(Entravision) Washington D.C. – Cuando se trata de las finanzas personales debemos comenzar por establecernos metas. Josh Rivera se senienta con una experta en finanzas y nos explica que son las metas financieras y por que las debemos establecer
(Entravision) Washington D.C. – Cuando se trata de las finanzas personales debemos comenzar por establecernos metas. Josh Rivera se senienta con una experta en finanzas y nos explica que son las metas financieras y por que las debemos establecer
Contentment in Christ
This is a re-blog from Bible Money Matters. I hope that you enjoy it.
Felix A. Montelara
Author; Potencial Millonario
Last week, I laid the foundation for how I studied personal finance in the Bible. I gave you a light introduction to what I call God’s Provident Plan and promised we’d look at each aspect in more depth. This is the first part of a series in which I’ll share what I’ve discovered about personal finance in the Bible. Today, we’re going to talk about the importance of contentment in Christ.
Once we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He becomes everything to us. He must become everything to us. We are in a continual struggle against Satan to keep other things (especially money) from taking the place of Christ. The World sends us a message that says more wealth and more stuff will make us happy. But God warns us in Revelation 3:17-18 that worldly wealth cannot offer us true satisfaction and security.
17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Revelation 3:17-18 (NIV)
Only God can provide us with true wealth and open our eyes so we can see the truth. God has a higher purpose for us than riches far beyond our needs and 6,000 square foot homes. God wants more meaning in our lives than a brand new luxury car in the driveway and a shiny yacht next to the dock. God has a higher calling for our retirement years than fruitless day after fruitless day spent on the golf course, beach, or back porch. The World’s message contradicts God’s message so much that we must choose between the two. Luke 16:13-15 says:
13 “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” 14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” Luke 16:13-15 (NIV)
We must choose between serving God or Money. There is no middle ground. Devotion to Money is completely and absolutely opposed to devotion to God. Greed and generosity cannot exist together. Consumerism and contentment demand different paths. Choosing to love and serve Money means that you are choosing to turn your back on God. But if you want to serve God, you must give your heart completely to Him. In Mark 7:21-23, Jesus tells us that greed and envy come from our hearts:
21 “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’” Mark 7:21-23 (NIV)
Once God has the commitment of our hearts, He can begin to transform our minds – change our thinking. The New Living Translation renders Romans 12:2 this way:
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 (NLT)
The solution to serving God and rejecting the World’s message is not to start trying to do what we think are all the right things. The solution is to give ourselves completely to God – to offer our entire lives as a sacrifice to Him in thankfulness and love for what He’s done for us. Then as we focus on Him we’ll learn what His will is for us and how we can glorify Him.
This step of getting God’s view takes time. It is a gradual transformation in our thinking that God effects as we grow in Him. We have to see that our focus on the things of this world keeps us from seeing the importance of love and relationships. That misplaced focus keeps us from fully serving God. We must focus on storing up treasures in heaven rather than on Earth because that will show whether our hearts belong to God or Money. If we let the concerns of this life take priority over the concerns of eternal life, we will be unfruitful. Jesus warns of this danger in Mark 4:18-19:
18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Mark 4:18-19 (NIV)
We must learn that everything belongs to God and everything comes from God. We must learn to be thankful in all circumstances. We must find satisfaction in our daily bread. We must learn that life is more than pursuing wealth, buying everything our culture tells us to want, and retiring early. And even though these ideas go against our human nature, we must understand that it’s not worth gaining the whole world if we end up losing our souls.
The transformation that happens as we let God renew our minds and thinking has huge repercussions in our lives. We gain understanding of what it means to be content in Christ. We see that our faith in Jesus gives us eternal life. We see the utter worthlessness of everything on earth when compared to our salvation and the riches of eternal life with God. We put our hope in Christ and the life He gives. Christ then gives us true contentment that conquers any circumstance we may face, but we must continue to focus on our hope in Him and weigh everything against the surpassing value of our eternal life with God.
When we find contentment in Christ and Christ alone, the importance of money in our lives diminishes and pales to the value we place on Jesus. We learn the secret to being happy in all situations – whether we’re full or starving, rich or poor, employed or jobless, single or married – nothing in this life matters at all when compared to the glorious gift of Jesus and the fact that no one and no circumstance can take that away from us. As Paul says in Philippians 4:11-13:
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)
When we see everything in light of eternity, we find that nothing on earth is of more value than our faith in Christ. We learn that while we may never be rich by the world’s standards, we have riches that can’t be measured in dollars, gold, houses, cars, or anything else in this life. We understand that contentment in Christ is true wealth.
