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Starting a Stewardship Ministry

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore
The Truth Network Radio
January 31, 2024 5:44 pm

Starting a Stewardship Ministry

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore

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January 31, 2024 5:44 pm

There’s no question that every church could benefit by having a stewardship ministry. And not just the church itself, but individual members benefit as well. On today's Faith & Finance Live, host Rob West will talk with Leo Sabo, who’ll share instructions for starting a ministry focused on stewardship. Then Rob will tackle your financial questions. So, join us for Faith & Finance Live—where biblical wisdom meets today’s finances, weekdays at 4pm Eastern/3pm Central on Moody Radio.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Does your church have a stewardship ministry?

Should it? Hi, I'm Rob West. There's no question that every church could benefit by having a stewardship ministry and not just the church itself, but the individual members as well. Leo Szabo joins us today with instructions for starting one. 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, it's a pleasure to welcome back our friend Leo Szabo. He's president of the Christian Stewardship Network and a faith and finance contributor. He also knows a thing or two about starting a stewardship ministry. And Leo, it's great to have you with us. Thanks, Rob.

It's always good to be with you. Hey Leo, before we dive into the how-to, let's start with why it's important for churches to have stewardship ministries in the first place. Yeah. Well, first of all, it's in God's word. There's biblical references to money and possessions all over the Bible. So it's something that God wants us to know. And it's something that we should be discipling our people around because it is a major part of our lives. Making money, spending money is part of it. So it's important that we teach what God says about that so that people can both accomplish their calling and purpose and use money as a tool to do that.

That's well said. So I know you have five practical steps for setting up a stewardship ministry as a layperson. Let's dive in. Where do we start? Well, first, get leadership buy-in. It's important that you share a vision of how the ministry will impact the church and its people. The leadership is going to want to know if this lines up with the church.

And yes, it does, because it's about making true disciples and equipping them. It's also something that has to be focused on discipleship, not fundraising. Help leadership understand this is not about raising more money.

This is really, truly about discipling people. And the result may be that they'll be more generous. More likely they will be, but it's really discipleship. You can't do much without the leadership on board.

That's for sure. Where do we go from here? Number two, understand the needs of your people. Don't assume you know what people need or don't ask them.

It's okay to do a survey and ask specifically what people are struggling with or what people would like to know regarding financial stewardship. And then go ahead and launch that based on the education that they want. So look at what kind of classes are they willing to go to.

Is it a one-day seminar, a workshop, multi-week classes, in-person, on-demand, and then go from there. So the leadership is on board. We know what the needs are. And now we start to build our team.

What do we need to know? Well, it's important that you build a team so that you can scale for church-wide impact. So host a vision night to recruit volunteers, find those who have a passion and calling to serve in stewardship ministry, just like you do, and then provide the training, both biblical and practical. You want to help them understand what God says, but also help them walk that out. And let CSN help you. Here at the Christian Stewardship Network, we actually do that. We help churches learn how to train their own people so that they can build a ministry that will be effective.

Yeah. So now you have your team in place, Leo, how do you get started? How do you launch?

Well, that's just it. You have to launch. The sooner you start, the more you will learn and can adapt the ministry to meet the needs of your people. And if possible, start with a church-wide event.

We recommend a seminar, a one-day workshop or something like that, because that'll put it on the map so that everyone in the church will see that this is something that the church is going to engage in. And then anything that follows will just be supported by that same notion that we are going to be focusing on this area. Yeah, that's really helpful. I know there's one final step and it's an important one. Share it with us.

Yeah. Number five is celebrate ministry impact. You have to capture and share testimonies of life change. This will benefit by encouraging other participants who may not yet feel like this is for them, but also it validates the impact and benefit of ministry to the leadership resulting in more buy-in and more support. And of course, measure and report impact regularly to your leadership. That's part of the celebration is that you're letting your leadership know this is working.

