Most people know that saving money is important. But knowing and doing something about it are very different things. Let’s face it. Saving is a difficult discipline, which at least partly explains why “6 in 10 Americans don’t have $500 in savings.” That’s the title of a recent CNN Money article.
Statistics, though, are easy to ignore. With all your other financial responsibilities and the ongoing challenges of raising funds to fuel your ministry, it’s hard to make saving a priority. Statistics are harder to ignore when you put a face on them. Like the couple I met a few years ago at a transitional living center in Denver.
Mary and John (not their real names) were well educated. They both had good jobs with a large software company and lived a comfortable life…until they got laid off. Within a month, because they had lived paycheck to paycheck with no savings, they were on the streets.
Jesus made clear in the parable about the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21) that there are few guarantees in this life. And Proverbs 6:6–11 uses the ant to show that wise people prepare for the uncertainty of the future by storing up reserves. It just takes one crisis to remind you that saving isn’t merely optional. And crises are just one reason why saving is essential for everyone, perhaps especially missionaries.
In the Ask a Missionary article “What costs are included in a missionary’s budget?”, Marti says this about the importance of reserve funds:
"It's also wise to include some kind of surplus account, or perhaps a 5% buffer built right into the budget in anticipation of lost support, cost of living increases, changing exchange rates, or inflation. Workers may also be asked to set up an emergency fund and/or purchase insurance that covers medical evacuation.”
In addition to these potentialities, other practical reasons to save include college expenses for your kids and vacation expenses. ECCU offers several savings options for missionary members, including a basic one to help you get started and Money Market Savings to earn higher interest for higher balances.
You can check out all the ECCU savings account options here.