MoneyWise with Rob West on Bott Radio

MoneyWise

Christian talk radio with Rob West

MoneyWise is a daily radio ministry of MoneyWise Media. Hosted by Rob West, the program offers a practical, biblical and good-natured approach to managing your time, talents and resources. To be a part of the broadcast, call 1 (800) 525-7000.

Recent Episodes

Jul 26

Rob's Favorite Financial Things

We all have our favorite things in life, things that bring us joy, meaning and fulfillment. Sometimes it’s nice to make a list of our favorites. This helps us recognize and appreciate them even more. Rob West recently made a list of his favorite financial things and shares it with us today. 1. Where to keep your emergency fund. Higher yield savings rates are found in online banks, not the brick and mortar types, and within that category he has three favorites: Ally, Marcus and Capital One 360 and of course, all of these are FDIC insured and right now offer around .5% on savings. Of those, Marcus tops the list because of no fees or minimum deposits, linking to other banks for same day transfers, a US based contact center to your answer questions, and a great app. 2. Teen checking accounts. It's great to use them as a tool to teach your kids to manage their money wisely. Proverbs 22:6 says, Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Rob recommends a Capital One teen checking account. It has no fees or minimum balance, it offers a debit card for teens with parental locking and unlocking, and a mobile app that allows you to easily transfer birthday and allowance money into the account. 3. Rob's favorite credit card is the Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card. (Warning: Rob always says to pay off the balance in full every month. Otherwise, the interest you pay will easily wipe out any rewards you receive.) The Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card has no annual fee and it gives you 2% on every purchase. One catch -- you have to sign up to automatically deposit your cash back into one or more Fidelity accounts (such as a Fidelity 529 plan to save for college) a Roth or traditional IRA or an HSA. So you don’t get to spend the 2% cash you get back; it has to go into savings and that’s a pretty smart idea. 3. Digital Envelope Budgeting Systems. Rob's favorite, of course, is the MoneyWise app. It’s based on the old school, tried-and-true, paper envelope system (only it’s digital). Your envelope balances carry over month to month and you can only use the money in your accounts to fund those envelopes so that you stay on budget! The MoneyWise app easily keeps your transactions organized. You can split transactions between envelopes and can record memos to help you remember what you purchased. You can even run custom reports to see where you're spending the most money. Also, you can manage all of your accounts in one place and connect to over 11,000 institutions. That way, you can easily see all your accounts and have balances and transactions automatically imported. Plus, you get great financial content from a biblical perspective from contributors such as Randy Alcorn, Shaunti Feldhahn, and many more. Best of all, the MoneyWise app is free! You can download it wherever you get your apps. On today’s program we also answer the following listener questions: I’m newly married and want to start our financial future well. How much should we save after bills and everything else? We’re considering doing an addition to our paid-for home and are waiting six months to a year to see if construction costs will go down. What should we do? I’m trying to figure out my finances after being married for 27 years. I’m soon to be divorced. Just trying to stay in my home. What advice can you give? Remember, you can call in to ask your questions 24/7 at (800) 525-7000 or email them to [email protected] Also, visit our website at MoneyWise.org where you can hear past programs, connect with a MoneyWise Coach, and even download free, helpful resources like the free MoneyWise app. Like and Follow us on Facebook at MoneyWise Media for thelatest discussion! And 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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What’s the most published and most read book in history containing more than 2300 references to money and is worth more than its weight in gold? I think you already know the answer. Of course, we’re talking about the Bible. Every speck of wisdom in this world is found within its pages and we’ll dive into that including a few verses sometimes overlooked from a financial perspective. John chapter 14, verse 27, Jesus says, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.Peace to you was a common salutation among Jews in the first century A.D., and it’s repeated often throughout the New Testament. Jesus means that true peace comes from knowing that we’re reconciled with God through faith in Him. But what does it have to do with money?Jesus tells us that by focusing on God everything we need in this world will be added to us. But when we rely on our own power to provide, we have to be reminded constantly that God owns everything that He is our Provider not just of wealth, but even our skills and abilities to acquire it.Proverbs 12:11 tells us, Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.Proverbs 14:23: In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.Proverbs 12:24, The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.So, we must work heartily wherever we feel God calling us and He will provide the rest. Believing that leads to contentment. Of course, we’re to use our brains as well as our hands when we work. We should plan carefully in all that we set out to do whether that’s earning, saving, or giving.And of course we must be totally honest in all that we do. Psalm 37 tells us, Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked.In Matthew 25, He talks about separating the sheep and goats on Judgment Day. Jesus says, Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.When we care for the poor we’re caring for Jesus Himself who has the power to welcome us into eternal dwellings. That’s truly a wise use of worldly wealth. Here are a few questions we answered from our callers on this program: I am going to be 85 years old. I live with my daughter and son in law. I was left with a considerable amount of money in the bank. I have trusts for my children. Is it feasible to invest some of this?I am looking at buying a property. Since all house prices are up, should I wait for the housing bubble to pop?What are your thoughts on an index universal life program?My husband and I cashed out our 401K and bought property and started a business. We are reducing debt and don’t keep a credit card balance. Should we put money back into a 401K or somewhere else? Ask your questions at (800) 525-7000 or email them to [email protected] Visit our website at MoneyWise.org where you can connect with a MoneyWise Coach, purchase books, and even download free, helpful resources like the 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 at the top of the page.

