Okay, one of the things I hate to admit is you'll know as soon as I say this. When we pay our bills every month... Why are you laughing?
Go ahead and tell them. Something happens. Actually, you don't pay our bills every month anymore because something would happen that you would turn into a different person. What do you mean? You are so stressed. You are so angry.
It would permeate the entire house for about a week. So we changed who paid the bills and started paying the bills. Well, one Christmas, when our kids were little... Oh, you don't have to go here. And I was at Toys R Us, and I only did one shopping day because our kids were little. So I'm at Toys R Us, and I have all of Christmas in my cart. And I get to the checkout, and my credit card doesn't go through. And I've got this line behind me. I am so embarrassed. And I had to leave the shopping cart and go home and ask Dave, what happened?
And... Why did I bring this up? Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson.
I'm Dave Wilson, and you can find us at familylifetoday.com or on our Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. I should have never brought this up, but the card was maxed out. They wouldn't let us put anything else on it. And I think you were late in paying the bill because... We didn't have any money. And that was the year, by the way, we said, that's it.
Number one, Ann's going to take over the financial part. Number two, we're not going to put stuff on a credit card anymore. It was a discipline not to do that. But anyway, why are we bearing our soul to the world about our financial check paying? Did that hurt your feelings? I shouldn't have brought that up.
Is that bad? That's reality. And I think we share it because we learn from it and hopefully others can learn from it. But we need a lot of help. We all do. And so we have Chris Cagle with us today, who wrote a book about retirement, Reimagined Retirement.
But it's more than Reimagined Retirement. Yeah, Chris, and welcome back to Family Life Today. Thank you. Good to be here again. We're happy that you're here to counsel us.
Thank you. You're going to counsel us and hundreds of thousands of others as well, because we're not the only ones that have made a mistake like that. Fortunately, that was in the first five years of our marriage, and we're 35 years beyond that. But if we hadn't changed something financially then, we might not even be able to sit here with you today. But anyway, you spent your... We might not be married because this, many times, is a cause for a divorce. It can be.
Absolutely. And your book is called Reimagined Retirement. And you've been married almost 50 years to your wife. Do you guys have kids? We do. We have two grown children.
Okay. Any grandkids? Six grandkids.
Four of them live there locally in Charlotte, where I live, and two are out in Colorado. And it's been inspiring to hear your work that you're doing in your church, in your community. You have been pouring into the kingdom of God for a long time. And so this is just one of the things that you do, is writing books with the topic of finance. We'll talk about this. Have you ever had that kind of discussion or tension in your marriage? Oh, absolutely.
About money? Absolutely. Good.
It's not just us. Since 50 years I've been... I'm guessing you're the saver.
Are you both? So I was the budget tyrant. That's how I would kind of describe myself. So I would sit down each month with all my... Because I was kind of nerdy. I've always been kind of nerdy. So you hear about... Ramsey talks about the nerd and the free spirit.
Here's your nerd. I would sit down with my spreadsheets and my computers and my software and my books, and I would come down from on high and my hair would be white and I'd be glowing. And I'd say, thus sayeth the budget guru wife, here is our budget. And she would kind of lovingly comply. But she didn't. I mean, her heart was to comply, but she didn't.
Oh, she has secrets. And then as soon as I caught the first deviation, aha, where were you, Toys R Us? I saw a toy... Who?
Where? That's not... My favorite phrase was, that's not in the budget. Repeat after me.
That's not in the budget. And how would she respond? She would get upset, hurt, angry, and we would have arguments about, well, usually... And you know how this goes in discussions of marriage, but you... And we'll fill in the blank, but you just ordered 10 more books. And I kid my wife, she loves to collect dishes. And I'd say, honey, when are you gonna stop collecting dishes?
How many dishes do we need? Yeah, exactly. And she'll say, well, when are you gonna stop collecting books? You know, because I do... And I have more books than I've read, which is probably a sad, sad thing. Well, spending money on books is better than boats. Right. I don't have a boat, but not that I wouldn't or wouldn't...
I like boats, but I don't own one. But yeah, so we had our struggles. And it was really through my first exposure to Financial Peace, Dave Ramsey's course, that I realized I had never, ever sat down with her and actually had a conversation about our money.
I assumed that I was in charge and that I knew best and that out of my well of infinite wisdom was gonna come the very best budget for us and the very best financial plan for us. Wasn't bad in a lot of ways. The problem was she wasn't at the table.
