There are very few times as a financial counselor that I’m going to tell you to NOT pay your bills. In fact, the Bible is very clear that only the wicked borrow and do not repay (Psalm 37:21). The verse you’ll hear me yell from the mountaintop is Romans 13:8, which begins, “let no debt remain outstanding…”. But there are times when paying a bill makes no sense. Let’s spend some time on that thought today. [Read more…]
Having debt is not a sin. I’ve been accused of demonizing debt and fear-mongering with my statements on debt, but I believe these criticisms are unfounded. I’ve seen the nasty side of debt and I’m trying to protect you from it. So if you are happy with your debt and don’t ever believe it will be a struggle for you, please stop reading and save yourself some time. You only get 24 hours each day and I don’t want to take the 1% of it or so it might take to work through this article and do what it says. For everyone else, I think today’s article might provide you some useful insight on debt that is rarely discussed.
One of the things I run into regularly in my counseling is someone who truly can’t afford to pay all his/her bills. Whether it is a one-time deal or an ongoing issue, it is an issue with many of you out there. Today I’m going to share my thoughts on how you can prioritize your debts so you can avoid some expensive headaches if (when) something goes wrong. In other words, we’re going to talk about how to make good decisions if something bad happens in your financial situation. The simplest way to do that is to help you determine some priorities when it comes to your bills. Who gets paid if there isn’t enough money to go around? [Read more…]
Two weeks ago I buried my dad. At 62 years old, he and I were supposed to have lots of years left for me to learn from him and take care of him. But that wasn’t God’s plan. Since saying goodbye I’ve gone through the full range of emotions about everything that has happened. Thankfully I’ve not spent too much time in anger or sadness, but instead have been led back to honor and remembrance. Why? Because I’ve been inundated with stories about great things my dad did for our family and the community. My dad had been a Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper for 36 years when he retired a couple of years ago, so he was very well known. He was well respected in the community and as I’ve learned, touched more lives than I ever dreamed possible. I hope you’ll indulge me in today’s post to share some important lessons this grieving process has taught me because I truly believe there are lessons we all can learn from my tragedy. [Read more…]
Let me start this post by saying I’m tired. I can’t express in words how tired and sore I am. We’ve been at the task of remodeling our house for a bit over six weeks now and I really didn’t think things would take us this long. We’ve done plumbing with the help of experts like Sharp Plumbing & Heating, electrical wiring, drywall, painting, trim carpentry, yard work and just about everything else associated with starting a new career as a contractor (by the way, I am currently NOT for hire…I gotta finish my own house before I can do anyone else’s!). I’ve spent more time wearing a dust mask and crawling around in the attic than I ever wanted (just a side note: it makes an excellent sauna between the hours of 10 am and 8 pm every day). Along the way, we’ve maintained our status as cheapskates without sacrificing quality and thought it might help those of you who have a few projects around the house of your own if I shared some of the ways we’ve saved money on this “project” we’re finishing up. [Read more…]
We live in a culture that tells us we deserve things. We deserve to go on vacation because we work hard. We deserve to eat dessert because we had a salad for lunch. We deserve to live in a really nice house and drive a really nice car because we put in a lot of hours at the office. This mindset is what gives us the idea that if we want something we should just go get it. This is also the mindset that allows rent-to-own and title loan places to thrive. This mindset is a load of crap. There, I said it. The mindset of I deserve is a total load of crap fed to us from thousands of different angles and promulgated (yeah, yeah, I know I just used a college word) by every TV commercial and radio ad you’ll find anywhere. So what’s the truth? What do we REALLY deserve? That’s the topic for another post. Today, however, I’m going to discuss the dangers of rent-to-own and share a story that has captured my heart for months now and motivated me to help people get (and stay) out of debt. [Read more…]
Last week’s post on change being all about deciding to do it went over well enough that you guys even shared some really great stories about how you’ve used my ramblings to give you some direction. I’m THRILLED to read those types of comments. Some of you also asked me for some specific things where this mindset could be applied, so I thought I’d take today to tackle that idea through the idea of being “poor” (financially).
