Last week it was announced that the UK is officially out of the deepest recession since the Second World War. In many ways that's good news. Good news for people looking for jobs, good news for employees in companies which have struggled through the recession, good news for people who own businesses, good news for people in sales and their bonuses and annoyingly good news for the bankers now returning to their exorbitant bonuses!
But I have a huge concern that we've failed to learn the real lessons of this recession. That at the root of the recession was a belief that a debt fuelled lifestyle is the way to go. We've bought into the belief as individuals, as companies and as nations (and even as churches) that debt is the way to go, and it really does make sense to get stuff today and hope we can pay for it tomorrow - "For everything else there's Barclycard" could be a tag line for our generation. I do fear that if we don't learn the lessons of this recession then in a few years time we could be in a much worth place, both individually and as nations.
So now is a great time to get well planted financially. That doesn't happen by accident. So here are my three steps to being well planted in 2010.
First be honest about where you're at. Paul wrote to the church in Rome "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another". That's a great starting point for being well planted financially. Are you in trouble and just sticking your head in the sand - if so then admit to yourself, to some friends you can trust and to God. Don't struggle on in isolation, church is a safe community for all of us to be honest and open about whatever it is we're struggling with.
Secondly believe that with God's help you can be well planted and begin to prosper. God isn't going to condemn you for where you're at, but give you all the help you need to get to a better place. We'd often just want God to drop a huge sum of money in our laps to sort everything out, but God often has lessons to teach us through financial hardship - that's been my experience anyway.
Thirdly come up with a plan. It's so true that if you fail to plan you plan to fail. So come up with a plan to get planted where you want to be. The core of financial planning is very simple - getting to a point where your income is bigger than your expenditure. But inevitably the details will be more complicated. You'll almost certainly need some help. That might be going to CAP for debt counselling, or doing a CAP money course. And then when you've got a plan continue to work it, even when you're tempted to give up or unexpected things happen.
There's so much more I could say, and perhaps will in a future blog. But for now can I encourage you to think seriously about your situation and what God might be saying to you in all this.
Be well planted and prosper!