Simple Money, Rich Life: Bob & Linda Lotich
If you invited God into your finances, what could happen? On FamilyLife Today, Dave and Ann Wilson talk with author Bob Lotich and his wife Linda about money, marriage, and making financial decisions.
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If you invited God into your finances, what could happen? Author Bob Lotich and his wife Linda talk about money, marriage, and making financial decisions.
Simple Money, Rich Life: Bob & Linda Lotich
Bob: —you just go there. I have a video showing how to do what we talked about yesterday, tracking your spending, and just kind of breaks down exactly what to do. If you don’t want to write it all down on paper or on your notes app on your phone—which that works, as well—this is a great option to consider as well.
Dave: Alright; today, we’re going to have some fun. We actually have our producer, Jim Mitchell, in the studio.
Dave: He’s usually on the other side of the glass, talking about us, but he’s actually in the room. [Laughter]
Ann: He’s an amazing producer.
Dave: This has never happened, by the way; this is a first.
Dave: You guys must have hit a nerve. [Laughter]
Ann: Jim Mitchell, welcome to FamilyLife Today in studio.
Jim: Thank you. Hi, guys; good to meet you.
Dave: What are you doing in here?
Jim: You guys got my wheels turning. This is a good couple of days we’ve heard so far.
Ann: Jim, our producer, has been married to Lisa how many years?
Jim: Twenty/just turned twenty-eight.
Ann: Have you guys ever fought about money?
Jim: Only every day. [Laughter] Only when we talk about money. We definitely have conflict over money. I am a spender; I don’t like thinking about planning ahead/any of that. She is craving that so much; and she’s been telling me, 28 years, to spend more time and give more attention to it. I’m all ears to this one.
Ann: You’ve come up with some questions for us today.
Jim: Yes; Dave kicked us off with: “We’re not going have conflict today”; but I’m going to try to stir the pot a little bit.
Jim: Because I know we have a couple of spenders at the table and a couple of savers. I’m going to throw some questions/just three questions at you, one at time. I want you to think of your answer, and we’ll just go around and hear if there’s a distinction between the two.
Ann: I’m last. [Laughter]
Dave: You’re last.
Jim: Here’s question one: “At the end of the month, you have an extra 200 bucks. What do you do with it?”
Dave: I would give, at least, 20—maybe, 40—so 10 to 20 percent of that.
Ann: Who are you right now? If I gave you $200, you would do that?
Dave: Especially now, at this stage of our life, where we’re headed toward retirement, we need that money. It’s just one answer; I’m not saying it’s the right answer! That’s just my answer.
Ann: You’re so spiritual.
Bob: Dave’s got the holy answer.
Ann: Wait! What would you spend the money on that you didn’t give away to Jesus?—what would you spend it on?
Dave: I told you I was going to save it.
Ann: You’re saving the whole thing?!
Dave: I’ve got everything I need.
Ann: That’s not even fun.
Dave: She’s sitting right here.
Ann: Oh, that’s a good answer. [Laughter]
Alright, Bob, you know your answer?
Bob: Sure, it’s a whole lot less spiritual;—[Laughter]—but I would probably take Linda out on a nice date.
Ann: Oh, this is a good answer.
Dave: I would do that, too—
Bob: I wouldn’t point—
Dave: —I wouldn’t take Linda out—I’d take Ann out.
Linda: Thank goodness.
Linda: My answer’s pretty simple: “I would not have $200 left at the end of the month.” [Laughter]
Dave: It wouldn’t happen?
Linda: So I’m exempt from this one.
Ann: No, come on! You have to have something; what?
Linda: It would be gone/long gone.
Ann: —like I gave it to you today; it’s at the end of the month.
Dave: Why would it be gone?
Linda: I just have a running list in my head of what I need to buy next. [Laughter] If you gave it to me right now, I would spend it that fast [snapping fingers].
Ann: I think I would take 100 of that, and I would spend it on our grandkids;—
Dave: Yes, she would.
