A Bible Study for Small Groups on Biblical Stewardship
Making Change; Lesson #1
Making Change; Lesson #2
Making Change; Lesson #3
Making Change; Lesson #4
Making Change; Lesson #5
Making Change; Lesson #6
Over the last thirty years, we have written many financial books between the two of us. They focus on the biblical principles of managing money. Because these biblical principles are God's timeless principles, they apply to all ages and stages of life.
So why write another financial book? Haven't we said it all before? We grappled with these questions because it is no easy chore to write. Believe us, we have other activities we prefer more than writing—just as you likely have other interests besides reading financial books!
Here is what we have observed during the last few years. In the United States of America, the most prosperous country in the world by any measure, we see financial fear. We see more fear in the age group of fifty and over. On a positive note we see more potential for God's Kingdom in this same age group. Our goal with this book is to help people with their fear, their worry, and their stewardship potential.
We regularly hear real-life examples from callers to Larry's Money Matters radio programs as well as from attendees at Ron's investment seminars. They show deep financial concern.
• A fifty-four-year-old manager at a Fortune 500 company has a recurring ulcer when opening his 401(k) statements each quarter. His 401(k), made up of company stock and growth mutual funds, has plummeted from $300,000 to $140,000. He figures he will have to work five years longer than planned.
• A retired couple is not as free as they had expected. They realize they are sandwiched between generations needing help. Their aging parents require in-home care and will use up all their resources if admitted to a nursing home. Their adult children need financial help after recent divorces.
• A married fifty-nine-year-old woman is anxious about debt. Previously debt-free, she and her husband borrowed $100,000 against their house to invest in the rising stock market in early 2000. He was going to “make a killing in the market” and retire sooner. Their stock portfolio is down to $40,000 while their mortgage is more than twice that much.
• A seventy-two-year-old widow has seen her income drop as interest rates drop on her bank certificates of deposits. She depends on the interest income to make ends meet. Now she is dipping into her principal and is afraid she will outlive her money.
These examples are why we write, why we speak, why we teach, and why we record radio broadcasts. We want to help.
Recent surveys show that help is needed. Seventy-four percent of baby boomers believe they are financially prepared for retirement. But 59 percent expect to carry debt of some form into retirement, and 46 percent have saved less than $50,000 towards retirement.1 The perception looks better than reality.
The American Society of Pension Actuaries found that more than 50 percent of pre-retirees underestimate their life expectancy. According to mortality tables, a married couple at age sixty-five have a 67-percent chance that both will live to age eighty-five. There's a 33-percent chance that one will make it to age ninety. Will your wealth last that long?
This book is different from our other books because it is targeted toward the specific age group of fifty and older. Those fifty and over are either the nearly retired, newly retired, rarely retired, or nearly retired out of retirement. We are in the same demographic group as the target audience of our book, so we personally understand your financial concerns and issues. We deal with the same issues of how to invest in an uncertain economy and stock market, when or how to retire, when to start Social Security, and how best to help adult children.
Some of the wisest counsel I (Larry) ever received was from a professor I had in graduate school. He taught economics and regularly said, “Answer the questions that people are asking. The majority of people answer questions that nobody asks.”
Larry Burkett, The Burkett & Blue Definitive Guide to Securing Wealth to Last: Money Essentials for the Second Half of Life (Nashville, TN: B&H Books, 2003).