Here's a life change that's happening. This is so helpful, Leo. How can folks get more information? Well, go to christianstewardshipnetwork.com. We have plenty of resources. We have a membership and we have training. We have training that actually is going to be happening March 4th through the 6th at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. We have our CSN annual forum event that we do every year. It's a three-day event for leaders to come and get equipped.

Leo, that's so helpful. I've been watching the work of CSN for a long time. Talk to folks about how practical the help is that you can offer as they launch their ministry. Yeah, we have a membership where people can sign up and actually connect with other stewardship leaders. And of course, we have a lot of content courses that we're releasing all the time to equip and disciple those people to know how to do this ministry in their own churches.

Yeah, that's right. Take advantage of it, folks. It's a huge resource. Leo, thanks for stopping by. My pleasure, Rob. Leo Szabo has been our guest today. That website again, christianstewardshipnetwork.com. That's christianstewardshipnetwork.com. All right, your calls are just around the corner.

800-525-7000. Stay with us. We'll be right back. Great to have you with us today on Faith and Finance Live.

I'm Rob West. All right, our phone lines are open. We're ready for your questions on anything financial. The number to call is 800-525-7000. Line's open, 800-525-7000.

You can call right now. You know, the reason we do this program each day, taking an hour to talk about money, is not so we can enrich ourselves. Here's our heart's desire here at FaithFi. We want to help you make God your ultimate treasure and see money as a tool.

Put it in its rightful place. It's not an end. It's a means to an end, to accomplish God's purposes. It's a good gift from the Lord.

We're to enjoy it. We're to provide for our loved ones and ourself. We're to use it to bless others by giving generously. Ultimately, we want to maintain an eternal perspective, not get caught up in the things of this world, the temporal, but use money as not only a tool but a test which God uses in our lives and a testimony to the world who's watching how we handle, or you might say, steward God's money. Well, we want to point you back to Scripture, encourage you along the way, and help you make wise financial decisions.

So, what's your question today about managing God's money? Let's tackle it together at 800-525-7000. All right, we're going to dive in today. We'll begin in Chicago. Ian, you'll be our first caller. Go ahead.

Good afternoon. I really appreciate your show and value your wise counsel. I have about $140,000 in traditional IRAs, and I want to start to convert those to Roth IRAs. I'm about 15 years away from retirement, maybe possibly even a couple years longer, but I'm considering 15 years away. And I have a year this year where I'm finishing up my doctorate degree, and my income this year is going to be around $45,000. So, I know that this is probably a good time to convert that so that I pay less tax on the conversion, but I wondered how much should I do, how much should I convert this year, and next year, and in subsequent years, my income is going to be around $100,000 or maybe even more.

So, I know that this is kind of a prime time to do this. Should I do it all, like I have $140,000 to convert? Or should I like phase it in over a number of years? And I guess along with that is, you know, do I have to pay the tax next April or do I pay the tax on the date that I do the conversion?

Yeah, very good. Well, I mean, it's a good thought. Is the primary motivation just to save on taxes? Or do you not think you'll need the money when you get to full or not full retirement age, but the age for the required minimum distribution? And so, therefore, you'd like to leave it in the Roth and let it continue to grow at age 75?

Or what are you thinking? I'm thinking I'll need some of it when I do retire. I'd like to, you know, I think I will have a pretty good social security.

Hopefully, that's still around 15 years. But yeah, here's my motive is primarily income tax savings. Yeah, yeah.

Yeah. I mean, I would probably connect with a CPA that you know, the challenge you've got in is we just the unknown, right? So our tax is going to be higher or lower in the future. They're probably not going to be lower. So it's probably a reasonable thought that the tax rates are going higher. We certainly know that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act expires next year at the end of 2025.

So that gives you two years there. Now, what's going to happen with the election? No one knows except the Lord. So, you know, that's going to have a lot to do with whether we see tax rates going higher, whether the tax cuts will be extended.

So a lot of that remains to be seen. We do know this is a year where you have income that is lower, and that's temporary. So it does seem like an opportunity perhaps to move a portion of it to a Roth.

