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Your Most Important Relationship

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore
The Truth Network Radio
July 15, 2021 8:03 am

Your Most Important Relationship

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore

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July 15, 2021 8:03 am

What’s the most important relationship in your life?  We need our family and friends, but those bonds lack the eternal significance and importance of our relationship with God.  On the next MoneyWise Live, host Rob West will talk about some practical ways you can strengthen your relationship with God and improve your spiritual life through biblical money management. Then he’ll answer your financial questions from a biblical perspective. That’s MoneyWise Live, where biblical wisdom meets today’s finances, weekdays at 4pm Eastern/3pm Central on Moody Radio. 

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Hey there, I'm Jamin Baxter and I serve Moody Radio as the Director of Business Development. Our team's job is to find businesses that love Moody Radio and Jesus Christ and want to support the work we do financially just like you. Today I'd like to introduce you to United Faith Mortgage. Simply put, they are a faith-focused mortgage team serving clients across the United States. They've put together a team with Christian values with faith and family at the core.

They know that this is arguably the most important purchase of your life. Check out the top five things you should know about United Faith Mortgage at unitedfaithmortgage.com. Thanks to you and United Faith Mortgage for supporting Moody Radio. United Faith Mortgage is a DBA of United Mortgage Corp, 25 Melville Park Road, Melville, New York, licensed mortgage banker. For all licensing information, go to nmlsconsumeraccess.org, corporate NMLS number 1330, equal housing lender.

Not licensed in Alaska, Hawaii, Georgia, Massachusetts, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah. What's the most important relationship in your life? Think carefully before you say it's with your spouse or your children. Those are important, but your most important relationship is with God.

Hi, I'm Rob West. We need family and friends, but those bonds lack the eternal significance of your relationship with God. Today I'll talk about some practical ways you can strengthen that relationship. Then it's on to your calls at 800-525-7000.

Call it 24-7, 800-525-7000. This is MoneyWise Live, biblical wisdom for your financial journey. Okay, by now you may be wondering, what's our relationship with God have to do with money? Because this is a show about money, right?

Yes, it absolutely is about money. And for Christians, that has everything to do with our relationship with the Lord. The Bible gives us three dots to connect money and our relationship with God. First, God created everything, and therefore, He owns everything. Galatians 1 16 says, For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things were created through Him and for Him. Second, God gave us everything we possess.

Deuteronomy 10 14, it reads, Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven, and the heaven of heavens, the earth, and all that it has in it. So God owns everything, but He's given us resources to use temporarily as His stewards. Last, God is not distant and detached.

He wants a close relationship with you. James 4 8 tells us, Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. We draw near to God by being obedient and following His law. With over 2300 verses in Scripture about money and possessions, God made His desire quite clear. He wants us to manage money according to His principles. Our friend Howard Dayton points out that wisely managing money and the other resources God has blessed us with deepens our fellowship with Christ. Having a close relationship with Jesus is another way to describe what the Bible calls true riches. In Luke 16 11, Jesus indicates that God uses money as a test. He says, If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? Jesus is saying that how you handle money affects your spiritual life. If you manage it well, according to biblical principles, you'll naturally grow closer to Christ. If not, your fellowship with the Lord suffers. So biblical money management is a very practical way to improve your spiritual life. But sometimes things get in the way of that. There are two kinds of disobedience that keep us from handling money God's way and growing closer to Him.

The first is passive. It's just plain laziness. Some people don't want to take the time to organize their finances, make a budget, and track their spending.

Doing those things might only take a few hours a month. Still, it's just too much to bother with. Worse, that same person will spend more time than that watching TV every night. As a result, intimacy with God suffers. Another person has a different obstacle to growing closer to God.

It's an active or willful disobedience. For that person, money and possessions actually compete with Christ. Jesus tells us in no uncertain terms how that will turn out. In Matthew 6 24, He says, No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he'll be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. And then there are people who think they can surrender every part of their lives to Christ, except money. They might be quite good at making money, paying their bills on time, saving and investing, but they refuse to give Christ lordship over their finances, to follow all of the Bible's teaching. Maybe they stumble over tithing or giving to God's kingdom.

