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Ask Chuck: Am I saving too much?

Ask Chuck your money question

Dear Chuck,

I have been a saver for years. I was recently accused of hoarding money. What constitutes hoarding?

Super Saver

saving money
Unsplash/Damir Spanic

Dear Super Saver, 

I am so glad to know that you save because so many do not. A year ago, Fool.com surveyed 2,000 Americans and found the following:

  • 71% have a savings account.
  • 22% have $1,000 to $5,000 in savings.
  • 56% have $5,000 or less in savings, while a third have $1,000 or less. 
  • Half of respondents have an account specifically for emergencies.
  • 3 out of 4 respondents automate their savings deposits.

God wants us to save so that we have the resources to care for our family and those He puts in our paths. He also wants us to be free to serve Him as needed. Saving does not represent a lack of faith but reflects the heart of a faithful steward. Joseph instructed Pharoah to save for the coming famine, and the Proverbs point us to the wisdom of the tiny ant. 

Saving vs. Hoarding

To know if you are in fact hoarding involves three simple questions: 

Are you saving more than you are giving? 

Do you acknowledge God as your provider? 

Would your peace and security be threatened if you were to lose all of your savings? 

People hoard money because of insecurity or pride. They may suffer from:

  • Past deprivation
  • Extreme anxiety 
  • Irrational fear of the future

Give first, save second

The Lord is a giver and wants us to be conformed into His image as givers. Giving is our first and highest priority with money. 

When we save a higher percentage of the money He provides than we are willing to give, we are in danger of hoarding. If you give and save in equal proportion, that is acceptable, but it is even better to give more than you save to avoid the danger of becoming dependent on your savings account and not the Lord. 

Saving turns into hoarding if you do not trust God to provide. If you are anxious about money, perhaps you are not remembering the words of Jesus: “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matthew 6:26-27 ESV).

Hoarding is driven by insecurity that leads to idolatry—trusting a bank account more than God. Everything is then held tightly, and generous sharing with others does not occur. This is contrary to Biblical financial stewardship. We are to manage what He provides by preparing for the future while giving generously.

Save, but trust Him

God wants us to depend on Him. He asks us to work, give, spend wisely, save, and invest because it is good for us. The key is doing so with the right motive. Pray, and ask the Lord to lead you in each of these areas so that hoarding is never an issue. 

“…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:7 ESV)

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble … ‘Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!’” (Psalm 46:1, 10 ESV)

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:19-21 ESV).

“ … for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11b-13 ESV).

I hope you will truly trust God and learn what the Bible says about money. You can miss opportunities to grow money by simply accumulating and stashing it away in a savings account. Interest rates are low right now, so consider ways to manage it wisely. 

Crown.org has articles, radio spots, podcasts, and online courses to help you gain a proper perspective on finances. I recommend you set specific short-term and long-term financial goals with a defined purpose for giving and saving that brings glory to God, blesses your family, and helps others. 

Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, a global Christian ministry, founded by the late Larry Burkett. He is the host of a daily radio broadcast, My MoneyLife, featured on more than 1,000 Christian Music and Talk stations in the U.S., and author of his most recent book, Seven Gray Swans: Trends that Threaten Our Financial Future. Be sure to follow Crown on Facebook.

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