Keith Anderson is the executive director of Preachers' Aid Society and Benefit Fund.
We all know life will not go exactly as planned. The unexpected will happen at the most inconvenient time. Murphy’s Law always occurs when we are ill prepared. When making out your budget each month, know things will not go exactly as planned. These unexpected expenses will seem to come less frequently when you are prepared. By making sure you have a fully funded emergency fund (3-6 months of non-discretionary expenses) along with another savings account, the minor and major unexpected expenses do not derail your financial plan.
A budget is a tool that can strengthen your greatest wealth building tool – your income. John Maxwell says that a budget is “simply telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” With a sluggish and slow economic recovery, it is more important than ever to know where every single dollar goes. By planning how your money will be spent each month, you can begin to get out of debt and strength your financial position.
We, as pastors, can educate our members about the very real need for estate planning. While most clergy will not reach the exclusion amount, there may be several in the church who will. Through some very simple estate planning techniques, federal estate taxes can be greatly reduced and even avoided. And, the local church can receive a nice gift in the process.
With computer software programs, it is more and more tempting to file your taxes on your own. I know many clergy, active and retired, who do their own taxes. However, I would strongly encourage everyone to use a tax professional when filing your taxes. You will discover it is worth your investment.
Many of us wish that we had more money. We may dream it. We may wish for it. We may work harder and longer for it.
One issue was on everyone’s mind at the end of 2012 – would Congress and the President pass any legislation to avoid the fiscal cliff? A bill was passed and signed in early 2013. People are still trying to dissect the implications – and there are implications for everyone no matter where you fall in the tax brackets – of the entire bill.