They have the resources, but they don't want to do it. Again, their intimacy with Christ suffers. And finally, there's the person who's not following biblical financial principles, but thinks his relationship with the Lord is just fine. To him, we might say, what you don't know will hurt you.

What are you missing out on? You might think finances aren't interfering with your relationship with God, but how would you know? If that's you, commit to the Lord in earnest prayer, then follow through managing your money and possessions his way that you'll find what you need to get started by downloading the free MoneyWise app. It will not only help you set up a budget based on the envelope system, it also has the best Christian financial content out there to help you grow closer to God by following his principles.

Do that for three months and see if your relationship with the Lord has become more intimate, that you feel his presence more fully in your life and affairs, and then report back. We'd love to hear how it's working. Hey, your calls are next, 800-525-7000. You can call it anytime.

800-525-7000. I'm Rob West and this is MoneyWise Live. We'll be right back. Thank you for joining us for MoneyWise Live.

I'm Rob West. About to take your calls and questions today on anything financial, we'd love to hear from you. Whatever's on your mind. Is it how to save or give?

Perhaps that spending plan is giving you some challenges or you and your spouse are having trouble communicating about money. Whatever's on your mind today, we'd love to hear from you. Here's the number, 800-525-7000. That's 800-525-7000. By the way, if you'd like some help with any of those things I mentioned and you'd like someone to walk alongside you who's been trained to give you godly advice that's practical and relevant to your financial situation, our MoneyWise coaches can help. These are godly men and women who have been trained and as a part of their ministry as volunteers, they'll come alongside you personally to help you develop a spending plan, get set up on the MoneyWise app, develop a giving plan or a debt repayment plan. You can connect with a coach today. Just head to our website, MoneyWiseLive.org. Click connect with a coach. There's no charge for them to journey with you over several weeks. The only cost will be a small fee if you can afford it to pay for the digital workbook.

Apart from that, it's our gift to you. Again, MoneyWiseLive.org. Click connect with a coach. We've got a few lines open, 800-525-7000. In just a moment, we'll talk to Dave in Ohio and Rods in Southern Illinois, but we're going to begin today in Fort Lauderdale, my hometown. Judy, thank you for calling today.

How can I help you? Yes, thank you for taking my call. I have been with a large financial company for some time with investments, working with two very strong advisors. And the second was a woman and I just really enjoyed my, what she was recommending and it worked out well.

She then was going to go on to hire things in her company and I recently then was assigned to someone else. My first call with him was that I was very concerned about the market and where it was and his advice to me was to go into tech stocks. So anyway, I just kind of processed that for a while and I prayed about it and decided that I was going to sell everything I had in my IRA, so I did do that. Now I'm feeling more than lost and I did connect with one person that I was aware of who's in financial markets, but I have some questions about him and I'm really calling to see about a kingdom advisor.

Yes, well that's a great question to ask. And you know, as we think about the investment professionals we're working with, Judy, first of all, I think it's really important, excuse me, and a biblical concept that you would seek wise counsel, that you have someone who can walk alongside you, who's competent, who's professional. More than that, they understand you and your story and where God is taking you and how money as a tool fits into that.

And the biblical perspective and principles related to handling money, they know God's heart as it relates to money management, because clearly this is a topic that God has a lot to say about. And so I think seeking out a professional that you have a good rapport with and that is really going to listen is critical. Now the one thing that gives me pause about the story you just told is the fact that you relayed to this new advisor that you were concerned about the market. I haven't asked your age and goals and objectives yet, we'll get to that in a moment, but just that one notion that resulted in a recommendation for tech stocks, which would not only be at the more aggressive end of the investment landscape, it's heading into a season where tech has really been the leader and most expect it will not perform quite as well.

And if it does, it will still have quite a bit of volatility. That gives me some pause that perhaps somebody wasn't listening fully to what you were saying. Tell me just a bit about your situation. What is your age and tell me about how much you have in your investment accounts and what you'd like to see them do in the future.

