An Open Letter to Single People.

“I’d love to give to your ministry, but I’m single.”

More than one person has laid this line on me.  I’ll challenge them to partner with us financially, and then they will (with a serious tone) tell me that the reason they don’t/can’t give is because they are single.  Like giving is something that only the grownup married people do.  I have a news flash for you, single folks (and as may become apparent, this news flash does not apply to single parents).  You have more expendable income now than you might ever for the rest of your life.  Yeah, you are single and have less income.  So you can live with three roommates and pay 250 bucks in housing costs per month.

I look back on the financial situation I had as a single guy and marvel at how much money I had.  Mind you, I was pulling in a cool $16,000 per year.  I was by no means a high roller.  But I paid off 16,000 dollars in student loans and bought an engagement ring all within 3.5 years of graduating college.  There were months that, because I was committed to getting out of debt, I would throw 900 bucks at my student loan.  You can do a lot financially as a single person if you put your mind to it.

These days my rent is 4 times higher, my food expenses are nearly tripled, and there are entirely new categories on the budget, like “childcare,” “kid’s clothes” and “life insurance.”  Yeah, I have more income, but it only doubled, and believe me, my expenses way more than doubled.

Your lack of financial discipline is related to being single (your behavior most directly affects only you at this point), but to be honest, as one on this side of a wedding day looking back, I need to let you know how ridiculous you sound when you use singleness as an excuse not to give.  If you are anywhere near average, just your out-to-eat budget each month could fund a dozen compassion children.  And don’t get me started on shoe budgets and entertainment expenses.  I know, you have to spend money out to find “the one.” But don’t use that as an excuse to be a poor steward of what God has given you.

I am not speaking as one who has it all figured out.  The only reason as a single guy that I paid off loans so quickly was that I had a significant auto-draft taken from my paycheck each month.  It was discipline by default.  I’ve just had one too many people tell me (in a list of reasons why they can’t give) that they are single.

The habits you make as a single person, especially when it comes to finances, will dramatically affect your marriage.  Money fights and money problems are among the leading causes of divorce.  So while it’s just a cute shoe collection as a single person, it may be a huge source of arguments and strife later in your marriage. One of the best things you could do now would be to take an honest look at your finances, and maybe even bring in someone to help hold you accountable to be giving, saving, and spending sacrificially.

And before I get angry comments from single people who are giving and are financially responsible, let me be the first to say that not all single people in America are a fiscal wreck.  I recognize also that the folks that have given me this excuse were just looking to soften the blow.  I primarily wanted to rebuke the underlying sentiment that would make it OK to pick this particular excuse.

Singleness is a great time to give sacrificially.

10 Replies to “An Open Letter to Single People.”

  1. As a single man, i agree with you. Its the only time in your life when you can live off of 16,000 (me too while i was on staff) and still have enough money to do what you want. I have single friends that make 3 times that much (or more ) and talk about how little money they have to give to Crusade or church. I found enough to enjoy a social life, pay of loans and tithe….i dont know what they do with their money that they cant do the same. It’s probably a heart issue. They dont want to give…

    1. Thanks for weighing in, Josh. You are so right that it is a heart issue. I am so tired of people blaming the fact that they don’t give on their “insignificant” income. There are folks who sacrificially give to our ministry at $5 per month. The issue is never ability. It is always desire to give.

  2. Sigh.
    I so remember raising initial support 15 years ago and I was the first person to ever ask friends to give. To anything except church. Most weren’t giving to anything at all. Some (all married with gazillion kids) still tell me I was instrumental in them starting the journey (obedience) of sacrificial giving. I STILL have those convos with recent college grads.
    And we all know we get the most financial support from those who live on and/or make the least. Such a testimony to me!
    .-= Kristin S´s last blog ..KES =-.

    1. Keep challenging those worldviews! Thanks for the comment! You are so correct that my ministry partners are such a testimony to me.

  3. I wouldn’t say you were too hard on singles, frank maybe? It’s absolutely true though. And I think that most singles ASSUME that when you get married and double the income, you have more money. (maybe that was just me?) But somehow that doesn’t quite work out that way. At all. And many families survive on just one income and still manage to give to worthy causes. What makes one think that when they’re older/married/in a higher paying position they’ll be more prone to give their “hard earned” money away?

  4. You were not too hard at all!! I can’t believe people would use that excuse. Here my family is with a toddler, disabled child (TONS of medical bills) and a baby on the way with ONE income and we give. John and I decided to give because I shared with him how much crusade meant to me in college. John didn’t go to college but never had anyone minister to him as a young adult and knows what can happen. We find your ministry to need more support than we can give and wish others knew how much of an impact you can make simply playing xbox with a guy in a dorm at times!!

    I definitely agree that singles need to learn money skills NOW before they consider marriage. Great post in my opinion.

  5. Interesting post! As a support raiser: I have never had anybody say they couldn’t support me because they were single, though getting divorced almost always meant an end to my support. However, when I’m looking around for people to ask for support, I tend to rule out the young and single – even though – no speaking as a giver: I have much more freedom to give generously than my friends with families.

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