Dear Dave,

Our son is 13, and he wants to give half the money he received for his birthday to the nursery at our church. They need new baby toys and things like that. Should we let him give that much, or should we tell him that maybe 25 percent is enough?

Kyle


Dear Kyle,

I hope you’re proud of this kid. He’s a got a good heart, and it’s probably a reflection of the way his mom and dad are raising him. I like this a lot.

I would very gently, and without any commanding or control verbiage, use some examples from the Bible when talking to him. There are several things to be learned about money from Scripture, and the concepts of generosity and giving are in there. There’s also a verse that says we need to take care of our own households first. Another one says in the house of the wise are stores of food and oil.

We need to do all of these things with money – in balance. Thoughtfully and prayerfully decide what your giving amount will be, so that you don’t destroy your ability to save and do other important things. Talk to him about these concepts, then ask him to wait two or three days and think about his decision.

If he comes back and says he still wants to give half of it, I would encourage him to do so. But slow things down a little, and make sure this isn’t a knee-jerk reaction. You need to be a wise giver, not an impulsive giver!

Dave


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Bad advice from a ‘friend’

Dear Dave,

My husband and I are currently in Baby Step 2 and paying off all our debt except for our home. A friend recently told us to pay off everything except for the credit-card debt. She says we can then settle for a far less amount and not have so much money going out the door. This feels a little unethical to me. What are your thoughts?

Jennifer


Dear Jennifer,

There’s a good reason this idea feels unethical to you – it is unethical! Would a good friend, a smart friend, encourage you to do something as dishonorable as not pay a bill you’re morally and legally obligated to pay? I don’t think so.

If you’re able to pay your bills, you pay your bills. It’s as simple as that. Now, if you honestly can’t pay the bill, and you have to settle upon a mutually agreed upon amount with the creditor or collector, then it’s OK at that point to try and reach a settlement.

Otherwise, it’s a simple question of ethics. Pay the bill!

Dave

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