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Economics of the Nativity

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore
The Truth Network Radio
December 17, 2023 5:15 pm

Economics of the Nativity

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore

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December 17, 2023 5:15 pm

In the Christmas Story found in Luke, Chapter 2, the angels announce the coming of the Savior to a group of shepherds. Now it may sound simple enough, but there’s more to the story that many of us may not have considered.  On today's Faith & Finance Live, host Rob West will welcome economist Jerry Bowyer to give us a whole new look at the Christmas Story. Then Rob will answer some calls and financial questions. 

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Today's version of Faith and Finance Live is actually not live, so don't call in. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid.

Hi, I'm Rob West. That's from the Christmas story in Luke, Chapter 2. The angels announced the coming of the Savior to a group of shepherds.

It sounds simple enough, but there's more to the story. Jerry Boyer joins us to talk about it. Then we have some great calls lined up, but please don't call in today, because we're prerecorded. This is Faith and Finance Live, biblical wisdom for your financial journey. Well, our guest Jerry Boyer is the author of The Maker versus the Takers, What Jesus Really Said about Social Justice and Economics. It's a book loaded with amazing insights about Jesus' time on earth from an economic perspective. And I'd really encourage you to pick up a copy. Jerry, great to have you back.

Oh, it's a pleasure, my friend. Jerry, those angels carried probably the most important message in history. So why deliver it to shepherds? Weren't they the social outcasts? Yeah, that's an interesting point, because it's a little complex, because I've heard sermons about how shepherds were social outcasts.

And there is some evidence for that, but I think we kind of need to fill out just a little bit more historical detail. Shepherds were under the tradition social outcasts for the reason that you can't necessarily control where your sheep go. So your sheep might go into somebody else's property and eat their grass, thereby you're committing theft against your neighbor.

Now, that seems... I mean, unless you have a really big flock of sheep and you don't have fences, that's probably not gonna be a huge problem, but they like to multiply rules. So shepherds were seen as negative.

However, you have to add something. The temple ran on sheep, right? The temple had a sacrificial system and it used a lot of sheep, which means that there's a sacred purpose to sheep.

Therefore, what they did is they set aside a certain area. You know, in those days, what do you say, in that country, there were shepherds, country in Greek, korop. There was a country, not like a nation, but a zone, a province, set aside where sheep could be raised because they needed sheep for the temple system, which of course implies, which is in fact historically true, that the area of Bethlehem and those environs, that country, was where sheep were raised for the temple system. And if you stop for a moment and think about that, and by the way, we have it in the archaeology that, you know, Bethlehem is not that far from Jerusalem. And you had a tower called the Migdal Adair, which was sort of at the upper left corner of Bethlehem.

So it was like a short tower. And when sheep were basically herded to Jerusalem, someone would stand over and look down and look at the sheep and say, oh, wait, that one splotched, or that one has a missing ear, pull that out, so that they were only unblemished sheep that could be used in the temple sacrificial system. In other words, Jesus, the lamb of God, was born in the city where lambs of God for the temple were bred, which I think is an extremely powerful foreshadowing even there in the gospel story of Jesus's ultimate purpose and death. It's almost like, Jerry, God had a master plan in all of this, huh?

It's almost like it really is. And so what that means is that God's master plan includes economics. So different places in the world specialize in different things, right?

Wall Street is finance, and Silicon Valley is technology, and here in Pittsburgh where I am, industry and steel, and now, you know, healthcare. So regions have regional economic concentration. Capernaum and Bethsaida were fishing villages, for example. You know, Tyre and Sidon, they produced dye.

By the way, a dye discovered by a dog. So that shed certain light on Jesus's conversation with the Syrophoenician woman. So every place that Jesus set his foot was a place where there was an economy. And if we know what that economy was, then we'll understand more of what Jesus is saying in those various places. Now, Jesus wasn't actually saying anything in Bethlehem yet. God the Father was saying something by sending Jesus. Jesus wasn't speaking yet.

But in God's providence, the center of creation of sacrificial lambs, lambs of God, was there. So God's plan includes economics. And sometimes Christians tend to think money talk is dirty talk. No, the economy is God's plan too, just like family life, just like church life.

