From the monthly archives: November, 2016

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Do you worry you may outlive your retirement savings?

According to a new Bankrate.com survey, “People who earn more than $75,000 have a greater fear that they’ll run out of money in retirement. Overall, 23% of survey respondents say their top worry is that their savings will run out, but 29% of those in the $75,000-and-up income bracket say the same.” According to an article at Time.com, “These fears persist despite thefact that about half of high-income Americans say they’re happy with the amount they’re socking away for retirement, compared to the 29% overall who say they’re happy with their current retirement savings. And even among those earning more than $75,000 a year, more than a quarter say just keeping up with basic living expenses is hampering their retirement savings”. A few ways to avoid outliving your savings is to get out of debt, learn to live on a budget, and reduce your cost of living as much as possible. This will enable you to increase your savings and add to your cushion now as opposed to ...

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Be on high alert for scams!

Unfortunately, this wonderful time of year is when scammers attempt to prey on shoppers. The Better Business Bureau publishes a list of the Top 12 Scams of Christmas. Here are a few to keep in mind. Fake charities: The holidays create a great opportunity for scammers to solicitdonations to fill their own pockets. Beware of solicitations from charities that cannot deliver on their promises or pretend to be representing victims that do not really exist. Stolen or Fake gift cards: Buy gift cards only from reputable  dealers, not online or from individuals. It is easy for scammers to sell a card and pull out the funds before consumers can even give it as a gift. Deceiving deliveries: Do not accept notices about delivery delays or confirmations on unordered packages. Scammers often pose as well-known retailers or shipping companies to gain false credibility and access to consumers' computers. Puppy scams: Be careful about buying pets online. Consumers may be unwittingly buying from a puppy mil ...

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Are you wasting money on “healthy food”?

I found an interesting article from Yahoo.com that gave strong evidence that we may be wasting lots of money buying five specific foods and beverages we think are healthy for us. For example, diet sodas. Certified Nutritionist Beth Warren says, “People think they are doing their health a favor by not drinking sugar-sweetened beverages and choosing diet drinks. Artificial sweeteners have been proven time and time again that, in the long run, they are not doing your waistline or health a favor by consuming them.” A study of 24,000 Americans found that overweight and obeseadults were more likely to drink diet soda than people at a healthy weight. While that might not be surprising — if you’re trying to lose weight, you’ll probably switch to diet drinks — the diet drinkers also consumed significantly more calories from food compared to people who chose sugary beverages. And overweight and obese people consumed roughly the same number of calories no matter their ...

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HELP! I’m not Ready for the Holidays!

Dear Chuck, I cannot believe that it’s Thanksgiving week, and Christmas is coming in weeks. Most of the time, I feel more stressed than thankful at this time of year (unless you count how thankful I feel when it’s all over!). Have any advice about making Christmas more about Jesus’ birthday and less about a shop-til-you-drop time of year?! Tis the Season for Stress Dear Stressed, Christmas is my favorite season of the year! It is the largest birthday celebration on Earth and appropriately so! Yet, we have tragically moved from worshiping a child lying in a borrowed manger that first Christmas Day to the modern extravaganza marked by frenzied shopping. Just this week my wife and I noticed a mammoth inflatable of Santa and his twelve reindeer on sale at the home improvement store. For only $299, this “yard decoration” could practically hide your entire house from view. Is there any end to these  needless expenses? I’ll step off my soapbox and get to your question... ...

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Today, some tips to avoid ID theft combined with some good news

The number of people who reported being victims of identity theft in affidavits to the IRS has “fallen dramatically” this year, according to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Through the first nine months of this year, that number is down by more than 50 percent,” he said in a press call, adding that there are about 275,000 fewer identity theft victims than there were a year ago. Fighting ID theft has been one of the IRS’s top priorities in recent years. In the first nine months of 2016, the IRS’s systems stopped more than $4 billion in fraudulent refunds from identity thieves. Almost 500,000 fewer tax returns were stopped this year than in the same period last year, and the commissioner said this is because it has become more difficult for criminals to file fraudulent tax returns as a result of efforts by the software industry. While this is a big improvement, you must be vigilant to protect your personal ID. I favor two simple steps to avoid being a victim. First ...

