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How Much is Enough?

Faith And Finance / Rob West
The Truth Network Radio
May 6, 2024 6:44 pm

How Much is Enough?

Faith And Finance / Rob West

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May 6, 2024 6:44 pm

The great Christian apologist and author G.K. Chesterton once said, “There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.” On today's Faith & Finance Live, host Rob West will help you figure out what “enough” looks like in your life and explain why it’s important to know when you’ve reached that point. Then he’ll take some calls and answer various financial questions. 

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The great Christian apologist and author G.K. Chesterton once said, There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.

I am Rob West. How much is enough for you? Today we'll help you figure out what enough looks like in your life and why you need to know. And then I'll take your calls on anything financial at 800-525-7000.

That's 800-525-7000. This is Faith and Finance Live, biblical wisdom for your financial journey. Well, a secular worldview tells us that more is always better. With that mindset, there's no end to accumulation. The Christian worldview turns that idea upside down. According to Chesterton, enough isn't about getting more. It's about wanting less. One way leads to frustration. In the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon calls it chasing after the wind.

The other way leads to peace. So how much is enough for Christians? Well, if you're just starting out or struggling financially, how much is enough might seem like a silly question. The bottom line for you is that you just need more money at the moment. Why should you think about how much is enough when you hardly have anything?

And what if you're at the other end of things? If you're approaching retirement, you might be thinking about the size of your nest egg. But why put a limit on accumulating money and possessions? Based on these two examples, the definition of enough seems to depend on what stage of life you're in.

Well, let's look at what the Bible has to say about what's enough. In Luke 12-15, Jesus says, Watch out, be on your guard against all kinds of greed. Life does not consist in the abundance of possessions. Jesus is making a rather unexpected statement.

Getting more money is never the goal, no matter how old you are. The desire of every human heart is for life, which means satisfying, abundant, purposeful existence. So when Jesus says life does not consist in the abundance of possessions, he's pointing away from money as the source of life and to something else.

That something else is himself. Here's what Jesus says. John 11-25, I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live. John 14-6, I am the way and the truth and the life.

No one comes to the Father except through me. And John 10-10, I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. So our deepest needs for relationship and purpose are met in Christ.

He is enough. But what about the things we need to survive day to day? Well, believers in Christ serve a God who promises to meet all our needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. That's Philippians 4-19. In Matthew 6, Jesus reminds his followers not to be anxious about food or clothing or shelter.

Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? This means you will always have enough of what you need to live, and you can trust God to know what that is.

Anything beyond that is a gift. Following Jesus means acknowledging God's sovereignty and his ownership of everything. As the Holy Spirit works in your heart, your motivation to accumulate gradually changes from self-centered to God-centered. With Jesus as Lord of your life, your idea of enough begins to change, too, because you're trusting God to meet your needs, and your desires start to line up with what God wants. You will begin to desire less of worldly things and more of Christ. All this is a part of the miraculous heart change that happens when God gets hold of you.

So while the worldly person is asking, How can I get more? The Christian asks, How can I love God more? As a loving father, God not only provides for daily needs, but he provides satisfying Kingdom work for his children to do. James 1-7 says, Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights. Out of gratitude and a desire to be more like Jesus, we look for ways to serve others with what God has provided. For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. That's Ephesians 2-10.

So consider this. How much is enough may actually be the wrong question. For believers, the real question is, Who is enough? Following Christ is the way to peace, joy, and abundant life. No matter what your financial situation is, ask God to change your heart.

He will change your desire for accumulation into a desire for less stuff and more Jesus, and then the rest will fall into place. All right, your calls are next at 800-525-7000. That's 800-525-7000. I'm Rob West, and this is Faith and Finance Live. Stick around. Hey, thanks for joining us today on Faith and Finance Live. I'm Rob West, coming to you live from Purcell Farms today out of my studio, but still taking your questions and comments today at 800-525-7000.

