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Posts Tagged ‘Finances’

And they have gathered the money that was found in the house of the LORD, and have delivered it into the hand of the overseers and the workmen.” 2 Chronicles 34:17 (NKJV)

Researchers at the Brookings Institution, the Federal Reserve Board and UCLA suggest credit scores may also offer important insight when it comes to long-term relationships.  The analysis was based on credit records from 12 million consumers gathered over 15 years by Equifax, which is one of the big three U.S. credit reporting agencies.

Jane Dokko, one of the authors, cautioned TODAY’s A. Pawlowski[i]  “It’s also important to remember that there are aspects of credit scores that people can’t control.”  For instance, she said, “If you can’t pay your bills because you lose your job, there’s not a whole lot that you can do about that, if you got unlucky.”

We have to recognize that the financial picture of a person does not reveal anything about a person’s warmth, their sense of humor, how loving or lovable they are, and other important personal traits.  As Pawlowski writes, “The sample did not contain any personally identifiable information, so to find couples, the researchers looked for people who started to share the same address in a particular quarter and lived together for at least a year and three months, which would likely exclude many roommate relationships. Almost 50,000 couples matched those criteria.

Many years ago these words were written to young people: “In business, men and women manifest great caution. Before engaging in any important enterprise, they prepare themselves for their work. Time, money, and much careful study are devoted to the subject, lest they shall make a failure in their undertaking…How much greater caution should be exercised in entering the marriage relation–a relation which affects future generations and the future life? Instead of this, it is often entered upon with jest and levity, impulse and passion, blindness and lack of calm consideration.”[ii]

Father God, help me to take the counsel of experts and my elders into consideration as I pursue a relationship which may lead to marriage.  I want it to be as lasting as life and pleasing to you and not just us.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/will-your-relationship-last-your-credit-score-may-hold-answer-t49116

[ii] White, E.G.  The Adventist Home, p. 72

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A feast is made for laughter, And wine makes merry; But money answers everything. Ecclesiastes 10:19 (NKJV)

Financial guru Suze Orman is known for telling people “FICO first, then sex.”  What she means is that you need to find out your date’s FICO score, which is a measure of how likely someone is to pay their bills on time or repay a loan, before you get more serious about a relationship.  Researchers at the Brookings Institution, the Federal Reserve Board and UCLA suggest credit scores may also offer important insight when it comes to long-term relationships.  Jane Dokko, one of the authors, told TODAY’s A. Pawlowski[i]  “We find that the farther apart the two people’s scores are, the more likely they are to separate.”  She added, “One possible explanation is the idea that the credit scores don’t just measure how likely you are to pay your bills on time, but that particular behavior is generally correlated with more general reliability, or how trustworthy you are.”

Here are some of the other findings of the research which focused on the Equifax “risk score:”

  • People with higher credit scores are more likely to form committed relationships than those with lower financial grades.
  • Partners who each have a high credit score at the start of their romance are more likely to stay together.
  • Couples with the lowest average scores at the beginning of their relationship are up to three times more likely to separate than couples with the highest average scores.
  • People tend to pair up with partners who have a similar financial grade.

Pawlowski writes that “In a way, credit scores may offer a glimpse into someone’s character. A person who fulfills his financial commitments — like repaying a loan — may be equally serious about his commitment to be faithful and supportive of his spouse.  When partners have a big gap in their scores, it’s a mismatch in trust-worthiness that may affect the stability of a household. (will continue)

Father, help me to pay attention to the financial aspects of our life.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/will-your-relationship-last-your-credit-score-may-hold-answer-t49116

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The macho effect

The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. Proverbs 31:11 (NKJV)

TODAY’s Joan Raymond[i] writes that in an analysis of more than 2,750 married people, ages 18 to 32, both men and women are more likely to cheat on their spouses the more they depend on their partners for money. Interestingly, men who are economically dependent on their wives are the most likely to cheat.

