Today's version of MoneyWise Live is prerecorded, so our phone lines are not open. Once upon a time in America, envy was considered bad form and looked down upon. But today in our material society, envy is almost considered a virtue.
Hi, I'm Rob West. Advertisers spend billions to convince you that you're not happy with your lot in life. But make no mistake, the Bible still calls envy a sin. We'll talk about that first today. Then we have some great questions lined up for you.
But don't call in today because we're prerecorded. This is MoneyWise Live, where biblical wisdom meets today's financial decisions. So let's start with a definition, this one from an evangelical dictionary. Envy is the sin of jealousy over the blessings and achievements of others. Well, that's pretty straightforward and it tells us that the words envy and jealousy are interchangeable. Why then is envy a sin?
Well, first and foremost, because God's word says so in several places, most notably is the 10th Commandment in Exodus 20 17. You shall not covet your neighbor's house, you shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that is your neighbor's. And of course, covet is another word for envy.
Today our neighbors don't have oxen or donkeys to covet, but we can still envy their new SUV or in-ground pool. Like the sin of pride, envy also leads to many other sins. In James 4 verses 2 and 3 we find, You desire and do not have, so you murder, you covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and you do not receive because you ask wrongly to spend it on your passions. You see, there's a difference between envy and the proper motivation to better one's life.
For one, you're willing to work hard and you're content with what the Lord provides. But with envy, you feel entitled and deprived. You feel that someone, namely God, owes you something. Envy is ugly and destructive. James 3 16 tells us, For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder in every vile practice.
So let's look at some of those vile practices, if you will. Envy rears its ugly head very early in the Bible. In Genesis 4, Cain is jealous of his brother because God looked with favor on Abel's offering, but not his. In verse 8 we read, Now Cain said to his brother Abel, Let us go out to the field.
While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. So envy was the cause of the very first murder. It was also envy that made Joseph's brothers feel justified in selling him into slavery in Genesis 37. In verses 23 and 24 we read, So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the robe of many colors that he wore, and they took him and threw him into a pit.
Of course Joseph's brothers would have killed him had Reuben not intervened. We also see the destructive power of envy in two stories from David's life. First, when Saul became jealous of David's fame after he slew Goliath, women sang David's praises. First Samuel 18 8 and 9 reads, And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands.
And what more can he have but the kingdom? And Saul eyed David from that day on. Having first become the victim of envy, David later succumbed to it himself by coveting and taking another man's wife Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11. Worse, he sent her husband Uriah to certain death in battle to cover his sin.
In verse 15 David tells Joab, Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him that he may be struck down and die. Envy or jealousy is a powerful emotion that we have to always be on our guard against. Proverbs 27 4 warns, Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy? So how do you know if envy has taken hold in your life? Well, one way would be to look at your finances. Are you living beyond your means, running up credit card debt to finance a lifestyle that you really can't afford? We used to say this was keeping up with the Joneses.
Now some people call it FOMO, which is an acronym for fear of missing out. You want what others have, and you're willing to go into debt to get it. If you don't get it under control and learn to live on less than you make, well, you're headed for a financial disaster. So here's what you can do.
First, pray that the Holy Spirit would give you contentment with what the Lord has provided. And then second, if you need help setting up a budget and finding ways to cut your spending, sign up with one of our volunteer coaches. You can do that at MoneyWiseLive.org.
Just click connect with a coach. All right, coming up, we have some great questions lined up, but hold your calls because we're prerecorded. I'm Rob West and this is MoneyWise Live. We'll be right back. Welcome back to MoneyWise Live. I'm Rob West.
This is where God's word intersects with your financial life. So glad to have you along with us today. Hey, our team is taking some time off today. This program is prerecorded, so don't call in today. Wait till we're live in the studio, but we do have some great calls all lined up ready for you today.
I'm sure you'll enjoy them. Boy, a delightful call from Judas. You know, so many of you listening to what he shared, I'm sure could find yourself in his shoes, where you got caught up in the things of this world.
It's so easy to happen to any of us. And next thing we know, we're in debt and we don't have the ability to pay our bills. And we realize what the Lord meant when he said, you've got to choose.
Is it God or mammon? And, you know, we each have to come to that place. As we talked off the air, he was encouraged about the change that he can make. He's going to reach out to christiancreditcounselors.org. And we're going to send him a copy of the Stewardship Bible with all the money passages highlighted in green, because we all need to be meditating on God's word. If we're struggling with this area of finance, you need to know God's heart related to money, because it's completely different than the world. And it will change your thinking. It will renew your mind as it relates to how you view the things of this world and the material possessions and the money that the Lord entrusts to us.
