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Have you ever examined your financial motives?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Jun 25, 2015 9:30:00 AM

Many people make daily decisions for earning, spending, saving, investing, borrowing and even giving money without ever considering their motives for these actions. 

Proverbs 16:2 says, All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
but the Lord weighs the spirit.

Solomon is teaching us that we think our actions are always right and justified but the Lord is looking much deeper into our spirit. In other words, motives matter. 

Here are a few starter questions? 

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Topics: Personal Finance

Is your car driving you to the poor house?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Jun 24, 2015 8:00:00 AM

According to the Wall Street Journal, in a recent article called, How Rich and Poor Spend Their Money, the middle class wage earners spend a much higher percentage of their income on transportation than any other wage earners, rich or poor. 

Analyzing data from the Consumer Expenditures Survey gathered by the Department of Labor, middle class folks spend nearly 20% of the annual income on their transportation.  That is about 5% more than the rich or poor spend as a percentage of their income. In other words, the middle class is the one spending too much on expensive cars. 

Now, this cost can be actually much lower using my advice, which is to always drive a used car that you pay for in cash.  If you purchase a quality used car that is 3-5 years old, has been well maintained preferably by one owner and has low miles, you will get a much better overall value than buying new. Further, if you are able to pay cash for your car, you will save much of the cost of financing or leasing your car. 

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Topics: Personal Finance

Researchers say they have cracked the code to happiness

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Jun 23, 2015 8:00:00 AM

There was some irony in this whole news story out of CBS New York.

After decades of studying and working with tens of thousands of patients, researchers at the Mayo Clinic, one of the most prestigious health organizations in the world, say they’ve cracked the code to being happy.

According to psychiatrist John Tamerin , “for many people the root of everything we’re chasing, a better job, more money or true love, is a pursuit of happiness.”

But this endless pursuit often backfires. “If you lead your life always waiting for a great thing to happen, you probably will be unhappy,” Tamerin said.

And perhaps one of the biggest hindrances to being happy is too much thinking about one’s self, research shows.  “Complainers are never going to be happy,” according to the research. “Happiness is a decision.”

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Topics: Personal Finance

Are you suffering right now? Stay tune for some encouragement…

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Jun 22, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Nobody likes to suffer. I sure don’t.  But I have learned that it helps to put it all in context to better endure the pain.

For instance, if I hit my thumb with a hammer, now that hurts, and it makes me want to scream and shout and dance around on one foot while being really mad at myself. But if a fireman breaks through a window to rescue a child from a blazing house fire and barely escapes with his own life, even though he may have cuts and burns and suffering from smoke inhalation, holding that child safely in his arms makes it all worth it. He will not be complaining about his own injuries or pain. 

You see, Paul said we should see our pain and suffering much like the fireman; it has a greater purpose.  Listen to Romans 5:

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Topics: Personal Finance

What would it take for you to really be content?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Jun 18, 2015 7:00:00 AM

HOTW_June18For most of us, we have something that we are looking to that will improve our contentment.  Have you given thought to what would immediately increase your personal contentment?

A better car?  A better job?  Maybe just a raise?  Would it take a long vacation?  How about becoming debt free? 

Now, I understand our financial condition can cause a lot of worry, stress and discontentment. And I think it is important to be working towards improving your financial well being. But, not at the expense of loosing your contentment right now.

Let me explain…

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Topics: Personal Finance

Did you read the story about the couple with 100 grandchildren?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Jun 17, 2015 7:00:00 AM

According to a story released by the Associated Press, A western Illinois couple recently celebrated the birth of their 100th grandchild. You heard that correctly – number 100.

Leo and Ruth Zanger of Quincy have 53 grandchildren, 46 great-grandchildren and one great great grandchild. The birth of great-grandson Jaxton Leo on April 8 made the number 100.

