Chuck Bentley's Top Ten Ways To Survive A Tough Economy

December 17, 2010

We asked Chuck Bentley, BA '79, CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, for some tips he could share with his fellow Bears on making it through when times are tough. Here's what he had to say:

  1. Re-throne Christ as Lord of your Life. Money is the primary competitor for Lord of our lives. It can become our invisible master by taking control of our ambitions, goals and use of time and energy. By making Christ our sole Master, we seek first to please Him and use money for His pleasure, not our own.
  2. Repurpose the use of money as God's trustee. God provides for our needs so that we will fulfill His purposes. When I acknowledge that He is the Owner of all that I have, I seek to use every resource for His kingdom and glory, not for my kingdom and glory.
  3. Get totally debt free. The Bible characterizes debt as slavery. We cannot be completely free to fulfill God's purposes if we are enslaved to a lifestyle of debt.
  4. Create a substantial cash flow margin. Most Americans have money, but no margin. By increasing the gap between our income and expenses, we reduce stress and multiply our freedom.
  5. Live a "savings lifestyle," not a consumer lifestyle. The Bible points us to the ant to teach us that we should continually save for the future. Increasing our savings prepares for unexpected emergencies and frees us from financial fear. Nine months of monthly expenses in an emergency account is the minimum in today's economy.
  6. Make liberal generosity the defining characteristic of your life. Generosity is the tangible expression of our love of God and others. When we give to others, we experience deep joy, a more significant existence and will store up treasures for eternity. It is the ultimate win-win purpose of money.
  7. Carefully diversify your investments. Solomon told us that we should have no more than 12 to 15 percent of our long-term investments in a single asset. This principle has stood the test of time and is vital in a turbulent economy.
  8. Guard against placing your security in money. No one typically admits that they love money, but they will recognize that they have placed their security in it. This causes great pain if we experience a loss of a job, investments or a business. Christ told us that He would never leave us or forsake us, but that money will.
  9. Walk in righteousness. The promises to those who live godly, upright lives are staggering. Those benefits are priceless in any economy. This is the ultimate characteristic for a faithful steward of God's resources.
  10. Value your intangible assets. Many people suffer anguish over financial reversals, but Christ is our greatest treasure. The true riches He supplies transcend anything we can ever add to our balance sheet.