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Exploring the Parable of the Rich Fool

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore
The Truth Network Radio
March 21, 2024 6:11 pm

Exploring the Parable of the Rich Fool

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore

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March 21, 2024 6:11 pm

In Luke 12, we find Jesus’ challenging parable of the rich fool, which concludes with an invitation to be rich toward God. But what exactly does being rich toward God mean? On today's Faith & Finance Live, Chad Clark will join host Rob West to explore this challenging yet life-giving parable. Then Rob will answer your questions on different financial topics. 

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So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God. Luke 12 21.

I am Rob West. That passage comes from Jesus challenging parable of the rich fool, which concludes with an invitation to be rich toward God. But what exactly does being rich toward God mean? Chad Clark joins us today to help us explore this challenging yet life-giving parable. 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 today is Chad Clark. He's executive director here at FaithFi. And over the last several months, our team has been working on a brand new four-week study on the parable of the rich fool.

It's called Rich Toward God. Chad, great to have you back with us. Yeah, happy to be here. I'm looking forward to this conversation. Tell our listeners a bit about the Rich Toward God study and why we here at FaithFi decided to create it in the first place.

Yeah, that's a great question, Rob. As a ministry here at FaithFi, our mission is to equip Christians with tools and resources to integrate faith and financial decisions for the glory of God with the ultimate vision that all Christians would come to see God as their ultimate treasure. And we really couldn't think of a better parable to start our brand new study series off with than the parable of the rich fool, which really asks us the question, what does it mean to be rich toward God?

Yeah, that's exactly right. All right, here's what I'd like to do. I'm going to read the passage from Luke 12 verses 13 to 21.

And then I want to ask you to pull out some of the big themes that we unpack in this study. Let's dive into God's Word. Someone in the crowd said to him, Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me. But he said to him, Man, who made me a judge or arbiter over you? And he said to them, Take care and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.

And then he told them a parable saying, The land of a rich man produced plentifully. And he thought to himself, What shall I do? For I have nowhere to store my crops.

And he said, I'll do this. I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. And there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years, relax, eat, drink and be merry. But God said to him, Fool, this night your soul is required of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?

So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God. Now, Chad, in that passage, there are some incredible themes that we all need to explore. So why don't you pull out how the study unpacks those? Yeah, that's great.

Thanks for doing that, Rob. I think when you jump into the rich toward God study, we first start by looking at the historical and the biblical context. We think it's incredibly important for you to understand the context in which this parable was delivered.

We then jump into some of the themes that Jesus brings out of this parable, we start by looking at what is true abundance, we then transition into pride and prosperity, we see the rich fool and his pride. And so we dive a little bit deeper into what that looks like for ourselves personally, we then see that there's this uncertainty of tomorrow. So in week three, we really look at this idea of planning that we are called to plan. But we also don't know what the future holds. So this uncertainty of tomorrow is a powerful week to go through in the study. And then we conclude with this idea of what does it mean to be rich toward God, which Jesus invites us to at the end of this parable. And then there's some specific steps folks can take to continue the journey as well, right? Yeah. So we'll conclude the study with this continue the journey section that gives you some really practical next steps and ways that you can apply this study in your life. I love it. All right, Chad, what are some practical ways people can use this study?

How was it designed? Yeah, it was designed for you to either use individually, so you can use this in your quiet time with the Lord, you can use it as a couple or as a family. Or if you've got a small group at church, we encourage you to go through it as a small group as well.

All right. I know so many of you have a group, you're always looking for good biblical content that has application to your life. We think the rich toward God study could be exactly what you're looking for. All right, Chad, the only question that remains is how do they get a copy? Yeah, you can go to faithfi.com and click the shop button to order your copy of Rich Toward God.

Okay, that's faithfi.com and just click shop. And Chad, I think that as we think about our role as stewards and managing the King of Kings resources, wrestling with this question, what does it mean to live rich toward God is probably at the top of the list. I agree. And I look forward to having people go through this study and discover what that means for themselves.

That sounds great. Chad, thanks for stopping by, my friend. Thank you.

That's Chad Clark. He's executive director here at Faithfi. If you want to check out this study and order your copy today for yourself, your family, or your small group, go to faithfi.com and click shop.

