Finances Under Pressure – A Counsel Culture Podcast

As Christians, we are called to be countercultural in how we approach money, even when we face challenges like the current cost of living crisis that is squeezing household budgets. Darren Laudenbach has spent more than 30 years as a licensed financial adviser, a business coach and business owner. In this Counsel Culture podcast, Darren will unpack how to live wisely when your finances are under pressure.
A topic that even Jesus discussed
The vast majority of us will face financial pressures at some point in our lives. It can be self-inflicted or afflicted by others and have damaging effects on our mental and emotional health. Yet in the church today, many of us are not taught some of the basic stewardship principles found in the Bible.
After years in the financial services industry, Darren has gone through a journey of recognising some of the limitations in secular wealth and financial management advice. He has gone deeper into the Bible to glean its wisdom on how to approach this often neglected topic. By delving into the Scriptures, Darren discovered that money was a topic that Jesus did not shy away from. Darren observes,
“There are 33 parables Jesus spoke of and 16 of those speak of wealth and riches.”
Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God primarily and second on money and riches. Jesus described the worship of “mammon” in opposition to the worship of God. Darren notes that while our monetary system may look different today, the insights Jesus provides into money are timeless and are applicable to every generation.
Learning to become a good steward
How we handle money, Darren argues, is more than just managing dollars and cents it actually reveals what we worship. Darren notes,
“We worship what we feel holds our future. If we have got money and wealth building up, we feel more secure.”
How we use our money can reflect what is in our hearts. Rather than looking to money as our security, Darren suggests we embrace the teachings of Jesus and become good stewards of our finances, serving God and not the spirit of mammon which drives us to greed and fear of lack. Darren observes,
“If we receive (money) well and we understand that we are stewards of it, there is a lightness that comes.”
Darren warns of destructive patterns in managing our finances including being driven by FOMO (fear of missing out), a lack of faith and spending beyond our means. In contrast, when we understand how to steward our finances wisely we can experience fruit in the Kingdom.
Starting healthy money habits
Money affects many aspects of our lives, including the quality of our relationships including our marriage. Darren warns a house divided cannot stand and you need to be on the same page with your spouse on how you manage your finances. Darren notes,
“It’s not one person’s job to manage the money. It’s a team effort.”
Couples can have different attitudes to managing finances where one is naturally a spender and the other is a saver. Darren says pre-marriage counseling is important to shed light on any family patterns that have shaped your attitude towards money so you identify any unconscious beliefs you may be carrying into your marriage.
Darren says one of the best ways to become more self aware about your spending habits is to record your expenses over a 30 day period. Darren recommends using a notepad with paper rather than an app as this will let you slow down and observe your purchasing habits. Darren provides an example of a couple who did this exercise and found they were spending $13000-$14000 on coffee a year, an expense that both of them realised could significantly be reduced if they purchased a coffee machine!
Once you understand what is going on with your expenses, you can set up a basic budget of how much is coming in and how much is going out. Darren suggests other basic money management skills that will help you steward your finances better including setting up multiple bank accounts to help track your household expenses and save for future spending like holidays and car expenses as well as getting rid of credit cards so you stop accumulating and servicing debt.
Preparing for the Future
As the pandemic has demonstrated, unforeseen economic disruptions can set back household finances. There’s been loss of household income due to the lockdowns, cost of living pressures as inflation sets in and increases to mortgage repayments as interest rates increase.
Darren advises one takeaway from the pandemic should be the need for an emergency fund which includes three months of household expenses so you are ready for future economic turmoil. Darren says people need to be prepared for future share market crashes and recessions as fear and greed are drivers that will always cause market distortions that eventually need to be corrected.
When you are going through a transition like a pandemic it can be disorienting but it is important to stop and reflect on lessons learned in the management of money. Darren suggests we learn best from our past mistakes with money. He observes:
“Having been through the last 2 years, what can we learn that will set us up better for the future.”
Darren recommends getting a mentor who you know is practically good with money is a great investment in developing money management skills. He also offers a 12 lesson e-course course God’s Money Matters which helps you to become debt free and steward your money the way God intended.
To listen more to Darren Laudenbach on Counsel Culture, download the podcast here.
About Darren Laudenbach
Darren Laudenbach is a people builder & developer, an entrepreneur, keynote speaker, trainer, educator, presenter, property & finance expert consultant and coach. Darren is currently a board member of the Life Choices Foundation and has formally been a board member in a number of not for profit and community organisations.