Hope for your financial life and beyond

How to Determine If People Really Want Help With Money

I’m totally into personal finance and love to help with money. I could teach the subject and shell out advice for hours. That’s why I love leading Financial Peace University classes so much. It satisfies my appetite.

But in everyday life I rarely get into conversations about money.

Why?

Because people rarely ask.

And even more rare are those times when I bring up the subject to someone else, even though I see bad personal finance decisions around me all the time.

help with moneyI’ve learned that when I initiate conversations about money it doesn’t go so well. People feel violated, like it’s an intrusion on their personal space. It’s like offering unsolicited advice on how to parent or what political party could best solve our problems. All three of those topics are an invasion into personal privacy and opinion, so it seems.

It’s a challenge to know when to jump on a person’s comments about their personal financial situation. If I’m in FPU class it’s no problem. The people there are motivated to change and I know they want my advice.

In normal everyday life it’s hard to tell if people are just whining or truly want help with money. Are they complaining and have no desire to change? Or are they throwing out innocuous comments to see if I’ll bite?

To help me in these situations, I’m working on a go-to list of statements and questions to determine a person’s intent. Each one can’t be used in every situation as they are tailored to certain types of statements. However, the responses from the individual tell me if they are willing to move the conversation along and if they really want help with money issues.

Do You Want Help With Money?

When people insinuate, complain about or make general statements about their financial life, interject these statements to find out how far they want to go:

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Save Money on Food by Ignoring the Best By Date

Have you ever wondered about the best by date on food? I learned something recently that made me rethink what I thought about that. It all happened the other weekend when I took our church youth group to the Georgia division of the Midwest Food Bank.

The Midwest Food Bank is a faith-based organization whose mission is to alleviate hunger and poverty by gathering and distributing food donations to not-for-profits and disaster sites without cost to the recipients. They distribute nearly $7 million dollars of food each month – food that is donated by food manufacturers, distributors, grocers, community and organizational food drives and from individual donors.

best by dateSeveral times during the night the kids noticed the items we were packaging looked old. The mini-Snickers bars we were counting by the thousands had Valentine’s wrappers on them. The cardboard packaging of the Cheez-It boxes was crushed and the Pop-Tarts boxes were open.

The director explained that as long as the interior packaging is not compromised the item is safe to use. He also mentioned this astonishing fact – Americans throw out 40% of the food whose label says it’s past it best by date. That’s millions and millions of dollars worth of food being discarded each year.

But should all that food be thrown out? How do you know whether it’s safe to eat?

As you are going to see it all depends on the wording.

Understanding Food Product Dating

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How I Got Financially Real in 5 Minutes

(A special “Thank You” to Shannon at The Heavy Purse for organizing this blog carnival for Financial Literacy Awareness Month. Check out her post and see how other personal finance bloggers got financially real.)

Financially Real

Up until seven years ago I lived with the delusion that I had no money problems. Everything seemed fine to me. We were paying bills on time, building our credit score and saving/investing money along the way.

What more do you need than that, right?

The truth however didn’t match reality. I was an over-spender…a chronic over-spender. Every month we were spending more than we made. (Well, it probably wasn’t every month but it sure seemed that way.)

Like so many others who live on credit and spend, spend, spend, I was content to keep walking that path. That was until I had an encounter I’ll never forget.

The five-minute encounter changed my life.

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Give Money and It Shall Be Given Unto You? (Luke 6:38)

Hidden Nuggets Series #77 – “ Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” – Luke 6:38

give and it shall be given unto youI’ve spent a lot of time cataloging all the Bible verses about money. It’s the reason this site was born, to share what I had learned. There are literally hundreds of verses that give us positive instruction about the use and abuse of our money.

Unfortunately, there are many verses in the Bible about money that have been misinterpreted. For whatever reason they are used by individuals (or churches) to teach and promote a message the verse simply doesn’t teach. Of all these verses, there may be none more consistently abused than this statement made by Jesus in Luke 6:38. It reads:

“Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (KJV)

(A bit of housekeeping here: The word mete means “to dispense or allot; to mete something out;” other synonyms would be to allocate, assign or dish out)

So, reading this as a stand-alone verse it would appear Jesus is saying this – “Whatever you give (the implication of “give” being money) you’ll get that back and then some (implied by the terms running over). In other words, God will bless you with money when you give money to Him.

Sounds like a good deal to me! Where do I sign up?

The Proper “Give and It Shall Be Given Unto You” Interpretation

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Dodging Sex and Money Conversations With a 6-Yr. Old

Ever wondered when to have sex and money conversations with your kids? My suggestion…take it slow and only share when they are ready. You have to be alert and on guard for these moments or you could make a mistake, like I almost did the other day when this happened to me…

The chore of walking our dog is a daily ritual. As I lasso him up for another stroll my six-year old son asks to join us. Sensing this would be a great bonding experience I say, “Sure buddy, come on” and we head off into the subdivision.

spidermanThe first few minutes are filled with the usual blathering that can only come from a six year old. I’m not even really paying attention given his topics have no connection to reality. I mean really…what’s the point of responding in depth to questions like “Can Spiderman shoot his webs underwater?” or “What if animals controlled people?”

Oh boy (cue eye roll). This is going to be long walk. Think I’ll keep the responses simple. “I don’t know, bud.” “Oh yeah…that would be crazy.”

