Hope for your financial life and beyond

My Go To Bible Verse When I Worry About Money

If there is one thing I’ve discovered while monitoring my own finances through the years it’s this – the future is friends with worry. It’s inevitable. At some point I will worry about money.worry about money

I think many people are right there with me. A recent survey showed that 73% of Americans ranked their finances as the #1 stress in their life. That’s over things you’d think would cause more stress like relationships, career, family, kids and traffic on the freeway.

So what’s to worry about when it comes to money? Well, everything really.

First and foremost, we worry about how to make ends meet. Again, recent studies show that just over 60% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. That means they can only make ends meet from one paycheck to the next. That’s no way to live, wondering if you can make it to the next pay stub.

But there are other areas where people worry about money.

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High Risk Investing: When I Turned One Thousand Dollars Into…

I marvel at how Wall Street creates wealth. This even happens sometimes through high risk investing. An investor purchases a few 100 shares in a small company that hits it’s stride or a start-up that goes supernova and they become a millionaire inside a decade.

high risk investing

That’s not normal. For most investors it takes multiple decades of steady, solid investing to create significant wealth. But it does happen from time to time, as we all have seen.

That’s why the latest opportunities or fads like cryptocurrency and NFTs attract us. It’s why we get caught up in new companies and try to buy in on the opening day of trading. IPOs (initial public offerings) tend to be extremely volatile. That is why investors are better off waiting for several months before they decide to purchase shares.

What if you could purchase shares in a company before it went public though? That would be an extreme level of high risk investing. You are essentially putting money into a company that might not even make it to market. That strategy is more like speculating than investing.

But would you do that given the opportunity? Put money on the line with a chance to hit it big or lose it all? I did once and here’s that story.

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With God All Things Are Possible – Even Saving Rich People

“But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26

On one occasion in the Bible a rich young ruler approached Jesus with a very serious question. The man asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. After a brief back and forth exchange Jesus had this final answer for him:

“If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow me.” (Matthew 19:21)

with god all things are possibleIt’s easy to misinterpret what Jesus was saying to the young man. He was not saying that owning possessions is bad. Nor was he saying that a person can buy their way into heaven. That can only happen through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

He also wasn’t saying that we all have to give up our wealth to enter heaven. And he certainly was not saying that God favors the poor over the rich. God looks upon all people with equal value regardless of their financial status.

So what was going on here? In essence, Jesus knew something about this particular man. It was something that was keeping him from following Jesus and inheriting eternal life. The man’s reaction to Jesus’ final instruction reveals exactly what it was.

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4 Steps To Getting A Social Security Number

All US citizens, permanent residents, and even those only temporarily residing in the United States can get a social security number (SSN). You may not have known that. As it turns out, social security numbers are open to more people than you think.social security number

My family has hosted international high school students for the last several years. We just helped one of them get a social security number so that she could obtain her driver’s license. She’s going to college in the states next year, so being able to drive is very important to her. Having that social security number helped expedite the process.

Social security numbers are of course very useful in business transactions with both federal and state government agencies. Even those who aren’t working would find it very convenient to have their own SSN. But there are some steps to go through to get one though. If you weren’t granted one at birth for some reason or are a foreigner to the United States, it will take a little bit of time.

For starters, you’ll have to submit an application to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Your number, once issued, usually comes with a corresponding social security card. So, if you want to know more information about getting and laminating a social security card, you might want to read on. 

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How to Develop a Purposeful Plan for Giving Away Money

If you have found your way to this article, you most likely have a generous heart and enjoy giving away money to a favorite cause. But have you ever thought about how you give away money? Do you give purposefully or haphazardly as opportunities pass in front of you?

giving away moneyDeveloping a purposeful plan for giving away money might seem silly. You may want to give wherever and to whomever you like without feeling held back by a plan. There is great freedom in that philosophy. However, as I’ve found out over the years, there are also great dangers.

Putting together a purposeful plan for giving away money is a fundamental exercise you should go through. In short, it will help you have success with your finances.

Everyone who gets serious about their finances tries hard to make a monthly budget work. We make a plan to pay for the kid’s college. And we work tirelessly in order to support ourselves in retirement.

So why do we ignore this area of our finances where a lot of money could also pass through our fingers?

The fact is we shouldn’t ignore it. Here’s how to get purposeful with your giving.

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It Is Not a Sin to Buy a New Car

Is it ever OK to buy a new car? You won’t find many people in the personal financial space advocating that practice. Why? Because a car is a depreciating asset, meaning that it goes down in value over time.

buy a new carHow fast do cars depreciate? Figures vary based on the make and model of the car and market conditions. But most estimates say that cars depreciate around 20% the first year, and 15% more each year in years two through five. So you can expect a new car to be worth around 40% of its purchase price after 5 years of ownership.

So looking at those numbers, this should be considered the cardinal personal financial sin. Anyone considering buying a new car instead of a used one runs the risk of being called a foolish, image-conscious over spender.

