Excerpted from the my new book Financial Stewardship: A Guide to Personal Financial Health and Wellness©, July 2014
‘Personal financial stewardship represents the care, conservancy, planning, attention, upkeep, and management of our financial resources and choices beginning at the individual level. In contrast, Thesaurus.com shows ignorance, negligence, squandering, and waste as antonyms of stewardship. As more of us become aware and proficient with individual stewardship, then there can be a greater corollary to the community and global stewardship needs – which will be addressed in future discussions.
Please note this definition does not limit financial stewardship to those being math wizards, those having professional credentials in the financial or business world, or to people labeled as analytical, objective, or left-brain thinkers. Nor is there any predetermined range or measure of financial wealth (or perceived lack thereof) that removes the responsibility of attention from being on the ball with stewardship in this area. From this perspective then, we’re all in the same learning boat together here and everyone needs to claim their personal responsibility and abilities for their own financial stewardship. While I am a long-time supporter of formal education programs and qualifications, I also believe it’s vital that we equally value our own self-study, experiences, and intuitions. So, you could well end up with your own personal PhD in Financial Stewardship based on your application and accomplishments.
Financial stewardship has many components, including:
- Managing all of our current resources with wisdom
- Teaching our children about finances
- Integrating career choices with compensation possible
- Planning to make a family or charitable legacy gift
- Educating ourselves with knowledge from reliable sources
- Making thoughtful, conscious choices between options
- Considering how and why our decisions impact those around us
- Removing the fears and myths and masks that stymie our intentions
- Understanding the relationship between money and other areas of our lives
- Taking personal accountability for how we gather and use our financial resources – money, tangible assets, human capital (earnings potential), time, legacies, and more
- Invoking universal abundance with respect and responsibility
- Learning to view money as a currency, a tool, without judgment labels attached
- Becoming more adept at valuing our own time and contributions, and those of others around us
- Realizing that the awakenings and awareness in each of us of the wondrous universal gifts brings a calling to balance all areas of our lives, including financial stewardship
As you can see from the definitions above, this offering is clearly in a different realm from many of the popular approaches that have their core focus on how to get rich, how to fix what’s wrong with you so you can get rich, why rich people have a better life, what’s the latest hot trend or method guaranteed to make you money, why you deserve to have more money, why you’ll be more loved/sought after/revered as you become ever more successful, and other assumptions that center around financial status as a primary means of measuring one’s net value and happiness quotient’.