Well, my age is 79. I still work part-time, so I'm blessed to be able to do that. I had just looked at my IRA account is running around 272,000.

Good. And so I think the opportunity here for you is to find an investment professional who can come alongside you and help you make some decisions moving forward. Are you living off of any of that 270,000 in investments? Are you drawing an income or is that money that really you don't need at this point? I just have to take my automatic withdrawal, so that's the only income that I'm taking from it. And that's only because it's required, not because you need the money? Yes.

Okay, very good. Well, I think as you think about moving forward, I would begin to interview some other investment professionals at this point, so you can find someone that is a good fit for you. Clearly, you have an opportunity for this money to be invested, but I would agree doing it on a conservative basis makes a lot of sense, especially since you don't need this money. You may need it down the road, perhaps you might need some long-term care at some point or something that could be quite expensive medically related, and you'd want this money to be there.

But at the same time, you don't need to take unnecessary risk given that your income is covered and in light of your age. So what I would encourage you to do, Judy, is just to visit our website MoneyWiseLive.org, click find a CKA. I know there's a number of them right there in Fort Lauderdale that can assist you. I'd interview two or three, tell them your story, get to know them, find the one that's the best fit for you, and then it would be very easy without taking a distribution and generating any kind of taxable event to transfer this account over to that new advisor that you select and move forward from there. Make sure you understand who's going to be serving your account, not just the person you meet with, but are you going to be passed off to somebody else? Let them know how you want to be communicated with.

I mean, I think there's a whole host of issues you'd want to discuss before you make that decision. Does that sound good? It sounds good. May I ask you, though, when was this person then certified through your process?

Yes, ma'am. So they don't work for MoneyWise. They've earned a designation called Certified Kingdom Advisor, just like any other industry designation. The difference is the CKA designation is the only one in the industry around biblically wise financial advice. And so when they earn the designation, they go through a rigorous university-based training, a proctored exam, they have to get a pastor reference, client references, sign a statement of faith. We do a regulatory review on them to look at their history and whether they've had any issues or disclosures in the past, and then they have to recertify all of that every year in addition to 10 hours of continuing education. So anybody that comes up in those search results would have a CKA, a Certified Kingdom Advisor designation, in good standing, which just means they're current.

They may have earned it last year or 10 years ago, but what you want to know is that they've met the requirements to hold the designation currently. Yes, yes. Well, very good. Well, thank you so much for this advice. Very good, Judy. Thank you for listening and calling today. I appreciate it very, very much. Well, folks, you know, I think it's so critical as we think about our role as stewards of God's resources that we take that stewardship responsibility seriously, and that may include the things that we do as we develop our spending plan and saving plan and we give effectively, but it often involves the help of others on the outside, an investment advisor or a giving advisor like the National Christian Foundation. Seek wise counsel where needed.

It's always a good idea. Much more to come on MoneyWise Live, 800-525-7000. Call right now. We're so thankful you've chosen to spend some time with us on MoneyWise Live this afternoon.

This is where we apply God's truth to your financial decisions. Whatever's on your mind today, we're going to head right back to the phones in southern Illinois' Rod. Waiting patiently, Rod. Good afternoon. Yes, good afternoon. Thank you for taking my call, Rob.

Yes, sir. I'm 63, looking for retirement, probably in about three years, four months. Missed out on a couple pensions because of layoffs. So my status is what I've saved. I'm a good saver, not a good investor. So currently what I'm looking at is probably by the end of the year, I could have upwards of about $600,000 in savings. My home probably valued at about $350,000. I'll have it paid down at that time to about $120,000.

I don't know whether I'll be staying there, downsize or what the situation would be. But there's a possibility of maybe an extra $200,000 if I pulled that equity to live on as well. So my Social Security, I'm probably looking at about $2,500 to $3,000 a month.

So I'm really looking for direction of with that kind of money, where can I get, I guess the best bang for my buck on that kind of money, yet it'd be secure, safe and draw me maybe a monthly income. Yeah, very good. Do you have a sense, Rod, of what your living expenses are on a monthly basis? Currently, I'm going to say somewhere around $3,500 maybe. Okay, very good.

