• Bob Brooks

My Greatest Financial Mistake

What in the world am I doing writing this piece? Why would I put this out there? I write this piece for several reasons. First, I am not perfect when it comes to money. I am often asked how I come up with so much material to write about. Let's just say that I have a portfolio of stories to pull from and they are all about decisions I wish that I would have made differently. That is the great thing about stewardship. God uses the past to teach us about the present so that present decisions can benefit us in the future. Then again, you can end up in the viscous cycle and not learn from your past making the same mistakes over and over again.

Mistakes are an invaluable tool. We have to take those mistakes and find their value then benefit from what we learned. Unfortunately, we tend to get stuck in guilt and let our mistakes beat us up over and over again. What's worst, we let those mistakes define our self worth.

OK, back to my point (as if I am putting it off). I thought to myself what are some of the single biggest mistakes people make with money. Well, probably the biggest one is that they don't track their spending. Most people have no idea where the money is going. I thought to myself - nailed it got, that one down. I track spending. Next, most people don't have a plan. I thought to myself - nailed it - I have a plan (notice I said "I" have a plan). Finally, they are not on the same page financially with their spouse. Can we go back to 1 and 2 and let me go over how to correct those mistakes if that describes you?

Well as Meatloaf says - 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Yes, I admit it. I wouldn't give myself a F in that category. However, I would be lucky to get a C grade maybe a D+? I justify in my mind that she would be on board with everything "I" have planned. I would justify that the weaknesses in our plan (and we have them) that she trusts me to fix them. After all, this is what I do for a living. Whatever the rationalization, I can't deny it. I call it my biggest financial mistake. Here is the viscous cycle it produces. First let me get something out of the way. I know what you are thinking. This is a male thing. The non-communicative male. No, this can be a female mistake as well. However, we are going to err on the side of the male being the most likely to commit the mistake. I don't know about you but when it comes to common sense my wife is vastly superior to any that I might possess.

OK, back to the viscous cycle. It starts with the fact that you are making decisions for your spouse without any of their input. Decisions that impact their life. Maybe he or she would have brought insight to the table that would have created a different response? Second, if you let years of bad decision making accumulate, then it is like an avalanche of bad news versus bite size samples. Third and most important, it comes down to a verse in Matthew 18:20.

"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them."

How are you going to solve financial problems for two based on your own insight that created the problems in the first place? Wouldn't a united front with God at the head of the table be more effective? Better Stewardship? There is power when three are solving a problem versus 1.

So, in 2018, I am going to be writing more and more about this and yes, practicing my own advice. I used to always think getting spending organized and a plan in place was the foundation. Of course, the assumption that God is involved. No, I have been wrong about that one. That assumption needs to be intentional. It takes an intentional Matthew 18:20 approach to achieve stewardship success.

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