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God’s Part

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore
The Truth Network Radio
January 19, 2022 5:08 pm

God’s Part

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore

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January 19, 2022 5:08 pm

God created, owns and controls everything, right down to the change in your pocket. We certainly have a part in managing those resources, but so does God. On today's MoneyWise Live, host Rob West welcomes Howard Dayton to talk about what part God has in managing your money. Then Rob will answer your financial questions from a biblical perspective. 

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Rob West and Steve Moore
Finishing Well
Hans Scheil
Rob West and Steve Moore
Rob West and Steve Moore
Finishing Well
Hans Scheil

First Chronicles 29 11 reads, Everything in the heavens and earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as being in control of everything.

I am Rob West. God created, owns, and controls everything, right down to the change in your pocket. We certainly have a part in managing those resources, but so does God. I'll talk about that with Howard Dayton today, then it's on to your calls at 800-525-7000.

That's 800-525-7000. This is MoneyWise Live, biblical wisdom for your financial decisions. Well, our guest is Howard Dayton, founder of Compass Finances God's Way and former host of this program. Howard, always great to have you back with us. Well, and it's always great to be with you, Rob. So, Howard, Scripture teaches there are two parts to the handling of our money.

You've taught this for many years. There's God's part and ours. But that still leaves room for confusion. Wouldn't you agree?

I sure would, Rob. For me, most of my confusion related to handling money was for this reason. I didn't fully understand that God had a part, I had a part, but clearly God's part is the foundation. In Scripture, God calls Himself by more than 250 names, and the name that best describes His part in the area of money is Lord. And it's really important that we grasp how we view God, because it really determines how we live. And when you think about it, you know, Job, he'd lost his children, he'd lost all his possessions in just a very short period of time, but why was he still able to worship the Lord? And it's because he knew God, and he knew God's role as owner of those possessions and even his children.

That's exactly right. And there are three key areas where God fulfills his role with our finances. Those are ownership, control, and provision.

I'd love for you to speak to each of these briefly. Let's begin with ownership. Well, Rob, it's really clear that God's the owner of everything. Psalm 24, 1 tells us the earth is the Lord's and everything in it. Scripture even reveals specific items God owns. Leviticus 25, 23 says He owns all the land. Haggad 2, 8 reveals that the silver is His, the gold is His.

And in Psalm 50, 10, the Lord tells us for every beast of the forest is mine and the cattle on a thousand hills. And you know, Rob, when you think about it, the Lord's the creator of everything. And he never transferred the ownership of his creation to us. And recognizing God's ownership is so critical in Christ becoming the Lord of all of our money and possessions.

That's exactly right. So that's ownership. Let's move to the second area of God's role as being in control. Well, I love that passage that you read at the opening. We adore you as being in control of everything.

Does anybody have any questions on that? It's really clear. It is everything. And that's huge to grasp that. Well, that's exactly right.

All right. So there's God's ownership and then there's God's control. And now we'll talk about that third area of responsibility, which is provision. Yeah, and this is really a blessing to grasp that the Lord Himself is the one who promises to meet our basic needs.

Never forget this. In Matthew 6 33, Jesus tells us, But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things, meaning food and clothing, shall be added unto you. And in Genesis 22 14, God is spoken of as Jehovah Jireh, which means the Lord will provide. And Rob, in my experience, and I know yours, we've seen God taking care of his people, regardless of what happens on the stock market or how the economy is doing. And that's comforting.

Yes. Well, this is so helpful, Howard, to talk about God's role in the area of owner and being in control of everything and ultimately as provider. In the few seconds we have remaining, talk to those folks who are wondering why God allows difficult things to happen. In light of those roles, we can still go through some challenging times, can't we?

We sure can. And I think there's three basic reasons. First, he's maybe developing our character. Second, he might want to accomplish something and we don't realize that a tough time will get us there.

And thirdly, maybe there's areas where we're not following him and he's in a loving way, disciplining us to get our attention. Well, Howard, this is so helpful, so foundational. And perhaps next time you're here, we'll explore our role in managing God's resources. Thanks for being with us. Oh, my pleasure. Thank you, Rob.

That's Howard Dayton. You can read a lot more about this topic in his book, Your Money Counts. Your calls are next, 800-525-7000. This is MoneyWise Live.

