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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

Overcoming Financial Bondage

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Mar 13, 2015 9:00:00 AM

You may believe that financial bondage is common to everyone, but I assure you, there are people following God’s financial principles who are living a joyous, victorious life of financial freedom. You can, too.

Although I have seen some exceptions, you’re likely to be in financial bondage because of what you believe about money more than any other root cause.

The solution is found in today’s verse, Romans 12:2“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

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Topics: Personal Finance

Today, I found a great money story in Bloomberg that is sad but true…

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Mar 12, 2015 2:35:00 PM

A bright orange ATM is popping up around Moscow, Russia at railway stations and shopping malls. This strange kind of ATM looks like a regular cash machine, but it's designed to accept loan applications and dole out money on the spot.

The loan ATM is a product of Oleg Boyko, a Russian billionaire who made his fortune running slot machine halls. He now has about 20 automated loan machines installed throughout Moscow. They allow customers to request as much as ($241) that must be paid back in 20 days or less. 

The interest rate is 2% a day, which works out to 730% on an annualized basis. That may seem insane, but some Russians have been willing to embrace the technology to make ends meet between paychecks.

For many Russians, it's the only way to borrow. It is hard to imagine that people are willing to pay 2% per day interest but so far it seems to be working. 
     
Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg
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Topics: Personal Finance

It’s not a good idea to buy a house with a 3% down payment.

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Mar 11, 2015 8:30:00 AM

New research by RealtyTrac indicates that fewer people bought a house with just a 3% down payment in 2014 than in any of the previous 10 years.

Only 25% of house purchasers taking out all residential house loans (conventional or Federal Housing Administration loans) put less than 3% down when purchasing a home, versus 27% in 2013, according to new analysis by real estate data firm RealtyTrac of nearly 20 million loans for single-family homes and condos nationwide over the last 10 years. That’s the lowest level in a decade. First-time buyers are among the most likely candidates for these loans.

“It may seem like a lot but the average over the past 11 years has been 33%,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

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Topics: Personal Finance

Americans get an F on a simple quiz about income taxes.

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Mar 10, 2015 9:00:00 AM

I found a great article on Investopedia about a money quiz. The average U.S. adult scored just 51% on 10 multiple-choice personal finance questions about federal income tax returns as they relate to retirement, college savings and healthcare, based on a survey of 1,000 adults given by personal finance site NerdWallet. That is a fail by academic standards.

Want to know how you would do?  Here are a few sample questions:

 

Is the money you put in a Roth IRA pretax or post-tax? 


A)    Pretax
B)    Post-tax

C)   None of the above

 

Answer: B. Roth contributions are never deductible, but all growth and earnings are tax-free. Another benefit to funding a Roth IRA is that you can withdraw your original contributions at any time, no matter your age.  (42% got the right answer.)

 

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Topics: Personal Finance

Are you a steward or are you just in a stewardship program?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Mar 9, 2015 9:00:00 AM

A biblical understanding of God’s Word on finances indicate that stewardship is not a process to manage money, it is not a program to get out of debt or to raise money for the church building program. These are all taking the biblical message to a low level of understanding. 

Stewardship is an understanding of our identity. We are stewards. When God put Adam in the Garden of Eden his purpose was to work and manage the garden and to faithfully carry out this duty to the glory of God. This was before the fall. You see Adam was the First Steward. All Believers are Stewards.  That is our name rank and serial number.  We only have two options: to be a steward or to deny God’s Word and claim to be owners. 

Here’s what is so exciting. When we understand our identity as stewards, everything we do is done for the glory of God.  Our work, our management of resources and our very lives reflect our submission to His ways and His purposes.

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Topics: Personal Finance

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