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Solving a Marriage Crisis

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore
The Truth Network Radio
August 9, 2023 2:40 pm

Solving a Marriage Crisis

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore

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August 9, 2023 2:40 pm

The book of Proverbs reminds us to keep a cool head when we experience conflict or crisis in a relationship. And that may be even more applicable when the crisis involves the marriage relationship. On today's MoneyWise Live, host Rob West will talk with Howard Dayton about solving a marriage crisis. Then Rob will answer some calls on various financial topics. 

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Today's version of MoneyWise Live is prerecorded so our phone lines are not open. A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15, 1.

Hi, I'm Rob West. That verse reminds us to keep a cool head when we experience conflict or crisis in a relationship, and maybe all the more when that crisis involves the marriage relationship. Howard Dayton joins us today to talk about surviving a marriage crisis.

And we have some great calls lined up, but we won't be taking your live calls today because we're prerecorded. This is MoneyWise Live, biblical wisdom for your financial journey. Well, our friend Howard Dayton is the founder of Compass Finances God's Way and the former host of this program, so it's always good to have him back with us. Howard, welcome.

Great to be with you, Rob. Howard, let's start with the warning signs of a marital crisis. In your experience, what are they? Well, it typically occurs when there's a lot of stress or unresolved conflict that become too intense for a couple to manage. A crisis brought on by finances usually involves more than dollars and cents. Anger, resentment, frustration often control the relationship, Rob, and their communication becomes increasingly strained or the two emotionally withdraw from each other. A crisis can even be more challenging when the husband and wife contributed to it, especially when trust has been broken.

No doubt about that. And what in your experience is the typical response that you see to this type of crisis? Yeah, Rob, people react differently to a crisis. Some people react quickly and emotionally.

Others are more introspective. And it's really essential for spouses to give each other the freedom to deal with the crisis and to support each other in every way possible. And times like this can be huge in a relationship, either for bringing couples closer together or pushing them further apart. Now, this may surprise some, but one of the biggest potential benefits is that when people experience a high level of pain, they'll often change. Impulse spenders can become careful spenders.

Credit cards are paid off. Couples begin to communicate at a different level. And some even become serious about their relationship with Christ. And that's certainly the outcome we're looking for. All right, let's get real practical here. I know you have some steps to help couples deal with a marital crisis.

What are they? Well, first, pray together for God's wisdom and direction in your situation. Then agree together on the ground rules on how to deal with a crisis. Include an opportunity for either spouse at any time to call time out, to pray together and to cool off if the meeting becomes too intense.

And this is really a huge job. Agree to use kind words to communicate. Unkind words can really damage their relationship. I found it's also helpful to write a letter to each other, expressing your feelings and identifying the issues. Then meet to pray together and discuss the letters. And don't forget to identify and repent from any sin.

For example, if somebody is addicted to gambling, repentance would mean getting help to break that addiction. Then look for the real source of the hurt between you and your spouse. You may not know exactly where to look for it, but God does.

So ask him to reveal it. And finally, work to rebuild the marriage. Each spouse should find someone to hold them accountable to make really good choices.

Wow, that's really helpful, Howard. And if a couple does all of those things, but the crisis still remains, what then? Well, couples experiencing acute meltdown in their marriage need intervention because they may be unable to work out the problems without the assistance of a professional. So find the right person or organization that can help best. And I would encourage you to select a mature Christian who's really a trained counselor.

Now, I realize that there are some circumstances where divorce may occur because of abuse, adultery, or addictions, but most problems can be solved if both partners are committed to resolving them. I love it. Howard, I know that you have taught for so long that oneness is the goal in the marriage relationship, and that includes this area of finance. In just a few seconds remaining, give us a quick vision of what that could look like.

Well, it means that you don't make independent financial decisions without really communicating and listening to your spouse, that you view the resources that you have as both of yours, not just one of yours. I love it. Howard, my friend, always great insights and wisdom. Thanks for stopping by. I love it, Rob. Thank you.

