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A Miracle of Provision

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore
The Truth Network Radio
November 23, 2022 5:20 pm

A Miracle of Provision

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore

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November 23, 2022 5:20 pm

The story of the Widow’s Oil in 2 Kings 4 reveals a miracle of provision. So, can we learn something from it and apply it to our lives today? On the next MoneyWise Live, host Rob West will talk about what we can glean from those 7 verses in 2 Kings to learn about God’s faithfulness in providing for our needs. Then he’ll answer some calls on various financial topics.

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Rob West and Steve Moore

Today's version of MoneyWise Live is prerecorded, so our phone lines are not open. The story of the widow's oil in 2 Kings 4 reveals a miracle of provision. Can we learn something from it and apply it to our lives?

Hi, I'm Rob West. Does God still provide for His people in miraculous ways? An unexpected check in the mail just when the car needs new brakes. What can we glean from those 7 verses in 2 Kings?

I'll talk about it today, and then we have some great calls lined up, but please don't call in today because we're prerecorded. This is MoneyWise Live, biblical wisdom for your financial decisions. Well we should always have faith that God will provide because He promises to, and He's always faithful. On the other hand, God is not an ATM machine, even though some people misinterpret the widow's oil passage to mean something like that. It's often used by proponents of the so-called prosperity gospel, or name it and claim it followers, to imply that God will always answer your prayers with financial or material gain.

Of course, that's not at all what the widow's oil story is about. Here's what the passage is really saying, starting with the first verse in 2 Kings 4. Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, Your servant, my husband, is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves. What can we take from that? Well, a couple of things. First, that the widow's husband had been faithful and was deserving of God's provision.

But also the creditor is acting against Jewish law by abusing a widow and orphans, and further, by threatening to enslave fellow Jews, which was also illegal. That sets the stage for what follows in verse 2. There we read, And Elisha said to her, What shall I do for you?

Tell me, what have you in the house? And she said, Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil. Well, what can we take from that? Well, it's saying that we have a part to play in God's provision. He expects us to use what we have, even if it's only one jar of oil. You see, God will often use what we already have to provide in ways we can't imagine. Scripture also has something to say about small beginnings in Zechariah 4.10. It reads, Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin. Sometimes we don't expect God to provide because we lack confidence in the resources He's already given us. But when we fully grasp that God owns everything and that His resources are unlimited, well, our faith in His provision will grow, and so will our gratitude for what He's provided. Now, let's move on to 2 Kings 4 verses 3 and 4 as Elisha speaks to the widow. Then he said, Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels, and not too few. Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons, and pour into all these vessels.

And when one is full, set it aside. There are several lessons here. First, the widow was obedient. She did exactly what Elisha, as God's representative, told her to do. We must also be obedient as we expect God's provision.

That means following His financial principles found throughout the Bible. Second, the widow didn't rely on her own resources. She went to her neighbors and asked for help by providing additional containers for the oil. It's not always easy to ask others for help when we need it, and we can't let our pride stand in the way. And third, we learn that God will put people in your life who want to help you if the need is real and you ask with humility. That won't always be easy with money.

It could be other resources or maybe important information or advice that will help you turn things around. So again, don't go it alone. Okay, continuing on with verses 5 and 6, So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured, they brought the vessels to her. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, Bring me another vessel. And he said to her, There is not another.

Then the oil stopped flowing. Here we see the widow acting with humility. Can you imagine the temptation she must have felt to throw open the doors and tell the neighbors to see what she was doing? But the widow knew it was God's hand at work, not hers, and she resisted any urge to claim credit for the miracle. Just one more verse. In verse 7, we read, She came and told the man of God, and he said, Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the cost. Here again, we see that we have a part to play. The widow's role wasn't finished.

She had to sell the oil in the marketplace, then pay off the creditor. But we also see that God provides exactly what was needed. The overall lesson in 2 Kings 4 is that in our weakness, we see God's strength.

