The majority of financial advice is general, but in order to understand the complex things, the basics must be mastered.
1. Turn Away From Greed
Greed can suck you in and never spit you back out.
It can take over every part of your life and ABSOLUTELY rid you of any and all joy.
Like a cancer, it filters into every part of your being and will ruin not only yourself, but also the people around you. Because of this, Solomon talks quite often on the need to turn away from the selfish desires of greed.
- “Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money; it robs them of life.” – Proverbs 1:19
- “Greed brings grief to the whole family, but those who hate bribes will live” – Proverbs 15:27
- “Greedy people try to get rich quick but don’t realize they’re headed for poverty.” – Proverbs 28:22
- “Greed causes fighting; trusting the Lord leads to prosperity” – Proverbs 28:25
- “Income from charging high interest rates will end up in the pocket of someone who is kind to the poor.” – Proverbs 28:8
2. Diversify your Life
Diversification is often brought up specifically in relation to investing. However, I believe diversification must come in all forms of life; everything from diversifying your sources of income to what areas of life you choose to study.
The man who is solely a specialist will surely falter when it comes to areas outside of his specialty. However, the man who learns from varied sources, diversifies where his income comes from as well as his investments will not feel the full force of a fall.
- “Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.” – Ecclesiastes 11:2
This verse speaks directly on diversifying your investments. It’s crazy to think that diversification as a staple of investing has gone back as far as biblical times, but here Solomon is telling giving us financial advice.
- “Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days.” – Ecclesiastes 11:1
This verse is actually the one that antecede’s the previous mentioned.
At first glance, this verse may seem confusing because in our mind throwing bread on the water will just come back soggy and eventually moldy.
But, from the perspective of Solomon, what he’s referring to is don’t put all of your grain on one ship. Solomon was involved in international trade with many merchants (1 Kings 9:26) and one of the largest commodities of the times were grain.
“Cast your bread” refers to Solomon sending grain, and notice how Solomon says “waters” to indicate the need to diversify by sending out multiple ships in case of loss.
These verses have such great correlation to today, but must be studied to understand. I love it!
3. Reduce Debt
Debt is something that has become so widely accepted in our culture that it infiltrates nearly every purchase.
Companies play to our current culture of immediate satisfaction robots. We want everything right now, and don’t want to pay for it until later.
- “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” – Proverbs 22:7
- “Not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you.” – Proverbs 22:26
Nowhere in the Bible does it say debt is a GOOD thing.
To me, this is an indication that debt should not be taken lightly and in many cases should not be taken at all.
4. Advice Given is Only As Good As the Advisor
This is actually a quote I’ve heard sometimes back, and it always stuck with me being a “Financial Advisor.”
The main reason it stuck with me is because it’s so true and the bible very well says these of it.
- “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” – Proverbs 15:22
- “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” – Proverbs 19:20-21
- “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” – Proverbs 11:14
- “Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.” – Proverbs 15:32
- “Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored.” – Proverbs 3:18
- “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” – Proverbs 12:15
These are just a portion of the verses in the Bible that takes of the importance of seeking good advice.
The reason advice is so important is because views can be tainted. We also multiply our knowledge when we take advice from someone more experienced that us. This being said, remember that the advice given is only as good as the advisor giving the advice.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17
The idea behind this verse is that the sharper/harder the iron being used, the sharper the irons will both become. If you’re trying to sharpen yourself against a soft metal (i.e. a person soft in their faith) neither of you will become sharper.
Heed this advice.
5. Take Hold of Opportunities
God opens doors, But, often times it requires us to walk through those doors. You can’t merely sit on the sidelines hoping something will happen. You have to get out there and work for it.
The Bible stresses the need to seize opportunities when they arise.
- “He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap.” – Ecclesiastes 11:4
This verse speaks to the overly cautious. The people who wait for the absolute perfect time to do something. There may never be a perfect time, so start now!
If a farmer waits too long to sow, there will be nothing to reap. If you wait too long to witness, the opportunity may be gone.
If you wait too long to start a business or invest for your retirement or begin tithing, you may have nothing to sow.
- “Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.” – Ecclesiastes 11:5
Don’t try to out-think God. He has a plan and your job is to simply begin moving forward on the straight and narrow.