Then, in the midst of the mundane, comes THAT topic every parent knows they will have to address but is never quite ready for. And it started like this…

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How to Enjoy a Life of Guilt Free Spending

guilt freeI would love to enjoy a guilt free life when it comes to spending money. Ever heard the same voice rattling around in your head that I’ve heard in mine. It usually says something like, “Why did you spend that money? That was stupid! You know you shouldn’t have done that.”

When that thought occurs it’s typical to spend the rest of the day kicking yourself and feeling like you’ve done something wrong. That same night might be spent seeking forgiveness from your spouse, while the rest of the month you struggle to figure out how to make the budget cover for your spending decision.

Guilt is powerful. But have you ever stopped to consider why?

6 Possible Origins of Our Guilt

Why do we get so wrapped up with guilt when it comes to spending money?

I think the root of guilt can be traced to several factors, some of which may have started long ago in our childhood.

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More Money More Problems: The 10 Challenges of the Wealthy

Everyone has money problems…even the wealthy. They may not be the same type of problems that someone with a hundred thousand dollars in student loan debt is experiencing but they exist nonetheless. It would seem that having more money doesn’t isolate a person from having more problems.

more money more problemsI don’t consider myself rich by any means. I’m not even sure how to accurately define whether someone is rich. What net worth number does a person have to reach before they are considered wealthy? $1 million? $5 million? $10 million plus?

For me, I would consider someone with $10 million in net worth to be rich. If they had all that money in cash, they could retire and live off $200,000 a year for 50 years. Does that sound rich to you?

Although we’ll probably never reach the $10 million dollar plateau, my wife and I have come to the point in our financial lives where we are worrying less about money. We don’t have to concern ourselves with paying off a mortgage and the kid’s college tuition is pretty much on pace to be adequately funded. The same goes for our retirement. According to Dave Ramsey’s baby steps you could say we’ve reached Baby Step 7 – building wealth.

While we don’t struggle with putting food on the table I’ve noticed other problems creeping into our lives as our net worth has increased. It got me thinking about the money issues of the wealthy and what they might be dealing with on a personal level. We haven’t experienced most of these but I’ll admit to being shaken on a small scale by a few of them.

The More Money More Problems of the Wealthy

While not exclusive, these are the 10 problems I see creeping into the life of someone with considerable wealth.

Dealing with the fear of losing it

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How to Stop Making Bad Money Mistakes Again and Again

Have you made a lot of money mistakes in life? I sure have. Some of mine seemed to happen over and over again. After awhile, they end up becoming bad habits of thinking and acting that impact the course of my life.

money mistakesWhen habits become ingrained we have a difficult time changing our mind and consequently the actions that follow. It’s like we become Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, living the same day over and over, making the wrong decisions again and again.

If you find yourself in this situation, take hope. Turning the corner is possible. We do not have to be bound and determined to live a mistake-prone life.

How to Stop Making Money Mistakes

Whether it’s money mistakes other issues of life, the path can be altered. When I keep making the same mistakes over and over I work through these steps.

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This One Thing You Lack to Have Treasure In Heaven

Hidden Nuggets Series #73 – “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” – Mark 10:21

treasure in heavenWe all have things that hold us back.

Things we can’t shake.

Things we don’t want to give up.

Things we love that bring us pleasure.

We’ve crossed a line when our love for and desire for such things keeps us from moving forward (or toward) to better things. We miss out on the prospects for a better future because we are latched onto the passions of the present.

To often the main culprit here is money and our desire for more.

Jesus and a Rich Young Man

One day Jesus was out teaching and a rich young man of some ruling stature came to him. The man knelt before Jesus and asked him a simple question,

“Good teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”

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Top 7 Ways to Raise a Money Smart Kid

Being a father of four I appreciate the value of raising money smart kids. Please welcome today Ruby Andrew as she shares with us some important steps parents should be taking with their children.

Financial values and good spending habits are one of the important life skills parents can teach their children. These lessons have a great effect in shaping the financial life aspect of a child.

Indeed, it is imperative for parents to begin teaching their children these financial lessons at an early stage. Here are seven lessons that should be a must for any parent to teach.

Start talking early enough about money

It is really important for a child to understand more about money. What money can buy, where one gets money and how one spends money.

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4 Guiding Money Principles that Every Child (and Adult) Must Learn

Please welcome my good friend and Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) Shannon Ryan from The Heavy Purse as she guest posts today.

word learn engraved in stoneWhen I was 13 years old, my father began giving me “money lessons” while we ate dinner, and I had no idea how these simple lessons would change my life. He didn’t focus on how money worked, but instead he showed me how my emotions affected my spending habits and money beliefs. With his guidance, I changed how I viewed money – from lack and fear – to one of abundance. Most importantly, I learned how to make financially confident decisions that aligned how I used my money with my goals and values. It felt great.

It wasn’t until college that I realized what a special gift my father gave me. Many of my friends and classmates had not been taught how to handle money wisely. Money wasn’t discussed in their homes, so they learned by trial and mostly error. I wanted to help them and became a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®). For the past 22 years, it’s been my honor to help families and individuals reclaim their money happiness.

How Money Habits and Beliefs Are Formed

One trend I noticed repeatedly was that many of our money habits and beliefs formed when we were children, not adults. We observed how our parents handled money and mimicked them, inheriting their money hang-ups along the way. We then grew up to pass these same hang-ups to our children, continuing the vicious cycle.

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