That's exactly right. We're talking with Jerry Boyer today about the economics of the nativity. What about Mary's economic philosophy?

Did she have one? And what about the birth of Jesus threatening the ruling temple class in Jerusalem? We'll talk about that. Plus the Magi when we come back with Jerry Boyer. This is Faith and Finance Live.

We'll be right back. It's great to have you with us today on Faith and Finance Live. I'm sure you're going to read Luke chapter two at some point during this Christmas season as you think about and reflect on the Christmas story, the birth of Christ. Well, what about the fact that there's an economic backdrop to everything we read in Scripture?

And could that in fact enlighten what God is telling us through the Scriptures? Well, we're talking about that today with Jerry Boyer, our resident economist. Before the break, Jerry was sharing with us about the economics of Bethlehem and perhaps how that was foreshadowing what Jesus would ultimately do to pay for the sins of the world on the cross. But Jerry, what about Mary? Obviously a central figure in this story. We know a little more about her than we do Joseph.

Does she have an economic philosophy? Yeah, she pretty clearly does, because when she goes to visit Cousin Elizabeth, she sings a little song or writes a little poem that history knows is that Magnificat. So why is it called the Magnificat? Because she starts out by saying, my soul magnifies the Lord or magnify the Lord, my soul.

And in Latin, that's Magnificat. So a lot of great music has been written around that. And there's a lot of economics about the rich being torn down, those who are on the thrones being deposed, about the rich being sent away empty and about the poor being filled, about the humility of God's handmaiden. She's referring to herself that way. There's a lot of economics and kind of politics going on there.

And again, remember, you have to look at location. So when the angel announces to Mary that this is going to happen, you don't have a Magnificat. You don't get the Magnificat until she visits Elizabeth. Elizabeth is a Judean. So remember, Judea was richer and a more hierarchical society, more kind of cronyist in many ways. The ruling class was kind of living off of others. It was a society that was more like there was an aristocracy there. You don't really have that in Galilee. I mean, look at how Mary and Joseph, they're living in a humble village and she's a descendant of David.

So you didn't have a functioning aristocracy, but you did down in the South. And Elizabeth was of such high status that her husband was able to offer sacrifices, or I should say incense, although incense is a kind of sacrifice in the temple. Because that's when it's announced that John will be conceived. So their higher status, their higher socioeconomic status.

So there's a reversal. Mary goes to the hill country of Judea. And the first thing Elizabeth does is subordinate herself to Mary. And so does John in her womb, subordinates himself to Jesus.

He leaps for joy. And Elizabeth marvels that the mother of our Lord would come to me. Now, if Mary didn't have Jesus in her womb, then Mary would have been subordinate. There wouldn't have been, oh my, my cousin Mary is coming to visit me.

I am so honored. Mary was lower status. But in this case, there's a reversal. And that reversal, only after that does Mary give the song, the Magnificat, about a reversal.

The aristocracy is going to be set aside. And the humble, Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount and on the Plain, the meek will inherit the land, will inherit the earth. And interestingly enough, and I credit my wife Susan with noticing this in the book, we actually line up statements that Mary makes in that Magnificat song with statements that Jesus makes in the Sermon on the Plain, which is his sermon to the ruling class, which is different than the Sermon on the Mount.

And some of the words are almost verbatim. In other words, Mary's song gets taught to Jesus. Her approach gets taught to Jesus.

And then in one of his most important sermons, he recapitulates in that sermon some of what he learned from his mother. By the way, the Gospels don't say where Mary was raised, but Eusebius, the church historian says she was raised in Sepphoris, which is near Nazareth, which was the financial capital of Galilee. And it was also a cultural capital. So it's fairly likely that Mary would have been economically and culturally sophisticated. They had Greek theaters there.

