John Fuller: Welcome to Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller and we’ll have our scheduled conversation with Deborah Pegues in just a moment. But first, I had the chance last night to connect with Jim, who was at the Superdome for the Saints-Texans NFL game.
Jim Daly: Hey, John! Jim, here, down in New Orleans at the Superdome. Man, it is great to be here and to support Drew Brees. Not only for the football game, but for everything he’s done to support Bring Your Bible to School for Focus on the Family.
You probably, the listeners, have seen that in the news, maybe. I mean, all of the uh… media’s covering it where the LGBTQ community just pounced on Drew Brees because he was working with Focus on the Family. And I’m telling ya, everybody, we are doing our best to get the message out that it’s not about hate or anything like that. It’s about loving your neighbor, but also being strong on Truth.
So, October 3rd – Bring Your Bible to School – I hope many, many young people will participate. Last year we had about 650,000…I’d love to see double that number show up this time. And John’s going to give you the website to get there.
But do pray for us and join us October 3rd for Bring Your Bible to School.
John: And as Jim said, you can sign up for Bring Your Bible to School day, and find ways to support the effort at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.
End of Announcement
Deborah Pegues: Well, you can’t be consumed by it. You’ve got to see it for just for what it is. It’s a tool. And I can tell you a story – because I – I had an idea that you have to have enough money, then you can rest and – and – and be happy. But you know what, what I was saying when I really looked at that? What I’m saying is, I want enough money so that I don’t have to walk by faith.
End of Excerpt
John: Deborah Pegues is with us today on Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, and your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly.
Jim: You know, money can be a touchy subject for most people – I think most people. It can be a source of confusion, despair, and so many emotions are tied up in it. Yeah, I don’t know if, uh, it drives us or how it controls us, so it can be a healthier aspect of your life. You know, there in Philippians 4:19, it says, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches and glory in Christ Jesus.” I think we often struggle with that. We doubt that that is true, although it’s in God’s word, so we know it’s true. Um, it’s a promise that we can trust in. But God also wants us to be good stewards of what He provides for us. And today, uh, we hope to equip you exactly for that.
John: Yeah. We have a terrific guest. Uh, Deborah Pegues has always generated a lot of response from our listeners, and she can address this topic because professionally, she’s a CPA, a certified public account. She holds an MBA in business finance. She has a long list of great professional credits. She is a behavioral consultant, and a Bible teacher, and a very popular speaker. She’s written nearly 20 books, one of them we’ll touch on today is The One-Minute Money Mentor for Women: 21 Strategies for Financial Empowerment. And we have that, of course at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.
Jim: And, John, you missed the best part. She’s a graduate of USC in Southern California, the best football team in the nation. Deborah, welcome.
Deborah: Thank you so much. Thank you so much.
Jim: I know so many people just went, “What? No way.”
Jim: …Especially those guys in Texas, right? (Laughter) But we love you all.
Deborah: (Laughter, unintelligible).
Jim: But I grew up in Southern Cal. So, you know, most people are SC fans.
Jim: UCLA’s that other team (laughter).
Deborah: I – I grew up in Texas, and, uh – and it’s interesting (laughter).
Jim: There you go.
Deborah: It’s complicated.
Jim: Well, let’s get away from football…
Jim: …And dive right into it. Why did you, uh, target this book toward women? This is specifically for women – The One-Minute Money Mentor for Women.
Deborah: I was tired of seeing women not being able to handle their, uh, finances responsibly. I knew too many high-powered women – and when I saw, uh, this television show, and the woman who’s very popular, and I won’t call the name – but she said, I lost my “multimillion-dollar house because I didn’t realize what a balloon payment was.”
Deborah: “And so it – when it came due, I didn’t have the money” because she had spent it on other things. She said, “I didn’t – nobody told me what a balloon payment was.” And I thought, “That is basic. That is so basic.” But what I learned is that some of these terms, the jargon, the approach is not – it’s not common knowledge.
