LEAVING A LOVING LEGACY
FIRST STEPSAVING FOR YOUR LIFE
Why we don’t Save
Maintaining control of your finances relieves stress. We’ve heard the old saying, “ it’s not about how much you make, it’s about how much you save.”
If you’ve made one of the following statements:
“I can’t afford to save.”
“I don’t make enough money for my bills.”
“I am living paycheck to paycheck.”
“I don’t make enough money to tithe.”
Do any of these statements sound like you?
Then let’s explore why we fail to save, some ideas for savings, and the value and effects of savings.
Like Pas always says, “it’s not that you don’t have the money to save, it is how we manage what we do have.” So, what’s your truth? Is it difficult to save due to the lack of funds, how we manage, or simple disobedience?
We say we can’t save due to lack of funds. If you have an occupation or receiving any type of income, there is an opportunity to save. Inability to save has more to do with inefficient management which could include lack of skills or lack of discipline. Lack of skills can be reversed with an open mind, the desire to obtain the knowledge and then, actively pursue better management. There are a number of resources available to accomplish this goal, but the number one resource is the bible.
Believe it or not, disobedience is the number one reason for not saving. Without self-control, it is difficult to obey. We have a command and a guarantee in Matthew 6:33 to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. God is faithful to his promise, but do we seek God first?
What the Bible says about Saving
The bible teaches us to practice discipline when managing what God gives us. Practicing discipline is more difficult to tame. Without it, our chances of meeting our desired result decreases. We must persevere and stick to our plan!
Do we tithe, then save or do we spend and neither tithe nor save? I’ll let you answer that. Be honest with your self. We should never fail to tithe and save, so that when the emergency comes, we will be ready! When we obey, by faith, we are able to bless others with a joyful heart, and God’s purpose is fulfilled.
The purpose is not depending on you; God placed the purpose there for you to depend on Him. We then have peace in knowing that He does not come short of His word. Malachi 3:10 says “if you do so I will open the windows of heavens for you and pour out a blessing that you will not have room enough to receive it in!”, and 2 Corinthians 9: 7 says “each one should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” He doesn’t count numbers, he makes number count. Trust God, believe what His word says and obey.
How we can begin to Save
Here are a few tips to try on your journey to saving more.
1. Savings is an obedience issue. Pray about it. Then test God, as he asked us to do in Malachi 3:10, which means for us to examine His faithfulness in response to what we do.
2. Instead of spending your raise, save it. You were not living on it before you got it, right? Place it in to your personal savings or increase your 401K Retirement Contribution.
3. In addition to your current savings. Whatever is left over at the end of the month, plan to save a percentage of that money. Make yourself proud. Watch your savings grow!
4. Some of us may not have large amounts to save, so, start small and save your change. Use coupons.
5. Commit to saving $25 a day, by end of year, you will have saved a whopping $9,125! And in two years $18,250. Start Now with the amount you can reasonably save.
6. Call credit card companies ask, if they will lower your interest rate. The worse they can say is “no” but what if they say “okay.” You don’t know until you ask.
7. To reduce access, transfer your saving account to a location that requires more time and effort.
8. Add an accountability partner who signs also before any withdrawals are made.
9. Test your discipline skills. Make a short term promise not to withdraw from the savings account for three months. When you reach that goal, extend it to six months. Watching your savings grow could be an incentive to stay away!
So why all this saving! It’s like having an oxygen mask handy on the airplane. Dave Ramsey quotes Marla on facebook.com/financialpeace who said “Put your own oxygen mask on first! Take care of yourself.” Then, help someone else. Save more and you will be able to give more and live on less than you did the prior year!
I dare you to try it!
by Fern Francis
SECOND STEPCREATING A WILL
Do I need a Will?
If you died today, do you want the state of Texas to decided who raises your kids? If you died today, do you want the state of Texas to determine how your funds would be allocated to your spouse or domestic partner?
If these questions frightened you slightly, then you need to make sure you have a will. A will is simply a legal document in which you, the testator, declare who will manage your estate after you die. Your estate can consist of big, expensive things such as a vacation home but also small items that might hold sentimental value such as photographs. The person named in the will to manage your estate is called the executor because he or she executes your stated wishes.
There are two types of wills available for you to create:
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
Identifies who should receive your property, defines who you want to carry out your wishes and names guardians if you have minor children. All wills must be approved by a court after you pass away.
Describes your preferences for care in a medical emergency and names someone to carry out your health care wishes. This document is sometimes called an advance directive, health care directive, or medical power of attorney.
Writing a will isn’t the most pleasant of tasks. After all, by doing so you’re not only acknowledging your own inevitable demise but actively planning for it. That might explain why so many adults avoid this cornerstone of estate planning. According to an AARP survey, 2 out of 5 Americans over the age of 45 don’t have a will. But creating a will is one of the most critical things you can do for your loved ones. Putting your wishes on paper helps your heirs avoid unnecessary hassles, and you gain the peace of mind knowing that the best decisions are being made after you have passed.
How do I write a will?
The laws governing wills vary from state to state. If you aren’t familiar with them, consider consulting a knowledgeable lawyer or estate planner in your area. While it is important to have one in place, you shouldn’t be daunted by creating one, as these days you have several options to choose from. It’s up to you which method best suits your needs. Here is a quick and easy guide about how you can make a Will:
CREATE YOUR OWN
You can create a will without any assistance from a professional. There are templates and kits in shops and online, meaning this is the cheapest option when it comes to writing a will.