Ann: —or just some friend;—
Dave: Probably 150.
Ann: —we’re going to somebody’s house for dinner tonight, and they have some kids; I’d probably buy something for those kids to take with me.
Jim: “You way over-spend one month. What happens at the start of the next month?”
Bob: Just brush it off; I would probably have to figure out where to pull the over-spending; and then, we would just go at it again/try to do better next month.
Linda: Yes, my first thing would be to tell Bob, “Whoops! [Laughter]
Linda: “I would return it, but I can’t.” Just say, “What should we do now?”
We have specific budgeting categories for everything; so if we over-spend, we either have a deficit—so it’s like the next month, we just get less money in that category—or if it’s way more than that/we can’t do that, it’s just like, “Alright; we need to find some more money”; right?
Ann: What’s yours, Dave?
Dave: Well, yes, first of all, I’d be like, “We’ve got to spend less next month.” But I think—you know me—I’d be like, “Hey, what can I sell on Facebook® Marketplace?
Ann: You totally would do that. [Laughter]
Dave: I would.
Dave: We’ve got stuff that we don’t need. I guarantee you I could find you a couple of hundred bucks, probably more, in a couple of hours.
Ann: I think I would—
Dave: Yes, we didn’t hear your answer. [Laughter]
Ann: —I would be hiding in shame; I would feel so guilty.
Ann: That would be my first thing. This just kind of happened—I was at our son’s; they were out of town—I thought, “I’m going to mow his grass for him.”
Dave: This did cause tension.
Ann: It was the first time in the spring, so his grass is so long. I’m thinking, “Why hasn’t he mowed his grass?” I go into the garage—I like to do this kind of stuff—I try to get the mower started, and this thing will not start. I text him—he’s in France—and I said, “Why won’t your mower start?”
Dave: I’m not in France; my son is. You’re going to hear where the story goes.
Ann: He says, “Oh, you have to mix the oil every time you put that gas in. I haven’t mixed the oil for the new season in the gas. You need to go get this oil…”
This is bad on my part—but I’m like, “I’m not going to get the oil. I’m going to go get a new lawn mower, because this thing’s a piece of junk. That’s what I’m going to do.” [Laughter] I come home. I don’t ask Dave—I tell him—here’s what I say, “I work, and I’m going to go buy him a new mower. I’m going to buy him an electric mower.”
Dave: —battery operated.
Ann: I don’t even hear his response, because I don’t want to hear it—I just get in the car—this is that self-righteous/prideful: “I work hard; I should get to spend my money the way I want to.” I go to Home Depot® . I’m not saying I’m right in this situation—I was just frustrated, and I wanted to get the job done quickly—I thought, “He’s going to love this thing.” He did.
Then I come home, and we start talking about it—it wasn’t going well—you weren’t yelling or anything. But this is typical for me to go buy something for somebody. But then, you guys, I get a check in the mail. Because I told him, “I just wanted to do it; this would be so fun.” I get a check in the mail from some random lawsuit that’s taken place, and I get a check for $350 the next day. I say to Dave, “Jesus loves when I buy things for people.” Now, he can’t even use the God-card; so he can’t even say anything.
Linda: —“…use the God card”; [Laughter] “Take that!”
Dave: It is a really good mower.
Jim: Alright; because FamilyLife values marriages so much, I’m just going to throw this one in as kind of a redemptive question: “What do you love most about your spouse’s approach to money?”
Ann: I’ll go first on this one. I love that you care about this because I don’t. I love that you are thinking about it, and you’re wanting to do something about it. That makes me feel secure.
Dave: I’ll go second then. I really do love your giving spirit.
Ann: [Gasping sound] What?!
