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5 Signs You May Need a Certified Christian Financial Counselor

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore
The Truth Network Radio
January 11, 2024 5:14 pm

5 Signs You May Need a Certified Christian Financial Counselor

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore

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January 11, 2024 5:14 pm

Do you have someone that you can turn to for trusted financial guidance? Would you believe that almost 40-percent of adults say they don’t? On today's Faith & Finance Live, host Rob West will welcome Art Rainer to talk about a very special program that offers Certified Christian Financial Counselors who can help guide you in your financial stewardship. Then Rob will answer your questions on different financial topics. 

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Do you have someone that you can turn to for trusted financial guidance?

Would you believe that almost 40% of adults say they don't? Hi, I'm Rob West. You may be among them struggling to manage your finances on your own with no one to answer your questions.

Well, it doesn't have to be that way. And Art Rayner joins us today to talk about the very special Certified Christian Financial Counselor Program. Then it's on to your calls at 800-525-7000.

That's 800-525-7000. This is Faith and Finance Live, biblical wisdom for your financial journey. Well, our guest Art Rayner is Director of the Institute for Christian Financial Health, which administers the Certified Christian Financial Counselor Program. Art, great to have you back.

Rob, it's always a pleasure. Art, why don't we begin by you sharing with our listeners what these special counselors actually do? Yeah, Christian financial counselors help individuals and couples discover and pursue God's design for money. So practically, Christian financial counselors guide individuals and couples in making wise financial decisions, build sound financial habits, and increase their biblical and financial literacy. Yeah, that's really important. Now, for our listeners today who are wondering whether they need a Christian financial counselor, what would be some of those maybe warning signs or indications that they're ready for one?

Yeah, it's a great question. We actually have a list of signs that may indicate you would benefit from a Christian financial counselor, starting with the fact that your finances feel out of control. Your finances feel like one big mess. You know, every month you're just flying by the seat of your pants. There's no direction, only disorganization, and it stresses you out.

You know that something must change. So a Christian financial counselor can help make sense of the mess. They can help you develop financial goals and organize your finances. They can help you know what financial step to take next. Second, you need help creating and maintaining a budget.

Now, most of us know that budgeting is a good idea. However, many don't know how to craft a reasonable budget or have struggled to stick with one. This is one of the top reasons individuals and couples seek out a Christian financial counselor.

A Christian financial counselor educates clients on how to craft a budget and keeps them on track. Third, you are loaded with debt. You know, the Bible says that debt is a burden, and anyone who has carried debt would agree with that.

And as time goes on, the burden feels heavier and heavier. And so a Christian financial counselor will review a client's debt and craft a debt payoff plan. Having this plan in place and providing a regular check-in motivates clients to pay off debt more quickly. Fourth, you are regularly arguing about money with your spouse.

This is a big one. God designed married couples to operate as one, even in the area of finances. And you want this, but you need help to get on the same financial page with your spouse. Money is not a point of unity, but a point of division. So a Christian financial counselor can help a couple get on the same financial page.

They can help couples understand one another's money personality and how their past experiences with money are influencing their decisions today. And then finally, you need accountability. You know what you need to do, but this knowledge only sometimes leads to the right action. You are still tempted to spend money you should save. You still should give, but you're giving out of your leftovers.

You still need to pay off your debt, but you're adding to the credit card balance. Regular meetings with a Christian financial counselor can help create accountability around your finances. Boy, those are so helpful. And I'm sure many of our audience find themselves in one of those five ideas that you just shared. Now, I'm sure they're wondering, is there a fee for this service? So how does that work, Art?

Yeah, another really good question. Ultimately, it will depend on the Christian financial counselor that you choose to work with, but usually there is some type of hourly session fee, just like you would pay with any other type of counseling. And this fee actually helps clients stay engaged and finish any next steps the financial counselor provides.

They have skin in the game, and so they are more motivated to do the work. Plus, the ROI that you typically get from a Christian financial counselor is more than worth the fee. That's really helpful, Art. And then the last question, of course, is where do they go to get more information? Yeah, so they can go to christianfinancialhealth.com. And if you're looking for a certified Christian financial counselor, there's a search tab right up at the top. If you want to become a Christian financial counselor, click on the certification tab to learn more about the program. We are honored to partner with the Institute for Christian Health. And Art, it's been great to have you with us today, my friend. Always a pleasure. Thank you. Folks, to learn more, go to christianfinancialhealth.com.

