Climbing a Pyramid or Building a Business?

Originally posted at Christian Post July 29, 2016.

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

Dear Chuck,

I’ve read your book The Worst Financial Mistakes in the Bible, and heard you speak when you visited my church in Brazil. I´ve come across a situation that made me wonder what you and the Bible might think of Multi-level Marketing (MLM or network marketing). Several friends have approached me with opportunities, but so far I have declined. My wife and I have read about it a lot more since we were first approached. We´ve even read Robert Kiyosaki's  The Business of the 21st Century where he recommends MLM, but what do you think? I really would appreciate any advice you can provide.

Friends in Brazil

Dear Friends,

Greetings from America, and thank you for reaching out with such a great question.  The answer is complex and my honest answer runs the risk of offending some people, but in my experience, not all MLM opportunities are created equal, and that comes directly from the U.S. Government. In fact, I find many of the MLM opportunities very troubling.

Consider this: according to the Federal Trade Commission:

“In multilevel or network marketing, individuals sell products to the public — often by word of mouth and direct sales. Typically, distributors earn commissions, not only for their own sales, but also for sales made by the people they recruit. Not all multilevel marketing plans are legitimate. If the money you make is based on your sales to the public, it may be a legitimate multilevel marketing plan. If the money you make is based on the number of people you recruit and your sales to them, it’s probably not. It could be a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are illegal, and the vast majority of participants lose money. If you’re considering buying into a multilevel marketing plan, get the details.”


God has a part and we have a part…

In this passage from Proverbs 2: 1-5, listen to the words “if”.  Those are statements of our part and then listen for the word “then”. That is the statement of God’s part. 

“My son, if you accept my words
 and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom
 and applying your heart to understanding—indeed, if you call out for insight
 and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver
 and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord
 and find the knowledge of God."

Far too often we want God to do His part before we are willing to do our part.  We want the promises of the “then” but not the requirements of the “if”. 


Did you know a healthy lifestyle saves you money?

With medical expenses being the number one cause of financial hardships, it pays to work at staying healthy. Here are few simple
tips/benefits for staying healthy:

  1. Take advantage of free ways to exercise. You Tube sessions, walking, dancing and stretching; check out churches, senior centers, or the YMCA for exercise classes for little or no cost. Park farther from your destination so you walk more. Be aware of the need to move. Wear a fitbit and record your progress.
  2. Keep portions in check. Food portions should be the size of a small fist. Use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate. When ordering, ask restaurants to pre-bag half your meal to go and eat the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Are your ready for the 2nd biggest shopping season of the year?

That’s right! Back to school shopping is big business and advertisers have worked hard to earn your money.

Last year parents spent an average of $1,239 for the back-to-school season.

Preparing now will help you save hundreds of dollars. Here are some quick tips.


School is right around the corner. Are you ready?

It’s the 2nd biggest shopping season of the year. That’s right! Back to school shopping is big business and advertisers are working hard to earn your money.

In 2015, the American Express Spending & Savings Tracker estimated parents would spend an average of $1,239 for the back-to-school season. Whether you homeschool or send your children to school, there are costs involved. Preparing now will help you save hundreds of dollars. Here are my tips:

First, shop at home. You probably have paper, pens, pencils, highlighters, and binders left over from previous years. These small items can add up to big savings on your school supply list.


Want to make a great impression and a great investment? Landscape your home.

A 2013 National Association of Realtors survey revealed that curb appeal is important to 71% of homebuyers. If a customer doesn’t like the front of the house, which includes landscaping, they may not go inside.

Homeguides’ Cam Merritt says landscaping is one of the few home improvements you can make that not only adds instant impact but also increases in value as the years go by. Interior decor and design go out of style, appliances wear out, but quality plants grow fuller each year.

A well landscaped home has a significant price advantage over a home without. That advantage ranges from 5.5% to 12.7% translating into an extra $16K to $38K in value on a $300,000 home.


Are retirement accounts and investments confusing to you?

Christine wrote me with this question:

I have worked several different jobs. I have retirement money affiliated with each employer. I am considering consolidating to one new account, but I am confused on who to invest with and what type of account to open? Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Christine, you have a few basic options to consider:

  1. Leave your money in your former employer's plan, if your former employer permits it.
  2. Roll over your money to a new 401(k) plan, if this option is available.
  3. Roll over your money to a Traditional IRA.
  4. Roll over your money to a Roth IRA.
  5. Take a cash distribution.

First, be sure it is to your advantage to move the money from your former employer’s 401K plan.  It you are allowed the same options and controls over the account as an existing employee, it may be to your benefit to leave the money where it is.  Ask a professional financial advisor to help you analyze this option.


Are you being duped by advertisers?

In 1 John 15-16 the Apostle John instructed us to “not love the world nor the things in the world…. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”

We are living in an age where companies are spending unbelievable amounts of money to cause us to desire the very things we have been warned to avoid. Advertisers have designed the availability of products and services to be as simple as a click away from your doorstep.

Companies hoping to grab the attention of consumers bombard the public with millions of messages per day.


Want to get rid of car payments for good? Buy a Freedom Mobile.

Right now the average duration of a car loan is 5.5 years.  That means you are likely paying interest and in some cases, high interest, for more than 60 months. About a fourth of all new car loans today are considered sub-prime, meaning the borrower has a blemished credit score and is paying higher interest rates.

If you are in that situation, here are a few ways to get out of this unnecessary expense.

First, cut back on all other expenses so you can pull together about $1,500 cash. 


Baywatch Bummer – Lessons from Divorce Issues

Originally posted at Christian Post July 15, 2016.

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

 Dear Chuck,

I saw recently that the former Baywatch star David Hasselhoff headed to court to try and challenge the judicial order to pay his ex-wife $21K a month in alimony. I’ve read his assets went from $1.2 million in the bank to $600 after his divorce. What happened here, and how can I avoid this kind of financial fall?

Bummed for Baywatch Star.

Dear Bummed,

After decades of being known as “the most watched man on TV,” actor David Hasselhoff said in legal documents that his finances are a disaster, telling the court that his monthly expenses are $72,415 a month, including $21K in alimony to ex-wife Pamela Bach, and more than $18K a month going to support his two adult children who live with him. He’s asking the court for some relief, including an end to the alimony payments from the breakup of his marriage in 2006.

There is a lot for all of us to learn from this tragic story.

Famous, infamous, or unknown to the world, it is best to work to stay married because divorce is disastrous for everyone. And it’s been that way from the very beginning. In Matthew 19, the Bible records this exchange between Jesus and religious leaders of the day on the subject of marriage.



Leave a comment

Subscribe to HOTW Updates

Redeem My MoneyMap


MoneyLife Insights
  Donate Now
Other Crown Blogs