Have you ever wanted to read through some of the things that you've learned today in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord?
I am Rob West. Well, you're no doubt familiar with that passage in Luke 2, given by angels to shepherds in Bethlehem. But there's an interesting backstory. Today I'll talk with Jerry Boyer about the economics of the Christmas story.
Then we have some great calls lined up, but please don't call in today because we're pre-recorded. This is MoneyWise Live, biblical wisdom for your financial journey. Well, economist Jerry Boyer joins us today. He's a columnist at the Christian Post and author of The Maker vs. The Takers, What Jesus Really Said About Social Justice and Economics. It's a book with fascinating insights about Jesus' time on earth, starting with the story of his birth. Jerry, great to have you back with us.
Always great to be with you, my friend. Jerry, I want to clear something up first by talking about the economics of the Christmas story. We're not de-spiritualizing this, are we?
No, we're not. What we might be doing is de-hyper-spiritualizing it, in the sense that sometimes some people in the Christian community get the idea that the Bible is only about quote-unquote religious topics, and religious topics are whatever I deem are proper religious topics. But the Bible talks about whatever it talks about, right? The Holy Spirit decided what's going to be in the Bible, and a lot of what's in the Bible is about things that aren't necessarily part of our typical Christian conversation, including things like politics and, yes, economics. There's a lot of economics in the Bible. And I don't just mean—anyone who listens to your show knows, of course, that the Bible talks a lot about greed, it talks about how money can be a master, etc., about our heart attitude towards wealth. But I'm saying the Bible also talks a lot about economic systems. But because we're not necessarily super-familiar with the historical context, we don't necessarily see those things easily.
So we have to kind of go do extra research and get the historical context, and then we see a whole new dimension open up in a lot of these Gospel accounts, starting from the very beginning with the Nativity. Well, let's start at the section in your book that comes from the beginning, and this is something that no one really ever thinks about, and that is the economic philosophy of the Virgin Mary. Who knew she even had one?
What can you tell us about it? Well, she talks about the rich being sent away empty. She talks about the proud from their thrones being deposed.
She talks about the poor and the hungry being filled. There's actually a lot of economics in that little poem song that she sings that's known to history as the Magnificat. The reason it's called the Magnificat is because for most of Church history, we only had Latin Bibles. And so the beginning, the first word in that little song is Magnificat, which is doth magnify. So when she says, My soul doth magnify the Lord, that word is magnificat in the Vulgate, which is the Latin Bible.
But it's not just religion. In fact, great portions of it are about powerful people who are exploiting the poor and how they'll be sent away empty. And what's interesting about that is that doesn't occur until she goes to be with Elizabeth. Now, Elizabeth is of higher economic and social status than Mary. Mary is from Nazareth, which is a small town, not a poor town, but it's not a high status town. And her cousin, Elizabeth, her husband is of sufficiently high status that he's part of one of the people who offers incense during the temple, you know, when his turn comes around. So they're in Judea, they're in a higher status situation. So when the angel makes the announcement to Mary, she doesn't really talk much about how the social status and social classes are mentioned. She just says, Let it be unto me as the Lord has said, you know, I'll do God's will. But when she travels down into Judea, the capital region, and then her higher status, higher wealth cousin says, you know, that the mother of my Lord should come to me, there's a reversal going on there. And then after that, Mary, most people could consider it a song, or maybe it's a poem, talks about these economic themes, that something about the coming of the Messiah isn't just about forgiving our sins and the rest of it, but it is also about calling out an economic system which was exploitative, which Jesus, as you know from the book, deals with a lot furthermore in the Gospels.
Then later, when Jesus gives the Sermon on the Plain, there's the Sermon on the Mount, and then there's the Sermon on the Plain, he literally quotes his own mother twice in that sermon, making similar comments about the rich being sent away empty and the poor being filled. Interesting. Well, there's a lot more for us to unpack in terms of the background of the Christmas story and specifically the economics behind it. We're back with Jerry Boyer just around the corner.
