Following Your Money Map
About the Guest
Money has a way of bringing out the worst in us. Today Christian financial expert Howard Dayton walks Dennis Rainey through the Money Map – a tool designed to help you plan a healthy financial future.
Money has a way of bringing out the worst in us.
Following Your Money Map
Bob: There are some folks who would say even doing that you are going to spend more than you should.
Howard: I think that is true for a lot of people. Typically on average, surveys have found that folks spend about 30 percent more when they use plastic instead of that cold hard cash because it’s not really money it’s just plastic. You have to be very careful and disciplined…
Bob: You have to stick with your plan don’t you?
Howard: Yes, you are exactly right.
Dennis: Can I ask you what two cards you hold?
Howard: American Express and Visa and we have those two because of the frequent flier miles and the rewards that we receive.
Bob: So you have some tangible benefit plus just being able to function in the economy without a credit card there are places where it is really challenging to try to get by.
Dennis: Try booking a hotel room without a credit card.
Bob: Or renting a car.
Howard: It can be done but it is a huge challenge. For us the key was that we are disciplined enough in our spending after 38 years of marriage and 35 years of learning what God says about handling money. We are in a position where we can do it.
Bob: On my honeymoon at age 23 I went to rent a car and I encountered two problems. I was age 23 and I didn’t have a credit card.
Dennis: You didn’t!
Bob: No, when we got married I had a Penney’s card but they wouldn’t take that.
Dennis: That wasn’t that long ago.
Bob: They wouldn’t take my Penney’s card at the Avis place.
Bob: So we took the bus from Jacksonville to Orlando on our honeymoon. You didn’t know that?
Dennis: How romantic.
Bob: You never heard that story. It is the honest truth. It was one of those moments where I said I guess you have to have a credit card and I’d never had one. This was back in the 60s and the early 70s credit cards were not as ubiquitous as they are today. It was a little more rare for folks to have one. Well I realized I had better have one but somebody gave me the same advice. The first month you don’t pay off the whole amount that is when you stick it in the oven and bake it, right?
Howard: That will really smoke up your house but what I suggest some plastic surgery. Any good scissors will do. But you are exactly right. If you are in a place where you consistently don’t make the full payment perform plastic surgery.
Bob: Destination one is you put a spending plan together and you put $1000 in an emergency fund.
Howard: That’s right because emergencies happen. That is just part of life.
Bob: Destination number two is that you eliminate and pay off all your bills.
Howard: What I tell folks is snowball your credit cards. If you have more make the minimum payment on all of them but then focus on paying of the one first that has the smallest balance. It will encourage you and it will free up cash that you can then apply to the one with the second smallest balance. Just keep doing that until you eradicate all of them. What is cool is that once you start to make progress it’s easier because you have more cash to make the payment on the third one.
Dennis: I have one more question for you about credit cards. When did you allow your children to get credit cards?
Howard: We gave them a credit card when they were in college but we had guidelines. They could not spend more money than they had in the bank to pay for it each and every month. We saw the statements and it was part of the budget that they had for going through college. Under our tutelage we wanted them to keep us informed. We wanted to be there to mentor them and help them make wise decisions because in a few years they were going to be out on their own.
Bob: Let me ask you with destinations number one and two putting your spending plan together and getting your debt eliminated are you still tithing and giving at church each week?
Howard: Yes, absolutely. That is one factor that we like to say is no matter what.
Bob: No matter where you are on the map.
Howard: That’s right. That’s exactly right. You should be generous in your giving.
Bob: So if I am looking in my monthly and think if we just didn’t pay this money to the church we could get out of debt a year quicker. Would we be better off and wouldn’t the kingdom be better off if we got out of debt quicker? If we did that we could be generous.
Howard: There are a lot of benefits that flow to the giver when a person gives with a proper attitude. That is the big challenge of course. I’ve got all this debt and I can barely make it as is and now you want me to give money to God’s kingdom on top of that. It is so important for us. God doesn’t need the money but we as people need to be generous and to recognize that He is the owner of everything and this is a way for us to express our worship and our love to Christ is to give to Him in His kingdom.