We'll be right back. Delighted to have you with us today on MoneyWise Live. I'm Rob West, your host, taking your calls and questions on anything financial. We'd love to hear from you. We've got some lines open. 800-525-7000. That's 800-525-7000. Let's begin today in Davenport, Iowa. Jeff, thank you for calling.

How can I help you, sir? Well, we had a question at the board meeting last night about investing. We have approximately, in this one account we've got in a money market, approximately $181,000. Now, that's a long-term type, you know, it's reserve money, but the thought was maybe we could get a little more off, say, splitting $50,000 out of that and going with index funds from Fidelity or something and just capture the growth of the market. But we have some division on that because the one board member doesn't feel that we should ever subject that money to loss. But then we talked about the parable of the stewards whose owner left and left them in charge of the money and the one that didn't do anything with it.

But Barry, it really got admonished. Whose thinking is correct on this, do you think? Yeah, you know, I can give you my perspective on it. I'm not sure there's a definitive right or wrong answer. I appreciate so much you all really talking this through, and I think that's the role of this particular leadership body. You know, my perspective is, first of all, you should absolutely have cash reserves and you've got to define and have a policy as to what the appropriate amount of cash reserves is for your church. I think not having any is inadequate. I think having more than 12 months would probably be excessive. So somewhere in there, I think, you know, most churches, if they have the ability to do so, would say somewhere between six and 12 months would probably be right. But ultimately, you need to establish that policy for your church. And that should be in cash or near cash type assets in terms of holding that cash reserve, because that's there and should be immediately available if it's needed.

And there would be a number of things to consider as you determine that. You know, I think that would be, first of all, in addition to any mortgage reserves that are required by a lender. Secondly, it depends upon the financial condition of the church, whether or not you're projecting a budget, you know, that is going to be increasing or declining.

So it needs to be in line with that. And you need to just understand how important cash reserves are to faithful administration of the church's resources just to be a good steward. But beyond those cash reserves defined in that way, I'm not an advocate for taking any additional surpluses and putting them at the risk of the market. I just don't think, first of all, that was the purpose in which they were given in terms of, you know, they were given to the church to be used for ministry, to be used for the needs of the church.

And if you have excess, I would be looking at asking the question, you know, what was this given for? And do we have opportunity to do more, to spread the gospel, to serve the needs of the church and those in the surrounding community not to, you know, have the uncertain hope of getting a large financial return later when no direct kingdom ministry is being done by that money year after year? So I think for that reason, I would avoid this. And I would say it's different for a church to think about this than perhaps a family who's saving for retirement. You know, the long term down the road, the church has no need to prepare for a time where they're not able to work like an individual or a family would with a retirement fund, because if they're no longer receiving contributions, they would close their doors. So I think for a church, it's really, in my perspective, about first defining what is that appropriate amount of cash reserve, and then establishing a policy around that. And then beyond that, saying the rest of this was given to execute the ministry functions of the church, so let's get about the business of doing that, not putting it at the risk of the market.

But give me your thoughts on that, Jeff. Well, that's pretty much the way it fell down at our board meeting last night. Part of the board thinks that we should be using more of our money than we are, and the other part didn't want to lose anything.

And another part says, well, our reserves aren't keeping up with inflation, you know, we're losing money just because of inflation. So that's sort of where we fell, and I think answered our question quite well, that no, this isn't a thing to do with this particular money. We should be using, we should set what we need to set, and then do our ministry with whatever's left. That's certainly where I would come down. In terms of developing that philosophy and policy around the cash reserves, I would direct you to an article that you should be able to find with a quick Google search by the ECFA, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, called, Church Cash Reserves, How Much is Enough?

And it was authored by Dan Busby and Michael Martin. But it's a great article that really dives into this question of the scriptural basis and the process for determining the appropriate amount of cash reserves for your church. Again, church cash reserves, how much is enough?

But I would agree with what you just summarized, and that is beyond that amount that you all determined, I would not be looking for risk assets and investments. I'd be looking at doing the work that God has called you to through the church. Jeff, I hope that helps. We appreciate your call today. May the Lord bless you, sir. To Colorado Springs, Colorado, Samuel, thank you for calling. How can I help you?