Stay with us. Delighted to have you with us on MoneyWise Live. Joining me today, Jerry Boyer, the author of The Maker vs. The Takers, What Jesus Really Said About Social Justice and Economics, today with some fascinating insights about the birth of Christ and the economics behind it that really helps to inform the story. And Jerry, you were just sharing before the break about the economics related to the Virgin Mary and even what was going on when she travels to visit with her cousin Elizabeth. You write, Jerry, that the nativity narrative in Luke 2, though, begins with a description of economic exploitation.
How so? Caesar Augustus decided that the whole world would be taxed in some translations of the Bible or enrolled, and enrolled is for the purpose of taxation, so this is a tax which is imposed on the holy family and on everybody. And by the way, the world there doesn't mean the whole world. He wasn't taxing people in Japan.
The Greek word there is kind of the known world, the Roman world. So he decides that people need to be taxed, and so they have to go on long journeys. And for a young family like Joseph and Mary, that would have been quite difficult, even though the evidence is that Nazareth was a pretty solidly middle-class town.
Nevertheless, going on a long journey like that, in which he couldn't leave Mary at home, not because the law said she had to go, but because her life would have been in danger because it was likely believed that she had committed adultery. He has to take her on that long trip while she's pregnant, and then there's a tax as part of it, so they were economically exploited, which explains why as the temple sacrifice, she gives the dove rather than a lamb, because that's the sacrifice for the poor. So it starts with economic exploitation. Even before she gets to Bethlehem, there's already a lot of economics going on.
Yes. Well, let's continue on that. What else can we learn about the financial condition of Joseph and Mary, Jerry? Well, we know from history that as a skilled, as a tecton, we say carpenter, but it's really skilled laborer, that this was a pretty entrepreneurial profession. So they probably weren't poor. And I think it was believed for a long time until they did biblical archaeology that these would have been very poor families and that Jesus might have been leading some kind of peasant revolt.
I have a lot of neighbors who do things like construction and drywall and everything. They make a good living, and it's pretty likely that Joseph did as well, and Jesus would have up until he got out of that business and went into the business of being a traveling rabbi. But again, if they're economically exploited and they have to make this trip, that puts them in a difficult position. And then they go to Bethlehem, and there are all sorts of economic implications to the village of Bethlehem that aren't really well known by many Christians that I think are really important. I think they are, and they really underscore God's grand story and design before the foundations of the earth.
So let's unpack that. What were the economics of Bethlehem, and how did they really bring to light the story of Jesus' birth? Well, one thing to remember is every time that we read about a city in the Bible, any place in the Bible, and certainly in the Gospels, that city has an economy. I'm in Pittsburgh right now, and people associate Pittsburgh with steel, and they associate Hollywood with movies, and Silicon Valley with technology. But we don't know, Bethsaida, Capernaum, Nazareth.
That's not part of our—those would have to be footnotes for us, right? And Bethlehem. So when I think of Bethlehem, I can tell you, I just think of Christmas cookies.
But they didn't think of Christmas cookies, because this is the first Christmas. Actually, Bethlehem was more associated with famine, we see in the story of Ruth. But what was the underlying economy of Bethlehem? Well, if you read the accounts, you're going to see shepherds.
So that's a clue. Hey, there's shepherding involved. This is a sheep town to some degree.
You don't see any other industry being mentioned. By the way, the inn is probably a guest room, not a separate hotel. So you have a sheep town, but it's deeper than that. This was the place, according to the Mishnah—these are the Jewish writers, later on that century—this is the place set aside for shepherds. The rabbis didn't really trust shepherds, because maybe sheep would go onto somebody else's property and eat the grass, so therefore there's theft involved.
So shepherding was a disreputable profession. But they have a temple system, and you need sheep for the temple, for the sacrifices. So there was a place set aside for the bearing and breeding of sheep that would then be inspected and sent to Jerusalem to be part of the sacrificial system. When Jesus, with the money changers, he's driving out sheep, those sheep would have come from Bethlehem.
