Very interesting question, indeed.
The question is often asked. It is interesting to see it being approached by Time Magazine.
I would like to ask the question another way. Does God want you to be poor?
In financial counseling, I have never personally encountered anyone who became poor because God made it that way. There is this one man I have read about in the Bible. His name was Job. You can read about him here. After all of his wealth was stripped away, he still honored God. In the end, God blessed him even more in the last days of his life than at the first.
I do not know how often God lets individuals become poor on purpose (like Job), but I have seen example after example after example where poor decisions have been made that led to the person or couple becoming financially strapped.
Let me list some “poor” decisions.
- A car financed for 6 years with payments that really can not be afforded. Especially when the vehicle insurance, license plate, and property taxes also go up with the new vehicle.
- A house with a payment that consumes 50% of take-home pay.
- A piece of furniture or a ATV that they could not pay cash for and so it was financed for 4 years at 20% interest.
- Not having an emergency fund with at least $2000 in it. How realistic is it to believe that there will never be a financial emergency in our life?
- Not thinking about purchases overnight. They are talked in to making a purchase of something they did not NEED by a very talented salesperson. So they bought and now they are paying. (Timeshares are very spur of the moment decisions that are many times a BAD deal.)
- Not putting money away for the children’s college. If you really do want to help your children out with college, you really should start saving for them. They really are growing older every single day and they will be 18 and headed there before you know it!
- Not putting money away for your retirement. The word “tire” is in retirement because someday you are going to be very “tired”! If you do not put away money, you will be working when you are very “tired”!
I could list MANY more …
I believe that God has given us this thing called “common sense” and this other thing called a “brain”. He created us in His image. He wants us to think about things. He equipped us to be able to think about purchases and how we should handle our money.
If we truly stopped and thought about our purchases and our overall money management, we would be able to avoid being poor. We could even achieve wealth.
To get it, we need only understand these three things:
- God is in control
- INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO
- We are the managers of our money. We are in control of where our money goes.