Jim: Well, and let me be fair. There’s a lot of men that don’t know that, either (laughter).
Jim: So it’s not a gender issue. It’s just a money wisdom issue.
Deborah: It is. But I targeted the book towards women because there’s certain behaviors that are kind of unique to women.
Deborah: And so I wanted to address those. And the truth of the matter is that 80 to 90 percent of women will have the sole responsibility for their finances at some point in their lives.
Jim: Well, that’s true.
Deborah: Well – yeah. So women have – and especially as they get older, you know, there are people out there who’ll try to take it from you…
Deborah: …Take your money from you.
Jim: That’s a cruel…
Deborah: So I want you to be smart.
Jim: …Cruel world. Let’s start with that story of Della in your book because it’s so powerful, and it illustrates so much of what you’re trying to teach in your book.
Deborah: Absolutely. And I have to say that that person was near and dear to my heart, but, uh, she was not empowered at all. She had no skills, no education. And her husband had – controlled all the money. And so, the book does start with him with a gun to her head.
Jim: I mean, think of that.
Jim: That’s just unusual. That doesn’t happen.
Deborah: I know. And she had seven kids.
Jim: Oh, my.
Deborah: So she couldn’t get away. Where do…
Jim: Well, paint the picture.
Deborah: Where do you go – when she got pregnant with the first one right out of, uh – not even high school. She was – she only made it to the eighth grade, and I think he was in – made it to the ninth grade. And he was a – a womanizer. And so she had been somewhere that day, and he couldn’t remember – whatever it was, he said, “Tell me where you’ve been today. Tell me everything you did today, or I’m going to blow your brains out.” Now, all the kids are huddled around the bathroom watching this, being totally traumatized by it.
Deborah: Yeah. And so the daughter, who was the only girl, was saying, “Hey, daddy, don’t do it. Don’t do it.” But that was a moment when – um, that changed her life…
Deborah: …The daughter, who said, “I will never be this vulnerable” – almost to the point where it made her have such a chip on his shoulder…
Jim: OK. So money plays a big role in shaping us.
Deborah: It does.
Jim: And we’ll talk more about what shapes what because I think you challenge some of the normal stereotypes. But, uh, oftentimes – and you address this in your book, The One-Minute Money Mentor for Women, uh, you mention a common phrase that a lot of women will use, and that is, “I’m afraid money will change who I am.”
Deborah: Yeah. Money…
Deborah: Money – money doesn’t change who you are (laughter).
Jim: You change who you are.
Deborah: Yeah. It reveals some character traits that are already there, and so you have to – it helps you to recognize it. Now, you see, I – in managing money – and I was always afraid of success. I – as I wrote books and started to get a little bit more notoriety, it just scared me because I don’t want people to think I think I’m something, you know, because if they think you think you’re something, then that means they’re going to disconnect from you – so that – again, that fear of loneliness. So I said, “I don’t – I don’t want to be like that.” So I found myself being irresponsible in letting people use my credit cards. So once, I let this woman go on a church trip to a conference many years ago. I let her take the credit card. And…
Jim: Your credit card.
Deborah: Yeah, my credit card.
Deborah: And she was supposed to just charge her share of the room, which is $100. Before she gave that card back to me, it had $1,400 on it.
Jim: Fourteen hundred?
Deborah: Yes. Yes.
Jim: Wow, what? OK.
Deborah: She let one other person use it, and he charged 700 (laughter).
Jim: Well, now, what’d you do?
Deborah: I sued her in court. But the man who – that she allowed – a minister to charge $700 – he paid his. But it wasn’t really until I got married that my husband said, “Hey, this is dysfunctional. Stop letting people use you like that.”
Jim: Yeah. That’s true.
Deborah: But I felt guilty for being that blessed. I had a good job, and I was a CPA. And – you know, and I just felt like, wasn’t fair for other people that they hadn’t had those – my husband was like, “Nobody gave you anything. You worked hard” (laughter).
