Chapter 8: Money

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For most people in the world, the more money they have the better. That is not the case for Catholics. While some money is useful and necessary in life, there is a limit to how much money a person really needs. Everything above that is excess. Catholics are called not to live in excess but to give that excess to the needy. It is a sin to do otherwise.

Ideal 8.1: I should spend no more than $100 per month on leisure.

Leisure could be going out to eat, entertainment, or even buying parts for a hobby. Whatever it is, no more than $100 should be spent on it. This can be a tough challenge, but I must realize that all these things will go away when I die. I can’t get caught up on seeing all the latest movies, eating the best food, or keeping up with the other hobbyists. I must be satisfied with less. This requires me to spend more time with things I have before moving onto new things. This is the fundamental part of getting more value for less money.

So instead of buying all the latest video games, I should buy a new one only once a month or less. Then, I should experience everything the video game offers to extract the most entertainment value out of it. I can finish all the quests, try out all the game modes, analyze the themes and characters, write a blog post about it, or tell my friends about it. I can spend a lot more time with less things. I just have to think about it a little more.

Ideal 8.2: I should save at least $100 per month for retirement.

I should look at the cost of living for my area, increase it a small percentage every year to account for inflation, and then estimate how many years I will live after retirement. I should use this information to make a plan for how much money I need to save in total. I should always put aside $100 each month for retirement, but I will probably need more based on my plan. A hundred dollars is only the minimum. This money should be put into a retirement account that will earn a good return. While the economy has ups and downs, retirement accounts gain money in the long run. I can also avoid taxes on that income while it is earning. Then when I retire, I should only take out what I need each year, keeping the taxes on my investments very low.

Ideal 8.3: I should save at least $100 per month for emergencies.

I should estimate an amount for how much various emergencies would cost and how often they would occur. Common big ones are car repairs, medical emergencies, housing repairs, and being laid off, but there may be others. Maybe I need special tools for work that cost too much money to be replaced with my regular monthly income. I should read up on how much my insurance companies will pay for emergencies. Then, I should add all the numbers up to know how much money I would need worst case if everything went wrong at once. I should save at least $100 a month until I reach the number I need for the worst case. The money can go in my regular savings account if I am a good saver. If I have trouble saving, I should create a separate savings account just for my emergency fund.

Ideal 8.4: I should donate any money earned over $30,000 per year to charity.

It costs about $20,000 a year for a single adult to support themselves. This isn’t enough money to save for retirement or pay for emergencies, but it’s enough for basic needs, yearly taxes, and a 10% tithe each year. A comfortable living is $30,000. That’s enough extra to save for retirement and put aside some money for emergencies. Anyone that doesn’t have to worry about emergencies is in pretty good shape.

Once I get above $30,000, I am starting to have a lot of extra money. There is no end to how many things I could buy. I could always find ways to spend that money, but I don’t really need all that money. All my needs are met. I have enough for leisure. The extra money should be donated. This would be in addition to my normal tithe. I am giving more than 10%, but I have the money to give. I will be rewarded in heaven for this. Maybe family and friends are in need. If not, I can donate to several charities as written in Chapter 4: Service.

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