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May 15, 2020 2:00 am
The Coronavirus pandemic has had a hard-hitting impact on millions of Americans and their family budgets. On this broadcast, finance expert Michelle Singletary offers practical advice for the wise management of money during this crisis and encourages listeners to trust in God for His provision.
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How people not being concerned or fearful because this is human nature years here.
It's okay to be scared but then you have to take action you can't become crippled by that the today on Focus on the Family. We have financial expert Michelle Singletary join us to help you get a handle on your money, or lack thereof during this national crisis. I'm John Fuller walking to a broadcaster, hostess, focus, president and author Jim John if there's ever been a time to get your money together. Your attitude toward your money together. This is that I mean I think now were saying accentuated because tuition of this crisis. If you're in a bad spot with bad habits, etc. it's you know exponentially magnified. Right now, so we do want to address this issue to help those that may be hurting financially.
There's a lot going on in the culture right now.
I think his word plateauing as the experts have said now there's a lot of turning toward opening up for businesses, etc. people going back to work and you have the politics of it, but really the true grit of what we have to do and how do we get this economy revved up again is the question today and then how do you manage your own personal finances to do a good job in being wise and being generous all at the same time and we have a great expert to talk with us today. We do Michelle Singletary is a financial columnist for the Washington Post. She's the author of a book called the 21 day financial fast and we've got the link in the episode notes Michelle, welcome back to Focus on the Family, thank you so glad to be here so grateful.
Albeit, you know, I as I have said for the last couple months you're in your home out there in Maryland and a little bit of distance, but I have you on the screen and we can release each other but it's good to have you. So, you've been in this spot where you've been, like the rest of this kind of in your home for the last couple of months has gone so interesting because I between the frustration of being locked and with one teenager and one young adult both in college and you know, having been used to being on their own chest now under their authority of their appearance in a home that can get a little dicey and I just door my husband we have a great and I love being around him and I used to joke all I just wish you could work from home because I work from home all the time. We can be together. That's like exactly what many of us are feeling and going through you know it's kind of nice to leave for a few hours come back and embrace and have a nice meal together and talk. There's a routine that that is totally disrupted now and I really enjoyed the time together. We I think to degree a minute some point you need to take a little space and think about and rotated her more than she irritates me at times, but I did. I like to work in silence for example and my husband likes to listen to jazz offices like you see my bookcase. What you can't see it but I'm a bookcase behind it. He walks behind me and I can hear the jazz and the drums and but I still grateful and you get to know your spouse in a different way. Good reminders you can translate that to the financial side that was well because I guess some of those cracks that might be there in your marriage where this environment accentuates those situations.
The same is true with how we handle money and you're an expert in that area when you look at what's happening really at two levels at the government level. We just checked on a load of two or $3 trillion somewhere in that neighborhood to try to help the economy help people and then the personal level of the difficulties you're hearing about, especially through your column with the Washington Post. What were people saying to you.
So what is that landscape look like the macro economics and the microeconomics already in country deep in debt and this just exacerbated that problem now. Now is not the time to say oh we can't do anything that's just the people fall.
Even Scripture talks about if somebody's hungry you just don't go.
Oh well, you have to feed them right then you deal with the problem and so you macro wise country that lived the American dream on credit and on the individual level of microlevel.
We know that there were a lot of people living on credit and trying to live a certain life now with no jobs to service all that debt there in deep in trouble now. Clearly there is a part of our population that was living paycheck to paycheck, no fault of their own is just hard to get a job, you know, in certain areas making a living in, and we know that housing is so expensive in so many areas and so when you're spending 40 or 50% of your your take-home pay on housing leave much room to say for time like this. Is this an extraordinary time and so as I've been writing for the Washington Post. I've been looking at how can I help people having trouble right now. Now is not the time to wag a finger at people in St. you should've done this now is the time to make sure they have food on the table and a stable roof over their heads and we have to try to put in policies that are also going to help folks and then we can discuss this too shall pass these systemic plums and this is exposed. All of this and now you know broadcaster so what I love the folks on Sam's I could talk about my faith in Scripture because Scripture talks about that. You'll be a slave to the lender, and it also talks about helping people and so I just think that God has allowed this virus for us to pause and look at what disaster we are financially. Now we are positing you can see the problems that you're happy because the people who money a good life but paycheck to paycheck still and some jobs they can look around these houses they can't afford because that they should never bought all that credit card debt and thinking what what was I doing the practical nature of it now because I think the paints a really good picture about were the cultures that what are some of those readers saying to you.
