The average American household holds 14.27 credit cards and card issuers mailed a record 5 billion card offers, according to research firm BAIGlobal.
How have we become swamped by this tsunami of debt? It seems it is not cool to: save and invest, start out in life with anything second hand or the latest wiz-bang technology? Why have the values of thrift of our predecessors been swept aside by this instant gratification. What has gotten into us? And, it is not only affecting Kiwi's.
In recent times I have been writing an instant answer column, all the while trying to spread the word of financial education. During the short few months I have been astounded at the number of questions that relate to extreme indebtedness.
From folk that are in a crisis, in despair with their debt, folk that are in denial of the facts and seeking to lay blame at any hand but their own. Folk that are facing a long and arduous road of tight budgeting and hard work to regain financial equilibrium.
How, with a Christian approach might they have seen a better way? Psalms and Proverbs give light toward living in a better financial way.
Psalm 7 says; 'He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made' and Psalm 37 goes on; 'The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously'.
Proverbs 11 confirms that; 'He who brings trouble on his family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise'.
Proverbs 22 also says; 'That the rich will rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender'. And; 'Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or in putting up security for debts if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you'.
We continue to see folk suffering the extreme penalty of high interest loans. This is not the core activity of a financial planner, but the within the purview of a budget adviser. However, what are we to suggest and yet live by moral community values? - go away, not likely.
Proverbs 27; 'The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it'. An answer is found in fortitude, or Romans 13 paraphrased; 'the strength and commitment to let no debt remain outstanding beyond due time'. Live by this standard and life will be better.
Original Article published June 2005
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