Before the break, we were talking to Taylor. He's a father of three. He made about $50,000 last year, about to pay off a mobile home that they have been living in, a trailer. They've got some kids, and just wondering when's the right time to buy that home. In particular, he's got about $100,000 in student loans and wondering how that will factor into his mortgage approval process. And Taylor, it will certainly factor in, and where they're going to look at it typically is what they call the debt to income ratio.

So it will be factored in. They'll look at all of your existing monthly payment obligations, including those student loans, and then determine whether you'd be able to take on the additional monthly payment from the mortgage. And usually that ratio, depending on the lender and the interest rate you're trying to qualify, it's somewhere between 36% and 43% is the high end of the ratio that a borrower can have between debt and their income in terms of total.

monthly obligations. Now, just as a general rule of thumb for us, and that's, you know, of course, a part of the approval process, but I would typically say, you know, so long as you're going in with 20% down, and that mortgage payment, PITI, principal interest taxes and insurance is, you know, 25, certainly no more than 28%, if possible, would be ideal, and then utilities and other household expenses would be on top of it. If you did that, then you'd be sure that you're going to meet the debt-to-income requirements of the lender. But the key is, even if you can get approved, you've still got to make the budget balance. And I realize you have a busy household with a growing family, and so you just need to make sure you count the cost and really dial into that budget, even if you can get approved, because the last thing I'd want is for you to be overextended with this home purchase.

As much as I'd love for you to have a home, and I know you really want one, I just don't want to put yourself in a position where you're going to have a challenge down the road. Does all that make sense, though? Yeah, I guess my only follow-up question would be, if I have $100,000 in student loans, and let's say next year I make $70,000 a year, how would they factor it? Would it be like 1% of that $100,000 as a monthly rate? Would it be my current monthly payment that I make on those student loans that they use to factor that amount?

It would. So they're not going to factor in anything that's, you know, future potential earnings. They're going to say, okay, based on today, what do you have on your W-2, if you're a W-2 employee that's coming in as income, and then they're going to total up all those other monthly payments that you have, you know, student loans and any other obligations, if you've got, you know, credit cards or any other, you know, car loans, things like that, and then they're going to look at the ratio of debt to income in terms of the monthly payments. So even though I have $100,000 a month, or $100,000 of student loans, let's say if I only had a $500 a month monthly payment on those student loans, then they would factor it at that $500. Exactly, because the monthly payment is what's going to chip away at your ability to make their monthly payment for the mortgage. They're less concerned about how much you're going to pay over the long haul in terms of the total payback plus interest, and they're really wondering about cash flow, because that speaks to your ability to, you know, make the mortgage payment every month.

Now, you and I need to be concerned about the bigger picture. How does that $100,000, you know, massive obligation that you have fit into your overall goals and objectives in terms of when you're ready to buy a home, regardless of whether somebody will extend you a mortgage, and I think that's where, you know, I'd like for you to be able to be on a 10-year payback, regardless of what that minimum payment is on that student loan. My preference would be that, you know, you can pay that off in 10 years and, you know, still qualify for that mortgage and cover everything else, including, you know, making sure you have an emergency fund first, and then beyond that, that you're able to put something away for retirement. I mean, one side of the equation is what will the mortgage company give me?

The other side of the equation is what are my goals and what is wise decision making look like in the midst of this, you know, difficult decision? Sure, yeah, I do have some student loan forgiveness programs that are available to me with that professional counseling degree. Nice. It's nice. I might be able to utilize so that is nice. And that is you've given me a ton of really good information and I do. You're very welcome. Let me just finish by saying make sure you look at the fine print on those student loan forgiveness programs. So you're not counting on something you don't qualify for.

But if you do qualify for it, that'd be great. Hey, thanks for your call, my friend. Thanks for being on the program to Toby. Thanks for your call.

How can we help you? Yes, hi, I was wanting to know my daughter has enough money to pay off her mortgage. And she's been told by someone that she doesn't need to do that now because of the high interest rates that are that are, you know, as far as I guess, in home buying and selling and whatever right now, but it just didn't make sense to me. And I'm just thinking why wouldn't it be the more the wiser thing to do would be to pay off the mortgage and not have it and why would interest rates have anything to do with that?

