Finance, Investing



It’s Payday!!!

You’ve been hearing the news of another stimulus for sometime now and the week has finally arrived. Regardless of your feelings toward the government or your take on the decision for stimulus, it’s happening and depending on how you get your Tax Refund (if you do) will determined how you receive your stimulus package.

For many, it will simply be direct deposited into your checking out, probably this week!

I received a notification last Friday that there was a pending deposit coming Wednesday and that was enough to set the gears in motion. It’s probably doing that for you too!

How are you going to spend this money?

What’s that thing you’ve been holding off getting until you had some cash?

Before you go and blow that entire deposit on something that will just rot your teeth and your mind, let me help you get some perspective on ways to maximize your government payday.

The typical first reaction to a windfall like this is going to be SPEND IT UP! But I want to put an educated bug in your ear and say HOLD EVERYTHING just a minute.

What if there was a way to really bring some momentum to this money and make it work for you rather than just get something you’ve always wanted?

One of the greatest problems we face in America today is that we are wildly consumeristic or materialistic. We will never have enough stuff no matter what or where we are in life. And while that is not going to change via a simple post, we can take a step in a direction simply by doing things differently then you have before.

The word that I have adopted to guide the course of my year, is the word intentional. I fully believe that as we navigate through the details of our lives, if we can be specific and precise about the trajectory of our lives, we will be better off at every level. We are better at parenting, better at marriage, better at our careers/jobs, and even our hobbies if we just get really specific about our lives. That, to me, is intentional.

I got really excited about this a while back and decided that it would be a good idea to see what would happen if I could get specific about the direction of my income for years to come. What if I could target where I wanted to arrive at a decade from now? And instead of just reacting to what life was giving me, I get specific about where I wanted to arrive and started driving hard in that direction!

What I noticed immediately was that I began making huge improvements in my outcomes because I had a specific and intentional goal in mind.
It helped me say NO to a whole lot of things that were good things, but weren’t in the specific direction of what I really wanted to accomplish over time.

And that’s what brings me to the point of this stimulus. What if there was a way to be very strategic about this deposit you are going to receive?

For years, I’ve used a simple breakdown filter to help me navigate through some specific decision, whether it has to to do with money, as is the case here, or something else like time or an intense project.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • HOLD. Don’t do anything with that money for a week. Against all your inclings and desires, put that cash into a savings account where you are not going to touch is with your debit card and determine that you are not going to do anything with it for a week. The greatest flaw we have when it comes to extra money is that we find a reason we need to spend it immediately. But what you are going to spend it on will not be an intentional decision it will be on a whim and will probably be something you either regret later or that you will look back on a say, I didn’t really need to buy that.
    Step 1, hold everything and just wait a week.
  • GIVE. After you’ve held everything for a few days, determine that your first step will be to give something of it away. Generosity produces a lot of good things in your life but it only comes through intentional willingness. You must decide to give every time.
    Let me just say, as a Pastor, I know there are a ton of hurting churches and non-profit organizations right now. So many places are dependant on the generosity of people and in an environment like we have been living over the past year, the first place people reduce is where they are generous. They step into the belief that they cannot afford to be generous anymore so they stop giving or reduce it significantly. Decide early that you are going to give a portion of this windfall to your church. They are doing good work, you know they are and giving is a Biblical precedent, don’t avoid that significant step in your life with this income.
    How much? Good question! I’ll leave that up to you and your prayerful approach to this. There are a lot of Biblical examples of giving. The Old Testament model was based on a tithe system, tithe means tenth, so it’s pretty customary to give 10%, but I refuse to restrict the Lord’s movement in my life simply because of a pattern. If the Lord directs you to give less, then awesome. If he directs you to do more, still awesome. Either way, acknowledge his care of your life, and give.
    Step 2- Give and give intentionally.
  • REDUCE DEBT. Super important step in your life. You must resist that urge to bypass your debt and just spend. Some of you are going to get enough with this stimulus to go buy a car. And if after waiting a short period of time, and giving some away, you collectively decide together with your spouse or those other significant voices in your life that it’s the thing to do, sweet, but do not avoid the importance of debt reduction.
    I realize that reducing debt isn’t the coolest thing in town, but it is important. If you made a previous commitment to a debt obligation, then this windfall moment really should, in some part at least, be used to get rid of some of that debt. Think of the long run! You don’t want to be tied down to that payment for as long as they say you’ll need to be paying on it. See what you can do to reduce it with this payment.
    Reduce debt using the snowball method. Smallest to largest debt and add the payments from the smallest together to continue tackling larger debts. You’ll be out of debt sooner than you think, especially if you’re incorporating major unexpected income such as this stimulus.
    Step 3, Reduce debt.
  • INVEST. My favorite step by far, invest some of that cash! I get a little bit excited about this step because I’ve seen first hand what investing can do. If you’ve never invested before, this could be your moment! The stock market is a significant place to earn some cash over time, but know this! You don’t earn money day-trading. You lose money day-trading. Don’t go into an investing mindset thinking your going to go in and out of stock on the highs and lows and make money. No you’re going to lose money and you don’t want that to happen.
    If you’ve never invested a day in your life, let me give you a few pointers.
    • Don’t buy stock from companies you see in the news. GameStop is not your stock! You’re going to regret that move everytime. I guarantee you do not know and fully understand all that is happening with that company right now and jumping on board a bandwagon like GameStop is going to be a decision you soon regret. Regardless of what’s investors are doing to manipulate that stock, GameStop is a company on life support and as soon as someone pulls the plug it is DOA.
      Companies in the news are there for a reason. They have either already made a huge financial move ahead or they just underwent a financial downfall, but either way the media is reporting on them because there is drama and the media loves drama. Don’t follow what you see online.
    • Research companies you understand. Do you drink Coke? Have you ever told someone they should drink Coke too? Then you believe in their product.
      How about Ever bought anything there? Probably a good bet they’d be a good one to look into. I bought amazon stock for my son 12 years ago when the stock price was just $119 per share and I am certainly glad I did! And get this, the stock advisors that I pay attention to are still recommending buying Amazon stock today.
      What about Starbucks or Dunkin? How about a company like Pfizer who is undoubtedly going to make a killing off of producing and selling the Covid Vaccine. And the awesome thing about Pfizer is that they have a terrific Dividend as well.
      Home improvement stores are on the up and up right now because the building market is going through the roof and they usually have good dividend programs in place as well.
    • Be cautious with Crypto, but know it is a viable investment. Do some googling about Bitcoin and see if you can wrap your head around it. The brand, Bitcoin, may not be your best bet, but there are hundreds of cryptocurrencies that are making a lot of money right now. Many of them made hundreds of percent growth in the last 12 months. To avoid the momentum of this would be ludacris, but I wouldn’t put all your cash there. Still use it as an investment approach and know that it will go up and down and most often at a rate of much higher volatility than the stock market. It’s not unusual for a crypto to advance or retreat 10% in a single day.
      I use to handle my Crypto investments. Right now I’ve got coins with BTC, DOT, VET, UNI, ETH, BNB, ADA, XLM, ICX, LINK.
      Resist the urge to simply buy more of the ones that are on the cheap. The cost of the coin does not define growth potential, it’s prospectus defines that more than anything else. That’s the main reason why I give you a multitude of what I’m purchase over a single recommendation. Also know this, you can buy pieces of a coin. For example, I own .02% of a single Bitcoin. There’s simply no way I could own an entire bitcoin at its current price.
    • Invest in your own potential. Don’t discount your own ability. Often times the best investment we can make is in our own ability. Is there something you are needing that you know you can produce someone by having it? A tool of your trade that will increase your bandwidth and productivity? Look at that as an investment also.
      If investing has never been your thing or if you don’t think you can afford to invest, I want to caution you. You can’t afford not to invest something! Your future is far too important and valuable to just trust it to chance. That’s not very intentional, if I may be so bold. The most important day to invest was when stock prices were low,
      Step 4, Invest.
  • SPEND. And now we arrive back at the beginning, the spending category. Far too often, we put this part first and substantially miss the benefits that come from all the rest. Each of these are really essential to the entire process except this one. Spending is not essential to your financial health, it actually removes you from it.
    I have a criteria for spending money. And please understand, when I talk about spending money, I’m not referring to the day to day needs you have to live- Food, shelter, clothing (not all clothing) are essentials that you need, but must determined that you won’t go overboard on any of them.
    For those extra things, the things that you would like to add to your life, here’s my criteria for determining if it’s what I will do:
    1. Do I absolutely need this? If YES, then…
    2. Can I wait to buy it till a later time?  If YES, then…
    3. Can I find this cheaper somewhere else? If YES, then…
    4. Do I have money specifically budgeted for this purchase?  If YES, then… PURCHASE

