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Getting Your Financial Hou$e
in Order:
A Floorplan for
Managing Your Money

by David & Debbie Bragonier
with Kimn S. Gollnick

Featured in Publisher's Weekly Magazine

Chapter One
The Front Porch
Reflecting on the Past, Seeing a Vision for the Future

Come sit on the front porch for a few minutes. Let's do a little reflecting and dreaming. Reflecting can be a little painful, but the dreaming is fun.

What does your current financial house look like? Does it need minor repairs, or a major remodel? Do you control your finances, or do you feel as if your finances control you?


If you had 3 or more "no" answers, your financial house needs help---quick! You've taken the first step by reading this book. Be ready to dig deep and work on getting your financial house in order.

If you had 5 or more "yes" answers, your financial house is probably in good shape, but may need a little de-cluttering or perhaps an update (remodeling). Use this book to help you isolate areas that need attention. Look for blind spots or zones where improvement is needed, such as described in Chapter 5, "Master Bedroom: Husband & Wife Communication." Continue reviewing your budget and financial plans regularly. Review your goals. Is there more you could accomplish?

We'd like to give you a snapshot of our financial journey, and where we were when we started. We had a nice house and the mortgage to go with it. Dave had a company car, so our secondary car did not need to be expensive and we didn't like to borrow money for cars. However, we weren't budgeting our money and we were having serious husband-and-wife "money talks." We had also overextended our buying using the credit cards we carried. We could not save any money and we did not have a retirement plan.

How did we start getting our financial house in order? The same way the majority of couples do---through the promptings and encouragement of the wife.

For years, Debbie said, "Dave, we need to get on a budget." I would flippantly respond, "We don't have the money to go on a budget. Go to the grocery store and don't spend a lot of money."

So off she reluctantly went to the grocery store, worrying about how much she should spend. Of course, I would be at home worrying about how much she would spend. One day it dawned on me (again, probably through the promptings of Debbie) that we were spending a certain amount of money at the grocery store anyway, so why not figure out how much it is and how it fits into our income and other expenses?

That was the beginning of our path to financial freedom. Like we indicated earlier, none of us "arrives" when it comes to financial management. Just about the time you think you have it all figured out, God may allow a new financial challenge into your life to see how you are doing in the area of faith and trust in Him.

But you can have peace if you follow His principles.

Understand, financial freedom is not related to the amount of money you have. You can have millions of dollars in the bank and still be in financial bondage. Financial bondage comes in all shapes, sizes and colors.

Can you detect which of these people are in bondage?

Example #1
This person makes $40,000 a year, has about $22,000 in credit card debt and can't pay her creditors on time. She is driving a car she really can't afford and her house payment is too big for her income. She can't save any money and she worries all the time.

Example #2
With this married couple, both husband and wife work outside the home. They have a good income; they have no major debt or credit card problems. However, they feel they can't survive without her income, yet they want children and are aware of the potential benefits of having a stay-at-home parent. They save very little money and feel like they barely keep their heads above water. They feel trapped by their circumstances.

Example #3
This married couple makes over $75,000 a year. They have no debt and they pay all their monthly obligations on time. They save money, have investments and always live within their means. They take nice vacations and can basically buy most anything they want within reason. However, they tend to argue about money and expenditures, both large and small. The husband or wife comments to the other, "You're spending too much." This couple frequently worries about not having enough for the future. They prepare an annual budget, but if they under-spend for the year, they don't feel any freedom to carry the left-over amounts into next year's budget categories or to use some of the excess funds to buy something they want.

Example #4
This person has five million dollars in liquid assets. He has no debt and is very concerned about his investments. He takes excessive time to manage his affairs and is known by friends as the man who always buys the two-day old donuts, never buying any fresh ones. He does not believe in contributing any of his wealth to charities.

Okay, which of these examples reveals a person or couple who is in bondage? We're sure you guessed correctly---all of them are in financial bondage. It's not the amount of money you have that's important; it's your attitude about the money that counts. That is why we're thankful you are reading this book. Our goal is to help you get your financial house in order, to set you free from financial bondage, and thereby help you become completely available for fruitful service to God.

You probably have this book in your hand because you desire to get your finances in better order. Whether you're just starting out or you're an old pro, whether the repair work needed is minor or major, we each need help, education, encouragement and accountability for handling money.

It's easy to admire friends who appear to have their act together and who freely buy what they want. The media paints the same picture---you can have it all! However, statistics prove otherwise. The truth is that many people look good on the outside and seem to have financial freedom, but behind closed doors their world is in shambles. In our seventeen years of financial counseling, we've seen this personally---people with lives full of stress, finances out of control, marriages hanging by a thread and their children steeped in rebellion.

There are many opportunities and pressures bidding for your valuable time. However, nothing impacts your life more than your daily walk with God and your management of money and its related matters. God will bless you as you open your life to Him and His biblical principles, moving forward one day at a time.

We'd like to pray for you.

"Father in heaven, we give you thanks for all you've given to us. We know You love us. We know You want your best for all areas of our lives, including finances. We know You don't really care where we've been; You only care where we're going. Your son Jesus Christ paid the price for everything in our past. We now ask for your wisdom, discernment and understanding regarding the finances You've entrusted to us. Lord, clear away the clutter from our lives and the things that would distract us from getting our finances in order. Help us to focus on what You have for us. Give us the strength to apply each of the principles in Your Word to our lives and finances. May we and the resources You entrust to us be mighty tools in Your hand, used for Your glory and Your purposes. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen."

Your Financial House

Our word picture for this book is one of building, repairing, and maintaining a financial house. In the following chapters, we will walk through different rooms of our financial house, examining the floor plan from a biblical perspective on finance.

What do you wish your financial house looked like?
Clean, uncluttered, easy to walk from room to room
without worry or concern? Together, we will
address these issues, room by room.

Available at Amazon.com
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"I enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone interested
in getting their financial house in order."
~ Ron Blue

"Those who apply the principles in this book will discover
God's true blessings and have a floorplan for getting
their financial house in order."
~ Gary Smalley, Smalley Relationship Center

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Posted December 26, 2005

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