They had banks there. Mary would have been around sort of the ways of the big city in the region, would have been exposed to multiple languages. So she's humble morally in that she humbles herself, but she writes this beautiful poem and she's raised in a metropolitan sophisticated area. So she's fairly likely the one who was the big intellectual influence on Jesus. And people don't like to think about Jesus having intellectual influence, but he's God and man. The human nature learned, right? The divine nature didn't learn, but he's fully God and he's fully man. So he learned. So the God-man learns from his mother. And that shows up in the Sermon on the Mount exactly how much he learned from her. Wow, that's fascinating. All right, Jerry, the other economic backdrop that we have going on here is the fact that the birth of Jesus threatens the ruling temple class in Jerusalem. How does that help to illuminate this story? Well, it's interesting. Mary and Herod both understand more than anybody else around them what the birth of Jesus means.

They just react differently to it. Mary understands that it's going to upset everything and bring justice to the world. And she wants that. Herod understands that it's going to upset everything and bring justice to the world. And being an unjust oppressive tyrant, he doesn't want that. In some ways, I think Herod understood the birth of Jesus more than many Christians do, because we think he just came to change our hearts.

But if he changes our hearts, everything else changes too. The prophesied Messiah was going to bring justice to the earth. He was going to cleanse the temple.

Hold on a second. What? He's going to cleanse the temple? A whole lot of people's living depended on a dirty temple, a crooked temple, a temple where when people went to buy sacrifices, they had to pay double because the money changers were giving unjust exchange rates. So Herod understood that his livelihood and the livelihood is, by the way, says Herod was disturbed and all Jerusalem with him. Think about how corrupt Jerusalem was, that the birth of a Messiah who would bring justice to Israel was seen as trouble in the national capital.

I mean, you can imagine that in America. Let's say someone says, Jesus is going to come back and get rid of all the evil in America. And everyone in Washington, DC is really worried. You know, we all should be worried, but they were especially worried. They understood the Messiah was going to cleanse the temple. He was going to set things right. He was going to treat the poor equally, and that would have ruined their lives. It would have ruined their livelihoods in particular. By the way, that's why later in the Gospels, it wasn't until Jesus told a very explicitly economic parable that Luke says that they discerned that he was talking about them, and then they set out to destroy him. When Jesus confronted the money changers, he was confronting the evil of the temple and starting in motion in the cleansing of the temple, which actually eventually ended up to the destruction of the temple and the destruction of all Jerusalem in 70 AD. So the people who worshiped power in some sense got the power implications of Jesus's message better than we do. Hmm. Wow.

Jerry, quickly, we've got just a minute left. Of course, in Matthew, Chapter 2, the Magi come to worship the baby Jesus and give him very expensive gifts. What was timely about that? Well, I think what's timely about that is the gifts match the gifts that are described in Torah for the temple. And basically, by giving him things that you would bring to the temple, basically, that starts the theme in the Gospels, which is throughout that the temple is completely corrupt and that Jesus is the other temple. So throughout the Gospels, you have a competition between two temples. One temple devours widows houses, Jesus says. The other temple feeds widows and raises them up from sick beds and feeds them out of himself. So basically, the gospel is, in some sense, a conflict between two kingdoms, two temples and two economic models.

One is taker and the other is maker. Maybe that would be a good title for a book. I think so. In fact, Jerry is the author of the Maker versus the takers.

What Jesus really said about social justice and economics. Pick it up. You'll see this conversation and much more. Yes, it is.

Absolutely. Jerry, thanks for stopping by, buddy. Thank you. Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas. I'm Rob Weston. This is Faith and Finance Live. And even though we're not here today and can't take your live calls, there's much more ahead on the program. So please stay tuned. Thanks for joining us today on Faith and Finance Live. Our team is away from the studio today so don't call in.

But some great questions coming up just around the corner. You know, as we head toward year end, this is an important time for us to hear from you with your listener support. It's about changed lives.

In fact, let's listen to one of those testimonies. I started listening several years ago and I was in terrible credit card debt and I just felt like I was drowning and I couldn't get out and I was so depressed and so stressed. I heard Rob talk about pushing credit counselors and I was in the program for three years and they thought that it was going to take me four and a half years to pay back my 14 grand in credit card debt. The program was so wonderful and my counselor was so encouraging and I was so motivated by the program and so many of my behaviors changed throughout the process. I became debt free last month.

