hide from my lord that our money is all spent, and the cattle are my lord’s. There is nothing left for my lord except our bodies and our lands. 19“Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we and our land will be slaves to Pharaoh. So give us seed, that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate.”

Result of the Famine

      20So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for every Egyptian sold his field, because the famine was severe upon them. Thus the land became Pharaoh’s. 21As for the people, he removed them to the cities from one end of Egypt’s border to the other. 22Only the land of the priests he did not buy, for the priests had an allotment from Pharaoh, and they lived off the allotment which Pharaoh gave them. Therefore, they did not sell their land. 23Then Joseph said to the people, “Behold, I have today bought you and your land for Pharaoh; now, here is seed for you, and you may sow the land. 24“At the harvest you shall give a fifth to Pharaoh, and four-fifths shall be your own for seed of the field and for your food and for those of your households and as food for your little ones.” 25So they said, “You have saved our lives! Let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s slaves.” 26Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt valid to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth; only the land of the priests did not become Pharaoh’s.

      27Now Israel lived in the land of Egypt, in Goshen, and they acquired property in it and were fruitful and became very numerous.

Many will complain that Joseph took advantage of the people by taking all they own for Pharaoh. This view just simply does not stand up to careful scrutiny. The people were thankful to Joseph for feeding them and keeping them from death. Further, once Joseph had gained everything for Pharaoh, he allowed the people to work the land and keep the large majority of what they grew. Even though Pharaoh “owned” it all, Pharaoh only collected 20% or 1/5. This is incredibly fair… I can hardly resist comparing this to what we consider a “free” nation of the United States of America today, in which the government takes higher personal and corporate income tax than Pharaoh did! At least Pharaoh owned what he collected income from.

Joseph used the gifts God gave him in a righteous manner to glorify God, support God’s people, and even to fulfill the duties of the position under Pharaoh that God had placed him in and to do so very effectively… and he became wealthy along the way.

Wealth should not be despised, but rather only unrighteous behaviors and attitudes should be despised and rebuked. Wealth developed by righteous people is often used to glorify God and help His people. We should be thankful to God and give Him the glory and avoid resenting His servants who become wealthy. Perhaps we should even try to learn from those who gain wealth righteously rather than condemn them.

Take a few minutes to prayerfully reflect on your attitude toward wealth that has been gained through righteous behavior. If you find you resent others for it, seek the Lord to help you change that attitude. Also be grateful that those who have much, like Pharaoh, often are in position to create jobs and as such provide for others.


Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit .

Choose Your Line of Work Wisely

The first step in a robust financial plan for your life is a careful consideration of how you will generate income. You cannot save or invest what you do not yet have.

It may seem simple, but many get it wrong. It is not as simple as targeting something that pays a lot of money or something that you love with a passion or an area where you have talent.  The best choice combines a balance of all three.

If you pick two of these three you may have mixed results. In my case I selected something I was good at and something that paid well… but not something I really enjoyed or thought had special value. You may end up satisfied with your pay, but will you be satisfied with your life? Happiness and joy matter in my personal guiding principles.

My recommendation is to carefully consider your options. Do not quickly select based on money alone… that is greed. If you pursue money and serve money you will never have enough. Likewise, do not select based on what you like alone. If you have no talent in that area you will not provide a reliable income. Instead choose something you enjoy, that you have some skill in, and that can also pay the bills. Then work hard at it to optimize the income for you in that field.

One other piece of advice I would recommend is to spend time in prayer and ask God what He wants for Your life. If you get a clear answer from Him, then it overrules the other considerations. Put your trust in Him and pursue where He leads you. Where you can, test what you think you hear from Him against the scriptures. He will not contradict Himself.

Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit .

When You Gain Favor from God and Man, Don’t Change the Recipe

It is easy to become full of ourselves, filled with pride, when we succeed in the eyes of men. We must be careful to remain humble and serve God even in success. Many wise men, including David and Solomon, started with a close relationship with God and then drifted further from God when they had much success and power… and it was to their own downfall. Do not change the recipe when we find favor in the sight of God and man by living humbly and righteously according to God’s instruction. Keep doing the things that got you there… pray, study scripture, listen to God and obey, work hard, be patient, give glory to God for what He does through us, etc.

