Category: Viewpoints

Personal Finance: Graduated and On Your Own: Now What?

  Fall is here and school is back in session but for many graduates, it’s out for good. If you’re a recent high school or college graduate, this might be the first time you’re on your own. Living away from home and paying for your own housing, food and other necessities can be a tough adjustment. But being on your own for the first time is a new and exciting experience and it offers a perfect opportunity to set yourself up for success. Make sure you have the right bank account for you. A lot may have changed since you opened your account, so consider changing your account to find the best one for your needs. If you are still sharing a bank account with your parents, consider opening your own. Opening an account can be simple and it’s possible to do so online or over the phone – but you’ll need a minimum deposit amount and documentation like your Social Security Number. For helpful tips, see the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) guide on opening a checking account. Live within your means. As you begin your career it’s essential to have reliable income and use it responsibly. A good budgeting guideline to start with is the 50/20/30 rule. Allot 50 percent of your income to necessary costs like housing, 20 percent to financial goals like repaying student loans...

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Thinkin’ Out Loud: Socialism Versus Capitalism, It’s A 2016 Referendum

I’ve heard many say the 2016 presidential election is the most important one they can recall in a lifetime.  Why are so many individuals saying that?  Without articulating it I believe a score of people believe the very existence of the United States is at stake.  Many believe “The American Dream” is threatened.  Hundreds of elections have been held through the annals of time, so what makes this one so different?  Simply put, I believe 2016 will go down in history as a national referendum on socialism versus capitalism and many believe whoever the winner is the country will either wither or bloom once more. An estimated 100 million Americans watched the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  Both candidates have extremely poor approval ratings, some speculate the lowest in history, so why is this election so important when so many distrust these individuals? Dissatisfaction in the electorate, at an all-time high, may explain why. Donald Trump, a capitalist, claims he’ll make America great again and explained how he’d accomplish that during the debate.  Hillary Clinton, a liberal, is of the opinion more socialism is best.  During the debate she said she would excessively tax the rich.  How does one define what rich is?  I may be one of modest means, but I’m an American who cherishes freedom and that indeed makes me a rich soul. ...

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It Seems to Me: Freedom of Religion

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”.  This amendment guarantees freedom of religion to residents of this country.  “Freedom of religion” is an important phrase.  The wording is significant. “Freedom from religion” is not the guarantee.  Americans should be able to exercise their religion without fear of interference from anyone, including and especially the various governments that we live under.  This freedom is a really messy situation because certainly there are “religions” that I do not approve of but they also have the same freedom. Perhaps the bigger issue of the day is the seemingly ever-present push to change the wording of this religious freedom from “freedom of religion” to “freedom of worship”.  Those terms might seem on the surface to be identical but they are not.  The First Amendment guarantees us freedom of religion and we ought to insist on it remaining that way. Redefining this freedom to freedom of worship is a huge loss to the religious groups in the U.S.  This not-so-subtle change is meant to relegate Bible-believing Christians to a place of second-class citizenship.  Freedom of worship is a...

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A Sobering Look Beyond the Election

This campaign year has been full of twists and turns. We don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, let alone on November 8. So talking about what comes afterward seems premature. But it’s been on my mind a lot, because I’m worried. This is not about who wins the presidency. I’m concerned about the aftermath of this campaign season and how hard it’s going to be for our next set of elected officials, from the President on down, to govern. Let’s start with the belief expressed by a lot of people — including some candidates — that the system is “rigged.” This is a perilous way to treat the country’s political system; it sows distrust in future election results, de-legitimizes winners, and undermines the government’s credibility. If the charge takes hold, it will put political stability at risk. We all have criticisms to make of the system. We know it doesn’t work perfectly and that there’s no shortage of challenges the nation needs to address. But to convey the impression that the whole system is rigged is dangerous and risky. Without a basic foundation of trust, representative government crumbles. Instead of taking aim at “the system,” we could instead focus our criticism on a more substantive target: politicians, including the two presidential candidates, who have failed to serve us well in their debate on the economy. Much of the...

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It Seems to Me: Chronicle of the King

The gospels are not designed to be exhaustive, chronological descriptions Jesus.  Each gospel is written in order to present a particular side of the magnificent Messiah.   Our Savior is far too altogether lovely to be illustrated in one painting.  Therefore, in addition to all of the Old Testament passages, we have been given four gospels, each of which paints related but different paintings of His majesty.  The gospels also demand a response from the reader.  The gospels are designed to get the reader to ask and answer, “Who is this man?!” Matthew presented Jesus of Nazareth as the King.  More specifically, Jesus is the Rejected Savior King.  The genealogy provided by Matthew indicates that Jesus is descended from Abraham and David, both of which are necessary to be the King.  Matthew provides announcements and heralding of the King. The star in the east, the Magi, John the Baptist, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit all announce that this Jesus of Nazareth is the long-awaited King.  Jesus proves Himself worthy in the wilderness temptations where He succeeds in that which the first Adam and all mankind failed miserably.  In the Beatitudes and the rest of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus proclaimed the laws of the kingdom that His subjects are to obey.  In the healings, cleansing of lepers, casting out demons, raising from the dead, restoring sight, restoring...

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