Money affects many areas of our lives including our relationships, our health, and our future.
We all know that money is important, but the troubling fact is that sometimes money management can get complicated.
In the face of this complexity, it can be tempting to wing it and rely on our impulses – which many times can destroy our financial health and spread destruction to many other aspects of our lives.
Thankfully, there’s a simple strategy to bridge the gap between where we are now and where we want to be – a money management strategy that’s easy to remember and fun to use!
The GAP Money Management Strategy
GAP stands for Goals, Actions, and Plans. Let’s explore each of these steps in detail.
In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey teaches on beginning with the end in mind. It is critical that you know where you are going.
Think about the last time you started a project without the end in mind. While you might have felt effective halfway through the project, you probably soon realized that you should have thought more about the end result before you started.
It’s time to think about your short-term and long-term goals. What kind of life would you like to have this year, next year, and 10 years from now? Write down your ideal future. What will retirement look like? Where will you live? What kinds of things need to change for you to be happier right now?
Do your goals feel daunting? Are you thinking about all the possibilities for failure? When you’re scared that you won’t reach your goals, remember that we’re not supposed to lean on our own understanding:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV
Now it’s time to start discovering which actions you need to take to accomplish your goals.
Consider this proverb:
Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. – Proverbs 10:4 NIV
Do you find yourself being a bit lazy? It can be an easy trap to fall into. If you’re finding that you’re a bit lazy, try exercising, eating right, and getting plenty of sleep at night. If you do so, you’ll find yourself energized during the day, ready to take action on your goals!
A plan is the framework into which you can place all your appropriate next actions. Without a plan, your actions will be scattered and ultimately less effective. Rushing through your actions might get them done, but the lack of quality will inevitably show in the end result.
The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. – Proverbs 21:5 NIV
Truth in Financial Planning has a financial planning process called the Three Phases of Wealth to help you get from where you are to where you want to be. It will help you achieve your financial goals by showing you how to organize your financial tasks – and will even encourage you to take action on goals you’ve never considered!
As you work through the GAP money management strategy, remember that you’re not on this journey alone. Invite the Lord into your financial planning process!
Keep in mind that money is not the end goal here – it’s serving the Lord with the resources he has put into your care.
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. – Matthew 6:24 NIV
The key is to serve God through everything – including your money.
Let’s summarize. First, you’ll paint a vision for your future by describing your goals. Next, you’ll start discovering the actions you need to take to reach those goals. Finally, you’ll see how your next actions fit within a solid plan, such as the Three Phases of Wealth.
By following the GAP money management strategy, you’ll make progress to a brighter financial future that will positively influence every area of your life. Keep God at the center of it all, and allow the Holy Spirit to investigate every area of your life so you can discover opportunities for improvement. God bless you as you take this wonderful journey!
What are some goals, actions, and plans that you have for your money? Leave a comment!