Today's version of Faith in Finance Live is prerecorded so our phone lines are not open. This is Faith in Finance Live biblical wisdom for your financial decisions. You know Proverbs 22 7 warns us the rich rule over the poor and the borrower is the slave of the lender. Is that anywhere more obvious than with credit cards? It's so easy to become enslaved by carrying a balance and recent surveys show that nearly half of credit card holders in the U.S. carry a balance from month to month. With the average interest rate now at just over 24%, it's easy to see the cost of not paying off a credit card in full every month. But let's say you use a credit card for much of your monthly spending, racking up rewards points, but paying off the balance faithfully each month. Are there still costs that may not be as obvious?
Well it turns out the answer is yes, due mainly to psychology. Studies have shown that folks using credit cards tend to spend from 10 to 30% more on purchases than people using cash. The psychology there is that it's more difficult to part with actual dollars than it is to swipe a credit card. On the other hand, using a credit card makes it easier to not only spend more, but to leave larger tips for services and to buy things on impulse, which you're a lot less likely to do if using cash. Now keep in mind that the tendency to spend more with a credit card applies even if you pay off the balance each month and stay on budget. That means you're having to pull money from other categories in your budget, and more likely than not, it's the savings category that will suffer. So you're not carrying a balance, but you're not getting ahead either. Here's a bit more psychology. The Journal of Consumer Research reports that you're more likely to increase your connection to something you've purchased if you use cash instead of a credit card.
That seems to make sense. The more difficult something is to acquire, the more you value it. But you don't have to take the word of researchers.
You can test this yourself. Just look back over your last few credit card statements to see what you've purchased, and then ask yourself, how attached am I to those things? You may not even remember buying some of that stuff. So the lesson there is, the more susceptible you are to making off-budget impulse purchases, the more you'll benefit by not using a credit card and paying with cash instead. Now, we talked about how using a credit card may increase your spending, even if you manage to stay on budget.
But that will be more difficult to do if you use plastic instead of cash. Use of a credit card can make it more difficult to know whether you're staying on budget for the month. You can also find yourself short of cash after paying the monthly bill.
So again, you're robbing from category Peter to pay category Paul. In short, using a credit card can make simple budgeting much less simple. Of course, if you use the FaithFi app to set up your budget and track your expenses, you'll know in real time if you're staying on budget or not.
So we highly recommend you download it. It actually has a digital form of the tried and true envelope system to stay on top of your spending. Okay, here's another potential hidden cost to using a credit card. It's the tendency to use it as a crutch, a bailout when things go bad. That can turn a one-time isolated problem into a long-term recurring debt.
Now, how does that happen? Well, it's simple, really, by not having an emergency fund. Remember when I said that overspending with a credit card may result in undersaving?
Well, this is a prime example. If you have the mindset that your credit card will save you if you lose your job or you have a major medical issue or a car wreck, then you're not going to save for those unfortunate events ahead of time. And those things always happen sooner or later. If you have an emergency fund with three to six months living expenses and liquid savings, we recommend an online bank to get the best interest rate. You're prepared for the worst. You'll have the cash you need to weather whatever financial storm comes up. Without it, you have to rely on a credit card or some other type of borrowing, which means you're automatically in the hole, and now you have to dig your way out, paying interest all along the way. So if you don't have an emergency fund in place, start saving today. Set a goal of $1,500, then one month's expenses, then two, and so on until you have at least three months' worth. So those are the hidden costs of using a credit card, and we're not saying you shouldn't.
Just be aware of the impact it can have on your budget, even if you pay it off in full each month. All right, we're going to head to a break, so don't go anywhere. Still a lot more to come, even though we're away from the studio today and you shouldn't call in. We have some great questions that you're really going to enjoy as we continue to apply God's wisdom to your financial decisions. We'll be right back. Great to have you with us today on Faith and Finance Live. I'm Rob West, your host.
Our team is away from the studio today, so don't call in. But coming up a little later, we'll have more of your questions right here on the program. Hey, let me take a moment to mention the FaithFi app. We'd love for you to download it. Just head to your app store, wherever you download apps, and search for FaithFi. That's FaithFI.
You can manage your money. You can access the best content in biblical finance, podcasts, articles, and videos. You can also participate in our FaithFi community, where you can post questions and get answers from others on their stewardship journey. You'll find it in your app store. Just search for FaithFi, or if it's easier, head to our website at FaithFi.com.