That's christianfinancialhealth.com. We're back with your questions right after this. The opinions offered during this program represent the personal or professional opinions of the participants given for informational purposes only.

Any information provided is not intended to replace advice from a financial, medical, legal, or other professional who understands your specific situation. Well, it's great to have you with us today on Faith and Finance Live. I'm Rob West. It's time to take your calls and questions today at 800-525-7000. Again, that's 800-525-7000. We'd love to get into whatever you're thinking about in your financial life, help you consider it in light of biblical wisdom, and make a decision so you can move forward and be that faithful manager that I know you want to be. That's our goal here on this program, to help you each day see God as your ultimate treasure and money a tool.

And yet, as you make decisions, we want you to consider biblical wisdom and counsel, and we're here to encourage you in that. So, lines are open. We're ready for you. Again, 800-525-7000. That's the number to call. All right, let's dive in today.

We're going to go to Rochester, New York. Raymond, you'll be our first caller, sir. Go ahead. Hi, Dave. How are you doing today? I'm doing great.

Thanks for your call. So, I'm in a little predicament that I didn't realize that could happen. The other day, my brother was checking his credit score, and I said, okay, well, I don't usually do that. So, I checked my credit score, and I found a AMEX American Express card on my credit report with a legit account info, account number, and it shows the payment history, and it says it was opened in 2017, and I've never had any relations with American Express.

I've never filled out an application or anything. Yeah, well, obviously, this is something you want to get, you know, taken care of right away. So, here's a few steps I would take, Raymond, as you pursue this. Number one is, so you saw your credit file.

Do you know which of the bureaus you got that credit file from? Yes, sir. All three of them show it. Okay.

They're all showing it. All right. So, that's the first step. The next is to go ahead and call American Express, and, you know, you're going to want to let them know that the account needs to be closed and that it was opened, you know, fraudulently, so that they can flag it and have it removed. Now, have you already reached out to AMEX?

Yes, I did. I gave them, you know, they checked with my social security number, they checked with my name and everything, and they didn't find anything. Also, I gave this account number that's on here, and they don't have any recollection of the account number at all. Okay.

All right. So, it could just be, you know, something that was reported incorrectly. I mean, it's not uncommon for credit reports to have inaccurate information, and that leads us to step three, which is to dispute the account with each of the three credit bureaus. You can do this online, by phone, or by mail, and basically, you know, you would let them know that it's not accurate, that it's not your account, and they're legally required to investigate your claim within 30 days, and then, basically, they have to either verify it or delete it or remove it. And so, you know, assuming it returns in your favor, the credit bureau's investigation, then it would just automatically be taken off.

I would probably do two things at that point. Number one is you can add a fraud alert to the credit report if you think identity theft was the cause, and that there's a chance the thief could open more accounts. The additional step, and this is key, is to place what's called a freeze on each of your three credit reports, which is going to be make it, you know, a lot more difficult for any fraudulent accounts to be opened in your name, because that establishes a PIN number that would need to be provided anytime someone is wanting to open an account in your name, because the lender is going to want to pull a copy of your credit file.

They won't be able to do so without that PIN number to access it, and that could stop them in their tracks. So that would be the steps that I would follow. You've already pulled the reports.

Next is to dispute. After that is to, and you could do this simultaneously, place the fraud alert and the freeze. Does that all make sense, though? Yeah, that sounds, so how do I go about doing that? Is that free to do that credit alert or or to do the freeze?

Is that both of them are free? Yes, absolutely, and each of the bureau's websites would let you know exactly how to do that. It's very simple to do, and you can, you know, do that online, over the phone, or through the mail. Also, the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission, has a helpful article about credit freezes and fraud alerts. If you just search in whatever search engine you use, FTC, what to know about credit freezes and fraud alerts, you'll see an article that's very helpful that'll pop up that explains all of these, but basically you just initiate that with each of the three bureaus, and there is no cost. So basically, the reason why I called you is because, I mean, this is, so that's the best way in order to protect yourself, so that if somebody tries to put something on your credit, they won't be able to do that without getting a hold of you first.

