Debt. It’s obviously a HUGE issue. And the debt of the United States is the number one news story on MSN right now. I’m writing this article Monday night.
Today the House of Representatives passed a bill to raise the debt ceiling another $2.2 trillion. This is enough to conveniently tide the treasury over until after the 2012 elections. Assuming, of course, that the government mends its ways and stops spending like there is no tomorrow!
But, it isn’t a done deal yet. The bill goes before the Senate tomorrow. If they also pass it, then it goes to President Obama who has agreed to sign it.
Part of the deal is that $1 trillion will be cut from U.S. spending. So, the debt ceiling is increased by $2.2 trillion with the promise that $1 trillion will be trimmed from the budget.
As I said before, I’m no guru or financial expert, but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to do anything but buy us a little more time and put us another $1.2 trillion in the hole. Of course, when you’re talking about $14.3 trillion dollars, what’s another $1.2, right?
Let’s get real! We obviously can’t rely on our political leaders for guidance. It’s time to turn to biblical principles to get us out of the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into.
There are as many stories about how to get into debt as there are people in debt! Everyone has their own story, their own reason, their own excuse. Basically, it boils down to living beyond our means.
I know, that’s a little harsh. It means I’m not accepting your reasons, and telling you that you got yourself into debt. And, I know that probably hurts. I know how painful it was when I had to face the truth about why I was in debt up to my eyeballs.
You see, I believe that part of the process of getting out of debt is acknowledging the part we played at getting into debt. If I look at the difference in my finances from a few years ago to today, I can tell you that my salary hasn’t increased and, if anything, my expenses have gone up. Look at the difference in gasoline prices alone in the past few years!
I see some of you licking your wounds over there in the corner. So, before I go any further, let me say that I know there are some pretty big reasons for people being in debt. When the economy took a nose dive, many people lost their jobs. Some of those who found new jobs took a significant cut in pay just to be able to earn a living.
I know that many of you probably had other emergencies; maybe a physical illness, or a car accident, or a death in the family.
Maybe you experienced a series of mechanical failures like I did (HVAC system, car, plumbing, washer and dryer, refrigerator).
But, before you place on of the blame on your circumstances, I want you to take a good look at your spending habits. Did you make some shopping trips and charge your purchases to your credit card? Do you have the latest, greatest technological gadgets at your house? Do you drive a nice, new car?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with having nice things. But, how did you pay for them? Did you take out a loan, or did you pay cash?
And what about your savings account? How much do you have saved for a rainy day? I can promise you, rainy days will come.
So, how did I get into debt? Probably the same way you did and the same way our government did; little by little. We took out a loan and found out we could “manage” the payments. Then we saw something else we needed (wanted) and charged it. No worries, we still had a lot left on our credit limit, and with the low minimum monthly payments, it was easy to “swing” this payment too.
The problem is, we keep adding a little here and a little there until one day, we find ourselves $30,000 (or $14.3 trillion!) in debt… and then the rug gets pulled out from underneath us and we realize we are in way over our heads.
If this is where you find yourself today, you probably have some questions. So, tell me, what are your three biggest concerns, or fear about money?
“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”
~ Proverbs 22:7 (NIV)
“The only thing worse than investing in things that depreciate
is paying interest on money
invested in things that depreciate.”
Recognize that everything has a life-expectancy. Your tires are only going to last for 50,000 miles before you have to replace them. Your car will last about 200,000 miles. Your appliances will last about 15 years. Your water heater will last for about 7 years. Your air conditioner will last about 20 years.
Of course this is assuming that you regularly maintain all of these things. Tires have to be rotated and balanced, car has to be serviced and oil changed, air conditioner needs to be serviced twice a year…
Make a replacement plan for all major purchases and start saving money for them today. That way, when something breaks down, it won’t be a disaster.
Feedback, questions or suggestions for a future issue?
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