From the monthly archives: May, 2016

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Were you surprised that multi-millionaire pop-star Prince died without a will? He’s not the only one!

Sadly, the legal issue that Prince’s potential heirs are facing is pretty common and it’s becoming an even more tangled web as relatives come out of the woodwork. Without a will, whoever can prove to be the next-of-kin is entitled to his fortune. And unfortunately this family drama will likely damage relationships over the lack of clarity as the estimated $300 million estate is divided. We may not have an estate the size of Prince but LexisNexis reports that about 55 percent of American adults do not have a will. While it may not seem like a big deal to die without our estate in some kind of order, it makes a real mess for those who are left behind. I like to say that if you don’t have a will, the government has one for you! And the probate process is pricey! A prominent estate planning law firm estimates that probate costs grieving family members $2 billion annually with $1.5 billion of that going to attorneys; that’s 75%! As you can see, it pays to make a plan &ndas ...

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Make Your Expensive College Education Count!

Originally posted at Christian Post May 27, 2016. To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.   Dear Chuck, With kids in college, I’m very worried about whether they can get a job after graduation and about the debt they’re going to need to manage because my wife and I can’t afford to pay for their educations free and clear. But it’s hard to get a good job without a college education. Do you have advice for us on making the most of a college degree? Worried Parents   Dear Parents, With four sons, my wife and I can relate to your concerns as we have worked with our boys to get a college education without debt.  I’m especially concerned for today’s graduates because I believe that they are on the verge of suffering through another economic bubble poised to burst – a college debt bubble - just ...

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Are you doing well managing your money?

With about 40% of all Americans experiencing some form of financial pain, it is easy to forget that the majority of folks are generally good at managing their money. For those who are living within your means, avoiding debt and making ends meet, I have a few tips. First, save in the good times. In fact, saving for future needs is a principle we can learn from observing nature. “Go to the ant, you slacker!” says Proverbs 6:6-8. “Observe its ways and become wise. Without leader, administrator, or ruler, it prepares its provisions in summer; it gathers its food during harvest.” (HCSB) To be ready for a crisis – natural disaster, job loss, illness or dangers unknown, consider the advice of Joseph in Genesis 41, who told Pharaoh to save 20 percent in the good years to be ready for the bad years, after the leader of Egypt had a troubling dream about a coming famine.  Thirty percent of Americans over 55 have zero money set aside for retirement. Increase your savings as you are ab ...

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Did you know that you are a very generous person already?

We are all very generous. In fact, we are born that way.  We are naturally very generous towards ourselves. Now that is often called selfishness but Satan deceives us into believing it is a good thing and that we deserve to have the best the world has to offer. The primary goal of income is not for my personal benefit alone. Yes, we must work to take care of our families and ourselves but we must also overcome selfishness. The Bible is very clear that we are to share our resources with those around us. In Acts 20:35, Paul notes, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" Giving to support God’s kingdom, grow the Church and to help others should be one of our top financial priorities. A paraphrase of Acts 20:35 is simply – Giving is good for you! It is to our personal advantage to learn to give, not to ourselves, but to others. Our significanc ...

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Are you Debt-stitute?

You read that correctly – I did not ask if you were destitute. My question is: Are you debt-stitute – meaning are you suffering from fear, worry and stress caused by excessive debt? A report from the Pew Charitable Trust found that 8 in 10 Americans are in debt (including mortgages), with about 40 percent holding credit card debt.  The best-case scenario is to never have any consumer debt. That is debt that is not backed by an asset to support the payoff of the debt.  According to the Pew report, 40% of Americans are carrying consumer debt. In a healthy budget, consumer debt takes up only five percent of income because as debt goes up, options go down. Proverbs 22:7 notes, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” As Christians, we should avoid being enslaved by any form of bondage.  Satan has trapped many Christians into believing that they cannot live without debt! This is a lie and must be rejected if you are ever going to be free.&n ...