As study author Christin Munsch explains, married couples “like feeling relatively equal in their relationships.  People don’t like to feel dependent on another person.” The study shows that in an average year, there is about a 5 percent chance that women who are completely economically dependent on their husbands will cheat, whereas the rate jumps to 15 percent for men who are completely monetarily dependent on their wives.  Raymond explains that the higher infidelity rate among economically dependent men may be a way for men to compensate for a perceived loss of machismo, or as a way for men to “punish or distance themselves” from their primary breadwinning partner.

Keep in mind that according to the National Opinion Research Center’s General Social Survey, infidelity increased from 3.5 percentage points over the course of two decades from 10.0% in 1991 to 13.5 percent in 2010.  That means the majority of couples don’t cheat.  As Munsch makes it clear, “Even in our study, it’s clear the majority of people do not cheat on their spouses, despite what they contribute in terms of income to a marriage.”  She adds, “I don’t want the punchline to be don’t let a man be economically dependent on you.  Instead, why don’t you marry a person who is secure in his masculinity and isn’t threatened by what you earn.”

One important lesson from this study for us is that we need to contribute and appreciate our spouse’s contribution to our marriage and family and to keep in mind that money is not the only contribution we make.  Depending on money alone for meaning and significance can leave us very empty, brokenhearted, and empty inside.

Father God, help me to contribute to our marriage in every way I can, not just financially, but also emotionally and with my time.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/why-do-men-cheat-economic-dependence-big-reason-t23796?cid=eml_tes_20150601

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Bad financial planning

Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Isaiah 55:2 (NKJV)

Men and women look at love and relationships differently, but the way they perceive and handle money is poles apart.  Spouses who share a bank account may have very different approaches to how they spend money, how they save it, or about financial planning for the future; sadly, these differences can make for some big mistakes they both make. Here are some of those financial mistakes that men and women make as expressed by Allison Nazarian[i].

Money mistakes men make.  Older men tend to be more aggressive in their investment habits.  Younger men, on the other hand, procrastinate. Risk isn’t their big issue, it’s taking action.  At the same time, men don’t always seek out advice and act on limited information which may lead to rash decisions.

Money mistakes women make.  The biggest mistake made by the older generation of women — baby boomers and older — is not getting involved in financial decisions.  Many women deferred all the financial decisions to their husbands only to realize, in their older years, they know very little about the financial picture of their life. At the same time, women may lack confidence in financial decision-making and worry far too much about money which may lead them to make very poor decisions.

What men and women do right.  Many younger women may have learned to avoid the mistakes they observed from the previous generation by taking more ownership of finances.  The reality is that women are better investors than men because they view things more holistically, which is great for long-term planning.  Men often look to technology, such as websites, financial software and other tools, to solve money problems and answer pressing questions. Women, on the other hand, aren’t as quick to go with the gadget or app.  Finances is a very important area where both spouses benefit from the wisdom, knowledge and experience of each other.

Father God, bless us and guide us as we make the financial decisions which will affect us individually and as a family.

[i] http://www.bankrate.com/finance/savings/financial-planning-flubs-men-and-women.aspx?ec_id=cmct_001_HP_image_headline

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Financial plans – 2

And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?” So they said, “Nothing.” Luke 22:35 (NKJV)

 

Before a couple gets married, they should take the time to talk about their financial plans and goals. Mary Bitsko[i] suggests two more questions they should discuss before they say I do.

  1. Do you divide the bills equally or pay a percentage? For those couples that choose to keep their finances separately, you need to decide whether you will divide the bills equally or use percentages. Some couples break down each bill based on salaries. For example, you make $500 more than your spouse, so your spouse believes you should pay a higher amount on the bills.  For those couples who choose to join all their finances  this should not be an issue.
  2. If you plan on having children, do you keep a separate account for them? Many couples who project a family of their own begin to invest in advance. They open a savings account for their children’s expenses. If you have plans of starting a family, it’s wise to open a joint account and deposit whatever amount possible.

