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?”

Manna Living

I am in the middle of processing payroll and about to pay bills. Looks like it is going to be a MANNA month. What is a Manna month you ask? A manna month is one in which the Lord is providing exactly what we need and no more. On the surface that sounds great but the reality is that I prefer a SURPLUS month. I like to look at my payroll account and my savings account and see a lot left over. And yet it seems that we have more months that are “manna” than “surplus” which seems to be the Lord’s preference. Let me backfill the Manna part for you. Continue reading “Manna Living”

Signs of a Healthy Financial System: Do You Have a Good Plan?

We 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 marriage advice. His advice was classic. “Tim, give Terri everything she wants.” “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 “Signs of a Healthy Financial System: Do You Have a Good Plan?”

Rocking the Financial Roles

One of my favorite marriage books of all time is Robert Lewis’ Rocking the Roles. Coming from a divorced home where there was a definite disconnect from Biblical roles in marriage, I was hungry for someone to tell me what the blueprint was supposed to look like. Lewis does exactly that in that he describes the Biblical role of the man as the head of the home (said another way as the leader of the home) and the Biblical role of the wife as the helper of the home (said another way as the heart of the home) (Ephesians 5). These roles describe a complimentary set of ideals where the husband fights off his inclination towards passivity and actually provides proactive, loving, servant leadership. While the husband is learning to lead the wife is fighting her own battle to fight off her own inclination to want to take control of her environment. She has to learn to trust him. He has to learn to honor her in her role. It is a thing of beauty when done right. Continue reading “Rocking the Financial Roles”

Are Students doing the Math on School Loans?

We see it every day. College graduates (some of them not so recent) saddled with the repayment of school loans that is quite frankly eating their lunch. It is becoming apparent to me that we are not doing a good enough job helping our students do the simple math of the loans. The simple math of how much to borrow and what is will actually cost you to repay the loans. Borrowing is the easy part, repayment is the bear. It is obvious that the lending institutions are expecting the student to figure out how much to borrow and the students still live in the la-la land of “someday they will be making it big and will have plenty of money to repay whatever loans they incur”. What is worse is that many parents are taking a cavalier attitude towards preparing their students to navigate the loan game. Seems that everyone these day put themselves through school walking up hills both ways in the snow with a full time job. Continue reading “Are Students doing the Math on School Loans?”