You can still Pay for Christmas with Real Money

gifts“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…for the credit card companies.  There is much jingle belling and hearts will be telling of credit galore.  It’s the happiest season for more.”  Ok, so I reworded the old classic Carole.  But someone needs to say it, “don’t spend more than you can afford on Christmas- this year.”  Reign it back in if you didn’t save well. Continue reading “You can still Pay for Christmas with Real Money”

How Much is Too Much House?

country-house-540796_640I wasn’t sure if he was going to have a nervous breakdown right there at my desk or not.  He kept saying over and over, “But they said that I could afford it.”  His wife looked at me with pleading eyes to comfort him as she went in the other room to tend to their children.  Finally, I mustered the courage to tell him what the numbers said.  As gently as I could, I told him, “Buddy, I don’t care what they told you.  Your housing expenses are a 42% of your income and the reason you are in my office today is YOU HAVE TOO MUCH HOUSE.”  He left shortly thereafter and I never saw him again.  He had gained the missing piece of the puzzle. Continue reading “How Much is Too Much House?”

Winning the Battle at the Grocery Store

family-2923690_640My (Tim) wife and I have been married for over 30 years.  And despite all her great strengths (which are many by the way) she struggles in the area of staying on budget in our household budget- or so it would seem.  A few years ago, she returned from the grocery store and I could tell as she walked in the house that she was overbudget yet again.  For 20 years we have had the same issue- she buys groceries, she overspends, I get frustrated, she feels bad, I look at that pretty girl who serves our family so faithfully and I overlook the overspending and we move on.  Until that fateful Saturday. Continue reading “Winning the Battle at the Grocery Store”

Do You Have a Wonderful-Life Financial Plan?

its a wonderful life COLORWe all grow up dreaming of a Wonderful Life. Family and friends who love us. Good job. Nice house. Plenty of food. Enough money to take care of our needs and even some of our wants. When I got married one of my friends was asked to give us some marriage advice. His advice was classic. “Tim, give Terri everything she wants.” He added, “and Terri, only want what you need.” I can still remember his wife catcalling from the background about his bad advice. But, behind his playful banter was a principle. And the principle is this; for a family to be successful the family has to be on the same page and have a plan. Particularly in the area of money. Nothing will challenge a marriage more than how to manage the family resources. Continue reading “Do You Have a Wonderful-Life Financial Plan?”

We Need a Reformation of the Pocketbook!

martin luther 95 thesis“People go through three conversions: the conversion of their head, their heart and their pocketbook. Unfortunately, not all at the same time.” -Martin Luther

In 1517, Martin Luther nailed his famed 95 Theses on the Castle Church in  Wittenberg, Germany. This act of protest would spark the Protestant Reformation.  While the content of his concerns were salvific in nature, he went on to teach everything under the sun about living out the Christian life,  including the need for us to have a conversion experience related to the way we think about our money. Continue reading “We Need a Reformation of the Pocketbook!”

Can GOD be Trusted in our Old Age? Psalms 71

old age manThe western idea of retirement is an interesting one, and to be honest, it may be one of the weaker ones out there. We are supposed to take care of our kids, our aging parents, needs in our faith communities, and the larger communities that we live in.  At the same time, we are supposed to stockpile enough savings to carry us through 10, 20, or sometimes 30 non-working years referred to as retirement. Additionally, we are    expected to live a long, healthy life, independent of all assistance from our grown children, our church, or our government.

This is the American Dream for retirement, and for some, they have been able to be prepared in this manner. However, for many of us, this is the American Nightmare full of shame, regret, and tremendous pressure.

How we wish we could go back and talk to our 22-year-old self and plead with him or her to put more money aside, but we can’t. To our chagrin, our retirement days can be some of the scariest we have faced. Can God be trusted during these days? Continue reading “Can GOD be Trusted in our Old Age? Psalms 71”

3 Ways to Purposefully Give Back to the Community

Our community is awash with spring fundraisers.  It seems like the majority of the churches are having spring-break mission trips.  All of the the nonprofits are targeting tax-return season.  It can be overwhelming, and if you are not careful, you can become a bit jaded or bitter towards the requests or potential requests you are receiving.  However, if you have a plan for your finances (specifically your giving dollars), this can be one of the greatest times of the year for you.  Giving opportunities, when you have money set aside for giving, are some of the more encouraging uses of your finances.  It’s like being a kid in a candy store with a little change!

I heard of a man recently say, “I wish all these kids would stop sending me letters about their mission trips.”

What??? Continue reading “3 Ways to Purposefully Give Back to the Community”