4 Ways I Got My Financial House in Order in 2020

“The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” Proverbs 10:22

True to my “word of faith” upbringing (*gasp*), I make it a regular practice to ask God to increase my financial wealth.

I realize this sounds strange to many Christians (and even stranger to everyone else) but I do feel that God wishes to bless me financially. And as a result I regularly ask him for wisdom on how to enable this. (Where to allocate my efforts, asking Him to bless my actions/work…..not asking for money fall out of the sky.)

One morning in my prayer chair (an IKEA rocking chair in my backyard dedicated solely to bible reading and coffee consumption) I heard the Lord tell me that I first needed to “build the financial infrastructure that would prepare me for financial increase, as He makes a person rich but adds no sorrow with it.”

When I heard this, I knew what God meant….it meant I needed to get my “financial house in order.” I had been praying for increase, but hadn’t taken the steps to prepare for it. Beyond that, I wasn’t truly stewarding the blessings that God had already given me. (Not a budgeting problem…..but more to do with where I was storing/investing my money… getting to that)

Upon hearing this word, I opened my journal and began to create a list of all the financial changes that would facilitate “getting my financial house in order.”

I thought through my current financial structure, and realized that although I considered myself financially responsible, my money management was sub-optimal. This included checking/savings accounts earning no interest, owning poor-performing investments with dumb fees, and (grimace) sloppy business records that were likely costing me thousands per year in taxes. (By not optimizing tax deductions)

I quickly filled that page in my journal with all of the financial changes that needed to be made, and then amended that list after reading helpful books like I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. (A must read if you haven’t yet)

Close to a year later and with each item checked off in that journal page, I wanted to take a moment and share just 4 of the changes I decided to make that day that have already started to pay dividends for me (literally) in the past year.

Let’s dive in.

  1. Switching Banks: After 15 years of transfer fees, clunky mobile banking, limited customer service hours, ATM fees, and a lack of interest being made on my funds. I finally left my former bank and switched to a Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account.
    1. Some highlights of the switch:
      1. Intuitive mobile app/online banking.
      2. Excellent customer service (24/7)
      3. No ATM fees
      4. Best interest rates of any checking account around.
      5. Easy consolidation with investment accounts. (See #2)
  2. Switching Investment Brokers: With my banking now being done through Schwab, it made a lot of sense to move my stock holdings (which were strewn across multiple trading platforms) to Charles Schwab as well. With this, I was able to avoid trading fees, start managing my investments directly (now having all of my holdings “under one roof”), open a free ROTH (with a low minimum initial investment), and set up seamless auto-transfers to different investment vehicle. (A key part of building wealth….. automation of long-term investments)
    1. Some benefits of the switch:
      1. Stopped overtrading on the “crack-pellet dispenser” of Robinhood. (I still love Robinhood, but I was getting carried away)
      2. No more BS trading fees.
      3. Evaluate performance of past investment with simple, yet detailed analytics.
      4. Using auto-transfers to spread out the principle of stock investments. (No more trying to time the market with impulse stock buys, see #1)
  3. Utilizing High-Interest Savings Accounts: For money not in stocks, bonds or other investments, I wanted to earn interest, but also keep this money unaffected by market fluctuations and keep the money readily available. Although I’m happy with the modest yield in my Schwab High Yield Checking Account, I learned I could do even better in an Ally High Interest Savings Account.
    1. Benefits:
      1. 20x the typical yield of a savings account. (Although rates fluctuate)
      2. I still have (relatively) easy access to my funds. (If I needed to access to this money for some reason)
  4. New Credit Card: This goes against my “Dave Ramsey” upbringing (although I still abide by most everything else that “uncle Dave” recommends) but I also transferred all of my monthly bills and most of my spending to a Charles Schwab Investor Credit Card. (By American Express) As you could have guessed, this consolidates well with my banking and brokerage accounts (which are already being done through Schwab). The credit card is set to be paid in full every month via auto-pay, and earns rewards by depositing 1.5% of my overall spending directly to my CS brokerage account. Woo!
    1. Benefits:
      1. The rewards!! This card forces me to spend all my CC rewards responsibly by depositing them directly to my brokerage account. Not with travel points or other consumer-based rewards, just long-term investments that will yield compounding interest over time. (This may not apply however to the Luckin Coffee stock I bought last year, ouch!)
      2. Consumer protection, AMX offers great consumer protection in the event of an unjust charge to your account.

There is still more work to be done, but I feel these were some useful first steps in order to prepare myself for increase. I think it’s a useful to ask ourselves, “If God answered my prayer today, would I be ready?” If the answer is no, that might be a good first step in enabling yourself to receive from God.

….And yes, I did finally balance my Quickbooks account.

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