Yeah, Rob, thank you for taking my call. My question is, I'm trying to, I mean, I have three other kids, and I want to take life insurance on them, or just a minimal amount of life insurance because, I mean, they work, but they don't have any coverage. And my fear is if something were to happen, God forbid, it would come right back to me. And so I'm thinking about just thinking of something minimal for them. My question is whether life, I mean, term life or the whole life will be better.

I don't know which one will be better. Also, I learned that with the whole life, you have some cash value earned over time. So my question is, if I did a whole life, does that mean when it says cash value, will I get a certain amount at a certain point? Because, I mean, I would not continue this insurance forever. At a certain point, I would have to cancel it.

Yes. Well, first is to find, Samuel, the difference between term and whole life insurance, and I think you understand the general idea. Term life is what I'll call pure insurance, where whole life adds a cash value component, as you described, that you can tap into your life during your lifetime. So term insurance is just straight death benefit to offset a risk that exists. The whole life is a combination savings and death benefit. Term coverage would, just as it says, cover you for a limited number of years, whereas whole life can provide lifelong protection if you can keep up with the premium payments. Whole life would typically cost somewhere between 5 and even 15 times more than a term policy for the same death benefit.

So it's often not an option for some folks, and as a result, they end up being underinsured, not having enough coverage. I also believe you can do better with your long-term savings outside of an insurance policy and have full access to your funds without surrender penalties and added costs, which is why I'm a fan of term and invest the rest as opposed to whole life. That also gives us the most affordable way to get the proper life insurance coverage that's needed, which I would say, you know, typically we would say a minimum of 10 times your earnings as a starting point, and then we'd look at perhaps an additional amount to pay off a mortgage, cover the cost of college, things like that. You know, as opposed to you taking this out for your kids payable to you because you recognize that potential hardship, that risk of one of your kids passing away would fall on you in terms of caring for their families, you know, that's one way to go. I would probably take this as an opportunity to educate them on the importance of good stewardship includes being able to provide for your families after your life, and life insurance is one of the key ways you do that. You know, during your working years, you know, really imparting this idea to your sons and daughters that, you know what, you need as a steward to make sure you have proper life insurance so if the Lord were to call you home, your families with minor children and, you know, while you're still in the working years with the loss of your income would have a real hardship, and therefore term insurance would allow you with a 20 or 30 year policy at a very inexpensive price point to build that right into your budget and cover and provide for your families beyond your life. And I think just educating them on the importance of that would be really important.

So perhaps you need to have that sit down with your kids to talk them through the role of life insurance as a good steward and why term insurance or pure insurance is the most cost effective way to make sure they have adequate coverage that would really offset the significant need that would exist if they were to die prematurely. So hopefully that helps you Samuel. I appreciate you thinking about this. It's certainly a great question to ask.

800-525-7000 is the number to call. We'll be right back. Thanks for tuning into MoneyWise Live, biblical wisdom for your financial decisions. This is the program where each afternoon we explore God's Word and apply his timeless wisdom and principles on money and possessions to the decisions we're making every day as we're stewards of God's money. We're glad that you're along with us today taking your calls and questions.

We've got two lines open 800-525-7000. Before we head back to the phones, let me remind you MoneyWise media is listener supported. That means we do what we do on this program every day through your generous support. And if you consider yourself a part of the MoneyWise family, perhaps you count on this broadcast. You've benefited from one of our MoneyWise coaches or the app.

You're on our website reading the content or maybe you've subscribed to our weekly wisdom email that comes out every Thursday. Whatever it might be, we would invite you to be a financial partner of this ministry so we can do more as we continue to share God's timeless wisdom. You can give quickly and easily on our website. Just head to and click the donate button. You'll also find a toll-free number if you'd rather give over the phone or send in a physical check. It's all there.

Again, slash, well, excuse me, just click the donate button when you get to and thanks in advance. All right, let's head back to the phones today. We've got a lot of great questions all lined up here. Next up is Tracy in Chicago and how can I help you? Yes, hi. Thanks for taking my call. I've been so blessed by this ministry over the years and I share with everyone they should experience this ministry, so thank you.