It completely changed everything about the way I handle money. I just wanted to express how much I appreciate the program and Christian credit counselors. I'm so thankful for that testimony.

You know, it really speaks to the opportunity we have to equip wise and faithful stewards. I love that you mentioned our great partner at Christian credit Folks, if you'd like to help support our work, you can do that between now and the end of the year.

It would be huge to help us reach our goals. Just go to That's and click give. A gift of any amount would be a real blessing right now. We're so thankful for all that have given thus far. Thank you for your financial support. All right, let's dive in today. We're going to begin in Oregon.

Hi, Lynn. Go right ahead. My question is how long should we hang on to our tax returns for how many years? Yeah, it's a great question. You know, some folks will tell you that you only need to keep them for three years, but depending upon some of the deductions you might claim, I think it's safer to keep them for seven years. So the IRS in most cases won't look back more than six years unless tax evasion is suspected and then there is no limit.

But you know, apart from that, I think seven years is a good number. My friend Howard Dayton uses the shoebox method for storing tax returns and related documents. He keeps seven shoeboxes with seven years of returns. And then each year he tosses out the contents of the oldest box and fills it with the latest return. You could use folders, you could even do it electronically as well, as long as you save it securely.

But I think that seven year number is really the ideal. And if our tax prepare company keeps it, do we need to do it as well? You know, I would. I mean, it never hurts to have a backup.

I mean, you know, depending on who they are, I mean, people lose electronic information and, you know, there could be a mishap of some kind. And so I would feel better knowing that you had it in a fireproof safe and you had those records or you weren't depending upon someone else. So I would say, you know, keep it for yourself as well.

OK, thank you. All right, Lynn, thanks for listening and calling today. We appreciate it. Let's head to Virginia. Hi, Greg.

How can I help, sir? Hello. Yes, I had spoken to you. It's been a couple of months ago.

My daughter is just out of college and she's in the process of purchasing her first car. And forgive me, because I've got a little feedback coming through. No problem. You may want to just try to turn down that radio if that's part of the issue. But go right ahead.

OK, well, the radio is not on. But OK, what I'm finding out is she applied for a loan. They said she had fantastic credit. She just did not have enough credit, even though she's been paying her college loans for a couple of years. Long story short, they, of course, wanted her to have a co-signer, which I won't do. So what I would like to do if you say this is a pay idea, I would like to purchase the car and then finance it back to her. But I didn't know, one, if there's any way I could do that and build her credit, which I'm assuming there's no way to do that. And two, if there is the possibility of just financing for her, is there any way to protect myself? I mean, I know she'll make the payments, but, you know, it's a crazy world and things could happen. Yeah, that's a great question.

And I appreciate your thoughtfulness on this. You know, the Bible is very clear and you're alluding to this. Do not co-sign. I mean, there's there's no way around it when we look at the Council of Scripture.

And I think for good reason. You know, when you get into a situation where you're co-signing, you are obligating yourself for the other person. What we know to be true is that the data says from the Federal Trade Commission 50 percent of the time, on average, when you co-sign for someone, you're going to end up having to step in and make those payments, which obviously, you know, at the, you know, can harm you financially if you're not in the ability, don't have the ability to do so. Or in your case, if you do have the ability to do so, it could just damage the relationship.

It could be that it's not of anything she could have foreseen, and yet she could find herself in a situation where she's unable to make good on it, which is why the Bible is pretty clear about it, I believe. So I think the, you know, the two options would be either you give her the money, or just as you said, you loan her the money, but you're not obligating yourself, you know, for that particular payment. And then that way you don't have to worry about any damage to your own credit report, you know, if she were to miss a payment or something like that.

Now, how you go about that, I think, you know, there are two ways to do it. One is you could just loan her the money, and then she'd turn around and, you know, finance the car at that point, and perhaps with a little bit more down payment, maybe she could get to a place where she could get the loan, even if it's not the most favorable terms, maybe she has to come back and refinance it in a couple of years. The other is exactly what you're saying, where you buy it, and then you essentially allow her to buy it from you, and you are the lender.