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:6-12 (NIV)
Once we have this conviction of always finding our contentment in Christ, the Spirit will teach us to place much less importance on material things. We will no longer be focused solely on our own needs and wants – an early retirement, a bigger house, a nicer car, and so on. Instead, we’ll be consumed with a desire to focus on the needs of others – to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, and show God’s love to the world through our faith and deeds. This is the essence of contentment in Christ. We’ll spend less and less on ourselves and our desires as we seek to give more and more to others and fulfill God’s desires.
Watch this TED talk video it is pretty awesome. Good luck and I hope you go viral.
Felix A. Montelara
Author: Potencial Millonario
Why do people succeed? Is it because they’re smart? Or are they just lucky? Neither. Analyst Richard St. John condenses years of interviews into an unmissable 3-minute slideshow on the real secrets of success.
0:11This is really a two-hour presentation I give to high school students, cut down to three minutes. And it all started one day on a plane, on my way to TED, seven years ago. And in the seat next to me was a high school student, a teenager, and she came from a really poor family. And she wanted to make something of her life, and she asked me a simple little question. She said, “What leads to success?”And I felt really badly, because I couldn’t give her a good answer. So I get off the plane, and I come to TED. And I think, jeez, I’m in the middle of a room of successful people! So why don’t I ask them what helped them succeed, and pass it on to kids?
0:47So here we are, seven years, 500 interviews later, and I’m gonna tell you what really leads to successand makes TEDsters tick. And the first thing is passion. Freeman Thomas says, “I’m driven by my passion.” TEDsters do it for love; they don’t do it for money.
1:04Carol Coletta says, “I would pay someone to do what I do.” And the interesting thing is: if you do it for love, the money comes anyway.
1:11Work! Rupert Murdoch said to me, “It’s all hard work. Nothing comes easily. But I have a lot of fun.” Did he say fun? Rupert? Yes!
1:21TEDsters do have fun working. And they work hard. I figured, they’re not workaholics. They’re workafrolics.
1:29Good! Alex Garden says, “To be successful put your nose down in something and get damn good at it.”There’s no magic; it’s practice, practice, practice.
1:39And it’s focus. Norman Jewison said to me, “I think it all has to do with focusing yourself on one thing.”
1:45And push! David Gallo says, “Push yourself. Physically, mentally, you’ve gotta push, push, push.” You gotta push through shyness and self-doubt.
1:54Goldie Hawn says, “I always had self-doubts. I wasn’t good enough; I wasn’t smart enough. I didn’t think I’d make it.”
2:01Now it’s not always easy to push yourself, and that’s why they invented mothers. (Laughter) Frank Gehry — Frank Gehry said to me, “My mother pushed me.”
2:13Serve! Sherwin Nuland says, “It was a privilege to serve as a doctor.”
2:18Now a lot of kids tell me they want to be millionaires. And the first thing I say to them is: “OK, well you can’t serve yourself; you gotta serve others something of value. Because that’s the way people really get rich.”
2:30Ideas! TEDster Bill Gates says, “I had an idea: founding the first micro-computer software company.”I’d say it was a pretty good idea. And there’s no magic to creativity in coming up with ideas – it’s just doing some very simple things. And I give lots of evidence.
2:46Persist! Joe Kraus says, “Persistence is the number one reason for our success.” You gotta persist through failure. You gotta persist through crap! Which of course means “Criticism, Rejection, Assholes and Pressure.” (Laughter)
3:01So, the big — the answer to this question is simple: Pay 4,000 bucks and come to TED. Or failing that, do the eight things — and trust me, these are the big eight things that lead to success. Thank you TEDsters for all your interviews!
Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.
Kelly McGonigal, Health psychologist translates academic research into practical strategies for health, happiness and personal success.
0:11I have a confession to make, but first, I want you to make a little confession to me. In the past year, I want you to just raise your hand
0:25if you’ve experienced relatively little stress. Anyone?
0:31How about a moderate amount of stress?
0:34Who has experienced a lot of stress? Yeah. Me too.
0:39But that is not my confession. My confession is this: I am a health psychologist, and my mission is to help people be happier and healthier. But I fear that something I’ve been teaching for the last 10 years is doing more harm than good, and it has to do with stress. For years I’ve been telling people, stress makes you sick. It increases the risk of everything from the common cold to cardiovascular disease.Basically, I’ve turned stress into the enemy. But I have changed my mind about stress, and today, I want to change yours.
