Has your office abandoned cubicles for the modern environment of shared desks and wide-open common spaces?

Travis Bradberry, in an article titled “7 Amazing Things Happen When You Spend Time Alone” at reported that privacy is necessary for maximizing productivity.

Research was conducted among 600 computer programmers from 92 companies.

Data revealed that productivity levels varied greatly among the companies. Sixxty-two percent of the top performers said they had privacy at work compared to only 19% of the worst performers. And, of those low performers, the majority complained that they were often unnecessarily interrupted.


We are two weeks into a new year. Are you discouraged by the state of your financial affairs? recently revealed the states where consumers accumulated the greatest revolving debt. Hopefully, you were not among those who woke up regretting the addition of thousands of dollars to your credit cards over the holidays (at a 30% interest rate nonetheless).

Minnesota and Wisconsin dominate the list of cities with the top 10 best credit scores, while cities in California, Texas, and Louisiana account for 8 out of 10 of the worst scores.

According to MarketWatch, the average family in the worst states would be required to apply 15% of their median income toward debt repayment and it will take them over a year and a half to pay off their credit card debt.


Not only do you and I have to live within a budget, but so do institutions of higher education. So, what do they do when things get tight?

According to a recent article at MarketWatch, when public colleges are strapped for cash, they go international.

The article reported that for every 10% drop in state funding provided to public universities between 1996 and 2012, public research campuses increased enrollment of foreign students by 12%, and those colleges that spend the most on their students raised international enrollment by 17%. 

ALL colleges do not resort to this approach, but it is a true reflection of those institutions with an international reputation and those hardest hit by state cuts.


Did you happen to notice any financial lessons in Christmas carols this year?

Duke Wenceslas ruled Bohemia in the year 923. He was known for his kind treatment of the poor. John Mason Neale penned Good King Wenceslas in 1853. Please listen to the great financial lesson in these lyrics:

“Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the Feast of Stephen,

When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even;

Brightly shone the moon that night, tho' the frost was cruel,

When a poor man came in sight, gath'ring winter fuel.

"Hither, page, and stand by me, if thou know'st it, telling,

Yonder peasant, who is he? Where and what his dwelling?"

"Sire, he lives a good league hence, underneath the mountain;

Right against the forest fence, by Saint Agnes' fountain."

"Bring me flesh, and bring me wine, bring me pine logs hither:

Thou and I shall see him dine, when we bear them thither. "

Page and monarch, forth they went, forth they went together;

Through the rude wind's wild lament and the bitter weather.

"Sire, the night is darker now, and the wind blows stronger;

Fails my heart, I know not how; I can go no longer."

"Mark my footsteps, good my page. Tread thou in them boldly

Thou shalt find the winter's rage freeze thy blood less coldly."

In his master's steps he trod, where the snow lay dinted;

Heat was in the very sod which the saint had printed.

Therefore, Christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing,

Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.”

Psalm 112, verses 5 and 9 proclaim:

“It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
 who conducts his affairs with justice. He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever;
 his horn is exalted in honor.”

Learn from Good King Wenceslas…. Go and do likewise.

Crown has a daily devotional called God is Faithful. These short biblical insights can be sent to your inbox for free. Find out more at



Dealing with Critical Coworkers

Originally posted on the Christian Post on January 13.

To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.


Dear Chuck,

I mostly like my job, or at least I don’t mind the work, and I’m grateful for it. But I find that some of my coworkers are really the worst part of my day. They can be critical, mocking, annoying, and I find that most of my stress comes from dealing with a few bad apples. Some people go out of their way to make it difficult to get anything done. They are like roadblocks to peace or effectiveness. I know that God wants us to work, but what does He say about how to handle a difficult group of people, not just a job?

Frustrated by Human Roadblocks

Dear Frustrated,

As you begin a new year, be determined to enjoy your work more and to be bothered less by those who are difficult. You can find some excellent advice and examples in the lives of Daniel and Joseph, who literally faced life and death scenarios at work – caused by extremely difficult people.

When King Nebuchadnezzar defeated Israel in a war, Daniel was a young man selected for lifetime service in the court of his country’s conqueror. The king told his court officials “to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace.”


How do you spend time with your children? I’ve got a great activity that doesn’t cost a dime.

Our lives are so busy that by the time everyone arrives home in the evening, we may be tempted to “veg” out. But did you know that reading aloud is one of the best things you can do with your children?

According to Sally Clarkson,“Reading aloud is… meant to be a delightful, bonding time together and a fantastic way to disciple your children through stories.”

She and her husband never made the children just sit and listen, but encouraged them in quiet activities.

Drawing, working puzzles, building Legos, knitting or painting are all acceptable ways of working the hands while listening.


Do you avoid pet animal shelters because you’re afraid you’ll bring home a cat or dog?

When we moved to Tennessee three years ago, we adopted two kittens at a two-for-one special at our local shelter. They are sweet companions and earn their keep in mice and mole control.

In 2015, Amelia Josephson at compiled data revealing that Americans spent more than $60 billion on their pets!

We spent $23 billion on food, $14 billion on supplies and over the counter meds, $16 billion on vet care, $2 billion on live animal purchases and $5 billion on pet services like grooming and boarding. 


I have seen some jaw-dropping tattoos and piercings in my travels. How about you?

Genesis 1:31 reads “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good”.

He created man with beautiful skin and perfectly formed ears and a nose. But, the world has tried to alter that which He called “good”. According to a 2012 Pew Research study, an estimated 36% of Americans have at least one piercing somewhere other than an earlobe and that percentage may be higher for those 17-25 years old.

But now, millennials seeking professional jobs, and entering a new, more conservative phase of life want things filled in or removed. A job interview or the opportunity in a boardroom is causing many to reverse decisions made by peer pressure or impulse. The piercings and tattoos accumulated in younger years just don’t cut it in the classic work force. 


If you’re like me, you don’t like to carry a pocketful of change. Do you collect yours in a jar?

For years, I have tossed my coins in a jar and rolled them once a year. The boys and I spend a couple hours rolling and get our grins watching the money grow with each additional roll.

Coinstar kiosks, located at grocery stores and Walmart, will roll your change but charge you a 10.9% fee for the service. When registering online, they offer the option of trading your coins for e-gift cards or donations to charity.

Personally, I prefer to roll the coins myself while talking with my sons. This is a tradition they may take to their homes someday.


Do you want to get out of debt in the New Year?!

Originially posted on the Christian Post on January 6.

To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.


Dear Chuck,

I read your column about making New Year’s resolutions, and I’ve made mine: Get out of debt. It’s not my first attempt, but I’m hopeful that this time I can do it. I wish I had a more creative tale of woe, but it’s basically the same old boy-goes-to-college, boy-gets-loans-and-credit-cards, boy-wants-out! How should I get started?

Looking for a New Beginning


Dear New Beginning,

Congratulations on deciding to take another run at getting out of debt. I will address the student loans and the credit cards alike. And yes, you can do this! The final chapter to your tale should be three steps to boy-pays-off-all-debt!



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