That's FaithFi.com, and you'll see the app right there on the homepage. Now let's head back to the phone calls we have lined up. Let's begin today in Georgia. Hi, Alan. Go right ahead. Hey, yes, sir.
It's great to hear from you. So my question is, I'm a National Guard member. Being encouraged to invest into a TSP fund for my military side, but in addition, I'm also dual status as a state employee, is it better to invest 100 percent of my monthly gains into a military TSP program, or should I do it in my federal TSP? Yeah, I don't think there's really going to be a difference there.
I mean, is there any difference in any kind of matching? Well, with the military, they match five percent, so I am currently in that. However, I didn't know if it would be better to invest all of my income into the military TSP and leave the other out, or should I diversify and spread my income through multiple sets of the TSP funds?
Well, no, no, you're fine. They have various investment funds inside the TSP, but they're going to be the same options in either one. I think the key is, as long as you're maximizing any matching, so if you have matching on both sides, let's make sure we at least get that, if it's just with the military, then I would focus all of your energies there. As long as you're not giving up any matching or any other benefits by contributing in the second one, I would just concentrate all of your energy in one, because again, the investment options are the same across both. You've got the life cycle funds, which basically is the same as a target date fund, you'd set it at your expected retirement date and it would get more conservative as you age, and then you've got the funds that you can select, the G, the F, the C, the S, and the I. G is the government securities, basically like your cash account, the fixed income is like your bond index, and then you've got your common stock and your small cap stock and your international stock, so the CS and I really are the equity portion. What is your age?
So I'm 40. Okay. Yeah, so basically you want a good bit of this in the stock portion, I would say at least 70% mixed between the C, the S, and the I, so you've got exposure to the large cap stocks, the smallest cap stocks, and international. You could keep it simple and do a third, a third, a third, I mean that's up to you.
International is outperforming this year, it did last year, we think it will continue to be even more attractive than the U.S. moving in the near term, but you want to be diversified, like Ecclesiastes tells us, you'd want a smaller allocation of bonds, although bonds are attractive now, that we're nearing the end of the rate hikes if not at the end, so maybe 20-30% of the fixed income portion, but I don't see any reason why you'd want to leverage both, again, as long as you don't give up any matching. Okay, awesome, well thank you so much. Absolutely, Alan, and hey, thanks for your service to our country, my friend, we're incredibly grateful, thanks for your call today as well. Let's head to Virginia. Hi, Gary, go ahead. Tony, how you doing? I'm doing well, sir. I'm a second time caller for you, I'm still living the dream, I'm playing God.
My kids, I put all five of my kids through college, they had to make it on their own. Okay. Other than that, I heard, I just heard something, President Trump had a speech and he said, and in the speech he said, well just let the economy fall, and I'll build it back. I don't know if you've heard that, could you give an input on that, I mean, could you give your input to it?
Sure. I didn't hear him say that, so I'm not totally sure what the context was, but here's what I would say just generally about the economy. You know, there's a design that God has for economics and wealth creation, we see it outlined in the Bible, it starts with the idea that we were, that we're human beings are created in His image, and we're a blessing, and we're to take His creation and order it and improve it, and as we do that, as we're productive, valuing human life, that productivity creates economic expansion, and that's a virtuous cycle. As the economic expansion occurs in an environment that supports that, which includes I think low taxes and less regulations, allowing the human ingenuity, the way God created us, to play itself out, and then we're generous to the God who created us, you know, that virtuous cycle is the way God intended it, but when we violate those principles laid out in Scripture, we pay the price for that, and in many respects I think we're seeing that play out right now with just the way, you know, we've ordered our economy, some of the actions of the Federal Reserve, obviously the incredible debt that we have in this country, and the lack of restraint on federal spending, so, you know, I think the bottom line is, what President Trump put in place when he was in office was a pro-growth environment in many respects, trying to cut regulation, lower taxes, create opportunities for people to, you know, work and flourish in the system that we have, economically speaking. So he has a plan that I think, you know, certainly he has outlined in the past with regard to what that looks like economically. I'm not sure what the context was about him saying, let it fall, other than obviously we're in some difficult times right now because the Fed has had easy money and all the quantitative easing and the suppressed interest rates for more than a decade, you know, we're paying the penalty for that in the form of sky-high inflation, and now the tax cuts are set to expire, that's anti-growth, and so, you know, we do have some challenges, not to mention, you know, $31 trillion in debt, and our U.S., the largest U.S. national expenditure is about to be interest. I think there's a shared responsibility on both sides of the aisle for the situation that we're in, and we need to return to God's design for economics and wealth creation in order to get beyond this.