So the Lamb of God, who comes into the world, who's born into the world to bear away the sins of the world, was born in the city that was set aside specifically for the purpose of bearing and raising sheep that were sent to the temple to bear the sins of the world in the sacrificial system. And Jerry, how did the birth of Jesus then threaten the ruling temple class in Jerusalem? Well, the issue was that the temple had become very, very corrupt, and Jesus was pointing out the corruption of the temple. And so what happened is they had unjust weights and measures.
Inflation, basically. The temple had double the price of everything, because essentially their change-making system was corrupt. So part of what Jesus was doing in the Gospels was exposing the corruption of that. Now look, he wasn't mainly a social reformer, I understand that he's the savior of the world, but he is prophet, priest, and king, right? And we talk about him as priest offering himself as a sacrifice, and we talk about him as king probably not as much as we should, but he's also prophets.
And prophets denounced all evil, individual evil and social evil. So if Amos is going to talk about it, Jesus is not less than Amos. So Jesus was exposing the swindle that was involved with the temple system, and he did that in his confrontations, for example, with the money changers.
So I think at some level, modern Christians see Jesus coming into the world in the Gospel accounts and they think he's just going to change religion, and he's not going to have anything to say about economics. Herod, in some sense, understood him better than we do, because Herod knew that he was going to mess with everything. There was no aspect of human life that Jesus was not going to turn over.
He's going to turn over sin, he's going to turn over the stones under which our sins are hidden, he's going to reverse that, he's going to take away the sins of those who ask for their sins to be forgiven, but he's also going to turn over the tables. And Herod understood that it was a corrupt system. And it said, by the way, when they heard the rumor, Herod was troubled and all Jerusalem with him when they heard these rumors, because Jerusalem knew the basis of the economic system would not be able to go unexposed if the actual just Messiah came into the world. So he's there and he's going to bring justice, not just religious feelings and not just a different afterlife, but justice in every area of life. Herod saw that.
He was on the wrong side of it. Herod didn't want justice. But Herod understood the implications that the Messiah is not just going to be quote-unquote religious. He was going to talk about economic issues as well. And Herod was a deeply corrupt man and he was exposed by this. Jerry, just 30 seconds left.
I mean, the big idea here is that understanding the economic backdrop can really help to illuminate the story that we read in the Gospels. Isn't that right? Yeah. And to me, this is a similar thing, which is, you know, I'm a father, right? You're a father. You love your kids. Do you want their sins forgiven? Do you care about that? Yes, you do. Do you care that they're right with God?
Yes, you do. Do you care if they're hungry or somebody's stealing from them? You care about that too, right?
And you care if they don't have a home or healthcare. God is our Father and He doesn't care less than we do. He cares about everything. Yes, the main thing is sins forgiven, life forever with Him, and being in the resurrection. But that's not all He cares about. That's not all He addresses.
And that's not all that the Kingdom of God is about. Fascinating. Jerry, thanks for stopping by, my friend. My pleasure.
That's Jerry Boyer, our resident economist and the author of The Maker vs. the Takers, what Jesus really said about social justice and economics. Folks, we're going to pause, but we'll be back with MoneyWise Live just after this. Stick around. It's great to have you with us on MoneyWise Live today, but unfortunately, today we're not live. We're prerecorded and therefore won't be taking your calls. Let's head to Arkansas next. Shara, thank you for calling.
Go right ahead. My husband and I believe we're home, but in the meantime, we want to get rid of all our debt. Well, we have this particular credit card that we should have paid off by the end of this month.
So my question is, should we cut that card up or should we put it back in the closet somewhere for emergency purposes only? Yeah, you know, I think, you know, as you get out of debt, there's a couple of thoughts here. I mean, number one is I'm not one who says credit cards should never be used.
There are some that will say that and I would concur they can be dangerous if they're not used properly. But if you're able to manage them responsibly and that means using it for convenience, recognizing there is a tendency to spend more on plastic than with cash. Studies say up to 30 percent more because we're not parting with our money. But if we are able to do it in a way that's responsible and that means only for budgeted items and then paid off in full.
