Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

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rec7
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Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by rec7 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:52 am

Some of you will view me in a very bad light but please bear with me. I want to join a religious order with a poverty vow to help the church. I have a habit of changing job so I want put my money in a place where it disappears off my tax return I will be breaking a church rule but I know I can be shifty and don't want to be broke five or ten years later when if I come out of the religious order. This is the way I look at it if it is not a life long calling the years I spent with the church have helped other people. I will be breaking a church rule but no US tax laws. In other words I need to look broke on paper(Tax return). Would a fixed five year annuity work for a long term solution? I would renew it every five years. I need to keep all info off the tax return because the church looks at it. Would it work?
Last edited by rec7 on Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:51 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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archbish99
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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by archbish99 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:58 am

I think the point of such orders is that they are for life. If you're having doubts about whether this is a life-long calling for you, don't make permanent vows until you're sure. Entering a religious community under false pretenses helps no one.

Don't know what order you're considering, but I know that historically, some orders have taken temporary members where rather than giving over all your assets you contribute a fixed amount per year to match what your support will cost your community. Why not rather be open with the order that you need time to be sure whether this is where you belong permanently? Isn't that the point of a novitiate?
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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by Alex Frakt » Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:33 pm

Religion and tax evasion discussions are both off topic here which led to this thread being removed. However, I believe that this is a case where a poster could benefit greatly from disinterested advice. Which, after all, is the entire point of this forum. So we are going to allow the thread, but I ask that you please treat this as a career question rather than a religious one and any advice given with respect to the tax issue must be in compliance with IRS requirements.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by countdown » Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:50 pm

With all due respect to the moderators, I cannot see this question as being anything other than a religious question; that is between the party and his commitment to his 'calling',
or as a question of less than forthcoming tax reporting. :confused

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by musbane » Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:56 pm

If I read the OP correctly, there is no intent to evade taxes - rather to keep assets hidden from the church.

Is there such a thing as 'tithe evasion'?

rec7
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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by rec7 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:01 pm

musbane wrote:If I read the OP correctly, there is no intent to evade taxes - rather to keep assets hidden from the church.
You are right because of the fact that I am shifty with careers. I don't want to be left out in the cold ie no money if my work with the church comes to an end. I will be getting no money for the work I do for the church. I am not rich but do have some eating money. I was thinking about a five year fixed annuity but would it show up on the tax return after the five years is up and it renews?
Last edited by rec7 on Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by bobcat2 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:06 pm

It would seem to me that part of the income from the 5 year income annuity would come from interest and that portion would be taxable and would show up as taxable income on your return.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by joe8d » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:07 pm

Is this a Catholic Order or a "Cult"?
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rec7
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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by rec7 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:11 pm

I will try to stay on the money part of this question so it this stays open.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by bsteiner » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:11 pm

Life insurance, deferred annuities, gold, stocks that don't pay dividends (but they could begin to pay dividends, or be taken over), mutual funds that invest in growth stocks where the fund expenses exceed the dividends so there are no dividends from the fund.

I'm not suggesting any of these as an investment from an investment standpoint, only in response to the question as to assets that might not show up on an income tax return.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by JMacDonald » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:13 pm

It seems to me that there must be another way for you to help the church without this vow of poverty.
I don't see how you are going to make it work. A vow of poverty and keeping money secret seems like a contradiction.
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rec7
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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by rec7 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:20 pm

JMacDonald wrote:It seems to me that there must be another way for you to help the church without this vow of poverty.
I don't see how you are going to make it work. A vow of poverty and keeping money secret seems like a contradiction.
I will not be tapping into the money at all once I join. I am shifty and can not afford to give away all my money. I worry more about me being shifty more than breaking a church rule. I will be breaking a church rule but no US law. Once I am in I can help people if it changes later I can live with my time I will feel good that I spent x amount of time helping others.
Last edited by rec7 on Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mrs.Feeley
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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by Mrs.Feeley » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:22 pm

Years ago the common advice for someone in your situation would be to put the money into EE U.S. Savings Bonds and put them into a safe deposit box. Because the interest wouldn't appear on your taxes until they were cashed, they could be held for years without anyone knowing of their existence. Don't know whether savings bonds still provide that sort of option, but that might be something to look into.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by mathwhiz » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:23 pm

You may want to look at trusts or creating a LLC where the "entity" pays taxes and you report no income on your tax return.