I think we can, but we're going to have to make some changes in this country. So hopefully that helps you at least give some of my perspective on where we need to go and perhaps where we've gotten it wrong in some respects. Does that make sense?
That makes sense. Have faith in the Lord and everything will work out. Well that's the key point there, is that God is our provider, not the U.S. government, not your employer, not anywhere else. It all belongs to Him, and so our responsibility is to be found faithful with what passes through our hands, which means we've got to live within our means, we've got to avoid the use of debt, we've got to set some long-term goals, have some margin or some liquidity in our financial lives, and give generously, because giving breaks the grip of money over our lives. Gary, thanks for being on the program again today. Well folks, just a quick reminder, our team is away from the studio today, so don't call in, but we've got some great questions lined up in advance. Hey, before we head into this next break, let me remind you that Faith and Finance Live is listener supported. That means we rely on your generous support to do everything we do on the airwaves, through our coaches and counselors, through our certified kingdom advisors, and even in the FaithFi app. If you consider a gift, we'd certainly be grateful, now more than ever, as we head toward our fiscal year end on June the 30th. You can make a gift at faithfi.com, just click Give.
That's faithfi.com, and click the Give button. Back with much more right after this. Stay with us. This is Faith and Finance Live with Rob West. Hey, if you hear a phone number mentioned today, please ignore that number and don't call us, because today's broadcast was previously recorded. But we think the upcoming information will help you and make you a wise steward of what God's given you, so please stay tuned. Let's head to North Carolina. Hi, Mary.
How can I help you? Yes. I have a Fidelity account I set up a couple of years ago for my granddaughter. I said it at the UTMA, the Fidelity says at one point not to say that as a UTMA, because as she gets older and applies for financial assistance, it may be considered an asset, and it may affect her being able to get the money. And I called Fidelity to try to change it, and they said I couldn't change it from a UTMA.
I think I would have to set up a whole other account, and I didn't know if that was the thing to do. Yeah. Are you continuing to fund this account in the future, or was it a one-time contribution a while back?
No. I contribute every month, but right now I'm not doing anything with it until I decide is it best to leave it with the UTMA or go ahead and just do a whole other account and just leave what's in there or take it out. I don't know what to do with that, to leave it, because the Fidelity said that over five years, she's just 13 now, over five years, it won't be that much in there that it's going to make that much difference as far as an asset.
Yeah. I think that's the key is how much you're actually going to end up in that account. So with a UTMA account, I mean, that's going to be considered an asset of the child related to financial aid eligibility. So if there was a chance that she would qualify for a need-based financial aid based on her parent's income and so forth, a student asset will increase the expected family contribution by 20% of the asset's value as opposed to an asset of the parent, which only increases the expected family contribution by about five and a half percent of the parent's asset. So an asset that's owned by the child is going to increase that expected family contribution or the amount they would need to pay toward college by four times what a parent's asset will. And that's why that UTMA or an account owned by the child can impact her negatively. But if either A, she's not going to qualify for need-based aid or B, this is a pretty minimal account just in terms of the overall amount of dollars we're talking about, then it probably is not an issue. Okay. Well, the other thing with that was that as far as the parents, they will probably be over as far as their income, but she does have hearing problems and she will at some point have to have a hearing aid.
The insurance will not pay for and I had said, maybe I could take this money if need be to have to pay for the hearing aid. I didn't know to still leave it like that. Sure. Yeah. No, I think you could spend it down and that would take care of this as well. If you're going to spend that money anyway, as long as it's used for the benefit of the child, then absolutely.
