Replacing Financial Worry with Financial Vision
The School of Divinity is committed to financial well-being and forming ministers who engage finances responsibly. With support of a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Theological School Initiative to Address Economic Issues Facing Future Ministers, we have created a program, Financial Well-Being for Pastoral Leaders, to create a culture that shapes the habits and skills of pastoral leaders by promoting financial well-being for themselves and the communities they serve. One of the foundational elements of our program is formation, which aims at enabling students to focus on building financial competency through annual assessment meetings with the Office of Financial Aid, workshops and seminars, peer mentors, and technological resources. On the last week of every month, the Unfolding blog will feature posts from the student peer mentors. These are current students who have previous experience in the financial industry or who have made financial planning a significant part of their identity as a religious leader.
I think it is safe to assume that most of us have a vision of some sorts for ourselves. In fact, most if not all of us feel called to make a change in this world through our faith. But where will we live? What will we eat? What will we wear? Who will we give to? Where will we work and how will we get there?
The gospel of Matthew seems to pose these same questions:
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink,[a] or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?[b] 28 And why do you worry about clothing?…Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear? …34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
I agree with Matthew. Do not worry for tomorrow does indeed have worries of its own. However, I do encourage you to have vision for your tomorrow, particularly financially. Vision gives money purpose. Vision gives money value beyond its numerals. While money, finances and budgeting can bring feelings of stress and anxiety, I welcome you to consider creating a financial vision board as a creative way to put your financial desires onto paper without the headache of dollars and cents. Take some time to steal away with a few magazines, a posterboard, scissors and glue to embark on this vision creating process. Here’s what to do:
- IMAGINE | Close your eyes and consider what life will look like for you in 5 years, 10 years and even 20 years. Are there consistent things that you see over this time span? What are some musts? Focus on things that are financial in nature such as assets, giving streams, lifestyle, values etc. Make note of these things.
- BROWSE | Look through your magazines for images, phrases, etc. that truly speak to the things that you imagined. Do not overthink. Allow this process to be natural as what naturally catches your eye may reveal information regarding what is important to you financially. Cut these items out.
- NARROW | From the images you have cut out, figure out your focus. What area of your financial well-being would you like to give attention to on this vision board? Do you want to organize your board by timeframes? Or 1 or 2 specific goals? This is your opportunity to make this financial vision board your own.
- CREATE | This should be the fun part. Allow your creative juices to flow. Organize your board in a way that makes sense to and inspires you. Put things where you think and want them to go. Write the vision… well, actually, cut and paste it.
- MOVE | Did you think you spent all of this time making this board for it to sit in on a desk in your room or office? I sure hope not. It is time to do something to make these things happen. It may be budgeting, scheduling some time to sit down with a financial planner at your local bank, making an appointment with your peer mentor or meeting with a debt counselor. Use your resources to figure out how to make our next financial move, your best move.
And remember, no worrying.
Brittani Chavious is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. She is a graduate of Tennessee State University where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Prior to beginning at Wake Div, Brittani was a branch manager with Key Bank where she managed over $40 million in deposits.