All right. Howard Dayton's been our guest today. You can read much more about this important topic in his book, Money and Marriage God's Way. This is MoneyWise Live biblical wisdom for your financial decisions. Stay with us. We'll be right back. 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. However, we've lined up some calls in advance that we think you'll find helpful.

So stay tuned and enjoy the rest of the program. We can go to the scriptures and find principles that we can pull out and apply to the decisions and choices we're making today. We can look through the Council of Scripture and see the big themes on the heart of God, starting with the fact that God was a creator and he ordained work before the fall. So we should be workers as unto the Lord, doing meaningful and creative work, taking God's creation and improving it.

And therefore, there's nothing wrong with earning a wage, but we need to see those resources as really a tool, as I mentioned before. And then we look at the scriptures and we see that God was the ultimate giver, right? He gave us his son. And so we were created in his image.

I like to say we're most like him when we're giving. So we should hold what God entrust to us loosely. And perhaps that giving opportunity is the first opportunity we should consider even before provision. The challenge with providing, and we're clearly called to provide for our families, is we can end up with an unending list of needs and wants if we're not careful. And we need to make sure that we get the opportunity to be connected into God's activity at the forefront because our ability to be generous is really key to what we see throughout scripture with regard to how we should use his money. And then we want to apply other principles like living within our means and avoiding debt and setting long term goals, having some margin and yes, as I said, giving generously. And when we do that, I believe we put ourselves in a position to experience God's best. Not that we're going to avoid difficulty financially throughout our lives.

We'll certainly have that. The apostle Paul addressed that very clearly. We will have times of difficulty. But when we position our finances in such a way that we can honor God with what he's entrusted to us, I believe we've at least put ourselves in a position to experience God's best. And ultimately, what we're called to be found faithful with is what passes through our hands. So together, let's try to find God's heart and make the decisions and choices you're faced with each day related to your money. So we do that together on this program. And again, we're not broadcasting live today, but we've lined up some great calls and we'll get to one of those in just a moment. Also coming up on the broadcast today, I'll share some financial principles for seniors that I think might be helpful to you.

Plus your emails. We receive emailed questions every day at questions of money wise dot org, and we try to get as many of them on the air as we can today. We'll tackle a couple of them. One in particular, somebody who's concerned about saving tipping over into hoarding. We'll discuss that.

Also, how do you determine the appropriate amount of life insurance? We'll tackle that one as well. All right, let's begin in Tennessee. Pam, you're going to be first up on the broadcast. Go right ahead.

Yes, sir. I just have a quick question on the I bonds, inflation bonds that are currently paying, I think, nine point two percent. If you happen to need to break them before the five years, it says, if I read it correctly on the website, you lose the last three months interest. But I thought I read somewhere else that you lose the first three months interest, which is a significant difference if they lowered the rate. Do you know what what it is?

My understanding is the last three months of interest. Okay. That's what it says on the website. But I can't remember where I read an article. There was some chatter about it. So I just wanted to make sure, sir.

Yes. But, you know, even if it was the first three, I mean, think about this. If you were to, you know, earn nine point six two percent on that money and you were to look at that as, you know, three months of that, I mean, we'd only be talking about two and a half percent of that. So that would still be a very attractive rate of return.

Pam, considering the fact that there's almost zero risk coming back by the U.S. government. So I think this is still a great opportunity. Inflation is not going away anytime soon. We may see that rate tick down as we get into the next adjustment, which will be effective November the first. But even if you have to pull that out prior to five years, I think you're still going to be pleased with the rate that you earned over the life of that holding.

So hopefully that helps you and answers your question. We appreciate your call today. Let's see to Mississippi. Glenn, you're next on the program. Go ahead.

Thanks for taking my call. My wife and I, we have a rental house. We lived in it probably about 30 years ago and it's out of state of Mississippi.

