Is Your Financial House Built on Rock Or Sand?

From my article at Crosswalk.com

I have been advising and counseling others on how to build true wealth for the past fifteen years. I have seen my personal share of ups and downs and witnessed thousands of others. The 2008-2009 financial crises was sure a wake-up call for many investors as they watched the financial system they trusted for their future collapse in a few short months.

It got me thinking about how many people, Christians included, built and continue to build their financial houses on sand.  I am reminded ofMatthew 7:24-26:

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.”

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Rethink Wealth Podcast #28: Forget Europe & the US What About China?

On this episode:

1. Are we heading for another Great Depression?

2. Everyone’s worried about the debt crises in Europe and the U.S., but China may be a bigger problem!

3. How to determine if your financial house is built on rock or sane

Download the audio:

Podcast 28

How Do You Find a “Proud to Own” Company?

With thousands of stocks to choose among, how do you find a company you can be proud to own?

At Faith-Based Investor, we combine both moral and financial analysis to uncover companies our subscribers and clients can be “proud to own”.

This starts with a moral inventory.  What Christian values are important to you as an investor.  How much of your money in your 401Ks, IRAs, mutual funds, and stocks do you want to be profiting from things like:

1. abortion

2. explicit entertainment

3. homosexual activism

4. Embryonic stem cell research

5. Vices like tobacco, alcohol, and gambling

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Don’t Fight the Fed

Weapon of Choice?

Will there be QE3?  Will the Fed wait until stocks and the economy collapse before stepping in?  Is the Fed out of weapons?  Many in the mainstream media believe the Fed is out of options and we are stuck in neutral or worse yet – on a “sinking ship”.  Yet if you look at how powerful the Fed is, you will see that there is a person who has more influence on our economy than President Obama.  The man is Ben Bernanke.

If you have read any of my commentaries you know I don’t like the Fed’s policies and I certainly won’t “like” Bernanke on Facebook or join his fan club anytime soon.  Yet, it is dangerous and irresponsible to underestimate Bernanke and the Fed. It would be akin to ignoring the “kingpin” or neighborhood “crime boss”.  You may not like what he’s doing, but you better not cross him or you will end up on the losing side of that equation.

Ignoring Bernanke may not get you physically killed, but could certainly kill your wealth.  Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke this past week indicated that he and the Fed are now considering some “unconventional means” to “stimulate the economy”.  The Fed really has 5 weapons at their disposal to fight a sluggish economy.

1.  Printing money. Since the start of the financial crisis, the Fed has printed over a $trillion of excess money.  They have no limit on how much they can print.  If they need to, they will keep printing, printing, printing!

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If We Cut Trillions From the Federal Budget, How Will That Affect GDP?

The summer of discontent stretches on

As July ebbs into August, we have no resolution on the federal debt limit issue. The possibility of default is still in play. Republican leaders want major cuts to entitlement programs as a condition of raising the debt ceiling; Democrats agree on the necessity of cuts but also want tax hikes for the wealthiest Americans to bring in added revenue.

A trillion-dollar divide

On July 14, CNBC.com reported that both parties had tentatively agreed on nearly $1.4 trillion worth of reductions to the federal budget. That’s not too surprising: $1.4 trillion is the projected size of the budget gap for the fiscal year ending in September. Republicans have called for $2.4 trillion in cuts.

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When God Closes a Door

God is always in control

Sometimes in our day to day battles, we forget to acknowledge that God is ALWAYS in control.  Nothing ever takes Him for surprise. Imagine God saying, “WOW! I never saw that one coming!”.  It sounds ridiculous doesn’t it?  Yet, this is often what we assume happened when things don’t quite go our way:

* The job you didn’t get…

* The bad news that was just delivered…

* The financial challenges you now face…

* The doors God keeps closing…

Whatever it is, believe me, it didn’t catch God off guard. I truly believe He has a plan and purpose for each and every one of us.  Like in the game of chess, he is several moves ahead of where we are.  If we could only see far enough down the road.

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Where are the Jobs?

Where’s the jobs?

Wendy’s used to ask “where’s the beef?”  This week I ask, “where’s the jobs?”  Like you, I’m not seeing them!

This past week, after the jobs report, I was amazed at how few jobs were created in June… With trillions of dollars that have been poured into the markets, how could we see such dismal results?  I mean bailouts, quantitative easing, and stimulus -oh my!  And all we saw was a lousy 18,000 new jobs last month?

Are you kidding me?  That’s not even 500 new jobs per state. How can we continue a jobless economic recovery?  Until people are working and producing again and the housing market stabilizes, I don’t see us getting out of this economic mess any time soon.  That doesn’t mean the stock markets can’t rally here and there, but long-term we will have a tough uphill climb until we solve the job/production issue.

If people aren’t working, they aren’t spending money and thus companies aren’t hiring – it’s a vicious cycle. The merry go round won’t stop until we give business owners (the ones who create the jobs) incentives to hire.  Changing America from its current socialist state to a more capitalist environment would sure go a long way!

America used to be a pro-business country. We used to be the world’s “producer”.  Now we are the world’s “consumer”.  Jobs in the U.S. continue to be sent overseas and we as a nation continue to lose our competitive edge.

It’s no wonder, China is at our heels and on pace to take over as the world’s “top” economy.  They are “producers” – they produce products and profit.  We, in turn, borrow money and “consume”.  The “consumer”, if he doesn’t control his spending, eventually becomes a servant to the “producer”. The tables must turn for America to continue her greatness.

May we curb spending and get back to being the world’s greatest producer!  May we get back to our roots and may God Bless America!

What are your thoughts?  What do we need to do to get back on track?

I’d love to hear your thoughts…

Small Fees Add Up Big Time!

So much fine print goes unread

Few people realize how significantly 401(k) account fees can impact their retirement savings efforts. AARP recently conducted a poll of 401(k) participants and the results were eye-opening: 71% incorrectly assumed that they paid no account fees at all, and another 6% said they were entirely clueless about the matter.

In 2012, 401(k) plan sponsors will have to inform plan participants about the fees they pay when enrolled in these programs. Some of these fees are also common to IRAs.

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Can the U.S. Solve Its Debt Problems?

Can pigs fly?

When we look at the U.S. debt situation, the  word “hopeless” often comes to mind, even if you are quite the optimist. Though no situation is ever truly hopeless when we serve a sovereign God, we still need to be realistic.

Faith is a great thing when it is placed in the right hands.  Take God, for example.  Trusting in Him is a “sure bet”.  We may not get all we want, but He will certainly provide for all of our needs like it says in Philippians 4:19,“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

The trouble in this world begins when we place faith in the wrong hands.  In this case, we often place far too much trust and confidence in our political leaders.  This is where my concerns lie, in that, I do not believe politicians will ever do what is necessary to fix the U.S. budget issues.  I mean leaders who can’t come to an agreement on less than 1.5% of the budget ($50 billion in cuts) certainly are living in never-never land.

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Rethink Wealth Podcast #27: Will America Default on Its Debt?

On this episode:

  • Can the U.S. solve its debt problems?
  • Stuck between a rock & a hard place – 2 battles: democrats battle republicans while the Fed fights the economy.
  • 4 reasons we could see a summer stock market rally

Download the audio:

Podcast 27

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