Yeah, here's what they're likely getting at Toby and I can understand your confusion. First of all, there's the financial side of this and the non financial side, the non financial side is I love the idea of her owning her home. And I think she will never regret that decision to pay it off if she has the ability to do so without, you know, using too much of her liquid capital that she needs for emergencies and other just liquidity, if you will. But what they're probably talking about is the fact that interest rates are higher. If she's got one of the lower interest rates that were available more than two or three years ago, so like in the twos or the 3% interest rate, what they're saying is, listen, if you're paying three and a half on your mortgage, and you can get five in a high yield savings account or a CD, why would you pay off your mortgage, you can keep the money, put it to work for you.

And at a minimum, you could make an extra percent or a percent and a half. So they're not talking about the high mortgage rates that other people are paying today. They're talking about the high interest rates that she can get on the savings that she would be using to pay off the mortgage. Does that make sense? Oh, that makes all the sense in the world. It makes all the sense in the world. And it makes sense as to why the other part of that was exactly what you just said. They were saying try to find a place that's got, you know, that's giving that high yield interest. And what if that makes so much sense?

Good. But I will say that, you know, you still have to count the costs, because let's play that out. Let's say she puts it in a high yield savings, and she's getting four and a half percent. That's taxable. So she's got to earn the four and a half, then she's got to pay tax on the interest. And then let's say she ends up netting 4%. What is her current mortgage rate right now? Oh, I don't know.

Okay. Well, let's say it's three and a half. I guess the question would be, is it worth that one half percent that she'd be getting? And by the way, you know, the Federal Reserve has said they're planning to cut rates three times this year. Let's say they do.

Maybe they will, maybe they won't. Those rates are going to be coming down. So that half a percent to a percent spread between what she's paying on her mortgage and what she'll get on savings is fine.

It's probably not a whole lot of money, and it's temporary. And so she may be, you know, much more inclined to say, regardless of how high the interest rates right now on our high yield savings, I want to get out from under that mortgage, just because I like the idea of being debt free. I've never had a call in all the years of doing this from somebody saying, I paid off my mortgage, and I've regretted it ever since.

I just don't get that call. So anyway, I appreciate you check in and perhaps you can be that sounding board of wise counsel along these lines. God bless you, Toby. Call any time. We're going to take a quick break and then back with our final segment right after this.

Stick around. Hey, great to have you with us today on Faith and Finance Live. I'm Rob West here on Moody Radio. We're taking your calls and questions today, but here on a Friday, we love to talk to Jerry Boyer in this segment to get Jerry's take on the market and the economy. And Jerry, you know, we've got PPI and CPI and we've got the ISM index at all our barometers of inflation and the economy. Have you ever heard of the fry attachment rate? I guess that's the rate at which people will add a side of fries to their order. And that has something to do with the consumer's resiliency. No, that's a new one to me.

So what do they do today? Apparently it's a thing and it's been above historical levels for the past two or three years and it's holding up strong. I don't know what that says about the American consumer. It says a lot, perhaps. So I guess you could measure that a couple of ways. You could look at McDonald's records or you could just look at people's scales, their bathroom scales.

Both of them will tell the story. Yeah. I mean, the economist has what they call the Big Mac index. So I guess there's a lot of hunger.

That's basically the cost of a Big Mac in every country. It's a way of studying the comparative strength of currencies. So I guess what I know from that is that there's a lot of hungry economists who have food on their mind when they're creating these metrics. Yeah, that's exactly right. But looking at the economy, Jerry, you and I talked yesterday and one of the things we were talking about as we turn to a more serious note is the fact that at some point the Fed is going to have to decide how serious are we about getting inflation under control and will we go as far as risking a recession on our watch, right? Right. And the answer is no, we won't.

And at least that's my view. And I think today was good evidence of that, because what happened today was we got a really strong jobs report. Now, what normally happens when you get a really strong jobs report?