Like me, you may be wondering how many children it took to achieve this impressive supersized family tree. The Zangers have been married 59 years and have 12 children. The youngest, 31-year-old Joe, was already an uncle ten times when he was born.

How do they explain this? Leo Zanger tells The Quincy Herald-Whig "the good Lord has just kept sending them." He says the family "could start our own town."

Do they have too many?  Not according to Ruth Zanger, she says "there's always room for one more."

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Topics: Personal Finance

Man can rationalize the purchase of any luxury or indulgence. You won’t believe this one…

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Jun 16, 2015 7:00:00 AM

A Hermès Birkin bag with diamonds set a record for the most expensive handbag ever sold at auction ($221,846). According to the Wall Street Journal, the fuchsia bag sold at Christie’s afternoon handbag auction in Hong Kong recently and was purchased by an unknown bidder on the phone.

Astonishingly, the record-setting handbag—which could be eclipsed by another Birkin in the same auction—isn’t the most expensive Hermès bag offered for sale. The luxury site 1stDibs currently lists a Hermès Birkin, which is notoriously difficult to purchase in retail stores, for $450,000. That 30cm handbag is made from Himalayan Niloticus crocodile and features an 18k white gold lock with white diamonds, totaling 1.64 carats.

Now I doubt any of us are struggling with missing out on buying this Hermès purse that costs as much as a home in the United States.  But we all struggle with pride and far too often our purchases are a reflection of our desire to set ourselves apart by what we own.

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Topics: Personal Finance

Are you living in God’s Economy or Man’s Economy?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Jun 15, 2015 7:00:00 AM

HOTW_June_15In man’s economy, money is the master of your life, in God’s economy, Jesus is the only Lord, Master and King of your life.  This may sound like a no-brainer to you…but we can subtly be controlled by money in ways we don’t realize. For instance, who do you consult before making a large financial decision - the Lord or your bank account?  What about when considering changing jobs?  Do you ask the Lord if it is His will that you make a change or do you consider only the financial implications of the job offer? 

Do your goals reflect man’s or God’s economy?  How many of them are financial or related to your financial condition verses directed towards spiritual growth, serving God’s people or advancing His kingdom? 

Here’s one more – have you ever heard it said, “cash is king”?  That sounds subtle but cash is king in man’s economy, not God’s economy.  Since a king sits on his throne, declaring cash to be king in our lives is placing it on the throne of His.

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Topics: Personal Finance

Looking for a simple financial plan?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Jun 11, 2015 7:00:00 AM

Often time we find ourselves paralyzed by fear, lack of knowledge or the energy necessary to put a simple plan together to improve our financial well being.  Let me give you a quick step-by-step process that can improve your current financial circumstance, regardless of whether it is good, bad or real bad. 

  1. Make a commitment to honor God with the first fruits of all your income. This means to start giving generously out of gratitude for your salvation and God’s kindness to you!
  1. Make a budget. Some call it a plan to spend money on purpose. Allocate where all of your money is going to go before you spend it each month. That way you are able to make plans for the future. No budget, no progress.
  1. Save $1000.  This will give you an Emergency Savings account and allow you to stop relying on credit cards or other borrowing when you need cash immediately.

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Topics: Personal Finance

We all are motivated by hope…

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Jun 10, 2015 7:00:00 AM

The New York Times is not often a source to find supporting documentation for sound theology, but Nicholas Kristof wrote an insightful article about recent research that proves that hope is an essential element to our financial wellbeing. I quote Mr. Kristof:

“Whether in America or India, families that are stressed and impoverished — trapped in cycles of poverty — can feel a hopelessness that becomes self-fulfilling. Give people reason to hope that they can achieve a better life, and that, too, can be self-fulfilling.
 
Much of the news about global poverty is depressing, but this is fabulous: a large-scale experiment showing, with rigorous evidence, what works to lift people out of the most extreme poverty. And it’s exhilarating that one of the lessons may be so simple and human: the power of hope.”

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Topics: Personal Finance

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