Hope for your financial life and beyond

Visa Debit Card Safety: What You Need to Know

My daughter just reached an financial milestone the other week when she opened her first checking account several weeks ago. However, she’s even more excited that, along with the checking account, came a Visa debit card. Yep, her first piece of plastic.

Visa debit cardOf course she will have to learn how to use it responsibly. That’s because debit cards act like cash. All transactions post to your checking account register. In other words, when you buy an item with a debit card, the money is immediately withdrawn from your account to complete the purchase.

The advantages here should be obvious. Debit cards force you to budget your money. They force you to keep track of how much money you have left to spend. Credit cards don’t do that. The credit limit is the limitation placed on the account. But once you’ve hit that limit, many people have already spent more on the card than they actually have. That’s what makes credit cards so dangerous.

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17 Psalms of Comfort for When You Are in the Storm

It’s September, 2017 and a giant storm is barreling towards the coast of Florida. Hurricane Irma’s path remains in flux. However, most in Florida have evacuated. Even in Georgia where I live, people are scared about Irma’s impact. But it’s in these times we can look to the Bible, specifically for psalms of comfort.

psalms of comfortI don’t know if King David ever endured an actual storm from mother nature. But it’s obvious from reading the Bible that his life was filled with many personal storms. For starters, his brothers disliked him. Jealous King Saul sought to kill him. His own son Absalom attempted a coup against David’s throne.

David even battled his own personal sins and sadly, had to watch as one of his son’s died in infancy.

Yet through all the pain and loss, the Bible describes David as a man after God’s own heart. In fact, David often looked to God for comfort during the difficult times. And really it makes sense for us all. Who else can we look to when all is or seems lost?

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12 Bible Verses About Friendship That Will Make You a Better Friend

We all want to be a better friend, right? I recently heard a message in church that touched on this topic. So on my own time I decided to look and see what Bible verses about friendship I could find.

Bible verses about friendshipThere are some great examples of friendship between people in the Bible. Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi come to mind. Also David and Jonathan were described as being as close of friends as anyone could be. And of course, when we have a relationship with Jesus Christ, He becomes the ultimate friend on whom we can always count.

Let’s face it though – friendships can be hard. Sometimes it’s hard just to find friends. Other times we fall into the wrong type of friendships, ones that lead us in the wrong direction. And, just like a reliable car, the best friendships take work to maintain.

The Bible touches on these things with the hopes of making us find and be better friends. There are many Bible verses about friendship to choose from. Here are 12 of the better ones I found.

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What Is a Savings Account and Does My Child Need One?

As part of my return to blogging after a brief absence, I’m going to be writing a series of posts that answer some basic money questions.  Even for seasoned consumers, it’s important to return to the basics from time to time, if nothing more than to solidify in our minds why we do these things. So today I’m going to be answering the question what is a savings account?

And I’ll be answering some FAQs at the end – one in particular about savings accounts for children.

Savings 101

what is a savings accountOther than spend, there is no more basic activity to do with money than to save it. People save for many reasons. But the main purpose of saving is to have a store of money for needs, for wants or for emergencies.

You can save money anywhere. If you are like most people, you probably have a small amount of cash at your home. But the majority of people who want to save large amounts of cash do so by opening a savings account at local bank.

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So It’s Been Awhile but I’m Back from My Blogging Break

Yeah, so it’s been awhile since I wrote an article on this blog. Judging by the date of the last post it’s been three months. That’s a long time in the blogging world to let your site lie dormant with no action.

But the decision not to post was intentional. Why you may ask? Well there were several personal reasons that drew my attention away from writing. In the past few months my family has experienced a change in my career, the school my kids go to and the church we attend. And the most time consuming of all our family events is that we moved to a new home. And, if you’ve ever sold a home and bought a new one, you know the time required for that.

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How to Save One Thousand Dollars in a Month

If you are serious about getting out of debt and building any kind of financial future, then you must save money on a regular basis. The best part is you don’t have to begin with much. All you need to do for starters is to save one thousand dollars. That will give yourself some cushion.

When I worked construction I learned that every building requires a solid foundation. For your financial life, that foundation is savings. Without adequate savings you will struggle to get out of debt and will always be susceptible to emergency situations.

save one thousand dollarsNow I know the process of saving money isn’t sexy. We’d rather go spend our money on gadgets and entertainment that would give us an emotional high. Saving money and leaving it in the bank is an emotional blah.

To save one thousand dollars in a month may or may not sound like a daunting task depending on your situation. Some of you may be struggling to pay your basic bills.

But you can save one thousand dollars quickly. In fact, you could do it in only one month. Here’s how.

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Getting the Best Deal on a Personal Loan

It’s important to learn a few things about loans and the lending industry before taking out your first loan. Many people think that two loans that provide the same amount of money are completely identical. But this isn’t the case at all.

A lender might lead you to believe that if you can afford a monthly payment then you can afford a loan. In reality, this is only half of the story. You have to look at the big picture to understand if a loan is good for your situation. You may need to do some reading or get some outside advice.

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How Much We Pay Our Kids For Chores

“How much to pay kids for chores?” is a question my wife and I have wrestled with again and again. I’ve mentioned before why we don’t give our kids allowances. I’m not giving them money just for existing. It seems like that is what an allowance implies. Kids need to feel the burden of work so they can experience the joy of its rewards.

how much to pay kids for choresIn addition to earning some money, doing chores around the house is teaching them responsibility. The home is where they should begin to learn basic life skills. When I was in school, I knew some college freshman who couldn’t do their own laundry. My oldest two children have been doing that since they were nine.

Over the years my wife and I have adjusted how much we pay our kids for chores. The amounts started out small and increased as they got older. Now that our oldest has turned 16, we are looking at another radical change. Before I get to that, here is some background information that helped us decide on how much to pay kids for chores.

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Why You Should and Shouldn’t Refinance Student Debt

If you have student debt, you may be wondering whether or not it is a good idea for you to refinance the loan. To be honest, it depends on your situation and several important factors. But make no mistake, you do have to pay them back. If you don’t, you risk defaulting on your loan, which could lead to other drastic consequences.

Not everyone will benefit from refinancing their student loans. So it is important that you take some time to think about it before you jump in feet first. Below, are some of the reasons why and why you should not refinance your student debt.

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6 Ways We Survive the Dark Side of Rental Real Estate

My wife and I purchased our first home to be used as a rental property seven years ago. That move was the culmination of several years’ worth of reading about and planning to own rental real estate. It took us that long to feel knowledgeable and confident enough to put a plan into action that would earn us a steady income stream aside from our normal careers.

For the most part, our experience has been a positive one. In fact, I’d say overall it has been great. However, we have had our share of challenges along the way, like:

rental real estate…an unexpected new well we had to drill and install (that was pricey!)

…leaky copper pipes that had to be replaced in an entire house

…a dual tenant situation where one roommate left, leaving us with half the monthly revenue stream on that property until another roommate could be found

…tenants who don’t inform you of repair issues in a timely manner (“Really? It’s been leaking how long?”)

…tenants who won’t pay on time, or ever

…tenants, who by their actions force you into court (that’s a post in itself!)

…managing the finances to account for repairs, taxes and the house that sits vacant for months while you do said repairs or find a new tenant

…dealing with the emotions that come when facing these tough circumstances

…the time it took away from our already busy schedule to take care of all this

Are you prepared for all that and more? If you are game, then I have five suggestions that will help you manage through some of the dark times that will inevitably come. And I’ll tell you the sixth thing we’ve done recently that has taken our rental real estate business to the next level.

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