Some people have the ability to squeeze a lot of meaning into a few words…words that anchor themselves in our minds and guide us, often when we are not expecting it. These meaningful snippets, over time, become oft-quoted sayings.
In this post, I will quote – and comment on — some very common and some not so common financial quotes.
Hopefully, they will find an anchor in your mind to help guide you in your financial decisions.
1. “A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” John Maxwell.
Many abhor budgets because they have swallowed the straitjacket connotation of confinement and restriction. Maxwell’s saying gives new meaning to a budget: peace of mind (being in control of your money) as opposed to stress (wondering where it went).
2. “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” Zig Ziglar
We hesitate to set goals because, subconsciously, we are afraid of failure. However, as Zig points out, failure to set goals will guarantee failure.
3. “A stitch in time saves nine.” English astronomer Francis Baily 1797
Procrastination can be our ruination. To ignore financial reality with a fuzzy headed belief that “all will work out” is naïve and dangerous. Whether the stitch is getting out of debt, building an emergency fund, or investing for retirement, Baily’s point is that, whereas only one is required now, many will be required if we allow our lives to become unraveled.
4. “A fool and his money are soon parted.” Thomas Tusser
We should seek wisdom on how to handle money before seeking more money. If a person can’t handle a little, he will not be able to handle much. We have all heard of lotto winners who found themselves with far more money than they were capable of handling, and who also found themselves back to where they started in no time. However, if a person learns to handle what he has, he is building wisdom which will guide him to manage more. (See Luke 16:10 for more)
5. “We can tell our values by looking at our checkbook stubs.” Gloria Steinem
How utterly true. How we spend our money is a great indicator of our value system. Ask yourself, “What would a total stranger learn about me by looking at my checkbook stubs?”
6. “When I have money, I get rid of it quickly, lest it find a way into my heart.” John Wesley
This doesn’t mean that Wesley was a spendthrift; to the contrary, he gave away a huge percentage of his income. But we learn here that Wesley recognized how money has a way of creeping into our lives and grabbing a more important role than it should have. We would do well to maintain the humility and good sense that Wesley had.
7. “The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.” Author Unknown
This wise saying is a stark reminder of the truth that money can’t purchase true riches.
8. “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” Dave Ramsey
Success with money management requires lifestyle changes. The good news is that when one is ready to sacrifice today, he will eventually reap the benefits of those sacrifices.
9. “The only reason a great many American families don’t own an elephant is that they have never been offered an elephant for a dollar down and easy weekly payments.” Mad Magazine.
Sometimes it takes an extreme exaggeration to open our eyes to the obvious. This saying exposes our propensity to go into debt for a “great deal” on something we don’t need.
10. “’Your money, or your life.’ We know what to do when a burglar makes this demand of us, but not when God does.” Mignon McLaughlin
I love this one because it expresses a deep truth by sneaking up on you. It is closely akin to the challenge Jesus gave, “you cannot serve both God and money.”
11. “If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.” Author Unknown
If you loan people money, you are risking the relationship. This saying tells us that the relationship with someone who doesn’t pay their debts may not be very valuable in the first place.
12. “Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells.” J. Paul Getty
13. “October: This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks in. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August and February.” Mark Twain
Of course, all investments require risk; Mark Twain was stating, in his whimsical manner, that this risk is always there … there is no such thing as a “sure thing”.
14. “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Apostle Paul, writing to Timothy.
Many misquote this one by saying that money is the root of all evil. Reality is that money is amoral: it can be used for good or for evil. However, one is asking for big problems once he starts loving the money.
15. “You cannot serve both God and money.” Jesus Christ
I close with this one because Jesus presses us to a decision. Our alliance cannot be divided; to serve God doesn’t mean 50-50 or even 90-10. It is either 100% or not at all.
I hope you enjoyed these sayings, and I further hope that they will stick with you and guide you.
Readers: Which of these sayings impact your life the most? What other financial sayings are important to you?