And we live here in Mississippi. I know you can always sell a rental house and then take that profit and the entire money and then buy another one within so many days. But what we're thinking of, is there any way possible such as if we put the house just totally in my wife's name and then she went up there and lived for two years? Could she sell the house even though we're still married? Could we file our federal taxes independently? And then would she be able to keep the capital gains of that home tax-free, federal tax-free?

Yeah, it's certainly something to look at. I'm, you know, when you get into a situation like that, I would absolutely consult with the CPA just to make sure you're looking at all sides of this. I mean, the general idea here is that if you live in a property two out of the last five years, you can take that $250,000 for an individual, half a million for a married couple filing jointly. And that can be taken every two years.

So you have the ability to do that multiple times. The challenge is that, you know, there are some differences when it comes to that capital gains exclusion from converting a rental property. So if you have the ability to convert a rental property into a primary residence, but there is something called a non-qualifying use rule that could factor into this where the gain was actually occurring before it was converted to a primary residence. And it does get somewhat complicated because there's been some changes along the way in the IRS code specifically related to this. So I think before you'd want to do anything like that, Glenn, you'd want to sit down with a CPA, look at your specific situation, look at the tax code, determine filing status and kind of when the gains occurred, look at the latest updates to that law related specifically to that exclusion that, you know, comes out of section 121 of the tax code and make sure that you are doing this correctly. The last thing you'd want to do is make a move like this and, you know, for two years only to find out there was some kind of nuance in the tax code that prevents you from doing it.

So I think this would be well worth your time spent with a tax professional just to look at your specific situation before you proceed. All right, Glenn, God bless you, my friend. Thanks for checking in with us today.

We appreciate it very, very much. A quick email before we head back to the phones after the break. Michael writes to us and he says, I'm unable to budget because of sporadic income as a contractor.

What should I do? And Michael, I would just say it is more challenging to budget with a varying income, but you can do it. So look back over the last six months, 12 months will be better. Total up your income and expenses. Divide the number of months out. That will give you your average monthly expenses that you need to budget for.

And then I would build your income around that in terms of putting excess in savings when you have a good month and then drawing from that savings to try to normalize that amount that you're pulling each month. Well, folks, we're going to pause for a brief break when we come back. Much more on MoneyWise Live as we apply God's truth to your financial situation, whether it's your lifestyle, your giving, your debt, or your saving, we'll apply God's principles. Stay with us. We'll be right back. All right. Hey, before the break, I was addressing Michael's question that came in by email.

Let me revisit that. I got short on time and I'm not sure I did it justice, but Michael is like many of you who have sporadic income as a contractor. How do you budget in a situation like that?

And let me just assure you, you can do it. The key is to know what your expenses are. So you've got to attend to that budget so you know exactly what you're spending each month. And then the idea is let's perhaps, Michael, have your compensation, your commissions, or your contractor checks go into a savings account and then try to pay yourself a consistent amount, which over time, and I realize there may be some bumps while you get there, over time you've built up a bit of a nest egg there during the months of excess. And so you would be able to then transfer to your spending account, your checking account, probably a consistent amount every month, therefore putting you in a position where you're more like a W-2 employee receiving a consistent amount. And then that savings account is the buffer during those months where you have a little bit less. But when you have excess, you're building up that reserve so that you don't spend it. The challenge is often with folks that have sporadic income as they get a big payment, their tendency is just to kind of wipe that out and then they get into the lean months. And especially if your business is seasonal and they're really in a difficult spot because there's not enough to pay the bills. So if we can smooth that out over time by using a savings account and then an automatic transfer of a consistent amount every month equal to what the budgeted expenses are, that will certainly go a long way. By the way, the MoneyWise app can help with all of this as you plan your spending by paycheck.

And even if you're a contractor using the digital envelope system, that would help as well just to make sure that the money is there when you need it and that you're not going over in any particular category. You'll find the MoneyWise app on our website, Just click the app button. All right, let's head back to the phones. Tennessee, David, you're next on the program. Go ahead, sir.