Yeah, that's right. So in terms of something appearing on your credit, the only thing that appears on your credit is outstanding accounts that you have and the status of those accounts, apart from your personal information, your name and your address and your work history and things like that. So the only way a new account would appear on your credit file, apart from a mistake that the bureaus made, which obviously all three bureaus are reflecting this, so there's something else going on, is that somebody would be opening an account in your name with your social security number on a fraudulent basis, and that cannot be done without that lender first checking your credit file, because they don't want to extend anyone credit without knowing whether you have, you know, your credit worthy. The only way to do that is for them to check your credit score and credit file, and they wouldn't be able to do that with the fraud alert and or more specifically the freeze. So that's why those are really important things.

So that's why those are really key in a situation like this. So you would recommend, you would recommend anybody to do the same thing, to put a freeze and to put a fraudulent thing on your credit report? Yes, certainly if you've had your account compromised, if you've ever been the victim of identity theft, if you've ever had any fraud, absolutely. If not, then you just have to decide whether it's worth kind of the additional hassle, because it does create an extra step anytime you try to open an account, open a new credit card, a new bank account, you know, get a car loan, things like that. So a lot of folks will opt to wait until they have reason to believe there's been some sort of nefarious activity. But absolutely, if you just want to be on the safe side, it's never a bad idea to do it, because again, there's no cost to it. Like in this situation here, I didn't even know it was on there.

And my credit card could have been ruined. Yeah, absolutely. And that's why it's so important. And I'm glad you raised this question. It's so important that we're pulling our credit files regularly.

The nice thing is that it's more accessible than ever. I mean, most credit cards now are offering free credit reports or excuse me, credit scores. You're probably getting emails and alerts all the time from anybody that you do business with offering you a free credit score. If not, Credit Karma offers free credit scores. You can get your credit bureau reports free at annualcreditreport.com. So I would say at least three times a year, you need to be pulling a copy of those credit reports from all three bureaus to look for exactly what you've identified, which would be an inaccurate or fraudulent account. All right.

Really quick right now, they told me that they're offering every seven days you get a free credit report right now. Okay. Yeah.

I wasn't aware of that. We'll have to look into that. I'll have my team check it out. Raymond, thanks for your call, sir. We're going to take a quick break and back with your questions, folks. The number to call 800-525-7000. We've got lines open. You can call right now. We'll be right back. This is Faith in Finance live right here on Moody radio.

We're so glad you're along with us today. Hey, before we head back to the phones and by the way, we have lines open. So if you have a financial question today, you can get right through no waiting today. 800-525-7000.

The number to call is 800-525-7000. Here at the start of the year, we're seeing a huge influx of folks saying that they want to get started on setting up their spending plan, managing God's money, creating a process where perhaps along with your spouse, if you're married, you can track what you're spending throughout the month in each of your budget categories or envelopes, as we call them, and know where you're at so you can curtail your spending along the way. You know, if you're out of money in your eating out envelope and we don't get paid for a few more days, well, it's beans and rice at home.

But unless you know how you're doing, you can't make those course corrections along the way. Well, that's why we built the FaithFi app to be able to help you set up your spending plan based on Larry Burkett's tried and true envelope system, but in a modern, simple, and beautiful interface right there in the palm of your hand. So if you'd like to check it out, we'd love for you to. Just go to faithfi.com and click app.

That's faithfi.com and click app, or just go straight to your app store and you can download the FaithFi app today. All right, we're going to head back to the phones. We've got three lines open, but we've got some great questions already lined up. We're going to go to Dallas, Texas. Patricia, thanks for calling. Go right ahead.

Hi. I just have a CD that is maturing at the end of the month, and I don't know whether to roll it over at a less percentage or go with another institution at a higher percentage. I can get 5.26 for 15 months, or I can get 5.50 at another institution for a year.

It's like $50,000 in a CD, so I really don't know whether is it worth it to move it or just leave it alone. Yeah, and what would the rate be, Patricia, where it is currently if you roll it over? It'll be 5.26 for 15 months. So we're talking an extra quarter of a point, is that right? Right, but it's also three months more also. Okay, so one is a year and one's 15 months, correct? Right.

Okay, all right. Yeah, so obviously, I mean, it's a matter of a few hundred dollars. You're going to get, at five point, what did you say, 5.5, you'll earn $2,750 over the next year. At 5.25, you're going to earn $2,625.

So we're talking less than $200. That's not an insignificant sum of money, but there is a hassle factor here of you having to switch to a new institution, open the account, transfer the money. So I think it comes down to, obviously, the liquidity is number one. You can go with a 15 month or you can go with a 12 month. I think that just comes down to, do you have reason to believe you're going to need that money before 15 months?

