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Playing the Lottery

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore
The Truth Network Radio
April 5, 2021 8:03 am

Playing the Lottery

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore

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April 5, 2021 8:03 am

Most of us have daydreamed about winning the lottery and what we’d do with a boatload of money. And although the thought may be tempting, we also need to consider the morality of gambling and the problems it can cause. On the next MoneyWise Live, hosts Rob West and Steve Moore sit down with Compass founder Howard Dayton to get his take on gambling. Is it wrong to play the lottery? That’s on the next MoneyWise Live at 4pm Eastern/3pm Central on Moody Radio.

Rob West and Steve Moore
Hope for the Caregiver
Peter Rosenberger
Rob West and Steve Moore

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Today's version of MoneyWise Live is pre-recorded. You could be a winner. Today's Powerball jackpot is $200 million, and it could be yours. Yeah, sure. Imagine the moment your life changes forever, and all you have to do is buy one little ticket, and you want to.

Most of us have daydreamed about winning the lottery, and there are plenty of opinions about the morality of that. Our host Rob West sits down today with Compass founder Howard Dayton to get his take. Then we take some calls from all across the country.

However, today's edition of the program is not live. We are pre-recorded. I'm Steve Moore.

MoneyWise Live with Rob West is next. Rob, I think the first question you might want to ask Howard is whether he's ever purchased a lottery ticket. I don't know. Ever the troublemaker, aren't you, Steve Moore? Howard, welcome back to MoneyWise, and I'll say you only have to answer that if you want to.

Well, it's great to be back, and I'd be delighted to answer that. No, I've never ever purchased even one, and I've never bet one penny, Rob, after learning what God said about handling money in the Bible. But notice, I didn't say what the Bible says about gambling. It's true the Bible doesn't tell us specifically not to play the cash-five instant scratch-off game. It doesn't say gambling is a sin. However, God's Word clearly discourages the get-rich-quick mindset. I love what Proverbs 21.5 tells us. Steady plotting brings prosperity, hasty speculation brings poverty, and the Bible clearly discourages the mentality of trying to get something for nothing. Yeah. Well, so true, and I'm glad you made that very clear.

But let's take it a level up. Do you think it's wrong then, Howard, for state governments to even operate lotteries? Every time I go into a convenience store and see the people in line buying lottery tickets, honestly, it just makes me sick. Many of them simply can't afford to waste their limited dollars on buying those tickets, but they're lured by literally millions of dollars in advertising by the states. And of course, those ads only show the upside of gambling with smiling happy winners, you know, vacationing in some exotic place. But what about the families that literally are being destroyed by gambling? Well, it's very true, and it's a real issue that affects so many, and that's why I couldn't agree more with what you're saying. Of course, some, Howard, will argue, though, that state lotteries generate revenue for very worthwhile programs.

How do you reconcile that? Well, the states are just trying to justify gambling really by wrapping it in the idea that this will help some kids get an education or something like that. But the reality is it's just another way to tax people.

I mean, think about this. Is it worth destroying one family who gets hooked on gambling by playing the lottery? And in our country, believe it or not, there are over six million pathologically addicted gamblers, and over one million of them are teenagers. And I've heard somebody describe a lottery as a brilliant way that states have discovered to make low-income people pay for some middle-income kids college expenses. I mean, the downside of gambling is huge.

Yeah. Now, what about the person on the receiving end? Let's say you're taking advantage of a scholarship or some other program that's funded by a lottery. As a believer, do you think that's wrong? Yeah, I don't.

I think it's okay, Rob. As I said, a lottery essentially is just another way for the state to tax people, to provide for services. And remember, not all the money the states make on a lottery goes to education.

Most goes to the general operating expenses. So I think it's quite all right to receive money from the state. Yeah, that's exactly right, Howard. And really, when we look at the Council of Scripture and we see the heart of God, you talked about the passage that clearly says we shouldn't strive to get rich quick, but we just have to understand that as a steward managing God's money, this is not the way he wants us to use his money. Right, Howard?

Absolutely. I mean, we need to do it his way, Rob, and that doesn't mean gamble. And we took no gamble today by contacting Howard Dayton to address this subject. He's an author, teacher, the former host of this radio program. He joins us by phone.