And if that's been a problem in the past, I'd want you to really get to a place where you can do that moving forward. Then I would say hang on to it because it can be very convenient and there are rewards and, you know, there's ways to use them that are effective. But not as your emergency fund, Sharra. I really would love to see you have three to six months expenses in a liquid savings account. We don't want to fund emergencies with debt. We need to do that with savings. So dial in your spending plan, cut back so you can have margin and build up three to six months in savings for your emergencies.
We're going to head back to the phones in just a moment. Quickly, I mentioned a bit about the MoneyWise app and we're so thankful that so many of you are spreading the word about the MoneyWise app. We've had a huge increase in the last few weeks of people signing up to manage their finances using the MoneyWise app. Perhaps as we head toward a new year and folks want to push the reset button in a lot of areas of their lives.
That includes their desire to get on top of their finances especially in the monthly family budget. And the MoneyWise app is, in my opinion, the very best way to do that. More than 37,000 of you are now using it as your digital envelope system. You're participating in our community forums.
You're engaging in our virtual workshops. Our team is ready to come alongside you to help you set up your budget and use the app effectively. In addition to managing all of your accounts in one place, the MoneyWise app can really help you stay more disciplined in spending money wisely.
Which is more important now than ever in light of 40 year high inflation. I would also say you have the ability to choose from one of three options for managing money depending on your management style. Which a lot of folks are really finding helpful on one end of the spectrum as somebody who just wants to be hands off and directional.
There's a management style for you in there. And then there's an option all the way to our digital envelope system where envelopes get funded out of every paycheck. Transactions automatically come into each envelope appropriately. And then at any point you can see exactly what's left digitally in the beautiful interface in each envelope.
So you can stop spending when the time comes during the month. If you want to check it out, we'd love for you to do that. It's available on desktop and mobile. Just head to MoneyWise.org and click app to get started.
That's MoneyWise.org, just click app. Alright, we're going to head back to the phones to North Carolina we go. Hi Lisa, you're our next caller. Go ahead. Thank you for taking my call. I'm kind of in a bind.
Okay, we'll see if I can help. Alright, so my ex-husband and I, we refinanced our home with the intention of doing upgrades to it during this historically hot market. We have since been divorced. We are both on the mortgage. In our divorce decree, it states that he is financially responsible for everything for the home. And now he is 45 days late on paying the mortgage. And the way I found that out with my credit dropped about 80 points and it said it was due to the mortgage. And I have spoken with him and he does not want to sell. What are my recourses as far as repairing my credit or giving him some incentive to sell? I'm so afraid that next year this whole housing market is going to crash and we're going to be in a recession and we won't be able to sell it. Yeah, yeah. Well, this is a tough situation, Lisa, as you already know.
And unfortunately, there's not a great option here. When there's a divorce and both spouses are on the mortgage, both remain legally responsible for paying the creditor even if the court says he's the responsible party. So that means if you and the court agree that your ex should take over the mortgage payments, the creditor can still come after you to collect. Which also means, and that you're experiencing this, if he misses a payment or doesn't pay at all, your credit will be affected by that.
And you could even be named in a foreclosure action if it came to that. Now, hopefully it won't come to that. So I think it's just critical that you impress upon him the importance of staying current on this because it's going to affect you as well. And he needs to realize that. Is he just, you know, was there an unusual situation that led to this? Is this a pattern?
What do you think is going on here? Well, he said that he was changing jobs and didn't have a paycheck for 45 days. Changing jobs has been a pattern for him.
I think he's had about nine jobs in like the past six years. Yeah. OK. Yeah. So that's obviously a difficult situation. I mean, hopefully it's an isolated event. Obviously, this is going to trash his credit, too, which he's not going to want. He certainly doesn't want to lose the house. And that would eventually happen for nonpayment. There would be foreclosure action and then he would lose the value of this asset. So hopefully he will resume payments. And is the mortgage current at this point? Has he said he's going to be able to resume payments right away?