And obviously that would play into it. And then second is, what is the very best rate you can get? And I would agree that about the best you're going to do right now for a year is five and a half.

I mean, I'm looking at bankrate.com right now, and I'm seeing at least six or eight at five and a half, but there's nothing higher than that. So the question is, is it worth $150 or so for you over the next year for you to be able to have to move this to another institution? And what would you say to that? I would probably say it's going to be a hassle to fill out all that type of work. Yeah, yeah. I would agree. Now, you can do it all online if you're comfortable with that, and they make it pretty easy these days, but you're right.

There is the hassle factor. So five and a quarter is still a great rate. You already have a relationship there.

Obviously, it's worked out well for you. So what you may want to do is just stay right there and not think twice about it. Roll it over for another year to 15 months, whatever works for you, and then you can revisit at that point. The only other consideration you may want to take into account is the Federal Reserve has said that they're thinking about raising rates next year as many as six times. And so there's no question that a year from now rates will be lower than they are today. So the only other consideration would be whether you want to go ahead and lock it up longer than that. So for instance, you can get a 5% for two years at some banks right now. And so that may be another option, assuming we think that rates are going to be a good bit lower this time next year. So that would be the only other consideration I would throw out. But bottom line is if you're happy with your credit union, it's probably not worth moving over a quarter of a point. Well, and the other question is if I leave it in there, I can do another deal for seven months at 5.45.

But then after that seven months, then I don't know what the rate will be. Yeah, so I would probably be better off to leave it alone there. I think that's I think that's probably true. Yes, ma'am. Listen, I appreciate you calling today. Patricia, thanks for listening to the program. If we can help you in any other way in the future, don't hesitate to reach out. May the Lord bless you.

We're going to go to Sebring, Ohio. Mike, go ahead, sir. Let's take my call. My question is I'm getting ready to retire probably like the end of March and my 401k right now I have 5% being put into it. Should I increase that to 25 30% so that I can maximize it in January, February, March and get that money into that 401k at this time?

Or should I just keep it at a lower rate? I see. Yeah. So you're just wondering, should you front load it for the year?

So you've got it working for you longer? Is that right? Yes. Yeah, you certainly could do that. I mean, it's obviously got to go in through salary.

Excuse me. It has to go in through salary deferral. But you do have the option to work with your HR department, your controller, whoever that is, to adjust that percentage. And for 2024, you can put in $23,000, unless you're over the age of 50. And then you could put him in even more. And I would agree all things being equal, I'd rather have it in sooner rather than later. So it can be working for you over the balance of the year. So I'm on board with that strategy.

I think the key is look at what is the total I'm looking to put in for the year and just make sure that by the end of the year, you have that much in. It's a good idea, Mike. Thanks for your call. We'll be right back. Hey, great to have you with us today on faith and finance live. I'm Rob West. We've got some lines open today for your questions on anything financial 800-525-7000. You can call right now.

Let's go to Indiana. Hi, Velma. Thanks for calling.

How can I help? Hi, Rob. Thank you for taking my call. I want you to know that I listen to your program all the time. So I want to thank you. I listen to your program all the time on my way to work and on my way home. I listen to your program all the time and I'm learning a lot from you.

Thank you. So my question is, I want to open a high yield savings account. And when one of your program, you told in your program that look in a bank rate institution and choose on which bank offered a good rate.

Yes. And I also heard you mention about Capital One is a good company to go to. But then when I look at bank rate, Capital One only offers four point something and the other bank offer five point something. So I was wondering if I can trust the other bank. Yeah, it's a great question, Velma. And I appreciate your kind remarks about the program.

I'm so glad you're you're learning as you're listening and you're enjoying what you're hearing. I think the key here is bankrate.com is a great option. There are others. NerdWallet would be another. But I would, as long as something has FDIC insurance and it gets a fairly highly rated using their five star rating system, I would be comfortable with you using any of those online banks. In the past, I had given a list of two or three different options for banks that were typically on the higher end of the yields.

I don't do that anymore just because it changes so often. And, you know, I'd rather you just go through and look at who has the best rates right now and make a decision as you explore each of these. You know, many of them have pros and cons and, you know, you want to find the one that's the best fit for you.

