Life Lesson #22: Don’t be a fool with your hard-earned money.
Today’s lesson is another one inspired by King Solomon and in this article we’ll explore some of the wise ruler’s thoughts on wealth and good money management. This is Part 1 of our series on Solomon’s Tips for Managing Your Money. Before we get started, let me give you an important tip – this page is filled with numerous quotes from King Solomon and since he’s widely regarded as the wisest man who ever lived, I’d recommend you pay great attention to what Solomon is saying. My advice may be somewhat helpful, but his can be life-changing! If I was you I’d make note of the references to Solomon’s quotes, then do yourself a favor and go back and read them – again and again and again – because the more you make his wisdom a part of your life, the more you can call upon it when you need it most. Make sense?
First a Word of Caution:
There’s no point in discussing how to acquire wealth, without first talking about something even more important than making money — having the wisdom to know what to do with it once you get it. As Solomon said, “What good is money in the hands of a fool since he has no desire to get wisdom?” (Prov 17:16). So what happens if you get some money but you don’t have any wisdom? Solomon has answered that for us. Consider the following warnings:
- Prov 21:20 “In the house of the wise are stores of [wealth], but a fool devours all he has.”
- Prov 14:1 “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears her’s down with her own hands.”
- Prov 23:19-21 “Be wise and keep your heart on the right path. Don’t make friends with gluttons, they’ll make you poor.”
As you can see, all three of these are pretty much saying the same thing – if you get money, don’t be a fool and squander it. Apparently that lesson was so important to Solomon that he felt the need to repeat himself multiple times to make sure we pay attention to it! So, be sure to keep those few words of caution in mind as you continue through these lessons, otherwise you may find yourself lamenting this little tidbit from the king as well “Cast but a glance at riches and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly away [on the fool]” (Prov 23:5).
Now lest you think I am just here to preach to you, please understand that is not the case. I’ll be the first to admit that I made all 3 of these mistakes in the past because I foolishly believed I could figure out everything on my own and didn’t need to listen to the advice of others. That wasn’t smart and the consequence of that foolishness is that I lost a of money I shouldn’t have. The good news for me is that I learned some valuable lessons in the process, but the even better news for YOU is that you can learn these lessons without having to lose money. It’s your choice: do you want to learn the easy way (by listening to this wisdom and applying it to grow and protect your money) or do you want to learn the hard way (by having to pay money to learn as you go)?
Have a Plan
In Part 1 of this series on King Solomon’s Tips on Money Management, we’ll talk about the importance of having a plan when it comes to managing your money. If you’ve learned anything about me yet from reading my other lessons, you should know by now how much I value a good plan. As we’ve talked about in the lesson called The Power of Planning, it’s important to understand that “a goal without a plan is just a dream.” What that means to YOU in the context of this lesson is pretty simple – you may have a goal in life to build wealth, and it’s great to have a goal, but remember, if you don’t actually have a plan for exactly HOW you’re going to get all that money, then it’s unlikely you’ll get all the money you desire, and worse yet, you may end up in the poor house instead. Don’t just take it from me, let’s see what King Solomon had to say about this too.
Solomon was big on having a plan regarding money, both when it comes to acquiring it, as well as managing it. Check it out.
- Educate yourself: (Prov 16:16) “It is better to choose wisdom than gold, to choose understanding before silver.” (As we talked about above, money without wisdom isn’t going to last long in the hands of a fool. Don’t be that fool).
- Build wealth over time: (Prov 24:3-4) “By wisdom a house is built and through understanding it it established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” (Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. You need time to build wealth – and you need wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to make it grow).
- Plan your purchases: (Prov 24:27) “Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready, after that build your house.” (In other words don’t go making major purchases on a car or house until you’ve built up some savings and made a plan for how you’re going to pay for everything).
- Manage your money carefully: (Prov 27:23-27) “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations. When hay is removed and new growth appears and the grass from the hills is gathered in, the lambs will provide you with clothing, and the goats with the price of a field. You will have plenty of goats’ milk to feed you and our family.” (Be prudent with your money. Use a budget to keep track of your income and expenses. Know how to make your money work for you. Know the risks associated with money and understand that it’s much easier to lose money than it is to make it, BUT if you manage it well, then it can make your family’s life easier).
- Live beneath your means: (Prov 13:7) “One man pretends to be rich yet has nothing, another pretends to be poor yet has great wealth.” (You know the cliche about ‘trying to keep up on the Joneses” – don’t be foolish and try to show off for your neighbors by flaunting your wealth or always thinking you need to have the latest and greatest toy – that’s a sure path to the poor house. Have the wisdom to show restraint on what you buy. Use your money for what you need, not just all the things you THINK you want because if you allow yourself to become a habitual spender you’ll never be satisfied. Pray that God will give you the wisdom to cherish what you already have and not be so focused on what you don’t have (and probably don’t need anyway) – that will save you a lot of money).
And that’s Part 1 of our series. In future lessons, we’ll get tips from Solomon about his methods for acquiring money, the importance of saving, his thoughts on using debt, and more. Stay tuned.
Don’t Wait, Use This Wisdom Today
Look at the 5 tips from the planning section above and pick just 1 item that you can TAKE ACTION on right now. For example, is there something you want to buy? (If so, make a plan for how you’re going to pay for that purchase). Or perhaps you’ve realized that it’s time to increase your financial education? (This would be a great time to read a new book, find a ‘money mentor’ you trust, or take an online class). Or maybe you’re ready to sit down write out a long-term vision of what you want to use your money for? (Pull out that paper and start writing). Any of these are great ideas, but nothing is going to happen if you don’t DO something about it, so get started now…