Okay. And the other thing I wanted to ask about right quick was I know you've recommended Marko's account as far as savings instead of the brick and mortar accounts, but I have the Roth IRA and I just put it in Roth IRA or should I take it out and open up a Marko's account as far as, because with the Roth IRA, it goes into money market that specs money market account or should I open up a Marko's account? Yeah, it really depends on what the purpose of the money is, Mary. So we've got the type of account, whether that's a savings account just in your name or a Roth IRA, which is really a retirement account, and then we have the investments inside the account. So a savings account in a high yield savings is just going to generate interest, whereas a Roth IRA, you could take that and invest it in essentially anything you want. So tell me about the money we're talking about. What is the purpose of this money and what's the time horizon on it?
Well, as far as the Roth IRA, it's just going to be sitting there, but as far as I wanted to be able to go into the money market that I've got set up with the Roth and with Fidelity or with Marcus, I wanted to use that as needed if I needed to go in and just, you know, if a big expense comes up, I go into and hesitate the money from there. Yeah. Yeah.
Yeah. That should be used. So what I like to do is for what I call your emergency fund, which the goal there is three to six months worth of expenses in liquid savings for the unexpected. I like the idea of that being in an online bank in a savings account just because there's not going to be any fees in most cases, and you're going to get a decent amount of interest right now, north of 4% and Marcus would be a great option. You'd link it to your brick and mortar checking account and then that money would be available through electronic transfer within, you know, 24 hours if you needed it. And then for money that you want to set aside for the longer term, I like the idea of you putting that in a Roth IRA.
If you're over 50, you could put in 7,500 this year, as long as you've got at least that much in earned income, and then you could get that invested in, you know, perhaps some index exchange traded funds and just let that capture the broad moves of the market as it moves forward. Okay. Now, this is definitely the last question. I have a TPOC account and a TPHE. I was thinking on the TPHE of maybe cashing in because it's not doing a whole lot of anything, or should I just leave it and just write it out and see what it continues to do? Yeah, I'm not familiar with that term. Is that a retirement account of some kind? Well, that TPOC is the Timothy Plan. Oh, the Timothy Plan. Yeah, of course.
Yes, you were giving me the fun name. Yeah, I like Timothy Plan a lot. I mean, these are some great options for faith-based investments and, you know, very solid mutual funds with a great track record.
So I think, of course, it needs to be allocated based on your age and risk tolerance, but I have nothing but respect for what the team at Timothy Plan does, so I think that's a great approach. Thanks for your call today, Mary. We appreciate you being on the program. Well, folks, we're going to head to a break, but let me remind you, we're out of the studio today. Our team is not here, so don't call in, but much more to come just around the corner on Faith & Finance Live.
Stick around. You know, after being involved in the intersection of faith and finance for more than 25 years, I've come to believe that our financial journey is one of the key ways God shapes our spiritual journey. Because of that tangible demonstration of where we've placed our trust and what we value as we allocate God's money among an unlimited number of choices every day, the key is we need to keep an eternal perspective, hold God's money loosely and recognize He's the owner of all of it. That fundamental idea is a game changer as we approach handling God's money on a day-to-day basis.
We want to help you cultivate that eternal perspective through a biblical worldview of money management here on this program every day. We're so delighted you're along with us. Let's head back to the phones to Tennessee. Hi, Ron. Thanks for calling. Go ahead, sir.
Hi, thanks for taking my call. A friend of mine had his father pass away and leave him an estate that's worth about $1.6 million, and he's disabled. His brother was supposed to be the executor of the trust and didn't give him any paperwork. He hasn't seen the desert certificate, the deed of the property, the trust, or any of these things. When he's asking direct questions, his brother responds with, oh, that's a silly question. So he's been notified a few weeks back that he may have to move, but the property was completely paid off back in the 60s.
This is in California, which I was blessed enough to escape. So he's calling me for help, and I'm telling him, tell me if I'm telling him wrong. He needs to go to Norwalk, to the Hall of Records, draw some property information to see if a tax lien or any mortgage has been filed against the property. He needs to go to Pasadena Court and see if the trust has been filed properly by his father, because he's being given, when he demands it, a trust document that says that he is not in the trust, but his father told him many times, and I heard him many times over the last 20 years, he'll be taken well care of. So why would it be that the trust documents show that he's not on the trust, and this has been going on for four years since his father passed away in 2019?