And maybe that's the other option is rather than moving the whole thing, you move a portion. There was a study done that Soundmind Investing featured, we actually had Mark Biller on the program to talk about it, related to how much you should have in Roth versus traditional 401ks and IRAs. So the idea between the right mix as you're growing your wealth during your working years between pre-tax and after-tax retirement vehicles. And this particular study that looked at thousands of real life scenarios determined that the best option, just given the unknowns that we have, and those will always be with us, was to take your age, add the number 20 to it, and that was the portion that you should keep in pre-tax and then the remaining put in the Roth. So in that case, you know, you're 57. So, you know, if you'd add 20 to it, that's 77. Let's call it 75% in the pre-tax, which would say, okay, we should put 25% of the Roth. So in your case, you know, on 140,000 we'd be talking about taking 35,000 this year, which probably feels like a pretty good amount, especially given your income is going to be less than half of what it will be to move into the Roth, pay the current tax rates, which again we think is probably on the low end of where they're going to be in the future, and now let that money start growing tax-free, and then at least you have a portion that when you get to, you know, the age of a required minimum, you wouldn't have to take it out, but you can pull from either bucket depending on what's going on with the tax code and your income. Does that make sense?

That gives me a really good number to to start with for this year. What's the advantage of leaving money in a traditional? Well, it's just that we don't know when, you know, what our tax situation is going to look like, number one. So what's going to happen with the tax code? Secondly, often if you don't have the years for it to compound tax-free and the Roth, so, you know, two, three, four decades, you know, the idea is that when you're thinking about doing it you're at the peak of your earning, which means you're paying a lot of tax because you're still working, and when you get to retirement that falls off, and so it's better at that point to leave it in the pre-tax environment because all of a sudden your income is going to drop significantly and therefore you're going to be pulling it out in a lower tax bracket.

Now, this idea that we'd want both of them at some, you know, in some ratio allows you just flexibility to say, okay, I can do a qualified charitable distribution out of the IRA, that's a benefit, that's not going to be taxable, you know, for the, depending on what's the tax code, then we can choose do we want the pre-tax or the after-tax, we've got the RMD factor going on, so it just gives you options and I think that's the key. I love that, Arustan. Thank you very much.

That gives me really solid advice. Thank you. Awesome. If you want to check that out you could go to soundmindinvesting.org and look for that article or just search on our website at faithfi.com for our recent interviews with Mark Biller.

You could do a search for Mark Biller, B-I-L-L-E-R, and you'll find that episode where we talked about Roth versus Traditional, and you can get a little more detail on that. Hey, thanks for your call today. We appreciate it very much, Ian. Coming up a little later in the broadcast here on Wednesdays, we check out our mail that's come in recently. By the way, if you have a question you'd rather not call, you'd like to mail it in, you can do that electronically at moodyradio.org slash finance.

That's the page on the Moody Radio website where you can listen to past episodes of Faith and Finance Live. You can also see that question submission box that'll come right into us. Amy, my producer, has been collecting those and we're going to dive into a few of them coming up a little later in the broadcast, and so we'll be tackling those today. There'll be some great questions coming up. Hey, let me also mention, if you haven't checked out the FaithFi app recently, we're preparing to launch 4.0, our new edition, in the next few months. This would be a great time to go and get on board at faithfi.com.

Just click app. All right, lines are open. We'll be back with more of your questions just around the corner.

Stick around. Great to have you with us today on Faith and Finance Live. I'm Rob West. We're taking our calls and questions and we've got a few lines open. We're ready for your questions today on anything financial at 800-525-7000. You can call right now. Let's go to Oglethorpe, Georgia.

David, go right ahead. Thanks for taking my call. We took out a home equity line of credit several years back and we did some improvements to the house. I've got that paid down to around $8,300 now. It was upwards of around $20,000 to $22,000 when we got the work done.

