Bible with Cross Shadow by knowhimonline on Flickr       Today’s Personal Finance Bible Scripture comes from Ecclesiastes 5:10-11. Solomon has a lot of great advice for us in Ecclesiastes. His simple observations go right to the heart of the matter and still ring very true today.

       10 Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. 11 As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them?

Ecclesiastes 5:10-11 (NIV)

       Solomon wisely observes that the greedy can never have enough. But what is the point of greed? What good does it do us to have more and more? The second verse gives us Solomon’s insight into the folly of greed. Having and eating lots of food only makes you fat. And what good does it do to have all kinds of possessions? Do you want to be wealthy just so you can sit around and look at your stuff all the time?

       How often do we think to ourselves “If I only had some more money in the bank…” or “If I could just get a raise and make more money…”? Solomon is cautioning us against the love of money. More money and more possessions aren’t really going to give us meaning in life. Only when we accept Jesus and give up our lives to Him can we experience any true and lasting meaning in this life. All the things The World can offer us are truly meaningless – they won’t matter at all once we’re dead!

I Am More Than My Income

Corey —  August 17, 2010 — 7 Comments

       A couple weeks ago, I wrote an article as a follow up to the post I did on creating a balance sheet and calculating your net worth. It was called “You Are More Than Your Net Worth“. In the article, I said this:

       There is danger in obsessing over your net worth – in defining your success based on a number. It is wise for you to prudently manage your finances, and tracking your net worth is part of that process. But you must always be aware that your value comes not from what you own but from who you are in Christ. It is in being a child of God that Christians find their true worth.

       I went on to quote a few Bible verses and back up my point quite well (if I do say so myself).

       But I have to admit something to you.

       Apparently, I still don’t get it.

       That’s right. I sat here behind the computer writing about how you shouldn’t base your value on your net worth. But last week, I found myself rating my value based on how much income I’m earning (or not earning, in this case). Let’s back up a bit and get the story.

Laid Off

       In late 2008, I was laid off from my job at a financial planning firm. (Stock Market Decline + % of Assets under Management Compensation Business Model + Recent Expansions + Less than One Year at the Firm = Bye, Bye Paul!) This happened about six months before I married Michelle. Since then, I’ve been working to start my own business, but it’s been a slow start. I’ll be profitable this year, and that’s saying something. But I’ve taken a huge drop in my income for now.

       I could have possibly found another job working at another financial planning firm. But the problem was that I was tired of conflicts of interest and I was tired of catering only to the very rich. After a lot of prayer and discussion with Michelle, we both agreed I should start my own firm and do it in a way that meshes with my ethics.

       Fast forward to today, and I’m working on growing my business and pursuing other ways to earn a living in the meantime. Thankfully, Michelle makes enough working as a nurse that we’re still able to meet our living expenses. God is caring for us during this time. But recently I’ve found myself depressed and judging my own value based on the lack of income I’m bringing in for our family. (It’s just us two right now, but we’d like to have kids someday.)

Who’s Really Running the Show?

       Maybe it’s a guy thing – I want to feel like I’m providing for my wife. But that’s just stupid really. Nothing I have or ever will have has come only from my hands. God has created everything, and everything I have or will have comes from Him. When I give, I’m not giving my money – I’m giving the money God has entrusted to me. When I provide for my family, I’m not providing my money from my hard work – though work is required. If I’m honest with myself, it always has been and always will be God who does the providing.

       When I start judging myself based on my income, I’m taking God out of the equation. My value doesn’t come from what I own and it doesn’t come from what I earn. None of that matters in eternity. My true worth is in being a child of God – and that is infinitely valuable. I was bought for a price that can never be repaid. In God’s eyes, I’m extremely valuable. And He is of the greatest worth to me.

The Currency of Love

       The funny thing is that Michelle has never valued me based on my income (or lack of it). And God hasn’t either. It is in my ability and willingness to love that I find my true value as a Christian and as a husband. And my ability to love suffers as I obsess over my value as a source of income.

       That obsession (and resulting depression) puts me in the service of Mammon and makes me into a workaholic. I work when I should be spending time with God or my wife. I think about work when I should be thinking about other things. This is not healthy for my walk with Christ or my walk with Michelle.