1:20Let me start with the study that made me rethink my whole approach to stress. This study tracked 30,000 adults in the United States for eight years, and they started by asking people, “How much stress have you experienced in the last year?” They also asked, “Do you believe that stress is harmful for your health?” And then they used public death records to find out who died.
1:48Okay. Some bad news first. People who experienced a lot of stress in the previous year had a 43 percent increased risk of dying. But that was only true for the people who also believed that stress is harmful for your health. (Laughter) People who experienced a lot of stress but did not view stress as harmful were no more likely to die. In fact, they had the lowest risk of dying of anyone in the study, including people who had relatively little stress.
2:23Now the researchers estimated that over the eight years they were tracking deaths, 182,000 Americans died prematurely, not from stress, but from the belief that stress is bad for you. (Laughter) That is over 20,000 deaths a year. Now, if that estimate is correct, that would make believing stress is bad for youthe 15th largest cause of death in the United States last year, killing more people than skin cancer,HIV/AIDS and homicide.
2:58You can see why this study freaked me out. Here I’ve been spending so much energy telling peoplestress is bad for your health.
3:07So this study got me wondering: Can changing how you think about stress make you healthier? And here the science says yes. When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body’s response to stress.
3:21Now to explain how this works, I want you all to pretend that you are participants in a study designed to stress you out. It’s called the social stress test. You come into the laboratory, and you’re told you have to give a five-minute impromptu speech on your personal weaknesses to a panel of expert evaluators sitting right in front of you, and to make sure you feel the pressure, there are bright lights and a camera in your face, kind of like this. And the evaluators have been trained to give you discouraging, non-verbal feedback like this.
4:07Now that you’re sufficiently demoralized, time for part two: a math test. And unbeknownst to you, the experimenter has been trained to harass you during it. Now we’re going to all do this together. It’s going to be fun. For me.
4:24Okay. I want you all to count backwards from 996 in increments of seven. You’re going to do this out loud as fast as you can, starting with 996. Go! Audience: (Counting) Go faster. Faster please. You’re going too slow. Stop. Stop, stop, stop. That guy made a mistake. We are going to have to start all over again. (Laughter) You’re not very good at this, are you? Okay, so you get the idea. Now, if you were actually in this study, you’d probably be a little stressed out. Your heart might be pounding, you might be breathing faster, maybe breaking out into a sweat. And normally, we interpret these physical changesas anxiety or signs that we aren’t coping very well with the pressure.
5:11But what if you viewed them instead as signs that your body was energized, was preparing you to meet this challenge? Now that is exactly what participants were told in a study conducted at Harvard University. Before they went through the social stress test, they were taught to rethink their stress response as helpful. That pounding heart is preparing you for action. If you’re breathing faster, it’s no problem. It’s getting more oxygen to your brain. And participants who learned to view the stress response as helpful for their performance, well, they were less stressed out, less anxious, more confident, but the most fascinating finding to me was how their physical stress response changed. Now, in a typical stress response, your heart rate goes up, and your blood vessels constrict like this. And this is one of the reasons that chronic stress is sometimes associated with cardiovascular disease. It’s not really healthy to be in this state all the time. But in the study, when participants viewed their stress response as helpful, their blood vessels stayed relaxed like this. Their heart was still pounding, but this is a much healthier cardiovascular profile. It actually looks a lot like what happens in moments of joy and courage. Over a lifetime of stressful experiences, this one biological change could be the difference between a stress-induced heart attack at age 50 and living well into your 90s. And this is really what the new science of stress reveals, that how you think about stress matters.
6:51So my goal as a health psychologist has changed. I no longer want to get rid of your stress. I want to make you better at stress. And we just did a little intervention. If you raised your hand and said you’d had a lot of stress in the last year, we could have saved your life, because hopefully the next time your heart is pounding from stress, you’re going to remember this talk and you’re going to think to yourself,this is my body helping me rise to this challenge. And when you view stress in that way, your body believes you, and your stress response becomes healthier.
7:29Now I said I have over a decade of demonizing stress to redeem myself from, so we are going to do one more intervention. I want to tell you about one of the most under-appreciated aspects of the stress response, and the idea is this: Stress makes you social.