She wasn't even in the game. Oh, Chris, this is a bad move. That was a bad move. But what I decided to do is, okay, honey, we're gonna have budget day. And we did this one Saturday. You didn't call it budget day. I called it budget day. It was a Saturday.
I still remember it. If she was here, she would say, oh, yeah, budget day. And we sat down and I brought out all and I say, honey, we're gonna go through every single item on the budget.
And I want to hear your perspective on it. Oh, that's good. Too much, too little. What should be in?
What should be out? There were things not in the budget that ended up in the I'll give you an example. We were leading a small group at the time. And she said, honey, you don't know this, but I take ladies in our small group out to lunch two or three times a month. And I immediately response. Well, that's not in the grocery budget.
And that's not in our date night eating out. But and she says, exactly. Do you want me not to do that? No, I love that you do that. I didn't even know you did that. That's so nice that you said it like that. I've been. That's God's budget.
But it opened my eyes to the fact that I needed a category. That's good. And then she loves to give little gifts to her.
I like your wife. Yeah. And I just say little. Well, they were small, mostly little.
I didn't hear that. But anyway, getting to the bottom. She got the opportunity to say, can we factor this in the budget? So I started. Well, this goes in that has it's kind of like a balloon.
You push it on one side, it's going to pop out on the you've got to mold it. You've got to figure, well, if I'm going to give here, it's got to get there. And it took about almost four hours, three and a half, four hours to get through it. And we for all practical purposes have that same budget today. And I would say that was 20 years ago. Wow. And if if your wife is the one that's really good at the budgeting and the numbers, would you guys be OK with that? Absolutely.
Yeah, absolutely. Well, here's the question. And you know, this couple's fight over money. It's a huge tension in a marriage. There's couples listeners right now. Maybe they can't even talk about it because it's such a tension. What would you say to them?
How can you help them? Well, if it gets to that point where they just can't talk, it's because they haven't talked. I mean, you know, that's the kind of the root cause. But there may be other issues at play which may well have to do with just different views of money. The purpose of money. Why does God give us money? How are we to rightfully use our money? Even different perspectives on what the Bible teaches about money.
And I think this is where getting good sound biblical counsel really, really is important. Getting on the same page, so to speak. In our break, you mentioned the word financial infidelity. Talk about that.
What is that? That's a danger that can kind of creep into relationships where one partner is much more focused on and involved in the finances than the other. And the other partner is like, I don't care. Just do it. Just do it. Just do it.
I want to go do these other things. And they just assume that everything's okay. And the infidelity part doesn't necessarily have to do with wrongdoing.
It's just not being honest. So, you know, because I believe strongly that a couple becomes one flesh when they're married and God sees them that way, there's in a practical ways, in many practical ways, their finances have to become one as well. The idea of living separate financial lives is, I don't really see that in the scripture. Not that you can't have individual accounts. Some IRS rules and other banking laws and things require certain accounts to only be, if you have a retirement account, it can only be in your name, but your husband can be your beneficiary. And this gets really complicated in blended families, especially. And I know that Ron Deo with our blended family ministry has talked about this.
It'd probably be worth even listening to him at times. But when my mom came home from shopping with me and... This is a true story.
This is not IPod. I feel it coming. This is a true story of a lot of women.
And she'd say, don't take the bags out yet and don't tell your dad what we've been doing. Is that financial infidelity? Yes.
Okay. So if you are spending money from a shared account and if there has been a mutual understanding up to that point, that we're going to make certain purchase decisions together. Now that doesn't mean that, in my opinion, that every single penny, right? But any kind of significant expenditure that could have an impact on the budget that isn't at least discussed, hey honey, I'm running to the store. I'm thinking about getting a birthday gift for so-and-so.
It's probably going to be about 50 bucks. You know. And it's more of the hiding aspect. Yeah. It's more of the idea that it's for some reason and that the question is why the concealment?
What's the reason? Or just it may be just not sharing information. I often will talk to couples and we were talking about retirement savings earlier. I'll have a wife say to me, yeah, you know, my husband, he handles all the investments and I'll have any idea what we have or how it's invested.
It doesn't mean that he's intentionally trying to hide something illegal, illicit or immoral or whatever. But why would he not share that with her? Well, maybe she's never asked. Honey, you know, it would be helpful if I knew kind of where we are financially. You know, I love when I decided to retire about three years ago, I had to sit down with my wife and say, kind of reassure her a little bit that we got this. You know, with God's help, we can do this.
