Dave Ramsey Winter 2014
Tithing while in debt, free spirits and loaning money to friends.
Do you recommend that people continue tithing and giving while getting out of debt? — Sarah
If you’re tithing, that would refer to you being a Christian or of the Jewish faith. To the best of my knowledge, those are the only two religions where tithing is taught as a part of the faith. The word literally means “a tenth,” as in a tenth of your income.
If you are an evangelical Christian, what does Scripture say? It says to take the tithe off the top before you do anything else. You keep doing it always, not from a legalistic perspective, but because it’s part of God’s instructions on the best way to live. It gives you a baseline for giving and generosity.
Then, get yourself and your household cleaned up and in good financial shape before engaging in other acts of giving, which are called offerings. This is the normal process that Scripture outlines. But remember, God is crazy about you and loves you very much. When you give, it’s the act of being unselfish and putting others first. — Dave
What’s your advice to a couple when they’re both free spirits with money? — Steve
Being a free spirit just means you don’t major in details. You’re not the number cruncher, and you don’t wear a pocket protector. But being a free spirit doesn’t mean you can’t be a grown-up. Maturity isn’t what I’m talking about here, and neither is initiative. I’m just talking about your personality style and how you address life in general.
In my house, I’m the nerd and my wife is the free spirit. I’m a naturally detail-oriented person who likes a solid, well-reasoned plan. My wife enjoys a plan, and she doesn’t mind sticking to one; but that’s not her default button. Being a free spirit just means you have to concentrate a little harder on the details, because those kinds of things just aren’t your nature. I mean, you have to pay attention to enough of the basic details if you want to win with money, but that’s true with almost any endeavor.
Want to know something else I’ve noticed about free spirits? In most cases, they’re extremely generous people. When they care about something or someone, they really care. And the fact that you’re thinking about these things leads me to believe you’re going to be all right. Just be intentional, Steve. Do it with a goal and a plan in mind, and do it on purpose! — Dave
I loaned some money to a good friend recently. He’s going to help me with a job I’m working on, so do you think I should pay him for the work or just forgive the debt instead? — Greg
The big question is whether you’ve already agreed to pay him for the work. If you have already agreed on a certain amount and the value of the work is pretty close to the amount you loaned him, you might talk to him about knocking out the debt by helping you on this project.
There’s really no right or wrong answer to this question, Greg. However, I would recommend not loaning money to friends or family in the future. The Bible says that the borrower is a slave to the lender, and there’s a lot of truth to that statement financially and emotionally. If someone close to you really needs help and you’re not enabling bad financial behavior in the process, just make the money a gift. Sooner or later lending money will mess up a relationship. — Dave
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