It is current. He went ahead and paid the back payments that were due and he's current currently. But I just wanted to know if there's any way I would either be notified if he didn't pay the mortgage so that I could pay it because he is unwilling to tell me whether he's paying it or not. Well, you're still on the mortgage, so you should be able to log in and access the information and monitor that payment.
You could even call the lender and ask them to notify you or set up an alert automatically when the payment is late. Stay on the line. We'll talk more off the air. We'll be right back on MoneyWise. Stay with us. You're listening to MoneyWise Live, and you can find us online at MoneyWiseLive.org.
However, today we're not live. So if you hear that phone number, please don't call. But do stay with us. There's lots of great information ahead. Let's head to Texas.
Houston, to be specific. Tina, thanks for calling. Go ahead.
Thank you for talking to me. I just wanted to ask what long-term plans we should have financially because this ping-pong politics we've been playing for years with Republicans, Democrats, and every time they go and destroy what was good from the previous and they initiate new stuff, we can't run a government like that. We need to be able to support the previous good choices from the government. And financially, we need to start thinking selling houses is not a good idea, in my opinion, because that's the only investment that can weather the change of policies in the government and presidents. Because you have a house, you can't pay for it. You could always lease it and you have a good interest rate.
You can lease it. It changes with the economy. If the interests go up, you're going to be able to make more of a profit. If it goes down, you can fluctuate the amount of rent. But we've got to start thinking long-term, more than the next four years, because we're just – everything that my husband and I work for, it is little by little being chipped away.
The only things that haven't are real estate investments. No doubt about that, Tina. Well, I certainly appreciate what you're saying and I concur. At the end of the day, the answer is to vote. We need to show up at the ballot box. Policy matters. We need to make sure our elected officials understand really the founding of this nation and why the founders did what they did with the Constitution and the fact that God's word speaks to economic activity and productivity, that we were created to be productive in the image of God as workers and there's a virtuous cycle of productivity that leads to an expansion in wealth for the purpose of what? Not to enrich ourselves, but for generosity and to be about God's activity and meeting the needs of the world and that biblical principles apply to individuals, but they also apply to nations. This reminds me of the story of my good friend Ron Blue, the author and teacher. He's one of my mentors. Ron was testifying before a Senate subcommittee on low-income Americans and they said to him, Ron, what would you tell the average low-income American about how they should handle their money?
And he said, well, I'd say four things. I'd say they need to live within their means. They need to avoid debt.
They need to have some margin or some liquidity in their financial lives after the bills are paid and they need to set long-term goals. And the senator who chaired the committee pulled out his pen and started writing those down and he said, you know, Ron, it strikes me that this would work for any American at any income level. And Ron replied to the senator and he said, you're right, Senator, including the United States government. And I think the idea is that these principles that we find rooted in God's word apply to nations and when we violate them as an individual or as a nation, then we have to bear the consequences of that and we're certainly seeing that right now with the sky-high debt that is just continuing to climb ever so rapidly in this country and all of that is going to come to roost and it's going to only be changed through policymakers that understand God's word, that understand these principles and that can apply them in the context of how we handle money and our fiscal policy and our budgeting process here as a nation.
So it's important that we show up at the ballot box because there's a lot at stake. And so I appreciate you asking the question, Tina, and being a part of the program. God bless you. Let's head to North Dakota. Tom, you're next on the program. Go ahead, sir. Yes, thanks for taking my call.
I really enjoy your show. The question I have has to do with when you own a vehicle, family car. What is the best way to get the lowest cost per mile during the course of time when you would own a vehicle? As an example, is it best to buy a new vehicle and then every three years trade in that vehicle thinking you're getting the best trade-in value and then put so many miles on over that three-year period of time? Or is it better to get a good used vehicle and then maintain it and keep it maintained and for lack of a better term, drive the wheels off it and then after that period of time, would that be a lower cost per mile?
I'm really curious about that. Yeah, it's a great question. You know, we're in an unusual period right now where used cars are particularly high. I think we'll start to see that come back down as the new car inventories grow, largely driven by the constraints we had during the pandemic and chip shortages. But we're seeing those inventories building and that's going to bring used car prices down. You know, as the former host of this program, Howard Dayton, my friend, likes to say the cheapest car to drive is the one you already own.