Thank you. I've got two questions. One's pertaining my mortgage. So I've got it down to a little over eighty one thousand. It's worth about six hundred. And I've been trying to decide should I pay it off or should I not? I only I've got the loan.

It's two point seven five, which right now you you couldn't touch. And I'm afraid if I just went and paid it off, if if anything ever happened, need a roof or whatever, you know, I'd end up borrowing money again later at a lot higher rate. So would it make sense just to keep that low interest rate, especially since it's that low amount and just keep paying on it? Yeah, let's explore that a bit.

That's a great question. And by the way, I love the idea of being completely debt free. Did you say your mortgage interest rate was three point seven five? Two point seven five. Two point seven five. Wow.

Yeah. Phenomenal rate, especially now that rates are up over six percent. You owe eighty one thousand on it. What is your age? Fifty seven.

Fifty seven. OK. And where would you pull the funds if you were going to pay it off? That's about the amount I have saved up now in just my regular savings account. Regular savings. OK, so that would include your emergency savings as well.

No, sir. That's that's what I've got right now. Total in and, you know, without touching my retirement account. OK, so if you were to pay it off, you would deplete all of what I call your emergency savings, though, correct? Yes, I'd be starting over. Yeah.

OK. Yeah. See, I don't like that as much as I love the fact that, you know, you've got quite a bit saved up there. I would make sure to hold on to at least three months expenses in that account. And then I would look to your retirement to say, am I on track with what I'm putting away so that I'm going to have enough, you know, based on some prudent planning to be able to cover my expenses and supplement Social Security? If you are on track, then I would say, regardless of whether or not you would ever need to take a home equity loan down the road to do some improvements or renovations, I think still prioritizing paying off this loan makes a lot of sense but I wouldn't deplete all of your reserves in order to do it, especially given that low interest rate. So what I might do is, at the very least, you want to have it paid off by the time you enter retirement because that's then going to take your largest expense off the table and get your lifestyle spending as low as possible, which means less income is necessary. Now, if you can do it before retirement, that's great. And perhaps what you want to do is look at, you know, holding on to that three months expenses. Maybe you take the balance and go ahead and start prepaying the mortgage, you know, with that excess savings, you know, as you're able to do that and then run an amortization schedule to decide, well, based on my current track, when will I have it paid off? Let's at the very least match that up with your expected retirement date. But if you can do that several years sooner, let's go ahead and do it.

I realize there'd be some that would say, no, that doesn't make sense. I mean, your interest rate's that low. You're not, you know, earning two point seven five percent on it. And there's the non-financial benefit, the peace of mind of just knowing I own my home. So I think if it were me and considering what I know today, apart from any other kind of medium term goals that you might have, like replacing an automobile or something like that, I would probably say if you're on track for retirement and as long as you hang on to three months expenses in your reserves, I think the balance is available in that savings account to go and send right now to the mortgage. And then as you have excess, a surplus on a monthly basis, continue to prepay it.

And let's get that thing knocked out in the next couple of years. But I wouldn't try to do it all right now and deplete all of your reserves. Does that make sense? Yes. And then so back to retirement, I am actually retired. I was a firefighter in Tennessee.

I got a 30 year pension, so I am already drawing my pension. Okay. And I'm back to work again. So I've got another job. Okay, great. But with the with my fire department, I had a four fifty seven plan.

Yeah. It draws four percent. I know that's very conservative, but it's so much peace of mind.

Should I think about investing that or just I talked to one financial advisor locally and he said, you know what, by the time we charge you one percent fee, that five percent, he goes, he slid my papers back to me with my accounts and everything. He's like, look, just keep what you got. Let's do this. You hold the line. We'll tackle that one just around the corner after the break. Stay with us.