We're reminded of our dependence on God. Hey, folks, we're going to pause for a break, but we'll be back with much more on Money Wise Live, biblical wisdom for your financial decisions. Stick around. Thanks for joining us today on Money Wise Live, biblical wisdom for your financial decisions. Hey, our team is away from the studios today, so don't call in, but we lined up some great questions.

We'll get right back to the phones here in just a moment. Hey, would you like to find a financial advisor, an investment advisor, tax and accounting professional that shares your values and has met high standards when it comes to character and integrity, but also experience? You can do so when you search for a certified kingdom advisor.

You can find one in your area on our website, Just click, find a CKA. Alright, let's head back to the phones. We're going to begin today in Pennsylvania. Lisa, thank you for calling. Go right ahead. Hi, thank you for taking my call.

I have a question. I work for the VA and I have a TSP. I currently have about $60,000. I contribute 5%, which is matching for my employer. And I wanted to know if I should increase that. Should I open an IRA and contribute to that instead of increasing my donations to my TSP or, well, that's my major question, but then I have some money possibly coming in the next month or so. It might be about $100,000.

And I heard you talk about interest bonds, so I'm just not real sure where to, what avenue to go or which direction. Okay, got it. Yeah. So what percent did you say you're putting into the TSP right now? 5%. My employer matches.

Yeah. So you've maxed out the matching portion of the Thrift Savings Plan. I'd love for you to get, just as a rule of thumb, that retirement contribution up to 10 to 15% of your take-home pay.

The question is where to put it. I like, in addition to the TSP, Lisa, you starting a Roth IRA and contributing to that at the same time. That would give you both the tax deferred and the tax-free retirement vehicles that are working for you between now and retirement so you could take your choice on the withdrawals when you get to that season of life. So essentially with the TSP, as you know, it's salary deferral, it's excluded from your taxable income so you get the, you don't have it added to your adjusted gross income. It grows tax deferred and then when you pull it out in retirement, it's going to be taxable in the year you take the withdrawal or distribution. With the Roth IRA, you put in after-tax dollars, it grows tax-free and then you pull it out in retirement without any tax at all on the gains. So if you had both buckets kind of growing simultaneously over the next, let's say, 15, you know, 10 or 15 years, then you'd have the ability to pull from either one depending on what the tax code looks like in terms of the effective tax rates. You could also, you know, consider whether or not, you know, you have to take a required minimum, which is not the case with the Roth. It would be with the TSP and the IRA.

So that would be one option. Once you max that out as someone over 50 years old, you can put in $7,000 in a Roth this year and then if you still had the ability to do even more than that, then I'd go back to the TSP and start bumping that percentage up. Does that make sense?

It does. You suggest at least a $7,000 for the Roth IRA? Yes, ma'am. Yeah, I think that would be great and then it gets you that tax-free growth on that particular portion and if you find that you can do even more, then I think, you know, that's where you go back to the TSP.

The other thing that I'll mention is probably would behoove you just to do some retirement planning with a financial planner, not who's going to take over management of this money, but somebody who's going to really look at it in light of what are your ultimate needs going to be in retirement based on everything we know today, what your expenses might look like, what assets do you have today, what might we expect, both that TSP and then in the case of this new Roth, what might we expect those to grow to just based on the current trajectory and the time you have between now and retirement, just to compare those to say, are we on track ahead or behind and that way you would know kind of where you're going to fall and what ultimate percentage you really need to be putting away in order to meet your goals. Is that something that Kingdom Advisors could assist me with? Yes, absolutely. So you just reach out to a certified Kingdom Advisor in your area. You can find a list of the CKAs there in your area at Just click find a CKA. What you want to do is when you interview those folks over the phone, you'll just want to say, listen, I'd like to do some hourly retirement planning.

And what would that look like? I don't need asset management at this point. I just need to pay somebody for their time to help me determine where I'm at versus retirement. And most financial planners will be able to offer you that one time engagement. Okay.