But when we put it under his Lordship, it changes everything, because now money becomes a tool to accomplish God's purposes. So, Judas, all the best to you, my friend, and look forward to hearing the rest of the story when you call us back in the future. Tammy is in Illinois. Hi, Tammy. How can we help you today?
Hi. Thank you for taking my call. I have some credit card debt and a couple of loans that I want to pay off because they're really affecting my credit. My credit is being affected. And I was wondering, would it make sense to get a credit card and pay off everything and just make one lump sum?
No, I'm not a big fan of that strategy. So you said you have some credit card debt and then some other loans. What are those other loans? I have loans for the personal loan. Okay.
All right. And what is the interest rate on that personal loan? I believe it's pretty high.
It's like 22%. Wow. Wow. Okay. And that's to an individual? It's through RISE Credit. I don't know if you've ever heard of them. Okay, I haven't.
But yeah, that's sky high. So we're going to want to take care of that. No, Tammy, here's what I would do. I would tell you the same thing I told Judas is that I would look to Christian credit counselors first, which is a credit counseling program. Here's the way that works. They're going to work with each of your creditors to determine as long as the accounts are closed, how much they can reduce the interest rate on these cards and loans. And once they establish the new interest rates and get you on one set monthly payment every month, then you'll build that right into your budget. And because that payment doesn't decrease over time and with the lower interest rates, you should be able to pay this off 80% faster. I don't like going out and taking new credit, starting the balance transfer game, that in and of itself will further reduce your score.
And often it just results in you jumping from one card to the next, you're having to pay usually two to three percent on the front end of the total balance every time you make one of these transfers. And you know, we've got to solve the problem that got us here in the first place, which is my next point. And that is, if you're not living on a balanced budget, we've got to really dial into your spending plan. You've got to know what you're spending every month, you've got to have a plan to track it and control it. You've got to cut all discretionary spending that's not absolutely necessary, because the key to getting out from under this Tammy is to have some margin beyond what you do right now that you can be sending to all of these accounts so that we can get those balances paid off quickly. And then once they're paid off, let's redirect that money into savings, not additional lifestyle. So head on over to christiancreditcounselors.org, tell them we sent you. They'll set you up on a budget, they'll evaluate all of your debt, and I think they'll get you going in the right direction. And may the Lord be with you as you navigate this moving forward.
Folks, thanks for being along with us. Much more to come on MoneyWise Live, where God's Word guides our financial decisions. You're listening to an encore presentation of MoneyWise Live. You can find out more information about the topics we're talking about when you visit our website, moneywiselive.org.
Today's program is prerecorded, so keep that in mind. We're going to pause for a brief break, but we'll be back in a moment with more MoneyWise Live. Welcome back to MoneyWise Live. I'm Rob West.
This is where God's Word intersects with your financial life. So glad to have you along with us today. Hey, our team is taking some time off today. This program is prerecorded, so don't call in today. Wait till we're live in the studio, but we do have some great calls all lined up ready for you today.
I'm sure you'll enjoy them. Let's head back to the phones. In Illinois is Edwin. Thank you for your call today. How can I help you, sir? Hello, Rob. God bless for your ministry. Thank you, sir.
My question is, I want to try to start investing, but I got no clue how to start, you know, 401k and investing in general. Sure. Yes.
Well, the starting place is to make sure that you've got some other financial priorities taken care of first, Edwin. Let me just ask a couple of questions. Are you living on a budget? Yes.
Okay. And do you have an emergency fund? That would be an amount of money in savings that you could use if you had something unexpected come out of left field.
That's correct. I have maybe around 40, 45,000 in savings. Wow. Okay.
Yeah. So I think, you know, the goal there, assuming you're not in retirement, would be probably three to six months expenses in that savings account. So let's say you total up your monthly spending and you multiply that by three or up to six. And that would be the amount I would want that in an online savings account, preferably where you're earning a little bit of interest. It's protected, but you can easily transfer it over to your checking if you need it, but it's not too accessible there in kind of your main funding account.
So you don't use it inadvertently. Anything beyond that, I would consider surplus. And then I would look to see if you have any consumer debt. Do you have any credit card debt or other consumer debt? It's minimal credit card debt. Maybe it's around 2000.
Okay. Well, I would knock that out first with your savings right away. And again, I would go back to making sure that you've addressed the issue that got to that 2000. Now, if that's 2000 that you charge up during the month and then you pay it off in full, that's one thing because those are then budgeted items and you've got the money to pay it off. If that's a balance you're carrying of a couple of grand, there's no reason for that. That's in a, you know, as soon as you pay that off, that's a guaranteed return equal to the interest rate. Let's say the interest rates on the lower end at 14%.