And I think in that case, again, just realize that this changes the relationship. You know, the Bible talks about this being a master-slave relationship, which is why, you know, we typically try to avoid loaning money to friends and family, because again, despite our best intentions, it may not play out the way we want, and we would never want money to come between the two of you. But if you decided to do it, knowing that you're going into it, perhaps with the understanding that if she ever got to a place where she couldn't pay it, that you're willing to cover that for her, you're ready, willing, and able, and you make that clear on the front end, at least to yourself, if not in full disclosure to her.

But I would definitely put it all in writing. Now, it's not going to help her build her credit. She's going to need to do that other ways, either through a secured credit card, where maybe there's a budgeted item that she charges on the card and then pays off every month. She could also look at something called a credit builder loan.

But if you do end up becoming the lender to allow her to buy the car from you, I'd put it all in writing, the terms, the repayment, the interest rate, all of it, so there's real clear communication. We'll be right back. So glad to have you with us today on Faith and Finance Live.

Our team is away today, so don't call in, but we lined up some great questions in advance, and we'll be going to those here in just a moment. Let me also remind you that the advice that I give each day on this program is general in nature. We offer principles and ideas that apply at a high level. They are not personalized, so that's why you should always seek professional financial advice. And if you'd like to find a professional who shares your values, we, of course, here at Faith and Finance Live recommend the Certified Kingdom Advisor designation. These are men and women who've met high standards, and they've been trained to bring a biblical worldview of financial decision-making.

You can find one at Faith. Let's head back to the phones. To North Carolina we go. Hi, Mary.

How can I help? Hi. Good morning. I have a question of, well, I have $10,000 in cash that I have kept in the safe for any type of emergency, and my bank has an 8-month CD for 5%, and I'm wondering, should I transfer money out of my savings to that, or use that $10,000, which I am using, as I said, for any emergencies that come up? Yes. I presently have $900 for repair on my deck, and I need some hearing aids, and that's about $2,000. So should I use the $10,000 for that, or should I, like I said, go from the bank, from savings to that CD?

Yeah, very good. I appreciate that question. So you've got $10,000 in the safe, and then what do you have right now in your checking account? $3,200.

Okay. And what are your monthly expenses, roughly? Just my household expenses utilities. My house, cars are paid for.

I use my credit card for purchases through the month, like groceries or whatever, and I pay it off at the first of the month so that I have no interest to pay on it. Yeah, and what would you say, roughly, Mary, are the total of those expenses on a month's, over a month's time? About $800.

Okay, yeah, great. So less than $1,000. So here's what I would look at doing. You know, I like the idea of you putting this $10,000 to work, but given that this consists in part of your emergency fund, I mean, obviously, if you're only spending less than $1,000 a month and you've got $3,200 in your checking, then you've got some emergency funds there. I mean, let's say $1,000 of that's for the current month, that would give you an additional two months worth of expenses. I'd love for you to have at least six months liquid, so I'm saying at least $6,000.

So that's a little more than, you know, maybe half of what you have in the $10,000. I'd rather you not have that locked up for eight months or a year in a CD, simply because you may need more ready access to it. Ideally, you don't.

You don't touch it, but if you did need it, you know, the CD would have some penalties if you tried to break that before it matured. So in that case, I'd love for you to consider a high yield savings account, but it would require for you to get a competitive interest rate to consider an online bank. You know, so if you look at some of the online banks right now that are offering full FDIC insurance, you know, five star rated, you can get 5% right now on a high yield savings account with that FDIC insurance backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.

But it's completely liquid, so you don't have to wait that eight or nine or ten or twelve months for the CD to mature in order to get access to the funds. Would you be comfortable with something like that or would you rather just stick with your local brick and mortar bank? Well, I'm probably with the local bank because I go back to my grandmother always saying a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Yes, ma'am. Yes, ma'am.

I certainly understand that. But I do think I want to look into that online banking. Yeah. Do you have one couple that in particular that you would recommend?