This link has more ideas.

http://www.askmen.com/fine_living/how_to/19_how_to.html

Random Poster
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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by Random Poster » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:30 pm

I'm a little unclear on what the poverty vow means. Does it mean that you are impoverished in regards to your income? In regards to your net worth? Both?

I suspect that the answer will provide some direction in regards to what it is that you might consider doing in order to accomplish your goal.

rec7
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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by rec7 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:32 pm

Random Poster wrote:I'm a little unclear on what the poverty vow means. Does it mean that you are impoverished in regards to your income? In regards to your net worth? Both?

I suspect that the answer will provide some direction in regards to what it is that you might consider doing in order to accomplish your goal.

Both. The income part is easy since the church pays nothing.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by Dave76 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:36 pm

rec7 wrote:
musbane wrote:If I read the OP correctly, there is no intent to evade taxes - rather to keep assets hidden from the church.
You are right because of the fact that I am shifty with careers. I don't want to be left out in the cold ie no money if my work with the church comes to an end. I will be getting no money for the work I do for the church. I am not rich but do have some eating money. I was thinking about a five year fixed annuity but would it show up on the tax return after the five years is up and it renews?
You just want to 'hedge' your bets. I don't see anything wrong with that, as long as what you're doing is legal and moral. People leave religious orders for various reasons. The decision to enter the order could be ill-advised, realization that you can't live without a woman/man, a calling could not be teased out, etc. Final vows are usually years away. So I don't see anything wrong with contingency planning.
Last edited by Dave76 on Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by bsteiner » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:37 pm

mathwhiz wrote:You may want to look at trusts ... where the "entity" pays taxes and you report no income on your tax return.
That was the subject of my article on the Accidentally Perfect Nongrantor Trust in the September 2005 issue of Trusts & Estates: http://www.kkwc.com/library_cat/uf_nongrantor.pdf. You create a trust that's not a completed gift for gift tax purposes, it's still in your estate for estate tax purposes, but it pays its own income tax. You can be a beneficiary. Unless you receive a distribution, nothing will appear on your income tax return.

This is mainly done by taxpayers in high tax states who anticipate a large capital gain. However, you could also do it with a portfolio. Some IRS activity in recent years has made it more complicated to create such a trust, though the IRS issued a favorable private letter ruling on such a trust earlier this year.

This type of trust is somewhat expensive and complicated to create and administer, so it's generally done by wealthy clients, and for substantial amounts.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by joe8d » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:38 pm

i'm sorry but i see an inconsistancy between emulateing St Francis and "being shifty"
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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by Kosmo » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:38 pm

Religious life is not for you if you can't even take the vows seriously. How can you claim to be helping the church or other people if the first thing you are doing is cheating them and lying to them? As for career advice: don't enter any career under false pretenses.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by rec7 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:39 pm

Dave76 wrote:
rec7 wrote:
musbane wrote:If I read the OP correctly, there is no intent to evade taxes - rather to keep assets hidden from the church.
You are right because of the fact that I am shifty with careers. I don't want to be left out in the cold ie no money if my work with the church comes to an end. I will be getting no money for the work I do for the church. I am not rich but do have some eating money. I was thinking about a five year fixed annuity but would it show up on the tax return after the five years is up and it renews?
You just want to 'hedge' your bets. I don't see anything wrong with that, as long as what you're doing is legal and moral. People leave religious orders for various reasons. The decision to enter the order could be ill-advised, realization that you can't live without a woman/man, a calling could not be teased out, etc. Final vows are usually years away. So I don't see anything wrong with contingency planning.
Very true I just wanted my net worth to disappear off the tax returns before final vows. So if that day came I could continue on with no problem.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by rec7 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:45 pm

Kosmo wrote:Religious life is not for you if you can't even take the vows seriously. How can you claim to be helping the church or other people if the first thing you are doing is cheating them and lying to them? As for career advice: don't enter any career under false pretenses.
At first I thought like you but how do you start over with limited skills when you are broke. I have saved many years to get where I am I just can't throw that to the wind. If you think bad of me that is fine I understand. The way I look at it is I am giving them my time for free so how can that be so bad?