Well, you're not going to find a 14% return in the stock market. So it makes a lot of sense to pay that off. But I want to make sure that you've addressed any issues that caused that debt, meaning overspending beyond your means. And the only way to do that is to really dial into a spending plan and then have a process to track the flow of money in and out. That's why we created the Money Wise app. So you could use the digital envelope system.
You could download that in your app store today. But once you've addressed that, then I think it's a great idea to start thinking about saving for the future. And if you have a 401k available at work, Edwin, I would start there.
Hopefully there's some matching there. And the goal would be over time to get that up to 10 to 15% of your take home pay, just kind of as a rule of thumb, so that you've got a good bit going on a tax deferred basis into your 401k. And then you would choose among the investment options in the plan, there's going to be a set number of investment sources, mutual funds probably, that you'll pick from. You could use one of the target date funds, which would be very simple, where you would basically select the fund that has the date that you would expect to retire. So let's say you're going to retire 20 years from now, you would pick the 2041 fund. And that's going to make sure that you're properly invested from a diversification and an allocation standpoint, so that you've got the lion's share going to stocks and a very small amount going to bonds because you have plenty of time to be more aggressive.
And then as you get closer and closer to retirement, it would get more and more conservative. Or you could choose from among the various stock mutual funds in the plan. And you may want to ask for some assistance from one of the representatives from the 401k administration company.
So that would be my best advice on how you get started. And let me just confirm, you do have a 401k available at work? I do. I do.
I do have one. So that would be a salary deferral that comes out of your paycheck. But you've got to build that in your spending plan because as soon as you do that, you're going to get less money every month that you've got to be able to use for your expenses. If you have money left over from that, once you put aside the three to six months expenses, you said you had about $45,000 in savings. An option for that, assuming it's money that's for the long term, meaning for retirement, I would open a Roth IRA, R-O-T-H. And you can put in $6,000 this year. If you're married, you could put in another $6,000. And if you're over 50, you guys could add $1,000 to that. But that would give you a place to put some of this excess money that you want to grow for the future. And I would look to the Schwab Intelligent Portfolios or Betterment as a robo-advisor to get you started on that investing.
Schwab Intelligent Portfolios or Betterment, you want to open a Roth IRA, make the contribution for the excess beyond the emergency fund, and then you'll get that invested as well. So I hope that gets you started in the right direction. You stay on the line. I'm going to send you a copy of Austin Pryor's book, Sound Mind Investing, the handbook.
And I think that will give you some great insights as well on how you can manage money God's way and invest for the future. And we appreciate your call today. We're going to head next to Illinois. Tyler, thank you for your patience. How can I help you?
Hi, Tyler, are you with us? Yes, definitely. So just a new guy just getting a credit card. First time having a credit card. What are some principles you think should guide my spending? I was a little apprehensive because I don't want to go into debt at all. But some people are saying it would help my credit score long term.
So what would you say are some good guiding principles? Yeah, I love this, Tyler, that you're thinking about this on the front end, because having a healthy respect for credit and the power of unsecured credit is really important, especially as you're starting out in your financial life. Because if you take this ability to spend beyond your means, and that's what a credit card allows you to do, and you exercise that and run up some debt with some expenses that you actually can't pay for, you're going to start heading up debt mountain, like to call it and you know, those bills will build up over time, you'll end up spending a lot in in interest. So the absolute essential item for using credit is that you only use it for budgeted items. So you've got to start with a spending plan, you've got to say, Okay, what do I have to work with? And then you want to, you know, take out any automatic deduction.
So, you know, health insurance that comes out of your paycheck, and you know, other types of insurance, any retirement contributions, and then what you have left, I want you to add in your giving right up front. And whatever you want to be saving on a monthly basis, let's say you're still building your emergency fund. And then you want to live on the rest, build your budget, you're spending every month based on what's left after those essential items come out. And then with that credit card, you only use that for things that are in the budget, not for things you can't afford that are unbudgeted that you say, Well, I'll pay that off, you know, over the next several months, because invariably, that just won't happen. And if you can discipline yourself to do that, Tyler, then you will actually be able to build your credit, because you'll be reported as an on time payer every month to the credit reports. And that's an essential key to building your credit. Also, the fact that you pay it off every month means you're going to keep your credit utilization at near zero.
That's also going to build your credit score. So I think that's the next step for you is to build that spending plan and the MoneyWise app can help you do that. In fact, I'd love to give you a six months of a pro subscription to our MoneyWise app. So you stay on the line, we'll get your information and get that right out to you.
