Planning for the future can help us be good stewards of God’s good gifts now and in the future. Any small business owner who wants a loan is required to submit a business plan. That plan must show realistic projections of the revenues and expenses of the business and demonstrate that these will allow the business owner to meet the loan payment requirements. This same approach makes sense for individuals and families. As you think about financing your studies at Brite, you might find it helpful to create such a plan and then periodically – each semester; once-a-year; each time you request an education loan – update it. In addition to the information and tools provided here, you can information and numerous resources at http://financialplan.about.com.
It’s much easier to keep track of your current income than it is to project it into the future. Many of the expenses you have while attending Brite will continue – housing, food, transportation, insurance, etc. If you have educational loans, those payments will be a major addition to your expenses. Keeping track of your debt and projecting repayment of that debt is an important part of creating your personal “business” plan. In the following materials, you will find a variety of spreadsheets designed to assist you in managing your finances. These have been designed by Auburn Theological Seminary and reflect some of the special issues for students in theological schools. For maximum benefit, you will want to download and keep copies of these worksheets.Here is a tool that will help you keep track of debt, including credit card debt, and to project a repayment plan.
Projecting your future income is not easy. The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks salaries for clergy. The accuracy of the data is unclear, but it at least offers some insight into your future income. In looking at these and other statistics, remember that “mean” is the average of all salaries reported and that “median” is the middle of all salaries reported. In 2011, the Department of Labor estimated that the median annual wage for clergy was $44,140. The National Association of Church Business Administration reports that in 2012, the average pastor received an annual salary of $28,000. Here is a link to the data regarding clergy salaries: www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes212011.htm.
It’s also possible that your denomination tracks clergy salaries and can provide you with that information.
The National Association of Church Business Administration tracks clergy salaries as part of its resources for its members. Their website is www.nacba.net. Information on clergy salaries is also available from commercial sites such as www.Salary.com.
Part of being financially literate is knowing that the need for careful budgeting never stops. Here is a tool that can help you forecast your budget after you leave school.