Let’s be honest: we all need a financial check-up from time-to-time.
Like a medical check-up, a financial check-up is a clear-eyed look at our vital signs. It does not mean anything is necessarily “wrong,” but it helps us see where things stand, make adjustments if needed, and prevent any issues from getting out of hand.
A recent webinar offered by the CRCNA’s Financial Shalom program helped CRCNA pastors and congregants learn how to conduct a financial check-up. Kim Miller, a certified financial counselor at one of Financial Shalom's partners, LSS Financial Counseling, presented ways to measure financial health indicators, identify monthly, weekly, and daily financial resiliency habits, and set goals.
Many of us see the importance of these steps, but we encounter barriers to integrating financial check-ups into our lives. Some of us do not wish to see our real money picture, for any number of reasons (often emotional reasons). Some have gotten by so far without check-ups and have managed to avoid negative consequences, so we do not see the need. Some do not feel like there is time to devote to a comprehensive process. And some of us just find it daunting to know where to start.
If any of these sound familiar, the good news is that 1) you aren’t alone, and 2) there are strategies to deal with these barriers.
In the webinar, Kim shared a few such strategies:
Use a big-picture checklist of indicators for regular review (included in the recording);
Approach finances as a data-gathering exercise, which can help suspend judgments and neutralize emotions;
Automate certain bills and expenses and, where feasible, go paper-free to reduce money stress and fatigue;
Be honest with ourselves about our goals and financial priorities, so we can identify and close the gaps between what we value and how we are spending.
Making check-ups a regular part of our personal financial practices can help money be a less anxiety-producing or stressful part of our lives. And that will help free up more of our energy—and, most likely, more of our money—for what we value most, including giving.
If you are motivated to do a financial health check-up but are unsure where to begin, or are having trouble gaining momentum, viewing the webinar is a great place to start.
Booking a financial counseling appointment with LSS is another strong step. All CRCNA pastors and seminarians (and their spouses) are entitled to six free sessions with an LSS financial counselor, courtesy of Financial Shalom. You can learn more and book an appointment here.
Check out the full webinar recording and slides below for practical steps you can take today for your financial well-being!
You can also view two earlier Financial Shalom webinars—designed for both pastors and congregants: