Your Financial Questions”
Here is a bit about what you can expect from this blog. Money is perhaps the least understood yet most discussed topic in our society today. Thousands of families daily make financial decisions based on bad advice.
In reality, the only totally reliable spiritual and financial advice comes from God’s Word–the Bible. I have found that the Bible addresses virtually every financial decision you or I will ever have to make. This Blog is dedicated help you make those financial decisions–whether great or small. Here you will find many of the financial questions folks ask every day, along with Bible-based responses. These questions and responses are are based on experiences and materials gleaned from more than 25 years of prayerful service as a certified teacher, trainer, counselor and/or coach representing the Dave Ramsey organization, the John Maxwell Team, Crown Ministries, and Christian Financial Concepts (Mr. Larry Burkett–praise the Lord for Larry Burkett. In his all-to-brief lifetime Larry surely forgot more than I’ll ever know about how to deal with what the Bible has to say about money!)
Our 501-c-3 non-profit ministry is Christian Financial Ministries (www.christianfinancialministries.org). We offer you the Holy Spirit inspired and led, Bible-based, Financial Freedom God’s Way Online Academy. Our motto is “Financial Freedom God’s Way: learn it, live it, and lead others to it.”
So, please scroll down, read, comment, share with others, and be blessed in the Lord!
July 11th, 2017 by Bob Louder
Question: My wife and I are selling our house. We have been through some tough financial times. I am a planner and want to take the profits from the house and keep them in a joint account where we can use the funds to start generating future wealth. My wife wants to split the profits and put half into an account for herself that she can spend anyway she sees fit. My argument is that when God said two should become one, that meant share everything. I think that having two separate accounts goes against biblical teaching. What is your opinion? Response: In my opinion, having separate/exclusive accounts/assets isn’t what God had in mind when He set up the marriage relationship. The Bible teaches that husbands and wives are to be one (see Genesis 2:24). Couples should pool their finances and their bills and have a common budget and common goals. A short-term goal would be a consolidated budget; long-term would be things like college education for your children, getting debt free, and ultimately retirement. You can’t achieve these goals as long as your function like two individuals living together–that’s not a picture of a biblical marriage. I believe the Lord would have you and your wife mutually agree on how to manage ALL of your funds/assets. If you can’t agree on how to handle the profits from the sale then I suggest you first agree to pray together about what you are to do, then discuss what the Lord gives each of you—look for a way to compromise to meet her goals yet keep the accounts joint. If you are still in disagreement I suggest you seek some professional help (not friends) in your area. Suggest your pastor or perhaps a Dave Ramsey (www.daveramsey.com) or Crown Financial Ministries (www.crown.org) representative in your area. You must merge your finances and make a commitment to doing this God’s way or it won’t work. You can’t make a partial commitment.
Posted in Husbands and Wives
July 8th, 2017 by Bob Louder
Question: Dr. Bob, do you believe that it’s OK for a Christian to borrow money from a non-Christian, or is that prohibited scripturally? Response: God’s Word simply says that whatever you borrow you must repay. I don’t see anywhere that God specifies whether or not it’s OK to borrow from a non-believer–it doesn’t make any difference, as far as repayment is concerned. However, a caution does appear in Proverbs 22:7 where we are told that a lender become an authority over a borrower. This might be particularly important where a church or another ministry is concerned.
Posted in Borrowing & Debt
June 29th, 2017 by Bob Louder
Question: Bob, in your opinion, is it necessary to have life insurance on my wife and children? I am the primary wage earner, and I have adequate insurance on myself. Response: There seem to me to be two logical reasons to have insurance on your wife. One is for burial expenses. The other is to provide extra funds to care for the children, if necessary. The amount of insurance on your wife would normally be substantially less than that on yourself. Also, I don’t believe insurance for children is necessary except to cover the cost of burial. An argument often made for insurance on children is to guarantee their insurability in later years. However, only a small fraction of folks are uninsurable at the time they marry; therefore, I believe the potential risk does not justify the cost of buying insurance at a young age.
Posted in Buying and Selling
June 22nd, 2017 by Bob Louder
Question: We’re a young couple, and we’ve just opened our first checking account. The banker told us about a helpful service called “automatic overdraft protection.” He said if we ever overdraw our checking account, the automatic overdraft covers the deficiency. This seems like a good idea, but I know that it must have some pitfalls. Can you help us understand it better? Response: BEWARE OF AUTOMATIC OVERDRAFTS! They present two distinct problems: (1) They can encourage you not to balance your checking account because you know that you have overdraft “protection.” (2) An automatic overdraft is also an automatic loan. It comes out of a credit account, and you’re charged interest as well as a fee for using it. In my opinion, the automatic overdraft is one of the worst services in the banking industry and certainly one of the quickest sources of debt for undisciplined folks who don’t balance their checkbooks. A proverb says it well: “The naive proceed and pay the penalty” (Proverbs 27:12b).
Posted in Borrowing & Debt
June 16th, 2017 by Bob Louder
Question: I have been told there are 3 tithes mentioned in the Old Testament(one being the 10% that many Christians practice). Would you please explain what the other 2 are and do they have relevance today? Response: It appears that there were 3 tithes mentioned in the Torah. The first, called the Lord’s tithe, consisted of the 10% of the harvest that went to support the priests and Levites since they were given no inheritance of land. (Numbers 18:21) Then there was a 2nd tithe on the remaining 90% that the people consumed themselves each year at the Feast of Tabernacles in a nationwide celebration of God’s provision. (Deut. 14:22-27) It was called the Festival tithe. The 3rd tithe was the tithe for the poor. It was given every third year to help the poor and indigent. (Deut 14:28-29) There is a difference of opinion on this one, some believing that the 3rd tithe was the same as the 2nd, but was given to the poor instead of being consumed at the feast one year out of three. Today the vast majority of those who teach that tithing is still required by God are usually referring to the Lord’s tithe, saying its purpose is to support all the Lord’s work in the world today. Since the other tithes were designed to recognize and celebrate the Lord’s provision (Festival tithe) and promote a spirit of generosity among God’s people (Tithe for the Poor) some (myself included) believe that true financial blessing comes only to those who voluntarily and joyfully maintain the spirit of the 2nd and 3rd tithes in their giving by going beyond the Lord’s Tithe. As it is with all things pertaining to the Lord, it’s the motives of our heart that really matter. Those who give sparingly and begrudgingly are missing both the point of giving and the blessings associated therewith. “With the measure you use it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38) (From “Grace Through Faith” Monday, October 15, 2007)
Posted in Giving
June 12th, 2017 by Bob Louder
Question: I’m from a school of thought that says use other people’s money (OPM); in other words, borrow to do whatever you want. it’s a hard mentality to shake, even though I now understand it’s contrary to God’s Word. I was recently at a meeting in which fund raisers recommended that people in a congregation borrow to give to the church building program. That sounds more reasonable to me than the church itself borrowing. What do you think? Response: Larry Burkett once wrote, “If you knowingly violate biblical principles, it’s wrong, no matter how noble the purpose. I don’t believe God would direct anyone to violate His Word to accomplish His work. The principle of surety says that we’re not to borrow against an unknown contingency. The idea of using other people’s money has bee greatly overplayed in our society, especially within the church. I believe that God has provided us Christians all the money necessary to do anything we want if we are committed to it. Borrowing should never play a part in giving. We should always give what belongs to us, not what belongs to somebody else.“ Thank you yet again Larry! I agree–don’t borrow to give to your church.
Posted in Borrowing & Debt
March 27th, 2017 by Bob Louder
Question: Reverend Bob, I’m a pastor. Quite often members of our congregation give us junk and then write it off on their income taxes. We get worn-out cars, worn-out clothes, and other items that we have no use for. I have a real problem with this. Could you give me some direction. Response: I often ask Christians who are content to give junk to God–if they would like to get junk back from God. I suspect not. I don’t believe that a church should be a refuse dump for unusable items. Larry Burkett used to counsel that “If you can’t use, refuse it.” Consider setting up a screening committee to evaluate all non-cash gifts. If you don’t have an actual use for the item, or it’s not readily convertible into cash, don’t accept it. Groups like the Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries refurbish used furniture, clothing, appliances, etc., and turn them into assets. Refer your donors to them.
Posted in Giving
March 21st, 2017 by Bob Louder
Question: Rev Louder. My teenagers are starting to receive credit card offers. I’m really concerned that they will get trapped by easy credit. HELP, what can I do? Response: You have good reason to be concerned. Youth today, particularly college students, are one of the major targets for credit card companies. What can you do? I suggest you teach your older children (16 and older) how to handle credit cards by letting them have and use ONE card of their own (regular credit card or a pre-paid credit card) while they are still at home and under your supervision. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with credit cards. Data shows that it’s the way the cards are used that causes the problems. Now, what do i mean by “supervision”? Set firm rules and stick to them. For example: (1) Require your teens to have and use (and have your constantly review) monthly budgets. (2) Don’t let them charge anything that’s not on their budget. (3) ENSURE that they pay their credit card bill in full each month. (4) The FIRST month they can’t/don’t pay off their card bill in full, destroy the card, cancel the account, and don’t allow them to get another. (5) Let your teens know that these are the same rules you follow and why. It’s important to explain (no debate) these rules in advance. Then, stick to the rules. You will be helping your teens form habits that will serve them well when they are no longer under your roof or under your authority. Remember Proverbs 22:6–“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Like Larry Burkett used to say, “Establish fair rules, enforce them consistently, and be firm”
Posted in Money and Children
March 9th, 2017 by Bob Louder
Question: Dr. Louder. My husband and I are middle-class parents. We have a nice income, no debts, and money in the bank…praise the Lord! Here’s our question: How much should our children know about our finances? We are concerned we might create the false impression that we are rich. Response: This is truly a matter of personal opinion. Basically, I believe it’s best to be totally honest with your children…age appropriately honest–probably best in their teen years. If you are earning, giving, saving and spending according to God’s plan for your life (which appears to be the case) then why not show them your plan and help them develop and start to live on plans of their own? Help them develop positive expectations of what can happen if they learn and apply biblical financial wisdom. Honestly, wisdom is a blessing at any age. As it says in Proverbs 16:16, How much better to get wisdom that gold, to get insight rather than silver.
Posted in Money and Children
February 13th, 2017 by Bob Louder
Question: Should I ever contribute directly to a needy person rather than through a church or other Christian organization? What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing this? Response: I remember how Larry Burkett taught us that sometimes it is proper to give directly to an individual. For example, when you’re trying to teach children the purpose of giving, it’s good to have them help a needy family. This allows them to see the benefits of giving in the lives of real people. If they give only through a church offering, your children may miss this. A second reason is that you also may want to have a personal ministry in people’s lives. This is evidence of truly caring, as 1 John 3:17 says: “But whoever has the world’s good, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” Giving directly to somebody demonstrates that you love and care about that person. HOWEVER, I don’t suggest you make a habit of giving cash! Instead buy or pay for what they need, whether it’s utilities, groceries, rent, etc. Why? Because too often a cash gift is diverted or misused. I also recommend that before you give to anyone, you verify that their needs are real, and not the result of mismanagement. If you don’t know how to provide financial coaching yourself, help them find someone who can. Be certain that what you’re doing is helping them out of a problem and not contributing to their problems.
Posted in Giving