6. Hard Work is Important
This ties very closely with my fourth point, but there are so many verses from Solomon on the importance of working hard that they couldn’t be ignored.
- “Take a lesson from the ants, you lazy bones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.” – Proverbs 6:6-8
- “A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.” – Proverbs 6:10-11
- “Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich.” – Proverbs 10:4
- “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.” – Proverbs 13:4
- “Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!” – Proverbs 14:23
- “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” – Proverbs 21:5
This is only a portion of verses I found on hard work. It’s as if one of the wealthiest men to ever live and a man who pleased the Lord (1 Kings 3:10) got to those places through hard work and determination.
So many today are becoming lazy and dependent on things like technology. I’m here to offer a different voice.
The only thing you need to depend on is Christ, and hard work can lead to success in your life.
7. Hard Work is not Enough.
- “If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed.” – Ecclesiastes 10:10
It’s clear that one cannot JUST be a hard worker. You must also use intelligence in your attempts to get work done.
Wisdom allows for efficiency and effectiveness.
When hard work and smart work are combined, the result is much greater than one alone and Solomon illustrates that idea wonderfully through his writing.
8. Be a Giver
Tithe is an important part of following Christ.
But in the same sense, so is giving above and beyond tithe. Not just monetarily, but also giving of your time and effort.
Throughout Proverbs, the Bible states the importance of giving and specifically helping the poor.
It’s often said, but rarely done, that we as Christians are not called to vet every person we give money to, but rather do our part and let God take care of the rest.
For example, when you see someone on the street asking for help, it’s not necessarily our place to make sure that what they’re going to do with the gifts we give are right. It is our duty however to be the hands and feet of Christ.
- “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.” –Proverbs 3:27
- “Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.” – Proverbs 11:24
- “The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” – Proverbs 11:25
In our minds, or at least my own, keeping as much money as possible to myself would make me wealthy. However, the bible teaches the opposite. Be stingy and lose everything he says!
I think this relates not just to monetary wealth, but just a wealthy life in general with good friends and family.
- “It is a sin to belittle one’s neighbor; blessed are those who help the poor.” – Proverbs 14:21
- “Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors him.” – Proverbs 14:31
- “If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord— and he will repay you!” – Proverbs 19:17
- “Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor.” – Proverbs 22:9
- “Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to poverty will be cursed.” – Proverbs 28:7
These verses all deal directly with giving, but not only that, giving directly to the poor.
How often do we get trapped in our own little worlds and forget about those around us. Especially here in the US where for the most part we have everything at our finger tips.
Even the poor in America have it better than a majority of the rest of the world.
So, in summary give freely, and you will be given back!
9. Never Stop Learning
Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s right-hand man has a quote from one of my favorite business books, Poor Charlie’s Almanack that I really like:
“Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Discharge your duties faithfully and well. Step by step you get ahead, but not necessarily in fast spurts. But you build discipline by preparing for fast spurts. Slug it out one inch at a time, day by day. At the end of the day – if you live long enough – most people get what they deserve.”
If you attempt to learn each and every day, eventually you will amass a great amount of knowledge.
This is a topic the Bible talks and lead to his great wealth, both financially and spiritually.
- “Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.” – Proverbs 2:3-4
- “Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold.” – Proverbs 3:13-14
- “Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold. For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it.” – Proverbs 8:10-11
- “How much better to get wisdom than gold, and good judgment than silver!” – Proverbs 16:16
- “Wise words are more valuable than much gold and many rubies” – Proverbs 20:15
Solomon, the richest man who ever lived is telling us that understanding and wisdom are more profitable than gold and silver, something he had more of than anyone EVER!
So then, why do we seek paper money over wisdom and knowledge? Something to think about.
- “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.” – Proverbs 9:10
10. Rest is Important
You can’t burn the candles at both ends without eventually burning up completely.
Hard work is important, but so is rest.
When I think of rest, I like to compare to working out. I can’t possibly apply the same intensity to a 5k as I can to a 100 meter sprint. Because of this, a rest/work balance is important not only in working out, but also in life in general.
In order to stay sharp, rest must be had.
- “A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to break down, and a time to build up. – Ecclesiastes 3:3