Category Archives: Money
In the current system, if you wanted to wire money to a relative overseas, you go to the bank (during banking hours), and use the banks wire service to send the funds. It will cost you a nice little fee, and take a couple of days for the funds to be sent as the bank verifies the funds transfer. This current system, essentially, makes you pay for the use of a middle man to transfer your funds. Additionally, you are trusting a third party to act in your best interest rather than conducting business solely between you and your relative. And really, you are just paying (and waiting) for a bank employee to make an entry in a ledger.
Most people are familiar with the former Google engineer that was fired for writing a memo in which he made comments Google found incompatible with their corporate culture. James Damore wrote the memo to express his belief that it was possible more men work in technology due to personal choice and perhaps due to the inherent biological differences between men and women. Of course such notions can hardly be spoken among friends at a dinner party, much less in corporate America where any hint that differences exist will be immediately vilified.
So James Damore was fired.
I don’t like talking about debt. But I spend a lot of time talking (and writing) about debt. Mainly because our nation is drowning in debt. From the recent college graduate with $80,000 in student loans, to the middle-aged working class adults that are still paying off student loans but have added a mortgage, car payments, credit car balances, and a home equity line; our nation has a serious debt crisis.
According to an article at Business Insider that published the results of a Trading Economics study, out of 30 countries, America ranks #10 for having the most debt. Americans have a collective $1.14 trillion in auto debt, $1.28 trillion in student loans, and $8.82 trillion in mortgage debt. The total household debt of Americans is up to $8.82 trillion (as of the third quarter of 2016).
These numbers give America a household-debt-to-GDP number of 78.8%; making us the country with the 10th highest debt.
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:
There it is again: it’s not about the person, it’s about the message. Once again, this might sound like a free speech case (and there’s an element of that here) but this is about private property rights. So far Jack has proven over many years that he is willing to serve any person. However, he is not willing to promote every message. That is a value every free person holds dear. The Jewish person does not want to be forced to promote Naziism. The African-American does not want to be forced to promote white supremacy. Are you seeing the point? Every person has the right to discriminate based on his or her sincerely held convictions. Yep, you read that right, we all have the right to discriminate.
If we understand our money and possessions as being a trust, something given to us for the purpose of helping and serving others, it will change how we view wealth. We will carefully add giving to our financial plan and seek to better the circumstances of those around us. Not for fame or recognition, but to say “thank you” for the blessings we have received in our life.
I live in the “wealth creation” world. Part of my objective is to help people create and maintain assets that will allow them to live life the way they desire. It’s what all of us in the financial services industry seek for our clients on a continual basis.
One notable difference for me is that, as a Christian, I am constantly seeking to integrate my faith into my work and be “light and salt” to those I interact with. Many believe that wealth and religion are segregated. The thought persists that our finances and our faith have nothing to do with one another. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
In recent years more Christians have begun to understand the just how intertwined their faith and their finances really are.
When we forget that people in prison for committing crimes are still people, it’s easy to justify 30 or 40 years in prison. When we forget that punishments are supposed to have a purpose, it’s easy to throw someone in prison for selling marijuana, stealing a bottle of alcohol, or not paying their taxes. When marijuana is legal in one state but not another, it adds a whole new level of intricacy to the equation.
The question that arose in conversation is whether taxes are appropriate or whether they are theft. Some subsequent conversation is whether Christians should stand against taxes and oppose any form of taxation or dutifully pay our taxes.
There’s one perspective that says: the Bible says theft is sin, taxes are theft, and therefore taxes are sinful.
Though this is a simplification of the position, it is a good summary and starting point for the discussion. This position says that God never ordains taxes and never gives the government authority to impose taxes. Because all authority is derived from God and God never gives explicit authority to impose taxes, taxation is theft. And since theft is a violation of God’s moral law (10 Commandments), any government imposition of taxes is theft and should be opposed.
Now, anyone can call himself a financial planner. There are actually no laws governing who can use the term and refer to himself as a financial planner. That is a problem; and one that every person seeking quality financial help needs to remember when interviewing people to be their financial planner.
When I speak of a financial planner, I’m not talking about the insurance guy that says he offers “financial services,” or the local financial adviser that got his CFP (Certified Financial Planner) designation and suddenly offers “financial planning services.” Genuine financial planning is a comprehensive service that will entail every aspect of your finances both now and into the future.