I talk to people nearly every day who are struggling to make ends meet. Financially, things are tight and there is often little hope of things getting any better. By their very situation, most would call them poor. I think that’s wrong. You may not have any money, but you are not necessarily poor. Poor is a state of mind. If you are short on cash, that doesn’t mean you’re poor. If you are behind on all your bills, that doesn’t mean you’re poor. If you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, that doesn’t mean you’re poor either. You’re only poor when you admit defeat, sit down and decide you are poor. This is a very serious (and bad) place to be. When you are poor, you stop believing in yourself. When you’re poor, you start looking at others and believing they are evil for having more than you do. When you’re poor, you decide the government (or the church, the community, your neighbor, etc.) owes you something because you’ve been wronged. In other words, poor is the decision to give up on succeeding financially. Rather than make this a political statement, which is something most people want to do because it is an easy out, I will say this: Jesus said the poor will always be around (Matthew 26:11), but it is up to you whether or not you decide to be one of them.[Read more…]
I received a question last week from someone wanting a Biblical response to the concept of lending money. Since I have made Romans 13:8 (“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another…” (NIV)) a bit of a mantra for my counsel on personal finance, it is only fitting that this question would eventually come up. If I’m telling you to avoid borrowing money as much as possible, then what is my stance on lending money if you are a Christian? I thought this was an excellent question, and it is one I truly wrestle with because I know people are going to borrow money. I also know borrowing money in most cases is not a sin. Having put that out there, what does the Bible say about lending people money?
First, let’s get a couple of foundational things out of the way. Biblically, a lender becomes master of someone who borrows from them. This is pretty clear from Proverbs 22:7. Someone who borrows money is figuratively picking up the chains of debt and the lender is not responsible for their choice to do so (generally speaking). Having said that, the Bible speaks a LOT about those who are in debt and that they should free themselves from it (see Psalm 37:21, 1 Corinthians 7:23). The Bible is also pretty clear that co-signing for someone to borrow is a bad plan because co-signing generally means the person wanting to borrow money can’t handle the weight of those chains, even under pretty decent circumstances (see Proverbs 6, Proverbs 11:15, Proverbs 17:18, etc.). But let’s say someone who is an excellent candidate for a loan (is that an oxymoron?) approaches you and asks to borrow $10,000. What is your Biblical response, assuming you have the $10,000 to lend? [Read more…]
I thought I’d pick another semi-controversial topic for my post this week. Why? Because I love the debate and discussion, and ultimately the gained education from bringing up these topics with you guys. You’re a smart bunch and you’re always willing to share with each other. Plus I always learn some new perspectives on things. Today, I want to share my thoughts on car leases and why they make absolutely no financial sense. I know, I know – I’m just begging for some of you to disagree with me before I even get started. But that’s exactly why the comments section is at the END of the post.
Just to be sure we’re working from the same definition; let me give you a quick run-down of what an auto lease actually is. In simplest terms, an auto lease is a long-term rental agreement between you and a car company. You make monthly payments and take care of the car but technically the car company still owns it. At the end of an agreed-upon lease term (usually two or three years), you have the option to purchase the car at its “residual value” (fancy term for the amount the car company estimated its market value would be at the end of the lease) or turn the car back in. See – you don’t own a leased car – you simply “rent” it.
So why is this a bad financial plan? Let me get to that part after I mention a few good things about leasing a vehicle: [Read more…]
Having a good credit score makes life easier. You can borrow money easier than someone who has bad credit (if you really want to do that), you will have an easier time renting, you might pay less for insurance, you don’t have to worry about employers or potential employers labeling you or not hiring you if they run a credit check, etc., etc., etc. There are many perks to having a good score. However (and it is a BIG ONE), what is the REAL value of having a good credit score? I devoted an entire chapter of my book to this topic, titling the chapter, “I Don’t Care About Your Credit Score…and You Shouldn’t Either” to make it obvious my stance on the issue (and to rile up a few people who want to argue the point).
I do not care if you have good credit or bad credit because credit is not the target I’m aiming for. I’m aiming for freedom. [Read more…]
I could make this the shortest post ever at Humorous Homemaking because you know I’m not going to condone or encourage debt, even if it is “90 days same as cash” or some other no interest loan. However, let me explain WHY I don’t believe in these “free money” programs and why they simply don’t make sense. Let’s go through five reasons: [Read more…]