Oh, thank you. I want to know, my husband has five years before he retired and we want to know what are some good areas to invest in because we wanted to get started with investing. We do have a deferred comp at work, but we wanted to, I don't know, do something like a Roth IRA or maybe get on. I got on the Betterment app and it asks a question about if you want to do it as a married couple or single and we want to do it as a married couple, but I want to make sure that's the right approach. That's one of the things, but then my other quick question, if I may, is how can I get credit for, we both obviously pay for our vehicles and our mortgage, but because everything both were in my husband's name, I don't really see my credit being affected by it and we both want both of our credit to have a positive impact because of our on-time payments.

Yes, yes, very good. Well, a couple of thoughts on both of these. Let's tackle the retirement question first. Tracy, I think the best starting point is to do some retirement planning. If you could take advantage of one of the many retirement planning calculators online or even better than that would be sitting down with a financial planner, probably a CFP.

I'd recommend somebody who's also a certified Kingdom advisor that could really help you think through retirement, look at what your lifestyle spending is now, what you expect it to be five or more years down the road when your husband's ready to retire. Most often folks will live on somewhere between 70 and 80% of their pre-retirement income in retirement because they're no longer putting money aside for retirement. Hopefully, they're debt-free at that point. They may drop their life insurance.

The kids are off the payroll. So typically, lifestyle spending comes down, but whatever that number is, we want to define it and then we want to compare that to what known income sources you'll have at that time. Your deferred comp, what would you expect that to generate on a monthly basis? Social security, any other retirement sources and then if there's a gap there, that's where your additional investments, your retirement savings between now and then and or continued work, let's say part-time or something like that will offset that.

And that's really going to tell you are you all on track with what you've already done and what you already have in place or is there a shortfall that needs to be made up with a real concerted effort over the next five or more years like you're describing. Then, as we define what is needed to be put away to meet those goals, then we want to look at what are the best vehicles to invest in. I think a Roth IRA is a great option.

I like Betterment. With a Roth, it would have to be an individual Roth in one person's name. If you're doing taxable investing, which I'd always suggest you go with the retirement accounts where there's tax deferral or tax-free growth in the Roth, but if you have additional funds you want to invest, it's not a part of your emergency fund, I would do that in a joint account like you described where there's a right of survivorship there. So if one of you passes away, the other person immediately has full ownership of the account. Let's do this. We're going to take a quick break. When we come back on the other side of the break, I'll talk about your credit score and that second question that you asked. This is MoneyWise Live.

Stay with us. We'll be right back. Thanks for tuning in to MoneyWise Live. I'm Rob West, your host. We've got some great questions lined up today. Kathy's in Florida wants to talk about life insurance and retirement. Michelle wants to talk about tithing before you have your debts paid off, including your home. And Marie has questions about credit cards, but Tracy's been holding.

Tracy, just before the break, we were talking about retirement. I know the second part of your question had to do with a limited number of accounts being reported to your credit file, which is working against you because you have a lack of history. And we know that a lack of activity on that credit report is going to cause your credit score to not be as high as it could be if you had good positive activity being reported to that report.

So a couple of thoughts. One would be if you bought the home in your husband's name, because perhaps he's the one who's working outside the home and it was his income that was being documented. Obviously, you're not going to refinance or go through the process of changing the deed just for the sake of your credit report. But the next time you buy a car, even if you don't need your income to do it, perhaps you go ahead and put yourself in that mix so that you're taking it out in both of your names. That'd be one thing. Certainly, anytime you get a credit card, as long as you're using them for budgeted items and you're paying it off every month, I have no problem with credit cards. So that's a great opportunity for you to be able to have that history reported to your account, either as a joint owner or as an authorized user.

That will come over. You can also look at some of the newer options. For instance, Experian has been marketing their new product called Experian Boost, where accounts like utilities are reported to your credit file, which historically has not been done. You can get that positive information coming over, but that's assuming that those are in your name as well as your husband's.

So I think you just need to have some intentionality moving forward about making sure that these accounts are including you or that you have your own so that you can get that regular reporting going to your report in a way that's going to build your score over time. Does that make sense? Yes, it does. Thank you so much. Great. You're welcome. Thank you for your call today. We appreciate it.

We're going to stay in Chicago. That's where Marie's located. Marie, how can I help you? Hi, thanks for taking my call. I have a question about credit cards. I've got several credit cards in my late husband's name. I'm a widow for seven years and I'm an authorized user on the cards. I've notified the companies that he was passed away, but they didn't close out the accounts, so I just kept them. Now, since they're all paid up, there's no balance.