I think that's the starting point is to say, what is that today? And then to the best of your ability to project out, what will that look like in retirement? Are some of those expenses going to go away? Often, we'll see a reduction of as much as 20% when you head into retirement in terms of what it takes to fund your lifestyle. Because ideally, you'd have a home that's paid off at that point, or perhaps there's life insurance that's no longer needed because if something were to happen to you, it wouldn't place a hardship on anybody else financially because you're no longer working.

Those types of things. The kids, if you have kids, maybe they're off the payroll for good at that point. Any number of things can cause your expenses to go down. I think the good news is obviously you're living a modest lifestyle, which means that it's not going to require as much to fund it on a monthly basis. If you can count on $3,000 a month from Social Security and you're living on $3,500 a month now, you're pretty close to being where you need to be.

I would expect with this $600,000 and what it grows to over the next three years, you could easily pull off $25,000 a year in income when this is invested properly for income purposes. Now, you mentioned having it secure and safe, and I would want to revisit that just for a moment because it's one thing to have a conservative portfolio where perhaps maybe 30% of the portfolio is subject to the stock market, which obviously could go down and could go down quite a bit if we got into a recession, but you wouldn't see as much of a decline because that would be balanced out by a larger portion that's perhaps in fixed income, more stable investments. Are you looking for something that's truly secure where you can offload the risk entirely, or are you comfortable taking a modest amount of risk knowing that the account will still fluctuate? Well, I'm old school, probably raised by older parents that, you know, in investments, anything that was a risk was more or less a no-no. I guess I kind of follow that same path. So my initial answer would be something that is almost all just secure, that I know it's going to draw monthly income, but no risk.

Okay. And so then I think we're just going to have to temper our expectations of the amount of money you could pull out of the portfolio without, you know, seeing any impact to the principal. You know, I was going to say you could take perhaps as much as, you know, $50,000 or $60,000 between the Social Security and the income you would get off the portfolio, assuming it was invested with an objective to make, let's say, 4% on average per year. But in order to do that, you are going to have to take some risk, which means you could open your statement, and if the market was down 30% in a quarter, and that can happen in a recession, you might be down, you know, 10% or 15%, but the idea would be that you wouldn't touch that portion. You'd let it come back, and you'd only draw your income from the more stable investments, at least during that season. But if you want little to no risk, I would say what you'd be looking for is between now and then, we expect rates, interest rates to increase, and so you'd probably want to build a laddered CD portfolio, which hopefully are paying more than they are today.

When you get to that point, I expect they will be. The general direction on rates, you know, two plus years out is up, but you're not going to earn a whole lot. The good news is that if Social Security essentially covers you, then you're not going to rely on much from these investments, and you might have that opportunity to have a portfolio that's totally secure, backed by FDIC insured investments. The other option is you could look at transferring that risk to an insurance company with an annuity. I don't talk about them often because they're not my preferred investment resource. You're going to tie up your capital.

If you want it back, you're going to have surrender penalties. They're very expensive. They're complicated, and often the performance is lackluster. But if somebody says, I want a guaranteed return, higher than I could get in just a CD, and I don't want to take any risk, you have the opportunity to transfer that risk to an insurance company through a product like that. But if it were me, I would say the key is making sure that you have a good plan between now and retirement, and then you make that decision at that point as to how you build the right portfolio for you, taking only the amount of risk you're willing to take, and then you adjust your lifestyle to fit within that, plus the Social Security. So if you don't have an advisor, I would recommend you find one in your area. And as I mentioned in the previous call, you could do that on our website, MoneyWiseLive.org.

Just click Find a CKA. We've got just about 30 seconds left. Does that make sense, Rod? Very much so. I appreciate the help, and that definitely gives me some direction. All right. God bless you, sir.

We appreciate you listening very, very much. Well, folks, this is MoneyWise Live, where we apply God's truth to your financial situation. God's Word has so much to say on this topic. 2,350 verses that deal with money and possessions. Clearly, it's on God's heart.