Jim: Well, address that, though, because some people might say, “Well, as Christian, you know, be ready to give out of what you have saved because the Lord would want you to do that.” So…
Deborah: But you have to be wise with it because sometimes you enable people, you know, so…
Deborah: And so by doing that, then…
Jim: So it’s a negative.
Deborah: Yes, a negative. So you have to know when to help and so you have to know when that help isn’t – isn’t – isn’t constructive; it’s actually destructive.
Jim: How do you – how do you think God views money? I mean, a lot of money mentor people – Dave Ramsey and others – when they – when they speak about money, they’ll often reference the fact that the Bible talks a lot about money.
Deborah: The Bible does talk a lot about money.
Jim: So how does God view this resource we have? What is his vantage point? What does He want us as believers to do?
Deborah: He wants – first of all, He wants to be glorified in how we use the money. He talks a lot about stewardship, the ability to manage money. And there’s even a Scripture that talks about, “… to whom much is given, much is required…” And so you’ll see the principle that when you have a lot, you’re supposed to give a lot.
Jim: Mmm hmm.
Deborah: But you’ve got to be wise where you give it. But – when I – when I think of money, because it was such an issue in our family growing up, I think of what money represent. It represents power. It rep – it has trust issues involved. It has, uh, conveniences and comforts. And so that’s why even in a marriage, you will find that money is the No. 1 cause of marital conflict. And it’s not because they don’t have enough.
Deborah: It’s because they haven’t agreed on the priorities. So when you step back and look at money, again, it’s just a tool. It’s a tool, and we have to see it as that and not put our faith in money. But we have to use it in a way that God knows He can trust us with the money.
Jim: No, that’s good…
Jim: …And how to manage it. You know, as you were speaking, I was thinking of all the ways people can spend money – on cable TV and all kinds of ways. But when you think of it as all God, this is His resource that He’s letting you steward…
Deborah: There you go.
Jim: That should start to make you think a little differently about your entertainment choices and other things, right?
Deborah: Absolutely. And that’s why – and I know everybody doesn’t believe in tithing and all of that, so I’m not here to preach that. Let me just say that. My husband and I…
Jim: Although it’s a good principle.
Deborah: It’s a great principle, and in our almost 40 years of marriage, we have never not paid our tithes.
Deborah: Now, I say that with all humility because there were times when we needed that money to maybe meet a need when we’re trying to buy a house or something. But we’ve chosen to put God first in that way because we have – we believe this is why – we have never lost anything. We’ve never paid a bill late because we didn’t have money. We believe that when you – when you honor God in your finances, then He honors you. And so that’s – that’s what we do. And when you talk about cable television and all that, those things are OK if they have the right priority. So when we’ve paid our tithes to God, we’ve given to other people, and we’ve established our financial priorities, it’s OK. And then we…
Jim: If you can afford it.
Deborah: If you can afford it.
Jim: And you want to.
Deborah: And you can afford it. That’s why…
Deborah: …Part of the priority then has to be, “OK, how much of a savings is enough? And what should we be doing with that?”
Jim: Now, in the book, you hit a lot of, um, self-talk sayings, if I could say it that way. And the next one I wanted to cover with you is, “Wealthy people are not always happy.” Well, that’s true. Poor people aren’t always happy. I mean…
Deborah: (Laughter) Who’s always happy?
Jim: Yeah, exactly.
Jim: I try to be (laughter).
Deborah: I’ve tried to be, always. You know, happy…
Jim: But it’s hard to achieve.
Deborah: Happiness depends on what’s happening.
Deborah: So sometimes things are happening, but you know what? That – that’s just a misconception, that – I think we want wealthy people not to be happy so we can feel better about our own plight (laughter).
Jim: Well, part of this, when I look at these sayings, it describes for me someone who’s consumed with how people – their attitudes toward money. Is that the point you’re trying to make, that, don’t be so consumed by it?
