Success in any discipline, craft, profession, vocation, sport, or any life skill requires knowledge, experience and practice of the fundamentals, or core principles, applicable to each. We summarize these core principles as follows:
Spend less than you earn.
The first step to stewardship freedom is a savings account. The first goal is to have one month of your after-tax living expenses in a savings account that is separate from your checking account. The second goal is three months. The next is six months. Some stop at three months of after-tax living expenses saved. That’s fine. The point is to save.
The good news is that saving can and should start at any time. Even if you are behind in your savings plan or haven’t started, you can start now.
Maintain liquidity for emergencies and unexpected opportunities. Once you reach your savings goal, you have enough funds in liquid savings to fund your living expenses without fret or debt. The excess can now be put to work with sound investing fundamentals, which we will talk about further below when we explain our Tax Control Savings Plan. Before getting there check out this video about saving:
Avoid the unproductive use of debt. Some debt is good, some debt is bad. Good debt can be for things like a home purchase, career, business opportunity, or leveraged savings or risk management. Examples of bad debt are credit cards that carry balances, new car debt, 100% financing of assets, or loans not backed by reasonably certain cash flow and an appropriate debt to income ratio.
Think long-term in your goals and investing. Patience is a virtue that must be cultivated, much like the gardener nurtures beautiful flowers to bloom and the grower cultivates the soil to bring forth luscious produce from the earth. Good things and good results take time. And time is your friend, if you are patient in your savings and investing goals. A systematic plan over a period of twenty years is usually sufficient to fund your living expenses needed in retirement. So think long-term in your savings and investing. Plod ahead steadily into the future in a trust-driven manner. Don’t swing for the fences in your investing. Maintain vision and prudence. You will find great reward in this kind of disciplined approach to building responsible stewardship.
Be a generous steward and leave a lasting legacy. Our trust-driven advisory process helps BRS clients experience a life driven by discovering the joy of giving. Our clients find that giving to others frees them from themselves and things in ways they never imagined. Even along the way of reaching their ReHirement savings goal, they realize that they are able to give more and more along the journey. And they also find that once they have converted enough earnings into savings to fully fund their living expenses through death, and thus reached Critical Stewardship Mass, they have excess savings that they can give to their heirs and favorite charities. These clients find that being a generous steward is a life practice, an ethic, that results in leaving a lasting legacy.
We at BRS believe stewardship is about relationships. Careers, reputation, financial stability, and personal goals are all important pursuits. However, none should come above our relationships with family, friends, and our community. Our relationships are the cornerstone by which we leave a positive impact and lasting legacy.