I’m a husband and father, and I want to improve my family’s financial future. What would you suggest?
There are several steps you can take to bring financial peace and contentment to your household. Get them right, and solid financial plans will follow.
The first, and most important, step is to develop a strong relationship with the Lord. The extent to which husbands and fathers fulfill their spiritual role in the family has numerous cascading effects. One of these will be how well money is managed in the home. Because your faith influences your priorities and guides you toward a virtuous life, growing in it will be a key to making sound financial decisions.
The second step? Love your spouse well. There can be no financial peace in the home if there isn’t financial peace between spouses. When it comes to money, loving your spouse means you’ll develop a unified financial plan, communicate openly and honestly as the plan unfolds, and make adjustments appropriately. You’ll also take your responsibility as a provider seriously, being diligent in your work while maintaining a healthy balance for both spiritual development and family time.
Another key to financial peace relates to children, so your third step is to make sure to pass on the faith to your children. Of course, our primary reason for living the faith and passing it on is eternal life with God. But faith also provides a roadmap for life. Just as it provides you with a foundation for daily living, including your finances, so it should for your children. What’s the key to successfully passing on your faith? A Switzerland study has shown that if father and mother regularly attend church, the probability of their children regularly attending as adults increases tenfold!
Fathers, the role you play in the development of your children’s faith is critical. Consider the words of the prophet Malachi: “And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers” (4:6).
Of course, in addition to these issues, you need to do the basic blocking and tackling of financial planning. You’ll want to create a solid annual cash-flow plan that reflects God-focused priorities: a generous spirit, the formation and education of children, avoidance of unproductive debt, saving for a rainy day and other reserve funds, and the creation of wealth with a purpose.
Being a steward of Providence means you are called to fulfill all of these goals related to money management well.
Look to St. Joseph as an example worth emulating. St. Joseph, pray for us. God love you, and Happy Father’s Day!
Phil Lenahan is president of Veritas Financial Ministries (VeritasFinancialMinistries.com) and author of 7 Steps to Becoming Financially Free: A Catholic Small Group Study (OSV).