Forget all the news you’ve heard (or read) recently about the new tax bill. Forget the pundits on either side of the aisle that want to convince you that the world is going to come crashing down, or that everyone will be rich tomorrow.
All that noise only obscures the plain facts of the new tax bill and the enormous opportunity that Americans have because of it.
As a financial professional I work with people newly retired, nearing retirement, or hoping to one day retire accumulate assets, preserve assets, and protect assets. It’s a job involving comprehensive financial planning, asset management, and budgeting. All of the parts have to work together to make sure someone doesn’t outlive their money, among other things. But all this planning can be brought to a screeching halt for one reason: debt.
Nothing will derail a good financial plan like debt. Whether someone has just retired or is hoping to retire soon, debt will be the determining factor. Large amounts of debt will keep a person working longer. Debt will also hinder a person in retirement from doing the things they have dreamed of for 40 years. Debt is the most destructive force in a persons financial life. Continue reading
What is the logical end of a culture that says it’s appropriate to claim to be what you are not?
Several years ago it was discovered that the president of the Spokane, Washington NAACP, an “African American” named Rachel Dolezal, was actually a white woman. Dolezal lived for years as a black woman, never revealing to friends and co-workers her true racial background. It wasn’t until her parents confirmed that their daughter was white that Dolezal was forced to admit the truth (and was subsequently fired by the NAACP).
Since then the idea of people being “transracial” has gained momentum.
One of the more recent examples is a man named Adam, a white man, that says he identifies as Filipino and because of his racial identity has changed his name to Ja Du. Ja Du says he feels “like I’m in my own skin” when he is around Filipino food, music, and culture. Much like Dolezal, Ja Du intends to live as someone from another ethnicity as part of the growing “trans-racial” community.
Is this really a problem? Is there something wrong with being one thing while claiming to be another? Should we be concerned with someone that lives as another ethnicity instead of their own? Continue reading
A report out of Michigan is again turning our attention to the sale of aborted baby body parts. This reality has shocked, and should continue to shock our sense of moral right. This issue involves both the aspect of human dignity and the morality of profit.
A biotech firm called Restore Life USA has been discovered selling aborted baby body parts. In this grisly version of this practice that was first made known to the American public when Planned Parenthood revealed that they sold aborted baby body parts, Restore Life USA was caught selling severed baby heads.
The story was first reported by Reuters because it was Reuters that made the discovery as part of an undercover investigation. A recent article explains that Reuters investigative reporters arranged for the sale of baby heads and, after a few emails and payment, the deal was confirmed. The article states: Continue reading
There can be no doubt that elements of the women’s liberation movement of the past decades were good, and right, and needed. Ensuring women had the right to vote and workplace equality are two positive outcomes we can point to. Today’s feminist movement however is as damaging to relationships, families, and society as any other skewed worldview.
Consider for a moment the story of a woman that was seeking advice on things she could make for her husband’s lunch. This woman asked social media for things she could make for her husband’s lunch, something she did each day because she “loves her man” and they “can’t afford to eat out.”
Now, let’s stop right here for a moment and acknowledge what is taking place. Here is a young couple, most likely not married for very long, seeking to love and support one another. The young wife states that she makes her husband lunch because they can’t really afford to eat out. She also states that it is her way of loving and taking care of her man. This young wife further states that her husband works very hard and even helps around the house with things like cooking dinner.
From the details presented here this is a young couple working together, serving one another out of love. But did social media agree?
Nope. The moms on Maddie’s social media group immediately attacked her as a “slave,” “1950’s housewife,” and “weird.” here is some of the responses she received: Continue reading
The case known as Masterpeice Cakeshop V. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is, perhaps, the biggest case to appear before the Supreme Court this year. The case is so big that rather than taking only the customary 60 minutes for oral arguments, the case took 90 minutes of the court’s time. That’s not insignificant as it signals, on the part of the court, how important this case is.
