Thursday, September 17, 2009

God's Provision

I find that I think that finances are as much about us being wise as they are about God's provision for us in spite of our failings and faults.

I think I have 2 favorite books about finances and a 3rd if you're in the military.

1. Miserly Moms: If you're thinking about staying at home or for your spouse to be a stay at home parent, this is a great book. And Jonni McCoy really talks about how much it costs to be a working parent as well as how to save and make it work if you decide to stay home.

2. I read a great book this summer by Matt Bell called Money Strategies for Tough Times. This is a book that is great for both men and women. He talks in the first chapter about how our finances are not separate from our walk with the Lord--they are a part of it. He also talks about needs/wants and loans. One reviewer talked about how she thought it was extreme. I'll be honest, I didn't think it was extreme at all! It was very mild, actually, but full of good information.

3. For military families, I really like Ellie Kay's book Heroes at Home. For new military wives, I thought Ellie Kay did a great job of talking about things that they need to know--one of them being finances.

So, I think those are my favorite books about finances. I've read some bad ones too. One of them is Living More with Less. It was so extreme. That's my benchmark, I think. And I struggled with the examples that the author gave--like a couple with PhDs who worked as a waitress and janitor so that they would make the least money they could--so they would pay the least taxes they could to a government they didn't like. That book also included stories about people who refused to pay their taxes. But, the Bible says to give to Caesar what is Caesar's--and we know that God is sovereign--He has allowed the people who are in power to have that power. WE may not always understand why, but HE does. =)

The other books that I'm not so crazy about are Mary Hunt's books. It is a struggle for me to come to terms with the fact that even to access her website (at least it was this way a while back) you have to pay a fee. It seems like if you are wanting Christians to be better stewards with their finances and they're having problems--then it doesn't seem right to charge them for it.

I haven't read any books by Dave Ramsey, but have friends who have and have really enjoyed his books. I've listened to hims speak on Focus on the Family and have really liked what he had to say.

I've also heard good things about resources from Crown Financial, the late Larry Burkett's ministry, but again, most things on the website you have to pay for and to take their course to become a financial counselor to help people in your church, the training is expensive.

Sometimes books make me chuckle and their definition of the average family and the advice they give. One book I reviewed this year for Amazon was Busy Family's Guide to Money. They're definition of the average family must have been well over $150k/year. And the sample budget they included was for who? It was way off base, in my opinion about what a family budgets and what expenses you have for children and yourselves.

So, those are my favorite and not so favorite books about finances. I enjoy reading what people have to say about finances. I'm a pretty average person, I think. I don't read books all about investing or saving, but I know that it is important. I'm skittish about the stock market after growing up with my dad, but I do save and believe it's important. I believe it's important that we not live beyond our means and be good stewards of what we have. So, that's me for this morning, I guess. =)

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