Hope for your financial life and beyond

6 Signs You Are Living Above Your Means

Let’s face it. We live in a fast paced, consumer friendly, debt-driven society. Spending money has never been easier.

above your meansThat might be why more than 60% of Americans deal with credit card debt on a daily basis. Access to credit has never been more available to the general public. Unfortunately, it is a main reason why living paycheck-to-paycheck is an unfortunate reality for nearly half of Americans.

However, that reality doesn’t have to be inevitable. Your situation can improve with some quick refinements to your spending habits. I’ve done it before and so can you. You don’t have to live above your means.

It does come down to a simple choice. But first you must be able to recognize that you have a problem. With that in mind, here are a few warning signs that may indicate you are living above  your means.

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I Have a Lot of Debt: Can Hard Credit Checks Impact My Credit Score?

Debt has become the standard way for people to manage their financial life. Instead of cash, families and individuals are turning to credit more and more. It seems an easier form of payment, granting access to things when we need or want them.

But, the amount of debt is a major problem many Americans face. According to a 2022 financial report by CNBC, the average US household with debt owes an average of $155,622. That is up 6.2% from over a year ago. The debt includes credit cards, mortgages, home equity, lines of credit, auto loans, student loans, and other household obligations. This makes one wonder whether using debt is a wise path in the first place.

Regardless of where you fall on that issue, existing debt makes it harder to pass credit checks and get any additional financial applications approved.  Banks are less willing to extend additional lines of credit to someone already swimming in debt. So, you need to understand what you are facing if you are wanting additional financing for something. 

In this article, we’ll be diving into credit checks and how they impact your credit score. We’ll also see if there are any work-arounds to help you get the financial assistance you need.

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What Does the Bible Say About Debt? Wait Til You See

I turn to the Bible for a lot of questions in my life. After all, God has a lot more wisdom than I do. So why not tap into that knowledge? It seems that no matter what I’m dealing with, I can find some answers within the pages of the Bible.

what does the bible say about debtA few years ago, I’m reviewing our finances and this question randomly pops into my head, What does the Bible say about debt?  The truth is it wasn’t a random thought at all. My wife and I were trying to get out of debt so the topic was weighing on our minds. I knew what I thought about debt but didn’t really know what God said. So I decided to give it a look.

What I found was a little surprising and served as a wake-up call. Not only that, but at another level, it provided encouragement and hope. I realized there was a better path to take than the one I was on.

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How to Get Out of Debt and Win in Five Simple Steps

Are you up to your eyeballs in debt? Don’t see anyway out? If so, take heart. You are not alone. Millions of Americans live with this burden. They either never think about how to get out of debt or they think that it is impossible for them to get out of debt. So they never deal with it.how to get out of debt

It would be unwise for you to ignore the mountain of debt that is piling up. You need to wake up and pay attention because excessive debt will cripple your wealth building process. It will mess up your savings, helping the kids with paying for college, and even your retirement investing.

And sadly, in many cases, it also ruins relationships.

Debt is a chain of bondage around your life. It’s an anchor weighing you down. You can’t go where you really want to go because it’s holding you back.

In order to break free, you’ll need to change your perspective, your behavior and your systems for purchasing things. But it’s all possible. It will be a journey you will never regret.

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7 Steps to Take to Alleviate Your Financial and Job Security Worries

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused severe and extensive damage to many people’s finances. Worse still, financial experts say the financial and economic effects could persist long after the pandemic ultimately subsides. It’s going to take some time for life to get back to what we would call normal. 

Aside from the obvious medical issues, the pandemic has shown us this – how an unanticipated event that is entirely out of our control can instantly knock us out. Emergencies are going to happen and we should always be prepared for crazy events in life. But for most that is not the case. They know these things are going to happen, but they don’t prepare for them.

There is a solution to the problem though, and it begins with addressing what you can do right now, in the moment. You don’t have to be left helpless by a negative life event. You can be prepared if you take the right steps.

What are those steps? Here are seven things you can do to be prepared as possible when life circumstances impact your income. 

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How To Use Your Home’s Equity To Consolidate Debt

If you want to get rid of high-interest debt, the idea of debt consolidation can be all you need. Since home equity loans are available with minimal interest rates and long repayment schedules, these can be a great tool to use.

For those who do not know, a home equity loan is a form of a loan secured by your home. The money you receive from the home equity loan can be applied for several purposes. This can include remodeling or expanding your home, paying off credit card debts or consolidating multiple loans.

In this article, we will talk about how you can use your home equity to consolidate debt. You can also visit this page for more comprehensive information on this topic. 

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Should I Cosign? Here Is the Truth About What God Says

“Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge, one of those who is surety [ cosign ] for debts.” – Proverbs 22:26

If you’ve ever had a situation where a friend or family member asked you to cosign a loan, you know it’s a tough spot to be in. On the one hand, you want to help. But the idea of being responsible for someone’s debt has you a little squeamish.

cosignSay “No” to them and it seems like you don’t care.

Say “Yes” to them and you are opening yourself up to financial risk.

Maybe as you thought about what to do, you should have considered asking this question: “What does God have to say about it? Would He want me to cosign for this loan?” It may never have occurred to you to seek advice from a higher power.

The truth is God talks a lot about money in the Bible. He even has advice about cosigning which really surprised me when I found it. For anyone really, the real world application is sound. But especially for people of faith, His advice is worth listening to.

God’s Advice on Whether to Cosign

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Tips for Managing Your Debt Responsibly

Whenever you look for financial advice, you probably see articles that advise you to avoid debt. In fact, I’ve written a lot about that here on this site. In fact, getting out and staying out of debt is a common characteristic that is listed among those who have reached millionaire status.

With that being said, it is becoming increasingly difficult – if not impossible for some – to get a college education or buy a house without borrowing money. College tuition continues to escalate, putting the funding of it out of reach for those families who did not start saving early enough. So many turn to the federal student loan program to fund part or all of their college education. 

Additionally, many see renting as “throwing away money.” I’m not one that subscribes to that. There are times when renting is the wisest choice. But it’s a hard mental hurdle to overcome. A mortgage where you can have a forced savings plan by paying yourself each month through the reduction of the principal, seems like the best course of action.

In many people’s eyes, the two types of debt listed above are considered “good debt.” In other words, they are the type of debt that can lead to further benefits down the road. Let’s explore that concept some more. And let’s look at some tips that can help you know when it might not be such a bad idea to borrow and how to manage the debt that you have.

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4 Reasons Why Paying Off the Mortgage Early Was Right for Us

Paying off the mortgage early is a hot topic when it comes to money management. There seems to be a good amount of quality logic for keeping it and equally valid logic for paying it off early. So what’s a homeowner to do?

paying off the mortgage earlyAfter we bought our first house, I began to look into this issue. I read many opinions and ended up agreeing with the major arguments for NOT paying off the mortgage early. These points seemed solid to me. The logic goes like this:

“You have such a low interest rate.”

“You could invest instead and get a better rate of return on your money than putting into extra mortgage payments.”

“More of your money is tied up in your house and you can’t get to it for a big emergency.”

“You are getting tax breaks for carrying a mortgage.”

“A mortgage is a hedge (protection) against inflation, especially with a fixed rate mortgage.”

Then during 2010, my wife and I went through some life changes. We began to rethink many money related things including our mortgage. After a lot of back and forth, we decided to pay off the mortgage early. The reasons may surprise you because only one of them is based on a mathematical concept or equation.

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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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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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