       I’m trying to take my own advice and see my value in the currency of love and not money. It’s not easy. And I’m not so sure it’s something that would be solved if I just earn more money. The root of the problem is not really how much money I’m making (or not making). The root of the problem is me – my perceptions of who I am and what my responsibilities are to God and to my wife.

       I am not dismissing my responsibility to work and provide for my family. But I am dismissing Satan’s lie that I am only as valuable as the money I bring in the door. I will continue to work hard and look for ways to earn more money. But I will pray for God to open my eyes to see my true worth and to have wisdom enough to restrain myself in the pursuit of money. Please pray for me as I continue to pray for all of you.

Your Thoughts

       Have you ever struggled with feelings like this? How did you handle it? How did God show you the truth? Please help me out and share your thoughts in the comments below.

       This guest post was provided by Ashley from TaxDebtHelp.com.

       There are few things worse than knowing you owe the government a huge chunk of money and one of those things is knowing you do not have the money to pay what you owe. No one wants to be indebted to Uncle Sam because the IRS is a powerful collection agency and typically supersedes other creditors. When the tax bill comes due and you can’t afford it, you can be fined or penalized, have your assets frozen, find a lien placed on your property, or potentially have your property levied. Levies may come in the form of the IRS taking money out of your bank or taking money out of your paycheck (IRS wage garnishment).

       So what do you do? The IRS is reasonable in understanding that not all taxpayers are capable of settling their debts in one lump sum but still want to do the right thing. There are resolutions that the IRS offers to help consumers catch a break and settle their debts in full.

How to Get Help with a Back Tax Bill

       The first thing any taxpayer should do is realize where their current financial situation stands. They need to be clear about the reality of their finances so they will be able to better negotiate the process of getting help. The IRS has several programs that assist people who do not have the immediate resources to pay off their tax debts. If you are in a great financial place, you shouldn’t have too much trouble paying the debt in full.

       If you have a decent financial situation where you can’t pay the taxes in full but do have reliable income and some cash left over after paying living expenses, you should be able to set aside cash from each check to make payments on your tax balance. Options for people who are doing OK financially include:

1. IRS Installment Agreements

       A common method to help consumers pay their taxes is the installment agreement. The IRS will allow reasonable payments to be made on a monthly basis until the balance is paid in full. If you do not owe more than $25,000, you have a good chance of being approved for an installment agreement without much paperwork provided you can satisfy the debt within a 3-5 year time period.

2. Partial Payment Installment Agreement

       For those who can afford some payments but who are unable to qualify for a normal installment agreement, a Partial Payment Installment Agreement may be set up. The taxpayer will be able to make monthly payments towards their tax bill, but with a PPIA part of your debt will exceed the statute of limitations on debt collection. In essence, you end up paying less than you owed. You must provide financial documents to prove your financial status and get the IRS to agree to approving this option.

3. Take a Loan

       If you feel you would be successful approaching family or friends for a loan on the amount you owe, it may be an option to avoid fees and IRS paperwork to borrow the cash you need and satisfy the debt in full. Only exercise this option if you are comfortable dealing with family and money and be sure to pay back the loan amount within a reasonable period of time.

       If you have poor finances, meaning you can not pay the taxes you owe and there is nothing left after basic needs have met, you may find the IRS can offer a resolution to paying owed taxes.

4. Offer in Compromise

       This option will allow a taxpayer to settle the tax amount due for a sum less than is owed. Many taxpayers hope to get approved for this option but few will because the IRS ensures only those who really need the assistance get accepted for an Offer in Compromise. If the IRS is assured they will never be able to collect the amount owed, they will likely approved the offer from the taxpayer.

5. Currently Not Collectible Status

       In a situation where the IRS is sure that collection of a tax debt would be unfair due to payments resulting in the loss of basic necessities, they will declare a taxpayer’s debt to be currently not collectible. The IRS will not release the debt but will essentially offer a forgiveness for a period of time usually up to 18 months. They will check in for updates on financial status until they deem the amount collectible. The good thing is normally the statute of limitations on your debt (time the IRS has to collect) continues to tick. However, penalties and interest can still accrue.