And folks, if you'd like to check out the MoneyWise app, it's in your app store, just search for MoneyWise Biblical Finance. Hey, this is a reminder that we're not live today. But we do have lots of great information coming up in the rest of the program. So please stick around.
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 today's program. Welcome back to MoneyWise Live, delighted to have you along with us today. Hey, if you'd like to connect with one of our MoneyWise coaches, they'd be happy to assist you. These are men and women who have been especially trained as volunteers and as a part of their ministry to walk alongside God's people to help you set up a spending plan, a debt repayment plan, a giving plan, teach you a few of these principles we talk about here on MoneyWise Live.
It's very practical. You can do it all virtually over webcams, and they'll walk you through our process to actually begin to track your spending and get that spending plan in place, perhaps for the very first time. It's our MoneyWise coaches. The only cost is we'll ask you to pay $25 for the digital workbook that goes along with it. But all the coaching and the subsequent meetings, absolutely free. It's our ministry to you. Just head to our website moneywiselive.org and click connect with a coach. All right, let's head back to the phones.
Barb is in Illinois, and I understand you want to talk about your mortgage. How can I help you today? Yes. So I'll start with a very, very brief question.
And then if you need more information, you can ask me. So I guess in general, if you're going to pay down part of your mortgage, like make extra payments on the principal, does it matter? Do you first have to decide how much longer you're going to be in the house? So for example, like we're in our early 60s, we're still working. If we think we're going to maybe sell the house in five years versus no, if we decide, on the other hand, to just stay in the house forever, does that make any difference as far as whether or not it's wise to start paying down some of the principal?
No, it really doesn't, Barb. I mean, the only thing that would cause me to say you may not want to do that would just be if there's other more pressing priorities, you had high interest consumer debt, or you didn't have your emergency fund, and therefore, you don't have enough liquid capital for the unexpected. And so you wouldn't want to put that on a mortgage that's very illiquid. But apart from, you know, having a spending plan and doing some systematic giving and getting your debt, consumer debt under control and having an emergency fund beyond that, and hopefully you're contributing something for the longer term to retirement, then if you have surplus, I love the idea of accelerating your mortgage payoff. You know, just one extra payment a year, whether you do that at one time or one twelfth every month will take a 30 year mortgage and shave, in most cases, about five years off of the mortgage, just one payment a year. So, you know, getting extra going to principal is just less interest you're going to pay. And even if you think you're going to sell this home in five years, you're just going to end up saving the interest on that extra principal for five years. And then secondly, having more equity to pull out of the home to roll into your next property so you can get that one hopefully paid off even quicker.
So there's no reason not to prepay the mortgage, assuming you've taken care of those other priorities, even if you plan to move in the next five years. Did you follow that, though? Yes. And so the answer is yes to all those other very excellent points you raised. I mean, we do have a huge emergency fund. We do. You know, we are giving to the Lord.
We are putting a lot into retirement. So yes to all those things. I guess I just thought that if we're going to be selling anytime soon, I thought maybe then it wouldn't make as much sense because then we're not going to have all that interest down the road anyway.
But you're saying, well, at least you would save the interest for the time being. Right. And more. Sure. Go ahead. Well, I was just going to say my other question, too, is does it matter?
I've been researching a little bit. I like to try to squeeze. You know, I was raised to be very frugal.
So I try to, you know, obviously within the limits of the law, squeeze every penny I can to make it stretch further, which I think is good stewardship. But does it make any difference as far as what time of the month? Like, does it make the most sense if your goal is to save interest on the mortgage? Do you want to make the extra principal payment right before the payments do or right after or some said only do it in the longer months, not the shorter months?
I mean, do you have any opinion as to any of that, the timing of that? No, it really doesn't matter, because here's the thing. I mean, once that's credited to the principal, then when the interest is calculated for the next period, which would be the next month, it's going to be calculated on a lesser amount because there's less principal outstanding. So I would just send it with your scheduled mortgage payment. However, your lender or mortgage servicer wants that cut to come in.
Just make sure that it's noted the way they want it so that it does, in fact, go directly to principal and that shouldn't be difficult. But I would just send it with that scheduled monthly payment. And then as it's applied to the principal, then that's a lesser balance that your next period, which is the next billing cycle, the next month, that's going to be a lesser amount that the interest is charged against. And then back to your previous question, I would say, you know, yes, you're going to save the interest on the next five years while you're still in the home. But what's even more important than that, I think, Barb, is that when you sell it, you're going to get more equity out because you've got a lesser balance than you would if you just stayed on your current amortization schedule. And I assume you're going to buy another home and hopefully you put all that into the next home, which is going to give you a smaller balance there that you'll prepay. And we're just going to get you out of having a mortgage, whether it's a mortgage on this one or the next one, even quicker. And that's the goal to be completely debt free. So just see it as prepaying toward your mortgage.