This is Money Wise 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 is prerecorded. 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. Just before the break, we were talking to our friend David in Tennessee, and David is thinking about paying off his mortgage. We talked about the fact that he shouldn't deplete all of his reserves. I love the idea of being completely debt free, including the mortgage. But let's at the very least sink that pay off up to retirement.

He's already in retirement, retired early at age 57 as a firefighter. And I think the key, David, as I said before, the break is look at what your monthly expenses are. Keep three months worth in reserves.

But everything else, I think I would accelerate that pay off as quick as you can. You then asked about your 457 and you've got a four percent fixed in your 457 retirement account. Is that the extent of your retirement savings, David? Or do you also have some other pension or something else as a firefighter coming in? Yes, now I'm drawing my pension. It's a defined benefit. So it started at retirement and it's paid through death.

But the 457 was kind of just a supplement. Okay, great. And is the pension check enough to cover your monthly expenses?

Yes, for the most part. Okay. So when you have something that, you know, tips over beyond the monthly pension check, do you go to your savings for that or are you taking a withdrawal from your 457? What are you doing?

No. So right now with me currently working, the extra income takes care of everything plus some in savings. I've already been putting it toward the house. I don't plan on staying at this job very long. I'd like to just go ahead and retire. Sure, sure.

Okay, very good. And then were you covered for Social Security as well? Will you have that at some point down the road? Just through part-time jobs. But since the entity I work for didn't pay Social Security, whatever I think it said, I qualify for like $1,200. From what I understand, I will actually only receive a third of that. Okay, yeah, because you'll have the reduction there. Okay, but obviously that would be supplemental once that could come in and that will help to cushion what you have. Well, you know, I think at the end of the day, I mean, could you do better if you take a long-term perspective on this 457 and get a little bit more going into the market, especially since, you know, where we're at right now, the market's sold off and you'd be entering here at a period where, you know, you're buying in a good 20% below our highs, maybe more now, you know, I think that's an option. But what I heard in your voice was that you kind of like the idea of not having to think about the market. And since your expenses are covered and you can have this guaranteed 4% rate of return, that might give you even a little more peace of mind. Is that fair?

Yes, yes. And I've looked at just drawing the interest off of it. I mean, the interest on it would be almost $24,000 a year.

Yeah, that's incredible. And you never touch the principle and you don't have to worry about the market doing anything. I kind of like that. I mean, imagine if, you know, a couple of years from now or maybe sooner, you're completely out of debt. Your home is paid for.

So now you've got even more surplus. A few years down the road, you're starting to get a Social Security check, even though it's modest. You've got this pension that's basically for life covering your expenses and you're pulling 4% or $2,000 a month out of the $457,000 and you don't have to ever look at the stock market again.

I mean, that's a pretty good spot to be in. I think I like that plan, David, if I'm you. OK, well, I like it too, but every time I talk to somebody, a financial advisor or whoever, they always tell me that 4%, and definitely right now it's not, they're like 4% is not going to keep up with inflation and you're going to end up in the hole one day. Yeah, no, I think, you know, over time, although the one category, which is medical, you know, has the potential to increase over time, your expenses will actually go down. And yes, inflation is real, but we'll get back to more normal trends, I think, in the next year or so.

And, you know, you will have offsetting expenses that decline during your seasons of retirement that will actually, I think, offset some of the effects of inflation. So I think given everything I'm hearing, peace of mind is a good thing, David, and I think I would support the direction you're sensing. OK, well, thank you very much, because you're the first one that's telling me that. Well, I'll take it.

And here's the thing, if you change your mind, you can always put that to work down the road. Hey, thanks for your call today. God bless you. To Kentucky, Eli, thanks for calling. Go right ahead. Yes, sir.

I have a question for you. If I want to purchase a house for two hundred thousand dollars, interest rate three and a half percent, finance it for 30 years, what that house value will be after 30 years? How much it will cost me? Yeah, with the interest, would you put how much would you put down on that? 20 percent. OK, so you would actually be borrowing 200 or you would be borrowing 80 percent of 200?

