The Four Horsemen Of Financial Ruin – The Desolator

What amount of financial emergency reserve do you need to have?

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Last week we talked about the 2nd one whom we called the enslaver, who has 3 chains that he uses to enslave us. The 1st of those is credit card debt, the 2nd is consumer debt and the 3rd we said are the golden handcuffs that he puts around your wrists. This enslaver, the second horseman can also be called debt, and if you learn to live a lifestyle of debt, you will never create wealth and so we talked about what it takes to escape from his clutches.

The Third Horseman     

Today we are on the third week to discuss the 3rd horseman. This week we move to the third horseman and this horseman is the one I have called desolation. So who is desolation and how does he ravage our wealth? Today I want to talk about, or rather teach you two principles of wealth creation, because the third horseman tactics are these two. The 1st one is to attack you through emergencies and crisis and to keep you in a spin of firefighting financial emergencies. So that you are never able to actually focus on creating wealth. The second tactic of this horseman is to encourage you to eat up everything, till you have nothing to invest and I will come to that a little later.

Let me look at the first tactic, financial emergencies in your life. Let me begin in a different place. I want to ask you a question okay. What the bible is saying in this portion of scripture is that the ant is a small creature. It is hardly the size of a pinhead and its brain is 1/50 of its mass, its brain is miniscule. You have to view it under a microscope to see it. Yet this brain know how to store food in summer, so that it has enough for winter. It knows that you have to put away in times of abundance. So that in times of need you have reserves, yet an ant hardly has a brain. If an ant has the wisdom to do that how is it that you with your big head? Do not have the wisdom to store food for the rainy day if an ant can do this. Does it mean that your brain is smaller than an ants and that you are not saving an emergency fund. Then could it be that your cranium is full of bones. That is what a bonehead is. In other words if you cut the cross-section of a head you find it is just bones. If an ant which is so small with such a small brain it is able to save, what about you?Financial buffers                                                                                                                                               

It is wisdom for one to store up reserves for the day of need, that is what the bible is saying and it is this wisdom that God gave to Joseph in Egypt, to give to pharaoh, In Gen 41. You see Pharaoh had a dream and so seven emaciated, cows, seven starving thin cows’ eat up seven fat cows. And he couldn’t interpret what this dream meant even though he knew it had a meaning. So finally he looked for Joseph and asked him. What is the meaning of my dream? This wasn’t just a dream this one was a prophetic dream. It was a divine dream and I need to understand it and God interpreted the dream though Joseph for Pharaoh in Gen 41:34-36.

Listen, he told Joseph, let pharaoh appoint commissioners upon the land to take 1/5, 20% of the harvest of Egypt, during the seven years of abundance. They should collect all the food of those good years that are coming and store them up. Store up the grain under the authority of pharaoh to be kept in the cities for food. This food should be held in reserves for the country to be used during the seven years of famine. That would come upon Egypt so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.

It was a prophetic dream and God was saying you will have seven years of abundance. Then you will have seven years of very severe famine, like you have never seen before and so it came to pass. The Egyptians followed Josephs advice and they stored up 20% of their grain during the seven good years of harvest. Then the seven years of drought came. But they had enough, because they had stored up an emergency reserve. This is biblical wisdom.

What an emergency is

An emergency fund is saving aside for rainy day. Now let’s first define what an emergency is. An emergency is anything that you could not have foreseen that comes to you as a surprise and demands money. For example your organization collapses, the place where you work, you go tomorrow and you find the doors have been chain and there is a notice on the door. This company has collapsed financially. Please report next week for your terminal benefits. Do you have reserves that allow you to care for your son? Your computer crashes and you need to replace it otherwise it will affect your business. What will you do?

Your wife’s birthday party that you forgot to budget for, is not an emergency, and your cars service that needs money is not an emergency. Your is not an emergency. Your mobile being stolen is not an emergency. Your needing to go for is not an emergency. Those things you knew happen they are part of life. You should have insured your mobile. You should have planned for your wife birthday. You should have planned for your holiday to Mombasa. A medical checkup on a regular basis should be part of your normal budget. They are not emergencies.

 When the horseman of desolation tries to rob you through financial crisis, that you couldn’t have seen coming your way, you need to have an emergency fund we call them here in Kenya, for those of you who are not from Kenya as circum-sobers okay, they are your shock absorbers, if you ride in a car whose shocks are bust, then every time you hit a pothole there is this grinding metal sound and this jarring jolt, that you go through because your shock absorbers are bust.

