Why I Think Steven Furtick Makes Over $545,170.80 Per Year!!!

In my prior post, I established that Steven Furtick’s $3 million dollar mansion has an estimated monthly mortgage payment of $9,086.18. Based on some simple math, I want to share with you why I think pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church makes over $545,170.80 per year.

To figure this out, you simply need to think like a bank, and do some simple math to figure out what he makes. And if you spend a little time playing around with some mortgage and paycheck calculators, and make some basic financial assumptions, you can confirm what I say to be true.

In you own a home, you probably understand that the bank qualified you for a mortgage because the bank looks at your monthly debts in relation to your gross monthly income, and determines how much of a mortgage payment you can afford on a monthly basis. While the qualifications differ from bank to bank, generally speaking, banks tend not to qualify people for mortgages who have a “debt-to-income” ratio of greater than 36-40% of their monthly income. And that includes people like Steven Furtick, who would qualify for a “jumbo mortgage.”

To be an ideal candidate for most competitive and conventional home mortgages, you need to have a debt-to-income ratio where your total monthly mortgage payment does not exceed about 24-28% of your gross monthly income. So, if you make $10,000 a month, most banks will look to qualify you look to get you into a home for about $2,400-$2,800 a month for your total mortgage payment (including taxes and insurance). At the max, somebody making $10,000 a month would qualify for a mortgage in the $3,600-$4,000 range.

Simple enough, right?

If you are somewhat financially prudent, or are surrounded by good financial advisers, like Steven Furtick likely is, you would know that conventional wisdom suggests that you keep your monthly mortgage payment below 20% of your gross monthly income. This is so that you can “live on the margin” and don’t have to worry about taking on excessive levels of debt.

Additionally, keeping your mortgage payment below 20% of your income allows you to do things like save, contribute money towards retirement accounts, give to charity, and buy other nice things. After all, you don’t want to be “house poor,” and using the vast majority of your income to buy a big house, but unable to enjoy anything else in life.

To convince you that I’m very right about why I think Steven Furtick makes over $545,170.80 per year, I want to look at Steven Furtick’s monthly mortgage payment, and what see why I think his monthly “debt-to-income ratio” demands he makes at least this amount of money. The following analysis is a breakdown of what his finances possibly look like, assuming his mortgage payment is anywhere between 20-40% of his gross monthly pay.

Monthly Budget Analysis:

The following analysis assumes some simple things. First, as previously established, Steven Furtick’s estimated monthly mortgage payment is $9,086.18. Secondly, according to a message or two that Furtick has preached, he tithes over 20% of his gross income back to Elevation Church. Third, I am assuming that the “bare minimum” household living expenses for Steven Furtick’s family of 5 is at least $3,000 per month. Such includes the cost of food, utilities, auto expenses, gas, clothes, etc. This is probably on the cheap side, but is in keeping with a typical middle-class family budget. Such does not include money set aside for regular savings, retirement, and other such expenses.

At 40% Debt-to-Income Ratio:

Formula: $9,086.18 / 0.40 = $22,715.45 per month.

$22,715.45 x 12 = $272,585.40 annually.

At bare minimum, in order to afford a monthly mortgage payment of $9,086.18 per month, Steven Furtick would need a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 40%. This would produce $22,715.45 per month, or $272,585.40 annually.

However, if you do the math operating under the basic assumptions above, you will discover that if Steven Furtick only makes $272,585.40 annually, he would actually run a large monthly deficit in his household budget.

If you take $22,715.45 and run it through a paycheck tool, like at PayCheck City, you would discover that after federal and state taxes, Steven Furtick would only net $14,440.95.

Gross Income: $22,715.45

Net income: $14,440.95

Expenses:

-$4,543.03 (20% tithe off gross)

-$9,086.18 (Mortgage payment)

-$3,000.00 (Living Expenses)

Total: -$2,188.26

Obviously… Steven Furtick needs more money.

At 36% Debt-to-Income Ratio:

Formula: $9,086.18 / 0.36 = $25,239.39

$25,239.39 x 12 = $302,872.67 annually.

Assuming the aforementioned, you will discover that if Steven Furtick only makes $302,872.67 annually, he would actually run a large monthly deficit in his household budget.

