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Long Term Lifestyle

Lifestyle is where the rubber meets the road. Most people have very real dreams and ideas about the lifestyle that they hope for. Since God owns it all, I believe that our lifestyle choices are as “spiritual” as our giving choices. My basic philosophy regarding long term lifestyle goals or desires is this: it is not wrong to have long-term lifestyle desires; however, the only wise way to attain them is by saving rather than by borrowing. Debt and lifestyle go hand in hand for most people. My heart is to see God train us and mold us through the process of saving for those “big ticket” items that we would love to have.

What is the best school option for a Christian: public, private, or home school?
  • This is not a financial question; rather, it is a priority question with financial implications.

  • Each child is different and has different needs. The decision about where to send a child to school is
    individual for each family, and for each child in the family. Be sensitive to your child’s short-term needs, and the long-term consequences will tend to work themselves out.

  • If you choose private school, you may have to give something up, such as a newer car, a vacation, or eating out. But this is a priority decision you and your family have to make for each of your children.

How big of a house is it right for me to buy?
  • One of the biggest budget mistakes people make is buying a house that is too big or too grand.

  • When you buy a house, you buy a lifestyle. You may buy a house that requires you to send your children to private school, or that has higher taxes or utilities, or one that makes you feel like you need to keep up with the neighbors.

  • The best way for you to decide what you can pay for a house is to determine a total lifestyle budget, and then allocate what you can afford in terms of a mortgage within that budget.

  • Remember that a house is place to live; it is not an investment. An investment is something that you sell when it goes up in value. A house is a place to raise your family, to generate a lifestyle, and to do things that are non-financial.

Is a house a good investment?
  • A house can be an investment (an example of this would be a rental house.) A home is not an investment: it is a place to live.

  • Even though their home is the biggest and best asset that many people own, you may tend to overbuy if you look at your home as an investment.

  • An investment is something that you plan to sell when it goes up in value, or something that will provide you with an income.

  • A home may be a good purchase, and it may go up in value, but do not put it into the category of an investment.

What tax planning steps do I need to be taking for 2008?

The best time to think about how to reduce your taxes is as early as possible, but certainly before the end of the year.

When you are meeting with your tax accountant to do last year’s taxes, it is really too late to do any more tax planning, with the exception of certain contributions to retirement plans. Ask your accountant about this.

There are really only two things you can do to reduce your taxes:

  1. Defer income – if you have income coming in, and you can take it in January instead of December, do that and you will not owe taxes on it until the next year.

  2. Accelerate expenses – best example of this is to give charitable contributions in December instead of waiting until January.

The simplest way to do your tax planning is as follows:

  • Make a copy of last year’s tax return.

  • White out last year’s numbers.

  • Fill in what you think this year’s numbers will be.

  • Estimate your tax liability.

This method is only an estimate, but it is easy enough to do on your own.
Finally, a very important thing to keep in mind is this: every tax deduction costs you something. It is better not to have the expense and not to get a deduction, than to have to pay the expense just for at 20-40% deduction.

Psalm 24:1-2
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it; for He founded it upon the seas and established it upon the floods.” (NIV)

Link: William Perez at About.com, “Tax Planning Basics: 3 Ways to Reduce Your Taxes”

Click Here to View the Full MasterYourMoney.com Blog


Long Term Lifestyle

Lifestyle is where the rubber meets the road. Most people have very real dreams and ideas about the lifestyle that they hope for. Since God owns it all, I believe that our lifestyle choices are as “spiritual” as our giving choices. My basic philosophy regarding long term lifestyle goals or desires is this: it is not wrong to have long-term lifestyle desires; however, the only wise way to attain them is by saving rather than by borrowing. Debt and lifestyle go hand in hand for most people. My heart is to see God train us and mold us through the process of saving for those “big ticket” items that we would love to have.

 

The Motley Fool discusses investment myths.

Yahoo gives creative ways to save extra money every year.

Long Term Lifestyle

Lifestyle is where the rubber meets the road. Most people have very real dreams and ideas about the lifestyle that they hope for. Since God owns it all, I believe that our lifestyle choices are as “spiritual” as our giving choices. My basic philosophy regarding long term lifestyle goals or desires is this: it is not wrong to have long-term lifestyle desires; however, the only wise way to attain them is by saving rather than by borrowing. Debt and lifestyle go hand in hand for most people. My heart is to see God train us and mold us through the process of saving for those “big ticket” items that we would love to have.

Proverbs 30:7-9
Two things I asked of Thee, do not refuse me before I die: keep deception and lies far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, lest I be full and deny Thee and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God. (NASB)

Psalm 127:2
It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. (NASB)

Proverbs 24:3-4
By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. (NIV)

Proverbs 31:13-28
She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. (NIV)



 

 
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