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People often ask if they’re responsible for a loved one’s debts after death. In most cases, the answer is no, but not always. Would you know how to manage a family member’s accounts after death? There’s actually quite a bit to it. One of the first things you may be surprised to learn is that when someone passes away, their credit reports aren’t frozen or closed automatically. The estate’s executor or personal representative will have to do that. And it’s very important to close credit reports as the deceased could still be the victim of identity theft. And it may even be more likely after death. So you need to have a death notice placed on the deceased's credit reports. Often, the surviving spouse will be the executor or personal representative, but even when that’s not the case, the surviving spouse needs to work with the executor to make sure the right steps are taken to manage the deceased’s accounts. First you should know that if your loved one died with debt, the estate is responsible for it. If the estate lacks the funds to repay it, no one else is obligated to pay it usually. There are a few exceptions: (1) If you co-signed a credit card or other type of credit account with the deceased, that account is also in your name and you’re legally obligated to repay the debt. Also, (2) if you had a joint credit account with the deceased meaning, it’s in both your names you’re obligated to repay. But you’re not obligated if you’re only listed as an authorized user. Now, all of that goes out the window if you live in a community property state where you’ll generally be required to repay some or all of your deceased loved one’s debts. (3) And one more instance where the surviving spouse might be responsible for the deceased spouse’s debt: where state law requires you to repay certain types of debt, such as medical expenses or debts related to a jointly owned home. Of course, if the deceased’s estate has the funds to repay his or her debts, you shouldn’t stand in the way of that but rather facilitate it however you can. Proverbs 3:27 says "Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act." Even in cases where you’re not obligated to repay a loved one’s debts, you may feel responsible for it. If you feel God leading you in that direction and you have the funds to repay a debt, by all means do so, after careful consideration and prayer. Also, you may be contacted by debt collectors concerning your loved one’s outstanding accounts. If that happens, first confirm that the debt is actually owed. Then, if the estate has the funds, you can repay the debt (make sure you get a receipt) or you can refer the collector to the probate court overseeing execution of the will. Either way, the estate will be responsible for the debt. If you continue to be harassed by debt collectors, you can block debt collectors from contacting you by sending a letter demanding they stop contacting you. If collectors continue, they’re in violation of federal law and you can report them to the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov. However, keep in mind that this won’t eliminate debt that’s legitimately owed. Earlier, I mentioned that credit reports aren’t automatically closed when a person dies. The executor or personal representative (often the surviving spouse) has to make that happen by notifying the credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. They will then seal those reports and place a death notice on them. There are three steps to notifying a credit bureau about a loved one’s death: (1) Contact the bureau to find out what documentation you’ll need to submit. Generally this is the deceased’s legal name, Social Security number, date of birth and death, a copy of the death certificate and other legal documents. (2) Once you’ve gathered those papers, submit them to the credit bureau. Make sure to keep copies for yourself. The bureau will then freeze the deceased’s credit and prevent anyone from opening new accounts. Also, the bureau you contact will automatically notify the other two, so you only have to do this process once. (3) Finally, you’ll want to review the deceased's credit reports so you’re sure about all open accounts with creditors and lenders. You’ll want to do that with all three credit bureaus because they might not all list every account. So now you know what’s needed to manage a loved one’s credit accounts after death. If you’re ever in that situation and need help, you can find a godly estate attorney to assist you by visiting MoneyWise.org and clicking on Find a CKA. Here are just a few of your calls that we answered on today’s program: --What kind of counseling do you recommend for couples where one spouse is a saver and the other is more free and unplanned in their approach to finances? --Do you recommend adding a PIN number to my credit card? --How much money should I put aside each month to eventually purchase a home or a wedding, for example? 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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Maybe it catches you off-guard. A friend or family member asks to borrow money and you’re not sure what to do. It’s wise to consider your options. Your decision whether to lend money could have lasting consequences, so make it carefully. There’s no question that the decision to lend money causes stress for many people. When you lend money to another, it changes the nature of the relationship. Proverbs 22:7 really nails this, "The borrower becomes slave to the lender." Lending money has the potential to damage a relationship well into the future. Actually that’s true whether you lend the money or not. When you’re hit with the question, it seems like there’s no good answer. Either way, someone may end up resentful. And the odds may be stacked against you to begin with. A football coach once explained why he never liked throwing the ball. He said that three things can happen: an incompletion or interception or a completed pass. It’s like that with lending money. If you decide not to, the other person could be upset. If you do lend the money and the other person doesn’t