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4 Steps to Ask for a Raise

Originally posted on the Christian Post on February 17.

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’ve been at my job for a while now, and I know that I make a valuable contribution to my company, but I don’t know how to go about asking for a raise. Employers seem to be able to say vague things about the economy being sluggish and rush past any conversation that involves compensation. What does the Bible have to say about how to have an uncomfortable conversation about compensation? Is it more “Christian” to take a lower salary and give up worldly riches?

Stuck with Sluggish Salary

Dear Stuck,

This will be fun! Hopefully this will cover the questions you are wrestling with and give you some tips for seeking a raise so you will be on track for a healthy increase in pay soon!

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Can You Afford Your Kids?

Originally posted on the Christian Post on January 27.

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,

My husband and I are talking about starting a family, and to be honest, I’m afraid to do it. We have the usual bills and some credit card debt, and whenever I see stories about how expensive kids can be, I feel so intimidated. I saw a story recently that said it cost “between $12,350 and nearly $14,000 a year, on average, to raise a child.” What do you think we should do?

Preparing to be Parents

Dear Preparing,

Your question raises a truly important conflict that we as Christians face: the tension between a worldly perspective and a Biblical perspective, and children are a perfect case in point. The Bible clearly teaches us that children are a blessing. Psalm 127:3-5 put it like this: “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”

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Thou Shalt Not Steal … Music included!

Originially posted on the Christian Post on December 16.

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’ve been trying to talk to my children about Christian values and ethics. In the Bible, Jesus always brings simple truth into complicated situations, and I am trying to teach my kids to do the same. My kids and I have had some very interesting conversations about “Thou Shalt Not Steal,” which really covers more than just robbing a bank. What are some ways that people steal that I can discuss with my family to better illustrate the point?

A Parent Looking for some Parables

Dear Parent,

Thanks for the question! Bringing the scripture to life in everyday situations is one of a parent’s most important roles in the life of a child, according to Deuteronomy 11.

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Holiday Havoc: Married to Ebenezer Scrooge, but I still love Christmas!

Originially posted on the Christian Post on December 9.

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,

My spouse and I are on the opposite sides of Christmas. He’s kind of an Ebenezer Scrooge, doesn’t want to spend any money and thinks most decorating is a waste of time and resources, but I love the excitement of the season, and gift giving is a way I like to show my affection. Every year, we end up having huge disagreements over how to celebrate the holiday. He is a Christian, and so we both share an appreciation of Christmas as a celebration of Jesus’ birth, but we are not on the same page at all on what that looks like … or how much money to spend. Can you help us?

Tired of Christmas Conflict

Dear Tired of Conflict,

If it makes you feel any better, you’re not the first person to ask me that question. Just because you and your husband share an appreciation of Christmas doesn’t mean that you naturally agree on how to mark this occasion (or other celebrations for that matter). My wife, Ann, and I have had to work through our own differences over the years as to how we prefer to mark this joyous occasion.

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HELP! I’m not Ready for the Holidays!

Originially posted on the Christian Post on November 25th.

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 cannot believe that it’s Thanksgiving week, and Christmas is coming in weeks. Most of the time, I feel more stressed than thankful at this time of year (unless you count how thankful I feel when it’s all over!). Have any advice about making Christmas more about Jesus’ birthday and less about a shop-til-you-drop time of year?!

Tis the Season for Stress

Dear Stressed,

Christmas is my favorite season of the year! It is the largest birthday celebration on Earth and appropriately so! Yet, we have tragically moved from worshiping a child lying in a borrowed manger that first Christmas Day to the modern extravaganza marked by frenzied shopping. Just this week my wife and I noticed a mammoth inflatable of Santa and his twelve reindeer on sale at the home improvement store. For only $299, this “yard decoration” could practically hide your entire house from view. Is there any end to these  needless expenses? I’ll step off my soapbox and get to your question...

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Why do the “Wrong People” Get Ahead?

Chuck Bentley on 11/18/16 9:00 AM

3 comments

Originially posted on the Christian Post on November 18th.

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’m in a company where it feels to me that people who are good at flattering the boss – but not necessarily are good at their jobs – get promoted, while more talented people get ignored or passed over. It’s so frustrating to look around and see the kind of people in positions of leadership who don’t seem to deserve to be there. What does the Bible say about dealing with people in authority who seem like a disaster?