And he agrees with you. He buys them used and drives them till the wheels fall off. You know, the general rule is you want to identify a car that meets your needs and that could be if you can afford a new car or a late model car. You know, typically I think the most bang for your buck, if you will, is a two to three year old car. Some folks are having to push that to four plus years just because of where used car prices are right now.
But I would say a late model used car, just because you're missing a good bit of that depreciation that happens in those first couple of years, you're able to kind of skip that, if you will, and then pay as much down as you can and drive it for as long as you can. The key is keep up with the vehicle maintenance. That's going to keep the cost per mile down and try to bundle your trip. So make the most of every trip to keep the mileage low. But, you know, I think that is always going to be your best option. The good news is the way cars are built these days, if they are maintained properly, you should be able to get 250,000 miles out of a car that's good quality and reliable. That's what we had on our last car that we, in a sense, turned in when we replaced it, and I think that's always going to be your best option.
So I would say buy a used late model car, maintain it well, make sure you have it checked out by an independent mechanic before you purchase it, and then drive it until the wheels fall off, and that is going to keep your cost per mile the lowest it possibly can be. We appreciate you checking with us, Tom. God bless you, my friend. Hey, before we wrap up this segment, let's take an email.
This one comes from Heather. She says, My husband and I are expecting an extra cash payment of $19,000. After taxes and tithe, which is awesome that you're thinking about that, Heather, we expect to have $10,000. We have a car loan of $21,000, and we have about three to four months of emergency funds that are saved.
So here's our question. Would you recommend us to pay the full $10,000 towards the car loan or only a portion towards the car loan and keep the rest as a cash reserve? And I would just say, Heather, first of all, great job. I love the fact that you're out of this cash payment thinking about tithing.
You want to give generously and systematically. I also love that you're thinking of paying down debt, and you've referenced your emergency fund. So here's what I would do. If you have a real stable income, you don't see any changes on the horizon, and you're excited about being debt-free, I would say with three to four months emergency reserves, you could feel very good about putting the whole $10,000 toward the car loan.
If you like to be a little more cautious, you think there could be some changes, disruptions in income, or you could see a temporary decline or anything like that, I would say let's get that emergency fund up to a full six months and then take the difference and pay toward the car loan. But I think in either case, you're doing a great thing. There's nothing ever wrong with giving, for sure. Nothing wrong with shoring up your emergency savings and nothing wrong with getting out of debt.
It's all about the priority use. And so I would say at a minimum three months, you've already got that. So if you want to pay down that debt, great. Feel really good about that.
If you want to bolster that to six months, then put the difference there. We appreciate you sending us that email. Folks, we're going to pause for a quick break again. We're not here today taking some time off, so don't call in.
But more questions just around the corner. This is MoneyWise Live, biblical wisdom for your financial decisions. I'm Rob West, and we'll be right back.
Don't go anywhere. Thanks for joining us today on MoneyWise Live, biblical wisdom for your financial decisions. I'm Rob West, your host. Hey, if you checked out the MoneyWise app, we'd love for you to do that, just to go to wherever you download apps and search for MoneyWise biblical finance. It has broadcast archives, our MoneyWise community where you can ask questions, get answers from our coaches. All of our content there in our Learn tab with the best voices, podcasts and article from Christian Finance and our MoneyWise money management system. There's three systems in one so you can find the way to control spending and set up your budget in a way that fits your personality. Pick the one you want, download transactions automatically, and you can even use our digital envelope system. It's all there in the MoneyWise app. You can download it today.
Again, search for MoneyWise biblical finance. All right, we're going to head back to the phones. By the way, our team is away from the studio today, so don't call in. But we've got some questions that we lined up in advance. In addition to the upcoming calls we have lined up, we'll tackle a couple of listener emails.