6. Bankruptcy

       Bankruptcy should be a last resort to resolve debt issues but it is a serious matter and should not be used just because you can’t afford to pay taxes. Bankruptcy will negatively affect credit for ten years to come, and it may be in a taxpayer’s best interest to seek the assistance of the IRS for better options on settling a back tax debt. Additionally, bankruptcy is never a guarantee. In the end, a taxpayer may not even be approved for a tax debt dismissal.

       Whatever method works for both the taxpayer and the IRS should be considered and action needs to be taken to resolve the matter of an outstanding debt. Avoiding the situation will only make the debt larger and the legal consequences more severe.

       This guest post was provided by Ashley from TaxDebtHelp.com. If you are looking for more self-help details on IRS tax debt payment plans, or if you are looking for ways to resolve IRS tax levies like IRS Wage Garnishment, visit their site today.

       On Monday, I wrote about the three methods of making money. Tuesday, I talked about three reasons why Christians should not think about earning more money. And today, we’re continuing the discussion by looking at two reasons why Christians should think about earning more money.

       While I had three reasons why we shouldn’t think about making more money, I’ve only thought of two reasons why we should be thinking about how we can earn more. The lack of a third reason does not mean much though. I think these are two powerful reasons why Christians should be looking for ways to make more money.

1. You Want to Meet Your Needs and Your Family’s Needs

       As I wrote in my Bible study on work, God uses the results of diligent work to bless us and meet our needs. I recommend you read the article in that last link to learn more about this aspect of work.

       God is certainly able to meet our needs by any means He chooses, but we have a clear call in the Bible to work diligently. God uses our work as a means of blessing us and meeting our needs. The fact that this requires action on our part does not take away from the divine blessings that follow – for everything was created by God and all that we have comes from Him. Our working is simply a fulfillment of our responsibility.

       If you’re doing what you can to lower your expenses but still find yourself lacking what is needed to care for yourself or your family, then thinking about ways you can earn more money can certainly honor God. However, if you simply desire to spend more on your wants and desires, please go back and read my post about reasons why Christians shouldn’t think about earning more.

2. You Want to Be More Generous

       One of the ways we can witness to the power of God’s love working in us is through irrational generosity. God can give us such a heart for the poor that we give far more than anyone could reasonably expect. When extreme generosity is evident in our lives (not through our boasting, but through our choices), non-Christians have no easy way to explain it. This gives us an opportunity to testify to the love of God and the teachings Jesus gave us.

       If you want to be more generous, I commend you! There are two ways you can give more. You can either spend less on yourself, or you can earn more and give it away. Spending less works up to a point, but you can’t spend less than $0. And getting to that point would be extremely difficult!

       On the other hand, you can always look for ways to earn more money. And theoretically, there’s no limit on how much you can make. That also means there’s no limit on how much you can give away either. For someone who wants to be more generous, that’s great news!

       Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:28:

       Let him who stole steal no more; but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need.

Ephesians 4:28 (WEB)

       This isn’t just a call to a change of heart and actions for those who used to steal. It’s a call for all Christians to use their abilities to work and earn money so we may give to those in need. While we can certainly have the wrong motives for earning more money, increasing our generosity is certainly not one of them. I can’t think of any better reason for wanting to increase your income!

Your Thoughts

       I really tried to come up with three reasons for this article. I thought it would be nice to have an equal number of reasons why we should or shouldn’t think about earning more money. As I said before, it doesn’t matter that I didn’t come up with a third reason because these two are quite powerful.

       But maybe you can think of a third reason why Christians should think about earning more. You can let me know what you think by sharing your thoughts in the comments below!

       In the last part of this series, we continued looking at God’s View of the World, Money, and our lives so we can start to focus on serving Him instead of serving Money. We’re finishing that discussion today, and we’ll start talking about practical applications in the next part of this series.

       In David’s prayer to God after the Israelites’ freewill offering for the building of the temple, we see an excellent example of God’s View of the World, Money, and our lives:

       10 Therefore David blessed Yahweh before all the assembly; and David said, “You are blessed, Yahweh, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 11 Yours, Yahweh, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty! For all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, Yahweh, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all; and in your hand is power and might; and it is in your hand to make great, and to give strength to all. 13 Now therefore, our God, we thank you, and praise your glorious name.