That's faithfi.com and click shop. Back with your questions after this, 800-525-7000. Stick around. 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. So thankful to have you with us today on Faith and Finance Live. I'm Rob West. All right, it's time to take your calls and questions today. The number is available to you right now when you call 800-525-7000. That's the number to call with any financial questions today. We'd love to get you on the program, hear what you're thinking about financially, and help you process your questions through the lens of biblical wisdom. Again, the number 800-525-7000 you can call right now. All right, let's dive in today. We're going to begin in Pennsylvania. Hi, Dana. Go right ahead.

Hi. I've been listening to your program and I get bits and pieces sometimes, and sometimes I can't pull it all together. So my husband and I are 70 and we have about $450,000 in stocks and bonds. We do have a financial advisor and I'm not too happy with him.

I would ask him questions and he wasn't quite in sync with some of the things that you said and it kind of like, yeah, I don't know, because I take your advice seriously. And so my first question is, we're kind of getting cold feet in the stock market. So we didn't know if we should pull it out, pull it all out, pull part of it out, put it in, you talked about the CD ladder where you put it in six months, one year, and so forth and in increments like that. So is it a good time to pull it out? Should we not pull it out? We're still losing money in the stock market. I mean, I don't think we made, we're making progress. We're catching up from the first big dip, the first big loss, and that was a couple of years ago and it is coming out, but we're still losing money.

Is that like normal or is that happening to everybody? Sure. Yeah. Well, there's a lot of things going on there. Let's start to unpack that, Dana. First of all, thanks for your kind remarks.

I'm glad you listen to the program regularly and hope it's been helpful to you. You know, as we think about managing God's money for the future, we try to really start with just a posture of understanding our role as stewards. God is the owner of everything. We trust him as our provider. He graciously entrusts to us however much or however little he does, and our role is to be found faithful in that. And so we have kind of the month-to-month consumption, the lifestyle portion of our spending, and we have to pray through that and decide what lifestyle God is establishing or would have us to establish, whatever that is.

And that's, I think, a personal conviction matter. As a part of that, we want to consider how much we want to do in the way of giving, both systematic giving as well as sacrificial giving. We want to think about how we approach debt and minimizing debt over time, hopefully being able to, at some point, become completely debt-free.

And then, obviously, we have the portion that we're growing for the future, and you guys have been diligent in that, and you've built up a pretty sizable nest egg. And so I think, you know, as we think about managing that in the future, you know, we realize that, you know, our approach to retirement should be quite a bit different than the world. You know, the idea of retirement is that, you know, Scripture tells us that God created us for good works in Ephesians 2 10. Basically, as long as we have breath in our lungs, we're to serve the Lord with our time and our talents and our treasure that He's entrusted to us, not because we have to, but because we love and treasure God.

But there may come a day where we're either no longer able to work or we're called to leave our paying job to serve the Lord in a different capacity. And that's why we save, so that alongside retirement, we have assets that we could convert into an income stream. Now, how we approach those investments, both during our working years and in retirement, I think does change over time. During our working years, we can be more aggressive, taking more risk as we get near and ultimately into that season of life where we're going from capital growth and appreciation, meaning focusing on growing it. We go into more of a capital distribution phase where we're trying to protect what we have, also grow it, but at a more conservative rate so that we can draw out of it. And so if you were to pull, you know, at some point now or in the future, an income stream on a $400,000 portfolio, we'd probably say as a starting point, you could use 4% a year. That's 16,000 over 12 months, about 1,300 a month. And you should be able to maintain that.

Now, how do you do that? Well, I think, and this is really getting to the heart of your question. I think you have to stay invested, even though it looks a little bit different in this season of life. So at age 70, you know, I would probably say just because people are living longer, if you're in good health, you need this money to last a long time. You probably want to keep as much as 40% at age 70 in stocks, certainly somewhere between 30 and 40%, because that's going to add a growth component to the portfolio. And over time, not in a one year or three year or five year period, but over a 10 or 20 year period. And that's how we need, you know, how long we need this money to last well into your 90s, unless the Lord calls you home before that. That's how you offset the effects of inflation, which is going to reduce your purchasing power on that money if it's not invested. So what do you do with the rest?

