Book Summaries

Master Your Money

Do you know if you have enough? Do you know how much is enough? If you can’t answer these questions, Master Your Money is for you.

In this book, Ron Blue extracts principles from God’s Word and applies them to your financial portfolio.

Learn how to:

  • Avoid the most common financial mistakes
  • Apply biblical principles for money management
  • Save, invest, and give wisely
  • Create a long-term financial plan that works
  • Plan for your taxes and estate needs
  • Get out of debt

Ron’s professional experience in financial planning will ease your anxieties over money and be an asset to you and your family for generations to come. Learn the tools and techniques you need to move forward toward true financial freedom.

  • Quote: “The extreme[s] of sharing personal income in communal living to the ‘prosperity gospel’ approach … are an attempt to reach God in the way we handle our money, when all the time He is attempting to reach out to us with His wisdom, counsel, and principles.” (13)
  • Quote: “The context, therefore, of personal money management is that God is still in control, and under His control there are four broad economic possibilities: (1) inflation, (2) deflation, (3) monetary collapse, or (4) political upheaval.” (14)
  • Notes: As Christians, we learn to view financials from a different perspective. Our country is in massive debt that won’t just disappear; someone is going to pay through future taxes, future inflation, or political upheaval. The best thing we can do is to plan for possible eventualities and base plan on the basic biblical financial principles.
  • Quote: “Ultimately, financial planning is the predetermined use of financial resources in order to accomplish certain goals and objectives.” (22)
  • Quote: “What matters is that the talents are the Master’s … It is not my job or your job to tell the Master what to do with His resources; it is only our job to be faithful to use what we have been given.” (27)
  • Notes: Christians are called to handle their money differently; they are considered to be the salt and light as well as servants and stewards. The world tells us we are entitled to owning possessions, while God calls us to be “generous and willing to share.” (21) The four biblical principles include: 1) God owns it all — owner: rights; steward: responsibilities; 2) we are in a growth process — earthly lives serve as a tool, test, and testimony; 3) the amount is not important — have an attitude of open hands; and 4) faith requires action.
  • Quote: “Remember that good decision making requires a long-term perspective.” (32)
  • Quote: “When money becomes your focus, you are doomed to disappointment, because money is merely a resource and was never intended by the Creator to be anything more than that.” (41)
  • Notes: By definition, financial planning is allocating limited financial resources among unlimited alternatives. The process includes summarizing your present situation, establishing financial goals, increasing cash-flow margin, and controlling cash flow. Short-term goals set apart commitments and goals, while long-term goals answer the question “How much is enough?” We are responsible for how we handle the resources God has given us.
  • Quote: “The rule of 72 says that any interest rate divided into 72 will always give you the length of time required for an amount to double in value.” (44)
  • Quote: “We must all learn to be content right where God has us today and then work diligently to achieve the goals and objectives He has set before us for the future.” (51)
  • Notes: To achieve long-term goals, you should spend less than you earn, and do it for a long time. If you want to save more in less time, you should start early and have a high interest rate. Compounding involves the amount available, needed, time period, and the earnings rate. To create or increase margin, you can either earn more or spend less.
  • Quote: “Beware and be on your guard against every form of greed and guard against relying on things for your sense of worth and accomplishment.” (66)
  • Quote: “Being in debt is never the real problem; it is only symptomatic of the real problem.” (73)
  • Notes: God discourages us from taking on debt, but it is not a sin. The economic dangers of debt include: compounding works against you, debt becoming a trap, and debt always mortgaging the future. Criteria for undertaking debt include: making economic sense, both spouses being free from anxiety, having a spiritual peace of mind, and having no other way to meet God-given goals and objectives. Debt is deceptive, creates bondage, and is blasphemous when we rely on it and deny God an opportunity to work.
  • Quote: “To know conclusively where you are financially is necessary before you can even begin to plan for the accomplishments of goals, dreams, and desires.” (76)
  • Quote: “The higher the propensity to borrow, the lower the propensity to accumulate. Borrowing doesn’t always help you achieve financial goals.” (82)
  • Notes: This chapter laid out the four steps to financial planning: summarize the present situation, establish financial goals, increase cash-flow margin, and control cash flow. Blue suggests that you create a statement of net worth (assets-liabilities/debts) and a summary of cash flow to begin. Of course, the way to increase net worth is to increase your assets more than your debts. These summaries should be renewed annually. I like how Blue prioritizes our cash outflow: first is giving, then taxes, then debt repayment, then living expenses.
  • Quote: “A ‘faith goal’ is a statement of God’s will for me, and all goals should be set with a mindset of asking what God’s will is for me.” (105)
  • Quote: “You don’t set the goal and then go to Him asking for the resources. You let Him speak to you and develop the goal and then trust Him for the resources.” (110)
  • Notes: Blue describes that there are four reasons to set goals: to provide direction and purpose, to crystallize our thinking, to provide personal motivation, and to seek God’s will. However, we are hindered by fear of failure, laziness, and not knowing what goals to set or how to set them. Set measurable goals with all the people involved and seek God’s direction. Blue is quite right in saying that our financial goals are as unique as we are.