He's away from his home stomping grounds today, but as I mentioned, we're able to get him with us, and he's always a joy and a blessing to have him along, providing and sharing his expertise. Today's broadcast is prerecorded, so we won't be taking any calls, but we have some calls lined up and some great information coming your way. This is MoneyWise Live. I'm Steve Moore.

We'll be right back. Steve Moore retired as co-host, and Rob West needed a vacation, so this week it's encore presentations of MoneyWise Live. So what does the Bible say about gambling?

Well, it says a little bit. It's not totally clear on a number of social issues that we might ask about today, so we brought on our good friend Howard Dayton, the founder of Compass Finances God's Way, to share what he knows and believes about the subject of gambling that unfortunately is so prevalent in today's society. Our host, of course, is Rob West.

Rob? Howard, you made it very clear that this is not God's plan or God's best for his people. You took us to Proverbs 21. Hasty speculation brings poverty, and clearly gambling would fit into the hasty speculation category. Let's flip the coin, though, and talk about those that perhaps do play the lottery and happen to win, and they might be thinking that if that was them, it's happily ever after from then on.

What do you say to that? Well, first of all, Rob, the odds of winning the lottery are a little better than, I don't know, aliens landing in your backyard or taking a selfie with Bigfoot, but not much better odds than that, and by the way, many lottery winners find the experience is just the opposite of happily ever after. A lot of them end up divorced or going through bankruptcy, and really, here's why. They didn't have their character developed by learning to handle money wisely and watching it grow little by little. That's how you learn to handle big sums of money by handling smaller amounts and through patience, hard work, discipline, turning them into bigger sums, and without that knowledge, Rob, the instant lottery winners can't handle it and often their lifestyles get completely out of whack. And when you think about it, few financially successful people played lottery. Instead of gambling, they focused on the basics, especially those who know Christ, of giving, saving, investing, getting out of debt. Just those basic things, being faithful over a long period of time, allows them to handle it when it grows and grows into a larger sum.

Yeah. Well, you're exactly right, and it's very well said. I'm sure, though, Howard, that there's some listeners out there today asking themselves, well, doesn't investing, then, fit into that gambling category? Because I'm putting money into some type of investment, hoping to get a return on it, hoping it rises in value. Draw the distinction between gambling and investing. Well, investing can be gambling. If a person, I don't know, invests in Bitcoin, they don't know a thing about Bitcoin, but they've heard a lot of people make a lot of money and they just, they do it. But a person who wisely invests takes their time, does their homework, gets counsel from godly people who understand what they're considering investing in.

There's a world of difference. The person who really prays for god's wisdom and direction and counsel before making an investment, that's not gambling. Now, investments may go up or they might go down in value, but that's just part of acquiring an investment. But certainly, if a person is investing, does their homework, seeks god's direction and gets counsel, that's not gambling. Howard, does it come down to, at least in part, the attitude, the heart attitude you have about investing your money, whether you're, I mean, as you already pointed out, some investing could be gambling if your motivation is to just hit it big, you don't do your homework, your methodology and your heart attitude is all about being the kingpin out there and living a non-moderate lifestyle.

Could that take on the feeling and the approach of gambling? Oh, absolutely. And I think the fundamental thing, Steve, is to remember that it's not our money that we're investing. It's god's money. And I love what 1 Corinthians 4-2 tells us that it's required in stewards, that's us, we're managers, that one be found faithful. In other words, because God is the owner of everything we have, he wants us to be faithful to manage it his way. There's a world of difference when we're focused on wanting to please Christ in terms of handling money or simply wanting to get rich. And Howard, what about the principle of diversification? That's got to be key, right?

It is. Ecclesiastes 11-2, divide your portion to seven or even eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur upon the earth. So it's key not to put all of our eggs in one investment, but to diversify. It does make sense from a biblical perspective to do that. I'm glad you draw the distinction there, Howard, because clearly when we look at Scripture, we see that a part of our role as steward is to put God's money to work.

But there are principles. We should do it with a long time horizon, as Steve and you just said. We should diversify. We should understand what we're investing in. And we see this modeled even in Jesus' parables, where often the investor was the good guy. Jesus was affirming that. So this should be a part of how we're handling God's money, but we should do it in a way that's prudent and not this hasty speculation that Proverbs warns us against.

All right, Howard, we're getting short on time here. Summarize just a few reasons why God's people should never gamble in any form, even though the Bible doesn't specifically call it out as a sin. Well, I'd like to just focus on one, Rob, and ask the question, why would we ever support an industry like gambling that enslaves so many people? And I know you've counseled couples, and one of them is a gambler, and I've done that, and it is crushing, not only to the marriage, but also to their children.