If I do use them, I pay it off within 30 days. Is it required that I change them over to my name? Most of the time they say if I change it, then I have to close the account and then reapply for credit in my name, even though I'm an authorized user on the accounts already.

Yes. That's actually the way that it should have been done. All credit card accounts should be closed immediately after the primary cardholder dies unless it's a joint account where you just notify them and it would become then an individual, although a lot of folks don't have joint accounts. You would typically see it the way you did it where you were an authorized user. So what I would do is, since they're continuing to allow you to use this, perhaps they just haven't realized, I would go ahead and open an account in your name, which is a good practice anyway because unless folks have these set up as joint accounts, if it hadn't gone down the way it has and it was handled properly, those accounts would have been closed immediately, Marie, and then you'd be left without a way or at least it'd be a hassle for you to figure out how to pay for things. And you may have automatic charges that would all have to be replaced and so forth, and that's why it's important for a spouse who's an authorized user to also have an account in their name as well. So I would begin that process of finding an account that you think would be good with no fees that perhaps gives you some cash back.

You could look at or, even to rank or rate the various credit cards to find the one that's the best fit for you. Get that account in place, and then once that's done, go ahead and get that other account closed out and then switch everything over. But essentially that's what should have already been done, and it'll be important that you go ahead and re-establish that with you as the primary cardholder. Does that make sense?

Yeah, it does. All right, well thank you very much. I appreciate it. Okay, you're very welcome. We appreciate your call today. Michelle is in Miami.

Michelle, how can I help you? Yes, thank you for taking my call. So my question is, I've been following the Day of Ramsey, seven steps, baby steps, and step number seven states that do not donate or give or create wealth until after you've paid off your house. And if you can pay off your house earlier, that's even better. So my question is, but I want to donate to my church, does that mean that I have to wait until I finish paying off my house before I can even donate?

No, not at all. And what I would tell you is, Dave is a friend, he does great work, he probably has the biggest platform to share God's principles of managing money than anyone. And what I would tell you he would say is that we should be giving or tithing right off the top. I've even heard him say whether you're in debt or walking through a rough financial season, tithing should still be a priority.

So I would absolutely affirm the idea, and I believe he would as well, that you should be giving right off the top. That's between you and the Lord as to how much. If you're going to follow the Old Testament principle of the tithe, you'd give a tenth systematically off of your increase. So I'd look at whatever provision is coming into you, and then you'd give starting with your local church. I think perhaps what Dave is talking about there on the baby steps is additional giving, other charitable, sacrificial giving. Perhaps that's where maybe we would disagree a bit, and I would be saying, I certainly wouldn't wait, and I don't think I've ever heard him say this, but I wouldn't wait until your mortgage is completely paid off before you're doing any additional giving beyond your tithe. I think that's a conversation between you and the Lord. I would hope that you're living within your means in such a way that you have margin, that you could follow the leading of the Holy Spirit to accelerate your giving over time.

I know Dave has talked for many years. One of the reasons that he's so excited about people getting out of debt is so they can give more. So he's a big proponent of giving. I think the question is the sequencing, and I would say you should be listening to the Holy Spirit and living in such a way that you have margin so you can accelerate your giving, not down the road as you're getting close to retirement with the house paid off, but now. And then when that happens, that's an opportunity for even more giving because you're going to have even more margin. But I wouldn't miss the opportunity that perhaps the Lord has for you today in lieu of something that's going to come years or even decades down the road.

So ultimately that's a conversation, I think, between you and the Lord, but I think Dave and I would be the first to say that tithing to your local church, that systematic giving right off the top should come first before anything else. Does that make sense, Michelle? It does make sense. I don't know if I have the time for one more question. If not, I can hang up. Okay, I've got about 30 seconds, so it depends on how long the question is.

Give it a shot. I'm a single mom, so as far as emergency funds, should it be six months or one year? Right now I have one year's worth, but is that too much?

Yeah, that's a good question. You know, I know how tight things are as single moms for counseling hundreds of them over the years, and so I would just say look at the income that the Lord has provided and the stability of it and determine whether you feel like a year is warranted. I think six months is certainly a great target, and depending upon the uncertainties and how tight things are with you as a single mom, I think up to a year could be perfectly appropriate.

