All of us at some time or another have daydreamed about what we would do if we came into a large sum of money, if we won the lottery or received a large inheritance. We talk about all the things we would buy or the things we would do with that money, and how life would be___________ if we had more money.  You fill in the blank.

In working with clients, the thing I find to be the biggest hindrance to good stewardship is overcoming what money means to them.  Do you know what money represents to you? Try this exercise.  Write down all things you would buy and do with money if you had unlimited resources.  Just put pen to paper for that daydreaming you have done at some point in the past.  Now keep writing until you have exhausted your list.  You now have everything you want and have done everything you desire.  You have to get to the point where you cannot think of one more thing you would buy with money.

Now, what do you REALLY want?  What is still missing?  Love?  Security?  Freedom?  Contribution?  Significance? Healing?  Isn’t it something that money cannot buy?  Isn’t it something that only God can provide?

Now, think about how you spend your money.  Are you buying “stuff” to try to fill this hole?  Do you overspend on others to try to get love?  On the other hand, are you making money decisions based on God’s design for your stewardship? 

In addition, what were the messages about money you received as a child?  What was the view of money in your household?  One client of mine grew up with the message that people with money are selfish and uncaring; it was bad to have a lot of money.  Therefore, you know what this client does; she spends every cent in her checking account.  Accumulating money is “bad” so she spends all of it.  Little retirement savings and no funds for emergencies, she has to get rid of it because she does not want to be one of “those people with money”.  Why would she ever save money, given what she believes about it?

What are the messages you heard growing up?  Then ask yourself, are they true?  Knowledge is power, so now that you know what helps drive your money decisions you can change course and follow God’s plan for your stewardship.  After all, it is all His!

Kristi L. Andersen is the principal of Kristi L. Financial Partners, LLC.  ( Registered Representative of and securities offered through Financial Network Investment Corporation, member SIPC.  Advisory services offered through AdvisorNet Financial if applicable.  Financial Network is not affiliated with Kristi L Andersen Financial Partners, LLC or AdvisorNet Financial.