Well, you take the 60% that remains as much as perhaps even 70%. And that's where you'd use fixed income type investments, bonds, you could have CDs as a part of that, but usually bonds, you know, corporate and government bonds in the mix of that overall portfolio, that 6040 portfolio or 7030 bonds to stocks is what allows you to take that income out every year and grow this portfolio to offset inflation over time. But I wouldn't see ever a time where you'd completely exit the market unless you wanted to transfer that to an insurance company with like an insurance product, like an annuity. And I think CDs have their place, but they're not going to do as well over time.

And we're in an unusual season right now. That's not going to last more than, you know, a year or two more. And then I think we're going to see CD rates come back down to where you're not going to be able to offset inflation with the, you know, if you were to have 100% of this money in CDs. And even though they're taking risk, I think that's why you stay invested, even though you get more conservative. Now, as to the performance of this, I'm a little surprised to hear that you say, we have been losing money, we're continuing to lose money. I mean, the market's hitting an all time high right now. Now, it's somewhat narrow in that there's some big tech growth stops stocks that have been leading the charge. So, you know, the rest of the broader market hasn't done quite as well as some of the indexes would, you know, demonstrate. But the market has recovered for all intents and purposes from some of the difficulties we've had over the last few years.

And, you know, hopefully you're back to your high watermark or close to it. And if not, I think I would evaluate what kind of investments are we in. And, you know, it could be that you have a good bit in the way of bonds and those are still down because of the high interest rates. And you'll see those recover as the interest rates come back down because they work in an inverse relationship.

As bonds fall in price, or as the interest rates fall, the bond prices increase. So let's do this. I've thrown a lot at you there, but I wanted to at least give you some of my just big picture perspective on why you would stay invested even in a retirement season of life with a more conservative portfolio.

And perhaps, and I don't know what's in your portfolio, but perhaps why your portfolio is still quote down, it could be because the bonds just haven't recovered yet. But let's do this. We'll take a break.

You think about that, and then I'll get your thoughts on the other side and we'll talk about where you go from here. This is Faith in Finance Live. Lines are open 800-525-7000. We'll be right back. Hey, thanks for joining us today on Faith in Finance Live.

I'm Rob West. We've got lines open. We're ready for your questions.

800-525-7000 call right now. Before the break, we were talking to Dana in Pennsylvania, just about how to think about stock market investing for your nest egg in a retirement season of life. They're wondering, should we be pulling out of the market right now? And Dana, obviously I shared a lot of thoughts on how to think about investing in retirement and perhaps some thoughts on why you might still be what you call down on your portfolio. But give me your reaction to all that. Well, that makes me feel a little bit better to keep it in and understand what's going on with the stocks and the bonds.

There was just a couple things he said. He didn't, you always say hold off and retire at 70, which I did. It was tough.

It was really hard, but I hung in there and financially it was, as I said, it was hard. And I did, but I figured out I'd save a hundred and I'd get 150 more dollars a month if I retired at 70. And you're talking about social security specifically? Social security. And then we can, we're all financially pretty well with both my husband and his social security, but I know if something would happen to him or something would happen to me, one person's social security isn't going to make it. So I was concerned about that.

And so that was some of the advice that I didn't, you know, you told me one way and he told me there was something different. And I just thought, well, I'm sticking to my guns. I'm going to wait till I retire, you know, before I collect social security. So we're okay right now. We don't need the money out of our stocks, you know, out of the, what we have invested. But for the long haul, I don't think that $450,000 is going to make it with, you know, just one of us are going to have to pull out of that if, you know, if it's just one person living. Well, I hear what you're saying. And I think the key is, I mean, by waiting on taking your social security, let that check continue to grow.

And that's great. And so you, you know, have the as high a check as you could possibly have. And, you know, you can't claim your deceased spouse's benefits in addition to your own. So social security will only pay one either survivor or retirement. You know, and if you qualify for both, they'll pay whichever amount is higher. And so if you already receive benefits, you can apply for survivors benefits if they're less than your retirement benefits.

Or you can't apply for it if they're less because you'd only get the higher of the two. And so that's why I think postponing it makes a lot of sense. But I also think, you know, just given, you know, what you all have saved up, you know, the idea that you would keep it invested, keep it growing, even despite the fact that we're going to have recessions along the way, and we're going to have market corrections and all of that, we're focused on the long term, which is going to give you the best opportunity to see this continue to grow so that as you convert it to an income stream, you know, it is enough to meet your obligations, hopefully your expenses come down, even though some expenses go up, you might travel some more, you know, healthcare might go up, you know, at least, you know, hopefully you're out of debt. And, you know, your expenses are in total, maybe less than your pre retirement income needs. And therefore you can cover those expenses. But I think a lot of that just depends on you putting together that retirement budget and figuring out, okay, what does that look like with, you know, both of us living? What does that look like if one of us passes away and being as well prepared for that as you can? Okay, well, sounds great.