And, you know, when you've been through one of those, sat on the other end of the table and seen the tears and heard the heartbreak, I mean, for me, that's the reason why I just committed. I will never gamble one penny because I don't want this industry to have one penny that could harm people. Yeah, very good. And, Rob, if you don't mind, we get this called quite a bit on the program, well, multiple times a year, certainly. How is the stock market not gambling? And, again, how do we approach that, and do we believe that the stock market is not gambling, even though people do lose money doing so?

Yeah. Well, I think there's a clear distinction there, Steve, between gambling and investing in the stock market. We have a proven strategy. We set God-given goals. So, we're not just speculating, but we have a well-thought-out plan. We're seeking wise counsel. We're diversified. Again, this is not about a get-rich-quick strategy. This should be, if we're investing, a long-term play. Plus, we're putting money in real companies that have real sales and earnings. This is not just taking a chance on the odds, which, by the way, as Howard pointed out, are not in your favor, not even close. So, it's completely different. And we don't need to look at these things in the same category.

We really need to focus on what God affirms. And clearly, that's investing for the right reasons and in the right way, never gambling. So, if you ever see Howard Dayton standing in a gas station in a long line of people, he's probably just trying to pay for his gas, right?

That's probably right. If you see me gambling, shoot me. All right. You heard it here.

I may end up gambling the rest of my life away if I do something like that. All right. Howard Dayton, always a great blessing to have him with us today. He's the founder of Compass Finances, God's Way author, teacher, former host of this program, What Hasn't This Man Done? Howard Dayton, sir, thank you very much for being with us today. Oh, I loved it, Steve. Thank you. Thanks, Howard.

You're listening to MoneyWise Live, but today we're not live. So, if you hear that phone number, please don't call, but do stick around. Lots of good information ahead. We'll be right back. And Brenda, what's your question today for Rob?

Yeah, thank you for taking my call. My question is this. We're in this place of our lives, my husband and I. Children are raised and we have no debt and we have been, we tied, we have been saving money for the purpose of maybe buying some land for the next stage of our life.

Okay. That we've kind of had a bucket list for. And the thing is prices are going up rapidly. Things happen fast, and we're not quite sure we're trusting the Lord where and how much land and. But the thing is, we want to have that money available when it's time to move on it.

But my husband and I have been talking about how long is it appropriate to hold it in the bank or should we be doing something temporarily because we don't know if it's going to be a month or two months or if it's really going to take two years to find what we're looking for. And we're struggling with what is the right thing to do here. Yeah. Well, I can certainly appreciate that. Obviously, you all have demonstrated that you are willing to live according to God's principles.

You're completely out of debt. You've saved for the future. You have a plan. You've been saving for this purchase of this land for your next chapter of what God has for you. And, you know, I think the key here is recognizing that when we have money that has a specific purpose attached to it and that purpose, I would say, Brenda, is less than five years. Then I'm OK not making a return, especially in an environment on this. You'd want to get the best return you can. And rates happen to be moving up right now.

And that's a good thing. So whereas you might have been getting a half of one percent and a high yield savings account with FDIC insurance in the past, maybe you can get three quarters of a point or even a point before too long. But the key for that money is that it's available when you need it. So it's about the return of your money, not the return on your money, because you don't want it to lose value. And then all of a sudden that's when the perfect property comes your way.

And now you're selling at a loss and, you know, you're dealing with the regret of that decision. So we just need to always match the investment strategy with the time horizon. And again, anything less than five years, especially two years or two months, tells me that we don't need to have this in something that has the potential for principal loss. So I would just find the highest paying high yield savings account, Marcus, Ally, Capital One 360. Those will move up with interest rates. And even though you're going to look at the statement every month and be like, seriously, that's what we are in this month.

It's okay, because you know why you're doing it. And when you're ready to move, you're going to have your money available at a moment's notice and be ready to respond. Does that make sense, though? Yes, just that time frame really helps just for us maybe to be on the same page. And because you do wonder if you are being wise about just letting it sit in your local bank.

Yes. Now, I would be careful with your local bank, nothing against your local bank, but you could do a lot better and an online bank, regardless of what the rates are. There's going to be no penalties, no fees, same FDIC insurance. You can link it to your current bank's checking account, but you're going to do a lot better on the interest rate.