I'm wondering, currently, I only have $13,000 in savings at the moment, so I'm wondering, would it be beneficial for me to go ahead and just take my savings and pay that HELOC off and then just begin paying myself back into my savings or should I leave my savings where it is for emergencies, etc., and just continue paying on the home equity line of credit? Yeah, very good question. What do you all spend on a monthly basis, do you know roughly? Oh wow, just as an entire household? Yeah, your total expenses.

Probably around $4,000. Okay, yeah, so that would still give you a month's worth of expenses. Now, we recommend three to six, but if you didn't have anything, you know, that was potential on the horizon, I mean, the definition of an unexpected expense is that you don't know it's coming, so I get that, but for instance, you know, is your job situation, you know, pretty secure? You know, are you in a situation where there's something at the house where, man, you're hoping that that appliance is hanging on for, you know, five years more, but you have a feeling it might be on its last legs?

I mean, is there something that, you know, you could anticipate that would cause you to say, I think I need, you know, a good, you know, a good, you know, $10,000 or $15,000. If not, I would say dropping down to one month's worth of expenses in emergency savings so that you could take 100% of that payment and redirect it toward building up, you know, that emergency fund back up to at least three months on its way to six months makes some sense to me, given that you're probably paying high interest on that. So all things being equal, unless you anticipate something major, you know, I would say dropping down to one month's worth of expenses probably makes sense.

Okay, thank you so much. On the brighter side, my wife also works. Our entire household runs off of my income.

My wife also works, so there is some cushion with her end as well, so that's great advice. Hey, well done on living within your means there on one income and being able to sock that other one away. That's a great way to operate, David.

Kudos to you. Yeah, thanks for being on the program, sir. Call anytime.

800-525-7000 is the number to call. Let's go to Michigan. Hi, Steven, go ahead.

Hey, thanks for taking my call. I have a question about if we should take some of our savings or some of our 401k or IRA and buy some silver. You hear so much about the currency falling low and might not even be a dollar in a year or two, so I was just wondering if it'd be a good idea to just take some of our savings or some money out of our 401k or our IRA and buy some silver. Yeah, why silver in particular?

I mean, I was just wondering. Okay, yeah, no problem. I just didn't know if there was any reason why you were specifically targeting silver. I like precious metals in your portfolio as a part of a properly diversified portfolio. We would typically tell you don't put more than 10% of your total investable assets in precious metals just as a rule of thumb. I like gold more than silver primarily because silver is more volatile and it's more tightly linked to the industrial economy. So if we were to get into a recession, we'd probably see silver react more than we would gold. Gold is better for diversifying your portfolio. Doesn't mean there's never a place for silver in your portfolio. It's just that if you were going to start an allocation to precious metals, I like gold better as a hedge against a falling market, as more of a fear trade where people rush into gold when things are uncertain or there's fearful times and there's just less reliance on, although there's some, less reliance on the industrial economy than let's say silver.

So I think for that reason I like it. Now what I would typically say is perhaps you'd take a physical gold possession of up to 5% where you'd buy the physical gold, maybe in gold coins, something like that, and make that kind of your forever allocation in a fireproof safe or in a safe deposit box at the bank. If you want to go above five all the way to 10, I would typically recommend, and again you need to make this call, but that you do that in more of a tracking stock or ETF that tracks the movement of gold. So there's exchange traded funds out there, there's probably a dozen of them, that all they do is track the price of gold. They actually are backed by the real gold in a vault, but you don't have to take physical possession.

So you're benefiting from the overall move of the price of gold when it goes higher, but you don't have to secure it and if you wanted to reduce your position it's much easier than selling off the physical gold which is going to have a dealer markup or a premium when you sell it. So that would allow you to do 5% in a physical allocation, another 5% in one of the tracker ETFs. Does that make sense? Yeah, yes. Thank you so much. Yeah, you're welcome Stephen. Thanks for checking in with us. Call anytime and Lord bless you. 800-525-7000 is the number to call. We've got some lines open today.

