Hope for your financial life and beyond

Should I Borrow Money to Get What I Want?

borrow moneyWe live in a “Have It Now” culture that screams, “Borrow money now to get what you want!”

We want our fast food within 5 minutes or less in the drive-thru.  We want to make quick money for as little work as possible. We drive fast cars so we can get to our destination sooner. We are first in line for the newest technology gadget the day it is released. Can’t wait…gotta have it.

This “Have It Now” culture has also skewed our reasoning ability, in that it has masterfully helped us change our “wants” into “needs.”

We no longer want the new bass boat – it is a need.

We no longer want the week-long cruise to Bermuda – it is a need.

We no longer want the $5,000 Hall of Fame rookie card – it is a need.

We no longer want…(fill in yours here)…it is a need.

Borrow Money to Get What We Want

Think through all of your major purchases in the past year. How many of them would truly be classified as “needs?”

Put these two things together – getting what we want quickly and “wants vs. needs” – and a real problem begins to arise for most everyone in society. We don’t have the money to pay for these items!

[Read more…]

A Giving Spirit Is the Path to Friendship

I love the book of Proverbs. One reason is because Solomon filled it with so many one-liners. (I read a post once on Jon Acuff’s Stuff Christians Like blog how he describes Proverbs as the original Twitter. That’s pretty cool.) Most of the one-liners are fairly easy to digest and interpret…pretty straightforward. But once in a while, you are not exactly sure what he is trying to say. Or maybe he is trying to say multiple things in one tweet. I think that may have been the case in Proverbs 19:6 when he says,

“Many entreat the favor of the nobility, and every man is a friend to one who gives gifts.”

[Read more…]

Surety: How to Get Out of a Cosigned Loan

The idea of becoming surety for a stranger, friend or family member has not been spoken highly of in the Bible. We have been warned about the potential dangers and risks involved in doing so. Despite these warnings, there will still be some people who think their situation is unique and choose to vouch for the debt obligation of someone else by cosigning for them. It is unfortunate that they would ignore this wisdom and put themselves at risk for financial and emotional harm.

So what do you do if you become surety for someone? Is there a way out if you regret your decision? Well again we turn to the wisest man who ever lived.

Deliver Yourself From a Cosigned Loan

In Proverbs 6:1-5, Solomon addresses this situation by saying,

[Read more…]

Surety: The Potential Costs of Cosigning a Loan

Any good professional financial planner would tell you their primary goal is to create financial security for their clients. They would organize your investments in such a way as to produce that desired outcome. They would also counsel you the best path to establishing financial security is to engage in wise personal behaviors. In other words, don’t do anything in the present to damage your financial picture and thus jeopardize a secure future.

The fact of the matter is, when you become surety (going into debt, cosigning) for another, it puts you at risk in the present. It is the risk you take that could have devastating affects on your long-term financial picture.

Words from Solomon on Surety

Solomon about surety often and he clearly did not think it a wise financial move.

[Read more…]

Surety: Do You Really Want to Cosign That Loan?

There is a curious money word in the Bible – found mostly in Proverbs – that needs some defining. It’s the word “surety.” Surety refers to the act (or promise) of a person to take on or assume the responsibility for the debt obligation of someone else if that person cannot repay their loan. In essence, you become the guarantor of the loan by being willing to provide this service.

This type of arrangement is most common when the lender of money has a question or some doubt the borrower may be able to repay the loan. So they will require a third party (you the guarantor) to step forward and legally enter into the borrowing contract. The lender does this to reduce their risk and, in some cases, this may actually lower the interest that is charged to the borrower.

An Example of Surety

So, for example, your son wants to buy a $8,000 car.

[Read more…]

Living Life With An Open Hand (Part II): How to Properly Control Money

In the post Giving to the Needy, we saw how God wants us to relate to those who may be less fortunate. We saw from Deuteronomy 15:7-10 that God commands we give to them. Our hearts should be sensitive to their need and we should give freely, generously and cheerfully.

The main point of these verses is that in our relationship with the poor we should not forget to give to them. But I can’t help but feel there is something deeper here that speaks to an internal attitude that has the potential to cripple our ability to truly prosper and be blessed. It’s found in the phrase “open your hand.”

I have a little exercise for you.

[Read more…]

Living Life With an Open Hand (Part I): Giving to the Needy

We live in a socioeconomic divided world. There are the “haves”, the “have-nots” and the “have-in-betweens.” Your status, in regards to wealth, can determine how much influence you have, how much access you have to important people, and how many things you can buy for yourself. It is a measure of your success, power and importance. You are somebody if you have money, and you are nobody if you have none. At least that is how most of the world sees it.

So we have this financial asset disparity present in our world, yet we all, rich and poor alike, have to share the same space. We only have one earth. With that being the case, unless NASA (or Sir Richard Branson) decides to start a colony on the moon where only the rich will be able to afford the space ride, we are stuck with one another. That means we will have to figure out how to coexist peaceably, figure out how to treat one another, and figure out what our responsibilities are to those who have more or less than we do. And we already have seen how hard relationships can be. 

The Bible’s Take on Giving to the Needy

The Bible weighs in often on how the rich should treat the poor. Perhaps no verse better sums it up than Deuteronomy 15:7-10 which reads:

[Read more…]

God’s Provision (Part II): Our Attitude Plays a Role

We saw in part one how God provided for Elijah during a terrible drought in Israel. I Kings 17:6 tells us that ravens brought him bread and meat each day and he drank water from the brook.  Everything was going fine for him, that is until the brook dried up because of the drought. “What now God?” Elijah is surely thinking. “How will I survive without water?”

God wasn’t through showing his miraculous powers to Elijah. No more water…no problem for God. He next instructs Elijah to go to the city Zarephath. When Elijah arrives at the city gate, he meets a woman gathering sticks. This is their interaction in verses 10-13:

[Read more…]

Do You Want to be Debt Free?

Breaking the chains of debt is key to gaining financial freedom.

Where do you stand on the concept of debt?

It is huge issue in our culture today with proponents pushing both sides of the debate. And probably no Biblical issue about money has been more widely and passionately discussed than this one. We can all find justification for our particular position from the pages of the Bible or from just an everyday practical, money management standpoint.

So, the purpose of this post today is not to expound on and discuss the virtues or vices of debt. We will have plenty of time to do that at a later juncture. Rather it is to help us understand this one irrefutable core concept from Scripture…

[Read more…]

Giving is Part of Our Nature

I love Christmas! Always have. As a young child, it meant a trip to my grandparents’ house in Indiana for a week with the extended family – grandma and grandpa, mom, dad, aunts, uncles, and cousins all crammed together in the same house. Now, I’m sure for some out there this is the last thing you would ever want to be forced into doing, and the mere thought of it is stirring memories and images you’d rather not dwell on.

But for me, it was as close to nirvana as I could come. This was mostly because things were so different from the normal routine…

[Read more…]