Click here to read Larry Burkett's Questions and Answers.


Did you ever sit in a classroom with a teacher asking, "Are there any questions?" only to stare back with as blank a look as you could muster? It's not that you were some kind of genius who automatically comprehended every new idea in the curriculum, but you would rather the teacher thought that than the real truth -- you had plenty of questions but you feared they were stupid questions. And no matter how many times they retold the mantra, "There are no stupid questions," there was a constant struggle between your brain's intellectual curiosity and your self-esteem. Ultimately, the self esteem won out and your hand stayed right where it was most comfortable: at your side.

Or perhaps you were the type who believed the "no stupid questions" notion and you responded to the teacher by immediately raising your hand and satisfying your wondering. To tell you the truth, those of us who were shy also battled simultaneous feelings of loathing (you pet, you) and gratitude for breaking the silence and preventing the rest of us from getting called on.

Well the good news and the bad news continue, because even after we graduate from school, there are plenty of opportunities to respond or stare blankly when confronted with "Are there any questions?" The Internet, however, may have become the best friend of the shy types because now we can air all of our potentially stupid questions with complete anonymity.

In the financial realm, it's comforting to be able to ask a question without having the rest of the class turn around and identifying you as the dumb question-asker. So Larry Burkett has come to the rescue by chronicling over 100 pages of the most frequently asked financial questions from the past 17 years of his Christian Financial Concepts ministry. Because this valuable resource will be useful to so many readers, we have made the entire database available at crosswalk.com.

(For the first week, Larry Burkett's Questions and Answers will be available to all readers, after which point, the database will only be accessible by crosswalk.com members.)

For your convenience, the questions are divided among 13 categories listed below. By the way, as you peruse the list you may find that it is just like sitting in class and marveling at the fact that someone else was brave enough to ask the same question you had.

Attitudes

Question: I have serious concerns about the affluence in this country. Is it scriptural for Christians to maintain this level of affluence? ...

No doubt our affluence blinds us to the real needs of other people ... But to put all this in balance, God's Word does not prohibit a Christian from having a surplus. In fact, I believe that God places Christians at every level of society, from the poorest to the most affluent, so we can witness to those around us.

Borrowing and Debt

Question: Is a lease actually the same thing as a loan, particularly a lease for an automobile?

A lease is basically no different from a loan. When you sign a lease, it's a contingent liability and an obligation to pay. For instance, if you lease a car and ... you can't make the payments and you give the automobile back, you will still owe the difference between the sale value and the remaining lease ...

Budgeting

Question: I'm trying to get my family on a budget, but I can't see how I can ever afford gifts for Christmas, birthdays, and so on. Could you give me some help?

Gifts should be in the miscellaneous expense category. About the only way that you're going to be able to control those kinds of expenses is to budget for them and stick to your budget...

Buying and Selling

Question: We're a couple in our mid-twenties. We're just beginning to have a family and are looking for life insurance. Can you tell us the best kind of life insurance for our family?

There is no "best" kind of insurance. That's a little like walking into a doctor's office and asking "What's your best operation." The type of life insurance that's bet for your family depends on your specific needs...

Giving

Question: My husband and I both work. Should we tithe from our total income, or just my husband's income, since I don't intend to work for a long period of time?

I believe that you should do whatever God convicts you to do. God's Word says we should tithe on whatever comes into our possession, and in your case that includes both salaries...

Husband's and Wife's Responsibilities

Question: Should a wife be involved in her husband's business?

God establishes a husband and wife as a team. This relationship is not limited only to the home. A husband who does not involve his wife in business decisions has lost the best counselor available to him.

Inheritance

Question: If we draw up our own will in the presence of witnesses, but without an attorney, is it legally binding?

Technically yes, but I have counseled enough widows to know that if you don't do it properly, it may not meet probate requirements (be provable) in court. I suggest you consult an attorney...

Investments

Question: I know that some investments are risky and others are relatively safe. What should my strategy be as I consider investing my savings?

First determine the amount of money you will need for emergencies. This might be anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 depending on your family's needs... The most common investment strategy is to maximize your income and minimize your risks ...

Lending

Question: I work in the lending business. Should a Christian lend money to other people and charge them interest?

Christians should be concerned about two areas when it comes to lending money. First is lending to non Christians and charging them a fair rate of interest. Second is lending to Christians and charging them any interest at all.

Money and Children

Question: How soon should my children begin to tithe?

First of all, you should avoid the "quarter in the plate" syndrome. When the collection plate comes around, don't scramble to find your child a quarter to drop in. This teaches nothing about giving. Children should learn about tithing by giving of their own resources. I would suggest that a child gives as soon as he or she has resources from which to tithe...

Retirement

Question: I just started in business and would like to begin a reasonable retirement plan. I don't expect to retire for at least 35 years. How much should I put aside and where?

I suggest you decide how much income you will need in 35 years and work toward that goal. For example, if you retired today, let's say that your income needs would be $30,000 a year ...

Singles' Finances

Question: I'm a recent college graduate, thinking about getting married. However, I owe about $12,000 in school debts and my fianc owes about $10,000. Together we would have to pay out more than $600 a month, just on those debts. Could you give us some counsel?

I suspect at this point you both understand the scriptural principle, "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender's slave" (Proverbs 22:7)...

Vocational

Question: What should I do if I have a job that I really like but it doesn't pay enough to meet my family's basic needs?

Unfortunately, your situation is not unusual, especially for those in Christian education... My counsel is twofold. First, see if God provides your family's needs from another source... But if your needs are not provided, then you must look elsewhere ...

See if your question has already been asked by reading Larry Burkett's Questions and Answers.