The question is, how do we keep God in first position and use money as a tool to accomplish His purposes? We'll help you do that just around the corner. Here's our number. We have a few lines open.

800-525-7000. Stay with us. Welcome to MoneyWise Live, biblical wisdom for your financial journey.

We're so glad you're along with us today. We're covering so much ground today, talking with many of you about where God has you and how you can connect your money to the story He's writing in your life. You know, it can seem often that money issues are complicated. There's so many decisions to make, and it's difficult to manage it.

And yet, when we go to God's Word, it actually becomes quite simple. You can reduce money management, God's way, to really five big ideas. Here they are, live within your means, avoid debt, maintain margin or savings, set long-term goals, and give generously. And if you do those five things for a long, long time, it doesn't mean you'll be free from all financial difficulty, not by any stretch, but it does put you in a position, I believe, to experience God's best, because you've done your part, and we can trust the Lord for the rest.

What are those again? Well, live within your means, avoid debt, maintain margin or savings in your financial life, set some long-term goals, and then give generously. And I think so much of what we talk about in this program comes back to one of those five. Let's head right back to the phones. Dave's been waiting patiently in Ohio. Dave, how can I help you?

Oh, yeah. Hey, Rob. How are you doing? Very good.

Excuse me. I just want to say thanks for being willing to talk to lay people like us during three o'clock Central and four o'clock Eastern time. That's really, we really appreciate it. Thank you.

I know he's really busy. I had a question. I was wondering if you could straighten me out on the tithing and the offering thing and what your research indicates. I mean, modern-day people, should we be the 10% thing to the local church we go to? Or, you know, I'm just trying to grasp on what it should be for folks today.

Yes. Well, it's a great question, and I'm sure, Dave, you just want to be found faithful in honoring the Lord. And, you know, when I talk to folks about their giving, that's usually the position they're coming from. But so often we can be confused.

Wait a minute. We're under the law of Christ, not the law of Moses. How has that changed? If we saw this as a part of the law, does it go away?

And if so, what has that been replaced with? Well, I think there's a couple of big ideas here. Number one is we see the idea of generosity, giving, throughout the whole of Scripture. You know, the idea of the tithe even preceded the law with Melchizedek.

So clearly that was there. And we know that God is the ultimate giver. You know, for God so loved the world he gave. So when we give, we're most like him. So clearly we should be taking a portion of what he entrusts to us and not allow it to stop with us as a bucket, but be a pipeline, a conduit of God's activity with his resources back into where he's at work.

But what does that look like for each of us? How much should we give? And should we give systematically? And should we give spontaneously? What about the sacrificial giving?

And where does all of that fit? And I think it's got to begin on your knees. We should start with our giving, I believe, and build that into our plan first. And ultimately the how much of your giving is between you and the Lord. I think if you're married, you have his husband and wife, you sit down and you say, Lord, what would you have us to do? Now Randy Alcorn, the author and a good friend of mine, calls the tithe the training wheels of giving. He likes the idea that we'd give systematically, percentage giving, a 10% gift as a beginning point.

But you may say, I'm just not there. And I think ultimately God knows your heart. The key is I would just encourage you to start somewhere. But I would encourage you to start with a systematic percentage based gift off of your increase.

So whatever God puts in your hands, from whatever source, give on a percentage basis. And I would start with the local church because that's God's plan A. Now what you do from that point forward, you may say, listen, things are so tight. I don't even know how I'm going to do that. So I'm going to take six months. I'm going to start somewhere with my percentage giving. And then I'm going to reevaluate in six months and say, how did it go? God, did you provide enough resources for me to actually do it?

Am I better or worse off than where I was? And this is the one area that he says in scripture we can actually test him, which is very interesting. Then I think at that point, what I'm confident you'll find is that when you experience the joy of giving, you'll want to do more.

It will only be a matter of time before you're reordering your finances, Dave, to do even more. And I would encourage you to begin increasing that percentage as you're able or as the Lord leads. Then we should think about sacrificial giving over time.

