Today, some great tips for paying off your BIG debts!

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Oct 8, 2015 7:00:00 AM

Yahoo finance had an inspiring money story recently about Nick Gabel who found himself with $100,000 of debt and no job back in 1996. He eventually paid it all of by taking on two minimum wage jobs, drastically cutting all expenses to the bone and applying all of his income from one job towards his eventual escape from the trap.

I like the tips he gave in the article:

His tips for others who are working to pay off big debt are:

“Be aggressive. Paying just the minimum won't do the job, he says. "If people can pay off a $35,000 car loan in five years, why do they just pay minimums on student loans? If you just pay the minimum, it will never go away."
Automate it. Don't give yourself the opportunity to spend money that is earmarked for debt. (Also don't risk a late payment or oversight.)
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Topics: Personal Finance

Jesus did not endorse socialism…

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Oct 7, 2015 7:00:00 AM

Bloomberg News recently ran a story about the study to investigate this question:  “What if the richest person in every country gave all his money to the poor?”  The idea was to look at the impact of wealth distribution in a given country. The results were published in what is called the Robin Hood Index.  For instance, in America, the net worth of Bill Gates would turn into a one-off payment of $1,736 if distributed to the most needy 15 percent of Americans. 

If India's richest man gave all of his $19.2 billion, it amounts to the smallest payout to the poor of any other country analyzed. His net worth is 13.6 million times more than the gross domestic product of his fellow Indians. Still, with 30 percent of the country destitute, his riches would result in each poor person getting $59, enough for 118 basic meals priced at 35 rupees. 

You should take a look at the results.  To be fair, in some small, wealthy countries, the program would have a larger but unsustainable impact.

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Topics: Personal Finance

Watch out for fake Uber drivers!

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Oct 6, 2015 7:00:00 AM

Uber is a wildly popular new business built upon the idea that catching a ride in a clean car should be quicker, easier and less expensive than hailing a dirty cab.  With the touch of a finger, your smart phone app can locate the closest Uber driver and get you to your destination. The company has been a darling of the emerging business models for the new “sharing economy” where folks use their own vehicles to sign up and make some extra money.

You may encounter this service while on a trip to a major city or even in some foreign destinations. It has worked well and is a serious threat to the old, dirty cab model with rude drivers.  But there are some downsides.

In a recent news report from Chicago, people posing as fake Uber drivers notice someone standing along the curb looking as if they are waiting for a driver to show up.  The driver pulls up, says he is from Uber and then promptly robs the unsuspecting victim  (including his debt card and pin #) while inside the car. 

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Topics: Personal Finance

Today, let’s look at the math in the Parable of the Talents

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Oct 5, 2015 9:24:20 AM

A universal desire of a Christian is to hear those wonderful words of affirmation, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master.”   This well known and highly coveted reward is found in Matthew 25 when Jesus shared the parable of three stewards: to one he gave 5 talents which increased to 10, to the other 2 talents which increased to 4 and to the last steward, 1 talent which, well…it remained 1.

Essentially, the reward was given to those who doubled their original talents.  Punishment and rebuke awaited the one who gained no increase on his talent. It was even said to him by Jesus that he should have at least entrusted the 1 talent with a banker so it would have gained some interest!

I think it is appropriate to overlay this parable with the Parable of the Sower.  There Jesus says that the seeds that fall on fertile hearts will multiply 30, 60 or 100 fold!

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Topics: Personal Finance

Are you watching the stock market closely? A warning from an economist at a key US Bank will cause you to pay more attention

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Oct 1, 2015 8:00:00 AM

According to an article in Bloomberg Business, “Citigroup Inc. is sounding the alarm bells for the world economy.  The New York-based bank’s chief economist, Willem Buiter, said there is a 55 percent chance of some form of global recession in the next couple of years, most likely one of moderate depth and length.”