In fact, we've got four of them. So if you're thinking about something in your financial life, whether it's living, giving, owing, or growing God's money, go ahead and give us a call. Let's talk about it today. We'll see if we can be an encouragement to you, help you make a wise decision, and in light of biblical wisdom. Hey, as we head into this break today, let me remind you Faith and Finance Live is listener supported, which just simply means we can only bring you this program and all the great resources, content, and helpful tools at faithfi.com as a result of your generous support. So if you'd consider a gift either one time, or maybe you want to become a monthly financial partner, you can do that at our website faithfi.com, faithfi.com. If this show has been a blessing to you, that would be a blessing to us when you make your gift.

Again, faithfi.com, just click gift. All right, we're going to take a break and then back with much more just around the corner. Stick around. Helping you make God your ultimate treasure and money, a tool to accomplish God's purposes.

This is Faith and Finance Live. I'm Rob West. We're taking your calls and questions today. The number to call is 800-525-7000. That's 800-525-7000. Let's head right back to the phones to Jackson, Mississippi. Hallie, thanks for calling.

Go ahead. Hello, thank you for taking my call. I have two questions, but the first one is which financial organization do you recommend for debt consolidation?

Yeah, that's a great question, Hallie. Now, let me just clarify one thing, and terms get thrown around, and so I want to make sure you're clear. We don't recommend debt consolidation. That's where you pay off loans with another loan or a new loan. We don't recommend debt settlement where you stop paying, they get in default, and then you try to try to come in and negotiate a lower payoff. We recommend a third option, which is called debt management, or what's often called credit counseling, and that's where you keep the credit cards, let's say, current, and you work through a non-profit credit counseling agency. As a result of you working through them, you can get the credit counseling rate, and with each of your creditors, which they all have one, which will drop your credit, your interest rate significantly, and then what happens is you make one monthly payment to the credit counseling agency, and then they pay all of your creditors for you, but with the combination of the level payment and the much lower interest rates, you're going to pay it back on average 80% faster. So we recommend debt management, and our partner in that, or one of the underwriters of this program, is our friends at Christian Credit Counselors, and you'll find them on the web at christiancreditcounselors.org.

They've worked with hundreds and hundreds of our listeners, they're a not-for-profit organization, they're believers, and I think they'll serve you very, very well. Okay, that's exactly what I want, the third one. Great, great, perfect. What was the second question, Hallie? Okay, and the second question is, I've been retired now for the last six years. I'm 66, I retired when I turned 60, but I haven't filed a tax return since, you know, since I retired, because I didn't have an income, you know, a taxable income, and now I wanted to know, should I have been still filing a tax return? Someone had told me that I should be. Someone had told me that I should be. Or, and if I should have, how far back can I go back in order to file, you know, to make that file? Because I still have, you know, I still have a home. Sure, yeah, you can go back and file as many years as you need to.

I think the question is the correct one that you're asking, and that is, did I need to? So, do you file as a single status? Yes, I would be filing as a single status, yes. Okay, so over the age of 65, or 65 and older, that minimum that you would have to earn, you know, is $14,700. You know, typically if someone only has Social Security benefits, they probably don't need to file a return. Are you taking, though, retirement distributions in addition to Social Security?

Yeah, because I have a state retirement also. Okay, and how much are you bringing in annually there? Okay, annually, it's a little over $3,000. A month, or a year? A year, okay.

Yeah, yeah. So you're probably in good shape. What I would recommend, Hallie, just to double check, is for you to reach out to a CPA and go over your specific situation. Just make sure you don't have any 1099 income, or anything else miscellaneous. But from what I'm hearing, if your state retirement is that low, and your minimum income does not go past, you know, $14,700, or for those years where you were under 65, $12,900, then you don't generally do that.

$12,900, then you generally don't need to file a federal tax return. But, you know, if you just want to know for sure, not a bad idea just to reach out to a CPA and go over your specific situation, you could connect with somebody on our website at faithfi.com. Just click Find a CKA.

Reach out to a certified Kingdom Advisor there in Jackson, and if there's not one who's in the tax area, they can make a referral to you. Hey, thanks for your call today. We appreciate you being on the program. To Joliet, Illinois.

