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Faith & Finance

Christian talk radio with Rob West

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Broadcast Episode

Monday, July 08

Put Your Principles Where Your Money Is

If you’re tired of living paycheck-to-paycheck…you can make a decision today that will change your life. All you have to do is practice God’s financial principles and then wait to see what happens. You’ll be amazed at the results.

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About Faith & Finance

How does your faith in Jesus influence your daily financial decisions? As believers, our faith must be the foundation of our financial stewardship, which is why we're excited to announce that the MoneyWise radio show is now Faith & Finance. Join Rob West and special guests as they address today’s financial questions with biblical answers. To be a part of the broadcast, call 1 (800) 525-7000 or you can email your questions to: [email protected]

More from Faith & Finance

Broadcast Episode

Yesterday

Don’t Carry Debt Into Retirement

Paying off debt is always a good thing…but paying it off before retirement is one of the best financial moves you’ll ever make. It’s a disturbing trend: more people than ever are retiring with debt. That reduces their lifestyle choices and increases the likelihood they’ll have to return to work at some point. Today, we’ll talk about carrying debt into retirement and how you can avoid it. Preparing for a Debt-Free Retirement: A Practical GuideAccording to the Federal Reserve's 2022 Survey of Consumer Finances, 65% of people aged 65 to 74 are in debt, up from 50% 35 years ago. This rising debt can severely impact your lifestyle in retirement and might even force you to return to work. Proverbs 22: 7 warns, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. ”A recent report by T. Rowe Price revealed that 20% of previously retired individuals are back to work, either full or part-time, and another 7% are actively seeking employment. The primary reason? The need for more income. Inflation has increased costs by about 15% over the past three years, stretching many retirement budgets thin, especially those burdened with debt. Steps to Achieve a Debt-Free RetirementSet a Goal to Eliminate Debt Before Retirement—If you're 5, 10, or 15 years away from retirement, aim to have all your debts paid off by then. Eliminating a mortgage, car payment, or other debts can allow you to live on less and create a critical financial margin in retirement.  Prepare for Economic Downturns—Debt restricts financial flexibility, especially during economic slowdowns and stock market declines. Since the economy moves in cycles, preparing for these downturns is essential. Practical Strategies to Pay Off DebtCut Expenses—Review your budget and eliminate unnecessary expenses. Often, we continue paying for things out of habit. A thorough budget overhaul can free up funds to pay down debt.

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Broadcast Episode

Thursday, July 11

State of the Housing Market

Is it the best of times or the worst of times? Well, it all depends on if you’re trying to buy or sell a house. It really is a matter of perspective. Home values remain sky-high and are likely to continue rising in the foreseeable future. How you view that depends on which side of the transaction you’re on. Navigating the Current Housing Market: Tips for First-Time Home BuyersIt may be the worst of times if you're a first-time home buyer. Home values have never been higher, thanks to the continued high cost of building materials, inflation, and low inventory. Coupled with mortgage rates of around 7%, buying your first home is undeniably an uphill battle. Moving Up in the MarketIf you're moving up—selling a starter home and buying one that fits your current needs—the situation is slightly different. While your dream house is more expensive, so is the house you're selling, which helps offset high home values. However, higher interest rates have many prospective home sellers sitting on the sidelines, waiting for rates to drop. This results in fewer homes on the market, driving up prices even more. Downsizing: A Silver LiningFor those downsizing, it truly is the best of times. You can sell a larger, more expensive home, pay off any existing mortgage, and be mortgage-free in your new, smaller home. This transition can leave you with a sizable nest egg for future needs. Market Trends and PredictionsThe housing market has always been influenced by these factors, but they are currently exaggerated by inflation and rising prices. Recent data shows a 6. 5% increase in home values over the past year. Analysts predict that while home prices will continue to rise, the growth rate will begin to slow. Steps to Take if You’re Buying a HomeCheck Your Credit Reports—First, obtain all three credit reports from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax for free at AnnualCreditReport. com. Review them carefully and dispute any errors to boost your credit score, which will help you secure the lowest possible interest rate on your mortgage.  Consult a Mortgage Loan Officer—Meet with a mortgage loan officer for guidance on the loan application and approval process. During the first visit, you don’t need to provide your personal financial information, but you should ask about programs for first-time home buyers.  Assess Your Borrowing Capacity—Eventually, you’ll need to share your financial details with a loan officer to determine your debt-to-income ratio and how much you can borrow. Avoid borrowing the maximum amount the lender offers, as this can strain your budget. Aim to keep your mortgage payments within 25% of your take-home pay.  Save for a Down Payment—Assemble the largest down payment you can. Putting down 20% helps you avoid private mortgage insurance, which costs around 1% of the loan amount annually. Reserve a few thousand dollars for unexpected expenses when you move in, avoiding reliance on credit cards.  Get Pre-Approved—Shop around for the best interest rate and mortgage provider. Pre-approval strengthens your position as a buyer and helps streamline the home-buying process. A Mortgage with a PurposeConsider working with Movement Mortgage, a Christian mortgage company founded during the 2008 housing crisis. They offer competitive rates and a chance to contribute to a global movement of change. Movement Mortgage has donated $377 million to community projects and has locations in all 50 states. Learn more at Movement. com/Faith. Finding Your New HomeMake a list of essential features for your new home and connect with a knowledgeable real estate agent. Keep your list of “must-haves” short to stay flexible in this strong seller’s market. If possible, wait until winter to make an offer. Buyer competition typically decreases during colder months, giving you an edge. That's the current state of the housing market and a few tips to help you navigate it. We hope these insights and strategies assist you in your home-buying journey. On Today’s Program, Rob Answers Listener Questions: How do I determine my tithe amount when liquidating a portion of my long-term investment holdings, which include stocks and bonds? Sometimes, the investment shows a slight increase over the principal in a year, but other times, there is a loss. I would like to know how to calculate my tithe since I wouldn't be cashing out the whole investment. Should I move some of my precious metals into my IRA, which I want to diversify into, or should I keep them at home where I can physically possess them? I'm particularly interested in silver since gold is quite expensive. Is making a living off the interest from my IRA investments through a financial advisor considered evil according to passages in the Bible that prohibit putting out money at interest or getting interest from my investments? Would an irrevocable trust be taxable after death, or would it just go back to the will already in place? How do the taxes work with an irrevocable trust if the original owner dies? Resources Mentioned: Movement MortgageAnnualCreditReport. comRich Toward God: A Study on the Parable of the Rich FoolFind a Certified Kingdom Advisor (CKA) or Certified Christian Financial Counselor (CertCFC)FaithFi App

