Hope for your financial life and beyond

FACT: The Rich Rule Over the Poor and the Borrower is Slave to the Lender ― Proverbs 22:4

The society we live in today revolves around being in and remaining in debt. Don’t believe me? In the early 1900s, most people owned their house with no mortgage

what does the bible say about debtIt wasn’t until after WWII that debt became a more popular way to make purchases when loan requirements were loosened and lenders became protected by federal law. When the opportunity for mortgages expanded, debt went through the roof. 

At the beginning of 2020, more than 50% of Americans make just enough money to pay their bills each month. If something were to happen and they missed a paycheck, some of their bills wouldn’t be paid that month. In fact, 40% of Americans can’t cover $400 in the case of an emergency.

The questions regarding debt that are the most important have nothing to do with what others are doing or thinking. For Christians, it is important to ask what the Bible says about debt

The four most important lessons the Bible teaches about debt are:

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Living is Worth the Risk – So Choose to Live!

Ugh…Wow! That’s the basic starting point for describing 2020 to most people. A year that FDR might say will live in infamy. If you would have told me in December of 2019 that for most of the next year we’d debate whether leaving our homes or not was worth the risk, I would not have believed you.

worth the riskYet here we are at the close of 2020 and there are some who have not left their homes since February to protect themselves from contracting COVID19.

There are so many angles people have pursued and will continue to pursue to try and make sense of what happened this year. There will be facts, there will be opinions, there will be misdirection and there will be suspicion. And all of it fueled with emotions we know so well – fear, anger, frustration, anxiety, confusion, sadness and helplessness. Who hasn’t felt at least one of those at some level in 2020?

And yet, despite all the downside this year has brought, I had a thought several months ago while driving with my family that I have not been able to escape. It gave me perspective on how to handle my life in a world consumed with risk. It showed me there is a better path than the one governed by fear.

The thought was a basic one. Put simply, my mind told me this – “Living is worth the risk.” Here is what that means to me.

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If You Have Never Read the Christmas Story

Many believe in the important of Christmas traditions. Christmas traditions create strong emotional connections between people or events. They build lasting memories that are remembered with fondness. One tradition we started with our kids was to read the Christmas story from the Bible on Christmas Eve. After that we get a jump on unwrapping presents by opening the kids’ stockings. In recent years, we’ve also added the viewing of “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Christmas Eve.

the christmas story

Even though the kids are older and one has left for college, we continue the reading and movie watching. For us it’s a reminder of what the season means and how much we have for which to be grateful.

Perhaps you’ve never read the Christmas story from the Bible. The passage in Luke 2 describes the circumstances around the birth of Jesus. It’s not what you might expect, considering Jesus was heralded in the Hebrew literature as the King of the Jews. He came into the world in the humblest of circumstances, surrounded by only his parents, some barnyard animals and a few unimportant shepherds.

Yet this simple story details the beginnings of a life that would change the world. I share it now in its entirety with the hope that it might lead you to consider what Jesus could mean for you.

Merry Christmas!

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Count the Cost: The Secret Step for Success at Anything (Luke 14:28)

count the costWould you like to have success at anything you do? Of course would. So would I. Nobody sets out with the intention to fail. However, many times we do fail and it’s often because we refused to count the cost ahead of time.

What do I mean by count the cost? Does that have something to do with money? Well, maybe but not necessarily.

Put simply, when you count the cost, you plan ahead. You take inventory of everything that needs to happen before you pursue a goal.

Now, you may not know every little detail that needs to be achieved in the process. But you can at least get a sense of all the big rocks that need to be accomplished in order for your endeavor to be successful.

This concept isn’t a new one. The term “count the cost” actually has its origins in the Bible. And Jesus used it with his disciples to prove a very important point about thinking and planning ahead.

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Should I Save For Retirement or the Kid’s College First?

I’m a very linear person. My default mode is to move in a chronological order, doing things step by step according to a predetermined plan. So it’s confusing when trying to decide whether to save for retirement first or our kid’s college.

save for retirementOn the one hand, it’s been drilled into me that saving for retirement is important. However, I know the costs of college tuition are increasing every year with no end in sight. I’d love for my kids to graduate from college debt free and feel an obligation as a parent to help with some of my own money to make that happen.

College is a nearer-term goal than retirement. That fits with my linear life narrative. Prepare for the financial situations that are coming sooner and push off financial decisions that can be made later. For most people, college costs will come before retirement costs so shouldn’t we be focusing on that first?

It seems logical to prepare for college first but I’m going to suggest today that we should do the illogical. The exact opposite should happen. Save for retirement first and college second.

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How to Invest in Stock for Beginners

As I have stated many times on this site before, it is of utmost importance to be invested in the stock market. The earnings you make from your career will be your biggest wealth building strategy. However, second only to that, will be what you invest in. Many people have been able to build significant wealth through investments. 

