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Prepare for financial freedom

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While methods of preparation are largely a matter of personal opinion, many people haven’t gotten that far yet. They haven’t prepared at all, for anything. They are coasting through each day taking a huge gamble that all will be well – they have no backup plan, no “stores of choice food and oil,” no emergency fund, nothing. For whatever it is worth, we’ve compiled a list of various ways a family can be prepared. Perhaps this list could serve as a discussion starter around your dinner table. “What should we be prepared for, and how should we prepare?”

❏ Personal Emergency Fund

Every household should have access to cash that can assist in life’s predictable emergencies: fixing the car, replacing the hot water heater, grabbing a plane ticket to attend a funeral, that sort of thing. Even $1000 tucked in a savings account can give you peace of mind, and can prevent deficit spending in difficult situations. When the emergency has passed, you can build up your fund again.

❏ Long-term Emergency Fund

History teaches us that our financial stability can change overnight. “Secure” jobs can be lost. “Sound” investments can lose value. Many financial planners recommend saving enough cash to cover three to six months of family expenses. If you run into a serious crisis, you know you’ve got your housing, utilities, food and essential bills covered, at least for awhile. For example, if your family needs $3000 per month to keep the lights on, the rent paid, the cars running and food on the table, you’d want to consider saving more than $10,000.

❏ Retirement fund

There will come a day when you or your spouse can’t make the same income you are making now. Do the math! What are you doing now that will ensure you are ready when that day comes?

❏ Practical Emergency Supplies

If disaster struck your neighborhood, would you be prepared? Do you have an adequate supply of water, flash- lights, first-aid items, candles, non-perishable food, and medication to ride out a hard time? Does your family know where to go to access these supplies? Check out RedCross.org for lists of resources you’ll need in a variety of emergency scenarios.

❏ Diversified “Storage” for the Future

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is sound advice for emergency planning. Are all of your “eggs” sitting in asavings account? What if the given emergency knocks out access to your bank for a period of time? Or what if the emergency pertains to the value of currency itself? Or what if the stores run out of items you’d need? It’s not a bad idea to “diversify” your emergency storage so that you have a better chance of being ready, come what may. You might store extra food in your home, gather items you’d need in a long-term power outage, etc. Ultimately, you have to pray about, study and discuss what’s right for your family. The Bible says, “But divide your investments among many places, for you do not know what risks might lie ahead.” (Eccl. 11:2 )

❏ Lots of Insurance

Life, health, disability, homeowners’, etc. – you can sleep better at night when these are properly insured. For a relatively small amount of money, it is possible to protect almost everything you have (well, at least the value of the things you have), and to provide for your loved ones if the worst should happen.

❏ Paperwork

If you were suddenly out of the picture, would your family know how to access insurance, accounts, creditors, legal documents, etc.? Would they find some written instructions from you on how to handle things? Would there be a clear and legally-approved will to fulfill your wishes after death? Preparing carefully in this regard is one final way you can say “I love you” to the people who will be grieving in that difficult moment.

❏ Spiritual Readiness

It is vital to be prepared in your relationship with God and in your relationships with loved ones. Have you forgiven people who have hurt you? Have you asked for forgive- ness from those who may have offense against you? Do your loved ones know that you love them? Are you right with God? Have you asked for His forgiveness and put your trust in Christ for eternal life? It would be a shame to have everything “on earth” prepared, yet walk through life utterly unprepared for one emergency we know is coming: the day this life ends and the next begins.

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    Berrien Center, Mi 49102

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