If you opt for this, make sure you:
– Get the document signed, dated and witnessed properly
– Be specific when it comes to naming who you want to benefit from the will and what you’d like them to receive and check your spelling
– Destroy any old wills you may already have
– Tell your executor where you will keep it
My will is written, what’s next?
Where should I keep my will?
A probate court usually requires your original will before it can process your estate, so it’s important to keep the document safe yet accessible. If you put the will in a bank safe deposit box that only you can get into, your family might need to seek a court order to gain access. A waterproof and fireproof safe in your house is a good alternative.
Your attorney or someone you trust should keep signed copies in case the original is destroyed. Signed copies can be used to establish your intentions. However, the absence of an original will can complicate matters, and without it there’s no guarantee that your estate will be settled as you’d hoped.
How often does a will need to be updated?
It’s possible that your will may never need to be updated — or you may choose to update it regularly. The decision is yours. Remember, the only version of your will that matters is the most current valid one in existence at the time of your death.
With that in mind, you may want to revisit your will at times of major life changes. Think of pivotal moments such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, the death of a beneficiary or executor, a significant purchase or inheritance, and so on. Your kids probably won’t need guardians named in a will after they’re adults, for example, but you might still need to name guardians for disabled dependents. A rule of thumb: Review your will every two or three years to be safe.
A clearly drafted and validly executed will is the best defense. Proverbs 16:9 says “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. God’s word encourages us to plan our way, that includes the end of life as well. We can not be afraid or hesitant to do this. Never forget that God is in control!
Why, you do not ever know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? “You are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14) The end is inevitable, so we should do our best to prepare ourselves and our loved ones before it’s too late!
THIRD STEPFUNERAL PLANNING
Plan for the inevitable
Pre-planning is a matter of taking the time to think about – and record – your end-of-life desires. It’s a thoughtful gesture to those you love, and a way to let go of anxieties about the future. Once done, you can relax, knowing your plans are in the hands of reliable friends or family.
It’s All About Taking Control
Given time to consider it, you’ll quickly realize that pre-planning is all about ensuring that your wishes are known, so they can be acted upon when the time comes. Making the commitment to planning ahead:
- Its easy. There’s no health questionnaire or physical exam required. Absolutely everyone can make a pre-plan, and there is no waiting for return documents. The plan is completed, and put on file.
- Lets your family clearly know your wishes.
- Relieves your family members of making very personal decisions on your behalf at the time of need.
- Can protect your family from the ravages of inflation. Your expenses can be covered when you need them to be, through a pre-payment plan.
Does Pre-planning Require Pre-payment?
The simple answer is just two letters: No. You can set plan to paper by simply recording your wishes, and leave it for your family to pay for your desired services at the time of your passing. Or, you can protect you and your family from inflation, by pre-funding your plan. This ensures your expenses will be covered when you need them to be.
When you choose to pre-fund your final arrangements, your money is put in a state-approved trust account or top-rated insurance company until required. After your pre-plan is paid for in full, make sure the price is guaranteed. You should never have to pay more for the items you have already paid for. Choose a plan that will go where you go. No matter where you reside at the time of your passing, no matter what funeral home you choose to work with, your plan will be transferable to any funeral home in the United States.
Prepare for the inevitable
Laying the foundation for a well thought out plan for you or a loved one takes a bit of time, but, it’s worth every moment spent. After all, you’re setting the stage for a more relaxed and enjoyable life, because you’ll have the peace-of-mind preparedness brings. Here’s what to do to get started:
- Prepare a contact list of individuals who should be notified in a medical emergency or death.
- Write an obituary or simply jot down information you would like included in an obituary.
- Decide where obituary and memorial information should appear.
Choose the type of service you would like including the burial you prefer and make those arrangements. You will need to decide:
- Cemetery lot location
- Casket type; cremation urn type
- Vault or sectional crypt
- Type of service: religious, military, non-denominational, or fraternal
- The contact details for the funeral home you designate to care for you.
- Pallbearers, music, flowers, scripture or other readings
- Charity to receive donations in lieu of flowers, if donations are preferred.
- Select the speakers and the eulogies that you would want to represent you.
- Decide what organizations or church will benefit from memorial donations in your name.
Make arrangements and delegate
The people who know and care about you will be there when you need them. You only need to provide them with instructions, important financial details, and then relax. You’re in good hands.
- Give your Executor a copy of your Will. Safety deposit boxes are often opened up during the estate settlement process, long after the funeral. Any funeral planning documents therein can be of no help to your executor.
- Make sure your representative has a list of important account information or telephone numbers for retirement plans, insurance policies, investments, bank accounts, safe-deposit boxes, properties, preferred law and accountant firms and mortuaries. Remind your personal representative that the Social Security Administration will need to be called and, if you’re receiving benefits such as those from the Veteran’s Administration, they should be contacted as well.
- Designate a power of attorney to ensure that proper information can be accessed in the event of your illness or death. Make sure a durable power of attorney for health care and a living will are in place so that your wishes are carried out if you are unable to do so.
- Make arrangements for telephone and utilities services, and newspaper and magazine deliveries, to be cancelled.
- Cemetery and memorialization services
- Funeral arrangements, including clergy, florist and transportation
- Make arrangements for pets to find a new home.
Prayerfully, you find a trustworthy, reputable funeral services provider to contact for more information. They would be pleased to answer any questions you may have, without obligation.
by: Pruitt Funeral Home
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