But, yeah, I think the best approach is just what you described, Velma. I wouldn't automatically go to Capital One by any means. I would go to bankrate.com, check out who has the highest rates, look at their rating out of the five star system, and then you can make a decision from there, okay? And then that's lost. They are FDIC insured, right?

Yes, ma'am. And their rate doesn't change or really change early, you know? It does change. So with a CD, a certificate of deposit, you're locking in that rate for a period of time, whatever the term is on the CD. With a high yield savings account, it can change every day. So it's just going to move with interest rates. And so I think the key is just recognize that we're in a high interest rate environment right now. As I said to the previous caller, the Fed, the Federal Reserve has already indicated rates are coming down this year.

They mentioned as many as six times. We'll see, obviously, with inflation continuing to prove a little sticky and the labor market being as strong as it is, we may see a few less than that. But the bottom line is the rates are going to be coming down and these high yield savings account will come down with the Fed funds rate. And there is no guarantee on that.

So it will move with interest rates, okay? Okay. Well, thank you so much. You are welcome, Velma. Thank you for your call today. May the Lord bless you.

Let's go to Illinois. Hi, Megan. Go ahead. Hello, Rob. Thank you so much for your program.

I listen when I'm able and I appreciate you taking my question. Sure. So I recently inherited an annuity. My mom passed and it was a co-inheritance with my brother. And in the paperwork, it just gives two options, one lump sum with, of course, a tax penalty and the other was a five-year plan with less of a penalty. But there was no option given to just leave the annuity in for the life of the term, of the annuity. And I was wondering if that were an option, how would I go about being able to find that out with the company?

Yeah. Well, you really need to contact the company. Have you talked to them at all about your options? I haven't.

My brother has, but he's not gotten an answer. He asked that question about how much time was left and if we could leave it in. All right. Do you know if it was a qualified annuity or a non-qualified annuity? It's a non-qualified annuity contract. Okay.

Very good. Yeah. So typically what happens, and again, you're going to need to nail this down with the insurance company and I would get your CPA involved in this as well.

First of all, there are no inheritance taxes, but you're going to pay taxes on any of the gains as it comes out. But typically with a non-qualified annuity, you would either follow what's called the five-year rule where it's distributed out over five years or the life expectancy rule where you would take it out over your life expectancy and they would want you to do one of the two. Okay.

Yeah. Do you have any, is there one that's preferable to another? Would the five-year plan make more sense so I could invest it in another option or would it matter? Well, a lot of it is going to come down to what your current situation is and also your taxes. Because if you can spread it out over a longer period of time and you don't need the money, then it continues to grow and you're not going to add to your taxable income. But given that this is a non-qualified annuity, you're just going to pay income taxes on the earnings when they're withdrawn. So a lot of it's going to come down to how much is there in the way of earnings and then how quickly do you pull it out. Now, if you have either a need for the money or you want to redirect it and invest it elsewhere, then that would lean more toward you getting that money out and redeploying it somewhere else. But it really comes down to what do you have a need for that income now and or do you want to redeploy it somewhere else?

Do you have a better option for investing it that might perform better than what the annuity would bring? Does that make sense? It does. Yeah.

I don't need the money. So I guess my next step would be to look to see if my brother and I just took the lump sum, if it would benefit us, because I don't think it also mentions that both of us have to agree to the same option, I believe. So the good news is we're able to probably we will be able to agree on an option. So I guess the next step would be to see if it would benefit us to invest the amount somewhere else versus just leaving it in. Okay.

Right. And a lot of it's going to come down to whether you can take you have the option to do the five year rule, which just means you have to get the entire balance out within five years of the owner's death, or you have the ability to do the, you know, the life expectancy option. But it sounds like in either case, you're probably going to get it out, if not in five years much sooner than that. But given that you all have to agree, I think, yeah, it's a matter of sitting down and saying what we'd like to do, and then getting with your CPA and the insurance company just to find out what your options are, what the tax implications are, and then put that plan in motion. So I know it can get complicated here, Megan, but it sounds like you're making the right steps here. We appreciate you listening to the program and calling in today.

God bless you. We're going to take a quick break, folks. We've got some great questions lined up.

It looks like all the lines are full. So when we come back, we'll talk to Claire and Elgin. She wants to talk about a timeshare. Jim in Cleveland's wondering about Social Security and his taxes, and then Nick in Indianapolis has an inheritance he wants to talk about.