       14 But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. 15 For we are strangers before you, and foreigners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is no remaining. 16 Yahweh our God, all this store that we have prepared to build you a house for your holy name comes from your hand, and is all your own.

       17 I know also, my God, that you try the heart, and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things. Now have I seen with joy your people, that are present here, offer willingly to you. 18 Yahweh, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the hearts of your people, and prepare their heart for you.

1 Chronicles 29:10-18 (WEB)

       David recognizes the awesome power of God. God is the ruler of all things, creator of all things, owner of all things, and giver of all things. We are truly nothing in comparison to all of God’s glory. Our very few days on Earth (when compared to God’s eternity) are but a shadow. We must remember that we have not created all we have—it all comes from God.

       The second part of David’s prayer has some especially good points to keep in mind in our giving. First, everything we have comes from God, so when we give we’re really only giving what is already God’s. Second, we must give willingly and honestly to truly bring joy to God. He doesn’t want our Money for the sake of having our money. A willing offering is a sign of complete loyalty to God—it shows that our heart belongs to God and not Money.

       If a willing and honest desire to give back to God in thanks for His goodness, mercy, and glory is not in your heart, pray that God will help change your heart and focus your mind on His ways. If you already have a willing and honest desire to give, pray that God will keep that desire in your heart forever and that He will keep your heart loyal to Him.

       To view everything as belonging to God, to view contentment as the ultimate path to wealth, and to give God all praise and glory are ideas that go against our human nature and the ways of society. It may be difficult to take on God’s View and live it out because it will seem like foolishness to many people. But consider what Jesus said in Matthew 16:26:

       26 “For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?”

Matthew 16:26 (WEB)

This passage is also found in Luke 9:25.

       What good will millions of dollars do for you if you lose your soul in the process? How much will you care about having a nice car and a nice home if it means you have severed your relationship with Christ? Is there anything in this world that’s really worth eternal separation from God?

       It’s so easy to let Things creep into our lives and put up a barrier between us and Jesus. Sometimes it happens without our realizing it. But we have to remember that nothing is worth more than our life in Christ. When the Things of this World seem to start taking priority over your faith, step back for a moment and consider: Is it worth it?

Want to read the entire Bible study series on Contentment? Download your free copy of Contentment Is Wealth: A Bible Study on Contentment now!

       Yesterday, I posted an article called “The Three Methods of Making Money“. Kevin from Christian Simplicity shared his thoughts in the first comment:

Conceptually, I agree with the ways of earning money. I have done all of the above. I’ve got 20+ years of experience chasing the answer to “expanding my opportunities” to earn more. I have lived too long in the world of trying to figure out ways to earn more money.

Now I am trying to keep my focus on asking how can I take part in what God is doing? How can I love God and my neighbor more? How can I know God better and be content trusting him to provide what is right?

It was a lot easier coming up with answers to the questions I was asking about ways to earn money. But the joy and moments of rest when “I get it” are a lot more peaceful with the new questions I’m asking.

       He makes a good point in questioning how much Christians should be focused on making more money. There are good motives for wanting to earn more and there are bad motives. I thought it would be interesting to look at this idea in a little more depth than comments on a blog post allow. So today, I’m going to look at why Christians shouldn’t think about earning more money. On Thursday, we’ll talk about why Christians should think about earning more.

       Here are three reasons why Christians should not think about earning more money:

1. You Love Money More Than God

       If you’re currently struggling with the love of money, it would be unhealthy to spend your time thinking about how you can earn more. You should treat money (and the things that make you love it) like a drug addict would treat drugs during rehabilitation. You’ve got to stay away from the snares that can pull you back into the habit. Clearly, thinking about how you can earn more isn’t going to help you break free from the love of money.

       There are two very clear passages in Scripture that warn against loving and serving money. First, Jesus warns us in Luke 16:13-15 that serving money prevents you from serving God:

       13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. You aren’t able to serve God and mammon (Money).” 14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they scoffed at him. 15 He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts. For that which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

Luke 16:13-15 (WEB)

       Then the apostle Paul warns against greed and the love of money in 1 Timothy 6:6-12:

       6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we certainly can’t carry anything out. 8 But having food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 But those who are determined to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful lusts, such as drown men in ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11 But you, man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith. Lay hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you confessed the good confession in the sight of many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6:6-12 (WEB)

       Finally, James admonishes those who ask for wealth simply because they want to spend it on themselves:

       You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

James 4:3 (WEB)

       Taken together, along with numerous other verses that teach against greed, hoarding, and selfishness, we see that it would be wrong for Christians to think about how to make more money if:

  1. They’re not concerned with loving & serving God.
  2. They love money and simply want to hoard it up for themselves.
  3. They desire only to spend it on themselves.

