What do your finances say about you? Money obviously isn’t everything but how you manage your money speaks volumes about who you are. If you’re always broke because you’re blowing cash on frivolous hobbies and impulsively spending that’s a problem. You don’t need to be rich but you do need to be able to provide for what you want. So, let me ask you a question, what do you want out of life? Do you plan to just get married or do you want to have children also? How many children will you have? Who’s going to primarily raise the children? What lifestyle will you and your family lead? Who’s going to pay the bills? Will it be both of you or just one of you? These are all questions and more to consider when you’re managing your finances and planning your financial future.
The goal in everything leading up to marriage is to make sure you’re prepared on every front for the responsibility that comes with having a family. With that said, here is what I would offer you practically on preparing for your family’s future financially.
REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE DOING IT FOR
There are more videos created, quotes posted, and memes shared about finding your “why” all over social media. The big idea behind finding your why is remembering who you are doing it all for because that will drive your determination in accomplishing everything that you pursue, especially when your family’s well-being is on the line. For the Christian man, husband, and father our why is Jesus. We do everything in light of what He has graciously done for us. This is why Paul says, “Whatever your do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). This should motivate us to lead ourselves well, dream bigger, and work even harder.
START WITH YOURSELF
There are so many guys that try and lead others before they lead themselves. So, before you dare to go ask a father for his daughter’s hand in marriage, start by making sure you are leading your own life well before looking to add the responsibility of another. If you cannot provide for yourself then you should not take on the responsibility that a family brings. God has a very fluent process that is outlined within Genesis for us to follow leading up to marriage.
Genesis 2:24 says that, “a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Distinctively, a man goes through three evolutions leading up to marriage – gaining independence, building his home, and cultivating a legacy.
- Gaining Independence – you’ll need to get a job, start paying your bills, move out of your parent’s basement, begin slaying your debt, start saving and begin planning for the future. Show that you’re responsible and that you’ve taken practical steps to establish a great financial foundation for your family. Every parent, and the person you’re courting, loves someone who shows up with a game plan.
- Building a Home – Is your house a building with many rooms or a hotel with a quick exit? At our church we like to say that our church is a home with many rooms. We always have room to welcome more people into our family. Because of that mentality we believe that we should treat it like a home and not a hotel. In a hotel, you’re always looking for someone else to take responsibility and handle your commitments. If you’re looking to get married show that you’re building your life to add a family into it.
- Cultivating a Legacy – Are you in it for the long haul or a swift trip? Legacy means that you’re in it for a lifetime. You’re going to have some amazing seasons and others that are just going to drain the life out of you. Either way, you need to choose to be committed. So many think it’s such an accomplishment to get to the alter and say “I do.”
The real victory is won when you get to the end of your life and you die knowing that you stay married to the same spouse while loving them faithfully throughout your entire relationship.
GET A JOB AND PLAN TO WORK HARD
Everyone starts somewhere. My first job was working at a local grocery store. I didn’t enjoy it but it provided what I needed, and if you want to be a husband or father then you’re going to need money. Your family is going to have needs to meet whether that is buying clothes or putting food on the table to taking a vacation, and those things tend to cost money.
The problem that most guys run into is that they don’t have a work ethic; they have a sense of entitlement. They think that their girlfriend with low expectations, their enabling parents, and their disenfranchised government should foot the bill and kick them an easy handout when it is their job to reign it all in. This is why the Bible unashamedly says, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for the members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8) and 2 Thessalonians goes onto say, “We would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies” (3:10-11). If you’re going to have a family then they’re going to be your responsibility and they’ll look to you accordingly.
ASK FOR WISE FINANCIAL COUNSEL
As much as you might like to think you do, you don’t have all the answers. I think one of the biggest challenges for guys, especially, is learning how to humbly admit that they don’t know it all and to ask for help (1 Peter 5:6) We feel the need to carry the weight solely on our shoulders, and while our families are our primary responsibility, we cannot lead where we have never been.
Proverbs 15:22 spins it like this, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”
A wise financial plan takes into account past, present, and future decisions that you aim to make. It forecasts how you plan to earn money, how much you spend, how you invest, how much you’ll give, and how you tackle the great debt crisis. It will prepare for rainy days, medical costs, unexpected expenses that you will incur, an unforeseen disability, and possibly even unemployment for a season. If there is anything that we have learned this far it is that life is unpredictable and if you want to manage unpredictability then you need a plan so you’re not caught off guard.
RELATED: This Pastor Started Marriage with $210,000 in Debt. Here’s How He Found Freedom 10 Years Later.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN THOSE ABOVE YOU
If you have not done so already, I would encourage you to seek out Godly men who can speak into your life. When looking for someone to pour into you, there are certain things that you should look for that indicate that they are wise and safe leaders to confide in. We all have confided in people who bear neither of these characteristics and, if you’re like me, you have probably been burned relationally because of that. So here is what I would Biblically recommend you go looking for before you begin allowing someone to join in on the conversation.
- They’re married and happy.
- They’re a family that is thriving and exudes joy.
- They’re financially responsible.
- They’re killing debt and don’t over indulge or thoughtlessly spend.
- They’re planning for their children’s future.
- They’re able to lead you where you’ve never been.
- They’re open and honest about their life, especially their failures
- They’re respectable and someone you feel you can trust.
- They’re a person you can be transparently honest with.
- They’re someone who will hold you accountable.
- They’re willing to speak hard but gentle truths.
- They’re committed to seeing the best brought out in your family, not just you.
Reference 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, and Ephesians 4 & 5 for further study into what you should look for in wise yet safe leadership.
You don’t have to be Bill Gates to provide the good life for your family. What you need is a steady iv-drip of Godly wisdom that prepares you to be a good husband and father, and a set of skills that help you cover those bills.