So I would consider that alongside your current bank. Brenda, thank you very much. Let's quickly move to Tennessee and Duane. About three minutes here.

Can you condense it for us so we can weigh in for you? Sure. So my wife and I are doing our open enrollment at work and a couple of the options are, we have a lower deductible health insurance plan and then a higher deductible that has an HSA component to it. And just trying to weigh our options. Um, I've looked at some of the different, um, comparisons between a FSA and HSA. Um, and I understand the HSA, you could contribute more on an annual basis. You could carry over any, uh, money that isn't used in a particular year.

Um, but with the difference in the deductible, I'm just trying to weigh if there are any long-term benefits to the HSA that I'm not seeing or not weighing in to try to make sure that we're being the best stewards of how we're spending our money. Yeah. Yeah.

Very good, Duane. Um, you know, I think, I mean, obviously it's a choice that each person needs to make and feel comfortable with. I'm not a big fan of the flexible savings account because as you point out, lower contribution amounts. And the big one for me is that it doesn't carry over, um, which the HSA does.

I love the fact you can roll it over, uh, year after year and it can be a very effective retirement savings tool. Where I find that it's most effective, if you're generally healthy, Duane, and you're able to max out your contribution and therefore not use it up, especially if you don't have small children run into the, you know, the doctor every few weeks for, uh, the sniffles, um, you know, that kind of thing. Then an HSA can be a very powerful tool, especially if your company's willing, you know, to contribute to it. Um, because they're not having to, you know, assuming they were paying for all or part of your, uh, you know, typical, um, lower deductible policy. They're saving money by you going to a high deductible HSA. Usually they'll take the amount that they would have been contributing and, you know, give that to you in terms of a contribution. If you've got something like that and you could add something to it, max it out, let it grow tax free, even invest the portion that you aren't using and carrying over year to year and then over time allow that to grow so that it can be taken out in retirement as a supplement to what other retirement assets you have. That's where an HSA can really shine.

But if you have underlying health conditions, um, you know, things like that, small kids, it just doesn't make sense financially on paper based on the way your company's handling it, then you may be better off, uh, you know, taking advantage of the lower deductible plan. You know, I think perhaps your next step is to go back to the company and find out exactly how much they're going to contribute. That's going to be a key piece of this puzzle. And then if you have further questions, give us a call back. Wayne, we do appreciate that call. Thank you very much. And you're listening to MoneyWise Live.

He's Rob West. I'm Steve Moore. If you haven't checked us out online, you might want to do that. Lots of free resources, all helpful resources. So check us out today. We're going to pause for a brief break. Don't go away.

If you thought you heard Steve Moore say goodbye last week, you did, but we're giving you one more week of Steve in the form of encore presentations of MoneyWise Live. Let's begin. Murphy, North Carolina. Hello, Ruth. What's your situation?

How can we help? Oh, I've got a $16,000 credit card bill. And I live on $1,200 a month.

I do. I am buying my house. $18,000 is what I've got left. And I am at a point that I don't know what to do. Do I get a loan and mortgage my house to pay this off?

Or do you know someone who could help me? Yeah, yeah. Well, what I would do first, Ruth, and I realize that this can be a situation I suspect it's a pretty high interest rate. Is that right? They're going to 15%, yes.

Okay, yeah. And with $16,000, just sending the minimum every month and living on a fixed income of $1,200, there's not a lot of margin there, clearly. It can be frustrating because I imagine you don't really see the balance going anywhere and you're just wondering, how am I ever going to pay this off? I would start with our friends at Christian Credit Counselors. Have you connected with a credit counseling agency? No, I haven't. I don't have their number. Okay. Do you use the internet? Do you have a computer, Ruth? No. No, I don't have a computer. Okay.

All right. Well, for the benefit of our listeners, it's would be the easiest way. But if you want to call them, you could certainly do that. I'll give you the number. It's 800-557-1985.

800-557-1985. And they're wonderful folks. Here's what they're going to do, Ruth. They're going to go over this with you. They're going to look at the creditor that you have. They're going to help review your budget.

