As you might have heard, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) passed at the end of last year and is now effective for your 2018 taxes (the ones due in April 2019). While there are individuals, families, and companies who benefit from the new tax plan, Non-profits and charities unfortunately take a hit. The TCJA did impose additional taxes on non-profits/charities, but the big hit I will be addressing here is the reduced tax-incentives for those giving to these organizations. This major change inevitably affects your tax bill and philanthropic giving strategies and may require strategy adjustments.
A budget is foundational to successfully managing your financial situation. It functions as a forward-looking map for your spending and saving and a backward-looking monetary trail to track progress and opportunities for improvement. Most people grasp the goal of budgeting, spending less than you earn, but how do you make a budget if your income varies from month to month? Is it possible to design a budget that accommodates this kind of unpredictability?
The answer is yes; it will just look a bit different. The basic concept of spending less than you make still stands. You will still be able to track your spending habits to ensure your spending matches your goals and priorities and adjust accordingly. However, you will need to set an income “number” in order to formulate your budget.
Radical Generosity: A lifestyle characterized by selfless giving of time, energy, and resources birthed out of the natural response to the love and generosity of Christ.
If you haven’t done so already, I would suggest reading the previous post, “Biblical Generosity – Part One.” In it, we lay a foundation for the motives, purposes, and beauty of radical generosity. This post provides practical examples of what it might look like to live a radically generous life and walk in obedience to God’s call for us to deny ourselves and follow Him.
Most people associate Christian giving as a 10% tithe to the church or setting aside a section of the budget to donate to those in need. However, true generosity has nothing to do with a number and everything to do with offering 100% of our lives as a “living sacrifice” in response to Jesus’ generosity toward us. His generosity was total. Complete. Perfected. Therefore, our generosity is an outworking of the knowledge that He gave more than we could ever give, and everything we have to give is not our own, to begin with.
As a financial planner, I help my clients make wise decisions with their personal finances. This includes saving for the future, but as a Christian, how do we balance saving for our personal future and choosing to give generously to those in need? When does God ask us to stop planning and trust in His sovereignty and provision for us? When does “dying to ourselves” begin to include the way we steward our finances? In this two-part blog post, we will explore the topics of Biblical stewardship and radical generosity as well as put forth practical steps to pursue God’s intention for our pocketbooks and the tremendous joy and blessing that follows our obedience.
Although it is easier to read a blog or listen to a sermon titled, “10 Steps to X” or “5 Ways to Achieve Y,” the answer, I believe, is not that simple. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus continually takes the focus off of the law/rules and places it back on the intentions of the heart. God calls us not to a formula to make our finances please Him but rather a heart that treasures Him above all else. This leads to a kind of radical generosity that reflects a counter-cultural self-denial, causing the world to look on in confused wonder. When our eyes gaze at Jesus and not our wallets, our wallets suddenly begin to fall in place and our hearts embrace radical generosity rather than begrudge it.
While it is certainly eye-catching, the title of this post falls into the same category as “How to go from Dad Bod to 6-Pack Abs in 2 Weeks.” Unfortunately, there is no quick and easy route to financial success. As you have probably heard, the stories of sudden windfalls of cash through the lottery, inheritance, or professional football signing bonuses typically don’t end well. This phenomenon can be partially explained by behavioral finance (the ways people think about and relate to money). Despite the name, this post will highlight a few financially healthy behaviors with proven long-term results.