What are the real micro struggles that you're saying as a money expert give us some of the examples and I know the listeners are going to attach to some of that because they're experiencing it themselves well.
The biggest thing is housing young people worried about not being paid a mortgage and in the rent.
But on the other side of the pay their bills as well and so I think you know what we have tens of millions of people unemployed now exposes the issue with unemployment insurance and then the issue with the fact that people can't get through. They can't get the mortgage companies to say can you give me a break. They can't get to apply for the unemployment we got these expanded benefits, but people can't get in to apply for them. And some people are just not sure what's going to happen very worried about really putting food on the table and then they went about keeping a roof over their head. Now the chairs that that was the stimulus package that was passed in March has put in some places some things. For example, if you have a mortgage his family back you know there's a foreclosure provision that allows you to Asher lender for foreclosure for up to initial hundred and 80 days and then another hundred 80 days after that. So for the short term. You don't have to wait about paying a mortgage. If you can't afford it but you do need to contact your lender. That's if you have a fairy back loan like FHA loan or VA loan.
If you have a loan through a private no lender or these investor groups have to negotiate with them to get that same kind of protection. And that was some provisions from renters as well.
So renters is an eviction a moratorium until July so you cannot evict people if they're in federal type housing or have federal subsidies for housing now. If you have a private landlord. Many states and jurisdictions have put in an eviction moratorium as well be very familiar that I just call you can search on your estates housing website to see if there any protections against being evicted and were concentrating on people who are struggling financially because they've lost a job, something like that your book discusses 21 day fast.
That's what your theme is a financial fast. How do you change that direction or is it really just applying the same principles that you've applied in a normal economic environment.
But how is some of that change, perhaps, were people are just saying how do I feed my family this week.
I say that because just like God's word and opossum at what's happening. Why doesn't apply when we are in trouble little puzzled way. You know, in good times, here's the thing with the fast we would like all that's essential that you don't buy anything that is not a necessity. You don't go shopping out as a people like well I can't go to the mall that I can go to the restaurant, but people can order out. So now is the time if you have not had a disruption in your income maybe ordering out more doing that because they want to support local businesses and I'm all for that. How if you have credit card debt, you might still be working which you still deeply in debt, you gotta take car note, you've got a big mortgage you have credit card debt.
You don't okay right now but we don't know how long this lasts. And eventually it may hit some of those jobs that we think are safer like government positions right now, government and federal people are still working but those states are not taking it. A lot of the time, so there may be a point with a need to further allow both federal and state workers so that job income is going to go away. So now is the time to save money for when not going out was staying home when I'm driving to jobs to make sure that you're saving all that money just in case were not supposed to live in fear, but do you know faith without works is dead. So right now the works is say everything that you can't just in case if you have lost your job. Businesses close a furlough. I like to tell people how you have your bills like an emergency room handles overflow of patients they triaged patients mean they take the ones that are most critical. First, so that's what you do if you are out of work and had little money you triaged your bills their bills that you pay because you have to pay phone of your head right now you Credit card bill so you need to call to say I cannot pay triaged your bills like that so let's necessity now I'm fussing a people pay your credit card bill for right now necessity.
We don't want to show God that we want to know Scripture says you know the wicked borrow and okay we are not talking about that extraordinary situation so some of those things. A medical destined to be put on hold while you take care of the things that will keep your family safe and for good advice.