All right. And that was called hourly money management? No, financial asset management. So what I was saying is many advisors will do money management where they're actually taking responsibility for investing the funds. In your TSP you probably already made those investment decisions. So you don't really need a money manager right now.

What you need is a financial planner, somebody who just on an hourly basis can help you with retirement planning. Okay. All right. I got it. Very good. Well, listen, if we can help further along the way, Lisa, give us a call and thanks for reaching out to us today. God bless you. To Florida, we go, Hey, Lee, thanks for calling.

How can I help you? Thank you for taking my call. Sure.

Yes, sir. I'm calling in reference to a car warranty. I have warranty on my car already. We're losing your audio just a little bit, Lee.

If you could maybe just move to a different spot in the room if that's possible and let's try that again. You're calling about a car warranty. Is that right? Yes, sir.

Mine will soon expire. And I've been seeing on TV an advertisement of car shield and I was wondering, did you have any information on if that's a good warranty or not? Yes.

Yeah. Car shield. You know, I'm just not a big fan of these car warranties in general. A lot of studies have been done on them and they find that consumers who purchase them on average don't get their money's worth.

They can range from anywhere between one and five thousand dollars, depending on the car's make, model, mileage and condition. And in one survey I saw recently of the people who bought them, they never used them. Fifty five percent of them never used the warranty. Much of the companies, the money companies receive by selling them is profit. Far less goes to actually fixing the cars. If you read the fine print, you'll find there's a lot they don't cover.

In fact, the Federal Trade Commission right on their website warns that if an item isn't listed, you just need to assume that it's not covered. So from my perspective, although there'd be some that would say, you know what, I bought it, it was a great investment, we got every dollar out of it. But I think just for most folks, I think you'd actually be better off saving for car repairs as a part of your emergency fund. And then if you need it, you got the money there. But if you don't, you can just continue building it up and use it for any purpose that might be either planned or unexpected. Does that make sense, Lee? Yes, sir, it does. I appreciate you taking my call. Absolutely. Thanks for checking in with us.

Hey, before we head to our first break, a quick email. This comes from Deanna. She writes, We have inaccurate information on our Experian credit report. How do we get it removed?

Deanna, that's a great question. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Bureau has 30 days once you dispute inaccurate information to either verify it, or in the case of it being inaccurate, delete it. And so you're going to want to go online to that Experian credit report and initiate a dispute at the Experian dispute center. All three bureaus will have one. It's no cost for you to do it. You can do it by phone.

There's a number displayed on your credit report. Or you can do it electronically as well. You can even do it by the mail. Again, 30 days to verify it or delete it. And you can get that removed.

I'd also check the other two reports as well. Thanks for writing to us, Deanna. Folks, we're going to pause for a brief break. As we think about handling God's money, it's all about stewardship. And here's the key. We recognize God as the owner and we're the manager. Well, we want to know the owner's heart when it comes to how we're managing his money. Well, that's why we go to God's word and mind the scriptures.

By the way, there's 2350 of them that deal with this topic. We'll continue to apply God's word to your decisions just around the corner. Stay with us.

We'll be back after this break. We're grateful you've joined us today for Money Wise Live. This is God's wisdom for your financial decisions.

Applying the truth of God's word, 2350 verses dealing with money and possessions to the decisions and choices you're making today with God's money as a steward of his resources. We want to help you be found faithful. We want to do that together. Our team is away from the studio today, so don't call in. But we lined up some great questions in advance. So let's get right back to the phones. Let's head to Arkansas. Cynthia, thank you for calling. Go right ahead.

Hi. I was wondering if I should retire full time now. I'm 63 and by full retirement, like 66 and a half. I did take last year off. I was working in nursing. I was just kind of burned out and I didn't want to take the COVID vaccine because I had antibodies. But now I'm working part time in that field. They're taking exemptions now. But I could go back full time. What is your thoughts about that?

