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Are You Intentional with Your Money?

Rock Concert

When you go to a high-profile concert, you’re in for quite a show. The band is flawless; the lead singer commands the stage with swagger and charisma; the backup dancers are in perfect step; and the sound and lights coordinate seamlessly with the performers to create an overwhelming experience.

It seems exhilarating and effortless, but the truth is that each two-hour live show that you enjoy is the culmination of months of intense rehearsal (not to mention years of prior training). Every musical note, dance step, lighting cue and introduction has been carefully planned, down to the tiniest detail. You have a great experience because the show’s producers intended you to.

Nothing really great ever happens by accident — it’s always the result of planning, strategy, hard work and a big-picture vision. We call this “doing things intentionally,” and it can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of your life’s endeavors. It certainly makes a huge difference with your money.

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Save Money by Getting Second Opinions

Home Improvement

It the world of personal finance, there is nothing more powerful than information.

If you have a financial decision to make — say a big purchase, an investment or an impending major repair — the best thing that you can do for yourself is to make sure you have the most accurate information possible. Making a decision out of ignorance can cost you a lot of money. Choosing based on solid information, on the other hand, can save you a lot.

It’s impossible to be an expert in every area of life, which means that we all have to rely on the expertise of others to help us solve problems from time to time. All too often, though, the people that we turn to for insight stand to gain financially from us taking their advice.

In order to protect yourself from this kind of conflict of interests, you need to make a habit of getting second opinions. [Read more…]

Why Owning a Home is Better Than Renting

New Home Owners

An Investopedia article written a couple of years ago suggesting that owning a home isn’t a good financial decision has been making the rounds on Facebook recently. A friend found it and forwarded to me, nervous that she and her husband had made the wrong decision in buying a house for their young family.

The article raises some good points about home ownership — it can be expensive, due to the cost of mortgage interest and the inevitable repairs that homeowners make on their properties over time. The tax savings that come from mortgage interest payments don’t make up for those expenses, either. So, is the conclusion of the article right — is renting a home really better than owning?

Not by a long shot. While there are certain times in life when you shouldn’t buy a home (if you have other debt, a lack of cash or unstable life circumstances), home ownership turns out to be the best financial option for most families today. Here are five reasons why: [Read more…]

Your Favorite Money Articles of the Year

Countdown

New Year’s Day will mark the two-year anniversary of God, Money & Me, and during those two years we’ve posted more than 300 articles about God’s approach to financial management. As this year draws to a close, we thought it would be interesting to look at the most popular articles of 2013.

Judging by what you clicked on, read, commented on and shared with friends, our readers had a lot of diverse topics on their minds as they engaged with the blog this year. Some, such as debt an pensions, are typical concerns of personal financial management. Others, including poverty, sin and the way that money can glorify God, have more to do with philosophical or spiritual underpinnings of personal finance.

So here, in case you missed them, are our five most popular articles of 2013, counted down from number five to number one. [Read more…]

To Fund-raise or Not To Fund-Raise?

Support Letters

Asking people for money is never easy, but sometimes it’s the best way to accomplish a big goal. So how do you know whether you should raise financial support for a project you’re working on?

If you work in the non-profit world, this isn’t a very difficult question, because everything that you do is dependent on the generosity of your supporters. Raising money is simply a part of life in this kind of organization.

But what about those of us who aren’t involved in some non-profit project or ministry? Sometimes we encounter big expenses or financial hurdles that we can’t clear on our own. So when is it appropriate to ask others for help? [Read more…]

Five Surprising Financial Blessings

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Twenty-first century America is a pretty amazing place to be managing your money.

I know that it doesn’t always seem this way. The economic downturn of the past five years has given us all a challenge. But when you consider the whole of human history — and the incredible opportunities and tools that we have at our disposal — you have to admit that we’re in a pretty plum position.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we thought we’d take a moment to enumerate some of the great financial blessings that we enjoy as modern people. But this article is not about giving thanks for all of our obvious financial blessings; rather, it’s about identifying and appreciating some of the small things that can have big impacts on our  financial lives. [Read more…]

Five Ways that Laziness is Costing You Money

Lazy dog

It’s only an occasional drip, but that leaky faucet is costing you a lot more money than you might think.

A couple of years ago, I noticed that the faucet in our kitchen sink was dripping. I’m not much of a handyman, and I have a bad habit of being lazy about home maintenance, so I didn’t pay it much attention. But a month or two later, I saw that our water bill was about $30 higher than normal. Needless to say, I called the plumber to come fix that leaky faucet right away.

There are a lot of things in our lives that are leaky faucets, seemingly innocuous issues that are actually causing bigger problems that we realize. If we’re lazy about the way that we maintain our financial lives, it can cost us a lot of money in the long run. [Read more…]

Five Ways Obamacare Could Disrupt Your Economy

Obamacare and the Crashing Economy

For the vast majority of Americans, health insurance is about to get much, much more expensive. And that could have drastic consequences on the economy, even in industries far outside of medicine.

We try to avoid getting too political here at God, Money & Me, but every now and then a political issue comes up that has big ramifications in your personal finances. Obamacare is one of those situations — in fact, I believe that the new health care laws will have a bigger effect on your pocketbook than any legislation since Social Security.

Although Obamacare is designed to make health insurance more available and affordable to some people who did not have it before, it does so at the expense of the middle class and the majority of Americans who already have insurance. No matter who you are, your insurance is about to get much, much more expensive. And even if your employer covers some of your insurance premiums, chances are that you’ll still find yourself contributing more and more to your own plan as prices skyrocket.

This rise in prices means a decrease in available cash for the middle class, which could have drastic effects on industries far removed from health care. [Read more…]

Awkward Obligations: Weddings, Births and Social Gifts

Wedding Gifts

Why is it that our friends’ life events cost us so much money?

If you’ve made it to your mid-20s, you undoubtedly know what I’m talking about. Your friends have begun to get married, and you’ve discovered that their weddings are expensive affairs… for you! And if you’ve hit 30, you probably know that as those same friends have children, social giving pressure is going to cost you even more.

Whether it’s the $25-$50 you might spend on a gift, the hundreds of dollars it will cost you to participate in a wedding or the innumerable expenses and hassles of hosting a bridal or baby shower, you’re going to find yourself shelling out a lot of cash to celebrate with people. Sometimes, these events and their expenses come with social obligations that put us in awkward situations, especially if money is tight.

Your friends and their life events could wreck your budget if you let them… but you don’t have to. Here are five ways to guard yourself against runaway costs of social obligations. [Read more…]

Copyright Brian Jewell, 2011-2013

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Disclosures

All content on this site is given on a general basis and is intended for informational use only. The content does not reflect any professional legal, investing, accounting or tax advice, and should not be used as the sole basis for making financial decisions. Always consult a certified financial professional before investing.