Hi, Connie, go ahead. Hi, my first question was, it's in our giving, tithing, and offerings, and other contributions, is there a tax write-off for that at all? Well, it just depends on whether you take the standard deduction or not. So for 2023, the standard deduction was $13,850 for single filers.

If you're married filing jointly, it was $20,800. So your deductions, which could include your interest on your home and your charitable contributions, you know, if it doesn't get above that number, then you're taking the standard deduction that everybody gets, and you don't get any specific benefit for those charitable contributions, because it makes more sense for you to take the standard deduction. And, you know, most people do.

80 plus percent of filers take that. So in that case, no, it would not offer you any benefit. Okay. And the other, do you have time for another question? Sure.

Okay. The other one was, if we take money out of the stock market, will that be considered income? Yeah, it just depends on what type of account it's coming from. So is it coming from a pre-tax retirement account, like a 401k or an IRA? Or is it coming from an after-tax IRA? I mean, a taxable account? It's taxable. Okay. So this is money that you just saved from your income?

Or what was the source of this money? Yes. Yes. It was just money saved from, okay. Okay. And then you took that money and invested it.

Yeah. And then, so as you invested in stocks and bonds, you have what's called a capital gain. And that capital gain is a separate rate from the income, federal income tax rate. So for 23 and 2024, those tax rates are either 0%, 15% or 20%, as long as you've held that investment for more than a year. Now, if it's an investment you held for less than a year, the gain, so the profit, if you will, the difference between the amount you sold it for and the amount you bought it for, that's the gain. If it's less than a year, it would be taxed as income. If it's more than a year, then you're subject to the capital gains rates.

And that's either going to be 0%, 15% or 20% on the gain. Okay. That we would be allowed to have if we pull it out.

Yes. It doesn't matter when you pull it out. It's really the sale, whether you leave it in the account or you pull it out of the account, it's the sale of the stock that triggers the capital gain.

So here's an example. You've got a stock portfolio, you've got some stocks that rise in value, you sell them, you leave them right there on your taxes, whatever that gain is, and you've held that stock for more than a year is now subject to capital gains. So here's the way it works. Married filing jointly up to 89,000 in income, not the gain, the income, the capital gains rate is zero between 89,000 and 550,000. The gain is taxed at 15%. So you take the gain times 15% and that's what you know on your taxes. I hope that helps you.

Probably good to reach out to a CPA to go over all that, Connie. And thanks for your call. We'll be right back.

Great to have you with us today on faith and finance live. You've got questions. We've got answers.

And some of those questions come into us electronically on Wednesdays. We reserve a portion of our broadcast to tackle some of those that came into us at moody radio.org slash finance. And to help me do that is the amazing Amy Rios, my producer. Hello, Amy. Hello friend. How are you? I'm doing great. I understand you have some good ones today. I'm ready to dive in. Oh, wonderful. Okay.

For the first one is Mary. What percentage of a person's income should go towards housing expenses? As she understands it, this includes mortgage utilities, HOA, insurance, property taxes, and maybe a few other things. So what's your best advice?

Yeah, very good. So let me break it down into a few things. So I'll just give you a few rules of thumb. So let's tackle the, the principal interest taxes and insurance. So that's typically known as your mortgage payment, but where you're escrowing, I would use 25% of your net income as your kind of guideline there. If you go above that, it's just going to make it more difficult to balance the budget. So try to keep it 25% or less, then add another 5% for utilities and HOA and some of those other things. So all in that would be 30. There's one other number, a percentage that I'd love to challenge you to be thinking about setting aside. And that is for home maintenance. Often that one gets left out a good rule of thumb. That's all it is, but a good rule of thumb is 1% of the purchase price per year. So you have a $250,000 home that's $2,500 a year that you need to try to set aside. Now, if you've done that and you've not used it, maybe you don't do it the next year, but you know, obviously some of those expenses on home maintenance can add up. So you'll be glad you've got that.