So I'd want to drill down a little further, but I don't think there's anything wrong in that range. Stay with us. Much more to come. We'll be right back.

Welcome back to MoneyWise Live. Just before the break, we were talking about giving, generosity, and you know, if you're ever going to give to your full potential, what God potentially has for you, I think we need to be asking ourselves several questions. First, who owns it? We've got to recognize God's ownership of everything that is entrusted to us.

Second, how much is enough? Do I know what my finish lines are, including my lifestyle, my income, but also my accumulation, my balance sheet? And when we define that, that frees us up to give even more. I think a third question is, what is my kingdom vision? Do I know what God's heart is for the world, and have I asked him to show me how I can participate with him? You will never out give your vision for giving. I think the next question we need to ask is, do I have giving relationships that impact my thinking about generosity? Am I in a community of people that are spurring me on to either even greater giving? And then I think we also need to be asking, am I giving reactively or proactively? Do I have a plan to give at the level that I want to give, or do I just react emotionally and perhaps spontaneously when giving opportunities arise? You know, if we're asking ourselves these questions, that puts us in a position, I think, to be intentional with our giving and give it a level that ultimately we can.

And hopefully that's an encouragement to you today as you think about your own generosity. Let's head back to the phones. Dan is in Canton, Ohio. Dan, thanks for calling and your patience today. How can I help you, sir? Well, thank you.

And I'll just make this real fast. I'll give you all of my stuff first. I'm 70 years old. My wife is 69.

We both take a lot of drugs. In about three years, we will have everything paid off, except for your regular, like house payment, or not house, but house insurance, and utilities and such in my car. I don't know how much insurance I should keep. I've got about $350,000 worth of mostly whole life insurance. How long should I keep it? Should I just get rid of my insurance now that we're older and pay everything off or what?

Yes. Do you all, what are your sources of income right now, Dan? I've got pension and we're both on Social Security.

We bring in about $100,000 a year. So, you know, here's the reality is that you no longer have dependents and if something were to happen to you, that wouldn't create a hardship, financially speaking, for the other spouse because your income, I suspect, is set as long as the pension would continue to be paid to the other spouse. Obviously, Social Security would. So, you know, potentially you're in a situation where you no longer have a need for life insurance because you're essentially self-insured. You have the assets that are going to continue to be paid out should the Lord call one of you home and you're, as you said, going to be completely debt-free in three years. At that point, your lifestyle spending would be even less. So, I think this is an opportunity unless there's a reason that you all want to continue to carry a death benefit, you know, into the future, there's a reason for you to look at potentially tapping into that cash value, repurposing that in another form of investments and dropping that life insurance covered because you simply don't need it.

But tell me your thoughts. Well, the only thing I'm thinking is that we should keep enough life insurance to pay for burials in our, you know, at the end times there. Yeah, I guess the question would be do you have enough in the way of assets though that that really is already taken care of and really what you need to do is the pre-planning as opposed to, you know, making sure you have some sort of death benefit to cover the financial side because I would imagine the assets that you have would cover that. Just prepay everything now and just get rid of the insurance. You could do that or just pre-plan it where those decisions have been made making it easier for your family members who are here taking care of things and, you know, the funds are there either because it's been prepaid or because those assets are readily accessible to be able to cover the cost of the expenses and then you're not continuing to fund this life insurance policy moving forward.

I would at least give that some prayerful consideration. Hopefully that helps you, Dan. We appreciate your call today.

Charlita is in Florida. Charlita, how can I help you? Can you hear me? Yes, ma'am.

Go right ahead. Yes, I am thinking about taking money out of my 401K to pay off some credit card that I have because it would be a lower rate than what I'm currently paying for my credit cards and I'm 32 years old so I have a lot of time left to work and what are your thoughts on that? Yeah, give me a rundown of what is the balance in that 401K and what do you owe in credit cards? I'm not exactly sure what the balance is.

I was thinking about taking out like $10,000 of it and paying off some credit card debt. Okay. And do you believe you owe around $10,000 on credit cards? You think that's roughly what you owe? Yes.

Okay. Tell me about how you got that. Was it really kind of one major or a couple of unexpected events? Was it just kind of consistent over spending over a long period of time and next thing you knew you'd racked up about $10,000 in credit card debt? Where did it come from? It was probably a little bit of all of that.