Joseph set a fantastic example in Genesis 41:38-49. Joseph did not change when he was given great power and authority. He worked diligently and responsibly, maintaining his right relationship with God and he continued to experience favor from God and men as a result.

Joseph Is Made a Ruler of Egypt

38Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?” 39So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are. 40“You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you.” 41Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” 42Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put the gold necklace around his neck. 43He had him ride in his second chariot; and they proclaimed before him, “Bow the knee!” And he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Though I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one shall raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.” 45Then Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, as his wife. And Joseph went forth over the land of Egypt.

46Now Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh, king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt. 47During the seven years of plenty the land brought forth abundantly. 48So he gathered all the food of these seven years which occurred in the land of Egypt and placed the food in the cities; he placed in every city the food from its own surrounding fields. 49Thus Joseph stored up grain in great abundance like the sand of the sea, until he stopped measuring it, for it was beyond measure.

Joseph had experienced much suffering and difficulty in his early life… sold into slavery by his brothers, thrown into jail based on lies, forgotten in jail for years by one he helped. Joseph handled it with great patience and a righteous attitude toward God. Surely we would be tempted to think God forgot about us in his circumstances. But now at 30 years old, Joseph stood tall as second in command of all Egypt… right where God wanted him. When he assumed the position, Joseph did not change and take credit, or fill with pride. He continued to honor God and faithfully carry out his work.

I pray God would help each of us as His followers to take on the patience, diligence, humility, forgiveness, and faith which Joseph demonstrated throughout his life.


Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit .

Intentional Spending vs. “Impulse” or “Luxury” Spending

Don’t worry, we are not talking about selling your car and home and living out of a box or moving back in with Mom and Dad. It is an entirely different thought process that should be considered in validating that your home, car and other long term spending commitments are appropriate and not excessive. Today’s exercise is focused on getting a reality check on your short-term spending habits for discretionary spending.

Think of it like a “fast” from discretionary spending. Choose a month each year, perhaps January is a good month to start with as many are recovering from over-spending in December. For that month, make a commitment to avoid discretionary spending. Minimize or eliminate eating out at restaurants, avoid impulse purchases of clothes or electronic items or really anything. Clearly define “need” vs. “want”. Even be intentional in buying groceries to stick with what you need, rather than a bunch of extras like snacks or expensive luxury items when less expensive basics will suffice. Avoid going out to the movies or sporting events or concerts. Follow through to the point that you feel you are giving up things you like.

At the end of the month, evaluate your spending and see how much less money you spent than your typical month. Then you can reflect on where you should make permanent adjustments to your spending habits to reduce your monthly spending, perhaps reducing below what you thought practical. Even if you change nothing outside of one month of lower expenses… you will help offset your likely over-spending in December. If you did not over-spend in December… you can dedicate the money saved to pay off debt, or set up an emergency fund, etc. Even donating the extra money to serve someone in need can be very rewarding and in keeping with God’s instructions for our life.

Are you willing to take the challenge? or are you addicted to discretionary spending?


Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit .

God’s Word Provides Warnings and Advice We Should Heed

Our Father loves us dearly. He has provided us with His word to guide us, His Spirit to fill us and help us, and the death of His Son to make a way to forgive us. Let us never take that for granted, being complacent in our own way of living according to the ways of the world. The world if sinful and not righteous. Let us take His fatherly advice and change how we are living to be more like He instructs for us in financial matters and in all aspects of our life.

Proverbs contains insight we should watch out for and apply in our lives. Its insight is timeless and speaks to our conduct in pursuit of financial matters and wealth and integrity and many other such considerations.

Proverbs 19

On Life and Conduct

1Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity
Than he who is perverse in speech and is a fool.

2Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge,
And he who hurries his footsteps errs.

3The foolishness of man ruins his way,
And his heart rages against the LORD.

4Wealth adds many friends,
But a poor man is separated from his friend.

5A false witness will not go unpunished,
And he who tells lies will not escape.

6Many will seek the favor of a generous man,
And every man is a friend to him who gives gifts.

7All the brothers of a poor man hate him;
How much more do his friends abandon him!
He pursues them with words, but they are gone.

8He who gets wisdom loves his own soul;
He who keeps understanding will find good.

