Balancing all facets of the whole financial picture

Balancing all facets of the whole financial picture

Think of the close-up pictures that were a puzzle for you as a kid, and even some of the most famous pictures look off when the whole thing isn’t showing. The Kid’s Corner in the Bargain Hunter seems so easy to grownups, but it can be tough for the children for whom it was made. When we only see a small portion of our total financial picture, it doesn’t make sense, which is why we need to look for the whole picture.

Think of all the facets in your financial picture — investing, insurance, your paycheck, real estate, tithing, retirement, budgeting and that’s not naming everything. Trying to balance all these areas is a tough job to manage and cannot be done passively. Think of these components as a basketball team. I can’t really relate because I was always warming the bench, but this analogy should get the point across.

Let’s say budgeting is your point guard. If your point guard can’t dribble or pass, that’s going to bring the whole team down and lose the game. The same goes for budgeting. You can be making all the money in the world, but if it’s not budgeted, you can eventually end up in bankruptcy.

Now back to the big picture. If you are focused on one part over anything else, you obviously will not see the others. By not seeing the others, you won’t care for them. When you focus on making a ton of money but not saving for retirement, that will come back to bite you years down the road. Or if you don’t make tithing a priority when you are barely making any money but the promise is made, “I will start tithing when I make more money,” the odds are you won’t.

Almost every part has a chain reaction to each other, and the largest cog in the system is your income or paycheck. If that number is at zero, the budgeting will be nonexistent, retirement will be zero and we can forget about investing. That’s the start to everything. I would almost call it the paintbrush to start on the full painting.

Let’s look at trying to balance all these because it is no easy task. We work, have families, have lives outside of finances, and that’s a large reason they get pushed to the backburner. Just the other night my friend made fun of me for balancing my checkbook, and I just laughed with him because I thought it was funny.

If we are expanding the picture even bigger outside of finance, we have lives — lives that must be lived — and on the other side, if we are focused on the smaller picture of finance only, then we miss out on a lot of life to live. Like Andy Dufresne states in “The Shawshank Redemption,” you either “get busy living or get busy dying.” Getting busy dying can be extremely easy when all we’re focused on is the income and our jobs because we miss so much more.

I feel like I am all over the place with this article and maybe even contradicting myself when I say we must be intentional with finances and seeing the whole picture but not making it the only part of the larger picture.

Write down every part of finance you want to excel in and make goals and a system to reach those written goals. Don’t let it control your life, but through trial and error, find the correct balance. It will be hard, but like I heard just last night: “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.”

Holmes County native BJ Yoder is an insurance agent by day and a finance enthusiast by night. This column is for informational purposes only. He can be emailed at benjamin.john.yoder@gmail.com.