80 percent of 200. OK, so one hundred and sixty thousand dollar mortgage is what you would be looking at. And talk to me about the interest rate, because you said three and a half, but that's not available today. I'm just giving you a scenario right now, just to find out how much that house will cost me after 30 years. OK, well, if you have a three and a half percent interest rate, which again, rates now are six percent plus, but let's say you had three and a half, you would end up paying on that 160,000. Let's see, I can do the numbers real quick here. By the way, let me just mention that there are some wonderful mortgage calculators out there that you can run all kinds of scenarios on this.

And I would encourage you to do that because you can really manipulate the numbers. But with the down payment of 40,000, let me see what this would come out to. Basically, you'd pay about 100,000 in interest at three and a half percent on a 200,000 dollar purchase with 20 percent down. So 160,000 dollar loan at three and a half, you'd end up paying about 100 grand worth of interest.

So the total payback would be 260, the 160 of principal and about 100,000 in interest. Great. Well, I just need to add, this is the first time I listened to your program. Excellent program.

You're different from anybody else. And really, I enjoy listening to your program. Well, thank you. Oh, that's very kind of you, Eli.

Listen, all the best to you. Hey, make sure you get at least three bids on that mortgage before you pick the one that you're going to go with. This is the biggest financial transaction most people will ever have. And often they only get one bid. So make sure you get at least three.

I'd go to and see if you could get at least two online lenders into the equation before you make your final decision. We appreciate your call today. God bless you. Hey, a quick email before we head to our next break. Let's see. Catherine writes to us. We're selling our house. How should we tithe on the money from the sale?

It's a great question. I love the idea that you would tithe on that. Proverbs three tells us honor the Lord from your wealth and from the first of all of your produce. Then your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine. That's a good reminder to us today.

Here's the idea. It's your increase, right? So you should tithe on not the gross amount of the sale. But the question is, with any asset, how much profit did you make on the sale? Well, that's your increase. It happens to be the amount that would be taxable if it's not your primary residence as well. How do you calculate that?

Well, just kind of the simplest way is you take the selling price, you subtract the original purchase price, subtract any transaction costs to sell it, and then you subtract any improvements that you made to the property that increased the value and stayed with the property. That's going to give you your total increase and that's what you would tithe on if that's the way the Lord leads you. Hey, this is a reminder that we're not live today, but we do have lots of great information coming up in the rest of the program. So please stick around. Thanks for joining us today on MoneyWise Live.

I'm Rob West, your host. You know, we see in Luke 12 the parable of the rich fool, which concludes by talking about the fact that we should be rich toward God. He says to this rich fool, this is how it will be for anyone who stores up treasure for himself, but is not rich toward God. What does that mean? Well, I think it's managing our money in such a way that it's apparent that God is our ultimate joy and affection, not our things.

We've got to reorient our hearts and our minds toward how we handle God's resources so we can, in fact, not be rich toward the things of this world, but rich toward God, where he is the object of our affection. Well, that's what we try to do each day on this program. By the way, our team is away from the studio, so don't call in. We did line up some great questions in advance, though, so you enjoy. Let's head back to the phones. Jen's in Kansas.

Jen, how can I help you? I've been tithing, and I wanted to just kind of make sure that I'm—I know God says, and you talked about it during that email that we should tithe to 10 percent, and you talked about, is that our gross income or our taxable income? I have a rental property, so that helps decrease my taxable income. I just wanted to make sure that I'm following the Lord's guidelines. I know it's a general, the 10 percent, and if you can give above and beyond, and I also give to a couple of our ministries, but just trying to better understand the taxable income piece versus the gross.