Yeah, very good, Cynthia. Well, there's the financial and then the non-financial side to this equation that we need to consider. So let's start with the financial. So you are essentially fully retired right now. What income are you living off of? I have some 401K, some savings there. I took 30,000 out of my retirement fund for this year.

Okay, very good. And what's the balance in that fund now? It's about 390.

390,000. Okay. And is that the extent of your retirement savings, Cynthia?

Yes. Okay, very good. And what are your monthly expenses roughly, all in? Oh, it's probably around 1,000. Everything's paid off. Okay. All right. About 1,000 a month.

Yeah. So if you take that 390,000 and it were invested conservatively with a focus on capital preservation and income, we would typically say that you could take about a 4% withdrawal each year or you could take it monthly and you should be able to maintain the principal balance. So you'd have probably a 30% allocation to stocks and that would be kind of the growth engine of the portfolio in a period like this.

It would drag it down a little bit, but then in normal periods where the market's headed higher, it would provide some of the returns that would boost the overall performance. But really the majority of the portfolio, the other 70% would be focused on more stable type fixed income investments, throwing off an income that would help to support that 4% withdrawal rate a year. That would give you about $1,300 a month. I guess the question I would have is, is 1,000 or even 1,300 really enough? Even though you can total up the bills you get for that amount, what about the other things you don't get a bill for? If you want to take a vacation or gifts for family and friends for Christmas and birthdays and semi-annual insurance payments and clothing and eating out the things that are more discretionary, I would challenge you to go back and really take a hard look at that budget to see if you were to set something aside for those discretionary spending items, whether they happen monthly or they're non-recurring, what truly would you need every month to cover your expenses over a 12-month period?

Maybe it's closer to 2,000 or more. And then if that's the case, we'd be pushing up above what I would recommend you pull out of that account, that $390,000. So I think at this point as you consider that, you need to think about whether you would prefer to go back to work so you can continue to build that up and not have to take Social Security early and also add more to that retirement plan because every year you wait to take Social Security, you're going to build that payment by about 8% a year.

And so every year that goes by, you're going to have a little bit more in that check that's locked in permanently once you take that out. So that's the financial side which is just are you truly ready financially to just rely on your assets for the rest of your life? And granted, if you could do it with the $1,300 a month, obviously at any point you could start taking Social Security and that would be on top of that and you might say, well, I feel pretty good about that. But then there's the non-financial side which is just considering if you're retiring from something, what are you retiring to? And what has God called you to? And we realize that our calling doesn't have an expiration date even though he may redirect us away from paid work to something else for the next season of life. So it doesn't have to be paid work, but I do think you ought to give some careful thought and prayer to what does God have for you in this next season and how would you spend your time and energy and wisdom, you know, to serve the Lord as you move forward from here? So give me your thoughts on that, both the financial and the non-financial side that I shared.

I don't know if anybody's called me to. I assume they spend a lot of time going to visit my children. Yeah, I understand that.

So I do that because I have six grandchildren. What about on the financial side? Do you feel like you would have greater peace of mind knowing that you continue to work for a few more years here either because you enjoy it or because it would give you the ability to no longer pull from that 390, let that recover with the market, even continue to grow before you have to start taking money out of it? Or are you comfortable if you were to say, you know, I'm only going to take $1300 a month or somewhere around that amount and wait on Social Security? I could work part time. I don't want to go to the stress of working full time. Well, I think that could be a great option because it gives you obviously you're gifted and skilled in this area of nursing. As you said, you can go back in and still honor your own personal convictions with regard to the vaccine. And it would lessen the amount that you have to pull from that retirement account, which would allow that to continue to build over time, at least maintain its level, and then let the Social Security grow by 8% a year so that when you actually start to take those benefits, you're locking it in at a higher level. I think that might be the best of both worlds.

And then you know that at any point, if you decide you don't even want to go part time because you want to spend more time with your grandkids or God has something else for you at that point, you can always make that decision down the road. Does that make sense? Yes, it does. Okay. Thank you so much. You're welcome, Cynthia.