Well, oh no, there's a really strong jobs report. That means that people have a lot of bargaining power and they're going to be able to get higher salaries and that will cause inflation. So the Fed is going to hike rates, so markets go down.

But that's not what happened today. Markets went up. And the reasons markets went up is because Chairman Powell has been signaling that he doesn't care about the unemployment rate anymore. He doesn't care about the labor markets. He's throwing out one aspect of traditional Keynesianism, which is that low unemployment rate causes inflation. That's his excuse to keep the party going. Markets are saying, well, wait a minute, under normal circumstances, we would expect if you're actually following your Keynesian model, if we create three hundred and three thousand jobs, well, OK, then that the Fed's going to tighten.

Right. Because that's inflationary. And the Fed's not tightening. It's invented a rationale, something about how, well, the job creation is really good because we have an uptick in in immigration. And so it's new people coming into the labor market. That's the argument they're making.

That's a pretty strange argument. I don't think we have enough immigrants to really materially change labor markets in the United States. And at least with illegal immigration, that's not even showing up in the statistics.

Right. So I think that basically they were looking for an excuse to say, all right, we're going to we're going to cut rates. We're going to cut rates no matter what. And we're no longer going to use a strong job market as an indicator that we shouldn't. So that to me is them throwing in the towel or using the analogy from the, you know, the former chairman, Eccles, who said, you know, it's my job to take away the punch bowl when the party gets going too much. Well, three hundred and three thousand jobs.

That sounds like a pretty big party. And markets today said, yeah, but they're not going to take away the punch bowl. In fact, they're probably going to spike it a little more. Yeah, that's fascinating. Jerry, you know, one of the questions that I think people often ask is, I mean, we've had easy money policies for a long time and, you know, we've quantitative easing and we've been pumping all kinds of money in the system. And it didn't really show up in the form of higher inflation until more recently.

Why is that? Well, that's a great question. And this is an area where a lot of economists get confused. And it's in some sense is kind of a really advanced point in economics.

But on another level, it's a really common sense thing. Inflation is too much money chasing too few goods. Right. We get that right. If you are playing a game of Monopoly and I came in and said, let's draw an extra zero on the end of every year, you know, the five dollar bills, now 50 to five hundreds of five thousand, like we added money supply to your Monopoly game, then Park Place would go up. Right. The price of everything would go up.

We all get that. I mean, that's just common sense. But what what a lot of economists forget is that it's money circulating domestically. So if the Fed creates a few extra trillion dollars and you have a global crisis, say, in Europe, centered in Europe, what happens is international investors say, we want those dollars.

We don't trust the euro anymore or we don't trust the yen or we don't trust the yuan. And so we're going to load up on those dollars because it's a reserve currency. That's our hedge against our own currencies, which means those currencies aren't here. Those dollars, the dollars are in existence, but they're not here. And if they're not here, they're not affecting prices here, which I mean, I mean, I think anyone listening right now can get that.

Oh, yeah. What if the dollars aren't floating around here? They're not affecting prices here. And that's what happened basically during the 10 year period, you know, from say around 2010 to 2020, maybe, you know, 11 year period where a lot of money was created, but that money didn't cause much inflation. Now, of course, the money sort of is kind of flowing back in a little bit more and it created a lot more money. And so that's become inflationary. But if you don't pay attention to the international side of things, if you don't pay attention to that, then you're going to be confused.

And that's why so many of our friends, people that I like, people are friends of mine, maybe friends of yours in 2010, 11, 12, 13. What were they saying? Hyperinflation is coming. The dollar is about to collapse.

You're going to be dumpster diving by Monday. There was blood moon market collapse. There was like this panic in the air, and none of it happened. And they had a kind of a case in that the central bank created a lot of money, but they didn't understand the international element enough to understand. Yes.

And that money was going overseas and for the most part, staying there. Yeah, that's a helpful explanation, Jerry. Jerry, let's finish today.