Deborah: You can’t be consumed by it. You’ve got to see it for just for what it is. It’s a tool. And I can tell you a story – because I – I had an idea that you have to have enough money, then you can rest and – and be happy. But you know what, what I was saying when I really looked at that? What I’m saying is, I want enough money so that I don’t have to walk by faith.
Deborah: I don’t want to have to walk by faith, I want to walk by that bank account, then I know it’s there, because faith is – I can’t see it. And then when I started to give sacrificially and say, “No matter what, I believe God is calling me to do this. Even though it’s a part of my reserve, I’m going to let this go to God because it’s his anyway.” If – I have to have that mindset. Every nickel I have, I’m just in charge of it. It’s not mine.
Jim: All right. One of the things – and, again, we’re aiming this at women. That’s who…
Deborah: Right. Mmm hmm.
Jim: …You’ve written the book for, for that woman who is looking at the balance sheet. And she’s got a negative net worth. I mean, she owes more. Maybe it’s the house payment less her equity. Uh, maybe it’s the car payment. And, certainly, there’s probably credit card debt in there. And when you add up everything you own versus everything you owe and you come up negative, A, what do you do? And, B, how do you lift that before the Lord?
Deborah: Well, first of all, I want to say don’t confuse net worth and self-worth because you may have a negative net worth, but you know what? Don’t get down on yourself. All you need is a plan. Always know that there is a plan. So I like for women to, first of all, make a balance sheet. And I’m glad you just defined what a balance sheet is. And I’ll re-emphasize it. A balance sheet is a statement that shows your assets and your liabilities.
Deborah: It doesn’t tell how much you make and where it goes. This statement just shows where you stand. And you have to know that. You have to ask yourself, “Where am I?” I have a friend whose husband had passed away. He was – he was very successful in his business. But she didn’t know a thing about running business. And so when he died, bills started to come in. And she would just throw ’em in a box.
Jim: Oh, wow.
Deborah: She would just throw ’em in a box and be…
Jim: She didn’t know what to do.
Deborah: No. She didn’t know what to do.
Deborah: And – and then creditors started calling. And she just – she was just, you know, at a wits end. And a friend came over and say, “Let’s just do this thing.” They – they, in essence, did a balance sheet.
Deborah: She found out – and going through the mail, she knew she had negative net worth at some point because, you know, everything had just fallen apart. But she found a check in there because she was a great songwriter. And a royalty check was in there that was enough to catch up a lot of her bills.
Jim: Oh, my goodness.
Deborah: (Laughter) Well, she hadn’t just paid attention. So you can’t put your head in the sand. And so the question is, “What do you do?” You find out where you stand.
John: Hm. Well, we’re talking today on Focus on the Family with Deborah Pegues. And she’s written a book, The One-Minute Money Mentor for Women: 21 Strategies for Financial Empowerment. And we have copies of that and, uh, copies of this conversation as well at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.
Jim: Deborah, how does setting goals help me take control of my finances? I hear that. Everybody hears that. It’s what we want to do, set a goal. But connect the dots for us. What should those goals look like?
Deborah: Well, um, they should be prioritized according to biblical principles. But if you don’t have a goal, you don’t have the momentum to go where you’re trying to go. You know, you don’t just want to, uh, uh – a shotgun approach to anything. Goals give you momentum.
Jim: Give me an example.
Deborah: Well, let’s say. I want to have a thousand-dollar reserve. And I’m going to start where most people are because the average American, especially, is only one paycheck away from being homeless.
Deborah: And that is a fact. And so we saw that during a shutdown of the government. Um, but so what you want to do is to say, “OK. Here’s a goal. I want to be consistent in giving. I want to have a reserve.” And so let’s establish what that reserve is. What does it take you to operate on a monthly basis? So start with one month. I know others say six to eight months, but I’m just trying to say where people are (laughter).
Deborah: Why don’t we just start right now to say, “My goal is to have one month’s living expenses in the bank; my goal is to buy a house in three years; my goal is to be debt-free in five years”? So these are things you can work towards. And so when you start to spend in a way that’s not taking you toward your goal, you can stop. You’ll have a check in your spirit if you’re paying attention. And that’s why the goal has to be balanced because you need rewards on the way.