Dave: You are a giver, not just to God—we have always started at ten percent and tried to increase that to our church, and to ministry, and to FamilyLife—but beyond that, not just to our kids, but to a stranger; it’s a beautiful thing. We could be one couple to say: “God has always”—42 years now—“provided, in some ways/often miraculous, like, ‘I got you.’” Like that little magic money check the time you bought that lady’s groceries in Walmart®—which I went nuts, like, “You literally turned around and bought her entire thing?”—and the next day, a check came, from nowhere, for over $1,000 that I never saw coming.
Ann: I think: “Praying about that—when we pray and tell God—'I’m so afraid about our finances.’” I love that He’s attuned to that; I love that He cares about it with us and wants to provide and wants to give us wisdom.
I love that He’s given a passion to couples, like you, to write books to help us.
Bob: I think that’s one of the coolest things is that God wants to be involved in your financial situation: “Why not invite Him into that area of our life?” Because I think so many of us separate and segment our lives and don’t really invite Him into that spot. I think that is far better off.
Dave: What do you guys love about each other, financially?
Linda: One of the things—I was actually just telling you about this when we took a little break—I can’t remember which day it was that I mentioned how I cried a lot in the beginning. I remember one time, in particular, where we had just reduced our expenses. I remember there was an event that we had, and I wanted something new to wear; and I felt that I needed it. It was one of those things, where it was like: “I really kind of need this but not enough to blow our budget over.”
Ann: Every woman can identify with that statement.
Linda: Absolutely; right?
Linda: I remember just crying, and being like, “Bob, what am I supposed to do?” Instead of him just going, “It’s not that big of a deal,”—
Ann: — or “How many dresses/outfits do you have in the closet?”
Dave: She keeps revealing our little secrets here; there it is again. [Laughter]
Linda: —instead of doing that—he said, “Okay, I’ll go shopping with you; and we’ll find a way to make something happen.” He ended up helping me. We found something that was on sale that actually fit my budget. He didn’t just/he had compassion on my hard time so I didn’t feel like I was doing this on my own; I didn’t feel like it was all me that needed to change. He was willing to adapt, and help me, and walk through it with me. Does that make sense?
Dave: Yes, that’s good.
Ann: Way to go, Bob!
Bob: “Way to go, me.”
Ann: Yes; “Way to go, you.”
Linda: Because even though he doesn’t spend money the way that I do, so he doesn’t care about the same things I do.
Ann: But he’s not judging what you’re spending on.
Linda: No; but he was showing: “But I care about it, because you care about it.”
Bob: One of the interesting things that God did for me—because we got married, and I’m the math guy, of course, as we have established—I’m the one who created our budget and all that stuff. I just assumed: “She is running around, spending our money like no other; and therefore, she doesn’t have much value to add to our financial life. So I’m just going to do this. I’ve got the numbers—this is math; this is black and white—my way is right. This is what it is.”
God really showed me—put me in my place and just revealed—that she has a whole lot of value, not just to our marriage, but also to our financial life, specifically where I’m like, “How? How’s that possible?” [Laughter] I had a lot that I needed to learn from her. But that required some level of humility because again, I thought I was right—I thought, “This is math; it’s black and white,”—but in that, God came to show me that I am too much of a hoarder; I have too much of a tendency to save everything up for the future.
Her just willingness and desire to enjoy the blessings that He’s given us—to trust that God’s going to provide; whereas I might have a tendency to trust in how big our savings account is/might lean more in that direction—she has something that’s been a lot of value to me. As I’ve allowed her to rub off on me, our marriage has gotten better/our financial situation has gotten better. It’s like we still save; and in that/in my yielding to her on that, she’s yielded in my direction and has worked to control her spending a little bit more and to stay within budget, and things like that. It’s really been a great thing that God has just brought us to a more healthy balance.
All that to say, “I just appreciate the way that she spends money now; whereas, it was a point of contention before; and now, I see the value in it. I see that value in being spontaneous and looking for ways to spend money in moments and things like that.”
Dave: Is that where you developed part of your four steps?
- Save all you can.
- Earn all you can.
- Give all you can.
- And then that last one, which a lot of people never say, is: “Enjoy it all.”