Thanks for calling today. All the best to you in this exciting new season of life. We appreciate it.

We've got some great questions lining up. James, Kimberly, Valerie, we're coming your way next. We'll be right back. Stay with us. Thanks for joining us today on MoneyWise Live, biblical wisdom for your financial decisions. We're going to head back to the phones, but we're not here today.

So don't call in. These are questions that we lined up in advance. I know you'll enjoy them. To Virginia we go. Kimberly, thank you for calling.

Go right ahead. Hi, thank you for what you do. My question is actually similar to the lady that called previously. I'm 61 years old and preparing for retirement. I am widowed, so I'm on a single income right now. And I work in healthcare, which like she alluded to is physically taxing. And I'm kind of in a position of less stress at the moment, but not able to do anything else in my field and get the same amount of pay that I'm currently making.

But I am struggling physically to do the job. So I wondered if you could again speak to retiring at age 65 versus age 67. Yeah.

And are you specifically asking about Social Security and the implications there, Kimberly? Yes. And, you know, I was wondering if I could retire at 65 and maybe do some other job totally out of healthcare to help, you know, maybe a part time job to supplement if there's a benefit to that.

Yeah. So a couple of thoughts on that. And I realize you asked about 65, but I'll just say first, if you retire at 62, where you essentially are about to be rather than waiting to your full retirement age, your benefit would be reduced permanently by about 30 percent. And at 65, it would be about 13 percent lower than at full retirement age, which is 66 or 67.

So, you know, that would be you could calculate that based on what your estimated benefit is supposed to be at full retirement age and just take, you know, 87 percent of that and you'd get a pretty good idea of what that would be on a monthly basis. The other thing to consider is you do have a limit on how much you can earn prior to full retirement age. And if you get above that threshold, then they will reduce one dollar of your benefit for every two dollars you earn over that limit. However, that will be returned to you in the form of a higher monthly check until it's fully repaid after full retirement age. So I wouldn't be concerned about continuing to work, because even if your benefits were reduced, it would be minor, I suspect. And again, you would eventually get all of that back. So the key is at what age are you going to lock in your benefit?

And that's where if you take it at 65, you're going to go out and lock it in about 13 percent lower than what it would be at full retirement age. Okay. Yes, I see. All right. Okay.

So then I think it's you're welcome. And I think at this point, it's just a function of you working up your retirement budget. Remember, not everybody lives on the full amount of their pre-retirement expenses. Oftentimes, it's 70 or 80 percent of what you were spending because you're out of debt.

The kids are off the payroll. Maybe you drop your life insurance. You're not buying work clothes.

You're not commuting. I mean, so your expenses typically go down. So it would be a good exercise for you, Kimberly, to go and calculate that retirement budget to figure out what would my need be. And then you could compare that to Social Security at 65 plus whatever retirement you've built up through your work and then just take a reasonable withdrawal rate.

And depending on what that is, I would recommend 4 percent, which is what I had mentioned the previous caller that would ensure that if it's invested properly with a focus on capital income and preservation, you should be able to maintain that 4 percent withdrawal rate and not see the principal balance decline over time, not in any given one quarter or year, but over a five or 10 year period. So I think that should give you at least some things to think about as you plan for when that retirement might occur. And I can certainly understand the toll that it takes on you physically and why you might want to push toward retirement a little sooner than you had expected. Right. Right. Thank you so much.

I appreciate that input. You're welcome, Kimberly. Thanks for your call today. God bless you.

Valerie's in Oklahoma. Valerie, you're next on the program. Go ahead. Hello.

Thank you for taking my call. I'm 61, soon to be 62. My husband is 64. I'm retired. My husband is semi-retired.

He gets Social Security, which is about 20, a little over two thousand dollars a month. And we have two rentals. We moved to Oklahoma from California and sold our properties out there. And so we had enough to buy outright by two rental properties.