I’ve seen it so many times Bob when folks give out of a heart filled with love the Lord somehow miraculously provides for them. It is cool to recognize that He is going to provide and you can’t know how or when He is going to do it sometimes. He can be so creative. He is both predictable and unpredictable. He’s predictable in His promise to provide for u but He is totally unpredictable in how He is going to do it.
Dennis: Okay, I can hear a young couple whining at this point. You have me saving, and cutting down on the debt. When in the world do I get to spend again?
Howard: Well, you better be spending a little to live on but you can’t spend it should be built into your budget. You might want to have as a couple each of you get $25 or $50 a month for allowance so that the husband or wife can spend whatever they want to as long as that allowance is intact. There are things that couples can do but what we discovered as a young couple is that you really didn’t have to spend a boat load of money to be satisfied. Our culture tells us we do. You have to buy the biggest and the best. You have to go for this extravagant vacation or whatever it might be. But you know there is a very interesting passage in Psalm 16:11 that says, “in the presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy.”
Dennis: That’s right.
Howard: I know when I drove my $100 truck if I was having a good time with the Lord and experiencing His presence I would be in a much better place than the person who had the most expensive vehicle on the road but wasn’t experiencing the presence of God.
Bob: I think you’ve hit on what in our culture today if there is one money issue that is the root money issue it is consumerism and materialism. The media fuels the cultural desires. Randy Alcorn said it this way. He said we look out on the horizon like a guy in the desert and we see these mirages and we think when I get there I’m going to find happiness. The problem is that we run out of money before we run out of mirages and we keep thinking the next thing is going to satisfy me.
Solomon is the only guy in the Bible who ran out of mirages before he ran out of money and he says he got there and said you know what it’s all vanity. I’ve been to every mirage station there is and it’s all vanity. But you watch the commercials on television at night or you see what the neighbor just pulls in next door or whatever is fueling it you are constantly bombarded with the idea that when you have this there will be joy. You are absolutely right in the presence of the Lord is fullness of joy not in the presence of a new plasma screen television or in the presence of a new car or in the presence of a new vacation or whatever else you think is going to bring you satisfaction.
Howard: Yes, it is a lie. It is an absolute lie that we are going to have that fullness of joy apart from being in the presence of Christ.
Dennis: And this is a generation coming up out of such affluence in America that it feels like it deserves that plasma television.
Dennis: I mean why should we be looking at a box when all of our friends have got the latest greatest?
Howard: That’s right.
Dennis: They think about using consumer debt to go do that. Destination number three after you paid off all your credit cards is what?
Howard: That would be to pay off all the rest of your consumer debts primarily your automobile and any student loans that you have. That is what you really focus on plus increasing that emergency fund to three months living expense. You can get the picture at every destination you do become more financially stable and financially healthier. You can be in a position to actually give more than you were before.
Bob: Three month living expense? I mean if it’s between that and the plasma come on, Howard? Do we really need three months living expenses?
Howard: I will just say this Bob. There are a lot of people out there today who would say wow I wish I’d had the three months living expense before I got laid off from my job. What is it—600,000 people are losing their jobs. It is so important. I know it doesn’t sound like a lot of fun but it is so important to get your financial house in order so that you can have margin. Should you lose a job, have an illness or be an accident where you have margin.
Dennis: I’m looking at the clock we have to get there before the half hour is up.
Give us the last few destinations so we know what they are.
Howard: I’ll just say this after destination three and you’ve paid off everything except your house then you focus on savings. Saving for retirement, saving to help your children get their education and that sort of thing.
Destination five is when you actually buy your house. I want to say really quickly to use two rules of thumb. Save enough so that you can put 20 percent down on the purchase of your house and then don’t spend more than 40 percent of your income on all housing expenses including the mortgage and your utilities and real estate taxes and that sort of thing. That is really important. You don’t want to buy too much house.
Dennis: Why 40 percent?