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Broadcast Episode

Thursday, July 11

State of the Housing Market

Is it the best of times or the worst of times? Well, it all depends on if you’re trying to buy or sell a house. It really is a matter of perspective. Home values remain sky-high and are likely to continue rising in the foreseeable future. How you view that depends on which side of the transaction you’re on. Navigating the Current Housing Market: Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

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Broadcast Episode

Wednesday, July 10

The Economics of Genesis with Jerry Bowyer

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep.” - Genesis 1:1-2 I’m sure you’re more than familiar with those first lines of the Bible…but are you aware of the economic implications of the creation story? Jerry Bowyer fills us in today. Jerry Bowyer is the President of Bowyer Research and our Resident Economist here at Faith & Finance. He is the author of “The Maker Versus the Takers: What Jesus Really Said About Social Justice and Economics.” You can also read his insightful columns for World News Group.

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Broadcast Episode

Tuesday, July 9

Social Security FAQ With Eddie Holland

You have to be at least 62 to collect Social Security…maybe because it takes that long to understand the program. Do you have questions about Social Security? Of course you do. Who doesn’t? Well, you don’t want to miss today’s program. Eddie Holland is back to answer more of your questions about Social Security. Eddie Holland is a Senior Private Wealth Advisor and partner of Blue Trust in Greenville, South Carolina. He’s also a CPA, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), and a Certified Kingdom Advisor (CKA®). Can You Claim Benefits Early and Switch Later? You can claim Social Security benefits at 62 and switch to spousal benefits later if the spousal benefit is higher than your own. However, if your benefit is higher, you must take that instead. Conversely, you must wait to claim spousal benefits first and then switch to your benefit at full retirement age; you must take the higher of the two benefits available. Survivor Benefits Exception Survivor benefits are an exception where you can take one benefit and let the other grow. For instance, a widow can claim a survivor benefit as early as 60 and then switch to her benefit at 70, which would have grown due to delayed retirement credits. Taxation of Social Security Benefits Social Security benefits can be taxed based on your combined income, including half of your Social Security benefits, adjusted gross income, and any tax-exempt interest. Federal taxes apply progressively, with higher income leading to more taxable benefits. Roth Conversions and Social Security Be cautious with Roth conversions, as they can increase your combined income and make more of your Social Security benefits taxable. This strategy might push you into a higher marginal tax bracket. Stopping Benefits If you decide to stop your Social Security benefits, you can do so within the first 12 months of receiving them if you're under full retirement age. Beyond that, you can pause benefits after reaching full retirement age to earn delayed retirement credits. Scams and Social Security There is an increasing problem of Social Security scams. Legitimate Social Security issues will be communicated via mail, not phone calls, emails, or social media messages. If in doubt, always verify by setting up an appointment with your local Social Security office. If you have questions about your benefits, consider consulting a Certified Kingdom Advisor (CKA®) who can provide tailored advice for your unique situation. On Today’s Program, Rob Answers Listener Questions: I already have an LLC as a sole proprietor but want to set up another one. When I research online, I see that there are so many different options, such as having a holding company or adding a trust above the holding company. Which structure would be best for my situation? What do you recommend regarding how I should go about setting up another LLC? I recently sold a vehicle and bought another one, and I had some savings, totaling about $25, 000, available after my emergency fund was covered. I also took money out of my Thrift Savings Plan (retirement account) two years ago to purchase a home, and the balance on that loan is around $25, 000 at a very low interest rate. Given this situation, what would your advice be for where I should put this extra $25, 000 - pay down the TSP loan, pay down the auto loan, or invest in the open market? Resources Mentioned: Rich Toward God: A Study on the Parable of the Rich FoolFind a Certified Kingdom Advisor (CKA) or Certified Christian Financial Counselor (CertCFC)FaithFi App

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