There's nothing like the financial realm to make you feel well stupid. With so many terms that are specific to finance and constant expansions of the way you can use your financial knowledge (or lack thereof) it's no wonder that so many of us feel like throwing in the proverbial towel and sticking our money under the bed.

But fortunately, the Kingdom of God -- which has been around a little bit longer than Wall Street -- has an answer. It's called community. When we operate as interdependent but separately-tasked parts of the same body, God can use the whole community as an effective tool.

And yet, we tend to like to keep to ourselves. Notions of rugged individualism tend to cry louder than the humility of interdependence, especially in the financial realm. Money as a casual conversation topic places high on the list of socially forbidden somewhere between politics and Barney the purple dinosaur.

In an effort to meet the need for community in our finances, crosswalk.com has created a Forums section that allows you to ask your questions of other members of the community who have some expertise in this area. As you browse through the conversations, you may find not only questions that are similar to yours, but questions that you may already have answers to.

To give you an idea of the kinds of questions you might find, here are some current conversation topics.

How do I open an IRA?
I need to seriously start thinking about retirement, so where do I go to open an IRA? Do you have to find a financial advisor or some professional who will charge you for his knowledge and wisdom? Are there Christian people out there in that field? I'm so afraid that my ignorance will be very evident and I will be taken advantage of. I just don't know where to start. Please help!

Need retirement fund info for pastors
We are looking for a good place to invest for retirement. I am a teacher, and I know of companies that work with teachers. Does anyone know of any companies that help pastors start a retirement fund? I also need to know if they need to be living in the United States when they invest.


How strict should we be about our budget?
I am a bit obsessive when I start a new project -- like this one. My wife, who is much more carefree about these things, just wants to spend less than we make, (but she's not the "budget-buster" -- I am). Any advice?

Tithe on gross or net? (Our most popular forum)
I believe that we should tithe our gross income, but my wife thinks that it should be our net income. Can anyone provide a scripture reference for me?

How do I learn about investing for retirement?
I'm 21 and married. We will have all our bills paid off by December 2000 and will start saving for a home...I know the sooner I begin saving for our retirement, the better. I don't know anything about investing in stocks and mutual funds. I don't mind being a little risky with a few funds, but I want to make sure that I have other solid funds to back it up. Is there any help anyone can give me? I'd like to get some good books or advice, but with so much information (and misinformation) out there I'm not sure who to trust with something as important as a good retirement. Thanks for your help!!!!

TSA or Roth IRA?
I need some feedback. I know what TSA's and Roth IRA's are, but I can't decide which to invest in. My salary now is about 30K/yr; I'm going to be married soon, although I'm not sure if she'll work or not. I just bought a house for about $90,000. I am 34 and will work quite a while before retirement. Finally, I have a state teacher's pension fund that will give me a pretty decent retirement check. Which type of retirement fund would be best?

Should we take a 401(k) loan?
My husband and I are trying to pay off enough debt so that I can stay home with our two boys. The way it looks now, it will be 3 or 4 years before that happens. I'm wondering if it would be wise to take as much as I can out of my 401K to help reduce the debt. It would be a loan at a lower interest rate than most of the debts and I would be paying it back into the account. I can set it up to be paid off in 3 years. Does this sound like a good or a bad idea? By the way, the amount would be less than $3,000 and would cover our smallest debts. Thanks for your input.

A college student's financial decisions
I have 2 small credit card debts, one larger one ($4400), and serious car repairs that I just have not been able to meet in the last 3 years. I am a struggling college student in my senior year. My decision is this: I have Stafford loans coming in a few days from school/government. This money would cover my last two semesters at college, all of my debt and my car repairs. And it will free me to rip up all but the lowest-interest cc - which is something that I have asked God to do for a lo0ong time *lol* So, shall I go ahead and apply the overage to my debt? It is still a loan that I would be repaying, but it would be my only monthly payment and it is at a MUCH MUCH lower interest rate than any of my credit cards. And with my new degree, I will have a better paying job (I work 40 hrs now, but...). I just want to make sure that it is not a wildly stupid thing to be doing

Choosing auto insurance coverage
I am about to change carriers for my auto insurance and am in the process of obtaining quotes. What coverage and limits are recommended for a family vehicle? I am very confused by all the different coverage and amounts. I don't want to carry more insurance than I need, but I don't want to be underinsured either! I have always carried a $500 deductible to reduce cost. I have heard that medical payments coverage is a waste of money since most injury would be covered under existing health insurance policies. What about uninsured motorist coverage? Someone with some knowledge in this area please help!

Job negotiations - how do you know what income to ask for?
My husband is leaving the military for civilian work and we hope to save to buy a house when he gets out. How do we figure what we would need to make to pay bills and buy a house so we can negotiate with intelligence? Any ideas?

So take a walk through our community at crosswalk.com, you just may find that there are a lot of people out there who sound just like you.


Click here to visit crosswalk.com's Financial Forums.