As embarrassing as it is to confess, during the financial crisis of September 2008, when our financial lives took a hard hit, my husband and I dramatically cut down on our charitable giving. We both have professional backgrounds in finance, so this seemed to make the most “financial sense.”

Before the crisis, my husband and I used to give charity often; one could even say There was one huge flaw in our financial operating system “generously.” However, there was one huge flaw in our financial operating system. Instead of prioritizing giving, as Jewish law dictates, our “generosity” could be best described as, “if we have, we give.” Therefore, once there was a crisis, “Well, hey, this is a recession; we can’t give!” We declined many requests to give, rationalizing the decision as the “financially responsible” thing to do.

As we reasoned, there are four ways in which we can allocate our money: We can spend it, we can save it, we can invest it, or we can give it. In strict financial terms, the last one (giving) usually happens after everything else. Any financial professional will tell you, first we take care of saving, investing, spending, and then, if there’s anything left, we give.

Judaism flips this financial paradigm on its head. We Jews give first. We have a mitzvah to give maaser—a minimum of 10 percent of our after-tax-earnings to charity. This system ensures that we give regardless of our financial circumstances. We don’t give after everything else has been taken care of ... a few pairs of shoes, Nordstrom’s annual sale, the new iPhone. No, we give first, from the top line. Money comes in; 10 percent goes out.

As much as I’d like to believe that the money that I earn is the product of my own efforts and sound planning, the fact is that years of seeing the ebbs and flows of our financial life have taught me that whatever money I have in my bank account at any given moment is there only because G‑d deposited it with me. More importantly, implicit in that deposit is His trust that I will manage the money wisely. Some of the deposited money is for me, yes. But some is for me to allocate on His behalf.

I once heard Jewish philanthropist George Rohr state in the name of the late Rabbi Yehosuah B. Gordon that when we take 10 percent of our earnings and give them to charity, G‑d guarantees the other 90 percent. Tzedakah is the guarantee that we will have the 90 percent that we need. Where else do you get guaranteed financial returns like that?

Here’s a practical tip to setting up your financial life in a way that ensures you’re a giver, even when you feel like you don’t have enough money to give. You set up a separate bank account that you consistently fund with 10 percent of your after-tax earnings. This is a simple financial structure with impressive returns. And if you want to go the extra mile, you give your new bank account an inspiring name because there’s much to be said for the power of language.

My husband and I have named our maaser account: “G‑d’s Blessings.” This reminds us that despite our talents, skills, hard work, etc., the money in our bank accounts is a blessing from G‑d, and that we have a fiduciary responsibility to Him. The money inside of the “G‑d’s Blessings” account is our way of acknowledging His blessing by being the best money managers we can be.

EverOur marriage has also been enriched since we started allocating 10 percent of every paycheck systematically into that account, not only have we always had money to give to others in need, but we’ve never lacked money ourselves! Yeah, sometimes it was through miraculous means, sometimes with tradeoffs, much discipline or very simple dinners, but really, we never lacked. In fact, our financial life has radically improved. But the even more surprising and unexpected result of this financial system is that because we are united together on the larger goal of being G‑d’s money managers, our marriage has also been enriched.

One of the most beautiful things we do as a couple now is to log into that account and decide together which causes and institutions we want to support. In addition, whenever we get an email or a text message requesting help for a person or family in need, within minutes we can log into the account and send some money.

Today, more than a decade after that fall fiscal crisis, we look at the fluctuations in our income, the stock market and more with much more objectivity and tranquility. For we know that as long as we are putting our trust in G‑d and following His financial system, we will continue to be blessed to be givers.