I so appreciate the passion and energy and insights that Michelle Singletary is bringing to us today on Focus on the Family with euros Jim Daly you can look for Michelle's book the 21 day financial fast online will of the link in the episode notes Michelle let me touch on something that I'm sure some people are thinking about. We may not say it or express it, but it feels like to degree we have an entitlement culture.
You know we get things for nothing etc. and there could be maybe the harder side of some that are feeling like you know if you didn't plan if you didn't prepare which, again, the Scripture tells you to do you know why reward and yet at the same time, people are struggling to camp in the bills and we got to do something for one another. There's that whole debate about whether the government should be doing it, etc. but speak to just the attitude of entitlement.
I guess in and how it can kill us and cripple us when it comes to that independence you referenced in the beginning about the borrower being a slave to the lender. We clearly have a sense of entitlement in the US in particular. I write about this all the time. I teach about it in my church people feel entitled, for example, one of the hardest things I have is when people are in debt they still want to take vacations and do some things you cannot afford to take a vacation so high sense of entitlement right now many of us had to cancel our vacations, we have to learn how to be comfortable with ourselves walking in our neighborhood. I walk my dog and I tell you we can afford, take vacations, and I love going to the beach and we have to cancel a vacation but I was walking with my dog and I was looking up at the sky and it was just so stink eye out thinking this vacation. Since this is so glorious that you don't need to do that with yourself and enjoy the things I have given you outside my window go anywhere else to see that exact same sunlight and I think that's what is happening so to get rid of the sense of entitlement that you know when I was making before you go out and join again without without all the staff and all positive thinking life is about your question about people feel they were supposed to do. Wagging a finger should deftly hold people accountable think of the Bible where they were about the stone the woman right this adulterous woman, and he said those without sin cast the first don't talk about the rest of the passes were he turns to the woman and says now don't don't do this anymore so it was compact with her, and state and had them stop from starting her should do that we have to do when it comes time now for this financial thing. We can't stone people right now because they didn't do with it was posted.
That is just not Christlike yet how far we can come back to the fact and say now this crisis.
You need to live within your means you need to maybe downsize in that house. You can't afford you can get a new car loan every six years Judy to keep your car first name basis with the truck drivers state.
If you don't have the money to do that. I know they got all A's and you want to send them to that pricey school, but you don't have the money for that and go to a state school or community college live at home and still get a good education because God has not given you the resources to live that life we hold people accountable for their sense of entire Michelle let me let me emphasize something that is coming through clearly. Our attitude toward money that matters the most, and I think you know there's probably a lot of science behind dopamine. Our brain receives when we make a new purchase.
That's why you have funny jokes about you know women that want to buy lots of shoes there's some connection there emotionally that's going on and I'll pick on men to buy a new tool and they get there with the crescent wrench or something. But the point I'm making some wise and humorous way hopefully but also a serious way.
It's our attitude that matters the most. That's what God is after that's what shows up in times of stress. So the question attitude and how to manage your financial diet. I think we have to adopt an attitude of gratitude. All we need to do is turn to apostle Paul right he sat I learned how to live when I had a lot and I learned how to live when I had a little and what he was about that right because I learned to live when I don't have anything, but he said that there be those of us were going to be prosperous and so times you need to be appreciative of the fact that you are at a certain point, but you may not always be abundance point and so how do you deal with this example, when this hit, and the stock market has been crazy right up and down and you're just frightened people are frightened about every time it was Freddie and I'm looking, you know, I started looking and I just stopped.
My heart is pounding because he has in our great sabers and would like to look at all going away to stop grateful my retirement account okay so myself to say that you should be concerned about your retirement savings, but just for a moment's think about what you have a position. The people in the world who don't have a world that all who wonder what their next meal is going to be a closet closet and decide what to wear households with sandwich, drop the charge so to but on the side of that is that we talk about what most issues talk about it with each other. You're not talking about children. You know my goodness of people to let you know money like you to sit in that church. That's why. And so I think the one thing about when we have these type of crisis. Obviously this is crisis, but it also allows us to pause and think about what are you doing with the resources that you are you being a good steward and that also means how generous are you two don't need right.
