Posts Tagged ‘Money’

Men owe a lot

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8 (NKJV)

According to Lucy Maher, of CNBC,[i] men are one-third more likely to bring debt into a new relationship.  When you take into account all the wedding planning, and the honeymoon to follow, soon-to-be-wedded couples would be wise to set aside time to go over their spending habits and individual debt levels before they walk down the aisle.  According to Maher, 42 percent of adult men reported bringing credit card debt to their relationships, but only 29 percent of women did.  The average amount of credit card debt adults reported bringing into their relationships is about $4,100.

Talking about finances may not be as exciting as talking about the wedding service, the reception, or the honeymoon, but it is a very smart and important one.  Thirty-five percent of couples, who at least partially combine finances, brought credit card debt into their relationships, and that is particularly the case for 45 percent of millennial adults.  In fact, for millennials, the average debt load is not limited to credit card use. Thirty-eight percent of millennials bring auto loan debt, 36 percent bring student loan debt, and 27 percent bring medical debt into their relationships.

The obvious concern is that twenty-five percent of couples with at least one partner bringing credit card debt to the relationship said that it had a negative effect, sixteen percent said they weren’t able to buy a home or go on vacation, and five percent said it almost caused them to separate.

Taking this into consideration, couples should start by reviewing their credit reports individually and to share each other’s financial condition before entering married life together.  If they choose to proceed with their plans, their first priority should be a plan to pay down their debts.  This can be done by developing a realistic budget and strictly abiding by it. Keep it front of you so you don’t forget what you’re trying to accomplish which is to prevent you from adding on more debt.

Father God, help me to talk openly and honestly about our finances before entering into a marital relationship.

[i] http://www.today.com/money/men-one-third-more-likely-bring-debt-relationship-t28896?cid=eml_tes_20150628


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Save for the future – 2

June 5                         Save for the future – 2

For thus says the LORD: “You have sold yourselves for nothing, And you shall be redeemed without money.” Isaiah 52:3 (NKJV)

Jean Chatzky of TODAY,[i] gives us three more ideas to save money:

  1. Correct Social Security mistakes you may be making. According to the Social Security Administration, the average American takes Social Security at age 64. They’re missing the memo that the longer you wait to take benefits, up until age 70, the more your monthly benefit will be. In fact, it increases 8% every year between full retirement age and 70. For instance, if your benefit at full retirement age is $1,300 a month, you can turn it into $1,716 a month by waiting to take it until age 70. That’s close to $5,000 in extra income a year.
  2. Turn off the lights. There are also other ways to trim your energy bill by 30%. Most people don’t realize that one of the biggest energy hogs in the home isn’t the refrigerator or dishwasher but the cable box. The Natural Resources Defense Council estimated that we spend $2 billion a year to power these boxes even if they are not even in use. Just flip the switch off at the end of the day and you can save big money. Also, be sure to keep boxes off in rooms where the TV is not used frequently.
  3. Automate, automate, automate. The easiest way to make sure you meet your savings goals is to set up automatic contribution or deposits to your 401(k), move money automatically into an IRA or Roth IRA, and move money from checking into savings every time you get paid. At the same time, delink that savings account from checking so that you can’t pull money out of savings every time you hit the ATM.

The English writer, Samuel Johnson said, “A man who both spends and saves money is the happiest man, because he has both enjoyments.”  God gives us the ability to make money and the freedom to return to Him what is His, to spend it as we wish, to save it for the future, and to use it to help others.

Father God, help me to use wisely what you give me so plentifully.

[i] http://www.today.com/money/here-are-some-easy-ways-reboot-your-savings-efforts-t23696?cid=eml_tes_20150601

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Save for the future – 1

For wisdom is a defense as money is a defense, But the excellence of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to those who have it. Ecclesiastes 7:12 (NKJV)

According to an article by Jean Chatzky of TODAY,[i] the savings rate has been hovering around 5.5% ; in other words, we’re saving 5.5% of our income this year, which is better than the past two years.  Of concern is that Americans under age 35 are still spending more than they’re making, which means they are taking on debt as a result, while those 55 and over are saving 13%.  If you’d like to see yourself saving more, Chatzky has a few suggestions for how to jump-start yourself mid-year!