Perfect. So next is Janet. She says, we are buying a new home and leaving Florida due to the rising insurance costs. We are receiving social security benefits as retirees. Can we start to liquidate our IRAs to purchase our new home? So this is interesting where you live, Amy, people are often moving to Florida. She's moving out of Florida because of the home insurance. That was an interesting point.

I was surprised. Well, it's become a real problem. So you don't want to cash out of your IRAs as that's going to create a huge taxable event. So perhaps look for a house in the area you choose and put a contingent contract on it.

Or you could sell your Florida home and then move into a short term rental while you find your new home and then purchase it with the proceeds of the sale. I would love for you to try to leave those IRAs intact just because we want to avoid the taxes if at all possible. Perfect. So next week, and finally, we have Deborah and she says, how do I, how do you arrive at the contentment of knowing you have enough? Philippians 4, 12 through 13 comes to mind. And I would very much like to be like Paul. So that's, I would like to be like Paul as well. It's a great aspiration, isn't it?

It sure is. And it's a great question, Deborah, that perhaps people don't ask enough. I think enough should be considered with respect to both lifestyle. So think your monthly spending and your accumulation and think assets on your balance sheet. And the beginning point is, of course, prayer, asking the Lord what he would have you to do with what he's entrusted to you. If we're not careful, I think, especially here in the West, we can try to redeem greed in the name of the American dream. You know, we need to hold what God has entrusted to us loosely and ask him why he's entrusted to us. Having an abundance isn't necessarily a bad thing. We see plenty of people in God's word that had plenty of worldly wealth, but it was the hard posture behind it in terms of how they approached it that helped them decide what to do with it. And I think that's where this enough conversation comes in, because once we cap our lifestyle and our accumulation, now we can give far more. I love the story of R.G.

Letourneau. He was known for the, you know, owning the heavy moving equipment. And he said he did the reverse tide, so he would give 90 percent live on 10. And he has this great quote where he says, I shovel out the money and God shovels it back and God has a bigger shovel. And I think that's just such a great picture in our minds around this idea of being able to give generously and going through the process of establishing enough.

Easier to talk about than to actually do, but a really important process. Yeah, I'm so glad you brought up Mr. Letourneau. He's always been a huge inspiration, so glad he did that for all of us.

Isn't it a great example? So we'd love to hear more from you guys. Just keep sending those email questions our way.

Come to moodyradio.org forward slash finance and you'll find a form there you can fill out and ask Rob a question. That's great. Amy, thanks for jumping in today and for grabbing some great questions. And speaking of questions, we've got more waiting on the line. So let's go back to the phones. Brandon, Florida. Hi, Bob.

Go ahead. Hey, Rob, thanks for taking my question. I've got a mortgage at 3.25 percent. We owe 206,000.

The house is worth 644,000. We have a 30-year mortgage. We're debt-free, and except for the utilities and a mortgage. And I've got like 2.2 million in my IRA that we live off of.

I've been retired since I was 59. And friends of mine keep asking me, telling me that I should pay off the mortgage. Is that wise or... Yeah, it's a great question, Bob. And I think, first of all, it really comes down to, I mean, there's the financial side of this and we'll get to it.

But I think the first part is the non-financial side. Do either you or your wife have just a real conviction to be out of debt as soon as possible? My wife does. I don't.

Okay, yeah. And what's driving that for her? Is it just the peace of mind of knowing that you own your home? Does she feel like, you know, just as she reads the Council of Scripture, that's where that conviction is coming from? What do you think's behind that? I think just a peace of mind for her.

Yeah. Well, I would say I'd lean into that. And I'd really revisit that. And maybe you guys each take a couple of weeks in your quiet time each morning and just ask the Lord that question. Lord, what would you have us to do here?

And then come back together and maybe talk about it at a little bit more length than you have previously. Because on paper, I think, you know, you could certainly make the case that it'd be better just to, you know, ride out that 3.25% interest rate. It's a great rate.

