It’s not your home.
It’s not your investment portfolio.
And it’s not your collection of Beanie Babies.
No, your most valuable asset is your ability to earn money. While it can take the shape of a single job (very rare) or a single career (a little more likely), many people today are earning money through a wide variety of jobs or careers.
It doesn’t matter much how you do it. The important thing is that you earn money. If you’re not able to earn money, you won’t have a home. You won’t have an investment portfolio. That’s right. You won’t even have your beloved collection of beanie babies!
More importantly, you won’t have food, clothing, shelter (of any kind), or much of a way to keep warm unless you’re able to earn money. (Aside from disability insurance and the like)
Without a way to earn money, you don’t have to worry about how to manage your personal finances. You won’t have any!
How Do You Earn Money?
Illegal activities, inheritances, and investing aside, you earn money by providing some product or service that other people value (or even better, need). So your ability to earn money is really your ability to provide something (anything) that other people think is useful. If you can do that, you can earn money.
There are so many possibilities that I’m not going to bother listing them here. Just remember: if someone else thinks they need it, you can get paid for it. Food, clothing, ideas, manual labor, advice, etc. – if it’s valuable to someone, they’ll pay you for it.
Invest in Your Most Valuable Asset
How can you manage your most valuable asset well? Invest in your ability to earn money. But what does that mean? Invest in your ability to provide value to others. More simply, invest in yourself!
Anything you can do to improve your ability to provide something of value to others will improve your ability to earn money. Learning more, making connections with people, and finding ways to better meet your customer’s or your boss’s needs are simple ways to invest in yourself. They can take on many different forms depending on your current or desired profession, so figure out what will work for you.
Does this mean you shouldn’t invest for retirement? Not at all. You won’t be able to work forever! But it does mean that you should spend more time focusing on your ability to earn money rather than your ability to invest it. Your earning ability is far more important than your investing ability. Learn what you need to invest well for retirement (stay tuned to Provident Planning for more on that), and focus instead on how you can earn more and spend less and do more with what God has given you (how you can glorify Him more).
How Does This Apply to Christians?
Isn’t focusing on how you can earn more just plain greed? It depends on what you plan to do with your extra earnings. For some people, it’ll mean being able to save when they couldn’t before or being able to pay off debt. For those who are already managing their own finances well and are earning enough to meet their needs and savings, it’ll mean being able to give more in God’s name.
The only time it would be greed is when you intend to spend whatever you can get on yourself – your own desires and wants (not needs). If you’re focused on meeting your needs (or your family’s needs) or how you can give more to help others, you’ll be glorifying God and fully acting within His Provident Plan for your finances. Motive is the deciding factor between greed and generosity.
God has made it perfectly clear that He has called Christians to work hard. Not only will you provide for your own needs and avoid laziness, but you’ll also be following His plan for your finances and putting yourself in a position to give more generously. Hard work is the pathway to financial success because it helps us earn more so we’ll have more to save and give.
So the next time you start thinking your home, your investments, or your Beanie Babies are your most valuable assets, remember that you wouldn’t have them if it weren’t for your ability to earn money.