We had moved a few years ago and trying to get jobs and things like that. Yeah. Well, here's the downside to using the 401K money. Number one, it's expensive money. At your age, you're not only going to have to add that to your taxable income but you're going to pay a 10% penalty on it. So let's say you take 30% right off the top. That's not a great use of that money.

Number two is it takes the pressure off just kind of in one fell swoop. You don't do the hard work to get it paid off kind of over time and we don't solve the underlying problem that led to the credit card debt in the first place. And then you call me back six months or a year from now and you say, Rob, guess what? My 401K balance is $10,000 lower and the credit card debt's back.

And I've just seen that play out, Charlita, too many times to know that that's a real possibility. So I think what I would prefer you to do is leave the 401K where it is. Perhaps consider delaying new contributions to your 401K in terms of not putting new money in and then pulling as much margin as you can including perhaps the additional funds you're no longer contributing to your 401K. And let's really go after the credit card debt in terms of paying that down as quickly as you can. And I'd be looking at a debt management program with our friends at to do that. They can help you get those high interest rates down. And with one fixed monthly payment that fits into your budget combined with the lower interest rates, it's going to allow you to get that paid off on average 80% faster. And when you do it that way, getting the budget in place, getting things really fixed in terms of living within your means, perhaps freeing up more margin by no longer putting new money into the 401K until this is gone, I think that's going to lead to a better longer term outcome of you solving the real problem that's going to hopefully result in you never having any credit card debt ever again and only using credit for budgeted items and paying it off in full. That's just my recommendation.

I realize you may pay a little bit more in interest in that approach, although you're going to miss out on the taxes and the penalty and the lost opportunity cost of the future value of this 401K balance that you would not have by pulling it out, whereas you would potentially have it when it stays invested. Does all that make sense? Yes, it does. Okay, good.

Well, hopefully that's helpful to you. I'd think long and hard before you pull that money out, and I would encourage you, in fact, not to do it. We appreciate your call today.

Let's head back to Chicago. Debbie, thanks for listening and calling today. How can I help you?

Yes, thank you for taking my call. I just had a question on Social Security. I am turning 65 this year, and I'm a recent widow, and I have no debt, and I tithe regularly and give regularly. I have $15,000 in my savings, and I just wanted to know if you have the opportunity to retire, should you, or should you wait for my full retirement age of 66 and a half? Yeah, so you're talking about stopping working, and if you did that, you'd need to go ahead and start claiming Social Security to be able to cover your expenses versus continuing to work for another year and a half and then leaving and taking your full retirement benefit from the SSA.

Is that what you're asking? That is correct, and I'm real close to, I think they allow $19,000 to be made before retirement age, so I'm real close in that with what I make right now. I see. Yeah, and that would be a temporary reduction, $1 for every $2 you earn over that, but you'd get that back once you reach full retirement age over time, so that's not a permanent reduction if you were to continue to work and take it early. I think the real question here just comes down to your spending plan. I would look at that retirement budget and just say, is that roughly 8%, maybe 10% that I'm going to give up in my check for the rest of my life going to make a difference in my ability to meet my budget? And would that be helpful to have that amount, which means I continue to work for another 18 months or so and know that I'm going to have that 10% roughly higher check forever?

Or am I good? Based on I'm living modestly, what I would be collecting beginning at 65 is going to cover it, and I've got this $350,000 roughly that's going to be growing. And that could throw off, I think, reasonably, if you had an advisor, about $14,000 a year at 4%. So I think that's really what it comes down to, and it's really something you need to think and pray through. If that extra cushion would really help you and give you more peace of mind, then I'd say perhaps you should think about continuing to work. Otherwise, there's no reason. If the Lord has called you to something else, go ahead and retire.

You can continue to work part-time, and you can take your Social Security right now. Hopefully that helps you. Thanks for your call, Debbie. That's going to do it for us today.

MoneyWise Live is a partnership between Moody Radio and then MoneyWise Media. I want to say thank you to Hans covering our phones today, Amy Rios Engineering, Deb Solomon producing, Mr. Jim Henry providing research today. Thank you for being here as well. I hope you'll come back and join us tomorrow. I'll be here. We'll see you then. Bye-bye.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-21 21:33:27 / 2023-06-21 21:51:15 / 18

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