The Prospering Home: Tackling Your Long-term Financial Goals

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Many of us think that in order to have a prospering home, we need ever-increasing income. To really live well, we need more and more money—right?

We feel this way because all around us, financial warnings roll in like a thunderstorm:

“You have to build your life! And you need new cars! And you need to save for retirement! Oh, and don’t forget to save for your children’s college tuition! And they’ll probably get married, so you might need to start saving for a wedding as well. And you’ll need to care for your parents as they get older! And eventually you’ll need to care for yourself!”

All this information frantically builds, layer upon layer, until we can find ourselves in a place of extreme stress.

In our thirties and forties, we sit back in shock and ask, “How in the world am I going to manage this?”

By the time we reach our forties and fifties, we feel like we’re being chased. “I don’t have a choice—I have to keep running! I HAVE to find ways of getting more income.” This belief can lead us to make far riskier investments than we actually need to.

Obviously, it’s good to have a financial plan in place, but I think that driving sense of urgency may be exaggerated when we don’t have the whole picture.

Last week we talked about how you can protect what God has given you.

In this article, I want to discuss another key element of building a prospering home: the idea of spending substitutions.

Over time, spending substitutions can have a powerful effect on our financial goals. They also help relieve stress—which is huge just by itself—and make us more innovative.

[To watch Stephen’s Facebook Live on this topic, click here.]

How Spending Changes Over Time

In my Prosperous Home manual, I talk about a simple tool called LGS, which stands for living, giving, and saving.

LGS is based on percentages and the idea of matching your giving and saving. So if your LGS is 80-10-10, this means you’re living on 80 percent of your income, giving 10 percent, and saving 10 percent.

Here’s how the idea of spending substitutions can benefit your home.

Your living category includes everything it takes to run your life: housing, vehicles, entertainment, taxes and office expenses, personal items, healthcare, etc. What’s important to you and your spouse won’t necessarily be important to another couple, so your living category will be unique to you in some ways.

For instance, my wife and I chose private education for our boys. That isn’t a recommendation or a commentary on public schools—it’s an example of how certain elements can inflate a family’s living category. We spent much more on education than a family would who made use of the free education offered by a state-run system. A significant portion of our living category went to pay for education. 

You know what’s amazing about education? One day it ends! And that’s the key: many of the items within a family’s living category are time limited. Eventually we finish paying off school loans, putting our children through private school and college, and making monthly payments on our home mortgage. What then?

There are sunrises and sunsets in spending. As certain financial items draw to a close, we can begin to tackle the next assignment.

What This Means for You

A lot of us have big ideas for our money. We want to be debt free, build our retirement fund, help our kids buy their first house, etc. When we look at all our financial dreams, we can start to feel overwhelmed and wonder how we’re ever going to pull this off.

But we don’t have to consider the future from a place of fear. We can begin to adjust our thinking around some of these major purchases, because we’ve already built a certain amount of spending momentum into our living category. As one thing is paid off, we can move on to the next thing.

So it’s very possible that accomplishing our financial goals will not materially decrease the quality of life we currently enjoy. 

This is part 3 in a series on prospering your home. To read Stephen’s other articles in this series, click the links below:

To watch Stephen’s Facebook Live on this topic, click here.

Lauren Stinton