Financial Cushion

But when you have good shock absorbers even when you go through a pothole you hardly feel. If you do not have an emergency fund, the financial shocks of life get you and the third horseman gets you. Then every time you hit those potholes financially it would jar your spine. It would make for a very uncomfortable ride and it would ruin you financially. Your marriage cannot take too many shocks of this nature, and it will eventually crumble, because you as a couple to begin to fight. They say that the biggest contributor to marital breakdown is finances. So it makes good sense to have shock absorbers for your marriage financially.

 But I suggest to you that actually you need to decide how much to set up because of 3 reasons. Some people can live with a lot of risks and they don’t mind the bone jarring potholes. They can survive them and one month is enough according to them, others are worriers, to feel safe they need to have put aside a good reserves. Some of us are in secure jobs in secure organizations that will never collapse. Others of us are in shaky jobs and would better set up reserves, because you might go to work tomorrow and hear the company has gone bust. It is closed and the boss is in the Caribbean.

 Some of us have no dependents and so we don’t need much of a cushion. Others of us are carrying children and babies and elderly people in the car and we need to have good shock absorber. Some of us have career skill that are easily marketable but others of us have such specialized skills. Maybe even no skill to market that if we lost our job it would take us 6-8months to find another job and we need a good cushion.

The big question to determine how much to set aside is this how much makes me feel safe. That’s what really determines, so it really depends on you. My target has been that we would have one year’s reserves. One year reserves, because I feel safe that way, and one month for me makes me feel at risk. So that being my goal to set aside one year reserves, others want six months, 3 months.

60% Rule

Remember the monthly bill plan that I suggested on my 1st sermon? That if you are living on more than 60% of your salary, you are living beyond your means. And I broke down the money you take home the money that gets deposited into your account. Forget NSSF and forget the other statutory deductions and I will tell you later on, don’t count those in. Count what comes into your account and the way you budget what comes into your account. This was the suggestion that I gave you that 60% goes into your day to day living, 10% for the lord, 10% for your car, for fridge, for your home. 10% goes into your emergency fund/investment fund, then 10% into your retirement. Do not count your retirement to be your investment fund. Because your retirement, you will financially cash in when you are 80 yrs. old. So don’t count it as your investment fund.

 You live on 60% of your income for all your regular ongoing foreseeable expenses in a month. Your food, your car maintenance, your insurance, land rate, house rate, transport, school fees, birthdays, holiday, Christmases. Everything that you can sit down and put on paper and know that this will be a bill. I will have to pay in the course of the year. That is what your 60% is for. Go to saving the other side and set aside 1/5, 20%. Know that you can build your emergency reserve. If you can set aside 20%, this is what you do. You take the 10% that is your emergency/investment. Then you squeeze another 10% from your replaceables and even maybe from your living expenses so that you can set aside 20%. Now 20% is high and 20% is really difficult. If you can’t do 20 do 10%, or even 5%, but you must work at this.

Investment Fund Vs Emergency Fund

The two are different, and an emergency fund needs to be kept in an easily liquefiable form. That you can access it for an emergency immediately. If you go and buy land in Kitengela, with your emergency fund and then your son falls sick and you need to admit him into hospital and the insurance is not covering him. It will take you six months to sell your land in kitengela and your son will not survive. Your emergency fund is not your investment fund.

 You keep it in liquid form in an account where it is easily accessible. How do you do that? I will say to you,, if you gonna put a three months aside. Let’s say put one month as a fund within your account, current account, saving account. Put another 10% in a call account, short term call account so that you get a better interest on it. Put the final third on a long term interest account or maybe buy shares with it. The reason I am saying a long term call account is because. So that you can get interest on the shares. It takes about two weeks to sell and get the cash. So if you have a third in cash, a third in short term call account, you can get the other third within two weeks and you are still good.

Group Investing

The biggest problem with setting up an emergency fund and when I talked to people about it they say. I started then I ate it. So what do you do so that you don’t eat your emergency fund? Maybe that would work for you. Maybe you are a single person. Here is a suggestion. What about getting together with five or ten of your friends and you make some commitments together?                                                                                                                                      You can come together as a group and open a joint account or a chama account in a financial institutions as five or six signatories and you cannot withdraw any money unless three sign the check.