       All of these indicate a clear love of money. If you have these symptoms, seek God and follow Paul’s instructions in 1 Timothy 6:11-12 instead of thinking about how you can make more money.

2. You Think More Money Will Make You Happy/Secure

       Satan loves to feed us lies, and I think this is one of the most common lies we face. More money will not bring you security. And more money will only bring you more “happiness” if you’re living at or below the poverty line. As Christians, we must understand that God is our fortress and security and we must trust only in Him. We also need to realize that we can only have true joy in Christ and the salvation and eternal life He gives. Money can never satisfy that need or provide eternal security.

       Proverbs 11:4 and 18:10-11 warn against thinking of our wealth as our security:

       Riches don’t profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.

Proverbs 11:4 (WEB)

       10 The name of Yahweh is a strong tower: the righteous run to him, and are safe. 11 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, like an unscalable wall in his own imagination.

Proverbs 18:10-11 (WEB)

       And Jesus asks in Matthew 16:26:

       For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?

Matthew 16:26 (WEB)

       Then Jesus admonishes the church in Laodicea:

       17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing;’ and don’t know that you are the wretched one, miserable, poor, blind, and naked; 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich; and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.

Revelation 3:17-18 (WEB)

       Thinking about how you can make more money is dangerous if you believe it will bring you security or happiness. As Christians, we must learn to let God transform us and our mindset so we can understand the fleeting nature of wealth and the imaginary security it boasts.

3. You Want to Impress People

       Worrying about how others value you with the world’s standards ignores the value you have in Christ. It also perpetuates socioeconomical discrimination, which does not honor God. God does not respect people based on their wealth, power, or success in this world and neither should we. We should avoid thinking in those terms as well. Consider these passages from the Bible:

       17 If you call on him as Father, who without respect of persons judges according to each man’s work, pass the time of your living as foreigners here in reverent fear: 18 knowing that you were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from the useless way of life handed down from your fathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a faultless and pure lamb, the blood of Christ;

1 Peter 1:17-19 (WEB)

       9 But let the brother in humble circumstances glory in his high position; 10 and the rich, in that he is made humble, because like the flower in the grass, he will pass away. 11 For the sun arises with the scorching wind, and withers the grass, and the flower in it falls, and the beauty of its appearance perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in his pursuits.

James 1:9-11 (WEB)

       1 My brothers, don’t hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory with partiality. 2 For if a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, comes into your synagogue, and a poor man in filthy clothing also comes in; 3 and you pay special attention to him who wears the fine clothing, and say, “Sit here in a good place”; and you tell the poor man, “Stand there,” or “Sit by my footstool”; 4 haven’t you shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers. Didn’t God choose those who are poor in this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which he promised to those who love him?

James 2:1-5 (WEB)

       And if you’re concerned about keeping up with the Joneses, consider this verse from Proverbs:

       There are some who pretend to be rich, yet have nothing. There are some who pretend to be poor, yet have great wealth.

Proverbs 13:7 (WEB)

       Instead of being concerned about what others think of us, let’s focus on what God thinks of us. Rather than looking to impress people, let us honor and glorify God by seeking to serve Him in all things.

Your Thoughts

       What are some other reasons why Christians should not think about making more money? Are you struggling with any of these reasons right now? How are you dealing with it? How can we encourage you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

       I’ve been thinking lately about ways people make money. And I have what I believe may be a Grand Unified Theory of Making Money. It still needs some refinement, but here it is: There are three ways to make money: selling time, selling a product, investing, or some combination of these.

       That’s extremely simplified, so let me elaborate a little.