You know, what can we give up? What have we been planning for that God may redirect us to? And that's really through prayer, asking the Lord to open your eyes to what he would have you to do, what needs are around you in your community and missionaries and friends and people in your church. And what about ministries doing great work in the name of Jesus to the ends of the earth? We have been blessed with so much, and with that comes a big responsibility. And so I think we need to take this matter very seriously as stewards of God's resources. So we start with our percentage giving, we increase it over time, and then we look to give sacrificially beyond that, even perhaps denying ourselves of some of the things we plan to use resources for that the Lord may encourage us to redirect to other things. Another way you can get more strategic about your giving, Dave, is beyond the how much to the where. And I would really think deeply about where God is leading you to give beyond the local church. Where are your passions?

What breaks your heart? Who's doing great work in the name of Jesus? And where do all of those things intersect? Our friends at the National Christian Foundation have a great passion inventory tool that can allow you to align your passions with great ministries that you could support.

ncfgiving.com, just go to their resource library and you'll find a wealth of information there. So I don't want to be legalistic about it, and I think clearly we are under the new covenant. But in just about every case, if not every case, Jesus raised the standard, he didn't lower it.

So those of us who are now under the new covenant, and we've seen what he's done for us on the cross, I think we should be holding what we have very, very loosely out of our incredible gratitude for what the Lord has done for us. Does that help, Dave? Yeah.

I was just going to see if you could give me a percentage number if somebody wants to get serious and try that. Are you suggesting 10% on that? I would say that is a great starting point.

Absolutely, yeah. So I would say if you want to give a tithe, the word tithe means a tenth, I'd say use that as a beginning point. Build a 10% percentage gift based on your increase, whatever comes into your hand every month, give that to the local church, and then look to increase that over time and look to give sacrificially beyond that. But for those listening to say, Rob, I just can't do that, I would say start somewhere and begin watching as the Lord works in your life and just see what happens.

Trust me in that, and then let us know how it goes. Dave, I understood you had a second part to your question. How can I help you with that? I do have another question I think a lot of other listeners would want to know the answer to. In the past, you've spoken about putting a freeze on your credit report and your credit score.

I got a pad of paper. Can you give me the simple five, six steps to do that, exactly what that is? Yes, absolutely. So Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax all have web pages where you can set up credit freezes. Again, Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax are the three bureaus. Now, they will have you supply or create a personal identification number, a PIN number to use when reactivating your freeze. So you'll have to input your full name, including your middle name, social security number, addresses for the past two years, and date of birth. And then you can go back online and use your PIN to unfreeze your credit whenever you want or refreeze it if you're out seeking credit. But they make it very easy to do. Their websites are the best place to go. Again, Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, there's no cost to this based on some legislation that changed in 2019. There used to be. But this is a great way to make sure nobody opens an account fraudulently in your name that you might be responsible for or at the very least could create some havoc in your credit report. Does that make sense?

I don't have them handy, but I would head to the website, and you can find the information there. Again, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Dave, thanks for listening, and thanks for your call today. More to come on MoneyWise Live just around the corner.

We'll be right back. We're grateful you've joined us for MoneyWise Live today. I'm Rob West, your host, and this is the program where we apply God's truth to your financial decisions. Hey, if you're a part of the MoneyWise community, you've availed yourself of this broadcast or you've been in our MoneyWise app or on the website, you've helped yourself to a certified kingdom advisor or a MoneyWise coach, we would ask that you'd consider a gift. We do what we do through your generous support. Our listeners, you and our users on the website are the ones that support this ministry and allow us to do what we do.

It's quick and easy to give, just head to our website, MoneyWiseLive.org, click the donate button, and we would certainly be grateful. Now, we've got some great calls coming up. Michelle wants to talk about whether to tithe on unemployment. Winston wants to know the difference between a will and a trust, and Timothy wants to ask about social security related to a pension that he's earning, but we're going to begin next in Austin, Texas. Tracy, what's on your mind? Hi, thanks for taking my call.