It's less than half of what people are getting today. You probably, you know, have a pretty good investment plan going on inside that IRA. And that's making you at least 3.25%. You know, by taking it out, you'd create a taxable event.

Whereas, you know, by leaving it in there, you don't. And, you know, you're just paying on it as you go. But I think if you unpack that and pull the layers of the onion back a little bit more with your wife and find out that there's something that's just really causing her to some anxiety or, you know, she's losing sleep over it or she just doesn't, she feels unsettled about it, I think it's probably worth it just to go ahead and pay it off. And doing it over the next two years, maybe a half this year, a half next year, would ensure that you're doing it under the lower tax rates that are due to expire at the end of 25 under the Trump tax cuts. And so, it for all intents and purposes, you know, rates are probably headed higher at some point in the future. All of that, of course, predicated on the outcome of the next election. But I would just say, you and your wife being on the same page about that, if she just has a real conviction about it, I'd say regardless of whether you could net a couple of more percentage points in your IRA, if it's going to give her greater peace of mind, let's do it. And let's be debt-free and not look back.

And I don't think it would cause you any, you know, one night or minute of lost sleep if you did that. But I think if she comes to the conclusion, you know what? We've got plenty of assets. We could pay it off at any time. You're right, honey.

It's a low interest rate. I'm fine. Then I'd probably say just ride it out. So, you know, I'd probably opt for if you come down where she really feels strongly about it, I'd probably go that direction if I were you.

Okay. But if she doesn't feel strongly about it, then just probably just leave it alone and just keep on the current track. If you want to pay an extra, you know, if you guys have plenty of extra income just because you're living modestly and you capture lifestyle, you know, go ahead and prepay that out of cash flow when you can. That's just going to help bring it down.

But you've got tons of equity in there. And if you just continue riding out that three and a quarter, I don't have any problem with that whatsoever. Okay. All right. I appreciate it. Thank you. All right.

You're welcome. I appreciate your call. Hey, we're short on time here. Let's do this. Pembroke Pines, Florida. Quickly to John.

How can I help? Hi, Rob. Thanks for taking my call. Real quick question.

Actually two, but I'll do one if I can. It's about investing for retirement. I have two LLCs that deal with rental income and then I have W-2 income as well. How do I calculate what to put aside for invest retirement?

Do I do it including the rentals or not? Yeah. In terms of your goal for retirement savings. Sure. Yeah.

Yeah. I mean, just as a rule of thumb, it would be based off, you know, your total income. So I would look at, you know, what are you pulling in income after expenses on those properties that you're living on. So, you know, you're paying the taxes and the insurance and, you know, you're marketing the property and you're putting some aside for maintenance and you've got some depreciation in there, but there's probably some amount you're pulling in. You know, ultimately it's going to be, you know, 12 times, you know, the total income you need to cover your lifestyle is really your goal.

And that's just a rule of thumb. And the idea there is that if Social Security is going to cover, you know, 40% of your pre-retirement income and, you know, your 12 times your, you know, your income today is going to give you enough to make up that other 40% that most people live on, a total of 80% of their pre-retirement income in retirement, 12 times your income should allow you to cover that with a 4% withdrawal rate. So I think that the short answer is figure out what you guys are spending on your lifestyle annually. 12 times that plus Social Security should get you there. Now those are just ballpark numbers. What you may want to do is hire a certified Kingdom Advisors to do some retirement planning where you actually crunch the numbers, look at what's saved, run out some projections, make sure it's going to last you to, you know, age 95 plus and really do a deeper dive.

But I would say overall 12 times your income that's coming in to fund your lifestyle is really your goal. Hey, thanks for your call, John. We appreciate it. Faith in Finance Live is a partnership between Moody Radio and Faith 5. So thankful for my team, Amy, Dan, Anthony, and Jim. Couldn't do it without them. We'll see you tomorrow. God bless you. Bye-bye.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-20 02:49:08 / 2024-02-20 03:06:18 / 17

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