There are many misconceptions and myths about money. Many of them are completely untrue, but some are more untrue when you look at them through the lens of a faithful, biblical steward. Here are some of the top 6 money myths and a biblical perspective.
Myth 1 – Investing is the same as gambling, so as a Christian I shouldn’t invest.
This money myth isn’t true at all! Investing is not unscriptural. In fact, in the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25, each man receives according to their abilities and is directed to manage their portions well. Each steward was then rewarded or punished based on how he used the money given to him.
Investing is also different than gambling. When you gamble, someone else has to lose in order for you to win. It’s also the ultimate get-rich-quick scheme that usually preys on the poor and is motivated by greed and covetousness.
An important distinguisher is between investment performance and investment purpose. Performance will vary based on our response to constantly changing factors beyond our control. Increased knowledge and discipline should lead to increased skill and better performance.
Investment purpose, however, is not a matter of skill. It is a matter of intent. It’s the foundation for the spiritual and moral side of the equation, because as you learn to invest money according to God’s principles, you’ll find that God will increase your opportunity to help other people. In reality, the true purpose of godly investing is to increase your assets so you can serve God more fully. If you are simply multiplying your money and storing your assets without a purpose, you’ll be guilty of hoarding, like the rich fool in Luke 12.
Myth 2 – I don’t need a savings account because I have a credit card.
This is a surefire way to get into debt. A savings account is crucial because you can’t always plan for emergencies and the unexpected in life. Instead of charging medical costs, car repairs, and home improvements on your credit card, dip into your nest egg of cash and avoid debt altogether. The Bible doesn’t prohibit borrowing, but it does discourage it.
Myth 3 – I don’t need to pay my credit card off in full every month because I am building my credit.
This is a very common myth – that credit card companies want to see your ability to pay off balances steadily and over time. But this actually doesn’t do anything for your credit score! It just prolongs the amount of time you’re in debt and the amount of interest you are paying. If you use a credit card for cash back rewards or airline miles points, pay it off in full every single month. Commit to not be in debt, even if it’s for a short period of time.
Myth 4 – Buying a house is better than renting.
When you are renting, your monthly payments aren’t an investment in a piece of property that is going to increase in value – whereas mortgage payments on a house will.
But for a lot of people, renting is a much better option. This could be for a variety of reasons. If you foresee a move coming up in the near future, if you have a busy lifestyle that would prevent you from taking care of the home and landscaping, and if you don’t have enough money to make a 20% down payment on a house.
The most common complaint about renting is that you’re just “throwing away money”. This can be true in one sense, since you are paying your landlord and not appreciating value on your apartment, whereas a house increases in value as you make your payments.
But in the same sense, you “throw away money” on food and gas every week. You need a place to live, and it’d be better to rent an apartment than to be in a house and waste more money on a mortgage, or worse — on interest, repairs, landscaping, etc.
The biggest rule of thumb here is if you have a 20% down payment for a house.
Myth 5 – I don’t make enough money to have a budget.
You should have a budget no matter how much money you make. But if you live paycheck to paycheck or find that money is tight, it will be even more vital for you to stick to a budget. A budget allows you to know exactly where all your money is going so you can control it, instead of it controlling you. To make a budget you love, start here.
Myth 6 – I’m young – I don’t need to worry about saving for retirement yet. OR I’m old – it’s too late for me to start saving for retirement.
Neither of these myths could be farther from the truth. If you’re young, now is the most important time to start planning and saving for retirement. Compound interest is a beautiful thing that works for you…if you give it time.
And it’s never too late to start saving for retirement. It would be better to have something saved for retirement than nothing at all. Even if you plan on never retiring, if you have some savings, you can leave it as an inheritance for your children or as a gift to your church or ministry. Part of being a faithful steward is saving money so you are positioned to serve God however He wants.Remember that stewardship is all about managing your life in a way that God can spend you however he wants. If you’re stressed or anxious about money, surrender your circumstances to the Lord and ask Him for direction.Crown has a great online study that helps you do this – it’s self-paced so you can go through each of the 7 lessons whenever you have time, and it is great for individuals or married couples. Understanding what the Bible says about money vs. what the world says about money can be overwhelming, but this study will make it simple.