  1. Discounts you’re not getting: For instance, 84% of Americans never asked for car insurance discounts. Discounts are generally available for self-reported driver information like mileage, marital status, occupation, academic standing and defensive driving skill. If you drive no more than 5,000 miles a year you will pay an average of 8% less than someone who drives 15,000 miles. If you’re married you will generally pay less than singles, and teachers, nurses and accountants are all viewed as safer drivers, and can save money because of it. Call your insurance company and ask your agent what discounts may be available to you.
  2. Money you could be earning on your checking account. According to Bankrate, there are 20 checking accounts paying an interest rate of 2% or more. Of course, there are some stipulations to get that yield. For instance, you must make a certain number of debit card transactions each month, sign up for direct deposit, or use the bank’s online bill pay system. But if you can all of that, these accounts may be worth it.  Do some research to see if your bank offers a plan to help you earn more interest on your money.

The key is looking for ways to save, by both cutting down on your expenses and by receiving more income from any source possible, and then put that extra money aside, saving it for your future.

Father God, give me the wisdom to use the money you give me to take care of my needs, save for the future, and help others.

[i] http://www.today.com/money/here-are-some-easy-ways-reboot-your-savings-efforts-t23696?cid=eml_tes_20150601

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Go forth, O daughters of Zion, And see King Solomon with the crown With which his mother crowned him On the day of his wedding, The day of the gladness of his heart. Song of Songs 3:11 (NKJV)

A short sidebar in Psychology Today[i] explained that the most lavish wedding ceremonies aren’t always the most auspicious.  Many young people hear of the royal weddings, full of pomp and ceremony, or watch the wedding ceremonies of the rich and famous and imagine that the bigger the wedding the happier they will be.

Two recent reports, one by a two Emory University economists and another that two psychologists produced for the National Marriage Project, investigate the power of one of the most important rites of passage – a couple’s wedding.

The studies found that couples who reported having more guests at their wedding also reported, on average, higher levels of marital quality, even when they controlled for factors such as education, religiosity, race, and income.  They also observed that higher wedding attendance was associated with lower odds of divorce.  The benefits of having more witnesses at one’s wedding may be partly due to the psychological consequences of making such a public declaration of commitment, that is, that we strive to maintain consistency between what we say and what we do. These couples also likely have more friends and family who see the relationship as something worth supporting or rooting for.

At the same time, they don’t break the bank in the process of having a large wedding.  Spending more money on weddings and rings, however, was not associated with more stable marriages. In fact, those who spend the most on their weddings were, on average, at greater risk of divorce. The economists speculate that an expensive wedding might place a high degree of stress on a marriage before it’s even off the ground.

The most important lesson from these studies is that the power of the big day is far more likely to lie in the connections and the commitment than the spectacle.

Father God, help us to think wisely about how much we spend on our wedding day and instead invest on a lifetime marriage.

[i] Psychology Today, May/June 2015

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Money matters in marriage

The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the LORD of hosts. Haggai 2:8 (NKJV)

Tricia Brown[i] writes that in marriage we share a home, memories, and decisions about all kinds of things, including money.  Most couples that have been married for a while would tell you that money is an important factor in any marriage.  But talking about money, even when done proactively and often, can lead to heated conversations and disagreements. In fact, money is widely reported to be the most common argument among married couples. She suggests a few ideas to have a conversation about money with your spouse:

  1. Set a spending limit. Decide on a spending limit that allows both of you to maintain some freedom and also to talk about the big, and important, purchases before they happen.
  2. Review your future financial expectations and goals. Talk about things like your children’s education, retirement (when, where, how much you will need, etc.).
  3. Talk and Track. Don’t talk about money only when you have disagreements. Instead, make this a regular conversation and track your expenditure so you can make any changes necessary.  In fact, if you both develop a budget and pay bills together you will be able to see how you’re doing and what changes you may have to take in your expenditures or in your budgeting.
  4. Create some ground rules for your money conversations like “No shame and no blame.” As Brown explains, “In order to feel free to admit to our transgressions, avoid the surprises, and share openly, make sure that you are not creating a police state in your home. Build some ground rules that respect the needs and humanity of your spouse.”
  5. Make sure to take time to be grateful for what you have together. While planning for the future is important, it is equally important to stop and consider what you already have and what you have accomplished together. An attitude of gratitude will affect your marriage in a positive way.

Father God, help us to remember that all things we have come from you, to be grateful, and to use all we have as good stewards.

[i] http://www.brightpeakfinancial.com/2013/10/dont-fool-yourself-love-money-related/

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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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