In days leading up to the Supreme Court oral arguments, the contention that this is a religious freedom case was made loud and clear. I sympathize with those making this argument, but, must respectfully disagree. If this is a religious freedom case it is misunderstood and its outcome will be limited.
Let’s make sure we are clear on the material facts of the case.
Jack Phillips, owner of the bakery, was asked to bake a cake celebrating a same-sex wedding. He respectfully declined, citing his religious convictions. Phillips was sued and, eventually, found guilty of discrimination. The long appeals process has brought us to the Supreme Court where Jack’s lawyers have argued that Jack is an artist and, like any artist, retains the right to decide what art he will and will not create. Jack’s lawyers have furthermore argued that forcing Jack to bake a cake celebrating something he is convictionally opposed to would be a violation of his religious freedom. Continue reading
In the wake of revelations that men from Hollywood to Congress have engaged in unlawful sexual behavior, a robust dialogue is taking place. I’m glad for that. Anything that gets people talking in a productive manner is a good thing.
This dialogue is only helpful when errors are confronted and truth is spoken loud and clear. In light of revelations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and behavior unbecoming of a society that values men and women, much truth is being spoken. For this we can all be thankful and hope that large scale change is the result.
I’m particularly thankful for an actress that shared some common sense wisdom about one of the ways she has protected herself in an industry that has seemingly thrived on exploiting women.
Mayim Bialik has been in the spotlight since she was very young. Being in Hollywood as a child can be dangerous. But Bialik, now 41 years old, says she has made it her practice to make decisions she considers “self-protecting and wise.” Bialik shared her thoughts in an op-ed for the New York Times in which Bialik discusses what it’s like to be a feminist in Harvey Weinstein’s world, she shared the following bit of wisdom:
“I still make choices every day as a 41-year-old actress that I think of as self-protecting and wise. I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with. I dress modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy.” Continue reading
I’ve had conversations with well-meaning parents that say they don’t want to force religion on their kids, they want to let their kids make up their own mind. These aren’t non-Christian parents, these are professing Christians that say they don’t want to force their kids to believe the way they believe. They want them to “follow their own path.”
Well, that lovely sentiment of new-age philosophy stands in direct opposition to the Scriptures.
The Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 6:6-9 that it is our job as parents to teach and train our kids; this includes biblical principles. In other words, it’s our job to impart our faith to our kids. This biblical command is as clear as they come as parents are charged with making sure their kids are clear about what it means to be a Christian. In fact this command is so important that it is repeated. The same words given to us in Deuteronomy 6 are repeated in Deuteronomy 11:18-20.
I confess that I don’t understand the impulse to “let kids figure it out” for themselves. Not only does this go against the biblical imperative to teach and train our kids, it goes against our instinct as parents. Continue reading
I work in an industry that doesn’t value giving. It’s not that we discourage giving, it’s more that we focus on accumulation. One of our main objectives is to make sure people have enough to sustain their lifestyle long after they stop working. With a heavy emphasis on wise spending and debt reduction, there is often little room for conversations around giving.
Occasionally I run across a client that includes giving int their financial planning. This takes the form of tithes, donations, and random acts of kindness. It’s encouraging, and, hopefully, we will see more people make giving a cornerstone of their financial plan.
Giving is somewhat an industry in our culture. We all know non-profits that work diligently to secure one-time and annual donations to fund their mission. We’ve all received mailings, phone calls, and emails asking for our donation at this “urgent” or “critical” time of need. I’m not suggesting this is a bad thing, just acknowledging that the “giving industry” exists.
A recent article explains the “art” of fundraising pitches and how they are designed to tug at our heart strings. While we might be tempted to get angry at such tactics, I think we should consider why the tactics are needed in the first place. One reason, the article explains, is that even though we can have immediate feedback about an object we purchase. But donating to charities doesn’t have a mechanism for feedback. This can create an almost built-in skepticism when giving to charities. The article states: Continue reading