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by rec7 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:02 pm

Thanks everyone who stayed on the money part of my question. I found your advice helpful.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by Kosmo » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:10 pm

rec7 wrote:
Kosmo wrote:Religious life is not for you if you can't even take the vows seriously. How can you claim to be helping the church or other people if the first thing you are doing is cheating them and lying to them? As for career advice: don't enter any career under false pretenses.
At first I thought like you but how do you start over with limited skills when you are broke. I have saved many years to get where I am I just can't throw that to the wind. If you think bad of me that is fine I understand. The way I look at it is I am giving them my time for free so how can that be so bad?
I don't have an answer for how to start over. But you're going about starting in the wrong manner. They are asking you to take a vow of poverty and you are not willing to do that. That's ok. It's not a right fit for you. But don't waste your time and don't waste theirs. Maybe another form of volunteering or a different level of participation in religious life is the way to go for you.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by Alex Frakt » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:40 pm

joe8d wrote:i'm sorry but i see an inconsistancy between emulateing St Francis and "being shifty"
I suspect the OP is using the less common definition of shifty (at least when referring to character), i.e., constantly changing. Not appearing deceitful or evasive.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by countdown » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:40 pm

Me thinks we've been conned by a 'shifty' novitiate :wink:

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by mephistophles » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:48 pm

This is among the strangest threads I have ever seen on this forum. That said, buy gold, lots of it, and bury it in a treasure chest.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by Noobvestor » Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:01 am

mephistophles wrote:This is among the strangest threads I have ever seen on this forum. That said, buy gold, lots of it, and bury it in a treasure chest.
1) Gold
2) Physical Cash
3) I Bonds and EE Bonds - the maximum of each you can buy (10K/year)
4) I don't know .. a trusted custodian? Or as others have suggested: a trust?
5) Stocks in growth or other companies unlikely to pay dividends anytime soon (BRK?)
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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by JimInIllinois » Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:11 am

Legitimate religious orders have a multi-year contemplation period before final vows.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by archbish99 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:18 am

mathwhiz wrote:You may want to look at trusts or creating a LLC where the "entity" pays taxes and you report no income on your tax return.

This link has more ideas.

http://www.askmen.com/fine_living/how_to/19_how_to.html
This is probably your best bet, if you feel you absolutely must do this. Transfer your assets to a trust whose instructions dictate something like:
  • No assets will be distributed to anyone for the first five years of the trust
  • If you die while still a member of the order, the trust terminates and disburses its assets to the order
  • You may, at any point after five years, request that the trust terminate and disburse its assets back to you
You would want to check the effect of any forms you signed confirming your "vow," however, since they may give the order legal power of attorney to exercise any right to income you may have.
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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by Retread » Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:20 am

Convert everything to cash (currency) and put it in a safe deposit box.
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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by chipperd » Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:56 am

+1 on both archbish comments

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by jjbiv » Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:47 am

Would not the order provide you with severance if you were to leave after contributing all of your worldly possessions? I'm with the others who find the inherently duplicitous intent here troubling. If you can't be up front, what is the point of joining a group, all the members of which trust that other members are conducting themselves in a forthright manner and not perpetrating a fraud? For your sake as well as the sake of your prospective order, I would recommend seeking further counsel in this regard before taking any vows with which you don't completely agree.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by bottlecap » Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:52 am

Setting aside the fact that this is deceitful, I think you have to be concerned about ruining the relationship with your church once you pull the ripcord and access your trust. If your church is such a big part of your life, this little experiment could leave you high and dry spiritually and socially.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by neurosphere » Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:52 am

Hmm, a family member approached me with this identical question. With one twist. He was not taking a vow of poverty for religious reasons, but for spousal ones. Or ex-spousal ones, as the case may be. His pre-nup called for paying a percentage of his "income" in child-support, or the state mandated minimum, whichever was greater for a period of 5 years. After 5 years however, his payments were only based on the the state-mandated payments without the additional "30% of income" clause.

