Have you had the talk yet?
Ya know, the one where you review finances (with your spouse if you’re married) and figure out where you’re leaning down and prioritizing your spending during this pandemic that has turned life as we know it upside down?
Oh yeah. Don’t you worry. My financial advisor hubby made sure we had this chat. In fact, this is probably one of his favorite chats that he likes to have frequently /insert copious amounts of yawning from me./ But this time it was different.
I’m a small business owner. My husband is a financial advisor. Small businesses and the stock markets are tanking right now, so there are real uncertainties. It’s no longer our hypothetical “what-ifs.” What if one of us doesn’t earn X amount this year? What if I lose my job? What if I double my salary? What if I get a promotion? What if, what if, what if.
In our normal what-if scenarios, we paint ourselves as the parents who put their kids and family first, good people that give freely to others, teammates that whether we have immense financial success or unimaginable financial struggle we stick together and we stick to God.
So, this is it.
In an uncertain time when our future finances (and health) are unknown, this is our chance to prove ourselves. To make good on our words, on our promises to each other, and to God. That we will remain good, giving people who believe in something bigger. That we will help support where we can, even when it feels “tight.”
Giving feels harder than normal, but we feel better about our money when we make a plan that reflects what we believe. For us, we believe that none of it is actually ours. Our ability to earn income, our skills, our jobs—everything we have comes from a God who loves us. We gratefully hold it loosely and try to use it well. One thing that we have always agreed on is whether we are filthy rich or broke-as-a-joke—the finances don’t matter, not really. So, instead of looking at the stress of the “what ifs,” we want to act in confidence that God really will provide and that He can use our money to provide for others too. So, here are the “rules” we put in place at the Janszen house. I’m hoping they can help you navigate this uncertain time too.
5 step plan to feel better about your money
- Cut unnecessary spending. Goodbye, late-night online shopping sprees. My FedEx driver will miss my 80lb dog, I’m sure.
- Continue tithing. Because it all belongs to God, giving Him 10% of our gross income (in good times or bad) is a non-negotiable for us.
- Support local small businesses. Order take out meals from our favorite local restaurants twice a week. We have to support our small businesses.
- Continue paying for lessons and daycare. This is hard to do. We wanted to justify the fact that the kids aren’t going anymore, so why should we pay? But if we don’t pay, where will these teachers and businesses earn money? We want to support them as much as we can while they’re without normal pay.
- Invest in your health. We beefed up our at-home gym and are continuing our monthly subscriptions to programs that keep us strong.
So, the first part of the plan is to simply have the talk. I know finances are never comfortable to discuss, but it is so necessary.
Then, decide what you believe and how you can live those out. These may not be the right principles for you. Maybe you’ve already lost your job, and your situation is much tighter. You don’t have to take our rules, but take some time to figure out your own. See how God might show up unexpectedly for you and through you during this crisis when we handle our money faith-first.