And they've done very well. My husband always said we were younger. That's going to be our retirement is real estate. So we make more off that a month than we would ever make in an IRA unless we have the money in it.

Sure. And so my question is, we have he still works part time doing like remodeling and things like that. So he he still had we still have some income there.

And I said sometimes at the local school, which is a lot. But anyway, my question is, we have enough money between one more. We had taken our IRAs out to go ahead and buy those rentals to help pay those off.

Well, we have one more IRA without ten thousand in it altogether, including that we probably have about thirty eight thousand. Then we have two pieces of property we bought and we're going to build on. But when the economy kind of changed, we decided not to. So if we sold those, we'd have probably about forty thousand there, plus about the thirty eight thousand in the bank. But that would take everything we had. We have probably enough to buy another rental. And what would have cost one hundred fifty now cost about one hundred ten or less a couple of years ago. So my question to you is, we probably have enough to pay a big down payment on one and maybe have it halfway paid off. Do you think that that would be a good investment, even though we would have a fairly good sized payment on it a month? Yeah. So you would have to put, though, all of your liquid capital in to do this at 50 percent loan to value.

Is that right? Right. And we might not we wouldn't feel comfortable getting rid of all that money. We have to have some, you know. So we probably wouldn't quite use all of it. Yeah.

Yeah. I'd recommend you at least keep a couple of months worth of expenses, probably three and an emergency fund, and then put the rest toward the house. The good news here is you guys aren't doing this for the first time. I mean, you've got a lot of history here to be able to determine, OK, based on the fact that the market is higher right now and we're buying at a premium, even though the housing market is cooling. And given that we're going to have to take a bigger loan than we expected and interest rates are higher, which makes the debt service more expensive and home affordability lower, you can run the scenarios to figure out exactly what you would be able to throw off in terms of income and whether you'd be able to cover the debt service plus the taxes and insurance and the repairs and a maintenance fund and all of that kind of thing. So you're not going into this without the ability to do some of that forecasting.

And I think that's what it would ultimately come down to. I don't like that we're stretching so much to get this done and we're kind of chewing up all of our capital. But I do like real estate and I like the idea that you guys have a good bit of working knowledge here as to what you're getting into. The only thing I might consider is, could you delay this by six months? Let's see if we're going to get into a recession and how deep it is. Let's see what happens with the housing market, because prices are beginning to fall, especially with interest rates now over 7 percent and the prospect of a recession. It's, you know, the inventories are jumping and homes are sitting and housing prices are coming down.

So could you save a bit more over the next, let's say, six to nine months and let's just watch the housing market before you make this final decision? That might be the only consideration I would share. Does that make sense? That makes a lot of sense. I think that's probably a good idea. OK, very good. Well, thanks for calling, Valerie.

I hope that works out for you and your husband. If I can help further along the way, give us a buzz. Hey, folks, MoneyWise is a listener supported ministry. We could certainly use your assistance and support. If you'd like to consider a gift, we'd be grateful. Just head to our website, and click the donate button.

You can give through the mail, online or over the phone. Again,, click donate. We'll be right back. Thanks for tuning in to MoneyWise Live.

I'm Rob West, your host. Psalm 24 one says, the earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world and all who live in it. You know, if we understand that truth and apply it to our lives, we realize our role is not that of owner.

It's that of steward, which changes everything about how we manage God's money. We want to help you do that on this program each day. We're not here today, though. We're taking a little time off.

So don't call in, but we're going to help some folks that we've lined up in advance with some great questions. Before we head back to the phones, Catherine writes to us, we're selling our house. How should we tithe on the money from the sale? Well, I love the idea that you're thinking about a tithe on the increase, and that's how we should think about the tithe. Honor the Lord from your wealth from the first of all of your produce, then your barns will be filled with plenty. Your vats will overflow with new wine.

