Creating wealth takes a lot of hard work, discipline, and effort. Being a good steward over money is a big indicator on whether you will be able to accomplish wealth creation. Outward looks can be very deceptive. For example, do you think a good steward is someone who owns a large, beautifully furnished home, drives a luxury car, vacations in exotic locations, and so on?
Characteristics of a good steward are:
- Proportionate giving
- Disciplined, debt-free lifestyle
- Taxes paid with integrity
- Family financial goals being accomplished together and as a model for your children
- Accountability even when it hurts
Let’s take a look at each characteristic individually.
1. Proportionate giving. Is your giving based upon gross or net pay? Where do you donate to? Do you give based upon net worth or net income? Do you give with a joyful heart or do write a check begrudgingly? You answers can easily be found in one simple document Americans know as your tax return. How do you line up with your stewardship? Look over the past several years and test your answers. What’s the trend of your giving? Are you showing healthy stewardship characteristics in this area?
2. Disciplined, debt-free lifestyle. Debt is often an indication of maintaining a lifestyle beyond our means, an American phenomenon. What is your belief about credit cards? What is your belief related to financial assistance from your parents and grandparents? What are your lifestyle expectations? Do you have student loan debt? Do you adhere and live within a budget? It’s been my experience when people not able to communicate and discuss money, which affects daily lives, they are also bound to have issues related to other areas in their life as well, such as values, goals, beliefs, priorities. This is a major contributing factor in divorce today; issues centered around money.
3. Taxes paid with integrity. If you are paying more income taxes, congratulations! Most likely it is because you are earning more money. We are expected to pay taxes as Americans, however are you paying them with integrity? Are you paying what is expected or are you skirting around gray areas to keep more for yourself? Living out of integrity can cause stress and has the potential to create bad habits in other areas of your life, after all if you play with gray areas when the IRS is an institution you should not be compromising with, what other areas would gray areas be the norm? Being a good steward in the area of taxes goes a long way to helping to create wealth.
4. Family financial goals being accomplished together and as a model for your children. Working through setting realistic goals as a family is where the true benefit lies, not just meeting your family’s goals. Some people don’t set budgets and goals, and they suffer for their non-planning. When your family comes first (time, health, love) over sacrificing the family to buy more materialistic items, financial goals will be the product of good stewardship automatically. Choose not to compromise your family’s WANTS with their NEEDS and choose instead to create family memories, time, and healthy boundaries instead. Modeling this for your children will help them avoid the entitlement mentality when they get older and give them a solid foundation to being independent early on when they become adults living in the real world.
5. Accountability even when it hurts. Are you accountable to anyone? Being accountable to someone helps ask you the hard questions and helps to keep you on track. They challenge your reasoning when you get off track. They save you money and undue stress for you and your family, which in turn helps to create a healthy family environment, not to mention another area to model accountability to your children.
We can all seek to become better stewards, including myself, by growing in these five areas. If you have never learned these characteristics, it’s never too late. Celebrate your accomplishments instead of looking at your weaknesses and start today!
About the Author:
Dr. John (Dealey) Carpenter Dealey is an International MasterMind expert, business mentor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, author, speaker and self-made millionaire. He is dedicated to helping people solve problems, reach goals and soar to new heights of success using the marvelous powers of mastermind and laughter. To learn how mastermind can help you create a life you love, go to: http://mastermindsoaring.com/ or: http://www.dr-mastermind.com/