Yeah. So for instance, I'm on right now. If you use the Internet, go to and just click on right there on the top of the page, you'll see one that says high yield savings and you'll see that CIT Bank, for instance, right now is offering 5.05% on their high yield savings with a minimum balance of $5,000. And you'll see another one that has 5.1 and then you'll see Capital One at 4.3.

So you'll see a number of banks between basically 4.3 and 5%, many of them five star rated, all FDIC insured. And then what you would do is, whichever one you selected, you'd open that savings account with the online bank. You could link it then electronically to your local brick and mortar checking account. And then you'd take that $10,000 and you're saved, deposit it in your checking account, and then you just electronically transfer it over to the high yield savings. And then at any point, if you needed to get access to the money, you'd just transfer it back using an ACH transfer, which would be fee free, and it would take one to two days at the most. The nice thing is that that $10,000, while you're not touching it, is not just sitting in the safe. It would now be earning $500 a year. And that's an additional $500 that you'd have at the end of the year if you didn't touch it. So it's a great opportunity with these interest rates a little higher right now to take advantage of something like this. Again, if you're comfortable doing it. At the end of the day, though, if you said, listen, I feel like with the $3,000 I have in my checking account, I've got enough there. Maybe you take and add another $1,000 or two to it, and then you take the $8,000 that remains and put that into the eight month CD, because you're more comfortable being there with the branch that you know.

I'd be okay with that. I'm just giving you the online bank as an alternative. Does that make sense? Oh, absolutely. And I do so appreciate it. Thank you. Happy to do it. If you have other questions, Mary, give us a call. We appreciate it.

Let's go to Texas. Hi, Annette. How can I assist you? So, yes, Colin, because my credit scores were low, and I'm trying to get my credit score back up there. And I'm trying to get my everything, like my credit's low right now, and I owe some hospital bills and some loans that were open in the past. And I'm trying to get that all fixed, and I'm really having a hard time doing it, because I'm trying to reach out to creditors to, you know, get it started, but it's not getting anywhere.

So I don't know where to start. Yes. So, Annette, are these all past due accounts that have maybe been charged off? They've been kind of sitting out there for a while? Or are these more recent? These have been, some of them have been sitting out there for a while. Some have already went into collectives. Some haven't yet.

Okay, very good. And where are you at now? Are you able to cover all of your bills plus them, you know, any of the minimum payments on the active accounts? Or are you falling behind every month? And so, you know, these are continuing to get further and further behind.

Yeah, they're just continuing to get further and further behind. Like, it just seems like I never get a break. Like, something else just comes up, and I have to get that out of the way. Okay.

Yeah, a couple of thoughts. I mean, you know, repairing your credit score is the least of my concerns. That will really happen as you get on top of this, but we really need to break the cycle of debt here.

And I realize that's easier said than done. It's going to start, Annette, with you going back to that spending plan and just saying, how can I dial back my expenses? What can I eliminate?

What can I cut? I mean, beyond the big four, keeping food on the table, the utilities on, the house paid, and the gas in the car so you can get to work, everything else is on the table. And we need to look at areas we need to cut back or eliminate, subscriptions, eating out, you know, things that allow you to get more margin so that you can get current with those active accounts.

And then after you build up that emergency fund of at least $1,000 so you've got something to fall back on when the unexpected comes, then we can start negotiating settlements or payoffs with the older accounts that have been charged off and by the, you beginning to make those current or get them down to zero, your credit score will take care of itself. Stay on the line. We'll talk a bit more off the air. We'll be right back. 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 go to Mississippi. Hi, Scott. How can I assist you?

Good morning. My wife and I have just come off Cobra probably about three months ago. I just turned 65 this year, so it's not a problem for me, but she's 56. And so we've had to look at different options in the health care marketplace. She's a little reluctant to use the Christian ministries that we've spoken about, and not going that route obviously is considerably more expensive. And if you could just give us a little bit more detail so I can share with her on what exactly Christian ministries, health care ministries entail, that would be great.

