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Do you lack self-control?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Mar 31, 2015 9:00:00 AM

On March 16, 2014, I returned from a long trip rather exhausted but found myself unable to get a good night’s sleep.  This puzzled me. How could I be so tired yet unable to sleep through the night?  Although I believe it was a number of factors at the time, I acknowledged that I had a habit of drinking lots and lots of coffee.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I like coffee – caffeinated or decaffeinated - but it was the cream and sugar that seemed to be most addicting.  So in an attempt to sleep better, I gave up coffee.  It has been over a year now and I still miss it – especially when I rise early on a chilly winter morning, but I have not had a single drop.  And yes, I am sleeping much better. This small discipline actually helps me in all areas of my life.  If I am lacking self-control I am vulnerable to many other problems including the way I handle money.

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Topics: Personal Finance

Is your college graduate looking for a job?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Mar 30, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Good news for the college class of 2015 according to a recent article in Yahoo Finance: The odds that you will land a job after graduation are looking pretty solid. Unemployment is down and graduates are getting hired.  In less than a decade from now, millennials will make up nearly three-quarters of the American workforce.

Workplace consultant and career coach, Alexandra Levit offers some practical advice in the article.

“Just because you have a passion doesn’t necessarily mean you can or should make a living at it. Find a job you like well enough. You’re not going to love every minute of every day, but you want to genuinely get some satisfaction out of it. And then leave time for other things in life that are important, like your personal life, hobby, friends and family.” I agree with that!

Her answer to what is the biggest mistake young workers make early in their careers:

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Topics: Personal Finance

A whole new way to think about poverty…

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Mar 26, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Having just returned from a conference in Zimbabwe. I had the opportunity to get to know many who are living in poverty and great lack. In addition to very few jobs, very low income, limited access to comforts and what we consider the basic necessities, even enduring unspeakable hardships under the cruel dictatorship of Robert Mugabe, I found people full of faith, hope and joy. 

Certainly, I am not wishing material poverty on anyone and I do my very best to help people escape the trap of poverty and learn to thrive.  We are partnering with Foundations for Farming, an organization that teaches wonderful skills in conservation agriculture that is profoundly working!  Crop yields are increasing from between 200% and even up to 1000%. We help these families manage their resources and finances.  But in many ways, I noticed people who are actually rich in their souls.

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Topics: Personal Finance

Are we nearing the end times and if so, how do we prepare?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Mar 25, 2015 9:00:00 AM

A recent poll by the Ventura, Calif.-based Barna Group found 4 in 10 Americans – and 77 percent of evangelical Christians – believe the “world is now living in the biblical end times.”

With the rise of ISIS, America’s tepid support of Israel, the moral decay of our nation and most of Western society, threats of economic collapse, there are many reasons to be fully alert to the possibility. 

Now, nobody knows the time or date that Christ will return and certainly I do not. I do know this: Christ will return and we need to always live in a state of readiness but remain focused on the long term.

Wayne Grudem, the author of Systematic Theology gives this practical advice: 

"Certainly we should commit ourselves to long term activities. It is precisely for this reason that Jesus does not allow us to know the actual time of His return; He wants us to be engaged in obedience to Him, no matter what our walk of life, up until the very moment of His return. To ‘be ready’ for Christ's return (Matt 24:44) is to be faithfully obeying Him in the present, actively engaged in whatever work He has called us to."  

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Topics: Personal Finance

Are you jealous of what others have?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Mar 24, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Jealousy is a terrible thing. In fact, it reaps devastation on others and ourselves. 

I recently returned from Africa where jealousy is a major problem.  If someone seems to have more than someone else, the response can range from rejection to vicious attacks and demonic curses.   This attitude does not allow anyone to make upward progress, including the people who are jealous. Often we don’t even realize that we are jealous of someone’s new car, their clothes, the house they live in, the promotion they received.  We not only cannot rejoice with them, we are angry inside and miserable with what we have.  

