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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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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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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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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Beware: All That Glitters Is Not Gold

You’ve probably heard the saying, “All that glitters is not gold.” Well, society would tell us differently. And so would one of the most iconic movie scenes of all time.

all that glitters is not goldIn the image that is coded into this post, you can literally see the burning desire in this man’s eyes to possess the golden treasure. This is THE MOMENT he has waited for all his life. The reward of his life’s journey is finally before him. Nothing could stop him now.

Except – in the immortal words of Admiral Ackbar of Star Wars fame – “It’s a trap!” You just knew that bag of sand Indiana Jones used to replace the idol when he lifted it off its resting place was not going to work.

In the next few moments as he ran for his life, he would face a collapsing cave roof, poison darts shooting from the cave walls, a treacherous guide, a giant rolling boulder, and native spear points. The worst part is he didn’t even get to keep the idol. His treasure-seeking arch rival with the help of the locals deprived him of that item.

Yes, it’s an extreme example. We’ll probably never face such a situation. But it does teach us a valuable lesson that all that glitters is not gold. Or in other words, not everything that can be attained is beneficial to us.

It sure does seem like bad things happen when we try to lay hold of something that we are not supposed to have. So if we are going to learn from this, we will have to look inward. And the looking starts with our eyes.

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How to Manage Your Side Hustle and Family Life So You Don’t Go Insane

There may come a time in your life where you want to or need to create a side hustle to earn extra income. It can be many things depending on your skills and the depth of your need. Regardless of what you choose, it will be something you do on the side (apart from your day job) to bring in additional money to the family budget.

Side hustles can be a financial blessing. They can help you build up your savings account or pay off debt or meet any a number of financial goals you might have.

side hustle IIIHowever, while the additional income of a side hustle is welcome, there is a dark side that many are unprepared for. Side hustles, done improperly, can be a curse on family life.

It’s one thing to have a side hustle if you are single. I remember talking with a blogging friend who told me how he’d work his 9 to 5, take a 30-minute dinner (maybe) and then work till past midnight writing and networking. I’m not saying that’s necessarily an easy schedule but it’s not like you have anyone else to account for. It’s just you.

When a spouse and/or kids are in the picture side hustles take on a whole different dimension.

There is a tension that immediately surfaces the minute one member of the family begins a side hustle. What was a normal life is no longer normal.

You know the side hustle must be done to improve your financial life. But you also know family life matters. How can you manage it all and not go insane?

Here are a few strategies I’ve used over the years as I’ve managed a career in education, side hustles (my blogs) and family life.

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4 Big Mistakes of My 20s That Affected My Net Worth

What if? We all ask that at some point, maybe even about your net worth. It’s a reflective question, focused on things that have happened in the past. What could have resulted if the events or actions in our rear view mirror had proceeded in a different fashion?

net worth

In the absence of a Back to the Future time machine, we can’t change what has happened or that we did things the wrong way. So it does little good to dwell on it. That really only leads to regret.

However, the past does serve a big purpose. The past is the best teacher for our future. The victories we achieved and the mistakes we endured should help us make thoughtful and wise decisions going forward.

We make mistakes all the time but more so in our youth. This happens for many reasons but mostly because we lack experience. In our youth, we also have a difficult time envisioning the future and have a limited sense of our own vulnerability. Arrogance, self-promotion and a live-for-the-moment mentality are all more characteristic of the young than they are of the old.

As I reflect on the decade of my 20s I see many mistakes in all facets of life. These are the four that set me back financially and contributed negatively to the growth of my net worth.

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This Alternative to Christmas Gifts Was Our Best Decision Ever

Are you looking for an alternative to Christmas gift giving? I get it. Christmas is one of the highlights of our family’s year. In my mind nothing beats it for family togetherness and sharing expressions of love through giving gifts. Even with that though, there have been times where my wife and I were frustrated with the presents we put under the tree.

alternative to christmasWhy was that? Because we found ourselves hit with a January hangover effect. We watched as the majority of the presents our kids received lie dormant in the corner of the room, not being touched.  I would say that over 80% of the toys my wife and I purchased for our kids each Christmas were played with a couple of times and then left to collect dust. That was frustrating considering the money we shelled out for them.

So one year, we were simply tired of the whole thing. We didn’t want to waste money on things we thought were great but that they weren’t going to use. So we decided to do something different. I’d even call it radical.

We decided not to buy any Christmas presents! Sorry Santa. 

To our surprise, when we told the kids what we were doing, they were 100% enthusiastically behind it. How could that be? Because we had an alternative to Christmas gifts that, as it turns out, they would never forget.

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God Places Us For A Purpose – Find Yours

god purposeAre you sick and tired of your job? Wish you could win the Mega-Millions Jackpot and escape to paradise, never to work again? If so, maybe some reflection and a new perspective is in order about your purpose from God.

What you may not realize is that God gave mankind purpose. He endowed humans with the nature to work from the very beginning. They could not escape it, not even in paradise.

In Genesis chapters 1-2, God spectacularly created the universe and all that it contains. He spoke the heavens, planets, stars, plants, animals and finally human beings into existence. At the end of it all, after six days of creation God was very pleased with his creation and rested on the seventh day.

God issued an important command at the end of His creating. He told Adam and Eve, “…have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28). In essence, God granted mankind authority to rule what He had just created.

Then God did something awesome. He created a garden of paradise – in a place called Eden. And God gave the first humans a purpose.

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The 10 Best Summer Jobs for Teens and College Students

Memorial Day marks the official beginning of summer. For teens and college students that means one of three things. Either you are:

a) continuing school by choice (to get ahead) or out of necessity (because you failed)… summer jobs for teens

b) looking for a summer job to earn money or…

c) in for a really boring summer sleeping in and playing video games.

We all know that teens and college students love money. But we also know that some of them NEED money in a bad way. They have lots of expenses, from gas for the car, to eating out with friends, to paying for college tuition and expenses. Many times, parents are unable to fully fund (or refuse to fund) these expense categories. So teens and college students are left to support themselves. And the time to rack up the big money in a paycheck is over the summer when they are out of school.

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7 Ways You Can Monetize Your Instagram Business

Please enjoy this guest post today from Mary Kyle on growing your Instagram business. 

Are you spending more hours on Instagram every day? Have you ever thought about making it more than just a hobby? Perhaps now is the time then to make your time count and turn your effort into dollars.  If you are interested in starting a business on the platform, then this article is for you. 

Instagram is one of the most famous social media networks around. Users can post video content and photos to their followers and friends. With over 500 million monthly active users, Instagram also has become a favorite market spot to sell and promote products. It’s a great platform to make money in multiple ways. 

But how do you get started? More importantly, how do you go about growing your account? Here are some ideas to think about and concepts to follow when starting your business on Instagram. 

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