Yeah, I'd be delighted to. You know, a lot of folks are finding that, you know, with the cost of health care being so expensive and health insurance, that a sharing ministry like Christian health care ministries can really fit the bill, just because the cost is so much more effective, and it really comes in when there's medical incidents that come above a qualifying amount where it would really put a strain. So you're covering your day-to-day medical expenses, routine visits, out of pocket. But given that, you know, something like the CHM gold program, which is their top-tier program, is only $240 per unit, that's a person per month, you know, it can be really budget-friendly, but then cover those medical incidents that would normally put a real strain on you. So, you know, typically with that gold program incidents above $1,000 or more per incident would be covered at 100% through the sharing. And then, you know, you only have an annual personal responsibility of $1,000 per person. And so it does, you know, allow you to have complete flexibility as to, you know, where you want to go in terms of office visits and prescriptions. You can use telemedicine, inpatient or outpatient, covers hospital incidents and surgery, including urgent care. But the idea is that you would have, you know, this ability to, you know, make sure that you're covered up to $125,000 per illness. And then there's even an add-on for an additional 27 a month that allows you to go even above that $125,000 to an unlimited amount for something like cancer or something like that. So it just kind of, you know, allows you to take for somebody who's generally healthy, you know, and take what you would be spending toward a traditional health insurance plan, dramatically reduce that and then take the difference and build up, let's say, you know, a reserve account that could cover those routine visits, but giving you the confidence and the peace of mind to know that, you know, anything's more substantial per incident, again, in my example of more than $1,000, you know, would be covered and shared at 100%.

Does that make sense? Well, yeah, I was going to say right now we've, we're using a kind of a, the secular, and we're paying probably four times, over four times that 250 figure that you just mentioned just for her. And she and I both are, we're very healthy.

So it's really, we don't even take any, there's no medications that either one of us use. So what was the name of that ministry again that you recommended? is the website.

It's Christian Healthcare Ministries, They're the oldest in this space, Scott. They've shared almost $10 billion with a B since their, since their founding. And they're the ones that we've worked with. Some of our team members here at Faith and Finance actually use CHM and have been thrilled with it. Well, that's great. I'm going to reach out to them. And that's, like I say, probably a quarter of what we're paying for her, just her alone right now.

Yeah. And that's where folks really find these to be very helpful, just because you can dramatically reduce the cost as long as you're diligent and putting that aside to cover those routine visits and things you would normally have covered with a copay. You're now paying out of pocket as a cash payer.

But really where most people just want that peace of mind is to know for something that's more substantial, getting over $1,000 up to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for a major event, that that is covered, that, you know, basically gives them what they need. So check that out, Scott, let us know what you find. That's great. Thanks for the help. All right. Happy to do it. God bless you, sir.

To Texas. Hi, Sarah. How can I help you? Hi, how are you?

I'm doing great. Thanks for your call. I'm calling because, um, me and my husband were in about 70,000 of credit card debt and he's the only one working and it's, um, got to where our checking account is affected. Now also we've been overdrawn. We never used to be overdrawn before and we're getting overdraft fees and I've received, um, some stuff in the mail, the debts I've received debt forgive offer for debt forgiveness, debt consolidation, and then we have some equity. So we've talked about refinancing. So I want to know what's the best option.

Yeah. Boy, you know, I, I know this could be overwhelming, Sarah, and so we do want to get you some help. Um, you know, the, the starting point is probably to look at, uh, you know, connecting with a, a debt management program, somebody who can just analyze the debts that you have and determine whether with his income we could get these interest rates dropped, which you would be available to you through credit counseling and find, you know, one monthly payment that fits into your budget. You know, the challenges at 70,000, you know, we're probably looking at a couple of thousand a month because typically you'd, you'd need to pay about 3% as a minimum payment. Um, are you all making the minimum payments right now or no? I think on some, I don't know the finances as well as he does, but I think we're making them in on some of them. I don't, not all of them. Okay.

Yeah. That makes sense. Well, let's start there because I think somebody, you know, who can really analyze every debt that you have, look at the balances, look at the interest rates, getting into your budget with you guys, helping you understand what's actually available on a monthly basis from his income. What expenses could be eliminated to cut back to free up margin? Because if we could get you on a payment that you all could sustain month to month and with significantly lower interest rates, maybe half of what they are today, now all of a sudden you're making some meaningful progress on a monthly basis toward getting these balances coming down.