There’s another question that should be resolved before tying the knot:  Will you tithe on the gross or on the net?  And the accompanying question is: How much, beside the tithes, will you give to the church?  It is important to understand and decide on this early on.  The bible teaches:  Set apart a tithe of all the yield of your seed that is brought in yearly from the field. Deuteronomy 14:22 (NRSV)   Based on this, the tithe should be based on the gross, that is, on the total we get before taxes are deducted.  Once you settle this part, you need to decide what percentage you will give for the needs of the local church for the church budget and for any special needs of projects it may have.

It is helpful to have a good talk about these issues and make the decision as to who will be in charge of the budget before saying “I do.”  You and your spouse will enter marriage with a financial plan in place, and a lower risk of financial problems.

 

Father, helps us to manage what you give us wisely and carefully that our finances may not be a problem but another way to honor you.

[i] Ibid.

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For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:10 (NKJV)

 

Before marriage, people have their own finances established.  They have individual bank accounts and complete control of their budget.  But once they get married their finances take on a different view.  They have separate incomes and separate bills that they will have to decide whether to join them or not.  They also have to decide who will responsible for keeping the household budget and paying the monthly bills.

Often, couples don’t talk about these things until after they have become husband and wife which can cause tension and arguments.  One or the other may want sole control of the budget. Many of the financial disagreements stem from lack of understanding how the finances will function in the household.

Mayra Bitsko[i] offers four tips on how you and your future spouse should decide your finances.  Discuss together the following questions:

  1. Who is more discipline with the budget? In most relationships, one person is a saver and the other a spender. Also, usually one person is more laid back on making full payments and pays the bills late. Therefore, the person who is strict with keeping a set budget should be the one to manage the finances, pay the bills, and take care of the budget. At the same time, both you and your spouse should be involved in the decision-making and the budgeting process. Both should know where the funds are going. This way no one person has complete control and knowledge but both are fully informed.
  2. Do you continue with separate or joint accounts? Some couples join their monies after marriage and others prefer keeping their own accounts. Though there is nothing wrong with either decision, it is important to discuss the matter before marriage so there are no surprises or false expectations. One option some have taken is to open a separate joint account solely for the household bills. Marriage should be about relinquishing rather than asserting power and control.

 

Father God, when we get married we become one flesh.  Remind us that our finances are part of the intimacy designed for us to enjoy.

[i] http://familyshare.com/4-tips-on-how-couples-should-decide-their-finances-before-marriage

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As an apricot tree stands out in the forest, my lover stands above the young men in town. All I want is to sit in his shade, to taste and savor his delicious love. Song of Songs 2:3 (MSG)

 

Before entering the estate of holy wedlock, make sure you talk about these things:

  1. Financial standing. Marriage is a commitment of love and life, a combining of households. Your partner’s debt becomes yours and vice versa. Not only should you talk about each other’s finances but you should have access to a credit report and to all bank statements. There should be nothing secret or sacred.  Ask the tough questions about income, savings, debt (including student leans, cars, mortgage, personal loans from family or friends, etc.), loan standing, repayment status, and credit score. You might find buying that dream home with your honey a lot harder than you thought.
  2. Full House. What do you think starting a family. Do you want children? How many?  And how soon?  If he doesn’t care for the idea of chasing rugrats for the next 18 years, and you can’t hear anything but the pitter-patter of little feet as that biological clock rings in your ear, you may have a mismatch on your hands.  This is particularly important if you’re considering marrying someone that has children.  Talk about how you will relate to your intended’s children or they to yours.  Who will discipline them and how.  Talk about appropriate boundaries.  Talk about the financial obligations to their or your children. Talk about how you or your fiancée will need to relate to former spouses, your children’s grandparents, and other members of the family.
  3. Fairytales. You need to ask why she really wants to get married. Get to the bottom of it. Does she feel safe, secure and valid for the first time in her life? Is she fulfilling family expectations? Does she want to fit in with all of her friends? Is marriage just a necessary step to her real dream of being a mom? Or is she escaping home problems, abuse, or an unhealthy home environment? Is your soon-to-be groom sick of spending Saturday nights alone while his buddies are enjoying family night, or did he just decide “it’s time?”

 

Father of love, help us to talk about these things seriously and today.

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