Michelle, let me ask you to know were resonating on all about the attitude that we have, especially as Christians on many people listening are Christian. Most are some more and I would certainly say in this moment. What a great time to investigate the claims of Christ to those of you who don't know the Lord. I want to ask about fear, because I think is I've interacted with some people, Christian and non-Christian.
There seems to be just a lot of fear there watching a lot of cable news or just news about what's happening. The number of people that are affected, the number of people dying etc. and it could really begin to drive you in such a way that's unhealthy. So speak to the connection of fear within the management of your budget management of your household etc. and how we need to guard against fear driving those decisions. Absolutely. That is such a great question. I can I just make a confession you know I will go to church every Sunday.
I teach, but I'm a worrier and you know I'm not supposed to be a wary I'm supposed to trust in God but it's just my nature. I learned from my grandmother. She was aware she taught me how to worries. I worry about everything, but then you have to on the facts. So if you have lost your job and your fearful.
The fact is you don't have as much income okay so your concern. Now you need to take some steps to figure out how to make sure you still have a roof over their head or if you have a mortgage so that's where you start to call your lender, you start to do things tell people not to be concerned or fearful because this is human nature.
You're scared it's okay to be scared but you have to take action because crippled by that fear also says I love about the whole armor of God, just before that you've done that you can write you and you gotta have works. You gotta do what you need to do to take care of the things because you know money is not just going drop from the sky.
We all believe in God but he no doubt a bill in the raindrops you also have the faith that whatever you're going through your gotta get through it because we know God gives us to believe this is still there. So you don't need to feel.
But then do some things to make sure that you are financially secure. Michelle, I so appreciate that. That's where I wanted to bend this at the end back to where we started really rich and I think if there's a word of encouragement for the person who is really struggling its don't have the burden of fear to everything else that you have. Everybody knows what's going on so you might find a lot more benevolence in this moment than you would otherwise but to add fear on top of that the crippling fear of the bawling up fear that you have nowhere to go, etc. don't have that your burden and Michelle this so could you please point what you just said I was in a landlord in North Carolina and he's one of the things that people. He said people know they don't call when they're in trouble and he said I get that because it's kinda scary because you don't have the money but you just need to call me and let me know what's going on. Can you carry your renter's and he said as long as it works well because he was a good stool he paid off a lot of the mortgages on his rentals and he say and so he said I did what I had to do, so that when they are in a crisis what God says you will carry you the rest of the way and we all have to remember right, people will lose their jobs and they will come back.
People will be kicked out of their homes.
But if those of us who have the resources can help stay at their take somebody and if you can't do that.
We take people in all the time. We almost always have somebody with us right and so you know and you got out right, sometimes without pride we don't ask said.
And so we need to allow what I can't pay you.
He knows what's going on as she knows what is going on. You know, contact government services. Contact your lender text family members and friends who you know, abundance, and say I'm in trouble.
Can you help me out. And if you are the person who has an abundance to shame people.
This is the time to step in and help people because we are all of us brothers and sisters. Keepers never show that is thank you for asserting that in making that statement is so true. And I'll tell you what I'm feeling that I'm just humbled by the number of people who were still able to support Focus on the Family.
Some are saying you know we lost a lot of our business but were still going to keep our commitment to double our commitment to focus. It's an amazing thing to be on the receiving end of that in here it really isn't put you into tears. The people are making that kind of sacrifice to help other people through their church through focus through their renters or whatever might be and so thank you for the reminder and what a beautiful thing for the Christian community, particularly for doing the right things throughout the rest of our time here when something like this.
A pandemic hits and were in a position like that landlord, whom you just described to bring peace to people that are very fearful. What a testimony that is to be people of good people of shalom people of God's kindness and mercy and that's what best describes. Thank you Michelle for the 21 day financial wonderful work and we want to offer the people and if you can't afford it will give it to you, trusting others will cover the cost of the but at the same time help focus will say thank you by sending you a book and donate it at our website link in the episode notes or call one 800 K on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team here.
Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back next time. As we once again help you and your family right