repay it, you’ll probably be upset. That’s two out of three, bad. It’s only with the third possibility where everyone’s happy. You lend, they pay back. But they may not be in very good shape financially to begin with if they’re having to borrow. Now, what does the Bible say about all this? First, God’s Word tells us to help those in need, lending money if necessary. Deuteronomy 15:8 says, "You shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be." And in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:42, Jesus says, "Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you." And a verse that makes many think the only proper response is to lend money to a family member, in particular, is 1 Timothy 5:8: But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. But those verses imply a couple of things. First, that there truly is a need and second, that lending the money would actually help the borrower and not simply enable more unwise financial practices. Scripture says a lot about that, too. Proverbs 13:11 indicates one possible outcome to lending money. It reads, "Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little-by-little will increase it." A loan is often described as a lifeline, and it may be. But it’s also easy money and the borrower may not appreciate the effort it takes to create that wealth. When you have to work hard for something you tend to want to hold onto it. Hard work produces character and wisdom. Proverbs 21:20 reads, "Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man's dwelling, but a foolish man devours it." So before you get out the checkbook, you have to determine that there’s really a need and that lending will actually help. Can the borrower repay the loan? If there’s not sufficient income or ability to repay, good intentions to repay will come to nothing. What shape will you be in if the money isn’t repaid? If you can’t afford to lose it, you can’t afford to lend it. Can you help in some other way? If the would-be borrower needs money to repair a car, for example, could you give rides instead until they save money for repairs? Finally, could you make the money a gift instead of a loan? That way, you’re not expecting it to be paid back so you can’t be disappointed. Also, your relationship won’t be damaged. But again, only do that if the gift doesn’t encourage unwise practices. If you decide to lend money, draw up a written agreement even if you’re lending to a family member. That has a way of clarifying things and making it known who’s responsible for what and when. The loan agreement should specify the amount, interest rate if any, payment structure and collateral, if any. That will help eliminate misunderstandings later on. It’s easy to do, by the way. Just search for promissory note template and fill in the blanks. You’ll find plenty of samples online. One final thought. If you lend to another, I would always put the relationship above the money. Err on the side of forgiving the loan to preserve the relationship, if you can. That’s only possible if you lend with the ability and willingness to lose it in the first place. On today’s program we also answer your questions: --How do I remove hard inquiries from Equifax? --My emergency fund is currently in a credit union. Wouldn’t it be best to put this into a regular bank or a CD instead of a credit union? --I have built up enough money in my 401(k) to pay off my house. Is that a good idea? --What options do I have with an annuity? 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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A question for you, what costs your bank only $1, but sets you back $35? If you guessed an overdraft, you are correct. But it doesn’t have to be that way any longer. It’s no secret that banks have been gouging customers with overdraft charges for decades. Could that be coming to an end? We’ll talk about that first today, then we’ll take your calls on any topic at 800-525-7000. You never want to have an overdraft on your checking account. But anyone can make a mistake. For example, maybe a deposit you expected didn’t come through. You forget to check on it, some auto payments go out, and there you are, overdrawn. But then you’re hit with an overdraft fee, which these days averages around $35. This is a huge moneymaker for banks, because it only costs a bank about $1 to process an overdraft. Ally, one of the largest online banks, has announced it will no longer charge overdraft fees to any of its customers. Ally had waived those fees temporarily last year due to COVID, but they’ve now made the change permanent. In a press release, Ally CEO Jeffrey Brown said, "80% of overdraft fees are paid by consumers living paycheck to paycheck or with consistently low balances precisely the people who need help stabilizing their finances. Brown went on to say that eliminating those fees will help keep people from falling further behind and feeling penalized. Other banks have claimed they stopped charging overdraft fees, but in reality they only stopped allowing overdrafts. So, Ally announcing it will no longer charge customers for overdrafts is significant for the banking industry, and it’s leading to speculation that the rest of the industry may have to follow suit. Here are a couple of questions we answered from our callers on today’s program: --I got married recently and my wife owes on a car loan. She is still paying on a car that she returned. How is this possible? --What is the best way to pay my house off fast? --I have company stock in the company I have been with for 15 years. I am about to switch companies. Should I leave the stock where it is or move it somewhere? --I went to get a car loan and my credit score was around 811. When I paid off the loan my score was around 780. Why did paying off the car lower my score? Ask your questions at (800) 525-7000 or email them to [email protected] Visit our website at MoneyWise.org where you can connect with a MoneyWise Coach, purchase books, and even download free, helpful resources like the 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 at the top of the page.

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