Debt has been a source of pain and frustration for people for millennia. Literally, since the beginning of time people have found themselves in trouble by getting themselves into a financial position that requires them to work years to pay someone the money they owe them. In the day we live in we see advertisements on the internet, TV, we hear them on the radio all day long, letting us know how easy it is for us to get our hands on a little extra cash– “No credit no problem!” The problem though is that people are too quick to take these offers for “easy” money with dreams of a new car, a boat, a vacation or even more enticing, a college degree.
I’m not saying that there is never a time when it might be necessary to assume debt or use a financing plan. Sometimes there are but these should be for things we can’t do without when there is no other way. I believe there are very few of these circumstances anyone would ever encounter although rare. An unexpected medical emergency that isn’t covered by your insurance or making payments to cover the deductible incurred by the birth of a child might be a good example but be discerning and careful even in moments like these – try to find another way.
The way taking on debt changes our lives is not something to take lightly- consider these two things:
If you’re in debt, you are a slave to someone else.
Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich ruleth over the poor,
and the borrower is servant to the lender.”
When you borrow someone else’s money, there is an expectation that you are going to pay it back. In fact, with few exceptions, the law requires it. Let’s put this into context here. If you want to get your hands on a thousand dollars that you don’t have now but you think you’ll be able to get in the future, you might borrow it from somewhere, be it a bank or a relative. What you need to understand is that lender has a right to get their money back and you have to earn it before you can get it back for them. This means that you’re now working to earn someone else’s money. Do you see what is happening here? Someone else has a right to make you work for them – this isn’t necessary chattel slavery like we see in the history books but it operates on a similar track in that you have to work for someone else until you can pay yourself off and be debt free. If you’re in debt, it is vital that you understand that you have essentially sold your future to someone else and the only way to redeem your time, energy and labor so it belongs to you again is to buy yourself back. Debt puts you in bondage to the debtor.
The Bible has it right.
Live within your means.
No one expects you to drive an expensive car or live a lavish lifestyle. If you have these expectations on yourself then that is the first thing you need to change. If you have friends who have these expectations on themselves and you, then changing your friends is the second thing you need to do.
Luke 14:28-29 says, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
Vs 29 “Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,”
This is Jesus speaking to his disciples about their commitment to walk with him and the lesson he is teaching them is that it is better to not start something that you know you cannot or will not finish and the illustration he is using is one that is universally understood: the problems we create when we live outside of our financial means.
Do not spend money you do not personally own and can use at the moment of purchase. If it’s transportation you need, a $500 2004 Honda Civic might get you where you need to go until you have more money to buy the car you would like to have. If it’s a college degree you want, work for your tuition. Student loans are not meant to be free money that you can use to pay for school and your lifestyle. Unfortunately, too many young people have borrowed money for school only to take more than necessary so they can live a certain lifestyle off that borrowed money and they will be working for the rest of their life to earn other people’s money until they get themselves paid off. It ‘s hard to get ahead in life with mounting debt like this and it makes even the smallest financial problems feel like enormous burdens.
Be wary of Debt. It will make you vulnerable to wild swings in misfortune and it will allow other people to tie you down from the freedom in life you would otherwise be able to enjoy.
Don’t do debt, it’s a trap.
Suggestions for Improvement
- Create a budget. Show yourself how much money you have in income every month and how much do you have in expenses every month. Create a weekly spending plan.
- Determine your wants versus your needs. Make sure your money goes to your needs before it goes anywhere else.
- Find ways to earn more money. Separate your income earning activity, ie job, from your “passion.” Don’t make the foolhardy mistake of thinking that if you just follow your passion or if you just do what makes you happy then everything will work out. If you want to make money, you have to do things that make money. Figure out if you you really want to be financially healthy or if you’re living a pipe dream.
Do the things you need to do when you need to do them and someday you will be able to do the things you want to do when you want to do them.
-John C. Maxwell-
- Set goals and be disciplined. Set goals that allow you to make measurable progress in reasonable time. Share your goals with others, this will help build parameters of accountability and share your progress and your victories every time you reach a financial goal.
- Be disciplined. You don’t HAVE to have it. Imagine for a moment what your life would be like next week if you just didn’t buy this thing you want. Do you see yourself surviving? If you do then don’t buy it. Walk away and spend 75 cents to buy yourself an ice cream cone as a reward for your victory of not spending that $100 on something you can do without or that new car you don’t need.