A Word About Finance
Our parents went to work for stable companies and if they were dedicated employees, they didn’t worry about being laid off. They enjoyed comfortable livings and retirements. They didn’t have to worry about investing, because their homes appreciated enough to be all the investment they needed. But with previously unimaginable employee down-sizing and stagnating property values that is no longer the case. According to a government report, 96% of Americans are retiring in quiet desperation”. Enough to exist, but not enough to enjoy the retirement they dreamed of.
Prior to our parent’s generation, many people
still remembered the great depression and were hesitant to take on debt. In our generation, prices escalated dramatically as people were conditioned to think in terms of monthly payments instead of total cost. The worst part however is the interest paid! If you don’t believe it, just divide your total debt by your minimum monthly payments and see how long it will take to pay off your debt if you only make the minimum payments and how much total interest you’ll pay. With the real estate appreciation our parents experienced, you could get away with that and still have a sizable nest egg in your home. However, housing prices have flattened out and don’t allow us that ability.
For the average person, a credit card allows you to live like you have more money than you do for a short while, and then you have to live like you have less money for a long time while you try and dig your way out of debt. While we’re talking about digging out of debt, one of the most often quoted problems leading to the tremendous number of divorces is the stress caused by excessive debt.
The Solution – God’s Kingdom Plan!
The first thing you have to do is get out and stay out of debt. The majority of Americans have been seduced into the easy monthly payment sales pitch. Just watch any sales commercial. We have to have it to be happy (or keep up with the “Jones”), but the danger with trying to keep up with the Jones is that they may only be a few pay checks away from serious financial difficulty.
We need to get off the world’s economy and on to God’s Kingdom economy. The Bible says to owe no man anything except to love them. Put God first! God doesn’t need your money, but we need to put God first. Putting God first shows our faith in Him and our commitment to His Kingdom. His word says it is impossible to please Him without faith. Faith is really the only thing that we can give God.
Don’t fear! Have faith! God’s Word says that everything that can be shaken will be. It also says that the wealth of the wicked is stored up for the righteous (you’re righteous if you’ve accepted Jesus as Lord of your life). We can see that the world’s economy is being shaken. Now is a time that we want to be on God’s system and not the world’s.
There was something that I wanted my son to know in the event that anything happened to me before he was grown… God loves him, his mom & dad love him, he can do anything he sets his mind to if he wants it bad enough, and don’t panic… the don’t panic probably saved his life when coming home late from college he swerved to avoid a deer and ended up rolled in a ditch with his ear amputated, but the other thing I shared with him was to be hesitant to take on debt and to follow the 70/30 rule… The 70/30 rule says to take 10% off the top of anything he earns and put God first with it, then take 10% and put it toward savings, then set aside the next 10% toward paying off any debt/setting aside an emergency fund, or saving for a specific upcoming planned expense. You then budget and live off the remaining 70 percent.
You have to stop accumulating any further debt as of right now if you expect to get out of debt and become financially secure. Right now, make a pledge that you will not use your credit card again unless your car is broken down and you need emergency assistance. Then bury one credit card with the best terms deep in your wallet and cut up the rest. People tell me that they can’t do that, because they “need” (kind of like a drug addiction) their credit cards. Well, we’ve already seen that debt is bondage and God doesn’t want us in bondage. If you have an emergency, correct the problem (e.g., car repair, etc.) and then get back on track.
If necessary, have a straight talk with your creditors. Tell them that you’re trying to get control of your finances and that you want to pay them the money you legitimately owe. Tell them what you are able to pay and ask that they agree to that payment. Share with them if there were special circumstances such as a job loss or medical expenses. Creditors normally appreciate this straight and well thought out approach and will be willing to work with you. I have a friend that won a major battle against cancer, but his health coverage wasn’t really great and he hadn’t been able to work due to his health. He used the method above with the hospital which agreed to cut certain charges and gave him extremely favorable terms because he was up front with them and they didn’t have to try and take him to court for their money.
I’d like to give you some last advice about investing. You will always hear advice from people about making big, fast and easy money. Some may in fact do well for a time, but eventually, it will fall through. It’s true that some people got lucky, but many more lost. That isn’t investing, it’s gambling. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Build your savings like a master mason builds a wall. Following the blue print a foundation is laid and bricks are solidly placed one at a time until you reach the top!
Our own Government has made the same errors borrowing to the point that they are currently robbing Peter to pay Paul just to keep the system solvent. Imagine if our government had been responsible with public funds, operated within a balanced budget, and invested a percentage in gold, silver, & energy resources. We would have tremendous wealth as a nation! However, the government does not have the answers to the problems of this world. The government can help, but only God can heal. If Christians actually do what they are supposed to, and the Church actually does what it is supposed to, then the government will realize they don’t have the answers and will turn to the Church instead of the other way around.
This word is just a quick start guide. Some excellent additional resources on budgeting, getting out of debt, and investing are Dave Ramsey and Crown Financial Ministries. Coming in agreement with you for your prosperity in Jesus’ mighty Name. Amen.