Howard: There are so many people today who are losing their houses because they had more than 40 percent allocated toward your housing. If you spend more than 40 percent you have to cheat in another category like food or clothing. So don’t violate that 40 percent rule of thumb.
Dennis: I’m looking at destination number six here.
Howard: Destination number six is where you actually pay off the home and you have enough income from your savings and investments to not quite take care of your living but you are making real progress.
Dennis: The reason for paying off your mortgage is just to be debt free?
Howard: Absolutely. You just lowered your overhead in a significant way. What Bev and I discovered once we paid off our home was that we had so much more money available to us each and every month. It was our largest expense so we could be much more generous in our giving and at the same time much more aggressive on our saving and investing.
Bob: So once you get there…
Dennis: You’ve arrived!
Bob: Yes, there still is a seventh destination spot on the map.
Howard: The seventh spot is you have enough income so that you can volunteer your time full time.
Dennis: I want to correct you Howard.
Howard: What’s that?
Dennis: You’ve actually done something different than that. Destination number seven is you become a Crown Financial mentor or a coach, right?
Howard: We need them.
Dennis: Yes, really. And a lot of young couples need them today as well. I want to encourage listeners who may have some abilities in this area to do that. There is one last question I want to ask you before we are done here. If we could call Bev right now and ask her what is it like being married to Howard Dayton when you meet on a money date? You said she does the books and I’m going is there a possibility that she could win in this deal Howard?
Howard: I would just say this. Bev is grateful for where the Lord has put us financially because we made those decisions early on.
Dennis: Okay, tell the truth. What’s the worst money date you have ever had?
Howard: Oh, boy. When we merged with Larry Burkett we sold our home in Florida and moved up to Gainesville Georgia and built a new home. We actually took the money from the sale of our old home and built the new home. We had quite a discussion over the doorknob that Bev wanted to put in the kitchen that was going to cost $50. She still hasn’t quite forgiven me for making that an issue.
Bob: Did you veto the $50 doorknob?
Howard: Let me just say that I floated the idea of vetoing but it became very apparent to me that this was a losing proposition.
Dennis: I want you to know that Barbara and I did a little remodel job and they do make doorknobs more expensive than $50.
Bob: I just want our listeners to know…
Dennis: We don’t have any but I’ve seen the catalogs, Howard.
Bob: I just want our listeners to know that the husband who makes it an issue may be a doorknob himself.
Howard: That’s right.
Dennis: And if you manufacture doorknobs and support FamilyLife Today I’m sorry.
Bob: We are laughing about this but in the moment these can be very real issues for couples. I just appreciate the work that you put into the book Money and Marriage God’s Way to help couples have the kind of money dates we’ve been talking about to help them get on the same page. I want to encourage our listeners before you have your next money date get a copy of Howard Dayton’s book Money and Marriage God’s Way.
Go to our web site FamilyLife Today.com and find information about the book online. Or just call us toll-free at 1-800-FL-TODAY. That’s 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800-F as in “family” L as in “life” and then the word TODAY and we’ll make arrangements with you to have the resources you need send out to you.
We also want to make sure we wrap up this week by saying a word of thanks to those of you who help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today. All of the costs associated with the syndication and production costs for this program and the maintenance of our web site are made possible by your financial support of this ministry. Many of you have contacted us to make a donation and we appreciate that financial support and in fact this month we’d like to say thank you if you are able to make a donation of any amount by sending you a copy of one of the messages from the FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference.
One of the things that we talk about at the conference is God’s Plan for marriage and what it means to leave, cleave and become one flesh and what it means to embrace your spouse as God’s perfect gift made for you. We have a copy of this message presented by
Dr. Crawford Loritts who is the pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Georgia.
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We hope you have a great weekend. We hope that you and your family are able to worship together this weekend and we hope you can join us back on Monday. We’re going to hear from Barbara Rainey and Susan Yates about what women can do to get ready for the empty nest. Whether your children are still little or approaching their teen years or beyond this is something every woman needs to be ready for when the time comes. I hope you can join us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today Keith Lynch and our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our host Dennis Rainey I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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