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April 26, 2009


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Umm, actually the only way to 'hoard' money would be to put it under the mattress.
If you put it in the bank, or otherwise invest it, you aren't hoarding it, you are benevolently allowing other people to use your money for a fair price (assuming you don't put it in a zero-interest thingy).
Just because one has a lot of money to manage doesn't mean the management should be confused with hoarding.
Hoarding applies to 'things'. Money isn't a 'thing' its a scoring system and means of recording work-value.

If you earn a lot more than you need, what else are you supposed to do? Buy a new plasma each year? That doesn't sound like sensible.

Hi I have just discovered your site, Reading it has been a pleasure

It sounds to me like you didn't address the person's real question, which was how to balance responsibly preparing for one's future with a commitment to charity.

Sarah --

You may be right, but I get this question often, so I interpreted it the way I believe it was intended.

I think contentment also plays a part in this. Paul wrote to be content in whatever circumstance you find yourself in. Howard Dayton, through Crown Ministry's small group Bible study challenges Christians to find that point of contentment in your life, with finances, to where you can take care of yourself and your family and be able to serve God through a ministry as a full-time volunteer..... "It's nice to work for the Lord, the pay isn't great but the retirement plan is out of this world".


It's a nice attempt, but I don't see much of a difference between your definitions. Case in point, saving for an emergency fund -- how large should such an "emergency" fund be? For 6 months? 6 years? When you are saving for "retirement," how are you measuring how much you will need to save? Enough to maintain your present lifestyle? A better one? Worse? If you wish to have a better lifestyle in retirement then your current one, is that considered a legitimate reason to save or sinful hoarding? Saving to buy a new car -- a Honda Accord or Porsche 911 Turbo?

When you are "hoarding" money in order to provide yourself "protection" or "safety" isn't this just another form of an emergency fund? Even if not, why isn't saving money to provide yourself protection/safety the same thing as "putting aside money for a specific purpose"? Isn't financial freedom a specific purpose for setting money aside? If the underlying assumption is that it is somehow illegitimate to save money in order to obtain financial freedom, why isn't that underlying assumption explicitly identified in your definitions?

It is a fine line between saving and hoarding. Where I do agree with you is that your INTENT makes a big difference.

I share Dave's sentiments to some degree.

If you are saving for retirement and find that you have reached your goal to be able to provide what you need in retirement and you keep saving is that hoarding?

If you are growing a large asset base via a personal business that far exceeds what you personally need is that hoarding?

Hoarding as it applies to money is not where I would place my concern. To me a bigger concern is behavior that is miserly. Saving a lot and continuing to save more is not a concern to me, either spiritually or practically, regardless of the amount. What is more telling to me is what you do with what you have.

If you gather wealth for yourself, rarely if ever to share anything but the smallest portions with others, if you have the means and turn your back on those who need your help, if you have gathered a small fortune but cannot even bare to spend more than minor portions of it even on yourself because the growth of the wealth itself is what you value, then you are being miserly, and this is the character trait I would sooner focus on from a standpoint of financial stewardship, and I think its more Biblical as well (It's hard to argue that Solomon didn't have far more than 1 or 100 men could ever need (money and women :) ), as well as Abraham, David, and others)

The woman that was posted here about a few days ago displayed some signs of miserly behavior as she was described. It was said that, "She drove a 30-year-old car, watched an ancient TV, lived four decades in a house bought with cash in 1969 ...The house furniture was her parents'. She resisted replacing the old TV and icebox." She died worth 1.4 million, but was apparently living like she had only a few thousand.

I don't know enough about her and she may have been very generous (there was reference to her stacking charity envelopes and then sending them in but I wasn't sure what that meant), however atleast in her own personal life there are definately some signs of frugality that has crossed over to miserliness.

I think the fine line between frugality and miserly, is the one that is more important to avoid rather than a line between saving and hoarding. If focusing on the accumulation one is focusing their critique on what one has. It seems to me the Biblical critique is rarely placed there, but instead placed on stewardship, which is what you do with what you have. And if you do well, the principle is you will be given more. In fact the Biblical principle is that what the poor steward has will be taken away and given to the good steward.

Just my opinion.

Saving becomes hoarding when you have no idea of how much you should be putting aside to meet your long-term goals, or exceed that amount without having a good reason to do so. In both cases, you end up putting aside anything you can get your hands on.

Thanks for addressing my question! Incidentally, I am hosting the Christian Carnival for the first time this week, so I got this article delivered directly to my inbox :)

I am concerned with balancing saving with giving, but your response (and other readers' comments) answer that concern indirectly -- if I know I'm hoarding, I know I'm not giving generously.

Why does a person hoard excessively (we're talking millions) and not spend it, or allow anyone else in the family to spend it? Necessities are allowed, but nothing else. The hoarder in question wears socks with big holes rather than buy new ones, and has been known to take a crumpled grocery list out of the trash, smooth it out and tell his wife to "use the other side." Is it an anxiety problem, or Asperger's, or what? And is there any hope for normalcy with a person like this?

what about hoarding and saving in barter system.

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