Used car purchases always outpace new car purchases. But still, data from 2020 shows 14 million new light trucks and automobiles were purchased in the United States.

So, is it really a big a deal to buy a new car? A large segment of society doesn’t seem to think so.

I’ll answer my own question by saying “It depends.”

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8 Bible Verses About God’s Love You Should Never Forget

Ever wonder where our capacity to love actually comes from? It’s pretty clear that our ability to love is something that was given to us by God. In fact, the Bible verses about God’s love that I read tell me He is Himself the essence of love and has passed that on to us.

verses about God's loveGranted it’s not always easy loving others. We are difficult people to get along with. Even people we care about sometimes do not get the love they deserve from us.

Not only is loving others hard, we often choose to love for all the wrong reasons. Often times we choose to love others based on how they act towards us. Or we choose to love based on what we can get from someone else. Fortunately for us, that’s not how it is with God.

God’s love towards us is unconditional. That means He loves us no matter what. We can’t do anything to reject, or bypass or disown His love. He can’t help it – love is part of His nature.

He loves us – all of us – equally and without hesitation no matter who you are or what you have done. Let that sink in for a moment.

If you doubt this, just look at these verses about God’s love found in the Bible.

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Key Differences in the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders

Every builder knows you need a strong foundation to support a house. Well, accept one builder described in the Biblical parable of the wise and foolish builders. He could have made a better choice and taken a Construction 101 class. More about that in a moment.

parable of the wise and foolish buildersWhat makes a solid foundation?  A concrete slab works. So does a poured basement wall or concrete blocks placed on a footer.

On the other hand, building a house that rests on gravel won’t work in the long run. Dirt would be even less sturdy. A house built on sand would have no chance.

No one would ever conceive of building a house on something as unstable and shifty as sand. Without a solid foundation, the ground would buckle under the weight of the house. The slightest storm would wash away the sand and cause the house to crumble.

Ironically, we do this all the time. Not with a real house structure though. We do it with something way more valuable – our lives. We construct a life on all kinds of foundations that have no chance of supporting us in the long run.

Jesus told an epic parable about a wise builder and a foolish builder that highlights this issue. They both built their house differently. And wow…did they ever have different outcomes!

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Our Nightmare on Rental Street: Lessons From Evicting a Tenant

My wife and I have long enjoyed the benefits that come with owning rental real estate. The extra income each month has given us freedom within our monthly budget to fund things like our personal mortgage payoff, vacations and other investments. Granted it hasn’t been the easiest side hustle and we have learned many lessons along the way. One of those was the process we had to go through while evicting a tenant.evicting a tenant

Evicting a tenant is one of rental real estate’s darker sides. No one ever thinks they will have to do this when a tenant signs the rental agreement. We trust our background research and intuition about the person we’ve selected to fill the property. And we expect the tenant to honor their part of the rental agreement.

We provide them with quality lodging. They pay us for that service. That’s how this business is supposed to work. So, what could possible go wrong with such a simple arrangement?

Actually, plenty can go wrong. Especially when the tenant sees an opening they feel like they can take advantage of.

This is our story of how we dealt with a tenant who refused to pay his rent, how we went about evicting him and the lessons we learned from it.

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Even Jesus Had a Side Hustle?

The title of this post makes me laugh. Who would have thought the words “Jesus” and “side hustle” could be used in the same sentence to communicate a personal finance idea?

side hustleYou’ve probably heard of Jesus. He was a really good preacher who lived several millennia ago. He claimed to be God in the flesh and Savior of the world. After three years of ministry, he died on a cross for the sins of all mankind. But his story didn’t end there. Three days later, he rose from the dead and appeared to many. Ultimately, his ministry launched a brand new movement (Christianity) and a brand new entity (the church). You can learn more about him here.

But you may be unfamiliar with the term “side hustle.” When you hear the word “hustle”, what comes to mind? Pete Rose diving head first into third base? Paul Newman and Robert Redford conning their way to a fortune in the movie The Sting. In this context, side hustle doesn’t mean either of those things.

So what is it and should you have one? Let’s take a look.

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The Best Option for the Extra Budget Money at the End of the Month

Perhaps you’ve had this experience with your monthly budget money: budget money

At the beginning of the month you allocated “X” amount for a particular budget category. Due to clipping coupons, noticing that sale item or exercising some intense discipline, you didn’t end up spending as much for that category as you had planned. You had extra money for that budget category that went unspent for the month.

Putting it into an example – you budgeted $600 for groceries but only spent $525. You thought that dress would be $100 but you lucked into a half-off sale. There was no car maintenance for the month and the $75 you earmarked for the car maintenance budget wasn’t used.

So there is extra money available to be used in that expense category. What do you do with the extra money? Where does it (or should it) go or should you spend it at all?

You may have never thought to ask those questions, but there are actually some issues here that need to be addressed. I can think of three different options for your extra budget money at the end of the month, with one of them being the clear cut winner in my book.

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