And as you've heard me say many times, it wasn't just about the numbers. It's about what it is we're going to do in retirement. But I had to give her some reassurance and I had to share a lot of information with her. I don't want her to think that there's anything in our personal finance life that she can't know about or ask about if she wants to know. Sometimes she puts up the hand.
Viewers, you can't see the hand. Too much information. I don't want to hear any more. I don't want to hear all this detailed financial mumbo jumbo. Just cut to the chase.
Tell me what I need to know. And I've learned what serves her and what is loving toward her. For you guys out there or you ladies who are handling the finances, think about it in those terms.
How can I be loving toward my spouse when it comes to sharing with about our finances and managing our finances together? And I'm guessing secrets are not good. Secrets are totally opposite of that. Yeah. Secrets. You even wrote a blog about loving your widow.
What in the world is that? Yeah. So I asked men, it could be a woman. I mean, it could be a wife. Either way, you know, if you're a wife and you have reason to believe that you might predecease your husband, it'd be something to think about if you, if you handle all the finances. So it works both ways. Statistically, most women will outlive their husbands.
That's the statistics. God is sovereign. God sets the time, not you and me, nobody else, just him. So one of the ways that we can love our widows is to think about what is going to be the financial condition of our spouse after we're gone. Now that has to do with provision on the one hand. So in my book, I talk a lot about social security and the benefits for many couples having a good sound social security benefit strategy, you know, how they receive benefits, delaying social security as long as possible to allow their benefits to grow. One of the ways that that loves your widow, for example, is that if I'm the primary earner and I maximize my social security benefit, then when I'm gone, my wife's survivor benefit is maximized. It's a wonderful thing about social security. So that's one way.
There's another way. The letter, I have a letter that I joking, not joking, Lee, but a little tongue in cheek referred to as a letter from your husband who is now in heaven. And that letter, I tell my wife or anyone who might be assisting her, everything that I think she needs to know about our financial situation, our day-to-day affairs, including all the, my Gmail account, my passwords.
I have a password vault that I keep all my passwords in, which I would strongly suggest people have how to get to the vault, how to get to the passwords, who to contact if they need help. Our life in some ways has gotten simpler since I retired. So I have fewer accounts, fewer this, fewer that, because I'm all about simplification for just that reason. That's another way to love your widow is to simplify things.
So you don't have 10 accounts spread across 10 financial institutions and, you know, a hundred different passwords all over the place. You know, you can simplify to help to do that, but she won't let me read it to her. So I've said, yeah, I'll read it to her. You can read it if you, oh no, no, I don't want to see it now. I don't want to see it now. And there is a little comic relief in it because I write it kind of like I'm looking down from heaven, even though I'm not sure whether we'll be able to do that or not. It's deep waters there.
I'm not sure what we're going to see and not see. So yeah, that's one way to do it if you're out there and you haven't done that in some form or fashion, it's a way to love your wife from the grave, from heaven. If that's possible to do, you can do it. That's one of the ways you can do it. I mean, that sounds like a really wise plan. I mean, it makes me want to do that.
I mean, in some ways you don't want to think I'm going to die, but you don't know. And those questions need to be answered. Right. And the other essential documents too, right?
Will power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney, financial power of attorney, those things, having those in place. Talk about debt. Almost every financial advisor I read, listened to from Ramsey to Ron Blue to you name it, and I'm guessing you'll be the same, talks about a debt-free lifestyle. Is that a good thing?
That thing? It's definitely a good thing, especially speaking as a retiree, going into retirement debt-free and not having a mortgage is huge. But yet I had a mortgage at one time. So I can't say I'm anti-debt if I had a mortgage or that I think debt is wrong, then I was wrong to have a mortgage. The difficult thing about debt is that on the one hand, debt is not forbidden in the scripture, but on the other hand, the scriptures are pretty clear that debt is dangerous and it can really weight us down. It even goes so far as the familiar scripture that it makes us slave to the lender, right?
It doesn't mean obviously slavery in a physical sense, but slave to the fact that we have to give money. We are forced, required to give money to a lender that therefore can't be used for other purposes like saving or saving, right? So in that sense, that bondage, breaking that bondage of debt can be a real positive thing to create margin when you're younger to be able to save and give, and then when you're older to help lower your expenses in retirement. So I don't think all debt is evil. A small to very moderate amount of college debt in order to get a degree that offers you the chance of a promising career that will enable you to quickly and easily pay that debt back would not be a terrible debt.