Now that COVID is over, what would you advise him? Yeah, well, this is a challenging situation. Although it's going to cost him a little bit of money, I think it's best to have a qualified probate lawyer advise him, because really what the next step would be, if he can't get the information he's looking for to verify what you're saying, is to petition the court. So really any interested party that wishes to remove an executor would have to petition the probate court to have the executor removed, and they'd have to present a reason to do so. And so that's where your friend having a probate lawyer kind of advise him through that process to either ask for the documentation he would like to see to verify kind of what's going on here, because everything should be above board, and he should be willing to disclose anything to an interested party, including an heir, as to why the estate is being distributed the way it is. And in the event that he's withholding that information, that's where they could petition the probate court to get involved. How do we find the information? And there's no money for an attorney. You see, you've got to tell me if we're doing these things the right way. We have to, we're saddled with the problem of financial forensics, and that we don't know what we're looking for.
Where do we find it? Where do we find the title of the property that's been paid for, that he was told he could stay in for the rest of his life? He's only getting social security money for his disability, physical disability.
Yeah. Is there a trust, or is it just a will? His dad told us he would establish a trust, and he could stay on the property for the rest of his life, and his brother would handle it. But since the father passed away in 2019, he's been given no documents. So we need to find the documents, and if this is in Pasadena, I think he needs to go to Pasadena court, and tell him where would he go in Pasadena court. Should he go to the probate court to look for where the trust is filed? Because the paperwork he's been given has no stamp on it.
Right, right. Well, many states require a last will and testament to be filed, but there is no requirement to file a revocable trust. So I think at this point, he needs to get an attorney, and I realize you say there's not funds to do this, so he could do some of this digging on his own, just to see what is the status of the deed, whose name is it in, are there any liens on the property, all of that is readily available. But as to whether or not there is a revocable trust in place, the executor is going to have to be the one to furnish that documentation, and the probate court is really the one to uncover all of this, because he has to respond to them, whereas he wouldn't necessarily have to furnish the information to your friend. And so I think, first of all, saving up some money to get some legal counsel, a probate attorney that could help him navigate this, and know where to go, what questions to ask, and get the probate court involved at the appropriate time is probably the next step here, because a lot of this is just not going to be available. The will is a part of the public record, so that all has to be furnished. The problem is the revocable trust does not. I don't even know if there's a revocable trust. What I'm asking you is, here we are, we have the time on our hands before he gets kicked out, before the property is lost, how can we find out where to get the information for the property?
You go to the county records office and find out what the deed, what the status of the deed is, and you can do a lien search to see if there's a lien on the property. And then about the will, how do you, where in the court system do you find copies of the will? I mean, you're saying go to an attorney. What do we take to the attorney if we, you know, we gotta find something to take to the attorney. Oh, here's the real trust. Right.
Yeah. Well, the will has to be run through the probate court in the county in which he lives. And so you would need, the attorney is going to help you navigate that because that's what they do every day. Now, can he petition the court himself?
Absolutely. For the will and the records associated with it. So he would need to contact the probate court in the county that's overseeing this. And I would recommend having an attorney to help you navigate that. But if there's not funds available, he's going to need to do that on his own, unfortunately. So I think that's your next step is to get the status of the property through the deed in the county in which it's filed. Find out if there's any liens by doing a lien search and then contact the probate court to say, I'd like to petition the court to see the records because this is all part of the public record related to this last will and testament to see what assets are there and that you can actually, as a part of that process, actually petition that the executor be removed if it comes to that. Getting all that with the assistance of an attorney is going to be the best way to go.
But if you can't afford it, then clearly you'd have to do that on your own. I hope that helps you, Ron. Let us know how it turns out. I realize this is a challenging situation and we'll certainly pray the Lord will give you some wisdom here. Thanks for being on the program today. Well, folks, we're going to take one more quick break and then back with our final segment today. But if you need assistance from a financial or legal professional, just like our last caller was in need of an estate attorney.
We'd love for you to visit faithfi.com and click find a CKA and that's faithfi.com and click find a CKA that stands for Certified Kingdom Advisor, our preferred designation for financial advice from the biblical world. We're back with much more just around the corner. Stick around. This is our final segment of a faith and finance live program that we previously recorded. Thanks so much for being with us today and we hope you'll stick around and enjoy the rest of the program. Let's take a couple of emails as we round out the program here today. These come into us every day at askrob.faithfi.com.