And that would give you some peace of mind. And then hopefully we got a little bit of margin in there. So you're starting to put even 25 or $50 a month into a savings account so that you've got something there when the unexpected comes. So we, you know, eliminate the overdraft fees and, and, um, you know, the late payment fees, we get you where you have a little bit of cushion, uh, so that when the unexpected comes, you, you don't have to turn to the credit cards. And now we've got these balances coming down for the medical debts or maybe the older charge off accounts. We probably want to leave those where they are for now, get everything else moving in the right direction, give you a little bit of margin, and then we can always come back down the road and, you know, try to pay some of those older debts off, uh, maybe for pennies on the dollar through a settlement, just because they've already been charged off in the past. But I think that, you know, the key right now is to get that budget squared away, get you current on the cards that are active, get the interest rates down and actually give you a plan that's allowing you to make some progress. So let's start there. Um, if you and your husband would just head to Christian credit, they're wonderful folks.

They they're believers. They'll pray with you, they'll encourage you, but they'll also really go to work on those debts and your budget, which is really the next step. Okay. Okay. And on the medical bills, you're saying we could just leave those as is. Does that affect your credit? It can. Uh, you know, the, the nice thing is there was legislation passed recently that says, um, you know, once those have been paid off, uh, they have to be removed from your credit file.

That's not the case. Like for instance, with a credit card where you've been laid on it, even once you pay it off, it's still going to stay on there showing that at some point it was late or charged off. But with medical debts, it has to come off. Now, while it's still, there's a balance owed, especially if it's been more than a year, it will likely show up on your credit report, but it has to be taken off once you make good on that account. So those are less of a priority right now for me than the, uh, than the other debts. Can I ask one last question?

Sure. Why is, um, the, uh, debt consolidation preferable to refinancing? Yeah, and it's not debt consolidation. So just to be clear, debt consolidation typically refers to where you take out a new loan and you pay off these debts.

That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about debt management, uh, where there's a credit counseling agency in this case, Christian credit counselors working with your creditors to get the interest rates down. And then in exchange for doing that, uh, the credit card company requires that you pay through the credit counseling agency. So you'll send one monthly payment to them and then they distribute it to your creditors at these lower interest rates. That's far preferable for me, Sarah, than a refinance because right now there's no collateral on these, uh, accounts. They're unsecured, meaning that if you don't pay them, yes, they could file a judgment against you. And you know, that could be there and there could be a garnishment at some point, but, but there's not any collateral there. The moment that you take out the home equity loan and pay these off with that, uh, now all of a sudden we've secured this to your home and so something happens and you guys aren't able to pay. Now all of a sudden your home is at risk of foreclosure. So I don't want to take unsecured debt and secure it to your house. It's also not going to allow you, you know, typically what I see is that when we take that easier way out through the refi, we don't deal with the underlying problem.

And so then I get a call six months later from somebody that says, guess what Rob? Now I've got a home, a second mortgage on my house and the credit card debt's back. Why? Well, the reason is we didn't do the hard work to right size the budget to get into a place where you all can afford to live within your means. So I'd rather you leave the debt right where it is. Work on the budget, get into a debt repayment plan and not tap that home equity and transfer the security of those debts over to your house, which could create real problems down the road.

Does that all make sense? Okay. So head to Christian credit Sarah. Listen, we're going to ask our faith and finance community to be praying for you and your husband. I know there's a lot on you right now. You guys can do this and the Lord will be with you. I'm confident of that. Thanks for your call today.

Well, that's going to do it for us. Let me take the opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas. What an amazing time of year to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior. I trust you have a wonderful time with family and friends. Well folks, faith and finance live is a partnership between Moody radio and faith five. So thankful for my team, Amy, Dan, Tahira, Gabby T and the rest. Couldn't do it without them. We'll see you next time and Merry Christmas.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-17 18:16:05 / 2023-12-17 18:33:39 / 18

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