Unlike the U.S.-driven international slumps of the past two decades, this one will be generated by sliding demand from emerging markets, especially China…”

“The world appears to be at material and rising risk of entering a recession, led by EMs (emerging markets) and in particular by China,” wrote Buiter…"

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Topics: Personal Finance

I have a great money story for you today…

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Sep 30, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Good Morning America and ABC News ran a story of four sisters – ages 34, 33, 32, and 30 – who joined forces to help each other pay off all their cumulative debt. All the sisters are originally from Dallas, Texas, and had a combined income of $106,00. The sisters' combined debt had ballooned to $182,000, thanks to student loans, car payments and credit cards.



Image originally featured on Good Morning America

Instead of cowering to the debt, the four sisters came up with a novel way to pay it off, by banding together and attacking it as a team.

The first step the sisters made was to move into together and become roommates again, saving $400 per month.

Next, the sisters deposited their individual paychecks to a joint account and held weekly “sister meetings” where they gave each other an allowance of $75 each every two weeks for spending money.

The sisters spread that $75 out by sharing entrees when they went out to eat and shopping for clothes at thrift stores.

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Topics: Personal Finance

Are you tired of living on the financial edge?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Sep 29, 2015 7:00:00 AM

I once heard poverty described as living on the edge of a financial cliff not knowing from day to day if you will fall over it and be destroyed.  This fear and uncertainty can grip the  heart of anyone who is living from paycheck to paycheck or juggling the stress of paying debt that is spiraling out of control or loosing a job with absolutely no margin to survive between jobs.   All of these are forms of poverty, they are also bondage that prevents you from achieving your God given purpose.

Proverbs 28:19 says, “ Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.”

Solomon is advising us to do one thing and stop doing another. First, he says work your land. This is an admonition to get focused on what is at hand that will produce an income.  The second part of his advice is to stop doing what is a waste of your time. 

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Topics: Personal Finance

To Work or Receive Welfare? That is the question…..

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Sep 28, 2015 8:00:00 AM

I came across a fascinating article called When Work is Punished: The Tragedy of America’s Welfare State.  Essentially, here is what I learned. 

“Gary Alexander, Secretary of Public Welfare, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania pointed out that ‘the single mom (on government welfare) is better off with earning gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 (in the private sector) with net income and benefits of $57,045.’ She looses about $300 total income and benefits to leave welfare and take a job paying $69,000 a year.”

The moral of this story is that the American welfare system punishes work and incentivizes dependency.

“At issue is the so-called ‘welfare cliff’ beyond which families will literally become poorer the higher their wages, as the drop off in entitlements more than offsets the increase in earnings.

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Topics: Personal Finance

Today is a day of gratitude for Christian radio stations.

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Sep 24, 2015 8:00:00 AM

I was recently reading a book by the founder of this ministry, the late Larry Burkett.  Larry was inducted into the National Religious Broadcasters Hall of Fame because of his 20 years of faithful teaching on Christian radio.  However, there is something many of our broadcasting partners may not have known about him…Larry loved and appreciated Christian radio and its impact on his own life.

Larry wrote before his death, “I have always been a late night person, but following my cancer surgeries sleep was particularly hard to come by. Because the pain prohibited sleep, one of the great blessings for me personally was to turn on my local Christian radio station.

“With so much time on my hands, I really began to focus in on the music – probably more than any other time in my life. I was amazed at how much Christian music truly centers on the theme of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Not only did the resurrection take place, but our resurrection – the future for those who trust Jesus as Lord and Savior – to eternal life.  What a comfort that message was, reasserting that death is not a curse but a reward – for God’s people.“

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Topics: Personal Finance

Should we as Believers sue a non-Christian?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Sep 23, 2015 8:00:00 AM

We know that we are not to sue fellow brothers and sisters in the body of Christ, but what about non-Christians?  

The Bible is not quite as specific, but just because God didn’t make it a “thou shalt not”, that doesn’t mean you or I should ever sue non-Christians.

In Luke 6:30 we learn our attitude towards all people should be one of a willingness to give.  Listen carefully:

“Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.”

Did you catch that?  Everyone – that includes Christians and Non-Christians. It also is talking about theft here. When someone steals your possessions – do not demand it back.  I see a lawsuit as a legal demand.

I’m not saying that we are to let people come and steal from us or that you should not expect people to obey the law, but that our heart attitude should be that we don’t own anything and therefore we don’t fight to hang on to it.

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Topics: Personal Finance

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