Feeling bad about money starts us on a downward spiral. Yet it’s within our power to reverse that trend and start feeling good about where we are financially, and where we’re going.
Here’s one reason it’s hard to save for retirement.
Retirement is real, logic tells us, and we ought to save up for it. We know we can’t work and earn money forever. Yet many of us behave as if our present-day selves -- healthy, youngish, collecting a paycheck – will never cease to be.
No wonder people feel conflicted about saving. So-called frugality experts dominate the personal-finance advice columns, wanting to take away all our favorite caffeine drinks. Apparently, we’ll never meet our retirement goals because we spend too much time at Starbucks.
Previously we looked at the human costs of financial distress and the silence that surrounds it. That stress comes with us to church, interrupting the flow of God’s grace. That’s why many parishes are working to make money conversations an integral part of their ministries. Thought leaders on the subject include clergy members from our own diocese and others. Here are a few of their recommendations.
by Melissa Spas, Managing Director of Education and Engagement, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving
How do we practice the shift from a mindset of scarcity to an expectation of sufficiency in light of the promise that God would wish for us to “have life, and have it abundantly”? We can do this by learning to identify assets anew, as a practice of our faith. This requires an attention to our traditions, texts, and practices, and we will need time and space to understand the shift we are making. All of this can best be done in community, through relationships with others who are also seeking to expect and identify abundance and assets, rather than focusing on scarcity or need.
Parishioners and priests alike have a hard time talking about money issues when they veer out of control. But given the suffering caused by financial stress, do clergy have an obligation to break the silence around money?
The Pathways to Vitality Initiative, a program of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis, offers personal financial advising for active diocesan clergy. On a first come, first served basis, clergy can receive one year of free, confidential financial advisement from Certified Financial Planner Lisa Brown.
We met with Lisa Brown to hear more about her work with our clergy.
Lisa Brown, CPA, MBA
Certified Financial Advisor
Lisa Brown, MBA, CPA, CFP, is a fully accredited Financial Advisor at Highfield & Associates in Indianapolis. She personally meets with clergy and their spouses/partners to help them develop custom action plans for achieving financial health. Lisa is a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Indianapolis.
Many of us struggle to break out of the damaging cycle of spending and debt.
In a Money magazine article, credit counselors and finance experts endorsed these books that can help. Frugal readers can find them at their local library, through discount booksellers, even at Goodwill stores.
By Debi Keay
We start the new year with fresh inspiration on many fronts. Perhaps this year, you’ve vowed to give your personal finances some needed attention.
Yes! But where to start?
Renovating your financial life is a great idea! Unfortunately, for many, that initial rush can quickly give way to a sense of futility. Desmond Henry, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) in Topeka, Kansas, knows that for many of his clients, getting started is the hardest part.
"Sometimes focusing on lofty money goals like building a retirement nest-egg and paying down hefty student loan debt can feel so impossible to achieve that it actually paralyzes us and we end up doing nothing," says Henry. "Instead, create baby steps and focus on accomplishing small money wins.”
By Nancy N. Fritschner and Rev. John Fritschner
Clergy compensation comprises the major portion of any congregation’s budget. Often when clergy refer to “Clergy Compensation,” they mean something different from lay leaders who often don’t ask questions to fully understand. We will explore the difference between clergy compensation and a clergy package. Understanding the components is very important in preparing an accurate budget.
Specifically, we will look at the composition of “wages”, housing (both housing allowance and church provided housing), SECA reimbursements, 403(b) contributions, pension assessments, health insurance, and other non-cash benefits. We will talk about reporting requirements and where to find helpful resources. We will discuss the different tax structure for clergy and how that impacts their bottom line. This will be an interactive webinar to provide plenty of time for Q & A.
Presented by Nancy N. Fritschner, CPA, and On-Call Tax Consultant for the Church Pension Group, and the Rev. John Fritschner.