In order to ensure he paid based on the lower state formula, he wanted to 'hide' his income for 5 years. I wished him the best, and suggested he ask his attorney how to proceed.

That said, I think physical gold, cash, and savings bonds is a good idea.
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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by Bobbybell » Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:55 am

For a vow of poverty, might it be enough to simply live in poverty or have assets that can't be touched as opposed to having no assets? I think that the only thing that makes sense in this situation is to talk to the church. If there isn't a solution that works for all parties, it simply is not a good match.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by YttriumNitrate » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:26 am

How much information does the church get? Is it just tax returns or is it also bank/brokerage statements? If it's just tax returns and you have a 5-10 year time horizon, I'd probably stick it in a single stock that doesn't pay dividends (Berkshire Hathaway comes to mind). Unfortunately, in this situation diversification is not your friend as every additional stock you add to your portfolio increases the likelihood that one of them will start paying a dividend and cause problems for you.

With your time horizon, I'd stay away from physical cash. Assuming you're in for 10 years and there's 2% inflation you'll lose ~20% of the purchasing power of whatever you put in.

If you do go with a single stock, be sure to set it so that the annual reports/voting information are set for electronic delivery, or to someone you trust not to tell your secret. Having one of those things arrive in the mail at the monastery/rectory might raise some eyebrows.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:34 am

rec7 wrote:Some of you will view me in a very bad light but please bear with me. I want to join a religious order with a poverty vow to help the church. I have a habit of changing job so I want put my money in a place where it disappears off my tax return I will be breaking a church rule but I know I can be shifty and don't want to be broke five or ten years later when if I come out of the religious order. This is the way I look at it if it is not a life long calling the years I spent with the church have helped other people. I will be breaking a church rule but no US tax laws. In other words I need to look broke on paper(Tax return). Would a fixed five year annuity work for a long term solution? I would renew it every five years. I need to keep all info off the tax return because the church looks at it. Would it work?

Under UK law, at least, you need a trust. Probably set up in an offshore location (Jersey or Guernsey) that has you as a beneficiary. However UK tax law severely restricts this for residents. Trust only pays to you under certain circumstances (eg retirement)

So you need to look in US trust law if you can set up a trust -- say one that would benefit you whilst alive, then revert to your heirs (typical arrangement: income goes to you, capital to your heirs). Then it can defer paying you. Again not sure if this would work.

it's also possible (in the UK) to buy annuities that don't pay for say 5 or 10 years.
Last edited by Valuethinker on Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by hicabob » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:38 am

A bizarre way to start such a commitment to say the least and certainly qualifies as "shifty" - but that being said - I'd go the "trusted confidante" route.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:41 am

neurosphere wrote:Hmm, a family member approached me with this identical question. With one twist. He was not taking a vow of poverty for religious reasons, but for spousal ones. Or ex-spousal ones, as the case may be. His pre-nup called for paying a percentage of his "income" in child-support, or the state mandated minimum, whichever was greater for a period of 5 years. After 5 years however, his payments were only based on the the state-mandated payments without the additional "30% of income" clause.

In order to ensure he paid based on the lower state formula, he wanted to 'hide' his income for 5 years. I wished him the best, and suggested he ask his attorney how to proceed.

That said, I think physical gold, cash, and savings bonds is a good idea.
I am no expert on divorce law, but that smells of the commission of fraud-- knowingly hiding assets in a divorce (or civil) case.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by Rob5TCP » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:06 am

Valuethinker wrote:
neurosphere wrote:Hmm, a family member approached me with this identical question. With one twist. He was not taking a vow of poverty for religious reasons, but for spousal ones. Or ex-spousal ones, as the case may be. His pre-nup called for paying a percentage of his "income" in child-support, or the state mandated minimum, whichever was greater for a period of 5 years. After 5 years however, his payments were only based on the the state-mandated payments without the additional "30% of income" clause.

