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?”

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!”

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: Generosity

Warren Buffett is known for his one-liners and one of his most memorable ones is about financial mismanagement. He says, “You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out!” By that I think he means that if you are not managing your finances well, then when you encounter a tough time your vulnerability will be obvious to all. That is why we are so insistent that every family needs a financial spending plan. As we discussed in our previous post two out of three families are just winging it when it comes to their finances. And as Mr. Buffett says time will reveal what we are wearing under the water. Continue reading “Signs of a Healthy Financial System: Generosity”

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?”