9A false witness will not go unpunished,
And he who tells lies will perish.

10Luxury is not fitting for a fool;
Much less for a slave to rule over princes.

11A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger,
And it is his glory to overlook a transgression.

12The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion,
But his favor is like dew on the grass.

13A foolish son is destruction to his father,
And the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping.

14House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers,
But a prudent wife is from the LORD.

15Laziness casts into a deep sleep,
And an idle man will suffer hunger.

16He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul,
But he who is careless of conduct will die.

17One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD,
And He will repay him for his good deed.

18Discipline your son while there is hope,
And do not desire his death.

19A man of great anger will bear the penalty,
For if you rescue him, you will only have to do it again.

20Listen to counsel and accept discipline,
That you may be wise the rest of your days.

21Many plans are in a man’s heart,
But the counsel of the LORD will stand.

22What is desirable in a man is his kindness,
And it is better to be a poor man than a liar.

23The fear of the LORD leads to life,
So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.

24The sluggard buries his hand in the dish,
But will not even bring it back to his mouth.

25Strike a scoffer and the naive may become shrewd,
But reprove one who has understanding and he will gain knowledge.

26He who assaults his father and drives his mother away
Is a shameful and disgraceful son.

27Cease listening, my son, to discipline,
And you will stray from the words of knowledge.

28A rascally witness makes a mockery of justice,
And the mouth of the wicked spreads iniquity.

29Judgments are prepared for scoffers,
And blows for the back of fools.

Take time and dwell on each verse. Which one or two strike you the most as relevant in your life. Pray the Lord helps you to deal with this area of your life and continue your transformation to be more like Him!

Do not misunderstand the point about poverty and riches relating to “friends”. It is a warning that if you are rich, many will claim to be your friend and try to use you. The poor know who truly are their friends and brothers. They stick with them even when there is nothing in it for them.


Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way and use it for His glory rather than your own. Visit .

Should I Rely on Government to Help the Poor?

As we build up a robust financial plan, it is important to understand clearly where our money will go in order to manage it properly. As followers of Christ we must ask ourselves basic questions that many today do not even consider.

“Is the money I am managing mine? or the Lord’s?”

“Am I spending just on myself and my family? or are there other people I should consider that I may want to help?”

Some just assume it is the role of a “strong” federal government that takes from the “rich” and redistributes that to the “poor” to provide for others in need. Some even claim this is consistent with the sharing of the community of believers in Acts chapter 4. This is quite simply not the case as there are a number of key distinctions we shall cover in this teaching. As followers of Christ, we should have keen interest to understand how the community of believers in the early church did function as input to how we plan to manage the money God has entrusted to each of us.

Acts 4:32-37

Sharing among Believers

32And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. 33And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. 34For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales 35and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.

36Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), 37and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Note that the community of believers in Acts 4 was just that… a community of followers of Jesus Christ. It was not a community involving those who rejected Jesus and lived according to their own desires. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and abundant grace was upon them. Those who rejected the values and teachings of Jesus were not part of this community. This fact is crucial in understanding why this approach worked for the Acts 4 community but has failed every time a government has tried to employ forced redistribution of wealth among its people throughout time.

Socialism and communism repeatedly fail. Capitalism gives rise to the most prosperity across the population. Even within a somewhat capitalist system, such as the current situation in the USA, the government interference to constantly take money from some to give to others results in a great burden that threatens to constrain the economic success of the nation.

Why? When a strong government forces redistribution among its people, inevitably the government is also denying God’s authority so as to assert its own authority as unchallenged. A strong federal government which denies God will not receive God’s blessing. Further, it includes all manner of people, not just Spirit filled believers. In this, the selfish nature of the unbeliever (and many believers who are struggling to follow Christ fully) is the downfall of these systems. Many people choose not to work or not to work as hard because it does not benefit them personally. On the other hand, in true capitalism, that same selfish nature is channeled across the population to create business, jobs, and wealth. It lifts the economic well-being of the whole nation.

For a sharing community to truly work, it must be centered on Christ and include only true followers of Jesus Christ. Those who choose not to work, choose not to eat. All work together to contribute as much as they can and take as little as they absolutely need.

2 Thessalonians 3:6-15

6Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, 8nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; 9not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example. 10For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. 11For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. 12Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. 13But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.