Thanks for the all the information. I feel a little bit better. I'm glad to hear it, Dana. Well, thank you for your call today and for your kind remarks about the program.

I appreciate it very much. Let's go to Hartford, Connecticut. Peter, go right ahead. Yes. Good afternoon.

I have a question. I had to take early Social Security because of health reasons. I get 65 in August and I go under Medicare. But I was wondering my main reason to talk to you is they take 22% out of each check. What age is when they stop taking the taxes out of my Social Security?

Yeah, it doesn't stop until you make less money. So here's how Social Security benefits are taxed. First of all, the tax is based on what's called combined income. So that's a total of one half of your Social Security benefits, plus your adjusted gross income, plus any non-taxable interest you receive. So for a single filer, if your combined income based on what I just described being your combined income, if it's between $25,000 and $34,000, then you have to pay income tax on up to 50% of your benefits and the remaining portion would be exempt. If your adjusted gross income is greater than $34,000, then it's up to 85% of your benefits may be taxed. And then those numbers are higher if you're married filing jointly. So it all has to do with that combined income. One half of your Social Security, plus your adjusted gross income, plus any non-taxable interest you receive. And if your total combined income is above the threshold, then you're going to continue to pay tax on at least a portion of your Social Security.

That never goes away. Okay, so they say that I can only earn $21,240, okay? So if I earn that, so how much are they going to tax me still? What is your age? I am turning 65 in August. Okay, so you haven't reached a full retirement age and you're already taking Social Security benefits, is that right? Yes, because I have COPD and it was very, I have three and a half years left on my mortgage.

Out of a 30-year mortgage, I paid off eight years in advance. Yeah, yeah, okay. So basically, they're going to reduce your benefit for a dollar, for every $2 you go over that limit, but you're going to get that back in the form of a higher check once you reach full retirement age.

So that reduction by you earning over the limit is temporary and it doesn't affect your tax that you'll pay. Let's pick that up on the other side of the break. Stick right there. Thanks for joining us today on Faith and Finance Live.

I'm Rob West. Before the break, we were talking to Peter in Hartford, Connecticut. He's turning 65 in August. He's wondering about the reduction he's taken on his Social Security because he's not yet at full retirement age and he is earning over the limit. He's also wondering about taxes on that Social Security.

So two separate things going on, Peter. One is you have a limit on how much you can earn before your benefits are reduced prior to full retirement age. So when you reach full retirement age, you can earn as much as you want, doesn't affect your Social Security. Before that, you can earn up to $21,240,000 for 2023. And beyond that, they're going to reduce a dollar for every $2 you go over. And then in the year that you turn full retirement age, that number jumps up and then ultimately it's removed. But as I said, anything that's reduced from your check because you earned over the limit will be paid back to you once you get to full retirement age in the form of a higher check until you're fully made whole. Separate from that is when Social Security taxes become taxable or when Social Security benefits become taxable. And that has to do with your combined income. If your combined income goes over $25,000 for 2023 or 2024, you start paying tax on a portion of your benefits all the way up to 85% of your benefits. Does that make sense?

Yes. Now, you know, it's funny, you know, we work all our lives for Social Security and taxes to pay. And then when we retire, we pay more taxes. I know, I get it.

It's unbelievable. You know, I always look forward to not paying taxes. Well, the secret to not paying more taxes, Peter, is earning less.

So if your goal is less taxes, I guess you can always earn less. But I certainly appreciate where you're coming from, my friend. Listen, all the best to you. Thanks for calling today. To Charleston, South Carolina.

Hi, Charles, how can we help? Hi, question. Speaking of taxes, taxes on capital gains on the sale of a home. Am I correct that in figuring the basis, you take the sale of the house, what you received on the sale, you subtract what you received or what you paid initially, and then that forms a part of the basis or the basic part of the basis? Am I correct in that?

