The brief discussion last week about paying off a home mortgage quickly, has me realizing we need to talk a little bit about finances here. I’ve talked finances many times before and I think now would be a good time to start the discussion up again, both to articulate my views and to encourage discussion about them.
From what I can tell the readers of this blog come from a lot of backgrounds, stages of life, income levels, etc. So, there isn’t a great way to address all of our situations at once. That being the case, I’m just going to go ahead and use some numbers I found on wikipedia for average household incomes. We’ll use $46,326 as the average annual household income. I know many make less then this, and a few make more then this, but we’ll stick with it for the time being, because I think most reading this blog will be making at least that much as a household in the near future if they are not currently already.
I’m not sure how much of my own financial situation I’ll disclose on this blog yet, a discussion and decision still to be made, but I will tell you some of my thoughts on spending, resources, budgets, etc. And the first thing I want to address is this: Most of Us (‘us’ being those who have the technology access to be reading this blog) have money.
You might not have a lot of money coming in (income), or you might have a lot of it already tied up in debts, but you have money. According to Barna [via Boyd], Christians spend 97% of their income on themselves. And that’s not based on how much one makes. We tend to spend what we make, in other words, our cost of living usually matches our income (this is a problem). As a individual follower of Christ, or as a group, or as Christians in general, our ethic on finances and budget should not be to simply be smart spenders of our money, but to use our resources for good in the world. An ‘average’ church of say 10 family units (households from the previous statistic) has roughly $463,260 of income flowing through it. There are necessities, like feeding, clothing and sheltering those in the church, as well as some necessary expenses to remain employed at the jobs that create those incomes, but all in all, there could be a heck of a lot of money being used for good in the world.
The big question is: how much do we ‘need’ to live on. With all the potential for good with our resources, what do we ‘need’?