They'll pray with you and encourage you. But the main thing is they're going to tell you what they could get that interest rate down to. See, there's pre-negotiated rates that if you enter a credit counseling program, the account will be closed and you'll pay through them. But at this reduced interest rate, on average, folks will get out of debt 80% faster and pay the debt in full. That would be my preferred approach. I'd rather you not put this against the house because something happens and you can't make that payment than your house is at risk. Right now, this is unsecured debt and a home mortgage is secured debt, secured to your home. So let's try to do it outside of any additional borrowing.

But we want to get this balance coming down clearly. And the way to do that, at least initially, if it'll work for you, would be through a debt management program. So give Christian credit counselors a call. And if you have any questions after that, don't hesitate to reach back. And Ruth, be sure to mention to them that you're listening to this program and will continue to pray.

And if you are a member of a local church, obviously you want to share this with them and ask them to pray with you, maybe even provide some help and assistance if they're able to do that. But please let us know how things work out. And good to hear from you today. Thank you. Out to Indianapolis. Hi, Pam.

What's your situation? My question is to see if there is any benefit to opening a Roth IRA close to retirement age. Yeah, Pam, you know, it's not as effective. I mean, clearly the real benefit and beauty of the Roth is the tax free growth that you can receive over a long period of time. The other issue with IRAs in general is that you have to have earned income. So when you enter that retirement season, if you don't have earned income, you won't even be able to contribute. But in terms of the benefit of the Roth as you're in this retirement season or nearing it, you know, using the Roth as a savings tool when you're probably going to be more modest or conservative in your investment strategy, you're not going to really experience the benefit as much certainly as you would, you know, 20 years before that if you have a long time for the money to grow and you're able to be a little bit more aggressive in terms of the investment selection. So if you have earned income, you want to continue to contribute toward retirement, I'd probably look to the traditional IRA, you're probably I'm guessing at the higher end of your earning years, you know, here at the tail end of your working life. And so that deduction that you would get going into the traditional IRA would be a benefit to you right now. And then that money would grow on a tax deferred basis until you need it at 72.

You'd have to begin pulling it out as a required minimum distribution. So that would probably be my best advice just based on what I know right here. Okay, Pam. Great. That helps me a lot. That helps me a lot. Thank you so much. All right. God bless you. Thanks for calling.

Thank you, Pam. Hey, Rob, how about an email or two? I have one here from Carolina.

She says, Hello, my name is Carolina. I have a 17 year old son, I would like to start a credit card for him so that he can obtain a credit score. What's the best option? I'm not sure I can trust him just yet to have a normal credit card. Are there any options? Yeah, yeah.

Well, a couple of things, Carolina. Number one, we just opened for our boys that are 15 and 16. The Capital One money account, which essentially is a checking account, it's a custodial account in my name, but for his benefit. And with that, he gets a debit card that he's able to use. There's a wonderful smartphone app where I can move money back and forth and see all the transactions. And now that he's doing some working reffing games at the church on the weekends, he's able to deposit his paychecks through the app. And then he's using the MoneyWise app to manage that money doing some saving and of course, some giving and then his spending.

You know, you got to put gas in the car when you drive it, right. But here's the thing you asked about building the credit score. And that's really not going to do the trick because often with a debit card that's, you know, not going to be reported. So if you're looking specifically to build credit, you know, the best way to go there would be either a secured credit card where there's an amount on deposit in his name. And there are secured credit cards that will allow you to do that in the name of a minor or adding him as an authorized user, which means as long as you have good credit, and that good credit is being reported every month, I would check first to be sure they report the authorized user to their account as well. Most of them do, then that good credit that you have by him being an authorized user would also be reported to his credit report. Now, the opposite is true, though, which is where this can go awry. And that is, if you ever got into financial trouble and missed a payment or were unable to make your payments timely, that negative information would be reported to his report as well as an authorized user. So that's a bit of a double edged sword. You just have to be careful there. So I'd say look at the Capital One Money account in terms of teaching him how to manage money.

But in terms of building credit, I would look to either a secured credit card or adding him as an authorized user. Okay, great question and great answer up. Thanks. Here's another one.

It's from JDR. This question comes to us through the MoneyWise app. Hey, Rob, what books would you recommend for me to get started in trying to get my finances in order?

Well, I love this. And let me just give some context for the MoneyWise app. That is the community portion. So inside the MoneyWise app is our digital envelope system, the best one I've ever used, our Discover tab, where all the best and most compelling content from biblical finance flows into one place. You got to check it out.

