What I am Learning from the Wealthy
I saw a Dave Ramsey image on Instagram yesterday that said “The secrets of the rich don’t exist. Because the principles aren’t a secret.” Then under it he wrote “Quit looking for the secret. It’s not there. It’s all about common sense.”
Well, if it is, common sense must not be very common because, many of us make money but, if we miss even one cycle of income, it quickly becomes evident that our finances are built on extremely shaky foundation.
So, what are the principles of true and lasting financial freedom the wealthy have built their wealth on, that us commoners can learn from?
The 1st Principle of Financial Freedom is having the Mindset of Wealth (as opposed to a mindset of poverty).
“As a man thinks in his Heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Proverbs 18:21
“Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45b.
What these scriptures are telling us about wealth is that before it manifests as material, wealth is first a mindset.
We sing “let the weak say I am strong, let the poor say I am rich, let the blind say I can see.” (Joel 3:10) as a military strategy to fight a mindset of poverty. By meditating, having faith then speaking and acting on the Word of God, we call forth “those things that be not as if they are” and they do become. (Romans 4:17c)
We are told that God has already blessed us with “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm in Christ ”; “that as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,”. That He has “supplied all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus”. And we know that the earth is His and all the fullness within in. God is the wealthiest person there is and He tells us that, as His children and join-heirs with Christ, He has already given us everything. God is simply telling us to receive by faith, what He has already laid in store for us. We are to think, speak and act in the confidence of what He has done and that we are entitled to. (Ephesians 1:3, 2 Peter 1:3, Philippians 4:19, Psalm 24:1, Romans 8:14, Hebrews 11:1,6)
So, before we start doing anything, we need to first take in the truth of the fact that we are already wealthy. Because “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ”, as we receive Christ’s word on wealth and prosperity, by faith, we will follow His instructions on how to appropriate what is already ours and to manifest it in our lives and in the lives those we have been called to influence. In Jesus’ Name! (Romans 10:17, Joshua 1:8)
The 2nd Principle to Financial Freedom is Worship.
Deuteronomy 8:18 tells us “But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.”
It is God who gives us the power to produce wealth and He does so, so that we can “be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.” We are blessed to be a blessing, so that we can do the good works He prepared for us before the foundations of the earth. (Genesis 1:28,29, 12:1-3. Ephesians 2:10)
It is imperative, therefore, that before we start moving towards securing financial freedom, we must first get our hearts and worship right.
We are warned:
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Mathew 6:24)
“For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:10)
The Apostle James, in James 4:2,3, said:
“You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.”
The wealthy that fear God and want to do right in His sight, worship God with everything they have, including their wealth. Recognizing that they are only stewards of what is God’s, the wealthy in God don’t have a separate agenda for their finances than what God wants them to do with it. They want what God wants – to build His Kingdom and people through the resources they manage.
Jesus said: “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Mathew 6:31-33)
So we too should put our trust in God and not depend on our own understanding, submitting all our plans to Him for only He can show us the right way to go in securing financial freedom. (Proverbs 3:5,6, 16:3).
It is God’s pleasure to willingly and generously gives us wisdom to generate wealth as well as bread to eat and seed to sow so that we can be a blessing to others. This attitude and allegiance of the heart should always be in us as we apply the Principles to Financial Freedom. (Psalm 146:6, James 1:5, 2 Corinthians 9:10)
The 3rd Principle to Financial Freedom is Plan.
Allow me to be the first to confess, I tend to jump into things and work it out as I go. Not good. Before you embark on anything, you absolutely must plan in advance.
Planning for financial freedom, like planning for any other life decision, starts with some reflection. Take an hour or so (you may find yourself having so much fun that you will go into two or more – you have been forewarned). Think about then, write down your reflections on:
a. Who am I?
b. Why am I here?
c. Where am I going?
d. How do I want to get there?
e. What kind of lifestyle do I want to live?
f. What legacy to do I want leave?
