Ask Chuck: Preparing for Another Pandemic?
I wasn’t ready for the pandemic. My health has been fine but my finances have not. How can I get ready if we are faced with another crisis?
Prepping for Another Pandemic
I am sorry you were not ready for the pandemic but I am grateful that your health is fine. By the way, nobody saw this coming and thus it was very difficult to be prepared. However, we can go through some Biblical financial advice that will help you prepare for the next round or the next pandemic or whatever the Lord brings our way.
The Unexpected Always Happens
2020 has been a year of the unexpected. Experts say we need to brace for a rise in coronavirus cases due to travel, ongoing protests, and virus mutation. We have political and social unrest, fear, and insecurity on many levels. It is definitely time to get your financial house in order. This will give you the freedom to make wise decisions and reduce stress.
Do you remember the story of the humble man who surprised his community by dying with millions of dollars? Ronald Read, of Vermont, served in WWII. He returned home to work at a service station for 25 years, then as a janitor for 17. The unassuming man grew up poor but had an incredible work ethic. He drove a used Toyota Yaris and was known for his flannel shirt and baseball cap, sometimes holding his coat together with safety pins. What people did not know about this incredibly frugal man is that he studied The Wall Street Journal and bought stock. Upon his death at 92, he left six million dollars to his local library and hospital.
There are some lessons to be learned from his life. He was not interested in “keeping up with the Joneses.” He made sacrifices to save and invest so he could give – generously. Spending less than he earned gave him the margin needed to accomplish his goal. He not only survived many crises in his long life; he thrived.
Last year, GoBankingRates.com conducted a survey and reported that nearly half of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Income isn’t necessarily the problem; spending is a key factor. A survey by global advisory firm Willis Towers Watson found that 18% of people earning more than $100,000 live paycheck to paycheck.
The three costliest items for Americans are housing, transportation, and food. Finding ways to reduce these can significantly improve your financial condition.
Get a group of trusted friends to join you. No plan is the same for everybody, but we all benefit from encouragement and accountability. Seek ways to increase your income while decreasing your expenses. Sell what you don’t need and ask God to grant insight in ways to boost your income.
- Analyze your situation and set realistic goals
- Maximize your income
- Avoid new debt by postponing unnecessary purchases
The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets. (Proverbs 21:20 TLB)
- Sacrifice in the short-term for long-term results.
- Don’t shop during free time or for entertainment.
- Ask: Do I need it? Will it add value to my life? How often will I use it?
- Need clothes? Shop your closet first. Ask a friend to help you. Update blouses and dresses with new buttons or accessories.
- Plan meals based on what is in season or on sale.
- Track your spending. Address your weaknesses and solve the problem.
- Do you covet? Are you proud? Do you lack contentment? Repent.
- Get on a budget.
Set Aside Emergency Funds
- Set a date to save your first $1,000 or more.
- Save regularly: $1 a day = $365/year; $2 = $730; $5 = $1825; $10 = $3650.
- Repetition and self-control develop the habit.
- Determine the minimum needed to live on each month. Multiply that by 3, 6 and 12 to set goals for having 3, 6, or 12 months of savings.
A great way to get started is to use tools designed to help you move toward healthy saving habits. The Eli app is a tool that helps automate your savings for you. You could also try using an envelope system or budget spreadsheet. There are other free resources on the Crown website.
Benefits of Saving for the Believer
- Creates margin which reduces financial insecurity
- Puts dependence on God, not people or government
- Improves health with better sleep, less stress, lower hypertension
- Prepares for the unexpected
Prepare to Give
The Bible teaches that we are to give first and save second. Support your local church and organizations committed to helping the poor. See how your church can partner with other churches or organizations to help. Then volunteer your time.
Our hope is in the future promises of God. We can joyfully make sacrifices now so we are prepared for tomorrow. The margin we create allows us to help others who do not have the capacity or ability to help themselves.
Stay healthy! Stay prepared! Thanks for writing.
This article was originally posted on The Christian Post, June 19, 2020.