time for change Here’s one thing you need to do to improve your finances.

It may be difficult to imagine boiling down your complex financial picture (debt, bills, savings, retirement, etc.) to one thing but follow me on this.  Imagine carrying a stack of cards that have been stacked in a particular order (numerically, for instance).  Anyone with kids knows the pain of stepping on a Lego without shoes.  Sure enough, you step on one of these hidden IEDs and the cards go flying as you react in pain.  How would you go about getting the cards back in order?  Would you pick them all up and start shoving stacks back in the stack hoping for some semblance of order to arise?  I think we can all agree that the most effective method would be to pick up one card at a time and begin to rebuild the ordered stack.

Why don’t we approach our finances the same way?

We look at our financial stack and realize that the whole thing is a mess of cards on the floor.  Regardless, we see opportunities for improvement.  Furthermore, we ignore the fact that for most of us the cards weren’t dropped in a split second.  Our finances got out of order one card at a time.  We dropped a card in the kitchen, a few in the bedroom, a small stack in the powder room, and one or two in the garage.  We did this over a series of months or years.  Now, we gather them all and expect an order to emerge in a matter of seconds.  We do after all live in a microwave culture.

deck of cardsPaul gave us a great principle in Galatians 6:9 (MSG) “So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time, we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up or quit.” It sounds like we are being instructed to keep moving in the right direction one step at a time.

My wife and I often coach people when they need help with their finances.  After these sessions, we always send people away with a prioritized list of steps we suggest taking (destroy the credit cards, pick up extra hours to pay off debt, etc.).  The first reaction is usually the same.  Imagine a look that implies disappointment with not receiving a “magic pill” that will fix everything with no effort.  After that disappointment subsides a sense of relief usually comes along with the knowledge that they have a plan that they can follow one step at a time.

Instead of trying to fix everything immediately, what if you picked one step you could take to improve your finances and then focused on that for the next month (maybe two or three)?

This could be reading a book (shameless plug for our book Doing Money God’s Way) on financial management, tracking your expenses, taking a swing at a budget, etc. The one thing you need to do to improve your finances is to pick one thing and do it. Do it until it becomes part of your daily life.  Then, pick your next “one thing”, rinse and repeat.

Doing Money God's Way