Sure. I've been talking to a bunch of coworkers that are, you know, everybody's kind of concerned about money right now, so looking for ways to make more money, and a few of them are playing around on the stock market and they're using different apps. One of the apps they told me about was called Stash, and it sounded like a kind of a safe way to kind of learn about the stock market, but you can invest for a dollar or up to five dollars or whatever you'd like to. That all sounds fun and like a great thing, but there's got to be a bigger catch, I would presume, and so I'm calling you. Very good, Tracy.

Well, I appreciate you checking with us. You know, Stash is one of the many, many new apps that have come out under what's called Fintech, that stands for financial technology, which I think is a wonderful trend because it's making financial resources and financial assistance available to far more people, both in the form of helpful savings tools as well as investing tools. You know, even take the MoneyWise app that we developed to help you manage your spending plan.

I mean, all of this is putting incredible tools right in the palm of your hand, which allows you to be a more effective steward of God's resources. Stash is certainly one of those, and it fits into this robo-advisor category that I've talked about before, where using algorithms, anybody can get invested, and on a low-cost basis with a very widely diversified portfolio using, in most cases, indexed ETFs that are index funds that track the broad market, you can get investing with a very little amount of money. Stash gets pretty good reviews. It's for beginners because it really is a way for you to get started in investing easily. It does give you some more flexibility than the others, so basically they're going to encourage you to set up systematic, automatic contributions into your account, which is then going to be invested using a very effective, time-honored strategy called dollar-cost averaging, which just simply means that every time you make a deposit into your Stash account, it's automatically reinvested, which means you're going to buy in at all points in the market's ebb and flow. You'll buy in when the market's high, when the market turns down a year or two from now. If we got into a recession, you'll put in the same amount of money and get a lot more shares because the market will have declined in value, but dollar-cost averaging is a very effective tool, and using what they call auto-Stash, you basically just select the amount you want to set aside and how often you want to do it, and it just happens automatically. And then, as you said, they can invest it in ETFs or stocks as you place the money in your account. Now, the only downside, if there is one, to Stash is that the monthly fees tend to be higher than with the other robo-advisors. So it's one that's getting a lot of attention, but it's slightly more costly than some of the others. My favorites, if you wanted to set up automatic contributions to begin investing, would be either Betterment, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, or the Vanguard Advisor.

All three of those are similar in nature. They're robo-advisors, but they're very low cost, and they're going to be less expensive than Stash. Does that help? Yeah, it helps a lot. Thank you so much. I appreciate it. All right, Tracy. Thank you for your call. Lord bless you. Let's head to Memphis, Tennessee. Timothy's up next.

Timothy, how can I help you? Yes. My quick question is, I was talking to some friends about pension and just social security. Could you draw both of those, or do you get less in social security because you have a pension?

That's a great question, Timothy. In the vast majority of cases, a pension will not affect your social security benefits because, in most cases, your employer withheld social security taxes from your paycheck. Do you happen to know if the FICA taxes were withheld in your case?

I'm not for sure right now, but I will check on that. All right, you'll want to check on that because in the event taxes were not withheld, which, again, is in not the majority of cases, you would be subject to something called the WEP, which is the Windfall Elimination Provision, which basically covers people who earn pensions from jobs that did not withhold social security taxes, but who also qualify for social security due to other work. So in that case, social security would use a modified formula to calculate your retirement benefit amount because you were covered by the WEP. So you'd have a lower social security benefit, but it never reduces it down to zero percent. So what I would encourage you to do is contact your local social security office or go online to SSA.gov, schedule a virtual meeting, and they can pull up your record and tell you how many quarters you've been contributing, whether the FICA taxes were withheld, and whether you're going to be entitled to full benefits or reduced benefit through the windfall elimination. Do you follow?