You are correct in that it that is absolutely part of it. It's not limited to that, but it's the the price you paid for the property, any closing costs paid, paid by the buyer, the cost of improvements made, not maintenance, but improvements all go into ultimately, you know, what you will establish as your cost basis. And then you would subtract that from your selling price to determine the proceeds. Now, we own the house for 25 years. So what we paid back in 1997 was in $97.

We sold it in 2023 and received 2023 dollars. So there's no way you can say, well, are actually in in our what we the purchase price in 97 couldn't can be changed to the what it would be 2023 dollars, in other words, in figuring inflation, because in looking at it, what we what we paid or what we would have paid, you know, in 90s in 2000, and 2023 dollars was about twice what we paid in 97. But I guess that's not the way it works.

It's not, unfortunately, no, I hear what you're saying. But no, you can't factor in inflation there. They're looking at this as the appreciation of the asset, the growth of the asset. And I realize that inflation erodes that appreciation in part. But they're looking at your original cost basis, plus any improvements, plus your expenses, plus any depreciation.

I mean, to establish your cost basis, there is no inflation adjustment in that. Now, was this your primary residence? Yes. And are you married? Yes.

OK, so the first half a million dollars of the gain, your selling price minus your adjusted cost basis is free from capital gains tax. Are you aware of that? Yes, I am. OK. All right. Yeah. But we still we've still got a fairly substantial gain beyond all that. So, yeah. OK. Yeah, I certainly understand that.

Yeah. Now, now you realize the capital gains rate that you pay is a function of your income, not the amount of gain that you had. And so if most people are in a 15 percent bracket today, so if you sold this in 2023, you know, if your income is between if you're married filing jointly between eighty nine thousand and five hundred and fifty thousand, not your gain, but your adjusted gross income, then you'd be in a 15 percent tax capital gains tax bracket below eighty nine thousand two hundred fifty one dollars in income. You'd be at zero. Is that where do you fall? In the former, the higher one. OK, yeah. So if you're between eighty nine and five fifty, then, yeah, you're going to be at 15 percent on that portion that's beyond the half a million you get for an exclusion. OK, OK. All right.

Well, I'm looking for anything that could possibly reduce the impact of those taxes. But, yeah, I understand that understand pretty much everything all that. Very good. Have you already sold the house? Yes. OK, yeah, very good.

I sold it in about a year ago in twenty three. I see. Very good.

Well, I certainly understand where you're coming from, but unfortunately it doesn't doesn't quite work like that, even though that was a good thought. Hey, all the best to you, Charles. Thanks for your call today to Chicago. Hi, Carlos. Go ahead. Hi, how are you? I'm doing well. Thank you, sir.

Good. So I just retired at the end of last year. And I would like to be debt free in retirement. I'm about to receive a large sum of money, about one hundred eighty thousand. And I owe seventy nine or eighty on my house. And some of some of the miscellaneous debt. So I'm going to get rid of all of the rest of the debt. The house, though, I was curious about whether I should pay it completely off or I should pay it off. Completely off or my thinking was maybe pay off a large portion of it and take the rest of that and maybe put it in the market for a period of time. All right. A couple of questions. What is the interest rate on that house?

I am at three, I think, like three and a quarter. All right. And where's the money coming from? Is this like an inheritance or a settlement or coming from a settlement settlement settlement?

OK, very good. And are you on track for retirement in terms of your overall retirement savings just based on what you know today? I get roughly seven hundred thousand a little bit more. OK. And do you feel like, you know, that seven hundred thousand plus Social Security, if you were to pull, let's say, you know, twenty eight, thirty thousand a year, is that enough?

Plus Social Security, if you're debt free to be able to cover your bills? Yeah, I should be fine because I don't plan on drawing any of it. I'm 58.

I don't plan on drawing anything till probably about 64 or 62. OK, good. All right.

Let's do this. You've been really helpful with that background information. I'm going to take a quick break, but you can stay right there, right on the other side of this. I'll give you my thoughts and more questions coming up as well. Stay with us. Hey, great to have you with us today on Faith and Finance Live. I'm Rob West here in our final segment today. Perhaps room for one more question. Eight hundred five to five seven thousand.

Let's go back to the phones. Before the break, we were talking to Carlos in Chicago. He's got a mortgage balance of about eighty thousand. He's paying on that an interest rate of about three and a quarter percent. He's coming into some money from a settlement, about one hundred and eighty thousand. And he's wondering if he should, after he pays off some smaller debts, go ahead and wipe out that mortgage or at least a chunk of it and then invest the rest. He's 58. He's already got seven hundred thousand saved.

