The debate about minimum wage and the varying income classes in the world is a fascinating economic topic.  Interestingly, this topic is one that we can find Biblical references to guide us with our thinking. We know that pay is essentially determined by the combination of supply and demand – the same supply and demand that determines the price of goods and services we use.   These wages guide us in utilizing the scarce resources of capital and labor – which… Read more

Last weekend I saw Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps last weekend and thought it was a pretty entertaining movie. It’s a sequel to the 1987 movie Wall Street and picks up when Gordon Gekko is released from prison. I won’t go into detail about the movie’s plot, but Gekko definitely loves money and isn’t afraid to sacrifice almost everything for it. I was taken back by one line that Gekko had in the movie – “Time is the greatest asset… Read more

“Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep—so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man” (Proverbs 6:6-11). Talk about… Read more

The Buffettology Workbook is a great tool to start understanding how Warren Buffett invests.  Here’s a quick summary of some of the points the authors make. Before Warren Buffett invests in a company, he starts by identifying the sick/commodity type business and the healthy consumer monopoly.  He suggests staying away from the commodity type business and clings to the consumer monopoly businesses. Sick/Commodity Business Characteristics: o Sells generic product or service where price is the most important motivating factor in… Read more

I really enjoyed reading through the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey.  In his book, Covey shares seven habits that shape our character and help us move from dependence to independence and then interdependence.  The underlying principles that Covey shares can impact us as investors whether we’re starting a business, buying shares of stock, or even buying or merging a business. Here’s my own Faith and Finance twist to the same 7 habits that Covey shares:… Read more

I think that in order to understand the financial markets thoroughly enough to see how the rules and regulations affect our businesses today, we need to look at both sides of the argument.  That’s why I read the book 13 Bankers. 13 Bankers addresses the financial crisis that the U.S. is facing and does a nice job in providing a detailed history of the financial markets in America.  Throughout the book, the authors, Simon Johnson and James Kwak share their… Read more

Have you thought of what your spouse would do with your finances if something were to happen to you?   Would they know about each life insurance policy or retirement account and how to access the funds?  A death in the family can bring enough stress, and worrying about putting your financial matters in order can make the situation even worse. I recently had lunch with a lady whose husband passed away unexpectedly.  She said that her husband took care of… Read more

A new law passed by President Obama this week allows eligible employees participating in their company’s 401(k) or 403(b) to convert a portion of their funds into ROTH.   This rule is great for those who want to maintain their employer retirement account instead of rolling it into a ROTH IRA.  (In my opinion, an IRA is more flexible than an employer retirement account, but we’re just covering the facts on this new change) The new in plan ROTH conversion law… Read more

According to a study done by Gallup, Americans making $75,000 a year have reached the magic income level.  As salaries increased for the 450,000 people surveyed, the day-to-day level of happiness rose as well – until $75,000 where it reached a plateau.  Now that doesn’t mean a person making $150,000 isn’t any happier than a person making $75,000.  In both cases, the general day-to-day happiness or contentment was similar; but those who made more than $75,000 were more satisfied with… Read more

I’m reading the book Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell and I’ve been really impressed with the content so far. Sowell explains economic theory in a way that makes it interesting, easy to understand, and applicable to today. I’ll be using his book as a guide for many “Faith and Economics” posts in the future, including today’s post about productivity and pay. Unless we’re volunteering (or required) people are generally paid for their work. Commonly called income, this pay can be… Read more

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