But then there's our community where you can ask questions, encourage each other, and I pop in there from time to time as well. And JDR posted this question in the community today. And let me just say, JD, I would look to Ron Blue's Master Your Money. It's a classic. It's going to give you the biblical side and the practical.

All the areas of financial planning are covered. Again, it's called Master Your Money and it's by Ron Blue. And by the way, I'll send a copy out to you. Just send an email to us and let us know that. And we'll be right back with more MoneyWise Live after this brief break. This is our final segment of a broadcast we previously recorded. Thanks so much for being with us today, and we hope you'll stick around and enjoy the rest of the program.

It's MoneyWise Live. We're really pleased as punch that you're out there today. Thank you so much for tuning in, listening, and telling others about us. Spokane, Washington, Dolores, what's your question for Rob? It is nice.

I don't have any debt or anything, but my husband has charged me with the responsibility of getting your opinion on a good Christian loan, a loaning company. OK, so I'm just checking here, Dolores. So he specifically said, I want you to call Rob and Steve and find out what they think.

Is that right? That's exactly what he said. And he said, do it today.

Very specific instructions. Would you ask him if I should? Oh, never mind.

Tell me a little bit more about what you're trying to do. So you're borrowing some money for what purpose? Well, he is not borrowing money. He takes care of all of our finances. But I am borrowing some money.

I want to borrow like 15 or 20 thousand dollars because I want to enlarge my house so I can move my sister in with me because she is, well, she was in the drug world for about 20 years. She has all kinds of disabilities and she's been straight for the last about 15 years. But she's got all of these leftover things that are going on. Yes. And so, Dolores, you're going to be doing some home improvements to prepare for her moving in.

Is that right? Well, not home improvements, but I'm going to put a large room on the back with a complete little living room for herself and a bathroom for her. And my husband and my two grandsons are going to build it, but it's going to cost me about 15 or 20 thousand dollars, something like that, for all of the materials.

Very good. And tell me about your cash flow, Dolores, and your ability to repay that loan once you take it. Do you have some margin on a monthly basis that you can use to pay it back? Well, I have money myself that I inherited, and then my husband says, I don't really want you to use that, but we do have a rather large savings account, and he says, you just get a good Christian group and then we will just pay for it out of that. So it won't be a problem for that.

Okay. I guess I'm wondering why borrow the money in the first place if you have the ability just to pay for it out of your excess savings or investments, because anything you borrow is obviously going to have an interest rate associated with it. Whether you take a home equity loan or a line of credit that's going to cost you somewhere around 5% or more over time, and you may not even be earning that much on where some of that money is parked right now, assuming you have some money available. And so it seems to me that the best option, again, I don't know the totality of your financial situation, but the best option would just be to pay for this out of either your savings or your cash flow without taking on a loan. Now, what are the options as far as loans are concerned? Well, you had mentioned a Christian company to borrow from, and you could look at a Christian bank or institution, something like ECCU. You could look at Thrivent Financial, their credit union, if you wanted to work with an organization that serves specifically Christians.

But I think at the end of the day, the key for you, unless you have a conviction about working with a company who's primarily focused on serving believers, is to look for, first of all, do I need to borrow the money? And does that make sense financially? And am I on the same page with my husband?

And are we in agreement? Because I think that's one of the keys before you get into debt. And then two, what is what type of loan should I get? What are the terms, meaning how is it going to be repaid? And then what is the interest rate?

And you want to make sure all those line up. And so for me, I would say, okay, the first question is, do I need to borrow the money? I would stop right there and just make sure that borrowing for this actually makes sense. Because it sounds like to me, you all have the money. Is there a reason you wouldn't just pay for it? My husband does not want all that we have set up.

He does not want it touched, period. And this is the only way that I can do that myself. And to get her moved in.

So that's the only reason right there. My husband is a boss in my family. We're an old-fashioned Christian family. I love it. I love it.

There's nothing better than an old-fashioned Christian family. How many years? 54 years. Wow. That's incredible.

I'm so thrilled to hear that. Okay. Now, if you are going to take a loan, then the question is what type of loan? Do you have a conviction to lower issue or your husband that you want to work specifically with an institution that is because there are no Christian companies, right?

There are Christians inside companies, and then there's those companies who are either operated according to Christian values or companies where the owner or management are believers, or there are companies that are focused on serving Christians. Do you have a conviction you want to use one of those only? Yeah, that's the only thing that he will agree to. Okay. Okay. All right.

