I’m a Christian, but my husband is not. We still budget a small amount to give to the church. I started a part-time job recently. Is it okay to tithe on this without telling him? —Christine
No, it’s not. Do you really think you’d be honoring God by tithing on this income while at the same time creating a situation where you’re dishonoring your husband by hiding things from him? That’s not a good idea.
Your husband has already shown respect for your beliefs with his agreement to make tithing a part of your budget. I think you should return that respect and let him know you’d like to give a portion of your new income. Besides, you wouldn’t be tithing out of his income in a situation like this. It would just be a small portion of the new, additional income you’re generating.
Remember, too, that not tithing isn’t a sin. God doesn’t love you more when you tithe, and it’s not a salvation issue. He wants us to be givers because he knows what it does for us on the inside. It makes us a little more Christ-like when we put the wants of others ahead of our own.
Explain your feelings on the issue. He doesn’t sound like an unreasonable guy. But regardless, you shouldn’t deceive someone just because you don’t see eye-to-eye on everything. —Dave
Is it a good idea for a married couple in their early thirties, who have a lot of student loan debt, to cash out one of their 401(k)s to pay it off? —Marcy
No way! You never cash out a 401(k) or IRA to pay off debt, unless it’s to avoid a foreclosure or bankruptcy. Let’s say you take $50,000 out of your 401(k). Do you know what happens next? They’re going to charge you a 10 percent penalty, plus your tax rate. If you make $75,000 a year, that puts you in a 25 percent tax rate, plus the penalty. That’s a 35 percent hit, and that’s how much of your money is going straight down the toilet.
Look at it this way. You wouldn’t ask me if it’s okay to borrow money at a 35 percent interest rate to pay off your school loans, right? That would be ridiculous, and this is just as dumb.
There are no shortcuts when it comes to getting out of debt. Roll up your sleeves and get on a beans and rice budget where every dollar has a name. This will enable you to save money and pay off that debt! —Dave