If you take $25,239.39 and run it through a paycheck tool, like at PayCheck City, you would discover that after federal and state taxes, Steven Furtick would only net $15,791.91.

Gross Income: $25,239.39

Net Income: $15,791.91

Expenses:

-$5,043.03 (20% tithe off gross)

-$9,086.18 (Mortgage payment)

-$3,000.00 (Living Expenses)

Total: -$1,342.15

Obviously… Steven Furtick needs more money.

At 28% Debt-to-Income Ratio:

Formula: $9,086.18 / 0.28 = $32,450.64

$32,450.64 x 12 = $389,407.71 annually.

Assuming the aforementioned, you will discover that at this income level, of $389,407.71 annually, Steven Furtick finally is able to have some money left over. But, not by much.

If you take $32,450.64 and run it through a paycheck tool, like at PayCheck City, you would discover that after federal and state taxes, Steven Furtick would only net $19,653.79.

Gross Income: $32,450.64

Net Income: $19,653.79

Expenses:

-$6,490.13 (20% tithe off gross)

-$9,086.18 (Mortgage payment)

-$3,000.00 (Living Expenses)

Total: $1,077.48

At this point, Steven Furtick is pretty much breaking even. As I mentioned previously, to be financially responsible, Steven Furtick would still need to set aside money for regular savings and retirement. Not to mention, Steven Furtick likes to obviously buy nice things. At the end of the day, having only $1,077.48 left over after monthly expenses would be very dangerous, and it would mean he is living on the verge of financial disaster.

At 24% Debt-to-Income Ratio:

Formula: $9,086.18 / 0.24 = $37,859.08

$37,859.08 x 12 = $454,309 annually.

Assuming the aforementioned, you will discover that at this income level, of $454,309 annually, Steven Furtick is finally able to have a little breathing room financially. But he’s not quite out of the woods yet.

If you take $37,859.08 and run it through a paycheck tool, like at PayCheck City, you would discover that after federal and state taxes, Steven Furtick would only net $22,481.77

Gross Income: $37,859.08

Net Income: $22,481.77

Expenses:

-$7,571.82 (20% tithe off gross)

-$9,086.18 (Mortgage payment)

-$3,000.00 (Living Expenses)

Total: $2,823.77

Things are looking better for Steven Furtick at this level of monthly income. Having over 2 grand leftover at the end of the month isn’t too bad. But again, if he is setting aside any money for regular savings and retirement, having only 2 grand leftover at the end of the month to save and invest is skating on pretty thin ice. If he’s only setting aside 4% of his income towards reitrement (the max elevation matches), then that would leave him with a little over a thousand bucks leftover at the end of the month. Such leaves very little “margin” in Furtick’s financial life.

At 20% Debt-to-Income Ratio:

Formula: $9,086.18 / 0.20 = $45,430.90

$45,430.90 x 12 = $545,170.80 annually.

Assuming the aforementioned, you will discover only at this level of income is Steven Furtick finally able to get into a solid place financially. It only takes $545,170.80 annually to do so!

If you take $45,430.90 and run it through a paycheck tool, like at PayCheck City, you would discover that after federal and state taxes, Steven Furtick would net $26,081.90

Gross Income: $45,430.90

Net Income: $26,081.90

Expenses:

-$9,086.18 (20% tithe off gross)

-$9,086.18 (Mortgage payment)

-$3,000.00 (Living Expenses)

Total: $4,909.54

Having close to 5 grand a month left over after expenses puts Steven Furtick in a pretty good place financially. At this level, he can probably afford to contribute towards his retirement, save for a rainy day, and enjoy some of the nicer things in life (which we know he does!). While it is possible he could make do with a little less, it is highly unlikely. And truthfully, I think he probably makes more.

Conclusions:

Because of the lack of transparency at Elevation Church, it is not possible to know exactly how much Steven Furtick makes per year. While I firmly believe that Steven Furtick makes over $545,170.80 a year, as demonstrated by pretty simple mathematical reasoning, I do not pretend to know all the sources of income he has. We know that Steven Furtick takes a salary, and receives royalties from book sales. He also likely receives tens of thousands of dollars annually for serving as a guest and conference speaker at other churches. It is possible he also receives royalties from the sale of Elevation Worship CD’s. It’s also likely that he invests some in the stock market, and probable dabbles in real estate (such is simply something people with a lot of money commonly do).