Deborah: You need to not cancel all your cable television unless there’s something else you – you know, there are other….
Jim: Unless you need to.
Deborah: There are alternatives – right.
Deborah: But you got to be clear, and especially if you are married. You have to agree on the goals because sometimes you don’t work with each other.
Jim: That could be a disaster.
Deborah: How can two walk together except they’re in agreement?
Deborah: Let me tell you, if you’re in a financial disagreement, you’re – it’s gonna be a mess. And so that’s why you – especially, I say, in a married – to married couples, you have to have a financial goal that you both bought into and committed to.
Jim: And it sounds so easy and straightforward. But speak to that person where they’re not making enough to fully tithe and save and pay their bills. What do you do when it’s not adding up at the end of the month?
Deborah: Then you look for other ways to make money. The only two things you can do – cut expenses or make more money.
Deborah: And so a lot of us, we really could probably take on a little bit more or start to charge more and better or to start to charge at all, especially women. We do a lot of volunteer things. And we just do it because, you know, we just feel like we should. And so we don’t charge. There are women with skills who can start to charge for things that they do.
Jim: What are some of those things that you see when you talk to people that you know? What do they do for extra cash?
Deborah: Well, I have people who – let’s say, who are speakers. And they don’t let people know that I’m – I’m – you know, I’m not just speaking for it ’cause I like it or ’cause God called me to. This is what I quit my job to do. I’m a full-time speaker now. So when people call me and say, “What do you charge?”, I don’t give them a figure. But I’ll say, “Let me hear what your budget is.” See, I set up an expectation.
Jim: Oh, interesting.
Deborah: Let me – I try to work within your budget if I can. Now, if they say, “My budget is $2,” then I’m going to need you to go with another group, and perhaps two or three groups and come together (laughter).
John: To have $6.
Jim: At least you can get lunch.
Jim: It sounds like we speak at the same places.
Deborah: That’s a touchy one.
Jim: You know, let me ask you this. How does – and I kind of touched on this before. But how does God view debt? I mean, there’s a lot in the Scripture about it.
Deborah: Yes. And the borrower is servant to the lender. Debt is bondage. But you see, there’s good debt, and there’s bad debt. So any debt that increases in value, like, education – education is good debt.
Deborah: You just need to watch how much you incur.
Jim: A mortgage can be good debt…
Deborah: Mortgage is good debt…
Jim: …Because your home should go up.
Deborah: …Because it’s going to increase in value.
Deborah: So you’ve got to watch the debt that’s going to cause you to increase – something that’s going to increase in value versus debt that’s just pure consumerism, you know, like eating out and those kinds of things.
Deborah: And that’s where a lot of people spend too much money. But I don’t say stop eating out completely. Why don’t you just say – “I’m going to have a budget; on weekends, we’re going to spend $25, $50”? – whatever your budget will allow.
Deborah: And that’s what you’re going to do.
Deborah: That’s how you stay practical, and so you can still have quality of life on your way to financial freedom, which…
Deborah: …I define as being free from worry and anxiety about money. I don’t define financial freedom as wealth.
Deborah: It’s really being free from that anxiety. And when you know you’ve obeyed God, you know that you’ve been a good steward, you can be free from the anxiety.
Jim: Well, that, in and of itself, is one definition of wealth…
Jim: …When you’re not bound by something like that.
Jim: It doesn’t mean you have to have a lot of money.
Jim: It’s just you don’t have to lean on it.
Deborah: Right. And there’s nothing wrong with a lot because there are lots of needs in the world. I was on the Board of World Vision for nine years. And I saw the need for major donors to come in and – and even – for your organization, you need major donors to help you do this work. So we need people with a lot of money (laughter).
Jim: Yeah. No, that’s true.
Deborah: Yeah, we do.
Jim: It’s so true.
