Archives For August 2011

S&P 500 Soars After Earthquake!       This just in… today’s earthquake in Mineral, VA that prompted the evacuation of several buildings in Washington caused the stock market to soar. Stocks edged a full 1.23% higher before closing for the day after the temblor* hit the East Coast. In other news, butter production in Bangladesh was up 0.615% on August 23, 2010.

       And that’s why financial reporting is completely ridiculous… All the financial reporting that talks about stock market movements should come with a required phrase – “We think that the stock market…”. It’s amusing how we try to peg exactly what caused the market movements and why. The truth is these are only guesses.

       But seriously, the stock market really did go up after everyone in Washington had to leave their offices. Coincidence? I think not.

* Note: I picked this up from NPR. Gotta love thesauri…

Gold Bars by Mark Herpel on Flickr       On Friday, Free Money Finance posted a link to Sound Mind Investing’s new and free ebook about investing in gold. You can sign up to get the ebook here if you’re interested. I’ve been reading about this issue of gold, inflation, and the declining dollar for a bit now so I thought I’d check it out.

       After reading it, I headed back to FMF’s site to leave a comment and was pleased to find an insightful comment from Rick Francis who writes at Pondering Money. Rick’s question was this: If you believe that the dollar will weaken, political gridlock will continue, and that these are bad things, why not hedge against inflation with something that hasn’t had a “meteoric” (as SMI puts it) price increase? And while you’re at it, why not choose a commodity that actually has practical uses like oil, real estate, or food? (Or if you’re really worried, shotgun shells and bottled water…my words, not Rick’s.)

       Take, for example, copper. Copper has a large number of practical applications while gold has only a limited few. Now I’m not saying copper is the right choice. I’m just giving you an example. Oil could be another good example.

       Here’s another one: real estate. Or even better, how about real estate with a commodity on it – land with standing timber. Again, I’m not saying these are the ideal alternatives for gold. Rather, I’m simply trying to make the point that there are some other commodities that you can make a better case for investing in than gold. So don’t try to take me to task for a possibly poor choice of replacements. The question still stands: can we find no better, more useful, more reasonably priced commodity to use as a hedge against inflation than gold?

       The Christian Financial Alliance was created to help readers. The idea is this: Create a panel of biblical finance gurus – people who take seriously the call to teach the Bible accurately with grace and truth. Once a month, we post a question with a response from our panel to provide you with well-rounded, sound, biblical advice. For more on the Christian Financial Alliance (or to join our team) click here.

Name one spiritual reason to get out of debt.

       “When you’re in debt it can become a barrier to your relationship with Christ. As Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” When you have a large amount of debt it can cause money to become your master, at the detriment of your walk with Christ.” –

       “Because it’s wise to do so. Every time the Bible talks about debt, it does so as a warning or in a negative light – debt is never presented in a positive manner. The Bible’s wisdom says to avoid debt and the soundness of that advice has been proven time and time again.” –

       “While debt itself is not evil, it can be a sign pointing to a deeper problem in our lives. The typical person in thousands of dollars of credit card debt gets there by being focused on consumerism and materialism rather than pursuing God’s kingdom first. (That’s not always the case, but it is very common.) So a good spiritual reason to get out of debt is to break that cycle of buy, buy, buy and free yourself from valuing your life based on your possessions. For many people, getting out of debt can be a first step to passionately pursuing God’s kingdom.” –

       “Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:23). Avoiding and getting out of debt requires self-control (to say the least!). Therefore, I think we learn a lot about this fruit when we start steering away from debt.” –

       “Debt can hinder our ability to hear God’s call on our life. We can have so many bills to pay that if God calls us to some type of work that pays less that what we’re currently making we may think we have a fuzzy connection. Living free from the bondage of debt frees us to hear and respond to whatever He calls us to.” –

       “Wonderful opportunities to serve the Lord are jeopardized when debt obligations demand our constant attention. It’s awfully hard to purchase airline tickets and the supplies needed to go on a missions trip when monthly payments for the Visa and line of credit consume most or all of our income above the basic necessities. Imagine how great it would be to hear of a need for help and be able to pay cash – not only to visit that country to work – but to generously give to the individuals who stay there serving the Lord when we return home! Financial freedom from debt not only releases us from repayment bondage but it allows us to answer God’s calling when asked to serve Him.” –

       For more on the Christian Financial Alliance (or to join our team) click here.

       Readers, what would your answer be? What’s a spiritual reason to get out of debt? What did you think of the responses? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

The Root of Riches       Several weeks ago, I interviewed Chuck Bentley about his new book The Root of Riches. I really enjoyed the book and thought Chuck and I had a great conversation. I highly recommend the book for anyone looking to go beyond the right financial practices and get to the heart of what it means to follow Christ in our finances.

       Crown Financial Ministries has graciously given me a copy of The Root of Riches to give away in addition to a lifetime membership for Crown Mvelopes – an online budgeting system. You can learn more about Crown Mvelopes here.

Crown Mvelopes

       To win, all you need to do is like Provident Planning on Facebook before Friday, August 5, 2011 at 5:00 PM EDT. (Note: This is different from my previous Facebook page which was through NetworkedBlogs. So if you’re already following Provident Planning on Facebook through the NetworkedBlogs app you are eligible to enter this giveaway!)

       Anyone who becomes a fan on Facebook between now and the deadline will be eligible to win. I’ll randomly select two winners – one for the book and one for the Crown Mvelopes lifetime membership. If you have a preference, let me know in the comments below.

       I’ll announce the winner on Provident Planning’s Facebook page so be sure to keep an eye out for it Friday evening. If you win, make sure you get back to me so I can arrange to get you the book or membership code. If you don’t get in touch with me by Monday, August 8, I’ll select another winner. Good luck!