Passed over at work.

 

Dear Passed Over,

One of the things that can make a workplace truly unbearable is dealing with difficult leadership. But you don’t have to take my word for it. This is a question many wrestle with every day but the Bible is not silent on the issue.

Scripture gives us many stories illustrating a Christ-like response to
apparent unjust leadership. In the book of Daniel, the prophet deals with three pagan administrators who unfairly rise to prominence by his good work. Or in Luke 18, the parable of the Unjust Judge illustrates God’s sovereign care for us and His promise that justice will be done.

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Are Your Children’s Activities Wrecking Your Finances?

Originially posted on the Christian Post on November 11th.

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“Budget Hack” Work to Save Big Bucks

Chuck Bentley on 10/28/16 9:00 AM

3 comments

Originially posted on the Christian Post on October 28.

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The Good, The Bad and the Ugly of Reverse Mortgages

Originially posted on the Christian Post on September 30.

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,

My elderly parents are considering a reverse mortgage because they are struggling on a fixed income. Is that a good idea? Could it do more harm than good?

Worried for Mom and Dad

Dear Worried,

I share your concerns about reverse mortgages, called “the ugly stepchildren of the home-lending industry” by CNBC, and they may be right. I tend to agree with their analysis that “most financial advisors see the products as a last resort for cash-strapped seniors—and a bad one at that. They are expensive, restrictive and usually don't provide enough income to help borrowers meet their financial needs for very long.”

But still, it’s useful to consider what they are and how they work, as each person’s financial situation is a bit different. 

According to CNBC: “A reverse mortgage enables homeowners of at least 62 years of age to get a lump-sum payment, a stream of payments or a line of credit they can tap based on the amount of equity they have in the property. The amount someone can borrow depends on the value of the home (up to a maximum of $625,500), his or her age and prevailing interest rates. The higher the property value, the older the borrower and the lower the interest rate, the more people can borrow.”

The trouble is that once the equity in your house is gone, a valuable resource is depleted. It is always better to find other solutions to your financial needs, if possible. 

To find out where you may be able to reduce expenses and free up cash, start with building a functional budget. Crown has many resources and free tools to assist you.

After you have looked at all that is available to you, consider whether selling your home to go smaller might be a better way to free up cash without any obligations to a lender. And remember, if you take out a reverse mortgage, that doesn’t exempt you from your other responsibilities as a homeowner. You still must keep up the house, the property taxes and the homeowner’s insurance, and any failure to keep that current can lead to foreclosure. This is a big risk if you are already financially strapped.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also notes: “Most reverse mortgages require you to pay insurance premiums. The insurance is there in case your loan balance grows to be more than your home is worth. With insurance, you won’t have to pay the difference. But, if you only stay in your home for a short period of time, chances are you are paying for insurance you don’t need. If you only plan to stay in your home for a short period of time, the loan balance is less likely to grow to more than your home value.”

Reverse mortgages often mean that your heirs don’t get the house or any resources at your death. While the borrower doesn't have to make payments on the loan, at the time of their death the loan is to be paid by the sale of the house, which means that your heirs or a surviving spouse (if they are not part of the loan) have to pay back the reverse mortgage or get out of the house.

If you don’t want to leave your home to others or are facing extreme health issues near the end of your life, perhaps a reverse mortgage gives you some financial flexibility. But as a tool for maintaining your retirement years, it is not a good idea. The interest rates are not always favorable, and you can outlive the value in your home.

For many retired people, changing your lifestyle is key to making resources last, especially without new money coming in, and that can require prayerfully considering what you really need versus what you want.  Philippians 4:11-13 advises, “I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

To #Ask Chuck @AskCrown your own question, click here:

Chuck Bentley is the CEO of Crown, the largest Christian financial ministry in the world, founded by the late, Larry Burkett. He is an author, host of My MoneyLife, a daily radio feature, and a columnist for the Christian Post and a well-known speaker. Follow Crown @CrownUpdates For interviews or speaking requests contact media@crown.org

 

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Tips not to Trip over your Tongue at Work

Originially posted on the Christian Post on September 23.

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’m trying to fit in to a new workplace, and I’m on the outside of a lot of the conversations and office gossip. I want to join in, but sometimes the talk gets so hurtful or goes a direction I just don’t want to follow. Does the Bible have anything to say about how to talk to people in my office? 

Tongue Tied

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