While you can find many tools and resources on this topic on both online and offline platforms, a beginner may find it hard to know where to start. What should you be looking for anyway? And what are the key things to think about and ask before you even put down money on an investment? This article will give you some tips to get you started as a beginner. Hopefully after reading, you’ll realize that this is not as hard as you may think.

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2 Milestones You Need to Reach Before Investing Money

investingWhen it comes to investing money in the stock market, time is your greatest ally and your greatest enemy. The longer you are investing money the greater likelihood you’ll generate great wealth. Shortening that time period by just a few years could significantly reduce the amount of wealth you’ll create.

That’s why it’s important to get started early – in fact, the earlier the better. Time is the most critical element in the investing equation. It doesn’t matter if you are a high school student making minimum wage at a summer job, a college student figuring out how to pay your way through school or married with your first child on the way. The earlier you start investing, even in small amounts, the more one can maximize big returns in the long run.

Don’t believe me? Read on and check out the following example.

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Online Business Ideas That Make You Money

In 1991, the Internet as we know it went live to the general public. At the time, there was little fanfare. And it would take most of the rest of the decade before it became mainstream.

Now the Internet is everywhere. And have people sure learned how to use it…especially to start an online business and make money.

As the Internet has evolved, people continue to spend more and more time on it. More eyeballs looking at content means more opportunity for people to monetize that content. So, for many, starting an online business sounds like a good idea.

There are a multitude of ways to make money on the Internet. And if you have never worked on the Internet before, that should not be something to stop you. Those who are willing to learn can be a success and make enough money to either earn a living or provide a little extra on the side in their monthly budget.  The work itself does not have to be full-time. Plenty of people are adjusting their schedules and juggling both their regular work as well as an online side hustle. 

So, if this is something you are interested in, you will need an idea for a business plan first. 

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7 Positive Lessons from Job’s Friends on Helping Hurting People

Ever felt like you had no clue how to help someone who was hurting? It doesn’t matter if the pain is physical, emotional or spiritual. Too often we simply freeze, not really knowing how to best help our friends in need.

Should I give them advice? Try to cheer them up? Give them a hug? Offer to help them in some way? Who really knows, right? It’s simply hard to know the appropriate way to respond so as not to hurt or offend them further.

jobs friendsThe Bible records a story for us about a man named Job (pronounced “jobe”). In his story, we see him experiencing some of the deepest emotional and physical pain one could be dealt. In his distress, three of his friends came to be with him. The initial steps they took serve as an example to us all on how to respond when one of our friends is hurting.

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All Work and No Play: Combating the Dangers of Workaholism

All work and no playDo not fear. I’m not writing from a snowed in mountain resort lodge. I have to admit for years I assumed the proverb “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” came from that Stephen King horror novel turned Jack Nicholson movie thriller The Shining, which mistakenly came in front of my eyes as a youth (thank you older cousins). I say mistakenly because no one under the age of 21 should put that imagery into their head. (And maybe if you are over 21, you shouldn’t either.)

As it turns out the phrase “all work and no play” was originally published in Proverbs in English, Italian, French and Spanish (1659) and is attributed to a writer by the name of James Howell.

The warning of the all work and no play proverb seems clear enough to me. If we don’t release ourselves from the pressures of work from time to time we will become dull and uninteresting. We become like the automated robot on the assembly line who only finds fulfillment in one thing – doing its job. When life becomes our work, we neglect time for hobbies, family, friends, exercise, watching sports, reading, or just plain vegging, all of which could add significant value to life if we let them.

That type of existence doesn’t spark a fire in me at all. Work definitely has value and should be something we take seriously. But life is so much more than working all the time.

So what should people battling with workaholism do? Fortunately, there is a path forward to a better work/life balance.

A Guideline For Work

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Should I Hire An Apartment Rental Manager For My Property?

As I have mentioned here many times before, having a rental property is one of the most lucrative businesses that you can have. It doesn’t matter if it is your full-time passion or a business you do on the side. Owning property and renting it out to others is a great way to bring in income. 

First and foremost, you must always set good strategies to ensure the properties you choose are outstanding. The key strategy with this is finding the ideal locations where you can buy property. Look for areas with good neighborhoods, outstanding school systems, convenient distances from goods and services and easy access to major travel routes. In this way, it will be easy to convince tenants of the value of moving into your property.

As great a business as it can be, managing rental properties or apartments can be hectic, especially if you lack the skills of management. If you feel overwhelmed, I would advise you to use a rental manager who can help you run your property. Of course that comes with a fee for their services. But in the end, it may be a wise move to help you relieve stress, free up your time and actually make you more money. 

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