We try to get a couple on the air every day when we have time. This one comes from John. He writes, I began a new career six months ago. My employer offers a matching 401k, but I haven't put any money into it. I'm currently at around $100,000 in debt for student loans. Should I invest in a 401k or pay down my debt?
Now, it's really important, John, to do both. I would contribute at least enough to your 401k to max out your employer's matching contributions because that's free money. After that, I would probably prioritize paying down the student loans. I think we need to settle on a reasonable payback period. For instance, my ideal goal for paying back student loans is 10 years. If you can put a payment strategy in place to be able to pay the debt back within 10 years, I think that would really be a great plan. Then we can take all extra available dollars and really save for the long term in that tax advantage 401k. The key here is, if it's going to take us 20 years or so to pay back or more this student loan debt, we're going to miss out on some really key compounding years for growth in that 401k. We don't want to abandon the 401k and just focus on the student loans, especially when we have debt levels this high. My goal would be, let's start with the matching. Let's at least fully take advantage of that. Let's try to put a plan in place to get this paid off in 10 years. Once we have that and we're on track, now every extra available dollar, whether that's now because you have additional margin or with bonuses, things like that, or raises in the future, let's go back to the 401k and try to get that up to 10 to 15%. Hopefully that helps you, John. We appreciate you writing to us today.
This one comes to us from CJ. He writes, we use three credit cards and pay them off every month. One for gas, one for groceries, and one for bills. Since we proved we could handle credit, they raised our spending limits. With so much identity theft, we're thinking of closing the accounts. Is there an amount of time we should allow between closing each card? We don't want to mess up our excellent credit scores. Well, CJ, first of all, I appreciate that you've managed this credit so wisely. It wouldn't really hurt your credit to dramatically to close these accounts.
I'd probably do one every six months. That's going to lessen any kind of minimal impact you would have. I will tell you though, that if you're managing this wisely and you're getting rewards on these cards, one way to handle the potential for identity theft, if you wanted to continue to use them, would be to freeze your credit at each of the three credit reporting bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. It's free of charge. You do have to do it individually at each of the three. You can do it online, but that would prevent thieves from opening accounts in your name without the PIN number. And when they can't provide the PIN number, they would be stopped in their track. So yes, you can close those accounts if you want to.
And again, I do one every six months, but if you wanted to continue to use them, you continue to pay them off every month and you like the rewards you're getting, either cash back or maybe travel rewards, then freezing your credit might give you an alternate approach to protecting yourself from identity theft. Thanks for writing to us. And then from an anonymous writer, and this is a concerned mom, she says, my son needs help with paying back credit cards and loans. Is there a free service to help?
Thank you very much. And yes, there is a service to help. My preferred way to pay off credit card debt in particular is through what's called debt management. Our friends at christiancreditcounselors.org can help him get the interest rates reduced and pay this off 80% faster.
Here's how. When you go into credit counseling or what's called debt management, each of the creditors have a pre-negotiated lower interest rate. Now the accounts will be closed when they're put into the program, but through the combination of that lower interest rate combined with a level monthly payment, which simply means as the balance comes down, because more is going to principle with that level payment, you're actually going to get a snowball effect in the process.
The combination of those two things, the snowball effect through the lower payment and the reduced interest rate is going to allow you to pay this back up to 80% faster. The great thing is you're honoring God by paying the debt in full, and it's a great service for you to take advantage of. So if you want to contact them, you can reach out to our friends again at christiancreditcounselors.org. They're all believers. They've worked with hundreds and hundreds of our listeners. So again, it's christiancreditcounselors.org and thanks for writing to us. This one comes to us from Christie.
She writes, Hi, Rob, I love listening to your show. I'm in my 20s and I'm saving up for a house. I'm not sure about the best way to invest my current savings. Should I buy a CD or invest in the stock market? I'd appreciate any advice.
Thanks so much. You know, I think Christie, the key here is your time horizon. So if you're planning on buying this house, let's say in less than five years, then I don't want you investing in the stock market.
We really need a five plus year time horizon. So I love that you're saving and I realize it may take some time, but you're likely going to want to save that in a high yield savings account. If you have some money already put aside, you could lock it up in a 15 or 18 month CD and get a little bit more interest, but you don't want to invest it because the key is to have that money available when you're ready to make the purchase. The problem with investing in the stock market is those stocks may be down at the time.