In order to ensure he paid based on the lower state formula, he wanted to 'hide' his income for 5 years. I wished him the best, and suggested he ask his attorney how to proceed.

That said, I think physical gold, cash, and savings bonds is a good idea.
I am no expert on divorce law, but that smells of the commission of fraud-- knowingly hiding assets in a divorce (or civil) case.

Since it is based on income and not assets, it might be fraudulent in "spirit" but probably not by the law.
As for the other poster, Bonds, cash (in a vault), gold (if you can stand the fluctuations), are all good options. Perhaps a deferred payment annuity (not something I would ever normally recommend without talking to an "expert"), would qualify for this.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by rec7 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:15 am

Alex Frakt wrote:
joe8d wrote:i'm sorry but i see an inconsistancy between emulateing St Francis and "being shifty"
I suspect the OP is using the less common definition of shifty (at least when referring to character), i.e., constantly changing. Not appearing deceitful or evasive.
That is right Alex.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by livesoft » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:16 am

No worries. Why not ask the other members of the religious order what they have done to hide away their assets? I'm sure they all have a "Go to Hell" fund like the rest of us.
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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by rec7 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:16 am

neurosphere wrote:Hmm, a family member approached me with this identical question. With one twist. He was not taking a vow of poverty for religious reasons, but for spousal ones. Or ex-spousal ones, as the case may be. His pre-nup called for paying a percentage of his "income" in child-support, or the state mandated minimum, whichever was greater for a period of 5 years. After 5 years however, his payments were only based on the the state-mandated payments without the additional "30% of income" clause.

In order to ensure he paid based on the lower state formula, he wanted to 'hide' his income for 5 years. I wished him the best, and suggested he ask his attorney how to proceed.

That said, I think physical gold, cash, and savings bonds is a good idea.
For the record I am single LOL.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by Higman » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:36 am

Since you are already starting on the wrong foot by deceiving the church why not go a bit further. Just download IRS form 1040EZ from 2010, 2011 and 2012. Fill in with minimum income then make copies and give it to the church. This will prove your poverty.

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by countdown » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:52 am

Yes, exactly, neurospere,
this this type of 'income shelter' question is much more in line with common attempts to unlawfully avoid compliance with child/spousal support orders.

Surprised this thread is still going this morning....

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Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by novaboglehead » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:54 am

If you are Catholic, I would suggest just joining a volunteer organization (ex. Jesuit Volunteer Corp) for a few years instead of a mendicant order. This advice stands even if you are a different religion; I'm sure they have a volunteer organization that you could serve. Catholic orders are concerned about debt and other financial obligations like child support. Orders realize a substantial portion of prospects will drop out even before temporary vows so they aren't going to require you to be broke. I know men who have gone through parts of the novitiate for orders requiring a vow of poverty and they did not go in broke. It is not really fair to the order if you go in not expecting to stay. Joining an order is like joining a family. Given your history of job hopping, I am surprised an order would take you as stability is one of the pillars of religious life. But, then again, I think "religious order" is a macguffin.

rec7
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Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:22 pm

Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by rec7 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:57 am

Delete
Last edited by rec7 on Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

rec7
Posts: 2369
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:22 pm

Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by rec7 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:58 am

rec7 wrote:I am laughing this morning. We are are ALL sinners. I did get on a public forum and tell others of my planned sin I guess that is the difference. I am breaking no US laws. Go ahead and shut her down Alex. I still love you all. I don't think we can keep it a money only question. I do want to thank everyone who made an effort to help me.

countdown
Posts: 114
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:13 pm

Re: Joining a religious order with a poverty vow

Post by countdown » Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:43 am

"If a person is 65 years old and has 16k income from Social Security how much can they have in Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 Fund (VTXVX) before they would pay taxes? This is all taxable money. Social Security is there only income."
June 14, 2013

Hmm, do you still have this question, rec7 ?
Last edited by countdown on Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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