So then what I would do is I would probably call or look it up online, a Thrivent Federal Credit Union. The Thrivent, T-H-R-I-V-E-N-T. Do you have a computer? I do not. Okay. All right. That's okay. My daughter lives next door. She has one.

Okay. So I would check out Thrivent. You can find them at and then mention one other to her. It's called ECCU. And that stands for the Evangelical Christian Credit Union. I think either of those could serve you well.

And I would start there and talk to them about what the best options are for you to seek a loan, okay? Oh, that sounds good. We go to the Evangelical Church. Okay. Well, very good.

Well, I would check out both of those, find out which one can serve you best. And those are both organizations focused on serving Christians, and I'm confident they'll take good care of you. Dolores, we have to run, but thank you very much for calling. We wish you guys the very best.

You sound like a very, very generous sister. Thanks. Tampa, Florida. Karen, you're on with Rob West. Hi, Karen. You with us? Hello, Karen.

Karen in Tampa. Are you there? Okay.

We'll move along to – oh, you're there, Karen? Yes. Hi.

Sorry. I had a quick question. I am in the process of researching an offer in compromise for the IRS. And they have an online tool that I can use to see if I qualify for that. But one of the questions that it's asking is about my retirement account. I'm not sure what it means because it says retirement equity. This is under income, right? And so it says retirement equity. And my question is, what amount is it that I'm supposed to be looking at to enter there?

Yeah. Well, just for the benefit of our listeners, an offer in compromise is an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles a taxpayer's tax liability for less than the full amount. Think of it as a debt settlement, except the lender is the IRS. Now, there's a form you're filling out to figure this out through their online tool. I suspect – and that's all it is. I'd probably call them to clarify. I suspect what they're wanting to know is, what is your balance in retirement accounts? So think 401K, 403B, IRAs, 401Ks, Roth IRAs. They want to know how much do you have in retirement equity.

So this is any assets that you have in your name that are inside retirement accounts, and that's just one of those considerations they want to know as they offer in compromise is considered. Does that make sense? Yes, it definitely does.

Yes, now I know. I just wanted to make sure I entered, you know, realistic numbers. Okay, yes, very good. Well, Karen, all the best to you in that process, and hopefully that'll get you paid off and on track to pay off your IRS debt, and we can move beyond that. Thanks for calling today.

Thank you, Karen. Well, Rob, what do you say we put a wrap on it today? But first, we do an email.

We haven't done one in a while, okay? Okay, yeah, very good. All right, this comes to us from Jenny. She says, Dear Rob and Steve, how do I balance my desire to become debt-free and yet increase my giving?

Ah, yes, this is the priority question, and I love this question because here's the thing. Both of these ideas are supported in Scripture, right? We should strive to become debt-free.

The Bible is clear. The borrower is slave to the lender, and so we want to be debt-free over time. It's going to give us more flexibility, more freedom when we're unencumbered. Yet, we also want to be giving. We want to give generously, and we should be striving to give more, I believe, over time. We start with our giving systematically to the local church, and then we give beyond that, sacrificially. But what do you do if you have both?

And most people do. And I think you've got to prioritize this, first of all, by praying and asking the Lord what he would have you to do. I would say, if you have high-interest credit card debt, we certainly want to be systematically giving.

That's a given. I would do that right off the top. But before you increase your giving, unless the Lord just is real clear to you that he wants you to do more, if you have high-interest credit card debt, I would really prioritize getting out from under that. I don't think that's a wise use of God's money to pay 15, 16, 18 percent in the form of interest. But once that's paid off and we have some freedom and flexibility, I would be looking immediately not to increase lifestyle, but to absolutely be moving your giving to higher levels.

So I think it's a both-and. I would start with your systematic giving. I would then focus on high-interest consumer debt, but I'd be going right back to the giving very, very quickly. And becoming debt-free, Rob, is that the be-all and end-all of our service to Christ?

No, absolutely not. But clearly, when we're unencumbered, it gives us the freedom and flexibility to respond to the Holy Spirit. I love what the author Ron Blue used to say, it puts you in a position where you can live or die, give or go.

And I think that's the way we all should live. I love it. Thanks, Rob. Hey, if you have a quick, brief email question for Rob, send it along, questions at This is MoneyWise Live, a partnership between Moody Radio and MoneyWise Media. Thanks for listening.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-06 21:19:43 / 2023-12-06 21:36:59 / 17

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