  • Quote: “A positive cash-flow margin is absolutely essential if you are to accomplish either long-term or short-term financial goals or objectives.” (120)
  • Quote: “A budget doesn’t keep you from spending money on your needs and wants; it keeps you from spending responsively, impulsively, and unwisely.” (124)
  • Notes: Taking action is the next step to following our financial goals; this chapter discusses increasing our cash-flow margin. Some common mistakes that delay us from completing this goal are consumptive lifestyles, having no budget, and what Blue calls “driving to the poorhouse,” AKA having cars that are worth less than we pay for them! Society’s trend is to follow a debt-ridden, consumptive lifestyle. Aim for no debt and “snowball” your payments towards the debt you may already have.
  • Quote: “Until you take the action steps you have decided on, you won’t have exercised faith, for faith without works is dead and plans without action are mere talk.” (143)
  • Quote: “There is something extremely empowering about making a plan — you move from being reactive to proactive.” (145)
  • Notes: A good financial plan will improve the current situation and work towards helping achieve goals. A positive cash flow should be the priority of your financial plan. Also, remember to be flexible with your plan when it comes to responding to changing circumstances. I agree with Blue when he affirms that plans give us confidence to move forward.
  • Quote: “The overall admonition is KEEP IT SIMPLE. Don’t get sucked into the trap of trying to be too exact or perfect with your budget.” (156)
  • Quote: “Whatever cash-flow system you choose, pick it and stick with it and it will help you achieve your long-term objectives.” (159)
  • Notes: Any cash-flow system should operate as simply as the “cookie jar” or “envelope” system: give each dollar a purpose, stop spending when the cash-flow stops, and make it easy to assess your current situation vs. your planned situation. I really thought that the idea of estimating your expenses and then comparing that to what you actually spend is a great idea of familiarizing ourselves with our genuine spending habits. Of course, limit credit card use and save ahead for “budget busters” (unplanned emergencies or bigger expenses).
  • Quote: “Your choice is fraud or faithfulness. You may reduce taxes by illegal or questionable means, but faithfulness requires you to use good planning and honesty to reduce taxes or to pay the full amount without begrudging where no deductions can be taken. Your objective is faithfulness — not tax reduction.” (164)
  • Quote: “Be a planner — not a responder. It is especially important to plan in the tax area because of the many types of taxes you have.” (165)
  • Notes: Planning is key when it comes to wading through your taxes; receiving a large refund check is a sign of not spending enough time doing this. It is also important to note that when dealing with tax reductions, you must remember that there is ultimately a cost. While learning about taxes may seem boring, it is beneficial to be familiar with the ways in which you can legally defer income, make smart investments, and plan wisely for the future.
  • Quote: “The three key questions to ask yourself when considering investing and an investment strategy are: Why am I investing (what long term goal will this help me meet), what is my purpose — accumulation or preservation, and what would God have me do with this money both now and in the future?” (186)
  • Quote: “Always maintain a long-term perspective. The longer the perspective, the better the decision is apt to be today.” (197)
  • Notes: Investments should be made based on the individual’s long-term goals. In order to make the best investment, you should ask if the investment is a good deal and the best use of your available funds. Several objectives for a solid investment include maximizing liquidity, maximizing growth, maximizing yield, and minimizing risk. (192) Again, planning is essential when it comes to making a wise investment. It is far better to have an accumulation investment strategy that will allow you to accumulate little by little over a period of time, as opposed to trying to achieve wealth quickly and ultimately risk losing it.
  • Quote: “Unless you plan the distribution of your estate, the government will.” (202)
  • Quote: “Our world is obsessed with having lots of money, but lots of money tends to lead to miserable people and fighting over money leads to lost relationships. Do everyone a favor and have a will prepared, but do not neglect the training of your heirs to deal with money on their own.” (235)
  • Notes: There are many elements of estate planning that should not be put off. In order to provide for your loved ones after your death, it is important to establish a will, determine life insurance, decide who will be the beneficiaries and how property will be distributed, decide how the records will be organized, and determine who will be placed in control of making sure the deceased’s wishes are granted. Just like we are called to be stewards of our resources while we are living, we should also take care to steward our resources wisely after we are deceased.
  • Quote: “Giving is never a cause of spiritual growth — it is rather a function of spiritual growth. That being said, giving has a way of transforming our hearts on a different level as giving breaks the power of money in our lives.” (239)
  • Quote: “There is so much joy to be experienced … through giving and it would be a shame to miss it. Take control of your finances so that you can take part in the joy and celebration of giving.” (249)
  • Notes: The problem many people have with giving is that they simply do not know how to give. When giving, we should plan to give with purpose. Being preemptive in our giving and seeking guidance from the Lord concerning who to give to is essential as well. How much we give falls into three levels — “should give, could give, and would give.” This is the point at which we must seek guidance from the Lord to determine if we are called to give beyond our means.

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