Faith and Personal Finance

Just like many of you, I am a woman who wears more than one hat. The three heaviest hats – wife, mother, daughter – then banker, teacher and finally a special hat, Presvytera. I can probably opine on all of those roles because each one has its challenges and rewards. But what if I jumbled all that experience together? What wisdom could I impart that would help you think about something differently? What would matter to you enough to get to the end of this column? (Keep reading, I won’t talk about stewardship – yet.)

How’s this? “Will I have enough cash flow to pay the bills and set enough money aside to retire?”

Now, you may think, “That’s a random statement – there are a lot more important matters.”

But are there really? Other than health and your kid’s safety, doesn’t that keep you up at night? If you said no, that’s okay. I did meet someone once who didn’t make much money, was heavily in debt, totally maxed out on his credit cards, had a huge personal loan and was drowning in student debt. That person proudly admitted he slept very well at night. Okay, there are those rare birds. In fact, I married one.

Managing money in this financially complicated and expensive world is daunting. On top of that, people get all sorts of pleas to dig deep into their pockets to help here and there. Being an Orthodox Christian, we want to be cheerful givers. As St. Paul writes in his second letter to the Corinthians, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion for God loves a cheerful giver.”

We need to get there. Part of it is attacking our personal finances. Unfortunately, this often gets scheduled for that proverbial “rainy day”. Amazingly, it’s never rainy enough. Whatever our good intentions, most people would rather rub sand in their eyes than sit down and reconcile their bank account. In my career, I’ve witnessed more grudge than cheer when it comes to money management.

According to the latest financial literacy survey conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, only half of U.S. adults feel confident in the knowledge of personal finance. I assume those are the ones who moan and groan and use excuses like, “Nobody told me there would be math involved,” or “Don’t worry, I’ll get to it…” and then don’t.

This is where I come in. How can I help to make you a cheerful giver? As a banker for 30 years, I’ve coached many people on their personal finances and at most, have made a huge positive change in the way they manage their money. At the least, I prevented a few overdrafts and saved my customers a couple of bucks.

As a teacher, I actually try and get personal finance into the heads of teenagers. Yeah, good luck, you say. Thanks. I also teach personal finance to adults at a local community college. This is not as tricky as trying to teach a 17-year-old how to budget, but has its own nuances. The term “What were you thinking?” comes to mind a lot.

As a Presvytera, I hope that in my future blogs about personal finance that I enlighten you enough to keep you on track towards reaching your financial goals — part of which is becoming a cheerful giver. We’ll talk more about that down the road. Meanwhile, as promised, she said with a smile, “Don’t forget to pay your Stewardship.”

Presvytera Maria Antokas’s book, Don’t Call It a Budget – Personal Money Planning in the Age of Stuff Overload, is available on the OCN Amazon Bookstore.

ABOUT THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN NETWORK

The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops of the United States of America originally commissioned by SCOBA to create a national, sustainable, and effective media witness for Orthodox Christianity and seekers around the world through media ministry. CLICK HERE to download our brochure.

This 501(c)3 is recognized as a leader in the Orthodox Media field and has sustained consistent growth over twenty years. OCN shares the timeless faith of Orthodoxy with the contemporary world through modern media. We are on a mission to inspire Orthodox Christians Worldwide. We have reached 5.7 Million People in One Week. Much like public radio, the Orthodox Christian Network relies on the support of our listeners, readers, and fans. If you are interested in supporting our work, you can send your gift by direct mail, over the phone, or on our website. Your gift will ensure that OCN may continue to offer free, high-quality, Orthodox media.

Do you find it hard to keep focused on Christ when you’re on the go? OCN makes it easy! Give today to help you and your Orthodox community stay connected no matter the location.

donate now

ORTHODOX MOBILE APPS ARE HERE!

Click here to download the Spark OCN and Orthodox Prayer Book.

_______________________________________________________________________
Posted by the Orthodox Christian Network. OCN is on Social Media! Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram

written by
avatar
Presvytera Maria Antokas is a former banker who now teaches…
Related Posts