However much he gets from all of the above sources of income, it is very likely that the bulk of his regular annual income comes from the salary he receives from Elevation Church. As most of you know, when you apply for a mortgage you generally have to provide the bank with a year or two of tax returns, as well as document all your current sources of income. And in today’s tough lending environment, especially in regard to a bank that is going to lend somebody over 1 million dollars to build a home, underwriting standards tend to be very strict. Income received from unusual sources of income, like book royalties, are going to receive a lot of scrutiny. A lender is going to want to see a very solid source of regular income before they approve you for a mortgage.

If I had to make a bet, I would place my money on the likelihood that Steven Furtick makes the bulk of his money from a steady salary that he receives from Elevation Church. And taking a $500k salary from a church is not unheard of. As has been well documented by many other websites, until recently, the former pastor of Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll, was making well over half-a-million dollars in salary from the church. Mars Hill Church was a large multi-site church just like Elevation, having 11 campuses with well over 10,000 people attending weekly.

Steven Furtick’s Third House (Mansion)

Steven Furtick's Mansion

Steven Furtick’s Mansion

According to the public record, on June 26, 2012, Steven Furtick and his wife Holly purchased 19.25 acres of land in Union County, just outside of the city of Charlotte, and Mecklenburg county for $325,000.  In December of 2012, in the name of their Revocable Trust, the Furtick’s took out a construction mortgage on a new home.  This home has been the source of great controversy for pastor Furtick.

The “home” is a 16,000 square foot mansion.  It is located at 433 Lochaven Road, Waxhaw, NC.  8103 square feet heated, 4182 square feet serves as a basement (basements are very rare in North Carolina due to the soil), 902 square feet as a garage, and 2188 square feet as a open porch.  It consists of 5 bedrooms and 7 1/2 bathrooms.

The construction mortgage taken out in December 2012 was for $1,293,750.  The final mortgage, or “Loan Modification,” after all the construction was over, was for $1,293,750.  Per the “Exhibit A” of the loan modification, this loan will require Steven Furtick make a $6,555.25 principal and interest payment on this property for the next 30 years, at a fixed interest rate of 4.5%.

For those of you who do not know, the $6,555.25 principal and interest payment does not include annual property taxes, or the required hazard insurance payments.

Per public records, as of 2014, Union County values this home and property at $3,002,890.  Per tax records, the annual property tax due on this home is $22,864.00 (or $1,905.33 per month).

The cost monthly hazard insurance premium is unknown.  However, per various websites (such as this one) and other sources I have, you can get a “rough” estimate of the monthly hazard insurance premium by taking the value of the property ($3,002,890) and multiplying it by 0.0025, and dividing that by 12.  So 3,002,890 x 0.0025 = $7,507.23 annually.  7,507.23 / 12 = $625.60 monthly.

In total, a $6,555.25 monthly mortgage payment, plus a $1,905.33 monthly tax payment, equals $8,460.58 per month.  Add the monthly hazard insurance estimate of $625.60, and you get a fully escrowed monthly mortgage payment of $9,086.18.

Annually, this means Steven Furtick is making $109,034.16 in mortgage payments alone.

Such is roughly 5 to 10 times more than the average attendee at Elevation church makes on their mortgage annually.  And frankly, such is a lot more than most of the attendees at Elevation Church probably make in a year… except for those that attend the Blakeney and Providence locations.

Let that sink in the next time you think about giving sacrificially to Elevation Church.

And also, keep in mind that Steven Furtick still owns his 3647 square foot home he bought in Charlotte for $362,500 in November 2007, which he is still currently trying to sell!

Public Documentation:

 

Steven Furtick's Mansion

Steven Furtick’s Mansion

Steven Furtick’s Second House

Steven Furtick's Second Home

Steven Furtick’s Second Home

In November 2007, pastor Steven Furtick and his wife Holly purchased a second home at 11915 Jumper Drive, in Mint Hill, NC.  This is another suburb of Charlotte. It was purchased for $362,500 according to public records.