Sure. Yeah, that's helpful, Jen, and, you know, I love the idea that you want to honor the Lord when you're giving, both with your income as well as with this—I'll call it a business that you have with these properties. You know, the tithe is an Old Testament concept. We see it referenced in the New, but there was actually three tithes in the Old Testament that came out to 23 and a third percent. But that was, you know, as we looked at that, it was, you know, for the people to honor the Lord based on their increase.

And I love the idea of applying that today. Now, Jesus entered the scene, and he took giving to an even higher level. You know, he showed a different way, what I would call whole life generosity. He demonstrated that ultimately by his own life as a sacrifice for us. But when he talked about money, he said we should give as we've been blessed. In Luke 6, he said, to whom much is given, much is required. In Luke 12, he commended the poor widow who gave her last two coins.

He challenged the rich young ruler. What do we do with all of that? Well, I think the idea is not to make it legalistic, but to really use the giving as an act of worship, a demonstration of our trust to the Lord. And I like the tithe as a beginning point, because it's a way to give a tenth, you know, off of our increase, and then as the Lord leads, give beyond that.

But I think the key is to always check our hearts. Why are we doing it? Are we giving cheerfully? And are we giving as an act of worship? In terms of how you would apply, though, that principle of the tithe, which I completely affirm, to your personal situation, I would say it's really easy when you're just receiving income because you'd tithe right off of the gross amount, that's your true increase, and you give that back to the Lord. It's a little different when we have a business, whether that's a, you know, a retail shop or a rental property, because we've got to take the expenses out to determine what really is our profit. You know, depending on the type of business that it is, if you tithed on the gross amount, you wouldn't be in business any longer, because the margins are such that they're so narrow, you've got to factor out all of the costs and the overhead before you actually determine what the increase is. So in your case, you've got, is it rental properties?

Is that what we're talking about? Yeah, it's just one rental home. I know they do the depreciation. I have a property management company that manages it. So I kind of break even or even make maybe a hundred or two hundred a month. Okay.

Yeah. And so that's what I would look at. I would look at what are you actually pulling out of this property that really is truly the increase? And obviously, you could calculate that on the sale at some point down the road, which is the appreciation of the underlying asset, the property itself. But if on an annual basis, you're able to throw off a certain amount after all the expenses, the depreciation, the maintenance, the marketing, all the things that go into that property, I would see that, Jen, truly as your increase. And then if you wanted to tithe on it, then you'd give a tenth of that. It may not be very much and in some years it may not be anything. But I think that's okay because we're really looking at truly what is your increase and you've got to factor in those other expenses when it comes to a rental property. Thank you.

With just one other thought with that. So if I'm putting money in education for my kids and like a tax haven or break and even for medical, before I put that in, that gross amount, is that taxable? I mean, if I'm trying to apply the principal? Yeah.

Now, we're not talking about the property anymore. You're talking about your personal finances? Right. Yeah. So now if I, you know, it's like, I don't know, like say $5,000 a year for medical and then in a health savings plan and $5,000 for school for the kids.

Yeah. What are the income sources coming into the household? My husband's a contractor, so intermittent pay and then I'm retiring from the military. So I'll have a pension via stay at home or maybe even work part time.

Yeah. I mean, I think the simplest here, I mean, the late Larry Burkett used to say tongue in cheek on this question of tithing gross or net, do you want to be blessed gross or net? And he would chuckle after. But it was a way of reminding folks that the Lord blesses us for our generosity and giving is really ultimately between you and the Lord. I mean, I think the simplest way to do it, Jen, is just to look at all of your income sources as they come in, in the gross amount, whether that's a pension check or, you know, a commission check or, you know, payment as a contractor. You know, you've got to factor in the expenses now with a business like that. But anything coming into the household before your personal expenses, whether that's contributing to a retirement plan, the taxes that you're paying, you know, putting money in an HSA, before you get to all of that, I just calculate a tenth right off of the top from that gross amount coming in. Our friend Ron Blue, one of my mentors and popular author, he does it this way. He and Judy sit down at the kitchen table every Sunday morning. They look at all the income that's come into the household over the past week. He writes down the numbers on a three by five card. She writes the check for a tenth of that. They pray over it at breakfast and they take it with them to church.