Yes, I do. And a quick question, and I'm not planning on doing this. It's better to, like I said, when you do retire, it's better to draw a monthly stipend than trying to pull it all down. Well, when you talk about a pension, you generally have an option either to take a lump sum or a monthly payout. The benefit of the lump sum is you'd have access to the full amount of money, and if you needed it more than just a monthly income stream because you had major expenses, usually medically related in that season of life, you have access to the funds. But you'd be responsible for managing it and investing it, and I would encourage you to hire an investment advisor. If you don't want to assume that risk, Timothy, and you'd be more comfortable just getting a monthly payout, and you believe that that monthly payout plus Social Security would cover your needs for the rest of your life, that may give you some peace of mind. But in most cases, I would, assuming you're willing to take on the risk and hire an investment professional, I'd encourage you to consider taking the lump sum because you have access to the funds. But at the end of the day, that's a decision I would make through significant planning with an investment professional. If you don't have one, you can find a CKA there in Memphis when you go to our website, MoneyWiseLive.org. We appreciate your call. Back to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, WKES Winston. Thank you for your call.

How can I help you? What is the difference between a will and a trust? And me and my wife made a will about 30 years ago with a lawyer. Is it still valid? And what does it mean when one says a will has to be probated?

Yes, very good. A will is a legal document that spells out how you want your affairs handled and assets distributed, Winston, after you die. A trust is a fiduciary relationship where a trustor gives a trustee the right to hold title to property or assets for the benefit of a third party. So essentially, a trust offers more control over the assets because you can name a trustee that, based on the trust agreement, can allow them to handle your assets according to your wishes, not only at death, but even prior to death based on certain triggering events. A will is a legally enforceable document that states how you want your affairs handled and assets distributed, and it can include a funeral arrangements. It does require a probate, which basically just simply means that at your death, a probate court would be responsible for ultimately determining how your estate is handled.

And that will is the governing document that will inform them how to do that. But it's a part of the public record, and it takes some time for the probate court to work through the distribution of your assets and the handling of your affairs. So some people choose to use a trust for a variety of reasons, but most often it's because either they don't want their information to be a part of the public record or they want a little more control. For instance, if they had a lifelong dependent or they had minor children, they didn't want the money or assets distributed until they reached a certain age or met certain criteria, or they wanted to be able to have a trustee in place if they were incapacitated prior to their death. All of that could be handled by a trust.

So it is more expensive. So I'd encourage you to visit with a godly estate planning attorney to find out if all you need to do is just update your will. And I'd encourage you to do that whenever anything changes or every two or three years, or whether a trust would actually make sense in your situation. We appreciate your call today. Let's quickly move along to Orlando, Florida. Michelle, I've got just about a minute left. How can I help you?

Hi, thanks for taking my call. I just would like to know unemployment. If you're receiving unemployment in the summer times, I'm out of words and I receive unemployment. Should I tie up my 10%? Yeah, it's a great question, Michelle.

Let me just answer simply and then I'll elaborate a bit. I would. I believe that's part of God's provision to you. And I think even in this season, and perhaps especially in this season, it's a demonstration of your dependence and ultimate trust in the Lord to say, God, I trust you. Thank you for this provision.

Perhaps I'm in a situation I didn't expect, or it's not terribly pleasant right now, but I trust you. And I want to even in this season, recognize what you've given to me and take a portion of what you've entrusted and return it to you through the tithe. I think that's a great starting point and you can't out give God and crank it through your calculator. It may not make sense, but my experience in counseling hundreds and hundreds of families is somehow it works out and the Lord provides. At the end of the day, though, I would just say, Michelle, don't be legalistic about it.

Get on your knees, talk to the Lord about it, ask him what he would have you to do, and then you follow suit. I don't think there's a right or wrong answer here, but I would again say you can't out give God and we appreciate your call today. I want to say thank you to my amazing team, Amy Rios, Deb Solomon, Jim Henry, and Aaron Houlian. I want to say thank you to you for being here today, for listening, for calling, for giving, to support our ministry. We can't do it without you.

MoneyWise Live is a partnership between Moody Radio and MoneyWise Media. I'll be back tomorrow to do it all over again. I hope you'll join me. We'll be here. God bless you and have a great evening.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-22 05:12:20 / 2023-09-22 05:29:44 / 17

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