Jim: And we’re grateful to their generosity.
Jim: Um, what are some ways to eliminate debt and to avoid that impulse spending?
Deborah: Well, the first thing is to stop incurring it.
Deborah: Stop the bleeding.
Jim: So just get yourself on a budget.
Deborah: Just get yourself on a budget…
Jim: You’re alluding to that.
Deborah: …Or a spending plan. And I don’t like to use that word budget. I like a spending plan…
Deborah: …Because it’s just a plan to – to achieve a certain goal. And so first of all you, got to stop the bleeding. So stop charging. Leave the credit cards at home. Ask yourself, “Do I need it, or do I just want it?”
Deborah: Yeah. And a lot of times, we buy self-esteem. So we buy trappings and things that make us look better.
Jim: So how do you counsel a person if, for whatever reason, they’re in that kind of financial distress? And you look at their – their spending plan as you call it – a budget (laughter)…
Deborah: Right – yeah, yeah, yeah.
Jim: And you see things that are just so wildly extravagant. I mean, it might be a cellphone, uh, an expensive cellphone.
Jim: What do you say to them?
Deborah: I – I start to peel the onion. Let’s get to – to the emotional part. That’s why I like – what I’ve written in this book, it’s not about the mechanics of budgeting. It’s about the dynamics.
Jim: The heart.
Deborah: Yes. Well, like, what are the dynamics that – that drive your spending? When you buy that, what did that do for you? Why do you have a BMW…
Deborah: …When you don’t…
Deborah: …That’s 560 or 800 a month, and you are renting? Is that the best use of your money? What does that mean – what does that car mean to you? See; I’ve been in that space. I had a car. I won’t call the name of it. Well, I just called the name of another car, but it wasn’t that one.
Jim: OK, good – a nice car.
Deborah: It was a very nice foreign car – prestigious car. And my husband said, “That makes no sense.” He said, “And if you don’t watch it, at the end of your – when you get to be an old lady, all you’re going to have to show for all the hard work you’ve done is used-car repair bills.”
Deborah: And I thought, “Whoa. You’re right.” And I finally saw the light. And I realized, though, I was trying to maintain an image…
Jim: Mmm hmm.
Deborah: …Of – of what maybe my family or others had said. “Oh, you know, she went to college, so she should be in this space.” Why should you be in that space? Why not just solidify yourself first with – with, like, a house that’s – that’s paid for?
Deborah: …Those kinds of things.
Jim: But, you know, you’re alluding to something that all of us in this Western consumer-driven culture fall prey to. And that is every commercial is, “Oh, you really don’t have it yet.”
Jim: “You need this in order to achieve the height of your, you know, quest.”
Deborah: And you’ve got to be sensitive to that. When I – when I listen to a commercial, I’ll say, “What is it trying to make me feel insecure about?” I listen to it with that mindset.
Jim: I mean, that’s what they’re trying to do.
Deborah: Right – because that’s what they’re trying to do. But you’ve got to be smart on your own. And the Holy Spirit makes you smart (laughter).
Jim: Wow, that is good, though.
Deborah: Really. You have to say, “Why do I need that?” You know…
Deborah: “Why do I need an iPhone 10 when – when just plain flip phone will work for my needs (laughter)?”
Jim: Because it’s far better.
Jim: No, (laughter) I’m saying…
Deborah: No. No. And…
Jim: You know, you could start rationalizing. “Well, it’s a bigger screen, Deborah.”
Deborah: So what does that buy you?
Jim: It’s big. Well…
Deborah: I mean, can you afford it? Do you have your reserve already set?
Jim: With my old-man eyes, I need a bigger screen.
Deborah: And maybe you do need it.
Deborah: …If you need it.
Jim: But it is true. We rationalize everything. That BMW, boy, that drives smooth.
Deborah: All right.
Jim: That thing is well-engineered.
Deborah: Or people are gonna esteem me more…
Deborah: …Because I don’t – you see. When you have low self-esteem, when you feel less than, you – you spend more than.
