Friday, March 17, 2017

A word about financial debt

Luke 14:28-30: Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Don't you sit down and estimate the cost, to see if you have enough capital to complete it? If you don't, then when you have laid the foundation but can't finish, all the onlookers start making fun of you and say, 'This is the man who began to build, but couldn't finish!' (CJB)

This is not what happens today. “The world” encourages us to go into debt so you can have everything you want “right now” … never mind that you’ll be working to pay off this debt for years to come, never really getting ahead because the interest rates on some credit cards are outrageous.

Scripture tells us that the borrower is a slave to the lender (Proverbs 22:7), yet most Americans continue to borrow, thus remaining in debt up to their eyeballs.

Financial guru Dave Ramsey says: “According to a Pew Charitable Trusts report, 47% of Baby Boomers have mortgage debt, 41% have credit card debt, 13% have school loans, and 36% have car payments. It takes a lot of will, discipline, courage and help to slay the debt monster. But it can be done. Imagine how much you could put toward retirement if you just didn’t have a stinking car payment! This is how the wealthy really build their wealth.”

Ramsey’s advice is straightforward and common sense: Cut up any and all credit cards today so you cannot be tempted into using them again, and simply start paying cash for everything. If you don’t have enough cash, wait until you’ve saved it.

This makes perfect sense because, no matter how much we tell ourselves we’ll pay the whole amount off at the end of the month, we never really do because we DON’T HAVE THE MONEY! Many fail to take their whole budget into consideration when making purchases, and they fail to plan for any emergencies (hospitalizations, ER visits, car accidents, transmission goes out on your car, etc.); and, consequently, end up using that handy-dandy credit card because they think they have to have things right NOW!

Well, if you have a roof over your head, food to eat along with all the “creature comforts” we humans expect, and transportation to get you where you need to go, why can’t you WAIT to buy that new cellphone or tablet or motorcycle? All that, that kind of thinking does is to lull you into a false sense of security and entitlement to buy whatever you want right now.

"Keeping up with the Joneses" is really a lame and prideful thing to do. It keeps you enslaved to, and constantly thinking about that almighty dollar - which really amounts to self-absorption and idolatry. If this is what you're doing, don't bother praying to YHWH to get you out of the jam you got yourself into. YOU need to learn some self-control and start making some changes in your life, because gluttony of any type is a sin....

The bottom line is: America’s debt problems would begin to vanish if only people would start recognizing the difference between NEEDS and WANTS. The “wants” can wait until you can pay cash!

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for the article! My parents church used Dave Ramsey's class to teach the members how to manage their finances. I completely agree with this teaching unless one is actually capable of paying the card in full every month. Years ago I got into credit card debt and then put myself on a strict budget to pay it off and determined never to use credit cards again. But then I had to start traveling for work so I needed a credit card to rent cars and I vowed to only use it for work travel and pay it in full each month. Once I got used to doing that and saw all the rewards points I could earn and use for free vacations I opened personal cards that I paid in full each month...I had to stick to a budget and not spend more than that, and I made sure to save up a 12 month emergency fund so I wouldn't need to rely on credit for emergencies. So, it's possible to use credit cards without going into debt but one must be very diligent about not overspending and paying the balance in full each month...otherwise I definitely don't recommend using credit!

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    1. EXACTLY, Shana! We do the same thing. I'm pretty sure Dave Ramsey insists on NO credit cards because most people simply don't have the willpower to NOT use them! We're totally out of debt, including the mortgage. We recently bought a new house and used the money from the sale of our own house plus some savings to simply pay for the new one. It feels GREAT not to have any debt or to owe ANYONE!

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  2. Shali, as I wrote to you last year, I have a credit card but use it as wisely as possible, (i.e, not going overboard with it). Mainly I use it for food, gas, and clothing or if I don't have enough cash on hand.

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  3. Shali, that's great! Congratulations!!!

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