I'd love for you just to encourage our listeners. Perhaps there's some out there that are concerned. I mean, obviously, tensions are high. It's an election year that creates a whole host of issues. We've got uncertainty in the markets. We've got geopolitical issues. How do you think Christians should be thinking in these times as we evaluate our role as salt and light and as we think about our own finances?

Yeah, I mean, it might sound kind of just routine, like you've heard this again and again. But God has a plan. This is his plan. Now, we have theologians argue about predestination versus free will.

I'm not getting into that. But the Bible is clear. God has a plan. So there's nothing there's nothing that God's nervous about.

God isn't looking at the world and saying, I don't know what to do. I'm concerned. You know, I'm worried. He's not.

And if he's not, we shouldn't be. So what you can do is you can take responsibility for your own zone of responsibility. What does that mean? Well, the people who are listening and taking your financial advice are probably doing the most concrete thing they can do right now in order to prepare for economic tough times, having extra liquidity, having the emergency fund, all the rest of it. If they're generous, especially if they're locally generous, but not just locally generous, then that means they're building a community. Communities are really important. I saw this during the depression, you know, in Pittsburgh here in the 1980s.

I live in Pittsburgh and we lost steel so quickly that it was like the rest of the world went on, but we had our own Great Depression. People who were not part of communities often didn't make it. I mean literally didn't make it.

Addiction, suicide, the rest of it. But people who were in community, they did make it. So stay in community, stay in Christian community, not just any community, stay in Christian community. That's church, but it's not just church.

It could be other Christian associations. And be ready financially. Don't panic.

Panic adds nothing. God's going to get us through this. And it's not just to get through it and survive. If we hit the kind of tough times, which seems like maybe we would in the next several years, that's opportunity for the Kingdom. That's when the Kingdom grows. When God's people are ready and the world isn't ready, that's the time when, just like God said to Israel, people are going to say what great wisdom you have, what great laws you have, what God gave you that wisdom and those great laws. When you're not losing your head and you're able to get through it, people around you who are losing their head and aren't able to go through it are going to say, what's going on? Why are you ready?

Why aren't you freaking out? And we can explain it to them. That's harvest time. Wow. That's well said, Jerry. I love that idea that as we're riding alongside the culture in chaos, we're there with wisdom and prudence and an eye toward the eternal that's very attractive to the world that's looking on.

That's the light on a hill that we can be a beacon of hope, pointing people to Jesus. God bless you, my friend. Thanks for stopping by today. God bless you. All right. That's Jerry Boyer.

He's president of Boyer Research and he's our resident economist. All right. Quickly back to the phones. Let's see. We'll go to Bobbi, who's been waiting patiently. Go right ahead.

Hi, Bobbi. Are you with us? Okay. Let's go to Yvette. Thank you for waiting patiently.

How can I help? Can you hear me? Yes, ma'am. Okay.

Yes. This is a first-time caller, so I'm a bit nervous, but I wanted to just give a short testimony, how God has blessed me, has miraculously healed me. Since December something 20th or 30th, I was in the hospital with pneumonia. I was there for 10 days.

I have type 1 diabetes for 53 years and chronic kidney disease. Anyway, I got out of there and then probably two weeks later, I fell in my kitchen, I don't know how, and I broke my entire ball. They call it the femoral ball that hooks into your hip and it's been about five weeks and I'm doing really, really well. I just got the okay. Oh, that's so good. That's amazing. I'm so glad you called to share that testimony.

We can rejoice in God's sovereignty and when we see these miracles along the way, we certainly give testimony to those. And Yvette, that's what you did today. I know the Lord is honored by you giving testimony to His provision in your life and we're so grateful that you called today. Thanks for being a first time caller. Please call back anytime. Well folks, so delighted to be alongside you this week and I hope we were an encouragement to you.

Just want you to know Faith and Finance Live is a partnership between Moody Radio and Faith 5. Thanks to my amazing team, Devin, Tahira, Dan, Amy, Chris, and Joel. Also, Jim, and see you next time. Bye-bye.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-06 20:51:29 / 2024-05-06 21:02:24 / 11

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