Christian Living


Don't be a Fool with Money

CBN.com Dear Dave,

Our financial situation is pretty good now, and my husband and I feel it is time to start giving something back. There are several organizations we’re interested in helping, but how can we know if they’re legitimate and will use our money wisely?


Dear Laura,

I really appreciate your giving spirit, but the truth is you can never be 100 percent certain about this kind of thing. About the best you can do is put in some serious time researching and digging beneath the surface of various organizations to find some that are a comfortable fit for you.

My wife and I give the majority of our donations to Christian ministries. It’s not unusual for us to take a tour of the place to see what kind of feel we get while we’re there. If they’re secretive or not forthcoming with what we consider to be basic information about how they operate, or if we see signs of opulence or super-luxury, you can bet we’ll be asking lots of questions.

Talk to the leaders and administrators about what they plan to do with the money from your donation. You have a right to know this. I mean, if they’re going to give the money to hurricane victims, you want the victims to get the money, right?

People who work for a charitable organization need to make a decent living just like everyone else. But if they’re ultra-rich, it could be a sign that they’re not being responsible with their donations. Take a look at their administrative costs—what percentage of donations goes directly to the cause—and anything else you feel would help you make the right decision.

Giving is like anything else, Laura. It takes time and work to do it responsibly and with excellence!


Borrowing to Invest

Dear Dave,

I’m thinking this is the chance of a lifetime. There are bargain basement prices in the stock market right now, so would it be OK to borrow a small amount of money to buy stocks?


Dear Glen,

It’s definitely a time to be bullish, but it’s not a time to be foolish.

Buying single stocks is very risky. That would be foolish regardless of the price. And borrowing money to invest in anything increases the risk enormously. NEVER borrow to invest!

If you’ve got some of your own money in your pocket, I’d suggest investing in good growth stock mutual funds. That way, you’re not borrowing AND you’re spread across 80 to 200 different stocks!


Turning Over Control

Dear Dave,

I’ve never heard you discuss at what point it’s advisable to let someone else make and manage your investments. Also, is there a point at which it’s good to go with a fee-only financial planner?


Dear Anonymous,

I think it’s always a good idea to do it yourself. And to be honest, I never recommend fee-only planners.

Don’t just turn everything over to someone else—no matter how many letters they have after their name—and let them manage it all or make decisions for you. You’re the one who made the money, so you should take care of your own stuff. In lots of cases people looking for this kind of help have a greater net worth than the bozos dishing out advice and wanting to “handle” it all.

None of this stuff—investing, personal finance, or saving—is rocket science. YOU need to be in control of your money. Now, can you have counselors in your life? You bet! Everyone needs the benefit of people around them who have wisdom and experience.

But it’s never a good idea to just blindly trust someone. If you do, you might end up like Leon Spinks—no money and no teeth!



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