We just don't know what would be going on at that moment and you may have to sell them at a loss. By the way, make your savings target 20% for a down payment at a minimum. And then let's make sure that mortgage payment, including taxes and insurance, is no more than 25% of your take home pay. That's going to ensure that you have enough left for everything else. But you can do this, stay at it, save diligently, and you will be ready to make that purchase in no time.
And again, don't buy too much house, even though these prices are still pretty high. All right, back to the phones we go to Indiana. Hey, Alan, thanks for calling. Go ahead. Hey, thank you, Rob. Thank you for your program.
It's a tremendous blessing. I just want to ask you if there's a book you can recommend about the investment for a beginner? Yes.
And I can do one better than that. Alan, I'll send it to you. It's called the sound mind investing handbook.
It's by Austin prior. It's I think in its fifth printing, it's a best seller, but it'll give you really the nuts and bolts of investing but also through the lens of scripture, which will help you understand the principles we see in God's Word related to investing but also the mechanics of investing as well that will be a great education for you. So if you stay on the line, we'll get your information and get that right out to you.
Tell me about your situation though before we let you go. Are you just getting started and do you have a company sponsored plan at work or are you looking at maybe starting a Roth IRA or something like that? Well, to be honest with you, I have a portfolio but it's run by a financial manager, one of these investment companies.
But I think I would like to take more ownership of it, you know, like make better decisions probably because what we've been doing is we have allowed our financial manager, which is a born again man, very devoted Christian, but we have allowed him to do the decisions for us. If I have a better knowledge about investments, I think I could come up with some ideas or suggestions. So I know there's a ton of resources about investment but I love your approach, the stewardship approach and that's why I thought about calling and asking if you could suggest a book or two or resources.
Very good. Well, I love this idea, Alan, and even if you have an advisor, which I think is a great idea, I highly recommend it, I would say you being educated is going to put you in a position to even have better conversations because you're going to understand what he or she is talking about and be much more informed. So I think this will be a great resource, again, it's called the Sound Mind Investing Handbook and you stay on the line, we'll get your information, we'll get that right out to you. It's our gift to you, my friend, and thanks for being on the program today. Well, folks, we've covered a lot of ground today. You know, as we think about managing money God's way, the key is that we need to first, I think, recognize that God owns it all and that sounds simple and yet it's a profound idea because when we recognize God's ownership, then it allows us to put everything in its proper context. We become stewards or managers that reflect the heart of the master and the management of the master's resources, but our money now becomes a tool to not only provide for our families, which is biblical, but perhaps to this bigger idea of being invited into a story that's much bigger than us and that's God's grand generosity adventure.
You know, generosity just explodes off of every page. That's really what the Bible is. It's a generosity story and it can be best summed up in those nine words, for God so loved the world he gave and so as image bearers of Christ, of God himself, we have the ability to be most like him, I believe, when we're giving and when we hold his provision loosely and that's what we want to do each day on this program is take the opportunity to say, Lord, how can we reflect your handiwork and majesty and glorify you through the use of your resources because when you own it all, and you do, now every spending decision becomes a spiritual decision. And here's the reality, folks, when we take a step back and we look at how we're allocating God's money, what we realize is that we're telling a story about what's most important to us in the way we allocate God's money.
And yet it's an opportunity for each of us to say, regardless of the mistakes we've made in the past or the decisions we've made in our financial life, from this point forward, I want to be found faithful. But when it comes to our money, we have an opportunity to go to God's word, to renew our minds, to get into the scriptures and see what he has for us in those 2350 verses and those parables, more than half of them that deal with money. And we can see the heart of God and how we should be rich toward God and handle money in such a way that it's evident that God is our treasure and not our money. You remember in Mark 4 in the parable of the sower, Jesus, when he was explaining to the disciples what choked out the word from bearing a 30, 60, 100 fold return, he said it was the deceitfulness of riches and the cares of this world and the desires for other things. Let's not let that be true about us in the way we handle God's money.
Let's hold it loosely. Let's give it generously and let's use it to honor the King of Kings and let's do that together on this program each day. Thanks for being along with us today.
Hey, Faith in Finance Live is a ministry of FaithFi and Moody Radio. Thanks to my team today and we'll see you tomorrow. Come back and join us then. Bye bye.
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