9 Starter Financial Planning Tips for Missionaries

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One of the groups that Wacek Financial Planning specializes in providing financial planning advice to is missionaries around the world.  I really enjoy working with missionaries because of the significant eternal impact that they are making around the world.  It is amazing to hear about the sacrifices that they make and the ways in which God is using them. 

By providing financial planning services to these people at an affordable price, I hope to free their time up so that they are able focus on the work that God has called them to.  Below are nine financial planning starter tips for missionaries.

  1. Think of Yourself as a Business Owner.  As a missionary, it’s important to think like an entrepreneur.  Although figuring out how to be financially solvent is certainly not the focus of your work, it is necessary in order to remain on the mission field and reach people with the Gospel.
  2. Get Your Affairs in Order in Your Home Country.  Find a family member or friend to receive all of your mail for you while you are overseas.  Creating a free Google Voice account is a great way to handle phone calls from back home.
  3. Have the Right Insurance.  Be sure to have adequate health, life, and disability insurance.  Life insurance can be difficult to obtain when you live overseas and you may be best off purchasing it more than two years before you leave, if you are able.  If not, find an insurance provider that specializes in international insurance.
  4. Get a Will.  Many organizations require their missionaries to have a will before they can enter the mission field.  Be sure that it is clear who will be the guardian of your kids and who will get your possessions should something happen to you.
  5. Learn How to Budget. If operating in a cash society you’ll need to know how to budget cash.  In addition to the regular monthly expenses you incur on the mission field, you need to budget for things like furlough, travel, vacations, retirement, and college.
  6. Put Together a “Go Bag.”  If you are located in an unstable part of the world it is important to have a bag packed that you can grab quickly in case of an emergency.  This bag should include things like: passports, visas, insurance information, birth certificates, phone numbers for important people, enough cash to be able to get you and those with you safely out of the area, clothes, and food.
  7. Have Plenty of Cash on Hand.  In addition to having cash on hand in case of an emergency, it can also be valuable to have money easily accessible for health expenses or other larger expenses for which you are waiting to be reimbursed. 
  8. Understand ATM Fees.  Find out whether the ATM that you use charges a fixed fee per transaction, a percentage of the amount withdrawn, or a combination.  If they only charge a fixed fee per transaction, then it may be advantageous to take fewer large withdrawals. 
  9. Learn from Your Teammates.  If there are missionaries who have served in the same area as you, ask them what strategies they used to steward their resources well in that location.

If you are a missionary or considering entering the mission field, are you following each of these tips?  If not, or if you have questions, I’d love to set up a free 30 minute phone call or Skype call to see if I might be able to help. 

I admire the work that you do as a missionary.  Thank you for serving.