5 Ways To Rescue Millennials From Drowning In Student Loans

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It’s stunning! According to a survey, millennial-aged college graduates are spending a whopping 18 percent of their salary on student loan payments and 60 percent of them expect to be making payments on their student loans into their 40s.

 

But it get’s worse! The survey also found that average student debt for millennials is more than $41,000, and a third reported being clueless as to their loans’ interest rate. Sadly, many millennials aren’t willing to adjust their lifestyle to pay if off more quickly. For example, less than half were willing to cut what they spend on eating out and entertainment.

 

The last big discovery of the survey: one-third of the grads said they would have skipped college altogether had they known how expensive it would be in the end.

 

Here are five ways to rescue millennials from drowning in student loans

 

  1. Start preparing early! Urge your high school age kids to take duel credit classes that will count as college credit. Dan and Cheri Schilling’s 17 year old son will graduate from high school having earned 90 college credit hours. When he enrolls in college he’ll have completed the first three years of college FREE!
  2. Another option is to enroll in a local community college the first two years to complete your general classes or to work full-time and take online college classes which are typically much less expensive.
  3. Secure as many grants and scholarships as possible by investing the time to research every possible opportunity.
  4. Encourage your children to work full-time during the summers, and part-time at college after their first semester. Apply what is earned toward college costs.
  5. Parents, start saving early to assist your kids, but don’t cosign for your children’s student loans or take out any loans yourselves.
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How Do You Respond?

 

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I just heard a fabulous message by Pastor David Uth that rang so true.

2 Timothy 2:24-26 says, “And the Lord’s bond-servant [those who know Jesus Christ as savior] must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition; if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive to him to do his will.”

We live in an era where so much biblical truth in our nation is being undermined by massive changes in the culture. Often Christians have responded in a shrill, confrontational way; after all, we are on the side of truth and righteousness.

But is this the way we are to respond? Examine 2 Timothy 2:24-26 again. We are to be ‘kind to all . . . patient when wrong, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition.” We are to correct those who oppose the trust, but with kindness and gentleness that they ultimately may come to know Jesus. People may disagree with our living based on the truth of God’s word, but if we are kind, gentle and loving in how we relate to them, they may be open to the truth about Christ.

As Stephen, the first martyr, was being stoned to death, “he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord do not hold this sin against them!’” And who was there looking on . . . the man who would become the Apostle Paul and the author of the book of 2 Timothy. Stephen was kind and gentle to his opposition, and this profoundly impacted some who participated in murdering him.

Let’s seek to care for people who oppose us and maybe, by God’s grace, some may come to know Christ and be given the gift of eternal life.

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Biblical Perspective On Paying Your Taxes

 

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What is the biblical perspective on paying taxes? That is the same question that was asked of Jesus. “Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?. . . [Jesus] said to them, ‘Show Me a[Roman coin]. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?’ And they said, ‘Caesar’s.’ And He said to them, ‘Then give to Caesar the things that are to Caesars’” (Luke 20:22-25). This is an example of the contrast between the practices of our society and the teaching of Scripture. Avoid paying taxes at any cost, people rationalize; after all, the government squanders much of what it collects.

I am not condoning the waste found in government. In fact, I believe a citizen should make an effort to influence government to be more efficient. But the Bible tells us of an additional responsibility: to pay your taxes! “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God . . . because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due”(Romans 13:1, 6-7). It is permissible to reduce your taxes by using legal tax deductions, but we should be careful not to make unwise decisions simply to avoid paying taxes.

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Humility

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I spoke recently at a leadership forum on the topic of humility. My contribution at the forum was to give practical suggestions on how to live in humility. To say the least, it was the last topic I wanted to speak on. It’s OK to have others use you as an example but it is very uncomfortable to speak about yourself, especially under the heading of humility!

Although that was my initial reaction, I changed my mind after reading the only words Jesus himself used to describe himself found in Matthew 11:29. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”. If you are like me, you desire to be like Jesus. In fact Paul in Ephesians 5 indicates that we should be imitators of God!  How does one get to the place where others refer to them as ‘gentle and humble at heart?

As my friend Boyd so eloquently puts it. “Humility is a demeanor dependent on the Lord. Gentleness and humility lubricate the relational machinery of a home or enterprise. Gentleness is aggression under the control of the Holy Spirit, and humility is courage that is first committed to Christ.”

Humility is not something that comes with a unique formula or process to attain it; it is awareness that God’s standards of conduct are different and that humility is a condition of the heart!

Phil 2:5 States that ‘our attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ who was truly God but did not try to remain equal with God. Instead he gave up everything and became a slave when he became human like one of us. Christ was humble. He obeyed God by being willing to die for us on a cross.’

