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The Biggest Wealth Killers

Christian talk radio with Rob West

May 4, 2021

If you had to pick a single Bible verse to explain the financial condition of many American households today, it might be Proverbs 20:21: "Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man's dwelling, but a foolish man devours it." Of course, these days we’d define precious treasure and oil simply as money or wealth. Is something keeping you from storing it up? Today we’ll look at some of the biggest reasons that might happen. The Twitter-sphere has been buzzing in recent days about the top 5 wealth killers in America. Obviously, not everyone agrees on what those might be, but there’s some general consensus and we’ll go over the list so you can avoid them. These aren’t in any particular order, but a good place to start is probably credit card debt. We’re always hearing about low interest rates these days, but that certainly doesn’t apply to credit cards. According to the credit bureau Experian, the average balance for folks carrying cards is roughly $6,800 with an average interest rate of 16%. And looking at the nation as a whole, Americans have nearly $900-billion in credit card debt. So, if you’re carrying a credit card balance, it’s imperative that you get on a budget and make a plan to pay it off quickly. It’s no wonder financial advisors say that credit card debt is hazardous to your wealth. Next on the list of wealth killers is buying a home or car that’s more than you can afford. A house will usually appreciate in value, giving a return on the investment. But that can’t be said for buying a car you can’t afford. It’s estimated that a vehicle depreciates up to 20% just by driving it off the dealer lot. Financial author and teacher Ron Blue calls this driving to the poorhouse. If you’re buying a house or car, don’t let your pride and ego enter into the decision-making process. Make sure the payments fit comfortably in your budget. Next on the list of big wealth killers is no doubt the most controversial: divorce. God hates divorce. In Matthew 19:6, Jesus says spouses, "are no longer two, but one flesh." What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. And while it’s spiritually devastating, we also can’t ignore the financial destruction caused by divorce. It splits assets, increases expenses, and reduces net income. The National Retirement Risk Index shows that most people would need a 30% increase in income to maintain the same lifestyle after divorce. And of course, one of the biggest reasons often cited for divorce is couples arguing about money. It’s important that you and your spouse share the same financial goals. That makes saving and spending decisions much easier. Our last big wealth killer is something the Twitter-sphere is calling personal lifestyle creep. It simply means you spend more than you can afford, given your other goals and priorities. If your income increases, so does your spending and you never get ahead. It’s estimated that companies will spend nearly $250 billion dollars this year to convince you that you’re not satisfied with your home, car, the clothes you wear or the food you eat, and that you deserve more. In his book, "Master Your Money," Ron Blue sums it up like this, "If you spend more than you make, you’ll go into debt and rob yourself of the ability to save for emergencies and invest for the future." This is just simple, inescapable math; yet so many people do it. On today’s program we also answer your questions: --I have about $200,000 in savings. What’s the wisest thing to do with this extra money? --After retiring early I have a lot of cash. I’ve moved to Florida and have the opportunity to purchase a condo to live in for a little while. What are your thoughts? --Which should I do: stay with my portable pension or go with my employer-matched 8% (to the employee’s 6%) 401(k)? Remember, you can call in to ask your questions most days at (800) 525-7000 or email them to [email protected] Also, visit our website at MoneyWise.org where you can connect with a MoneyWise Coach, purchase books, and even download free, helpful resources like the free MoneyWise app. Like and Follow us on Facebook at MoneyWise Media for videos and the very latest discussion! Remember that it’s your prayerful and financial support that keeps MoneyWise on the air. Help us continue this outreach by clicking the Donate tab on our website or in our app.

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