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Avoiding the Financial Pitfalls

with Howard Dayton | September 17, 2009

How do you avoid the traps that sink you financially? Today Howard Dayton, co-founder of Crown Financial Ministries, tells couples how to avoid the pitfalls that threaten to derail so many couples financially.

How do you avoid the traps that sink you financially? Today Howard Dayton, co-founder of Crown Financial Ministries, tells couples how to avoid the pitfalls that threaten to derail so many couples financially.

Avoiding the Financial Pitfalls

With Howard Dayton
|
September 17, 2009
| Download Transcript PDF

Bob:  We didn’t really sit down.  I did the quick math in my head and said okay what kind of house payment do we have at that point we both had older cars and we didn’t have payments on them so we were in good shape there.  We didn’t have any credit card debt or college loans or anything so we really had a pretty basic little nut we had to cover.  But I also knew that the way we had been living as DINKS (dual income no kids)…

Howard:  …was about to change.

Bob:  It had been pretty impulsive when there was something we wanted to do…

Dennis:  …you did it.

Bob:  We did it.  We said one time we ought to go to Cancun and so we did.  Or we thought it would be cool to have a deck on the back of the house so we built a deck on the back of the house.  We could do that as DINKS and I remember thinking when we have the baby we’re not going to be able to make those impulsive decisions but here what was amazing. 

When Mary Ann came home and we didn’t have her income any more God provided for our needs through my income and all of a sudden our priorities got adjusted.  We weren’t all that interested in running off the Cancun or having the deck.  We had a baby and life was now taking on a little more sober, more realistic, more purposeful kind of thing.  We got by just fine.   We’ve always looked back and said we are so glad we made that decision.  It set a foundation for the rest of our lives.

Howard:  Yes.  This is what I encourage couples to do who feel that they may if they have children want mom to stay home.  Again, just as a framework for them to think through but if they can get to the point where they can live on his income and just use her income for three things:  To give to the Lord, to save and to pay down debt.  It positions them and they will be more and more able to make that transition if that is what God calls them to do if He provides the child.

Bob:  A couple that might not be in the situation that we were in let’s say instead of our situation they have a house payment plus two car payments and they are upside down in both of those car payments.  They also have consumer debt and some college debt.  They look at the situation and say there is no way we can get from here to there. 

Well, you can sit down and map out a plan if that is a priority for you.  You can start spending to make that happen.  When I say spending to make it happen I mean paying off the debt and doing exactly what you are talking about.  Let’s take this income and apply it in this direction.  It may take three years but three years from today we can celebrate what we are able to buy which is mom coming home. 

Howard:  That’s right.

Dennis:  Let’s talk about another pitfall that is true in the difficult economic times we faced recently where someone loses a job.  When that happens that couple is not making a decision in lieu of raising their child.  One person loses their job and their ability to make money.  Now at this point we know that about 80 percent of those are men not the women. 

Howard:  That’s right.

Dennis:  What’s your advice in that situation?

Howard:  First, if they have been having their weekly money date what we’ve discovered is that it is a lot easier for a family to make the transition to a crisis mode.  Because they have already been talking about money they both have a really good idea of where they are financially.  So what I recommend is number one meet daily every single day.  Pray together and invite the Lord into the situation.  Share your emotions and what you are thinking and what you are feeling.  It’s not just the bread winner who has lost the job who really has to deal with this.  It’s the spouse as well.  Is there going to be enough money?  The fear factor is an issue. 

Then number two don’t go it alone.  Don’t go through a crisis alone.  Find someone from your church or a close friend who can be praying for you.

Dennis:  Don’t be ashamed to admit you need that prayer.

Howard:  Absolutely.  Go to your church leadership and explain the situation if you are in a place where you just don’t have the money make the house payment or feed the family because that is what the local church should be all about helping those in need.

The last is you are number one and full time job if you have lost a job is to find a job.  Make that a priority and treat it just as if you were going to work each and every day.   Get a resume and meet people.  Network and do whatever you can do to find a new job.

Bob:  A lot of our listeners, Howard, saw the movie Fireproof came out a while back and in that movie there were money issues that came up.  In fact I remember that Caleb was saving up his money and this was one of their issues.  They had his money and her money. 

Howard:   Yes, right. Absolutely.

Bob:  And he was saving his money because he wanted to buy a boat and she was trying to figure out a way to save some money because she wanted to buy medical equipment for her parents.  What about the two pitfalls that are represented there?  The his and her money pitfall and the second thing which was the clash of priorities where he is saying this is something really important to me and she saying this is something important to me.  How do we get on the same page with that?