Deborah: I’m gonna say it again. When you feel less than, you spend more than.
Deborah: And so you’ve got to ask yourself, “Is this making” – let me tell you what I ask people. If everybody in the world were blind, would you buy that? If nobody could see it…
Jim: Oh, wow.
Jim: That’s an interesting axiom.
Deborah: If nobody could see it.
Jim: Well, just for the record, the Daly household is all Chevys and Toyotas.
Jim: Well, that is something. Let’s touch on the financial manifesto.
Jim: And with your permission, we’ll post these at the website.
John: Good idea.
Jim: And John, you can get that…
Jim: …In a few minutes. But you’ve created this, uh, 10-point financial manifesto. Do you want to hit ’em and, uh, – or hit a couple of ’em?
Jim: And again, you can go to the website if you’re interested and see more.
Deborah: Well, I want – one I want to hit is that I take full responsibility for where I stand financially. You can’t say, “Well, if somebody hadn’t done this or if they hadn’t discriminated against me because I was this or that.” Take full responsibility for where you stand financially. It’s, like, “I made bad decisions.” Like, just take responsibility. But one of the ones I want to talk about is walk in integrity. You can’t expect to prosper if you are doing dishonest things.
Jim: Wow. That is so true.
Deborah: Yeah. You can’t say, “I live up here in zip code XX so that I can pay less insurance.” Like, that’s dishonoring to God. You’re going have to tell the truth. Integrity is integrating…
Jim: In everything.
Deborah: …What I say I believe with what I do.
Deborah: You see. So when – when I integrate the word with my behavior, then that’s – OK, I’m walking in integrity. But one of the things I – I don’t see it on my list right now ’cause I’m looking at it really fast. But a lot of women assume false responsibility.
Jim: What is that?
Deborah: False responsibility – taking responsibility for something that’s not theirs. You can be on the job, and then all of a sudden, everybody’s giving you all of the work. “Well, I just feel responsible because we had a deadline.” Or – I talked to a woman just yesterday. “I want to come to hear you speak. But I’m – I’m sick.” I said, “Listen. Here’s the deal. Don’t disadvantage yourself just to make somebody else happy like that.”
Deborah: You can’t do that. You know, there’s – you have a desire, but you don’t have the responsibility for those things. You have people – other people’s expectations. But it’s not your responsibility. So you have to distinguish between what I desire or what other people expect versus what am I really responsible for?
Jim: Those are all good things. Uh, Deborah, this may be the question. And for the listener that’s in this position, my heart goes out to you. And, again, this is how we want to try to help you. And if you’re in that spot, you need to get a copy of Deborah’s book, and we’ll tell you how in a minute. And we’ll cover it because we know you’re in a difficult position. But speak to the woman where she’s up to her ears in debt. Um, she’s not sure how she’s going to pay that mortgage payment that’s coming up. I don’t know the husband in the picture and if he’s just, uh, you know, in the no-man land of “Leave me alone,” news, weather and sports, and “I don’t want to connect with our difficulty.” And she’s feeling the ownership of it all – and you know, school fees for the kids and sports fees and all those things that are going on. How can she start to shake that fear and get control over her financial situation?
Deborah: First of all, she’s going to have to believe the word of God. The Bible says, in the Philippians 4:19, “My God shall supply all my needs according to his riches and glory” – his riches, his resources. You can’t let – rest your faith in what you see. You really can’t. This is a time you walk by faith. You’ve added it up, and there’s a gap. That gap should not be a cause of anxiety. It should be a cause to say, “God, give me the faith to believe you. Let me get my eyes on you.” Stop expecting your income to only come from this little place. I hate to hear people say…
Deborah: “I’m on a fixed income.” Immediately, that says, “I’m only looking to this channel for my money.” God has multiple channels. God will send people in your life to just bless you.