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God expects us to be a good and faithful stewards…Today we examine what is good

When the Lord commended the 5-talent and 2-talent stewards in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), He told them they had done “good”. Often times we don't pay attention to that word because we assume we know what it means. But it is important to examine its rich meaning to grasp what the Lord expects of us.  Definition of GOOD:  Morally excellent, pious, righteous, high quality,proper, honorable, worthy. The word is first used in Genesis 1:3,4 - And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. Stewardship is managing in very simple ways. The Bible tell us in 3 John 1:11 - Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.  We can actually be successful managing money and still miss the mark of doing that which is good. Let me give you an example: If a billionaire gives away his en ...

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Black Friday Survival Guide - 10 Ways to Avoid Overspending on the Biggest Shopping Day of the Year

According to Balance, 133.7 million Americans went shopping on Black Friday weekend in 2014 and spent a total of $50.9 billion. Stores count on bringing in at least 30% of their annual sales justbetween Thanksgiving and Christmas, making you the apple of thousands of marketer’s eyes. So how can you avoid getting dragged into the biggest shopping day of the year and find the best deals while not breaking the budget? Here are 10 tips to keep you from overspending this holiday season. Create a budget. This may seem obvious, but you have to plan ahead and know how much you’ll spend before you start. In order to have an accurate budget, start saving early and don’t budge on the bottom line. Make a list. Think through every person you need to buy a gift for and try to decide what to get them before you go shopping. Spending some time planning up front can keep you from overspending once you start shopping. And it wouldn’t hurt to check your list ...

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Have you started saving $1,000 yet?

My challenge to you is to escape the trap that nearly 70% of Americans are in: Living with less than $1,000 in savings! Here are a few more tips to find that $1,000 and put it away for future emergencies. How about that cable TV bill? I have friends who spend more than $100 per month for their cable TV package. If you cut the cable you can easily find $600 in savings to put away.  Your mobile phone is likely a place to save lots of money. Considergoing to a non-smart phone to stop paying for all the data expenses. Possibly go to a simpler contract to limit your use to what is necessary. Getting the kids a flip phone vs. a smart phone is another place to save money. Adjust your thermostat to reduce your utility costs. By being slightly less warm or cold in your house, you can save money every month. During the nice weather months, shut down the central units and open the windows. Go to a cash only program for all of your shopping. Research shows you will spend far less using cash, keep up with you ...

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Have you unknowingly put your trust in money?

I think we all know that we should not love money.  Read 1 Timothy 6:9,10: "Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and intomany foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many grieves." In his series, "Gods at War", Kyle Idleman suggests that in Scripture, “Money is most often portrayed as God’s chief competition.” He claims, “Your god is determined by what you put your trust in. So for most people, money is their god.” What if this verse was changed to read: "For the trust of money is a root of all kinds of evil." Would that make it easier to recognize that it is an idol in our lives? It certainly does for me. Another way to recognize this is to consider how we would react to losing all of our money. We tend to grieve the loss of that which we love. Paul offered a s ...

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Black Friday Survival Guide - 10 Ways to Avoid Overspending on the Biggest Shopping Day of the Year

According to the Balance, 133.7 million Americans went shopping on Black Friday weekend in 2014 and spent a total of $50.9 billion. Stores count on bringing in at least 30% of their annual sales justbetween Thanksgiving and Christmas, making you the apple of thousands of marketer’s eyes. So how can you avoid getting dragged into the biggest shopping day of the year and find the best deals while not breaking the budget? Here are 10 tips to keep you from overspending this holiday season. Create a budget. This may seem obvious, but you have to plan ahead and know how much you’ll spend before you start. In order to have an accurate budget, start saving early and don’t budge on the bottom line. Make a list. Think through every person you need to buy a gift for and try to decide what to get them before you go shopping. Spending some time planning up front can keep you from overspending once you start shopping. And it wouldn’t hurt to check your list twice. D ...

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