This home would eventually be put in the name of a Revocable Trust that James “Chunks” Corbett, the Executive Pastor of Elevation Church, setup.  It was named after the street that this home is located on.

Per the Mortgage Deed of Trust filed with the Court of Deeds in Mecklenburg County, this property was secured with a $329,404 mortgage for 30 years.  Since the property sold for $362,500, this means that the Furtick’s put a down payment of $33,096 to obtain this home.

This second home was purchased at the same time that the Furtick’s still owned their first house at 2703 Ballade Drive.  Although it is speculative, it seems that the $58,000 Home Equity Line of Creidt that the Furtick’s obtained on their first home was probably used to help fund the down payment on this second home.  As mentioned in the previous post, the $58,000 HELOC was taken out in October 2007.  Such is only one month prior to the purchase of their second home.

This home, which they owned concurrently with their first home until August of 2012, was a pretty major upgrade.  This lovely home on 11915 Jumper Drive is 3647 square feet (3442 heated).  It’s 5 beds and 4 baths, and sits on about 3/4 acre of land.

It’s pretty remarkable that Steven Furtick could afford a $365,000 home this early on in his Elevation Church pastorate.  At this time, the church was not even 2 years old, and already Furtick was able to afford a second home!

It’s worth noting that all this was done without Steven Furtick selling one copy of any of his books.  His first book, Sun Stand Still, would not be released until 2010. So this means that the second home he purchased was likely done as the result of him receiving a pretty comfortable salary.

We’ll look at how much it takes to comfortably afford a $329,404 mortgage in a future post.  But if you wanted to do the research yourself, to afford this mortgage payment (plus the taxes and insurance) would require an annual gross income of at least 6 figures.

Not bad for a second year pastor if you ask me.  Especially considering he already owned another home at the same time.

By the way, as of the time of this post, the Furtick’s are attempting to sell this home.  According to Zillow, the current listing price is $319,000.  If sold at this price, the Furtick’s would take another multi-thousand dollar financial loss on yet another home.

But hey… it’s just money, right?

Public Documentation:

Steven Furtick’s First House

Steven Furtick's First Home

Steven Furtick’s First Home

Elevation Church held it’s first service in February 2006.  According to public records, prior to the first service, pastor Steven Furtick had already purchased a home in a Charlotte suburb known as Matthews, in September 2005 for $190,000.

The property address is 2703 Ballade Drive.    Per public records, the property is a 2 story home, with 2,662 total square feet (2,121 heated), and sits on roughly half an acre of land.  According to Zillow, the property has 4 beds and 2.5 baths.

The home was purchased by “Larry” Steven Furtick and his wife Holly by taking out a 30-year mortgage for $151,548.  Since the home was purchased for $190,000, that means they had $38,452 in cash that they put as a down payment on the home.

It should also be noted that the record shows that in October 2007, pastor Steven and Holly Furtick secured a Home-Equity Line Of Credit (HELOC) for $58,000, payable over 30 years, on this property.

In August 2012, Steven and Holly Furtick sold the home for a $21,000 loss, at $169,000.

Public Documentation:

It is fair to say, this home is a pretty standard “middle class” home in the greater Charlotte, NC area… for two accomplished young professionals.  However, it’s a pretty large home for somebody to own in this part of town who is a newly minted seminary graduate that just moved to town to plant a church.  It begs the question… where did the money come from to qualify for this mortgage?  Who gave the Furtick’s the money for such a large down payment on this home?  And how did they qualify for this mortgage, with no real job history?

Public Accountability Is Coming

Fate is here…

I have decided it is time, using public resources available to all, along with some simple and humble arithmetic, to bring some additional transparency to the finances of Elevation Church.  Namely, through some educated guess work, the purpose of this blog will be to show what some of the major players at Elevation Church get paid.  But before I talk about anybody else, I’m going to examine the finances of Steven Furtick first and foremost of all.

This blog will become entirely unnecessary should Elevation Church publish the total annual compensation package of one Larry Steven Furtick.