You then agree to save in the account, you put post-dated checks or alternatively a standing order so that all of you are saving. I decide to save 5,000 a month, the next person decides to save 10,000, the other one has the strength to save 20,000. Everybody to decide for themselves and put it into the account, it’s your money. When an emergency comes and you realize you need the money for utilities. The group agrees on what constitutes an emergency and release money immediately. So it’s not left up to an individual but the group, to set the rules.

 ou can have access to the money after 12 months at a certain minimum monthly contribution and you are allowed to draw up to the level of my contribution. If my emergency exceeds my contribution, then the group allows me to draw an overdraft from the account. Which I pay back at an agreed interest rate.

This arrangement provides access to emergency fund for a rainy day. It creates restraint from accessing the money. The overdraft cushions one beyond his contribution in case one needs such a cushion. Once you have all fulfilled your contribution goals to the account.

You can agree to continue giving and create an investment fund out of the emergency fund. Accountability is the key benefit of this arrangement. When you have had the ethic of an ant and you have built a fund. An emergency fund will cushion you from the third horseman. This is a good shock absorber from financial ruin. This is biblical wisdom.

The 2nd Horseman Tactic 

But there is a second way in which this third horseman ravages and ruins you. Many people fall into this trap. He gets you to spend everything you earn. He gets you to eat both your bread and your seed for investing. When the season of abundance comes, if you do not set aside a seed. Then when the opportunity comes, you have nothing to plant. Many people live cheque by cheque, month from month. They consume everything this month and have nothing set aside. They have no seed to plant. Do not eat your seed. Is the car you bought eating your seed? Is the fancy neighborhood you are living in eating your seed? Is the posh school that your kids go to eating your seed? And what about those fancy perfumes from France and shoes from Italy and dresses from New York? Are they eating your seed because you will never grow wealthy if you have no seed to plant?

 And this is how the third horseman ravages us. Have you ever thought about it? How much seed from month to month do you set aside so that you can plant and invest it? If you are eating everything you will never see wealth. Put seed aside into a chama with your friends. Put your seed into a business investment. Put seed aside every month into shares or collect your seed and buy real estate. You must not eat your seed. Otherwise you will never know wealth. Let me give you some rules, so that you may know even where to begin to put that seed.

 

Rules of Investment

Rule 1

Have you heard of the staircase to wealth. Step 1 is you clear all your debt. Step 2 is you set up an emergency fund. Step 3 is having set up your emergency fund. Now set up an investment fund, store your seed and then step 4 is invest your seed in business or into shares or something.                                                                                                                                     Some of the best returns you find is actually is to set up your own business. Where the money is working for you and not anyone else. People stumble when they try to jump from the ground to step 4 in one hope. It is difficult and can ruin you. There is a progression that will bring wealth if you are patient and do it right. Clear your debt set up your emergency fund. Start setting aside your seed and then finally invest.

 Rule 2                                                                                                                                                    Ever thought of investing. Make every shilling you put aside work for you and give you its children. Investment is easy. You don’t have to be a wizard at making money, to make money grow. Just choose a friend to follow, make sure that every shilling that you put aside gives you children. Don’t eat the children, reinvest the children. Get good advice, from the advisors who will be here in the last week, be patient.                                                                                                        Generally making money works like these simple rules of investment. If you have never heard them before, the safer an investment is the less money it makes for you. The higher the risk in your investment the more likelihood that you will get a good return, but also the more likelihood that you will lose everything.

Returns Vs Inflation

Any investment that is giving you a return that is greater than the annual inflation is making money for you. When your saving account tells you they will give you 7% return but the inflation is 11%, you are actually losing 4% a year and you are not making money.

So you start making money when you beat the inflation rate. You play safe, spread your risks by having some high risk investment and some low risk invest. Be prepared to lose any money you risk and you invest. If you buy shares always live prepared that you could lose everything. So don’t invest anything that you can’t afford to lose.

You are taking risks. The only safe proof investment is to put your money in the bank and live it there, very safe. But you don’t make money, you lose money, and so the bank is the last place you want to put your money. What does this look like? Let me tell you about where to invest your money very quickly.

 

Highest risk investment. What I call addictive foolishness. Fool number one is gambling 2) pyramid schemes 3) Nigerian 419 scams. These things is foolish and can become addictive, let’s go proper investments.