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Do you know the condition of your finances right now?

With almost 8 in 10 people saying they never or rarely balance their check books, it can come as no surprise that organizing finances is few people’s passion.  But it is never a waste of time to improve your financial skills because it will most certainly reduce your stress. A survey by the American Psychological Association found that money and work are the leading causes of stress in America (at 67 percent and 65 percent respectively) regardless of income.  For those looking to increase their skills, there’s no better place to begin than the Bible. Let me explain. A good financial plan begins with knowing your financial condition.  When it comes to money -- ignorance is NOT bliss. Ignoring how much you are spending or being unaware of where your money is going will not alter painful realities. It’s important to know where your money is, where it is going and whether you are breaking even, going backward or getting ahead. At a time when many people’s money and asse ...

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Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About

Originally posted at Christian Post May 20, 2016. To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity. Dear Chuck, My spouse and I find that talking about our finances is so stressful, we would rather just avoid the topic altogether. We sort of go our separate ways, but try to avoid things like debt, and we agree on tithing. But I wonder if we would be doing better as a couple if we could really talk about money. How can we tackle an uncomfortable topic? Married and Mum on Money Talks   Dear Married, You are certainly not alone as millions of couples find talking about their finances a very difficult and painful topic. But it is a topic that cannot be avoided. You’ve heard the phrase “talk is cheap,” but the truth is NOT talking about money decisions can be very expensive when you’re married and trying to live happily ever after. In ...

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Is money causing you terrible stress?

I received a very biting, critical email from a listener recently.  He felt he was doing all he could to care for and provide for his family and believed I had spoken judgmentally about him and folks in his financial situation.  While I didn’t totally agree with his conclusions, his email made me more sensitive to the terrible financial stress he was experiencing. “The American Psychological Association reported in a 2014 survey that 54% of Americans said they had just enough or not enough money each month to meet their expenses – The study found money to be the country’s No. 1 stressor. 72% of adults reported feeling stressed about money at least some of the time, and nearly a quarter rated their stress ‘extreme’”.  If you are among the 72% of adults stressed about money, I want you to read my advice carefully. It does not have to be that way.  God does not want you living in financial bondage, worrying about how to pay the bills or how t ...

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Today, some startling statistics about Middle Class America

Neal Gabler, a professional journalist wrote a gripping article in The Atlantic magazine called, The Silent Shame of the American Middle Class.  Neal Gabler, a professional journalist wrote a gripping article in The Atlantic magazine called, The Silent Shame of the American Middle Class. Here are some of his key statistics: 25% of families making $100,000 to $150,000 can’t find $2,000 in a pinch. Their lifestyle gives all the appearance of affluence, but they have no margin for emergencies or unexpected expenses. 30% of Americans are not saving for retirement. Zero. Many others are saving very little. 65% of Americans 25 to 65 are financially illiterate. One of the biggest anchors that hurts families is sending their kids to expensive schools. They often have depleted their savings and any inheritance they would have had. Poor decisions have big consequences.  Health care and college education costs are continuing to soar. Finances are ...

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Today, some startling statistics about Middle Class America

Neal Gabler, a professional journalist wrote a gripping article in The Atlantic magazine called, The Silent Shame of the American Middle Class.  Neal Gabler, a professional journalist wrote a gripping article in The Atlantic magazine called, The Silent Shame of the American Middle Class. Here are some of his key statistics: 25% of families making $100,000 to $150,000 can’t find $2,000 in a pinch. Their lifestyle gives all the appearance of affluence, but they have no margin for emergencies or unexpected expenses. 30% of Americans are not saving for retirement. Zero. Many others are saving very little. 65% of Americans 25 to 65 are financially illiterate. One of the biggest anchors that hurts families is sending their kids to expensive schools. They often have depleted their savings and any inheritance they would have had. Poor decisions have big consequences.  Health care and college education costs are continuing to soar. Finances are ...

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