Is that part of what you’ve gotten from Linda?
Bob: That’s been/she literally added that part to the book when we were coming up with a concept/this whole idea. This is so much of the value that she adds to what we do—is just this component of enjoying money—but also doing it without guilt and shame—and to breaking that part off; because we’ve just seen so much of that/so much—people are carrying so much guilt and shame about finances in their marriage/in their personal lives. That’s a big part.
Dave: I would add—you tell me if this is true—I think a lot of guilt and shame a lot of Christians carry—because there’s a tendency to think: “We should never really enjoy possessions/things; that’s idols,”—and they can be, obviously.
Bob: They can be, for sure.
Dave: But it’s always like: “If I have an extra dollar, it goes to God. I don’t buy a nice dress; I don’t buy a nice pair of shoes. I live very simply,”—again, I’m not saying any of that is wrong; because a lot of that is true—but often, I feel like Christians never celebrate and enjoy. Enjoy it; it’s okay.
Linda: Yes; I think you kind of see the two extremes—where you’ve got this prosperity gospel of: “If you don’t have a lot of money, then there’s something wrong with your spiritual life,”—and then there’s: “If you have too much, there’s something wrong with your spiritual life.” But both of these are missing the whole point; which is, “God’s always after our hearts first. It doesn’t matter how much money we have if He doesn’t have our heart,”—on either extreme—it doesn’t really matter. That’s how I see it.
You see some people, who are extremely wealthy, and then you see some people, who are missionaries and living in an impoverished nation; they’re supposed to be there. If you give them $1 million, and they live in a mansion when they’re in it, they lose their credibility. You know what I mean? It’s dangerous for them, probably; and it’s just not the right thing. I don’t think it really matters how much money you have; I think that it matters what your heart is doing along the way.
Ann: Maybe that’s the biggest take-home of asking ourselves: “Does God have our heart?” That’s good.
Bob: That’s a common denominator that I see as I look all throughout the New Testament about money—is this idea of our hearts—"Are we going to serve mammon, or are we going to serve God?” Of course, none of us are like, “Well, yes; I’m going to go serve mammon,”—none of us are going to say that, but how are we making decisions?
Like when we get a job offer, is the answer simply: “It pays more, so I’m just taking it”?—because that can be—I know, for me, that’s been/God convicted me of: “You’re serving mammon when that is your answer: ‘It pays more, so I’m going to go do it,’ rather than asking God and prayerfully deciding, ‘What the thing is we’re going to do.’”
I think so much of it just comes back to our heart.
But there’s also—there’s two parts of this/there’s two different [types of] people, who are listening on both of these extremes—I think the answer changes a lot, depending on what that person is and what they need in that moment.
Dave: Yes. Here’s a tension question—as I’m sitting here with a couple, who’s written about this, and has really gone on a journey with God to get a handle on your money in a good way; and you’re helping others now—if a person says: “My life is about Jesus; He’s everything,” and they don’t give more than two percent—because that’s the average in the American church. I know, as a pastor, most of my congregation gave less than two percent. I didn’t look at the numbers; I just know that’s true in America—and yet, they would say, “Jesus is everything,”—what do you think of that? Is that true? I’m throwing that out to the money guys.
Bob: Here’s the thing: part of what we try to do with what we communicate is communicate something about the joy of giving; because I was never motivated by guilt, shame, obligation to give more. I might have done it, feeling obligated or whatever the thing might be, but that never motivated me. But once I discovered the joy of giving—I know that’s squishy Christian talk—but once I realized how to hack our way—and that’s a lot of what we talk about—“What are the simple systems we can put in place to make giving more fun?”—as we’ve done that we’ve had more of a desire to give more. You know what I mean?