That comes from Proverbs three. So you tithe on the increase. What is that related to a home sale? Well, it's not the gross sale. It's the question of how much profit did you make on the sale? And that's what you would tithe on. So essentially, you would subtract from the selling price, the original purchase price, the expenses for the sale and any fixed improvements, things that you did to improve the house value that stayed with the home to improve it. So that would be a new deck or a pool, not maintenance items, but additions and items that you did that increase the value.

All of that would be subtracted to determine what ultimately is your true profit. And then if you want to tithe, give a tenth off of that to your local church. So Catherine, thanks for writing to us. We appreciate it. All right, back to the phones.

We go to Mississippi. James, you've been very patient, sir. How can I help you? Hi, how are you doing? Very well. Thank you.

Okay. I've been working this present job now for about a year and a half. And I have a 401k that's coming out and a stock option that's coming out, which is about, I think I elected like 5% of my pay. So you're looking at maybe $115 every two weeks that comes out for stock and 401k. I plan on retiring. I don't know whether I want to retire at 65 or should I wait to 67 or whatever I need to where I won't have a, to lose anything.

But what do I do with that stock and that 401k that once I get out of the job? Yes. It's a great question, James.

Do you know how much you've accumulated to this point in both of those accounts? I was trying to look that up because I knew you were going to ask me that. That's okay. Just roughly, what do you think it is? Well, look, let's see right here. That's okay.

It's not important. All I know is that it's about $115 every two weeks that goes in each one. And the stock that I get, I get it for 15% less than what any other person can get because of the company's stock option. So I'm already making 15% on it, I think. Now I think that's the way it goes. Yeah, that's very good. Well, that's great.

Yeah. Oftentimes you'll be able to buy that through at a discount for it at a set price through the employee stock options. So what you would typically want to do is with this retirement asset, once you get to that point, James, and by the way, I'd try to wait as long as you can to take that Social Security. For every year you take it before full retirement age, which is probably around 66 and a half for you, you will lose about 8% on that check and that'll lock it in at that lower benefit. So every year you can continue to work and wait, it's going to build that up to what your expected retirement benefit will be. And then if you wait beyond full retirement age up to age 70, you're going to add 8% to that check every year that you wait. Now at some point you may say, listen, I'm ready to slow down.

I'm taking too much of a toll on me. I need to go ahead and take these retirement benefits. Well, you could certainly do that and then just lock it in when you can, but I'd wait as long as possible. In terms of those retirement accounts, you're going to typically want to hire an advisor who would manage that money for you and work with you to determine how much you need per month. And if Social Security doesn't cover it, then you'd want to take a monthly distribution out of those retirement accounts to supplement Social Security. Remember, Social Security was only intended to cover about 40% of your pre-retirement income.

So we have to make up the other. Let's say you're going to live on 80% of your pre-retirement income, which most people do. You need another 40% of your pre-retirement income made up by your retirement assets just like you're saving in your 401k and employee stock options. So I would say just keep doing what you're doing. Keep putting away money every paycheck like you are and keep working as long as you can so that those can build up over time because they're growing and so you can hold off on taking that Social Security to let that check build up as well.

And then at the appropriate time, you'd transfer the retirement account to an advisor who could then manage that for you. Does that make sense? That makes sense. All right. Very good. Well, you just stay at it, sir. And we appreciate you checking in with us. God bless you, James.

Thanks very much. Let me share a quick word with you today on serving two masters. Let me ask you this question. Who or what is your master?

Well, I can almost hear you thinking, well, I am. I don't have a master. I make my own choices.

Let me put it this way. Your master is whatever or whoever rules your thinking and influences your choices. You know, as believers, we follow Christ.

He's our Lord. But all too often, our loyalties are divided as we let other interests and relationships direct our decision. So ask yourself, what is really running my life? Do worries occupy your thoughts all the time? Does the desire for more things or more money motivate you? Are you constantly checking your investments or your social media feed? Is there a relationship that occupies your thoughts most of the time?

