By Cindy S. Johnson

What does money mean to you? For some people, they need more of it. Others can’t have enough of it. Those without it equate money with happiness. We all know that there’s more to life than the amount of money in our bank accounts.

I learned the value of money when I was about six years old. I was told that one dollar could buy 2 candy bars. From that moment on, I learned a lesson: money is to be spent in order to get what you want. It wasn’t until I was much older that I learned the value of money – it can be used as a tool to get to where I need to be (i.e. college education) and help others (i.e. quality education for children in Haiti).

Not too long ago, I read a story in the Bible where this manager gave three of his workers a certain amount of money. To the first one, he gave five coins; to the second, two; and, to the third, one. The first servant invested the five coins and received one-hundred fold. The second worker did likewise and experienced the same outcome.

Finally, the last worker, unfortunately, thought he did the right thing by hiding his money, but the manager was frustrated with that financial approach. The manager said, “Give the first worker’s money to someone else – to the one who made the most.”

The saying, “The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer,” is true not only because of greed and economic inequalities but also because of the lack of knowledge of how we as a community handle our money.

We can learn a few lessons from the above-mentioned story. We are all stewards and must learn how to manage our money, or else we will face the unfortunate situation of poverty.

Money can be used in three ways. It can be saved, spent, and invested. Whenever any amount of money falls into your hands – it could be $1.00, $100, or $1000 – think about the following three options:

1. Save

We all know that we must save for a rainy day. Like the weather, expenses are unpredictable. Always save a certain amount of money from your paycheck. Start with $5 if you have to. Every little bit counts and adds up. Every person should have at least $1000 in Emergency Savings. Open your account that yields high interests.

2. Spend

We all love shopping, but there is a way to spend money without feeling guilty. One solution is to create a budget. A budget is simply a plan on how you will use your money. It doesn’t have to be complicated and require a spreadsheet with mind-boggling formulas. A budget is essentially telling what you want your money to do and where you want it to go. The ultimate goal is to spend less than what you get.

3. Invest

Investing may seem daunting to some individuals, but it’s one of the ways you can make your money “work” for you. However, it requires wisdom and careful planning. You may wonder where and how you can start investing. Seek counsel from a trustworthy and experience investing advisor. Do your research, and invest in companies you support.

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