Addressing that person, only giving two percent, I guess the thing that I would say is: “You don’t have to give more, but there’s an opportunity here.” I think also—when we see ourselves, and we understand that we are eternal beings, and we see beyond this life, and we understand what’s at stake/we understand that, when we give, we’re storing up treasures in heaven, whatever that means—I don’t know what that means exactly—but I’m also: “There’s something here; there’s some incentive that God has laid out for us in terms of our giving. Why not lean into that and take advantage of that if we’re just on earth for just a short sliver of our entire existence and we get to store up treasures for eternity?”
There’s a quote from Randy Alcorn that I love, where he said, “The greatest deterrent to giving is the illusion that earth is our home.” To me that just stirs me up to want to give more. If you’re on a vacation for one week out of the year, you understand this is just a short window; that’s what our life on earth is in the scope of eternity.
Ann: That’s good.
Dave: Yes; and we sit here in the studio—and we are a donor-based ministry; we’re here because our listeners give—that is an incredible blessing, even to sit here; it’s a privilege—but I feel this responsibility: “We need to honor their sacrificial giving. They believe in this ministry, and we need to make sure we do it well. We’re stewards of God’s money that He’s given to them, and they say, ‘I believe in FamilyLife. I’m going to give.’”
Even as I say that—if you’re a listener, and you’re a giver—“Thank you. This is/we do not take this lightly; thank you. We know what it means to write a check or make a donation, digitally; it’s a big deal. It does say, ‘Jesus does matter,’ ‘Marriages matter,’ ‘Families matter,’ and ‘I want to get behind that.’”
I’m glad you guys are here.
Ann: Thanks for being with us.
Dave: We didn’t just talk about money; we talked about family and marriage. You’ve been so helpful to our listeners; thanks.
Bob: It’s our pleasure; it’s an honor.
Shelby: You are listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Bob and Linda Lotich on FamilyLife Today, along with our very own executive producer, Jim Mitchell. Actually, Jim’s got a personal story of how prayer made all the difference in a recent disagreement he and his wife were having; so stick around for that and see if you can relate.
But first, we’d love to send you a copy of Bob and Linda Lotich’s book; it’s called Simple Money, Rich Life. It’s our “Thanks,” to you when you partner, financially, today with us. You can give, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com or by giving us a call at 800-358-6329; that’s 800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life and then the word, “TODAY.”
Here’s FamilyLife Today’s executive producer, Jim Mitchell, with a story about the power of prayer when you’re not seeing, eye to eye, with your spouse.
Jim: As I listen to you all answering question three on esteeming one another, I was thinking about: “The Bible says: ‘Two are better than one [Ecclesiastes 4:9].’” That is really easy to agree with when she’s doing the things that I like. [Laughter] I totally get it, like, “Two are better than one, for sure, right now.” It’s really hard whenever we’re different, and she’s not doing what I would naturally do or what I want her to do.
Lisa and I were in an argument here recently, and we’d given each other the cold shoulder—that’s what we do for a good day or two—just the bare minimum conversations to get through the day; then: “I’m still mad at you,” “You know, I’m still mad at you.” We got to day three; and I was: “We can’t keep doing this.”
I’m like: “Okay; as the husband, I do not want to do this; but I want to initiate something that might warm this.” I said, “Sweetheart, come in here. Can we just lay down and pray together and acknowledge to God what’s been happening? Then let’s just pray something that we like about each other.” We did it—and as we did that/as we articulated the things that we loved—it just warmed the room, and it reconnected us.
I’m just thinking about, as we listened today: “If we’re at odds about finances, and we don’t see eye to eye—like: ‘You keep spending, and I keep trying to get us to save,’—two are better than one.” I heard you guys doing that as you honored one another; I realized your marriage is stronger because you’re different. But if we don’t talk about those things, all we see is what’s different and what I don’t like about you.
Shelby: Tomorrow, on FamilyLife Today, Dave and Ann Wilson are joined by Tim Kimmel and Michael Tooker to talk about Michael’s battle to succeed at work while simultaneously compromising his relationships with the people closest to him. You won’t want to miss that.
On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Shelby Abbott. We’ll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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