Are you better at asking financial questions than you are at finding answers? “Ask Bob” utilizes a question-and-answer format to respond to your “money” questions. Each week Bob will prayerfully respond to as many of your questions as possible based on his 30+ years as a financial coach and counselor. You may view previous questions and responses by clicking the the “Past Ask Bob” link a the top of this page.
Recent Questions & Answers
Question: From lack of prayer and discipline I’ve accumulated an excessive amount of credit card debt. I was looking at a local credit counseling company for help when I noticed your site. Do you offer any kind of 1 on 1 credit counseling? Bob’s Response: We no longer offer consumer credit counseling services (CCCS) nor are we likely to ever offer them again. We were the top CCCS organization in the nation for years when it came to program retention–better than 98% of our CCCS clients stayed with their program as compared to 40-45% national average. However, we came to realize that even our retention rate didn’t help folks stay out of debt in the long run…once the pressure was off, folks returned to their poor spending ways. We now work to help people change their lifestyles based on God’s Word, NOT just get out of debt for a season. If you do choose a CCCS organization, please check them out carefully with the Better Business Bureau, get references, and don’t send anyone any money prior to reading and signing a contract. I also recommend you do NOT even talk to anyone who offers credit “repair” services. We do offer the Financial Freedom God’s Way Online Academy and a new Crisis Financial Coaching program which you can read about on this site. (Nov 9)
Question: “Is there a way to invest in a mutual fund or a 403B retirement fund where we can choose to invest only in the stocks, bonds, etc that are for companies which maintain ethical practices? We don’t want to invest in companies which are supporting abortion, or funding money into same-sex marriage, etc. We have an opportunity to have company-matched funds, but we do not have a peace about investing in companies that we don’t support. Please help .” Bob’s Response: When it comes to investing wisdom I rely on faith-based experts. I believe one of the best is Dave Ramsey. According to Dave, you can certainly choose faith-based mutual funds, but it’s not something he recommends. Here’s why: (1) In values-based investing, you pick between two similar mutual funds that align with your beliefs–a good concept. (2) However, few of these funds stand up to Dave’s criteria for picking mutual funds–5-year or longer track record of strong rates of return, professionally managed by a team of mutual funds managers, etc. (3) This is a very personal decision you will have to make. It’s what is known as a slippery slope. If you no longer invest in funds that might invest in a company that supports abortion, to be consistent, you will need to stoop shopping at the grocer that sells pornography. You would also need to stop banking because nearly all banks contribute to the United Way which supports Planned Parenthood. (4) Don’t choose these funds out of guilt. Don’t make poor investment decisions to choose these funds. You can read more about Dave’s investing philosophy here: http://www.daveramsey.com/article/daves-investing-philosophy/. (Oct 31)
Question: Question: Hi Bob, here’s my question and situation. I’m in over my head in debt. I thought the way out might be to sell my vehicle. I am single, 54 yrs old, and do not have another vehicle but my parent’s have an extra vehicle that they are not using which they would allow me to use. My parent’s vehicle is older & their mechanic has told them that the next thing to probably go out on the vehicle would be the transmission so it may not be reliable transportation but I have a very short commute to work. I have had my vehicle listed in Craigslist & have it priced below low book which would still be enough to pay off the car loan with about $3,000 to spare to make a dent in some other debt. I planned on using the debt snowball. The problem is the truck is not selling even though I have it very reasonably priced. I need to do something quickly as I am behind almost 2 payments on the truck & am very close to getting it repoe’d. I am finally caught up on my mortgage. I have considered debt consolidation because that would probably allow me to keep the truck. But, what I don’t like about that is I have some small debt ($1,000 or less) along with larger amounts ($8k). I don’t like the idea of all that being lumped together as I feel I can pay off my debt a lot quicker if I used the debt snowball…however, I’m running out of time. I need to be able to sell the truck to have some breathing room to pay off debt and the truck hasn’t sold. I’ve been trying to sell it for about 2 months now. Any suggestions? Bob’s Response: The quick answers include the following: 1) use your folks’ car for as long as you can to include making any absolutely required repairs. 2) I agree with your reasons for NOT using a bill consolidation loan. 3) lower your asking price for your truck until you get it sold without receiving less than you owe. 4) If the truck doesn’t sell and you can’t afford the payments then talk to the mortgage holder and work it out so you can give it back to them–you need to understand the possible consequences as they explain them to you. HOWEVER, the right answer is to spend some time with a financial coach in your area at either www.daveramsey.com or Crown Financial Ministries (www.crown.org) so you can develop an overall strategy rather to respond to your financial crisis not react to it. (Oct 21)
My family and I all have the same problem with finances. We all work but none of us seem to get ahead. I am single with no children. My car is paid for and I make enough money to pay my bills and should have some left over. I’m not a shopper and I cook my meals. To those who know me, especially my family, I am cheap. I pay my tithes but it seems that it is increasingly difficult to even do that anymore. My family has the same problem. all my siblings are struggling when there is no reason that we should be. This has been going on long enough. What scriptures/Prayers can we put with our actions to break what I think is a curse? I’m ready to do battle. My parents are getting to the point that us kids need to be stepping up but we cant afford to.” Bob’ Response: If you click through on the “Christ at the Center” link on the sidebar to the right, you will find some categorized groupings of Bible verses that deal with money and some of the other material areas of your life. HOWEVER, just knowing what God has to say is not enough! You need to move from Bible-based financial information into spiritual and financial lifestyle transformation. That means you and your family need individualized help to organize and live out what you learn, to include an understanding of how to share what you learn with others. I suggest you check out our new Internet based “Financial Freedom God’s Way Academy”–it’s FREE (we do ask for donations to our Scholarship fund) and is exactly what you need. I also suggest you check out the materials and courses offered by Dave Ramsey (www.daveramsey.com) and Crown Financial Ministries (www.crown.org). Each will cost you some money, but it will be money well-invested. (Oct 12)
Question: I need help with my life. I am overdrawn on my checking account, over the limit on my two credit cards, and am unable to handle my debt. My husband and I have three kids. I need a miracle very soon before I lose everything. Thank you! Bob’s Response: Yes, you do need immediate help. It sounds like you need to first “stop the bleeding” and then start anew with your finances. You need immediate help that we are not yet in the position to give (our new “Crisis Coaching” services won’t be ready until early in 2016). So here’s what I suggest. First, contact either the Dave Ramsey organization (www.daveramsey.com) or Crown Financial Ministries (www.crown.org) to see if either have a coach in your area. This will give you immediate help and also be able to see you into some Bible-based financial lifestyle changes. Second, if there are no coaches available to you where you are, then I suggest you prayerfully check out the closest Consumer Credit Counseling office…find them on the Internet AND also prayerfully check them out with the Better Business Bureau before you sign any agreement and give them any money. Third, you may also need professional legal help which none of the above can give. Remember, according to the Bible finances are never your problem. The symptoms may be financial but the problems are always spiritual. So, as you go through whatever financial process you choose, please remember to get close and keep close to the Lord. He loves you right where you are more than you can ever imagine AND He promises to direct you from where you are to where He would have you to be–spiritually and financially. (Sept 25)