7:48To understand this side of stress, we need to talk about a hormone, oxytocin, and I know oxytocin has already gotten as much hype as a hormone can get. It even has its own cute nickname, the cuddle hormone, because it’s released when you hug someone. But this is a very small part of what oxytocin is involved in. Oxytocin is a neuro-hormone. It fine-tunes your brain’s social instincts. It primes you to do things that strengthen close relationships. Oxytocin makes you crave physical contact with your friends and family. It enhances your empathy. It even makes you more willing to help and support the people you care about. Some people have even suggested we should snort oxytocin to become more compassionate and caring. But here’s what most people don’t understand about oxytocin. It’s a stress hormone. Your pituitary gland pumps this stuff out as part of the stress response. It’s as much a part of your stress response as the adrenaline that makes your heart pound. And when oxytocin is released in the stress response, it is motivating you to seek support. Your biological stress response is nudging you to tell someone how you feel instead of bottling it up. Your stress response wants to make sure you notice when someone else in your life is struggling so that you can support each other. When life is difficult, your stress response wants you to be surrounded by people who care about you.
9:32Okay, so how is knowing this side of stress going to make you healthier? Well, oxytocin doesn’t only act on your brain. It also acts on your body, and one of its main roles in your body is to protect your cardiovascular system from the effects of stress. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory. It also helps your blood vessels stay relaxed during stress. But my favorite effect on the body is actually on the heart.Your heart has receptors for this hormone, and oxytocin helps heart cells regenerate and heal from any stress-induced damage. This stress hormone strengthens your heart, and the cool thing is that all of these physical benefits of oxytocin are enhanced by social contact and social support, so when you reach out to others under stress, either to seek support or to help someone else, you release more of this hormone, your stress response becomes healthier, and you actually recover faster from stress. I find this amazing, that your stress response has a built-in mechanism for stress resilience, and that mechanism is human connection.
10:49I want to finish by telling you about one more study. And listen up, because this study could also save a life. This study tracked about 1,000 adults in the United States, and they ranged in age from 34 to 93,and they started the study by asking, “How much stress have you experienced in the last year?” They also asked, “How much time have you spent helping out friends, neighbors, people in your community?” And then they used public records for the next five years to find out who died.
11:26Okay, so the bad news first: For every major stressful life experience, like financial difficulties or family crisis, that increased the risk of dying by 30 percent. But — and I hope you are expecting a but by now – but that wasn’t true for everyone. People who spent time caring for others showed absolutely no stress-related increase in dying. Zero. Caring created resilience. And so we see once again that the harmful effects of stress on your health are not inevitable. How you think and how you act can transform your experience of stress. When you choose to view your stress response as helpful, you create the biology of courage. And when you choose to connect with others under stress, you can create resilience. Now I wouldn’t necessarily ask for more stressful experiences in my life, but this science has given me a whole new appreciation for stress. Stress gives us access to our hearts. The compassionate heart that finds joy and meaning in connecting with others, and yes, your pounding physical heart, working so hard to give you strength and energy, and when you choose to view stress in this way, you’re not just getting better at stress, you’re actually making a pretty profound statement.You’re saying that you can trust yourself to handle life’s challenges, and you’re remembering that you don’t have to face them alone.
13:31Chris Anderson: This is kind of amazing, what you’re telling us. It seems amazing to me that a belief about stress can make so much difference to someone’s life expectancy. How would that extend to advice, like, if someone is making a lifestyle choice between, say, a stressful job and a non-stressful job, does it matter which way they go? It’s equally wise to go for the stressful job so long as you believe that you can handle it, in some sense?
13:59Kelly McGonigal: Yeah, and one thing we know for certain is that chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort. And so I would say that’s really the best way to make decisions,is go after what it is that creates meaning in your life and then trust yourself to handle the stress that follows.
14:14CA: Thank you so much, Kelly. It’s pretty cool. KM: Thank you.
Felix A. Montelara
Author & Host of:
Having children is an expensive prospect. A recent USDA study calculated that it will cost new parents $235,000 to raise children from birth to age 18—and that figure does not include college costs.Unfortunately, that number will be even higher for those who become parents through adoption. Prospective parents may realize that there is a cost associated with adopting a child, but it may shock them to discover just how much they will need to have budgeted before they are able to bring their new family member home.In honor of National Adoption Month, here is a break down of the costs associated with adopting a child:
According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, there are three ways to bring an adopted child home: public agency adoption, which generally works to place foster children into forever homes, private adoption, and inter-country adoption. Each of these adoption methods have their own particular costs, although there are some costs you can expect to pay no matter what route you take to adoption. Those universal adoption costs include home study expenses and legal fees.
All prospective parents must go through a home evaluation or study before they can be put on the waiting list for a child. These home studies help the adoption facilitator or social worker to determine if the prospective parents are qualified to take a child into their home. Though completely necessary, this can be a frustrating process for adoptive parents—and an expensive one.
