In a recent NBC News poll, 58 percent of respondents said religious beliefs played some role in decisions about finances. NBC News correspondent Anne Thompson caught up with one man who's trying to teach people to balance their checkbooks with a little help from above.
A typical financial seminar would include worksheets, charts and a financial bible — but this time it’s the Holy Bible.
Joe Dunsey leads faith financial ministries, teaching people to balance their budgets with biblical principles. Dunsey is a husband, father and certified public accountant with an MBA. But six years ago, even he couldn't make the numbers add up. “My focus was to just make a little more money so we could have … nicer things,” he says.
It all changed when he fell $30,000 in debt after his sewer line broke. “The plumber's telling us that if we want to use our bathroom again, we're going to have to replace the whole sewer line,” Dunsey says.
Faced with a $13,500 bill, most people would go to their banker. Why did Dunsey go to the Bible?
“Well, at that point I had nowhere else to turn,” he says.
What kind of guidance did Dunsey find in the Bible? He says, “It taught me to trust God with those things I wanted. It taught me to be content with what he gave us, whether a lot or a little.”
Dunsey says for him the most important verse was Matthew because, “It spoke about where your treasure is, there your heart will be.”
His advice to groups is both spiritual and practical: Determine priorities and establish a spending plan, take advantage of coupons and low mortgage rates but not those little pieces of plastic.
Dunsey urges clients to save 5 to 10 percent of their income and give another 10 percent to church or charity.
So how has God done as a financial advisor in Dunsey’s life? He says, “From a biblical perspective, he's done wonderful things. It hasn't brought prosperity but it’s brought peace that I can't even describe.”
That, he says, is priceless.