14If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. 15Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

In the community of Spirit filled believers in Acts, the poor people were likely not acting selfishly any more than the rich. So we can assume they took only what they needed and worked to provide what they could to help others.

Lastly, we must never forget or overlook that it was a community receiving the abundant grace and blessing of God because they honored Him through proclaiming and following the teaching of Jesus Christ!


Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit .

The Teaching of the Wise Is the Fountain of Life

There is stark contrast between the upright and the wicked. We are not talking “shades of gray”. Meditate on the guidance offered by our Creator in Proverbs 13 in regards to managing your finances. Pray for His help and guidance to lead you down the right path. Apply this wisdom to your financial considerations in life in how you act, in whom you put your trust, in how you teach your children, in how you treat others, etc.

Proverbs 13

Contrast the Upright and the Wicked

1A wise son accepts his father’s discipline,
But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

2From the fruit of a man’s mouth he enjoys good,
But the desire of the treacherous is violence.

3The one who guards his mouth preserves his life;
The one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.

4The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing,
But the soul of the diligent is made fat.

5A righteous man hates falsehood,
But a wicked man acts disgustingly and shamefully.

6Righteousness guards the one whose way is blameless,
But wickedness subverts the sinner.

7There is one who pretends to be rich, but has nothing;
Another pretends to be poor, but has great wealth.

8The ransom of a man’s life is his wealth,
But the poor hears no rebuke.

9The light of the righteous rejoices,
But the lamp of the wicked goes out.

10Through insolence comes nothing but strife,
But wisdom is with those who receive counsel.

11Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles,
But the one who gathers by labor increases it.

12Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

13The one who despises the word will be in debt to it,
But the one who fears the commandment will be rewarded.

14The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
To turn aside from the snares of death.

15Good understanding produces favor,
But the way of the treacherous is hard.

16Every prudent man acts with knowledge,
But a fool displays folly.

17A wicked messenger falls into adversity,
But a faithful envoy brings healing.

18Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline,
But he who regards reproof will be honored.

19Desire realized is sweet to the soul,
But it is an abomination to fools to turn away from evil.

20He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will suffer harm.

21Adversity pursues sinners,
But the righteous will be rewarded with prosperity.

22A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.

23Abundant food is in the fallow ground of the poor,
But it is swept away by injustice.

24He who withholds his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.

25The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite,
But the stomach of the wicked is in need.

I urge you to consider Proverbs 13 as truly relevant to your life and decisions today. Think of this wisdom like a handy checklist and use it often for evaluating your behavior and making decisions. Don’t rely on your own “gut feel” or judgment… we are not as wise as we think. Rely instead, on the guidance that God has already provided to contrast the righteous from the wicked.

Proverbs 3:5-7

5Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.

6In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

7Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.


Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit .

The Foundation of Your Financial Strategy

Effective organizations, and effective people, develop a set of guiding principles to help guide their decisions. Individuals that want to be effective in managing their finances need to do the same.

We provide an example of a Guiding Framework for managing finances on that highlights some key principles or elements you need to consider while building your own personal financial strategy. However, this does not replace the need for you to develop your own personal guiding principles that should not be limited to finances but rather define how finances fit relative to broader aspects of your life.

I will share an example of my personal top three guiding principles.

  1. Serve God
  2. Serve my wife
  3. Serve my children

You notice that finances and career are not even on the list as a stand-alone priority. That is because for me money is a tool to achieve my guiding principles rather than a value in and of itself. (By the way… the pursuit to maximize money with no other objective is called greed and you will never have enough.)

Clearly identifying these principles ahead of time helps me make good decisions when I am confronted with tempting opportunities that come along such as opportunity to make more money. I consider that opportunity but must weigh it against whether it will help or hurt my ability to live according to my guiding principles.

If “making more money” were high in my guiding principles, then I would make a different decision. The guiding principles you set should steer your decisions.

You should periodically revisit this personal framework (e.g. annually). If you are married, you should involve your spouse.

If you set these principles meaningfully, you are setting the foundation upon which you build the rest of your financial strategy relating to income, spending, debt, investing, etc.


Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit .

Should I Buy or Sell Stocks in Today’s Environment?

Sometimes it can be confusing to know whether you should be buying or selling stocks overall.