Deborah: But you also need to let your requests be made known. Let your need be made known. In the Bible, there’s a story about a preacher who died. And – and – and his widow came and said, “Listen; the creditors are gonna come.” She came to Elijah and said, “The creditors are gonna come and take my kids away” because that’s how they settled debts then. “They’re gonna come and make them slaves so we can pay off this debt.” And I like what he told her. “Get your sons involved. Have them to go out and borrow pots.” Children need to know when you’re struggling.
Deborah: You say, “I don’t wanna – I don’t wanna make the kids anxious.” They need to know so that they know that they can’t have everything they want right now.
Jim: But in that regard, I mean, for that woman, uh, to get out of that place of fear, I would think a trusted friend is important, someone you can talk to.
Deborah: Counseling at church – there is – there are numerous programs, even not at church. But there are a lot of Ramsey programs that happen in churches. And, you know, you need to be connected to a group. Like, I’m part of a life group. And when there’s a need in that group – a lot of us – we put money into helping meet that – that shortfall…
Deborah: …In that person’s life. So you don’t need to be quiet about it. The worst thing you can do when you’re struggling is to have too much pride to let people know I’m – I’m hurting here.
Jim: Yeah. Deborah, this is so good.
Jim: And people need this. Women need this.
Deborah: Women need it.
Jim: Like you said, I think one of the most critical things is most likely if you look at actuary tables, you, as a woman, will not have your husband at some point.
Jim: He will die before you…
Deborah: He will.
Jim: And you’ve got to know…
Jim: …What to do. And, you know, even Jean and I have talked about that. But it’s for her to see how to do it and to learn how to do it.
Deborah: Right. And it’s not about lording it over a man or, you know, trying to usurp authority. You just need to be in the know.
Deborah: You need to know what kind of insurance policy you have and how – and how long can you live off of that. You need to know that now.
Jim: And it’s good to share in that.
Jim: And it’s important that you…
Deborah: But a lot of men won’t share.
Jim: That’s too bad ’cause…
Deborah: It really is too bad. Right.
Jim: It really helps equip and train your spouse to…
Jim: …To handle things if you’re incapacitated…
Jim: …Or with the Lord in heaven (laughter).
Deborah: And lot of women don’t want to know ’cause I’ve heard women say, “He handles that.” In fact, it was funny. I gave a woman my book, and she said, “My husband’s almost finished reading it.”
Jim: Yeah. Well, that’s…
Deborah: I’m thinking, “No, no, no. That was for you.”
Jim: …To tell me what – yeah – for women…
Jim: It says right on the page – the cover.
Deborah: We’re trying to empower you.
Jim: Well, Deborah, you’ve done a fantastic job encouraging women to do this better. And that’s the key. And we’re here for you. We talk about that trusted, uh, friend. We want to be that to you, of course. So if you’re in a tough situation, call us. And we have caring Christian counselors who can help give you some perspective – maybe if you need, refer you to someone in your neighborhood who can help you further but also to get a copy of Deborah’s book. Uh, this is really helpful, The One-Minute Money Mentor for Women. And it’s a great starting guide for you, uh, circle yourself in the right place, to trust God and then to move forward in your needs and wants…
Deborah: And just to get some practical knowledge.
Deborah: There is a financial jargon dictionary in there.
Jim: Oh, that’s great.
Deborah: Just – just – yeah. Like, what does – what does this mean? What is an impound? It’s not for dogs. It’s something else.
Deborah: You know, those kind of things. It’s just…
Jim: I needed that for my MBA program.
Deborah: Oh, yeah.
Jim: So it is really helpful. So if you can make a gift to Focus for any amount – and if you can’t, that’s OK – we’ll get the book to you as our way of saying thank you. But we want to get it into your hands.
John: Yeah. Call us. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word family. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.
Join us again tomorrow. Dr. H. Norm Wright will offer some practical help for people who’ve gone through traumatic events.
Dr. H. Norman Wright: If churches, if, uh, schools could spend some time teaching people about loss, about grief, and they realize that what I’m going through – it’s normal. I am not going crazy.
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