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What to do in a Booming Stock Market

Originally posted on the Christian Post on March 3

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,

Every time I turn on the news, I hear reports about new record highs in the stock market. I have some stock investment, but wondering if I should go bigger. Is there something I should be doing to take advantage of the energy in the stock market?

Stock Market Newbie

Dear Newbie,  

Great question! With a recent report in The Balance noting that the Dow Stock Market “has set 24 new record closing highs since the 2016 Presidential election,” many people are wondering the same thing.  No doubt, the market is riding a surge in optimism at the moment! The Goldman Sachs Risk Appetite Indicator hit its historic high in early 2017.

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Have your or your family experienced an unexpected expense in the past 12 months?

Jill Cornfield at Bankrate.com says the most common surprise expenses are related to vehicles, appliances, home-repairs, injury or
 illness. Unfortunately, nearly 6 in 10 Americans don’t have enough savings to cover an unexpected bill of $500.


This is a problem across our nation. When people pay with a credit card, the original expense can grow monumentally if not paid off at the end of the month due to high interest rates. Some turn to friends or family for help with the hope of paying them back. Others cut expenses in order to pay the bill.

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Are you looking for ways to earn a little extra money this month? How about emptying out your storage unit!

Joshua Becker who blogs at Becoming Minimalist says 1 in 10 Americans rent off-site storage. Twenty-five percent of Americans have two-car garages but don’t have room to park a vehicle inside,
while thirty-two percent can only park one.

We have too much stuff and pay to store more. This is a problem!

Natalie Campisi at Go Banking Rates.com compiled some interesting statistics. The average national storage unit costs are:

  • $40-$50 per month for a 5-by-5-foot unit
  • $75-$140 per month for a 10-by-15-foot unit

Those prices increase for climate controlled units and more square feet.

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Why do families experience more problems during economic downturns?

The truth is… they don’t. They simply suffer more symptoms. With rare exception, the problems they experience began years earlier, perhaps even in childhood.

Many of the symptoms we see today such as business failures, bankruptcies, divorce, multi-job families, etc. stem from ignoring God’s Word. Parents who fail to instill basic values in their children, or model a life of mishandling money, actually teach false attitudes about money. For example:

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Do you consider yourself among the working poor?

I was struck by a recent Atlantic Magazine article titled The Lonely Poverty of America’s White Working Class. It shared the plight and impact of those who are working hard but can’t seem to make any progress financially. Interestingly, the article pointed out that faith is a factor. I quote from the article:

The waning of religious belief may be another trend aggravating the modern malaise of the white working class. Since the ’90s, the number of Americans who declare no religious preference on surveys has almost tripled—from 8 percent at the beginning of that decade, to 21 percent in 2014. Whites fall disproportionately into this camp. The religiously unaffiliated are not necessarily secular in their outlook. Many of them are spiritually inclined but skeptical of organized religion, especially its intrusion into politics. However, in the absence of any other source of social support and collective meaning (say, unions), there’s less in the way of psychological protection from the slings and arrows of American society.

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Can You Recover from Mistakes At Work?

Originally posted at Christian Post July 08, 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’m embarrassed to say that I really messed up at work. I’m not sure what to do next, and I’m wondering how to win back the good will of my employer. Is it possible to resurrect a reputation at work? 

Weeping over Work

Dear Weeping, 

The answer is yes! You certainly can recover from terrible mistakes at work. In fact, it is an opportunity to improve not only your reputation, but also your overall work relationships. 

Rest assured, no one is perfect. Find me a person who has never made a mistake on the job, and I’ll show you a person who has never held a job. We are all vulnerable to errors and misjudgments. 

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Are Your Thoughts Ever Preoccupied with Money?

Chuck Bentley on 6/23/16 8:00 AM

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People who think about money often are usually in one of two groups: those that have very little and are in constant need or those that have a lot and are in constat preoccupation with using it and preserving it.  Both sides, the rich and the needy have a similar problem: they have lost their contentment.  It is my view that God wants each of us to have enough. And enough in my books is defined by having the amount of money necessary that you don’t have to think about money anymore. Let me explain. 

If you are needy, you won’t quit thinking about money until your financial needs are met. If you are rich, you won’t quit thinking about money until your heart's needs are met.  Interestingly, both of those needs are met by an increase in trust in God. The needy must trust God to provide through hard work and careful stewardship, and the wealthy must trust God to release them from worry and stress through careful stewardship. 

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Do you know the condition of your finances right now?

With almost 8 in 10 people saying they never or rarely balance their check books, it can come as no surprise that organizing finances is few people’s passion.  But it is never a waste of time to improve your financial skills because it will most certainly reduce your stress.

A survey by the American Psychological Association found that money and work are the leading causes of stress in America (at 67 percent and 65 percent respectively) regardless of income.  For those looking to increase their skills, there’s no better place to begin than the Bible. Let me explain.

A good financial plan begins with knowing your financial condition.  When it comes to money -- ignorance is NOT bliss. Ignoring how much you are spending or being unaware of where your money is going will not alter painful realities. It’s important to know where your money is, where it is going and whether you are breaking even, going backward or getting ahead.

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Is money causing you terrible stress?

I received a very biting, critical email from a listener recently.  He felt he was doing all he could to care for and provide for his family and believed I had spoken judgmentally about him and folks in his financial situation.  While I didn’t totally agree with his conclusions, his email made me more sensitive to the terrible financial stress he was experiencing.

“The American Psychological Association reported in a 2014 survey that 54% of Americans said they had just enough or not enough money each month to meet their expenses – The study found money to be the country’s No. 1 stressor. 72% of adults reported feeling stressed about money at least some of the time, and nearly a quarter rated their stress ‘extreme’”.

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