Should I buy now with both hands because this is as low as the market will go? or should I wait until some world event (or the reality of the poor global economy) triggers a significant pullback? Should I sell everything now at market highs? What should I do?

Avoid investing based on emotions or impulses. Instead, start by developing a longer-term personal financial investing strategy… a plan… and spend time reviewing how to adapt to the current environment. For many, you will want to consult with a professional financial planner or at least a friend or family member who has a greater understanding of investing than you.

For those of you who are not yet in a position to be investing in the stock market, I encourage you to continue working on the basics we cover elsewhere in our teachings… learn to earn an income consistently and then work hard to increase it, learn to budget and save… differentiating “wants” from true “needs”, develop an emergency fund in cash for surprises that always come, give to others in a way that honors God by investing in His kingdom. Your time may yet come when you will be well prepared to invest in stocks. Do not rush it lest you take on risk you are not ready for… as a child sprinting into the street to get his favorite ball, not aware of the oncoming cars.

For those that are in a position to invest in stocks… today’s article is for you. To begin with, you should have a plan before you just buy stocks, so if you are a beginner and not yet in the market, you need to do a bit more homework before you just buy a stock for a company you like because it is less expensive than it was before. This is not a robust strategy. You need diversification, an identified list of goals and objectives, a specific timeline for your investment… you need to be prepared. Plan carefully and seek wise advice. We have covered this too in other articles on our site.

Stocks that are falling, can fall much farther. In financial investing many use a parable of a “falling knife”. In other words, be careful trying to buy into declining stocks to greedily. If they have not found their bottom yet, you may be reaching out to catch “a falling knife”. When you do that… it hurts. As an example to illustrate… you see stocks decline 10% and you jump in with both feet… only to see them decline another 10-15%. Ouch. Let’s hope you don’t then panic and get out before they recover.

On the other hand, stocks that are near all time highs can actually go higher.

If you are a well prepared investor with a solid plan, you have prepared for this market volatility. You have a portion of your investing funds set aside as cash or “dry powder”. In other words, you are anticipating that you will have an opportunity to purchase stocks when there is a decline (ammunition ready to fire when needed). Now… what to buy, how much, when… all still important questions.

It is very important to identify a time horizon for your investing. Most of us should avoid day to day or month to month “trading” and instead focus on longer term investing such as over a few years or even a retirement portfolio. This important perspective is key in identifying what to buy and when and how much.

Dollar cost averaging is your friend. Hopefully you have previously set targets for specific diversification of stocks you would like to have as prices fall that would best diversify and boost your portfolio. This is part of having a plan. Then you buy some as the stock you are following falls. You do not do this on a whim or as a reaction to falling price. You have already done homework and seize the opportunity to invest in something you already targeted and studied. If it was at 100$/share a few months ago, perhaps you set a target to get a starting position (25%) when if pulled back to 95$/share to be followed up with increments again at 90, 80, 70. You do not try to pick the bottom and get all in at that bottom. That does not work.

If you are just now looking for opportunity and have not done a lot of pre-planning… take your time. Look for stability in the market and a support level to be reached that may indicate that the stocks you want have bottomed out… avoid catching the falling knife. You must avoid the temptation to try to pick the bottom. If the stock falls 20%, stabilizes and bounces back up 5%… be content to get a starting position at 15% discount, don’t try to pile all in at the absolute bottom. Greed will cause you great pain. Do your homework while you wait.

Oh… and you almost never want to use all your dry powder quickly because the the market may go lower than you think. You may want some cash left in your account to use over a 3-6 month time period.

If you are fully invested and have no cash position… seriously consider getting some investing help to make good decisions on how to reduce the risk of your portfolio through diversification, stocks with high dividends, and even creating a cash position… yes even if you may have to realize a loss by doing so. Avoid the trap of staying in a bad position in your portfolio just to insist to yourself that it will recover and you did not take a loss on that investment. Do you really want to go hunting a bear (e.g. “bear market”) with no dry powder?

Be careful. Do not be greedy. Avoid impulse and emotion. Hunting bears (e.g. “bear market”) can be dangerous game, and it can also be dangerous to be “all in” when markets are already overpriced and dependent on government manipulation of interest rates.


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