I am often asked to share basic financial moves. Here are my top six:
1. Make giving to the Lord’s work your top financial priority. The Bible calls us to honor the Lord with the first fruits of our wealth. I believe 10 percent of our gross annual income is the starting goal.
2. Have an Emergency Savings Account. Start with $1,000. Build it up to 3 to 6 months of your income to be prepared for unexpected expenses. It is more essential than a long-term retirement account.
3. Pay off debt. Consumer debt like credit cards, store accounts, or loans from family and friends needs to go first. After that, pay off student loans and mortgage loans.
4. Have an up-to-date, written will. If you don’t have a will, the government has one for you and you won’t like it. This is essential for married couples—especially those with children.
5. Be sure you have proper insurance coverage. It is best to have some level of health, life, and disability insurance. Regarding your property, at a minimum protect against catastrophes.
6. Automate a long-term savings plan. If your company offers a matching plan, take advantage of the maximum benefit.
While investing and retirement planning are important, I find many people jump to that step and skip over some of these basics. By covering this list first, you will be in a much better position to manage day-to-day financial challenges. Even more important is making giving your top priority. This step helps keep your financial priorities in order.
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