Managing my Money as a Catholic

Ervin TanFeature

Fransiska (back row, right) with her group at Run 4 of the God, Money & Me programme in October 2023.
Photo: Catholic Foundation

Managing my Money as a Catholic

Having benefited from the God, Money & Me programme, Fransiska Novianti embraced the opportunity to serve as a group facilitator. She shares how the course enriched her understanding of financial management and how she is now helping to guide others to a more God-centred approach on their financial consideration and decisions.

My husband, Jeremy, and I first heard about the God, Money & Me (GMM) programme during our Marriage Preparation Course. We learnt that GMM was a comprehensive five-session course on financial management based on Catholic principles and values.

We felt that, as Catholics, we should endeavour to follow Christ’s teaching holistically but realised that neither of us knew much about the Church’s teachings on managing finances. We agreed it was only fitting to explore this further before embarking on our marital journey and immediately signed up for the run held from July to August 2022 at the Catholic Centre.

Journeying together

Initially, Jeremy and I were uncertain about what to expect, and admittedly, we felt a bit anxious. However, our apprehension eased upon arriving at the first session, where we realised we were part of a diverse group, all on a similar journey to discern a Catholic-centric financial management. The attendees varied widely, encompassing different life stages and backgrounds, and included individuals as well as couples.

The course was structured around presentations and group discussions. We joined a group with two other couples at a similar life stage, making our conversations particularly relevant and fostering deeper sharing. Guided by our group facilitators, a married couple themselves, we openly discussed our financial challenges and gained insights from our peers. We found it comforting that we were not in this discernment journey alone.

The course blended practicality with spirituality. It covered a range of practical topics, such as Savings & Investment, Expenditure & Debt, and Financial Planning. The course discussed these through a Catholic lens, integrating teachings from scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and various Church documents. Through the course, I gained a deeper appreciation for the foresight and wisdom that the Bible and Catholic Church teachings have on principles relevant to financial management.

Completing the course required significant individual effort. There were readings and assignments (there are ten workbooks altogether!) to be completed promptly almost every week. While this was challenging as we juggled the demands of our daily lives, we recognised that they were essential for understanding the impact of our financial decisions and how they align with Church teachings. We also made it a point to plan our schedules around the GMM sessions to ensure that we fully commit to the programme.

Giving back

After completing the course, I felt a prompting to give back and explored various avenues. I reached out to Catholic Foundation and was pleasantly surprised to discover it was seeking additional facilitators for the next GMM courses.

While many ministries or organisations need support, I thought this particular initiative was especially meaningful for me. Given that we make financial decisions daily, I saw my service in this area as helping others harmonise their faith with their financial choices.

Stewardship and generosity

The GMM course, with its thorough materials, in-depth presentations and engaging group discussions, offers insights that I believe will benefit many.

One of my key takeaways is the principle of the universal destination of goods, which taught me that giving need not necessarily imply generosity but simply justice. In addition, I also gained a better understanding of the different fundraising bodies and their purposes in supporting our Church and community, which has helped me to exercise my stewardship responsibility.

Another notable aspect of the course was the topic of budgeting. We had spirited discussions as a group that helped us to see things from differing perspectives. For instance, some of us saw expensive appliances as a longer-lasting, quality investment, while others, including myself, questioned the necessity of spending on such “luxuries”. It was interesting and insightful to observe that the husbands in the group tended to agree with one another, as often did the wives, highlighting the different approaches to financial decisions among the couples.

I believe GMM has enriched both my husband’s and my understanding of financial stewardship. I would highly recommend it to fellow Catholics seeking to discern and align their financial practices with the teachings of the Church.

A version of this article was published in The Catholic News on 26 November 2023.

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