Howard:  I can totally relate to that particularly as a newly married husband.  I wanted to spend money the way I wanted to spend it on things that would benefit me.  I didn’t really have down the Philippians 2 passage of considering one another as more important than ourselves.  I didn’t consider Bev more important than me.  Really this has been a transition.  It’s taken years for me to get there but I get a much bigger kick out of spending money on something that Bev wants and that is a blessing to her rather than me. Fortunately she feels the same way. 

When that dynamic becomes a reality in your marriage it changes everything.  It’s no longer her versus him but rather it’s together.  That’s really the goal.  You have to remember God’s big picture on what He wants us to do with money is use it even challenges with it or crises with it is for the two to become one closer together rather than seeing money as a wedge to drive the two of you apart.  Now when it comes to her money and his money the key is that it be our money.  That doesn’t mean that you keep everything in one checking account.

Dennis:  Oh really, so you might recommend two different checking accounts?

Howard:  Yes, for several reasons.  First, it gives the husband and the wife the opportunity to develop a credit score and that is key.  Long term if the husband should predecease the wife often if everything has been in his name, the credit cards and checking account then she doesn’t have the basis for the credit score which can have a significant impact on everything from her ability to get a job to her having a reasonable amount of insurance premium.  It impacts so many things today.

That’s what Bev and I have done.  We have one card in her name and one in my name.  We meet together regularly and go over that during our weekly money date where you know exactly what is going on in the family.  She has a checking account and she takes care of all the household expenses. 

The reason we did that was that if I should predecease her we didn’t want her to be in a place where she didn’t have any idea what was going on in the finances.  The number one thing I’ve observed in talking to widows is they are afraid and they are afraid because they don’t understand what is happening financially in their household.  So, I wanted to give Bev the opportunity to experience writing the checks and that sort of thing so she had a handle on it.

Dennis:  You’re touching on another pitfall and that is where the wife doesn’t know what is going on financially in the marriage.  She doesn’t know what the condition the balance sheet is in, the income and expenses, the debt, and all that. 

I remember some time back, Bob, I took a stand on FamilyLife Today and I said my New Year’s resolution for this year is to create a packet that is called If I Should Die.  It contains all the accounts and information about the will and has a copy of the will in it.  I completed that.  I have to say in preparation for this broadcast as I thought about the pitfall I thought that really feels good as a man to have gone out ahead all the way to the end. 

If I was killed in a car wreck or plane crash or died suddenly Barbara and the advisors that I’ve recommended in that kit.  I’ve put that together for her so that she’s not going to be flying blind.  She’s going to have plenty of adjustments because she is going to have to do stuff that she is used to doing.   If it is all together there and she can see what is going on that makes it a lot easier.

Howard:  It does.  I think it is one of the best ways we can express our love for our wife.  I really do.  I applaud you for doing that.  What Bev and I do several times a year we go through it together.  Our little packet of goodies for her should I predecease her and I make sure she knows all of the counselors and advisors and that sort of thing to make it as easy as possible during that very emotional time. 

Dennis:  To make people feel better especially for some guys who are feeling under the pile right now.  It took me 35 years into our marriage before I did it.  The point is get your plan and know how you are going to handle this and one of the ways I’d recommend you do that is to get a copy of Howard’s book, Money and Marriage God’s Way because there are a number of projects in here that will force healthy discussion for you as a husband and a wife together.  Ultimately you will grapple with your differences and come out at the other end a lot better off.

Bob:  In addition to Howard’s book we have the resource that you use the If Something Happens to Me workbook.  It includes an organizer and a CD that comes with it if folks want to do their forms electronically.  All of the information about that can be found at our web site FamilyLife Today.com.  There is also information about Howard’s book Money and Marriage God’s Way.

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.

As we’ve discussed this subject one of the issues couples have to wrestle with when it comes to money is the whole issue of giving.  We want to say thanks to those of you who have wrestled with that issue and have made a decision as a couple to help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today.  We are listener supported which means your funds help cover the syndication and production costs for this program.   You make it possible for us to be on this station and on our network of stations all across the country.  You make possible our web site FamilyLife Today.com and we appreciate your partnership with us. 

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 gift made especially 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. 

When you make a donation of any amount to help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today this month you can request a copy of this CD.  If you donate online at FamilyLife Today.com type the word “gift” in the key code box that you find on the donation form that way we’ll know to send the CD out to you.

Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY.   You can make your donation over the phone.  When you call mention that you’d like the CD that we talked about on the radio and we’ll make arrangement to have a copy of it sent to you.  We do appreciate your financial support of this ministry and your partnership with us.

Now, tomorrow, Howard Dayton is going to be back with us.  We’re going to talk more about your marriage and about your money and how you make sure all that is working together.  I hope you can be back for that conversation.

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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