Doesn't think he'll need to touch that in retirement, which is still down the road. And I guess I would say, Carlos, you know, the first question is, you know, what is your conviction around being debt free? You know, if you really feel like you have a conviction from the Lord to be out of debt just as soon as possible, then I'd say pay this off and don't look back. You know, the second option is to say, no, I feel like although I want to become debt free at some point, I feel like, you know, I'm I have the ability to pay this off. I've got plenty of collateral in the house.

I've got good reserves. I could pay it off if I want to. But because it's a low interest rate and it makes sense, you know, financially, quote unquote, to keep it that, you know, I really don't sense that conviction from the Lord and therefore I'll just pay it off over time. And maybe you try to sync up the payoff of this thing with retirement. So maybe you run an amortization schedule that would say, OK, by the time I'm sixty five, seven years, how much extra would I need to send every year to have it paid off by the time I reach age sixty five so that as I enter in that next season of my, you know, calling to the Lord and whatever that looks like, I'm debt free, which reduces my lifestyle spending. But I don't sense the need to do that today, which gives me the ability to do some additional investing.

So I think you could go either way. I mean, you could make a case on paper that it you know, there's reason to hold on to this mortgage because of how low the interest rate is. I think you could also make a case that either because of a conviction or just the peace of mind that comes from being unencumbered and the fact that you've got kind of some unexpected funds coming to you that, you know, it's just a good time to go ahead and pay it off and not look back. I would I could go either way.

I think it's really a discernment issue for you. But give me your thoughts on that. Well, I mean, I do believe in being debt free and I also want to be debt free because I want to be as less encumbered as possible when I retire. I was thinking about paying it down, maybe, maybe leaving the $10,000 balance for a brief period of time. And I could take the rest of that money and put it into some kind of investment for, you know, a couple of years or so. And then once I get some appreciation of the investment, then I can just pay the rest of it. Plus the fact I guess it's a little bit of fear because I'm used to my insurance and taxes coming out of the escrow. So I just kind of want to get myself into a different headspace as far as prepping myself to be able to be disciplined to set that specific amount aside. So, yeah.

Well, let me let me push back just on a few things you said there right in that that last response. Number one, I wouldn't do any investing that doesn't have a 10 year time horizon. I wouldn't look to do some investing for 24 months, you know, or a year or even three years where you're trying to make a quick return to come in and then take the proceeds and and pay this off. I think any investing, you know, the Bible talks about steady plotting.

I think that certainly applies to our investing. So I'd take a long term view. If you really feel like you want it paid off in the last in the next five years, then I'd say go and do it now.

The other thing I wouldn't do is just, again, my opinion, I mean, certainly that you're the steward, you need to pray through this. But if you're going to get all the way down from 80 to 10, I'd go and pay the whole thing off. Because, you know, if you get down to 10, you're still going to have your same mortgage payment. And if you just go ahead and pay it off, now you're recouping at least the principal and interest portion of the mortgage payment. And you can use that to maybe automatically fund that escrow account on your own as opposed to the mortgage company doing it. But now you've freed up all that money that you were sending as a mortgage payment every month, which is not going to go away if you have any balance at all, because, you know, they're still going to ask for the scheduled payment until it's paid off. And I wouldn't be concerned about taking the taxes and insurance on your own.

You know, just you're going to get a bill for those once a year, even if you plus them up by 10 or 15% from what you were charged last year, and then just set up an automatic transfer from your checking to a designated savings account for escrow and taxes, you know, 10 or 20% higher than last year's bill, then you're guaranteed pretty much with, you know, with what's going to come back that's already in escrow that you'll have the money there to write the check. So, you know, I wouldn't be concerned about that. But does that all make sense? It makes sense. It makes sense. Okay. All right.

Well, listen, you think through all of that. You've got a great opportunity. You're well planned.

I mean, clearly, you're discerning what the Lord would have you to do here. And I know he's honored by that. So thank you for being on the program, sir. If we can help further, don't hesitate to call. Let's go to Sarasota. Hi, Dennis.

Go right ahead. Hey, Rob, thanks for taking my call. I listened to you quite often and decided to see if you could give me some suggestions or recommendations on some money movement if needed. And so, yeah, so, you know, currently I'm in the Florida retirement system on the drop system, a government worker, and I've got about 180,000 set aside in a credit union for savings.