Selling Time

       This is probably the most common way people make money. If you work for someone else and get paid by the hour or a yearly salary, you’re essentially selling your time. But having a “regular” job isn’t the only way to make money selling time. There are several ways:

  • Sell Your Time to an Employer – This is your typical job. You’re hired by an employer to do a job, and they pay you an hourly wage or a salary.
  • Sell Your Time to Consumers/Clients – This is freelancing, contract work, or certain types of self-employment. You’re hired by clients (essentially, many employers) to do a job/jobs, and they pay you an hourly wage or set fee.
  • Sell Other People’s Time to an Employer – Think of temp agencies or a company that hires people and then fills an employment contract for another business. These aren’t extremely common, but you’re seeing more of them.
  • Sell Other People’s Time to Consumers/Clients – This is what a lot of businesses do, especially in service industries or professional companies (like CPAs, investment firms, law firms, etc.). They hire employees at a certain rate/salary, and then sell their services at a higher rate.

       Clearly, the problem with this strategy for making money is the limitation of time. There’s only so much time available – even when you’re selling other people’s time. Sure, you can raise rates, but only to a point. However, there’s a big difference in the limit between the first two examples and the last two.

Selling a Product

       Next up is selling a product. This can be any kind of product – basically anything that isn’t “time”. Again, there are several different ways to make money by selling a product:

  • Sell a Product for Someone Else – If you’re in a sales position where you get paid by commission, you fall in this category. Also, think of bloggers using affiliate deals or multi-level marketing (MLM) schmucks who haven’t developed their “downline”.
  • Sell Your Own Product – Farmers with road-side stands, bloggers with their own books for sale, and people selling a product they create/manufacture themselves are all in this group.
  • Get People to Sell Someone Else’s Product – Think retail businesses or MLM schmucks who found suckers to join their downline. Also, affiliate marketing networks (like Commission Junction) would be in this crowd.
  • Get People to Sell Your Own Product – Businesses that create or manufacture their own product and then hire people to sell that product fall into this group. In the online world, this would include businesses with affiliate marketing programs or bloggers who create their own products and offer a cut to anyone who will sell it for them (via affiliate links).

       Depending on which strategy you’re using here, you could be limited by your own time or abilities or the sky could be the limit. The only problem here is that you need to have people willing to buy. But that’s not necessarily a problem if you have a good, useful product and/or you’re a good salesperson.

Investing

       Investing is a way to leverage your own or others’ money-making efforts. You can:

  • Invest Your Own Money – If you’re buying securities or other investments or if you’re starting your own business with your own money, you’re in this crowd.
  • Invest Other People’s Money (OPM) – If you’re borrowing money to invest or if you’re managing someone else’s money and taking a cut (think mutual funds), you’re in this group.

       Again, there can be a variety of limitations here: your resources, others’ resources, your time, availability of good opportunities, etc. However, this is probably the one area where people have made ridiculous amounts of money – especially when they combine it with any of the other methods.

Any Combination of the Methods

       I won’t even go into the possibilities here as they’re simply too numerous. But in reality, this is what many people/businesses do. Take my wife’s grandfather for instance. He started an agribusiness, which has become quite successful. In the whole process of starting/growing his business, he has:

  1. Sold his time to clients by combining, spraying, chopping, etc.
  2. Sold other people’s time to clients by hiring them to combine, spray, chop, maintain equipment, etc.
  3. Sold products for other people/businesses like fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, and herbicides, etc.
  4. Hired other people to sell others’ products
  5. Sold his own products (mainly corn)
  6. Hired other people to sell/produce his own products
  7. Invested his own money in his business
  8. Invested other people’s money in his business through prudent borrowing

       You can probably take any business and break it down into some combination of these methods.

Why in the World Does This Matter?

       Well, beyond the interesting theoretical implications, this matters because it can help you figure out how to make more money! Take a look at what you’re doing now. What are your limitations? How can you expand your opportunities to make money by looking at other methods? Maybe you’ve never considered any of these options beyond what you’re currently doing.

       If you want (or need) to make more money, thinking about the various methods might help spark a new idea for you. And that seems like a good enough reason to write about it!

I Need Your Help!

       As I said before, I feel like this Grand Unified Theory of Making Money needs some refinement. Which methods did I leave out? Can I simplify the statement: “There are three ways to make money: selling time, selling a product, investing, or some combination of these.“? What do you think about this theory? How will you apply it to your situation?

       Share your thoughts in the comments below!