Typically, we get to a place where we are convinced that what we want is also what we need and therefore must come today! But with a bit of research a couple things might be able to happen. First, you might actually realize you don’t need it after all. Or secondly, you might find it at a better price somewhere else. You’ve just got to give it some time. Besides, if you’ve lived without it this long, can’t it wait another week? And IF after a week, you’re still sure it must be apart of your life, and IF you’re certain you have the money to pay for it, THAN yes, go for it!

Here are a couple tools I use when I’m doing some price comparing.

Amazon Scan Tool. That’s such an awesome function. It will literally scan a barcode and tell you the price they have it for online. Awesome for quick in the moment comparison while your strolling the Aisles at Target. However, I’m also convinced that places like Target know you do this and that’s the reason why your phone won’t work while you’re in Target!

Rakuten. You’ve got to check out Rakuten. It’ll give you cash back for your purchases, sometimes even in store, if you check in correctly. I’ve made hundreds in cash back from using Rakuten and it just takes some thinking ahead which really coincides with the plan.

What else? What do you use when your seeing if you’ve got the best price? Or if there are better options out there? Everyone wants to save some cash, even if your buying something used. Hello! Let’s talk about Facebook Marketplace for a minute! There are some serious deals to be made by looking for stuff that someone else wants to get rid of! In fact, it’s also a great place to get rid of stuff you don’t want anymore!

Case in point, we were cleaning out an old hunting cabin that is on our property last weekend and inside were three bunkbeds with old rock hard mattresses. I was ready to go into destroy mode just to clean it out, but not my wife. NO, she had plans! As soon as we got home, she told me that she had posted them on FB and within an hour she had them sold for $120 bucks! For something I was either going to throw away or burn!

For many, the consensus is that they are either going to pay off debt, start a savings account, use it for an important purchase they have been waiting on for some time, but I didn’t not see a single person say that they were needing this stimulus as a bailout from the previous months. Which is altogether interesting to me.
Please don’t hear me wrong, I know there are people who are desperately in need of a handout like this and it is going to greatly assist their lives. That is undeniable.
But for so many others, this is just a second tax refund that they are going to use to put windows in their house, or cash in the bank, or to paydown debt, but it is not going to buy groceries or pay rent, or whatever else.
Becuase of that, you have to have due diligence at investigating a proper perspective in how to really maximize the potential of this money.

Reduce Debt

So tell me, what are you thinking that you’re going to do with this money!?

Here’s another post I wrote about how to really maximize your money over time – “The Secret of Never running Out of Money.”

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