Most individuals can improve their handling of finances by simply avoiding the most common mistakes. How many of the following mistakes are you making?
Neglecting to cover gaps in insurance A sure way to wipe out years of hard-earned money is to suffer an uninsured loss. Deficiencies in any area of insurance can be financially
Credit is too easily available. Many people lack the self-discipline needed to manage debt effectively. Financial institutions do not help by promoting high limit credit cards, five-year car loans and large home equity loans with liberal repayment terms. Most people should avoid these. The current "credit crunch" in our country is the result of the overuse and misuse of credit.
Failing to save regularly
Saving is essential to financial security. As income increases, savings should increase. Savings should include an emergency fund as well as adequate provision for retirement years.
Making inappropriate investments
Due to ignorance or greed — or both — many people make inappropriate investments at least once in life. Some consistently invest in the wrong areas by taking either too much risk or too little
Failing to take tax breaks
Tax reduction techniques are often not used. By reducing taxes as allowed by law, one gains more income and savings levels can be increased.
Living beyond your means always puts your finances in jeopardy. Living within one's means is a strong affirmation of everything scripture teaches about stewardship.
Neglecting to prepare a will
While not around to witness the havoc, people who do not prepare basic estate planning documents do their heirs a disservice. It can cost heirs a great deal in terms of inconvenience, relationships and money.
Failure to be a Christian steward
A Christian's perspective on money should be different. God owns it all. We are stewards — managers. How we handle our possessions is one of our most dramatic means of Christian testimony to the world. Our handling of money should reflect that view.
Don Spencer is Kentucky Baptist Convention Church Financial Benefits Counselor