It'd be nice to avoid it if you can, but it's not terrible. Getting a debt to buy a house that's likely to appreciate in value is not a terrible thing to do. Being able to lend to a family member, although I prefer giving over lending, or lend to a friend interest-free to help them through a difficult time in life, the Bible says that's a blessing. It's a blessing to be able to lend. God said to the people of Israel, I would rather you be a lender than a borrower.
So we see that dynamic in Scripture. Installment debt, revolving debt, using debt to finance the purchase of things that can depreciate in value, bad financial decision in most cases. Yeah, and I know that a lot of debt, at least in this country, personal debt, is I want to live a lifestyle that I can't afford. So I put it on a credit card.
I read somewhere the average American, when they make $4, spends $7. I just remember reading that. And when I read that, I thought, I'm going to write a song about that. So pick up that guitar.
I got a guitar here in the studio, and this is all for you. I call it my debt blues song. If you make $4, baby, and spend $7, you're in debt. If you make $4, baby, and spend $7, it's really dumb. Pretty dumb.
Real dumb. Oh, I can't remember. Oh, yeah. Well, plastic ain't elastic, baby. Borrow brings sorrow, baby. It's time to get drastic, baby. And cut it up.
Anyway, that's my debt blues song. Oh, man. I just saw Dave Ramsey with his big pair of scissors entering the room. Oh, cutting it up.
Cutting it up. But I mean, the truth is, I mean, that is really dumb to do. And yet, it's like the lifestyle that so many of us live. And we think, and this is where even the statistics early in your book come into play, is I can live this way. And then when I get to the time where I'm not going to be able to work anymore, or I need to live off of what I've saved, we're back to that statistic we started at. A third of us have nothing, even very little, and we can't live on it. And so there we are. And it's so easy to go in debt because everything is at our fingertips. We can be at bed at midnight. It's the genie. You just rubbed the genie. Go on Amazon, and in a day or two, that present or that item can be on your front step. And it's already attached to your credit card.
So it's really easy to add that up. So as we wrap this up, and you're looking at a 20, 30, 40, 50-year-old thinking about their money, what's your best wisdom? What would you tell them? First and foremost, recognize that all that you are and all that you have has been given to you by God. And as a Christian, you therefore have a responsibility to wisely manage those things, despite the challenges that exist in the culture and the pressures that everyone's under, to manage those things in a way that are for your good and His glory. And notice I said both, your good and His glory. God has a heart for our good.
He wants us to live in the good of the financial gifting that He's given us. But the Bible is just chock full of wisdom and help and guidance. And where you need help filling in the blanks, there's tremendous resources out there. You know, I would encourage you, if you're in a local church, seek out a financial coach or advisor. Read some books.
You know, obviously I wrote one, but I'm not the only one. And a lot of what's in my book is really a compilation of what I've learned by reading many other books, men that I respect. Avoid debt as best you can. Avoid credit cards like the plague, especially when you're young. Live below your means so you can create the financial margin to save and give, but never save at the expense of giving. You know, and if you can't save or give because you're spending too much or you don't make enough income, go to work on that side of the equation.
Get help. Pray. And most importantly, keep your eye on the prize, which is, it's not a worry-free retirement. The prize is eternal life in glory with Jesus forever.
That's perfect. Yeah, that's great advice. And I think one of the things we miss, and you know this better than anybody, is when we have a plan, it leads to freedom. Amen. Even when you said budget day, I was thinking, oh, it's freedom day. Because if you really live according to that plan, you're going to feel a freedom that money will restrict if you're under it.
But if you're free, you're like, oh, I'm living the way God wants me to live as a good steward of his money. Amen. Thanks, Chris. This is good. Oh, my pleasure. Thank you. Enjoyed it. Good stuff. Fun. We're going to go back on mic.
We're going to try it. Just as an extra piece. Yeah, so a question that's on a lot of people's mind is, how much do I need to retire? Yep, that's a good question. How much do I need to have in my retirement savings account, my IRA or whatever, perhaps to supplement other sources of income to be able to retire, at least kind of live at a standard of living that you had before you retired? So if I was to ask each of you this question, how much do you think you need to retire?
What do you think that amount would be? Put it on, write it on the index card. I'm writing mine down right now. But I'm writing my own and Ann's writing her own. Yeah, each of you write that down. But I'm going to write down what, Dave? Don't show.
You're going to have some financial infidelity here for just a minute where you're not going to show each other your- No, wait, wait. You're not writing down my number. I'm writing down my number. I know what you're writing down.
What you think. Yeah. And you're writing it for you as a couple, not individually. All right.
I've folded mine up. All right. I'm passing it over to you. Okay.