The move towards a humble approach normally starts with awareness that we are not living in a way that brings the most glory & honor to God. The awareness that this is what Christ was like and men like Moses were known for (Numbers 12:3), an awareness that has come through a rebuke about our arrogance or prideful behavior. Awareness, over time, that those who genuinely serve others get better results and tend to have better, more meaningful and lasting relationships!

For me, all of these scenarios were true. I realized ever so slowly that the life God wanted for me was one of submission to him (He is God & I’m not!) and one that honors others by serving them. Both required dying to myself and adopting a new attitude of daily life. No longer desiring to be served but to seek opportunities to serve others.

I encourage you to ask the Lord to give you daily opportunities to joyfully serve others in order to live a life of humility that God will honor and bless.

 

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3 Things The IRS Won’t Tell You While Filing Your Taxes

 

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We’ve officially entered the tax filing season. The IRS offers a lot of excellent information online at http://www.IRS.gov to help you get your 1040 filed accurately and on time. That said, there are 3 things the IRS won’t tell you.

  • It can be risky to “go it alone.” The tax code is so complicated these days, it’s often wise to hire a tax preparer to help you. This is especially true if you have lots of stock transactions, are self employed or run a side business. There are also some good software tax preparation packages available and some are now online as well.
  • It doesn’t matter how much or how little your income, you could be audited. The number of audits has been down in recent years, but being a low income earner doesn’t mean you won’t be audited. It is especially important to keep receipts for charitable donations, because the IRS flags returns with a lot of deductions for giving.
  • The IRS benefits from our anxiety. People often fear making a mistake, so they overpay on purpose. A few years ago, the Government Accountability Office found that over 2 million people overpay each year by an average of nearly $500. That’s almost a billion dollars a year in overpayments?

So, consider getting help unless you’re very good at preparing your taxes. It’s not just about being audited. A tax professional might save you a lot of money by catching deductions and credits that you may miss.

And don’t forget, the Bible encourages us to pay all the taxes we owe. So, always be completely honest when reporting your income and tax deductions.

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Mr. Plastic Fantastic

 

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In 1977, I wrote my first book, Your Money: Frustration or Freedom? In the book I told the story of Walter Cavanagh, a pharmacist from California who owned about 800 credit cards! But according to a recent ABC story, Mr. Cavanagh was just starting.  The 73-year-old now has amassed 1,479 cards, and Guinness World Records recognizes him as the man with the most credit cards on the planet.

He also has what must be the world’s largest wallet. It stretches 250 feet, weighs 38 pounds with space for 800 cards, but he keeps most of them in a safe. No wonder his nickname is “Mr. Plastic Fantastic”.

Mr. Cavanagh’s cards come from a wide variety of places including banks, airlines, gas stations, and about every merchant imaginable, with limits from $50 to $15,000.

To his credit, no pun intended, his score is nearly perfect. Mr. Cavangh shares his secret: “I only use one card and I pay it off in full at the end of the month. But you should see the length of my credit report!”

I want to encourage you to follow his example. No, not in the number of his credit cards or the size of his massive wallet, but in the simple way he uses only one credit card and pays it off in full at the end of the month.

My recommendation: Have one or two credit cards and use them for convenience not credit. Pay it off in full at the end of every month.

To better help you accomplish this head over to Compass1.org to download one of our free spending plans/budgets.

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4 Ways To Achieve Your Goals this Year

 

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Have you already broken your New Year’s Resolutions? You’re not alone. A study found only 8% of people keep their resolutions for four weeks!

 

I don’t do resolutions, but I’ve learned how to make real progress on achieving important yearly goals by doing these 4 things:

 

  1. Identify Goals You Really Want to Achieve.

I break my goals down into 5 categories: Spiritual, Physical, Family, Work & Financial. For example, three of my Spiritual goals are to read through the entire Bible this year, to pray daily through my prayer list, and meditate on one different verse each week.

 

  1. Use numbers to follow your progress

Keeping track of numbers every day helps us stay on track! Here is how I use numbers to help achieve my Physical goals. I have yearly goals of walking 4 miles a day for 300 days, doing pushups 150 days, and lifting light weights 150 days. So, every day I record my progress. I let the numbers speak to me . . . if I’m falling behind, it motivates me to exercise even if I don’t feel like it.

 

  1. Review, review, review

The first thing I do Monday morning is to review the progress I’m making on my goals. For example, if one of your Financial goals is to pay off your credit cards, review how you’re doing. It may become apparent that you need to find a way to earn some extra money each week or cut back on some expenses to reach your goal.

 

  1. Have an accountability buddy

Finally, have a friend or maybe your spouse to mutually hold each other accountable on making progress to achieve your annual goals. Connect with each other once a month and be transparent with your progress.

 

If you do these 4 things, you’ll be so encouraged by the time December 31 rolls around. By God’s grace you will have accomplished important goals that will bring you closer to Christ and your loved ones, and helped you become financially and physically healthier.

 

Warmly in Christ,

 

Howard Dayton

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