Is your career hobby the most important thing? Well, if you answered yes to any of those, you may be trying to serve two masters. And Jesus addresses this head on in God's word in the Sermon on the Mount. He says in Matthew 6 24, no one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other. You'll be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

You know, see, Jesus doesn't mince words here. It's impossible to serve money and God equally. One or the other has to play second fiddle and you'll feel the tension. When we devote ourselves though to money or anything else besides God, we're choosing an idol that cannot provide peace or power for living. We also have to recognize that our attitude toward our finances can be an indication of who your master really is. Are you obeying God's word or choosing a worldly idol which will always disappoint you? You have to recognize God is the provider of all we have.

We're the manager or the steward of his resources and financial peace comes when we surrender control and accept our role as stewards, not owners. You see, when we find ourselves torn between two masters, consider what Jesus says about that and remember that he is the one who died and rose from the dead to redeem you. I know the struggle is real, which is why the Lord also taught his followers how to pray.

And this of course comes from Matthew 6, our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, give us this day our daily bread, forgive us our debts as we have also forgiven our debtors and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. You see, when we're tempted to surrender to another master, we should pray that prayer and recognize God is faithful and we need to make Jesus the master of our lives and he will restore our peace. You know, in this world we find ourselves torn and often it's a result of the comparison trap.

It might be our ability to see the best version of somebody else's life through their social media feed, whatever it is that's kind of drawing us into the things of this world. We need to often just step back and say, God, give me an eternal perspective. Help me to see this world as the way you describe it but a vapor and to be focused on the things that are lasting, the souls of men and God's word and my ability to be a steward. You see, after we give our lives to Jesus, at that point it's all about stewardship. What have we done with what we've been given, our time and our influence and yes, our money. And that's where we go back to God's word each day as it relates to our money and say, Lord, what do you have for me? What are the big themes that we see in scripture that we can apply to how we manage your resources, that we should live with contentment, that we should be known for our generosity, that we should live faithfully, not pursuing to building bigger barns and just the mindless accumulation of wealth, but accumulating for a purpose. And ultimately that's to glorify the Lord, to provide for our families and to be evidence of Jesus at work in other people's lives around us. And as we do that, we're going to see some principles in God's word that we can apply very practically to the day to day handling of our finances, including spending less than we earn. That is, we have to live within God's provision, even though the world allows us to live outside of that with something called debt, that we need to avoid debt. Remember, borrowing is not a sin, but there are clear warnings in scripture against using debt. So we have to be on our guard there. And so I would say we should follow some rules when borrowing.

Complete spousal unity. Don't deny God an opportunity to work. Make sure you can service the debt in your budget and only borrow for appreciating assets. Well, that'll eliminate a lot of your borrowing.

So live within your means. Avoid debt. Third is set long term goals. You know, the longer term your perspective, the better your decision today. When you look down the road and you make decisions with the long term in mind, you're always going to make a better decision today. So you've got to set long term goals. And by the way, those need to be aligned with your values as a believer. Don't take your cues from the world.

Make it a matter of prayer as husband and wife and say, God, where are you taking us? What values and convictions do we have? And then how can your money align with that as a tool to accomplish your purposes? We need to have some margin. That is, we need to have something left over at the end of the month because that's how we accelerate our giving or save for the future, pay down debt. Margin is so key. It's also critical to marital harmony. We find in studies that the most significant thing to foster a healthy marriage relationship in the area of money is number one, communication. And number two, it's having margin.

It's not about your income. It's having something left over at the end of the month. And then finally, give generously because giving breaks the grip of money over our lives.

We want to hold it loosely and give generously. I hope that's an encouragement to you today. That's going to do it for us today, folks. Thanks for tuning in. Money Wise Live is a partnership between Moody Radio and Money Wise Media. I want to say thank you to Jim, Amy, Dan and Gabby. Thank you for being here as well. Hope you'll come back and join us next time for another edition of Money Wise Live. We'll see you then.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-01 21:00:45 / 2022-12-01 21:18:00 / 17

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