And, you know, currently, I mean, it was a 3.5% variable rate, and it's dropped now to 2.75. Didn't know whether it would be maybe a good idea to move some of that money into something else. You know, move some money around, see if I can get a better interest rate on that savings money or not.

What's your thoughts? Well, yeah, I mean, if you've defined the purpose of this money, either it's part of your emergency fund, three to six months worth of expenses, or it's money you think you're going to need in the next, let's say, you know, five years or less, certainly three years or less, then I think absolutely it belongs in savings. And for that portion that savings is the right vehicle, then you can do better than what you're doing right now.

So I think a move would be in order. I mean, you could get four and a half percent right now with FDIC insurance with a five star rated, you know, online bank. And I think that would be a great option for you to, in a sense, it sounds like, you know, potentially almost double the interest rate you're getting right now. And, you know, no fees and again, full FDIC insurance. So to find that I would go to bankrate.com, click on high yield savings, and you'll see as of today, who's offering the very best rates.

Right now. Okay. So, and that would still be liquid if I needed it? Oh yeah, it's savings. So it's, you can take a withdrawal whenever you want. They may limit the number of ins and outs because it's not a checking account, but it's completely liquid. Well, yeah, and I'm not moving anything out of it right now anyway. So yeah, again, it's just for emergency funds and stuff like that. I've already got some other, you know, 457B through a company that deals with my government employer. And of course I got my, what they call the drop system money, you know, 3.5%, but that's fixed. So there's nothing I can do about that.

So, yeah. Well, it sounds like you're doing pretty good between the 457 and the Florida drop program. You're going to have plenty of resources there available to you. You've got good liquidity and reserves.

So, Dennis, keep up the good work, my friend. We appreciate you checking with us. I think bankrate.com is the place to go. Just click on high yield savings and you'll see plenty of great options there to get a little bit more yield on that money.

That's quite a bit of money, and so this will make a big difference. Thanks for your call. Let's finish up today in Leesburg, Florida.

Hi, Art. Thanks for your patience, sir. Go ahead.

Oh, sure. Rob, great to talk to you, and I hope many of my church members listen to your program. My question is for those of us who manage finances for churches and nonprofits, your thoughts on how much should be kept in reserve on a nonprofit operation? Yeah, I mean, I think the same applies to churches and nonprofits as it does to individuals that, you know, we need to be maintaining reserves for the unexpected so that we've got, you know, the ability to weather just kind of the ebbs and flows of managing the business of the church. I think, you know, having no reserves is inadequate.

I think probably having more than 12 months is excessive, and so I think it's really up to the leadership of the church, probably with the lay leaders, the finance committee, to establish a rationale for the appropriate amount of reserves, given just kind of where the church is. Is it in a growth mode? Is it in a kind of holding the status quo?

Is it in decline? You know, what is the kind of the needs? Are you in a building project? I mean, you've got a lot of factors there. I think probably that six months worth of expenses is probably a good number, but, you know, some folks disagree with that. There's a great article, Art, if you just do an internet search for an article called Church Cash Reserves, How Much is Enough? It's from ECFA, E-C-F-A, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, and it's just a two-page PDF, but they've done a really good job of just kind of helping you think through what's the right amount of reserves for us, how we should think about it in terms of adding it as a line item on our budget, you know, and then getting to a place where beyond designated funds and mortgage reserves that are required, you know, having a specific, you know, church reserve goal that's a function of a certain number of months worth of operations and how you can get there, I think is the way to do it. Does that make sense?

That does. Thank you so much, Rob. Yeah, absolutely. The author is Dan Busby and Michael Martin. It's called Church Cash Reserves, How Much is Enough?

You'll find it quickly on the internet with a search, and then maybe you'll serve as a great basis for a conversation in your next finance committee meeting. Thanks for your call today, Art. We appreciate it. That's going to do it for us today, folks. Faith in Finance Live is a partnership between Moody Radio and FaithFi. Thanks to my team today, Amy, Dan, Michael, and grateful for Lynn as well handling our phones and Mr. Jim Henry. Hey, check out our website, support our work there when you click give at faithfi.com, and we'll see you tomorrow.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-21 20:48:14 / 2024-03-21 21:04:56 / 17

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