One Phrase Financial Advice

The One Phrase A Client Needs To Remember


Ted Jenkin, of OXYGen Financial says, “You must always pay yourself first.”

George Papadopoulous, a CFP from Michigan chimes in, “Nobody knows.” (We’re sure he wasn’t referring to this blog though.)

LLBH Private Wealth Management’s Jim Pratt-Heaney adds, “Develop a detailed financial blueprint.”

And the USAA’s June Walbert says, “Know how much you’re spending and on what.”

Comment: While none of these reflect a Christian world-view (eg "pay yourself first"), I think all have value. Of the above the fourth (in my view) is the most valuable - "how much you’re spending and on what"

I'll add some of my own (all at least touch on finances):

  • "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)
  • "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses" (Luke 12:15)
  • "Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase;" (Proverbs 3:9)
  • "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (I Timothy 6:10)
  • "For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy ... (2 Timothy 3:2 (context end times!))
  • "For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money," (Titus 1:7 (Context ... qualifications for church leadership))
  • "covetousness ... is idolatry" (Colossians 3:5)
  • "The ants are a people not strong, Yet they prepare their food in the summer" (Proverbs 30:25)
  • "Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need." (Ephesians 4:28)
  • "whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" (James 4:14)
  • "But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
  • "Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful." (I Cor 4:2)
OK ... enough of the Bible verses for me ... if you have one to add, leave a comment. Other off the cuff financial advice (and frankly I have made so many financial mistakes in life that I could probably write a book about it!)
  • The ultimate possession is eternal life in Christ. The ultimate gift is salvation. The ultimate safety is salvation!
  • Don't buy it unless you need it! (Broken this rule many many times!)
  • If you buy something, buy quality (something that lasts)
  • Save every pay period (broken this rule many times)
  • Give without expecting anything in return (not Quid pro quo giving)
  • Know where your money goes (We don't have a budget per se, but of late (for the last 10 years or so) we know where we spend it). We used Quicken for many many years. Now we use Yodlee (which is free and web based). I highly recommend this!
  • If married, share all financial things (joint accounts, joint tenancy, etc)
  • If married, have regular conversations about money! (Not a preoccupation with it! But set aside time (away from the kids!) to review finances. We do this every Tuesday night. Only takes about 15 min!)
  • Budget and save for big things: The next car, Christmas next year, etc. (Buying a new car with cash is so much fun. The salesman is completely disarmed!)
  • Pay off credit cards (if you use them) at the end of every month. (We have done this consistently over our marriage. There have been exceptions - like the sudden death of Kathee's mother that involved a trip to Florida (airfare, hotel, rental car, etc. It's good to have credit for emergencies!)
  • Have an emergency fund that is liquid (like a savings account). Emergencies happen. Eg transmissions fail (we've done this twice), washing machines die when you don't expect it, etc
  • If married and have children, have adequate life insurance. Ask yourself the question: if I died today, how would my wife pay the bills over the next 3 years (or more). Term insurance is the best option (in my view).
  • Have a current will (both husband and wife need one!)
  • Don't look to the government, your church or your children to provide for you!
  • Sounds morbid, but plan for the funeral. We haven't bought a pre-paid plan, but we know what we want the funeral to "look like": not cheap but not ostentatious.

Anything you might add?


  1. I tend to expand a little on "buy only what you need". That is, sometimes one needs to consider whether they're, for example, buying clothes or creating a wardrobe before they figure out they don't "need" that new pair of shoes.

    That also fits into the "quality" issue. For example, in crafting a kitchen instead of buying cooking tools, one finds that a well made set of knives and pans can eliminate the "need" for any number of other gadgets--Cuisinarts, KitchenAid attachments, bread machines, etc..

    I can do that with just a few knives from Wusthof and a few pans from All-Clad. Not so good if you're working with cheapo serrated knives and Revere-Ware or worse. In the same way, my good quality clothing fits on about 18" of closet space. If I were buying from Target.....

    ....not so good. And of course, that few extra square feet of space in your home if you're buying junk clothing doesn't come cheap!

  2. Good comments.
    We had to take a class in college on finances, and the last one you said was brought up.

    I agree about quality as well. I think in some ways this is a lot more important and doable for men. We only need a few pairs of shoes, 1 brown, 1 black (maybe 2, 1 dress and 1 casual), 1 casual, and 1 junker (which is usually the last casual). Nice shoes last a long time and if bought and taken care of properly will last a long time. I have a pair of black Florsheim that are going on 3 years. (going to have to resole them though this year) My wife on the hand has tons of shoes, but she buys clearance. In the 3.5 years of marriage, I have probably spent more money on shoes than she has and I have probably only bought 10 or less, while she has probably bought 50-75. (When I say clearance, I mean deep clearance at like 2$)

    Kinda sidetracked there. I am beginning to work on good quality cutlery myself. One of my friends said to just get a high quality chef and paring knife, and possibly a boning knife. Setback...couple hundred, but will last a lifetime or more. Currently have cheapo target stainless steel chef knife. Don't ever get stainless steel, I have found out. They are pain to sharpen and keep sharpened.

  3. How does Yodlee compare to Mint.com?

    I would add, for advice, that couples (especially newlyweds) should learn to live off one income, in order to minimize shock when the baby comes around, and so that the husband can free his wife to stay home and be the mother she wants to be.

  4. One more thought; look to the long term when buying things (implicit in other thoughts, of course). For example, when I wanted a pickup, I got the extended cab to accomodate kids....a year before I had any. You avoid transaction fees/expenses by buying for the long term.

    Or, for that matter, the 90 year old skillet I use every day, or the 20 year old knives I use every day, or my (ha ha got you beat) eight year old Florsheims. (sorry, Wagner doesn't make 'em like that anymore, and neither does Chicago Cutlery, I'm afraid....go to the antique store for iron and to Henckels and Wusthof for knives)

  5. Yodlee vs Mint: My experience.

    I started with Quicken online. Then Quicken bought Mint so I switched. Had not heard of Yodlee at the time.

    My struggles with Mint: My Chase card was compromised and I had to get a new one with a different card #. Mint did not handle that well. We decided to change our WF account password (to something much stronger than previously). Mint did not handle the password change well. Then we had double postings. A lot of them. They were easy enough to delete but the shear volume made that a nuisance. I contacted Mint support but did not get a response. So basically we did nothing in this realm for a couple of months until I heard about Yodlee. We've been using it since April with no issues. I would pay for this service - it is that good!

  6. Personal advice can be valuable, but will take time to prepare and will cost you money. Not everybody needs personal advice. Many people handle their own finances successfully, including looking after their super, insurance and investments. You will have to put in some time and be willing to learn. There’s a lot you can do to teach yourself about financial matters.


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