So I think it's that simple. But I would say, you know, for me, we give off of the true increase, which was before all those contributions to anything that you might have personally, which would include, you know, a health plan. Thank you. OK. We appreciate your call today. God bless you as you give. I love this question and I appreciate the heart behind it. Hey, Jerry, in Illinois, you're next on the program. Go ahead, sir.

Thanks for taking my call. I'm a retired civil servant, but I'm also a pastor and I want to take advantage of what's called a charitable giving trust. And the details a little bit foggy for me right now, but I have been told by my investment person that you can do what's called bunching, where you take like four years of your regular giving. You take 10 to 12 thousand a year and then put it and take it out one time. Therefore, you exceed the standard deduction for that one year. And then the rest of the years you take the standard deduction and then you give out of your charitable trust. Is this a good thing from your perspective?

With one exception. So I like the idea of bunching if you have the ability to do it. A lot of folks don't have the cash flow or the assets to do it. But if you do, you essentially, as you said, consolidate tax-deductible charitable contributions that would normally be made over multiple years into a single tax year. And then you'd give into the vehicle, which gives you the immediate tax deduction through itemizing on your federal return. And then you would, you know, distribute that money over time. The caveat here is I wouldn't use a charitable trust for that. That can make sense in some certain situations. But what's a lot simpler is what's called a donor-advised fund. Have you heard that term?

Yes, but I didn't even think about it. Go ahead. Well, you can do the same thing there. So essentially you'd open a donor-advised fund. Now you don't have the expense of an attorney creating a charitable trust for you, you know, which is going to cost you maybe fifteen hundred bucks or more. You can open that basically free. I'd connect with our friends at the National Christian Foundation.

You can open it online at about three minutes at You could do your same bunching into your donor-advised fund in a single tax year. And then essentially it becomes an online charitable checking account where you just go in and make, you know, grants out of it either in your name or anonymously with the click of a button as you wish over whatever time period you want.

How does that sound? I have fidelity and they didn't charge me nothing to open up the charitable giving fund, but they do have a maintenance of 0.8% a year. So I don't know how that differs from the other one. Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, again, it's so simple to set up.

There's actually other ones out there that are even cheaper than that. I like NCF, the National Christian Foundation, just because there's a community of givers there. They can help you with your giving strategy. They can provide you insight on a lot of the ministries that are connected to your passions. But I think using a donor-advised fund could be a really effective way and a low-cost way for you to accomplish the same thing without going through the hassle of setting up the trust.

Okay. So I would look into that either at Fidelity or NCF or there's even other low-cost providers out there that could do it for you essentially free. So I hope that helps you, Jerry. I think this is a great idea. I love that you want to be a generous giver, but you also want to do it in a way that is really smart from a tax standpoint. That's always a great idea. Very good.

Thank you. Well, folks, we've covered a lot of ground today. I'll tell you what, there's an unending number of questions related to how we manage money, but we can boil it down and make it a little more simple. You know, at the end of the day, there's the money we live on, the money we give, the money we owe, and the money we grow. And when we look at it that way, all of a sudden, so many choices and decisions become a lot more simple, easy to understand.

And we can go back to God's Word, because God's Word speaks to every one of these. How do we establish an appropriate lifestyle? What does it look like to live with contentment and save appropriately and give generously?

And what does the Bible say about debt? Well, it's all there. I love unpacking that with you each day on this program.

That's going to do it for us today, folks. Thanks for tuning in. MoneyWise Live is a partnership between Moody Radio and MoneyWise Media. I want to say thank you to Jim, Amy, Dan, and Gabby, and thank you for being here as well. Please join us next time for another edition of MoneyWise Live. We'll see you then.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-10 15:56:34 / 2023-08-10 16:14:08 / 18

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