That's eventually going to go to your next mortgage to keep that as low as possible. And I hope that helps. Sounds like you're doing a lot of things right. And you really want to honor the Lord with your managing of your money or his money. And you're doing a great job with it. Thank you for your call. To Austin, Texas.
Regina, how can I help you? Oh, yeah, I have about 20,000 in a regular savings account with my credit union. I don't have any auto payment.
I use my credit card every month to pay my bills, but I pay the balance in full. I'm contributing to my 401k at work, but only 3%. I have an additional 500 that I can save. And just wondering what I should do with their 500. You have an extra 500 a month from your paycheck that you're not spending.
Is that right? Yeah. That I could add to my savings account. Okay. And do you already have the equivalent of at least three months worth of expenses and savings? I have more. Okay, great.
Yeah. So I'd probably freeze that and then take that 500 and either increase your giving or increase the amount going to that retirement plan. I'd love for you to get that up to 10%, ultimately 15% of your pay. And at 3%, you still got a good bit of room there. So if you have, you're paying your bills every month means you're living on a budget, you've got your emergency fund. That's great. Let's try to boost that retirement savings over time. And that $500 a month or 6,000 a year would be a great addition to those retirement contributions. So just tell them to increase the amount they're taken out of your salary deferral and you'll be glad you did down the road. We appreciate your call today.
Fort Payne, Alabama. Elizabeth, how can I help you? Yes, I was trying to decide. My husband and I started a remodel on our home about five years ago and then I had some major health problems and we ran into a lot of bills because our insurance changed and we didn't realize it and we ended up having to pay a lot of what was going on. So we started doing that instead. And we're now at the point where we were about ready to remodel again and of course now wood prices has gone up and a lot of things have changed and a lot of prices have gone up. And so we were looking at our options and several people had told us to get a construction loan and just do that for now so that we could go ahead and get it done. But then I was talking to somebody else and they said to get a HELOC loan so that we could get it over time and then that way we'd have the loan sitting there and if we wanted to get it, you know, whenever we could do that as well. But then I was looking at REFI and we actually still owe about 20 years on our home because we did it on 30 and our interest rate is at 5.125% at this point. So I was thinking if we could do a REFI and get the money with the REFI and then get a lower interest rate then we could do it on 15 years. That would cut five more years off of our payments and get it paid that five years faster and then we could do the remodel as well.
Yes. Well, I like this plan and I think because your interest rate is where it is and you're planning to do the remodel anyway and you have a good bit of margin it sounds like in your budget because you're telling me you can afford a 15 year mortgage with a larger balance because you're going to pull money out for the remodel which tells me you've got some room in the budget to absorb that. That all makes a lot of sense to me.
I don't like the idea of you taking out the HELOC. Interest rates are going to be headed higher. That's going to have a variable rate associated with it which means even if it's still pretty low when you pull the money, it could end up being a good bit higher over time.
So I think assuming you've got a good credit score which I suspect you do, you could probably knock maybe even a couple of points off that interest rate and then reduce your term. That all makes tons of sense. With the remodel, it sounds like you're going to stay put for a while as long as you're going to plan to be there five to seven years. I think this is a great plan, Elizabeth.
Go ahead and pull that money out and as soon as you're ready to start the remodel, you've got the funds available there at a low fixed rate and if you've got surplus now or down the road, you can always prepay that mortgage as quickly as you need to. Does that make sense? Yes, it does. That's exactly what I was thinking but I think I just needed confirmation. Okay, very good. Well, you're on the right track and you're making some good decisions here. So I appreciate you checking with us and all the best to you as you all make those improvements in the house.
I hope you enjoy it. We appreciate your call. Well, folks, unfortunately, we're about out of time but we've covered a lot of ground today. Boy, thinking back to Judas' call where he was just saying, you know, I got caught up in the things of this world and cryptocurrency and I made some money and I felt like I had a lot and then I realized I was living way beyond my means and now I've got 80,000 in debt and I want to do it God's way. And you know, we're all there to some degree saying, you know what, we want to do it God's way.
Don't let us get caught up in the culture and the comparison trap. Well, we've got to go back to scripture all the time, which is what we do on this program. Thanks for being with us today.
MoneyWise Live is a partnership between Moody Radio and MoneyWise Media. I hope you'll come back and join us tomorrow. I'll be here. We'll look for you then and the Lord bless you. Bye-bye.
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