You will find yourself writing about dreams and aspirations, education, family, housing, health, transportation, travel, work, business, community, experiences, etcetera.
As you paint a picture of what kind of person, family, lifestyle, future you want as you live out your life’s purpose, break each area down into activities you will do to accomplish that choice then, put a financial cost next to the activity.
The cost of the life you want will lead you to make decisions on what you will do to pay it for that life.
Jesus, highlighting the importance of calculating the cost of life choices before starting out in pursuit of them, said:
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?” Luke 14:28-30
Plan the life you want to live, the cost you are willing to pay to live that life and therefore, the things you must do in order to be able to afford the life you choose.
The 4th Principle to Financial Freedom is Work.
Shock! Horror! To become wealthy, we have to work. Who would have thought?!
Even if you know someone who inherited money from someone, understand that, that someone before them, or someone else before them, first had to work for it.
Work is the first thing God instructed man to do after He created him. Adam and Even were told “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.” To borrow from Jesse Duplantis’ translation: make money, increase it, grow in influence through it and take over that territory. (Genesis 1:28)
Like the wealthy, be relevant by adding value. Find something of value to do that people are willing to pay you, and pay you very well, for.
The 5th Principle to Financial Freedom is Diversify.
Work at more than one thing so that you have several streams of income.
Ecclesiastes 11 advises us to invest in many ventures, saying:
“Ship your grain across the sea;
after many days you may receive a return.
Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight;
you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.
Sow your seed in the morning,
and at evening let your hands not be idle,
for you do not know which will succeed,
whether this or that,
or whether both will do equally well.” v. 1,2,6
It is not enough to depend on one job, no matter how secure you feel in it. Just yesterday, a brother in Christ sent me a rather disturbing scripture that was a reflection of what many have been going through:
“And its foundations will be broken.
All who make wages will be troubled of soul.” Isaiah 19:10
Work for wages if you so wish but, also have businesses and a portfolio of investments. The principle of diversification says, having put your eggs in different baskets, you are sure to get different levels of returns from each. And where one fails, you have the security of knowing you did not lose everything.
The best position to be in, in diversifying streams of income, is to have your ventures working for you even as you sleep. This means that you have projects that can bring in money without your constant personal operation. Technology makes this possible more than ever before. We have countless opportunities to make money through apps, books, videos, podcasts and products in the market that can be accessed without your having to directly interface with your customer.
This is what the wealthy do; they diversify streams of income and build systems around them so that they can make money in their sleep. And so, should we.
The 6th Principle to Financial Freedom is Budget.
To put it simply so we can all understand:
A budget is an estimate of how much you earn (income) and how much you spend (expenses). It is done in a given period with the aim of helping you plan towards your goals.
It is important to start out any and every venture, whether it be your personal finance or, a business, with a budget. From a budget, you will list every source of income and how much you expect in that time period, for example, a month. It will also tell you the different expenses you expect to make payments towards in that month.
To get a true reflection of how you are doing financially, your budget will show you whether, for example, in that month,
a. you will have extra money left over to save after paying all expenses; or
b. you will have more expenses than money and therefore will be in debt because you will not be able to pay for all expenses, or
c. the income you have earned will match your expenses, meaning you will neither have money left over that you can keep nor will you be in debt.
The benefit of preparing a budget is it gives you a picture of whether or not your income can sustain your lifestyle and or, whether your lifestyle is practical for the income you bring in.
With the budget laying down your financial situation so plainly, where, for example, it falls short, you immediately see that you have the choice to either find means of increasing your income or, find ways of decreasing your expenses, or both; increase your income and decrease your expenses.
Your priorities in life will determine the choices you make
Wealthy people reach financial freedom by following a budget that ever increases income above expenses so that they have more left over to apply towards the next step to securing their wealth and financial freedom.
If wealthy people follow a strict budget, we too, must budget by curbing our expenses as we ever increase our income and net worth.