Part of what I wrote about in my book Do I Have To?, is about stewardship, as it relates to money. But, stewardship involves everything we do. To help understand what stewardship really means let’s start with the definition. Stewardship is the “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care,” as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

A common example of stewardship relates to extracurricular activities. Growing up, many of us participated in classes and programs outside of our core studies that piqued our interest. We participated in sports like basketball or volleyball, the fine arts, math or robotics club. When first learning these activities, we were not immediately an expert. We were just beginning to steward our craft by learning to manage the fundamentals well. It took time to learn these fundamentals – dribbling or setting the ball, learning to read music, how to blend colors, or understanding essential formulas. Through practice and experience we became proficient in the basics, slowly advancing our skills over time. If we steward these fundamentals, do them well, we advance and are better able to handle more responsibility. Our coaches, teachers, or instructors recognized this and would give us more complicated plays, or work to handle. You can bet Michael Jordan and Adele didn’t become legends without putting in the work to master all aspects of their craft, both basic and advanced. Being a good steward means continuing to educate ourselves, practice, make mistakes, and grow through experiences.

The same idea of learning the basics, developing the experience, and progressing to mastery applies to our financial futures. Do I Have To? is written for the young adult who is learning the basics of managing their money. They may be graduating from high school, or college and starting to earn real income for the first time. For many their new paycheck is more money than they have ever made from a job. The majority of people who suddenly find themselves with a fortune, often fail to create a plan that allows them to keep it. To some, their new paycheck is a fortune. Not knowing the fundamentals of how to handle a large sum of money, they quickly spend their new income quickly and fall into debt. When the tools provided in Do I Have To?, or other resources, are implemented, one can create the structure needed to implement the basic fundamentals of a financial plan. Mastering the basics is key to being a good steward over everything given to our care, especially money. If we can’t handle the small things well, we won’t be able to handle anything big that is given to us or we earn. The goal is to advance our lives, careers, and finances to secure a great lifestyle now and in the future. Understanding how to steward is one of the fundamentals of success in everything we do.