That's right. You can email us to have your question read on the air at questions at MoneyWise.org. Again, that's questions at MoneyWise.org. We get as many of them on the air as we can, and we'd love to hear from you. Before we head to the phones, let me remind you here in December, as we press ever so fervently toward year end, this is a great time for you to consider a gift to MoneyWise Media. If you're a part of our MoneyWise family, you listen to this program with regularity, perhaps you're using the MoneyWise app like now more than 37,000 of you are. We're so excited about that, and you're frequently visiting the website, and you'd like to support this work. We'd certainly be grateful as we press toward year end and try to solve for our end-of-year goal.
We're on our way to 250,000, so still a hill to climb, but we're confident God's people will respond. So if you'd like to make a gift to the ministry, we would certainly be grateful. You can head to our website, MoneyWise.org. Just click Give Now at the top of the page, and any amount will help.
I'm serious about that. Whether you give one time or as a monthly patron, again, we would just be grateful for your support beyond your giving to your local church. Again, MoneyWise.org. Click Give Now at the top of the page, and thanks in advance. All right, let's tackle an email. This one comes to us from Abby.
She writes, We're newlyweds. We leased a car through our bank. We owe $16,000, and the payments are $430 a month.
We can't find anyone to take over the payments. We'd rather use the money to save for a house. If we return the car to the dealer, would that show up on our credit report? Is there a better option to get out of the lease?
Abby, I appreciate this question so much, you know, especially as we're just starting out in marriage. A lot of times we're making some decisions financially that we'll learn from, and perhaps we wish we would have done differently, and taking on an expensive car lease certainly can be one of those. I can understand how you'd want to use that money to save for a house, and unfortunately with a leased car, it doesn't give you the opportunity, unless you buy it at the end, to go ahead and pay it off in full, and then drive it for a long, long time, and free up that money to either save for your next car, or in your case, save for that down payment on the house. So I can understand why you might want to get out of that and get into a used car, perhaps four or five years old, but that's still reliable and maybe can save you some money.
Unfortunately, none of the options are good on what you're trying to do. Returning the car and breaking the lease by itself doesn't affect your credit report, and ultimately your credit score, to your question. That is assuming, though, that you make all of the necessary payments at that time. If you don't, it will absolutely, severely impact your credit score in a negative way. And that means, in terms of the necessary payments, that means you pay the early termination fee, which is usually the total amount you would have paid during the lease, which kind of negates the whole purpose of this, minus what you've already paid.
So that's a pile of money. So what are your other options? Well, option number one is to transfer the lease to someone else, which you mentioned you've been unable to do. A few comments on that option. First of all, if you were to do that, you'd need to make sure that the lessor permits it.
They don't always. And so you need to make sure that you contact the lessor to ensure that you even have the option to make this transfer. The other thing you need to consider is whether they're going to allow you to get out from under it, or whether you will, in effect, become a co-signer, which is something I would discourage you highly from doing, because if they don't make the payments on time, you would have to step in, or that would affect your credit negatively. Keep in mind, there are some downsides for the person potentially taking this on. Number one, they have mileage limits, so depending on what's left, they would have to factor that in.
And then there are turn-in fees, so they're going to want to know what that is at the end of the day. But if you could find somebody to take it on, your lessor permits it, and they qualify on their own, and the lessor would allow you out in terms of responsibility, that would obviously be ideal. There are a number of online solutions that you can look for where folks make these lease transfers available, and so you may want to check that out to see if you can find something. But I'd place a call to the lessor first just to find out what options you have. The second, of course, is you just keep this, continue making the lease payments and chalk it up to experience, and learn from it the next time around. You could, of course, buy the car outright from the dealer. That's going to leave you with monthly payments if you can't pay the full amount in cash, though, so that really doesn't solve anything.
So I understand this is a challenging one, and unfortunately there's not a perfect solution here, so I would say probably your best option is just to stick with it, and what you will learn from it I think will be invaluable down the road. Next time around, let's buy a newer used car, perhaps in this environment with used car prices so high, maybe one a little older than you might have previously instead of two to three years old, maybe four to five. Thanks so much for writing to us. If you have a question for us, we'd love to hear from you.