The Bible talks openly and plainly about dealing with our own jealousies of others.  In James 3 it says, Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.  (Catch that? Jealousy is actually demonic. I have seen this first hand on my recent trip to Zimbabwe.)

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Topics: Personal Finance

My Best financial advice in one line…

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Mar 23, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Two weeks ago I was in Zimbabwe speaking at a conference.  I can’t help but come away from those trips with a much better perspective on many topics, including how I share Biblical financial principles, our nation’s spiritual, moral and political direction as well as my own heart for the least of these. 

While I was there, a young man asked me a very sincere question.  He asked if I could give him my very best Biblical financial advice in one sentence that he would never forget.  Although I found it quite a challenge, I appreciated his excitement so I responded immediately.

Financial issues are caused by and must be resolved by matters within our heart. 

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Topics: Personal Finance

Need to be encouraged today?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Mar 19, 2015 9:00:00 AM

I will never forget Russ and Candy Hildebrandt’s story from the first time I saw it on national news to the time I was able to speak to them in person.  Russ had accumulated a total of $126,000 in consumer debt that came as a shock to Candy.  This was two times Russ’ annual income he earned as a chemist.  It took five year, but they avoided bankruptcy and paid back every penny, which included interest, they owed. 

Their remarkable story continues to receive national news even now, five years after they were able to pay off this mountain of debt.  But here are some facts you wont read about in the papers. 

1. Russ took on a part-time job at night as a janitor to earn the extra money they needed to pay off the debt. He slept in his car five nights a week for 4 ½ years between his day job and night job. He did that even during the harsh Minnesota winters. Russ told me that he feared his debt has ruined more than his credit, that it ruined his testimony too. Little did he know that his credit would be fully restored and God would allow his testimony to be shared to encourage thousands of Christians.
  
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Topics: Personal Finance

Are you in the market for a mortgage?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Mar 18, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Are you in the market for a mortgage? Lots of things today to be aware of!  Some of the most common tricks played on borrowers are:

Bait and switch, which is also common at retail stores, refers to when a mortgage company advertises a loan with terms that seem too good to be true and then, when a borrower attempts to get the loan, finds out that it is not available. Instead, the borrower is offered another loan with inferior terms.

Bait and Remember refers to the lender deceptively forgetting loan fees or other significant loan terms until the borrower is too far along in the process to back out, and ends up with a costly or problem loan. Borrowers should also be wary of lenders that try to convince borrowers to float the rate and take interest rate risk while the loan is in production.

ARMs, Interest-Only Loans and Negative-Amortization Loans. 
Adjustable-rate mortgages are by no means illegal loans. However, when selling ARMs, lenders must inform borrowers about how much the loan rate can potentially adjust in the future. Borrowers must be aware of what they are potentially giving up in the future in order to get what can be considered a great introductory price today.

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Topics: Personal Finance

When to ask for help with you taxes...

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Mar 17, 2015 9:00:00 AM

If you are like me, I am often unsure of whether to hire a CPA to do my taxes for me or to do them myself using an on-line service.  A great article I found on Investopedia.com provides a guideline to help with that choice.

There’s no single answer for every taxpayer. Choose the tax preparation method that suits your situation. Here are some of the factors to consider in making your choice. 

First, determine the COMPLEXITY of your TAX SITUATION.  As a general rule, the more complex your tax situation, the more compelling it is for you to bring in a tax professional.
 
1. You own a business, including a sideline business.
2. You had a major life event this year.
3. Extensive securities transactions.
4.You want to itemize.

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Topics: Personal Finance

Are you spending too much money?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Mar 16, 2015 9:00:00 AM

 Are you spending too much money?  According to an article in investopedia.com, here are 10 signs you’re spending too much money.

1) You carry credit card debt. If you’re not completely paying off the balance on your credit card every month, you’re probably spending too much. 

  
2) You have no retirement savings. If this is the case, you will have to work later in life.
 
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Topics: Personal Finance

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