 High risk High return investments 1) Running your own private business, but the truth of the matter is not all of us are not business oriented. If you know it’s not your strength avoid it. It’s sad to see retirees start a business and in two years they have lost all that money and they have nothing now. Know yourself well. 2) Venture capitalism, let somebody else take your risk. There is good money to make in that 3) Construction, if you start this business it’s risky but you can do it.

 Medium term and medium return investments. 1) Real estate 2) buying land 3) shares-have a good rate that beats inflation, 4) Chama’s can work if you have a good team and they know what they are doing and they are able to create wealth, 5) government bonds will give you a good return and 6) mutual funds. These are medium risks and they give medium return. They are not as good as a personal business, but they give a good return.

 Low Risk/Return Investment

Where you can’t stand your money getting lost and they give you low returns. They don’t even beat inflation, short and long term deposits. If inflation is 11 percent and your deposit gives you 10% you are losing money, 1) Saccos don’t necessarily make you money 2) Saving account these certainly don’t make you any money, 3)current accounts are even worse because you get nothing out of them except a checkbook any way, 4)money under your mattress, very safe but you get no return and 5) then NSSF and the deductibles. These are safe and you may not lose your money but you certainly don’t make any money

Rule 3

Don’t get greedy about money. Now there is nothing wrong with wealth. It is a good thing and God gave wealth and there are many promises in the bible about material wealth and God desires to give. Some of us might be where, when you start talking about money and thinking about wealth. You become preoccupied with wealth to the point where it becomes an obsession. Our hearts can quickly become greedy and destroy you. 1 Tim 6:6-10. Be very careful. Even this sermon series may have created greed in your heart. Because all of a sudden you realize, that you need to make money. Be very careful, contentment is when you know how much enough is. Greed is when your desire for more is unchecked, and it feeds off your imagination and it becomes an obsession. That is rule 3

Rule 4

Invest wisely and consistently. You know there are no get rich quick schemes. Beware of them, those are pyramid schemes and the like. The bible says in proverbs 13:11 wealth from get rich quick schemes quickly disappears but wealth gathered little by little grows.

Seed for the Sower

You won’t create real wealth in one month. It’s going to take you the next 10-20 yrs. So hunker down and be consistent and faithful to work at it. When people are running around and talk of good deals, keep doing what you committed yourself to and your plan. If debt it’s your paying and it’s going to take you 3 yrs. don’t worry just pay your debt. One day you will be able to invest and have your emergency.

 It might take you 3 yrs., because the God who is faithful to people. Who provides today for others to purchase, will be there 20 yrs. from today. God is faithful he will be there 20 yrs. from today, 10 yrs. from today, 5 yrss from today. Jjust be wise and consistent. Your day will come. Don’t panic, don’t feel you are losing out. Just keep going little by little. Follow your plan, don’t get greedy and wealth will come.

If you are here and you are young, one of your friends is called time. Because time has the amazing magic of compound interest. And you have sixty years to build your wealth. If you begin now with little amount, you will be amazed at what you have after 60 yrs.

For those of us above fifty I am 52. My prayer is that God will keep me going till I am 80, and so I have another 30 to bid well. And I don’t need to panic and rush around. I just need to be disciplined and follow a plan and I pray that when I hit 80, God will give me a few years of comfortable retirement. Then call me home. I have time on my hands if I don’t get greedy and don’t panic. You too do, you don’t need to panic. You can build wealth over the next 10-15 yrs. and be able to retire with wealth.

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2 Responses to “The Four Horsemen Of Financial Ruin – The Desolator”

  1. Great sermon on the desolator! I love the encouragement that my time of investment will come because God is there and will always be there. I had this habit of wanting to jump into every opportunity even when i couldn’t afford it just so am not left behind! But now am relaxed and will stick to my financial plan coz more opportunities will come. Cheers to our dadddy in heaven! Eve.

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  2. Paul Otieno Says:

    I contend with many at this point in time. This is where many resent finance for the different methods and formulae that need to be applied all at once. There is need to simplify and summarise the different methods to a chewable amount. All in all thanks to Pst Oscar for such a realistic message. Many including myself believed that these principles were worldly and not biblical. I have taught some of them being in the world of finance, but truth be told they are also a challenge to me when it comes to application. Indeed it is only possible by God’s grace. I pray for more prayers and God’s grace that we His Church may be able to live accordingly and manifest the same to the rest of the world as fearless influencers. Thank you Lord for the message and bless Pastor Oscar and his family as they serve you fearlessly.

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