Questions at MoneyWise.org is how you email us. Let's head to the phones. We'll begin today in North Carolina. Richard, you'll be our first caller, sir. Go ahead.
Hey, sir. Hey, I've got a question about the Bitcoin thing, the cryptocurrency thing. Is that a good thing now, or is it a bad thing now? Well, when you ask is it a good or a bad thing, are you talking about whether it's a good thing that it's used as a currency, or are you talking about as an investment, Richard? As an investment, sir?
Yeah, I wouldn't touch it. You know, Bitcoin obviously is the largest of the cryptos. The idea is that it's a peer-to-peer currency outside of the control of any government. There's a fixed cap of 21 million Bitcoins that can ever be produced, and I think the technology behind it is here to stay, especially because we've seen a breakdown of trust in centralized institutions everywhere in society, and whether it's a mistrust of the Fed and what they're doing with our money, or global health institutions, or big tech companies, the appeal of these is huge, and that's why I think we've seen such a rise in this, and it's here to stay. I don't think it's going anywhere, but in terms of an investment, it's highly speculative. I would put it really in more of the speculation category than an investment category. It's highly volatile, and we've seen that certainly this year with the major selloff, and that may be why you're asking whether at this point it makes sense, but there's still a large number of risks in terms of which ones are going to fail and which ones aren't.
Government regulation is still a question, and for those reasons and others, I'd stay far away from it as an investment. Thanks for your call, Richard. All right, back to the phones we go. Judith, you're next on the program. Go ahead, how can I help you? First of all, I'd like to thank you for your ministry that's biblically based.
I have shared it with so many people, and I just thank you that you're just available to the world to learn how to do their finances. My question today is, what book do you recommend for a second-year college student? He hasn't really had access to much money, but I want to get him on the right track.
I know it's never too early, and I feel like this is a little late, but what is your recommendation? Oh, it's a great question, Judith, and thank you for your kind remarks. I'll send you a copy of the book that I would recommend you start with. It's called Your Money Counts, and it's by my good friend Howard Dayton, Bible teacher and author, former host of this program. Howard and Larry Burkett and Ron Blue are some of the fathers, if you will, of modern personal finance from a biblical perspective and have done so much to bring insight and really a spotlight on these biblical principles related to money that we find in God's Word. Your Money Counts will be an easy read for him, Judith, but what it will do is allow him to understand not only the financial literacy side of why it's important to save and invest and avoid debt and have a spending plan, but also the biblical perspective, starting with the idea that God owns it all, which really is a fundamental game changer when it comes to our money management. When we realize that God, the Creator of the universe, owns and controls everything, and that He entrusts to us a portion of His resources to manage and to be found faithful, that really changes everything with regard to how we should approach our finances.
And when we accept our role as steward and we see money as a tool to accomplish God's purposes and the way we handle it is really the most tangible evidence of how we work out our values and priorities as a Christ follower, that really is a fundamental idea that you're not going to hear really anywhere else, certainly not in the world. So, Judith, if you stay on the line, we'll get your information. I'll get that book out to you.
Maybe you can wrap it up for Christmas and give it to him as a gift from you, but we'll send it to you as a complimentary tool for you, okay? Wonderful. Thank you so much and God bless your day and Merry Christmas to you and your family. Thank you, Judith, and to you as well. Well, folks, that's going to do it for us today. We've covered a lot of ground and taken a lot of questions as we apply God's wisdom to the financial situations you're dealing with.
You know, at the end of the day, when we recognize that God owns it all and we're stewards of those resources, we live within our means, set long-term goals, and give generously, then we put ourselves in a position to experience God's best. Hey, let me mention, if you'd like to support this work, we are listener-supported, you can do that on our website at MoneyWise.org. Just click Donate.
MoneyWise Live is a partnership between Moody Radio and MoneyWise Media. Thank you to Jim, Amy, Deb, and Hans. Thank you to Dan as well. We appreciate you being along with us today. God bless you. We'll see you next time. Bye-bye.
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