That and more right after this. Great to have you with us today on Faith and Finance LIVE. Here in our final segment today, we're going to tackle as many questions as we can. So let's head right back to the phones to Elgin, Illinois. Hi, Claire. Go right ahead.

Hey, Rob. I'm so excited to hear your thoughts on this. My father gave us a timeshare probably 20 or 25 years ago, and we enjoyed it. We don't want it anymore. So once we paid like, I don't know, hundreds of dollars for a company to get rid of it, they didn't get rid of it. Another time we paid $5,000. Guaranteed they will get rid of your timeshare or you will get your money back.

And they did neither. But they did refer us to a lawyer. And the lawyer said, Listen, you don't even have a mortgage on this thing. Just stop paying it. Just stop paying the maintenance fee, which we did. And it doesn't feel good to me. But I don't know what else to do. Yeah. Well, Claire, this is a tough one.

And I know you're excited about hearing one of my thoughts. Unfortunately, I don't have a whole lot of thoughts because it really does come down to contract law here. And I really can't weigh in on that. You know, at the end of the day, I mean, you inherited this, you know, you wouldn't typically, you can't be enforced to accept an inheritance, inherited timeshare, you could refuse to accept it, and the estate would have to pay any fees or penalties associated with stopping payments. But in this case, you know, you all have had it, you've been using it and paying on it for some time, given you know, the way by which you came into this, given that it was through inheritance, I realized that's, you know, what makes this a bit of an unusual situation, despite the fact that you've had it, you've been using it and paying on it for some time. So now could you just walk away? Ultimately, that is a legal question.

And so I would, you know, you've obviously had a lawyer that's told you that you could stop paying the maintenance fee, and there'd be no recourse that, you know, there's the legal side of it. And then, you know, you raised just kind of the conviction side of it, where you said it doesn't feel good. And at the end of the day, that's between you and the Lord.

So, you know, I would kind of, you know, pray through this number one, you and your husband talk about it, you get the counsel, the attorney, ultimately, you're going to need to make the call, both on the conviction side, as well as whether you have any legal responsibility on this whatsoever. But it's a bit of a difficult situation, just kind of given all the pieces and parts of how you came into it. You know, the other piece that I would say is, and I hate to hear that you've gone through this, but it just underscores what I've heard so many times. And let's let this be a warning to others who are listening today, that there is just so much fraud and folks taking advantage of others in in this space, in the timeshare space. And that's why we've never found anyone that we would be comfortable referring our listeners to, to be able to exit a timeshare situation, just because I've never found anybody that can do it realistically. And there's a lot of unmet expectations and broken promises. You guys have experienced that firsthand twice.

I hate to hear that. But let's just let that be a good warning to others, just to really be careful before you go into any of these contracts that promise to do things that really they can't do because you're legally bound, you know, and obligated to these. So I wish I had more definitive advice for you, Claire. Unfortunately, I think you're doing the right things and you need to get the best counsel you can get legally.

And then you and your husband need to pray it through and make that decision. Okay, thank you for your help. You're welcome, Claire. Thanks for calling today. We appreciate it.

Let's go to Cleveland. Hi, Jim, go ahead. Hey, how are you doing? I really appreciate your program.

And thank you for addressing my question. I'm 65. I'm going to be retiring in a couple of months. And when I looked at my projected monthly check for Social Security, I noticed it didn't notify me of any earnings that have been calculated for 2023. So I didn't know if it would affect the amount that I get if I filed for Social Security before I filed my 2023 taxes.

I see. No, there won't be any bearing there whatsoever. So 2023 is essentially closed as far as income is concerned. And so taking Social Security now won't affect that. And if you're entitled to any increases, those will come, you know, when you have the ability or when, you know, that gets added, regardless of when you take it. The only thing that waiting would affect is, you know, every month you essentially get one 12th of 8% by delaying taking Social Security in an automatic increase up to age 70. And so obviously, taking your benefit check or starting to receive benefits is going to freeze those increases.

But anything that would come by way of you adding, you know, you replacing one of your high 35 years through earnings in a more recent year or a COLA adjustment, cost of living adjustment, those are going to happen automatically regardless of when you take the benefit. I see. Okay, perfect.

Well, that answers my question. I deeply appreciate it. Thank you so much. Absolutely, Jim. Thanks for your call today. Let's go to Indianapolis. Hi, Nick. Go ahead, sir. Hey, Rob.