Home studies can cost parents between $1000 and $3000 for private and inter-country adoption. If you are adopting through a public agency, the home study fee can be lower—around $500—or waived, since public agencies are generally trying to find homes for older foster children or kids with special needs.
Some private and inter-country adoption agencies will include the cost of the home study in the overall fees for the adoption.
Nearly all adoptions must be finalized in court, and inter-country adoptions can have some legal requirements on the foreign end as well. While some jurisdictions in America will allow adoptions to be finalized without an attorney, most adoptive parents will have to hire a lawyer for their legal needs. The Child Welfare Information Gateway estimates legal fees will cost between $500 and $6000:
“The cost for court document preparation can range from $500 to $2,000, while the cost for representing adoptive parents in an uncontested adoption can range from $2,500 to $6,000.”
However, those parents who are adopting foster kids through public agencies will usually find that their state makes cost allowances for their legal fees. These cost allowances should cover most or all of their attorney fees.
These adoption agencies are usually working to place foster children, older children, or children with special needs, although some infants do get adopted through public agencies. Since these agencies are working to find the best home for children who may be more difficult to find parents for, the costs associated with this type of adoption tend to be low or waived. Public agencies do not want to put any obstacles in the way of these children finding homes.
However, there are still costs associated with this type of adoption, including travel expenses and lawyer’s fees. Altogether, parents adopting through a public agency can expect to spend $2500 or less, including the home study expense and legal fees.
There are two ways to go through a private adoption: through a private agency or independently. If you use a private agency to adopt, you can expect that agency will charge a fee of anywhere from about $5,000 to $40,000, which will cover the costs of the home study, counseling for the birth parent, adoptive parent training, and social work services. Private agencies will sometimes offer a sliding scale of fees, dependent on the adoptive parents’ income.
Independent adoption is when adoptive parents locate a birth parent on their own, and use an adoption lawyer to facilitate all of the necessary paperwork. Costs for an independent private adoption can include everything from advertising (to find a birth parent) to allowable medical expenses for the birth mother to legal fees. The laws of your state may prohibit or cap some of these expenses, as laws differ from state to state. Independent adoptions can cost between $8,000 and $40,000, although the average cost is between $10,000 and $15,000.
Independent adoption costs can fluctuate much more than those through a private agency, and adoptive parents may not have their costs reimbursed in the case of a birth mother changing her mind.
Adopting a child from another country adds more complexity to the paperwork you need to do in order to bring your child home. International adoption agencies generally charge fees of approximately $15,000 to $30,000, although many international agencies also offer sliding fee scales.
Related podcast: “I started a freelance photography business to help fund my international adoption.”
The costs of inter-country adoptions can include immigration processing and court costs, a required donation to the foreign orphanage, parent travel expenses, translation fees, foreign legal fees, foreign agency fees, passport fees, and sometimes medical and foster care of the child.
There are several programs available for adoptive parents to help defray these costs, but any parent looking into adoption should expect to write some fairly big checks before the adoption process is complete.
It’s a frustrating fact of life that adoption is expensive. But every parent I know would say that holding their child for the first time was a priceless experience.
By: Robert Frank | CNBC Reporter and Editor
According to Spectrum Group, the U.S. added 640,000 millionaire households in 2013.
The recovery is official—at least for millionaires.
The number of millionaire households in the U.S. surged by 640,000, or 7 percent, to 9.63 million last year, according to a new study from Spectrem Group. That marks an all-time high for the number of millionaire households in America since Spectrem began tracking the data in 1997.
It’s also the first time the millionaire population has exceeded the pre-crisis peak of 9.2 millionaire households in 2007, showing that last year’s stock surge drove a corresponding growth in wealth for the rich.
The number of households worth $5 million or more also surpassed its pre-crisis peak for the first time, rising by 100,000 to 1.24 million households. The number of households worth $25 million or more surged by 15,000, to 132,000 households.
“In terms of the affluent investor, it is fair to say they have finally recovered from the economic downturn,” said Spectrem Group President George H. Walper Jr.
However, the number of households worth $500,000 has yet to recover to its pre-crisis population peak. Those so-called “mass affluent” households grew by 1 million to 15.3 million in 2013—just below the 2007 top of 15.7 million.
Spectrem defines millionaire households as those with a net worth of $1 million or more, not including the value of their primary residence.
Last week Proterra, a manufacturer of EV buses, announced the sale of seven electric buses and a charging station to the Nashville MTA. The MTA selected South Carolina-based Proterra over China-based Build Your Dreams (BYD) EV-bus manufacturer after…
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