Thursday, 04 June 2015 15:05

Giving above Tithe and Cash or Mortgage for house

Written by  Dave Ramsey
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Q. My wife and I go to a small church where we tithe. The church is continually asking for contributions to other charities and causes, and we don’t have the money to give to them all while we’re sticking to our budget and getting out of debt. The worst part is that we get pretty aggressive pushback when we say no. What can we do?

A. I don’t react well to that kind of pushback. I would probably be nice a couple of times, but after that my response might sound something like, “Mind your own business.”


Seriously, I’d probably be a little gentler than that. But basically when it reaches that point, they’re saying, “I want your money.” And that’s really over the top. If it goes even further, and it becomes a question of you “digging deep” or not having enough faith, I might get un-gentle in a hurry.


Your first job is to provide for your family and take care of those kinds of responsibilities — which is a very scriptural stance. Once you’ve done that, then you’ll hopefully have the financial ability to move beyond tithes and into offerings, which are completely different concepts. Tithes are first fruits off the top, while offerings are from surplus — meaning that you and your family are doing well financially.


Another thing to consider is this: Does this church turn every impulse they have into pressure to donate or buy something, because they didn’t plan for this kind of stuff in the church budget? I’d start having a problem with the leadership if this turned out to be the case, because it’s a sign they’re not planning and leading well.


Hopefully, you can explain to these folks the reason why you can’t contribute to additional things at the moment and they’ll understand. If not, and it were me in your shoes, I think I’d have to find another church.



Q. I just became debt-free, and I live in an apartment. I’m also 28 and single, and I make about $75,000 a year. Do you think I should get a mortgage and go back into debt, or save up and pay cash for a house? I’d like to keep the price of a new home around $200,000, and I think I can save about $15,000 a year.


A. Congratulations on becoming debt-free! It feels awesome, doesn’t it?


When it comes to saving, how about rounding that figure up to $20,000 a year? Going that route, you’re only 10 years away from a nice, new paid-for home, and you’re still debt-free. That’s one way to do it.


I don’t borrow money. And I don’t tell people to do things I won’t do. The one exception to that is I don’t yell at people for taking out a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage, where the payments are no more than 25 percent of your monthly take home pay. You could save like crazy for a couple of years and put down a really strong down payment on a home in the price range you’re talking about. Then, you could pay off that house in 15 years max — or even sooner.


I don’t have a big problem with it either way. But wouldn’t it be great to be only 38 years old and still be completely debt-free?


Last modified on Monday, 15 June 2015 15:07
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