Don't let my wife see it. Okay. All right. Okay. So- Okay.
Here's my question. Are they the same number? Are they even close to each other? They're not even close. Not even close?
They're not even close. And- Was I close to what Dave would say? And, Ann, Dave- Oh, you put what you thought I'd say? I think it's lower. Ann said what she thought Dave would say, which is not even close. Not even close?
Is she higher or lower? And what Ann said she would say is not even close. Even though the toast to numbers, the numbers of what she thought you would say and what she said are kind of close since it's what Ann said. But you're not even close. So what do you want to tell us? Now I want to see what Dave said.
No. I want to know, how did you get to this number? And so just to give you an idea how far apart. So Dave, your number is about five times bigger than Ann's number.
Wait, what? You know why? I know the standard of living she wants to live at. And I know what it costs to keep that. She does not know.
She has no idea. I said more than I thought you would say. Yeah. Interesting. So it would be, you know, for those of you listening, do this with your spouse.
See kind of where you end up. Yeah, but we need help here now. What do we do with that? Well, just as an observation, I would guess the number is somewhere in between here.
Really? Yeah. Of what we think we need to live on. And probably, depending on other factors, because remember, savings isn't the only number. Without Social Security or without other sources of income or without like a pension or annuity, the number does need to be a little higher.
So I would say between these two numbers, erring on the high side, but somewhere in the middle is probably where you'd need to be, depending on what your current lifestyle is. Yeah. Now that yacht that I see parked, no, I'm just kidding. You might need to get, no, just kidding.
I don't see any yachts out in the parking lot, folks, just in case. That's a fun exercise. So try it at home.
See what you come up with. Yeah. Yeah. And I would also add this.
If you try it at home, you need somebody that's skilled and wise in this area to counsel you, to coach you. Yeah. Maybe that's how you know when you need counseling.
Yeah. Obviously, as we've been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson talk with CJ Cagle today, there's a lot that we need to rethink when it comes to our perspectives about retirement. Money and debt can be really a vicious downward spiral of hopelessness, but it doesn't have to be because God hasn't called us to live in hopelessness. We have a duty as believers to manage our debt well for the good and the glory of God. And this conversation today has really shifted our focus to help us understand that doing practical things like making a budget and creating a plan for our money is something that can bring glory to God.
We don't often think of it like that, but it definitely can. CJ Cagle has written a book called Reimagine Retirement, and it's available over in our Family Life Resource Center. You can go to our website at familylifetoday.com to order your copy online, or you can call us and order at 1-800-358-6329. That's 1-800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. Watching God heal brokenness is something that we've seen done in so many different ways, particularly at the Weekend to Remember event. I have the president of Family Life with me here today, David Robbins.
And David, you've had lots of opportunities to see God work in the midst of the brokenness. What we see all the time at Weekend to Remember Getaways is that people come in and the realities of life had drifted couples apart. That's what happens with life. The realities of life will never drift you closer together.
They always push you further apart. And really the simplicity of what we do is certainly offer up truth from God's word, but also get people looking in the eye and having conversations that really just the speed of life doesn't allow you to have. And transformation happens, and it's the beauty of what happens when people take time away to focus on themselves. And I just want to encourage you, we have this unique sale going on this week. It's a great opportunity to go check out the locations of where Weekend to Remember is happening in the coming weeks and months, and to carve out time away for you and your spouse. You will never regret it. And no matter what chapter you're in in your life currently, getting time away to spend time with one another and focus on one another could be something that God restores and starts a new chapter that you've been longing for in your marriage.
Yeah, that's right. And you can enjoy three days of romance and reconnection with your spouse. If you sign up between now and Monday, April the 4th, you'll get 43% off the regular price for you and your spouse. You can head over to FamilyLifeToday.com, find different locations about where the Weekend to Remember events are, find a time, sign up, and watch God do amazing things in your marriage. Again, you can find us at FamilyLifeToday.com, or you can give us a call at 1-800-F as in Family, L as in Life, and then the word Today. And the particular Weekend to Remember events that are happening this weekend are in Branson, Missouri and Chicago, Illinois. You can pray for those couples as they're heading off to enjoy a refreshing weekend to remember together and watch God work in their relationships. And that's going to wrap things up for us. On Monday, David and Wilson are going to be talking with Laura Storey. She's written a book called So Long Normal, pushing past the loss of our quote unquote normal. We hope you get the opportunity to worship with your family this weekend at your local church. On behalf of David and Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry, helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
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