The Impact Of COVID On Personal Finance And Some Practical Advice On Good Stewardship

I used to enjoy walking down my local high street, but lately, the empty shopfronts have become slightly depressing. Businesses that survived the first – and even the second – lockdown have been unable to bounce back in the third. The unemployment rate in the UK has soared, and financial vulnerability has never been more at the forefront of our minds. 

Merriam Webster defines vulnerability as ‘capable of being physically or emotionally wounded’, so it is little wonder financial vulnerability often impacts people deeply.

Although I have worked as an accountant for many years, there was a time in my life when I fell into debt myself. As I helped others plan their finances, my own spiralled out of control. The impact was massive – not on just my mental health but also my physical and spiritual health: I lacked sleep and suffered hair loss. When you are in debt, anxiety, and frustration begin to build, and everything feels out of control. Prayer feels ineffective and pointless, and the hope that Scripture has to offer seems empty and meaningless.

Having a strategy and being in control of your finances enables you to make better decisions. President Biden famously said: “Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.”

As Christians, faith is the bedrock of who we are and what we do – and that includes managing our finances faithfully. The world of money often feels complex and tricky to navigate, so I’d like to suggest five biblical principles to help manage your finances, as we move into this post-COVID season.

1. Remember God is our source

Philippians 4:19 says: ‘God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.’ Remembering that God is the generous giver of all we have, keeps us humble and protects us from worshipping money. We do not have the title deed for our possessions, and will have to give an account to God on whether we have used His gifts responsibly.

2. Be generous

Luke 6:38 says: ‘Give, and it will be given to you.’ You may feel like you do not have enough to give, but there is always something in our hand to give. In Genesis 26, Isaac sowed in faith during the famine, and received a 100-fold harvest. There is blessing in giving, and treasure in heaven.

3. Budget carefully

In Luke 14:28, Jesus says: “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” Budget and plan your finances to ensure you have enough not just to start a project but also to finish it. Think about your values and what is important to you, and reflect that in your budget.

4. Avoid the debt trap

Proverbs 22:7 says: ‘…the borrower is slave to the lender.’ Buying on credit, without the means to repay, can become incredibly dangerous. 

5. Save wisely

Proverbs 21:20 says: ‘The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but the fools gulp theirs down.’ It is wise to set money aside and not rush to spend everything we have. 

These five principles will equip you to make wise, biblical decisions regarding your finances. In the easier, pre-COVID days, many of us lost sight of these principles. Often all we need is a plan, the belief that change is possible, and the courage to start. ‘Living Fearlessly’ – the theme of this year’s Uncommon Women Conference – speaks powerfully about financial vulnerability. When I got into debt, I had no older women in my life keeping me on the right path or teaching me from their mistakes. As we empower one another with practical steps to manage our finances, we can find freedom from financial vulnerability. This post-lockdown season is an amazing opportunity to teach these principles to the younger generation – and to be reminded of them ourselves! The onus is now on us to ensure we reflect our faith in our finances.  

Laide holds a First-Class degree in Accounting with Taxation (London Guildhall University); Fellowship with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA); Masters degree in Charity Accounting with Cass Business School; a Diploma in Charity Accounting with the (ICAEW), and Diploma in Charity Management (ICSA).

(This article previously appeared on premierchristianity.com, April 2021.)

Written by Laide Olunloyo

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