by Ryan Kurtz
As many of you know, our theme at Bare Wealth Advisors for 2021 is “Impact.” Specifically, we are challenging our staff and clients to ask, “how can we use our resources and lives to have an impact on others?”
As I reflect on my life and career, a man comes to mind that was very influential in my own life as well as extremely influential in our industry. Even though he is no longer with us on earth, Larry Burkett epitomizes a life of impact.
Larry passed away when I was 25 years old, and I was never able to meet him. My remembrance of Larry Burkett was when I spent afternoons as a young boy feeding animals and milking cows in the barn on our family farm. Typical of many farmers, the radio was playing, and every midafternoon a show called “Money Matters” aired. It was a “call-in” type of show where people would ask Larry financial questions and he would answer them. I was always struck by the way Larry gave answers to callers with knowledge for each financial situation while simultaneously integrating Biblical wisdom with the answer. His words were full of love for each person regardless of the financial situation – even if the caller found themselves in very negative appearing circumstances. Years later, as I began my career in the financial field as an advisor, part of my desire to help others came from wanting to “be like Larry” – to give loving financial advice integrated with God’s Word.
In addition to the radio show, Larry published over 70 books in his lifetime, and sales of these books now exceed 11 million copies. As I prepare for meetings with clients, I still have many of his books in my office that I pull out from time to time to see what Larry said about a certain topic. It is interesting to me that when I look up the advice he gave in his writings there is almost always a Bible reference included.
Not only did Larry impact me personally (and many others) through his radio broadcasts and writings, Larry was also instrumental in starting or helping to start a number of wonderful Christian financial ministries. At Bare Wealth Advisors we still are closely connected to several of these ministries, and they continue to impact so much of what we do each day. Some of these organizations that we use and connect with regularly are Kingdom Advisors, National Christian Foundation, Crown Financial Ministries, and the Money Wise radio show.
As I reflect on the impact that Larry’s life had on me and many others, I ask myself, “on who am I having an impact?” “Am I having the same life changing impact on others as Larry’s life impacted mine?” I will always be forever grateful for Larry’s life and the way God used him to influence me in so many areas of my life.
One financial recommendation clients sometimes think is boring and unnecessary is to have money in a savings account. We normally recommend that a working family have between three to six months of their living expenses in a savings account. For a retired family, we recommend having up to one year of living expenses in a savings account. For a business or a nonprofit organization, we recommend they have at least one month of operating expenses in a savings account. With that in mind, here are five reasons why it makes sense to have money in a savings account:
1. For unexpected expenses
Whether you experience the loss of a job, unexpected healthcare costs, or an unexpected automobile repair, there always will be things that are unexpected financially. If these costs are more then we can cover with our normal income, having money saved is a great way to cover these expenses.
2. To avoid borrowing
You may need a vehicle, want to go Christmas shopping, or just have some things that you want to fix up around your home. If you don’t have money saved for these, you will need to borrow for these expenses. By borrowing money for these expenses, you will have to pay for them over a number of months or years; and usually you will pay interest on the money borrowed. This may mean that a simple Christmas shopping trip could cost you a lot more then what you planned.
3. To meet someone’s need by giving
Paul tells us in II Corinthians 9:8 that we should “have an abundance for every good deed”. If your neighbor loses his job, the local fire company is having a fund drive, or your church asks you to consider helping a missionary that is in need, you can always be ready to give with money that is in a savings account.
4. Be able to take financial risks
Knowing that you have a surplus set aside in a savings account, allows you to take on the risk of losing money when initially opening a business, buying a real estate investment, or purchasing the stock of a company. Even if these investments lose value or fail, you can know that you have some stability by having money set aside in a savings account that is not at risk of being lost.
5. God says that it’s wise to save
Proverbs 6:6-8 “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.”
The goal for money in a savings account is for it to be safe and available. That means the money is not at risk of being lost where it’s invested and you can get to it quickly if needed. With that in mind, here are a few places to consider saving money.
1. Your local bank savings or money market account
2. An online bank savings or money market account
3. A money market mutual fund
If you have questions on how much you should set aside in a savings account or where to invest it, please give our office a call. One of our advisors would be happy to talk with you.
by Ryan Kurtz
by Ryan Kurtz
5 Ways to Build a Strong Financial Foundation
If we think back over any time in history, we can think of different economic storms that have come. From The Great Depression to the World War’s to the more recent memories of the economic difficulties of 2008, many of us now wonder, when will the next “storm” hit?
We hear people talking about Social Security not having enough to continue and the federal government approaching $20,000,000,000,000 of debt. We wonder, what can I do to protect myself? We can’t predict when or if future economic storms will come, but here are 5 things a business, government agency, or family can do to have a strong financial foundation no matter what the future holds.
- Have a plan for your spending – Make sure you know where your money is going each month/year with a spending plan. With this in place, you can see if you are spending less than you earn. Having margin at the end of the month is the foundation to any good financial plan.
- Keep emergency savings – Most financial advisors recommend having 3-6 months of living expenses for a family or operating expenses for a business set aside for unexpected expenses. This can help tame down the feelings of panic that come on us when a car for a family or piece of machinery for a business breaks down and we have additional unexpected expenses.
- Avoid and eliminate debt – During times of economic downturns having no debt at all is the best place to be financially. If you can, try to avoid borrowing when possible and if you have debt, make sure you have a plan to eliminate it.
- Set long term goals – If you do not have clearly defined long term goals it is very easy to get sidetracked when difficult times come your way. Author and motivational speaker Zig Ziggler has said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time”.
- Be continuously generous – There are many ways to be generous. It could be with our time or with our resources. Being committed to being generous no matter what the economic environment is around us may not seem to help our financial bottom line, but often can give fuel to our soul during difficult times.
These are all practical things that can be done to help you sleep well at night knowing that your financial house is on a solid foundation. What I didn’t tell you is that each one of these is a financial principle straight out of the Bible, God’s Word. We believe that standing on the Word of God during good and bad financial times is the best way to build strong financial house that can weather the storms that come our way. We can rest knowing that we have done everything that we can practically and leave the rest in God’s hands. After all, everything we have is His.
Psalms 24:1 – The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
Here is the list again with the corresponding verses.
- Have a plan for your spending.
Proverbs 27:23 – Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds
- Keep some emergency savings.
Proverbs 21:20 – Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.
- Avoid and eliminate debt.
Proverbs 22:7 The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.
- Set long term goals.
Luke 14:28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
- Be Continuously Generous.
2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.