Thanks for taking the call. Yeah, just had a quick question. We, my wife just inherited some money from the passing of my father and we, you know, we're doing pretty well. We were able to make payments on our home currently, pay the bills, so the extra monies, we're just kind of wanting to see what your advice would be to maybe invest it or, you know, anything that to help grow the money or put it in a safe spot to see your return on it.

Absolutely, Nick. Do you mind me asking how much you received? It was around $40,000.

All right, very good. And just to confirm what I'm hearing, you have your emergency fund, you don't have any consumer debt, and you feel like you're on track with your long-term retirement savings? Yeah, we got a Roth, a 529, we got two beautiful daughters, we're starting a college plan for, and yeah, got an emergency, and so, you know, it's just trying to figure out where to put it.

And anything else besides the Roth IRAs in terms of retirement? Do you have 401Ks at work or anything like that? No, no 401Ks, just, yeah, I have a Roth and then my wife has a Roth, so we got the two accounts there. We put in two monthly. Okay, and are you self-employed or are you W-2 employee?

W-2, both of us. And is there a 401K option even though you haven't, you're not putting anything in it or your companies just don't offer 401Ks? They do offer, but they don't match, so we kind of met with our financial advisor and he recommended, since they don't match, Roth was a better option for kind of our situation.

Yeah, I agree with that. I think the challenge with the Roth is you just get to that contribution limit pretty quickly. So, you know, this year the Roth IRA contribution limit has gone up a little bit, but it's still only $7,000 per person if you're under age 50 and 14 between you and your wife, but given that, you know, really you probably need to be putting away 10 to 15 percent of your income, most folks will find that, you know, they just they need to be able to put away a little bit more than, you know, $7,000 a year in order to reach their retirement goal. So if you've done some planning and you believe that, you know, that's enough, that's great. If you want to be able to put more away, that's where even a non-matched 401K can be great.

The key is just to make sure you're on track for what you ultimately need to save, and if you've started early enough you may be perfectly fine, you know, doing the just the $14,000 this year for the Roth IRA. You know, beyond that, you know, if you feel like you're on track to do what you need to do there, then obviously other options would be, you know, number one, do you have a mortgage on your current property? Yes, yep, I have a mortgage we actually moved over the summer, so. Okay, and what's the, so you have a new 30-year mortgage that you just started?

Correct. All right, and what's the interest rate on that since you moved pretty recently? It's around six percent. Yeah, okay, so I mean that's a guaranteed six percent return on your money, anything you put toward the house, so that's one option is you could accelerate that payoff. Number two is if you don't have a full six months expenses in your emergency fund, you could shore that up. Three would be, you know, I would look at just any giving desires that, you know, the Lord has placed on the the heart of you and or your wife or together as a couple, and then four would just be to say, you know, let's look at other long-term savings opportunities, so perhaps, you know, if you by fully funding your Roth, it doesn't give you the ability because you're, you know, you need the rest of your income that you have coming in. One option would be go ahead and start contributing to the 401k, and then just replace that money that you were counting on because now your check is going to be lower coming from your employer.

Replace that with money coming out of the 40,000, which in a sense moves it from one bucket to the other, so by spending it down in relationship to how much you're now putting in your 401k, which you weren't previously, you're systematically moving that into a tax-deferred environment, but that's going to come down to ultimately your retirement planning with your advisor, you know, that will help you determine whether you're on track ahead or behind with your retirement savings through the Roth. If you're on track, you know, I'm not necessarily asking you to save more than you need to. It's not about just accumulate as much as you can. It's really more about creating a plan, praying over it, and then following through on that plan.

Does all that make sense, though? Yeah, yeah, no, that's helpful, and yeah, we do hope to, you know, give some to the church and whoever part leads us, and no, I appreciate that feedback and advice, so. Okay, good. Yeah, and I think, I mean, it'd be one thing if you had that two or three percent mortgage, given that that's up around six, you know, the amount you're going to save over a 30-year mortgage by prepaying a portion of it now, I mean, there's a lot of savings there that you will ultimately cut down on by sending an extra principal reduction payment, so now, God bless you, Nick. Thanks for your call today. Faith and Finance Live is a partnership between Moody Radio and Faith Fi. Thank you to Gabby T, Amy, Dan, and Jim. Couldn't do it without them. We'll see you tomorrow. Bye-bye.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-11 21:10:04 / 2024-01-11 21:26:35 / 17

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