TIP 44. AVOIDING DEBT
Balancing the family budget is not always easy, especially in a society that has enthusiastically accepted consumerism as the normal way of life. With the tremendous increase in advertising forms across the media, from billboards and telephone canvassing to text message advertising and naming rights for stadiums, we as a society are being bombarded daily with the message to 'buy'. As consumers we are constantly offered credit cards as the 'easy' way to do business, and they are helpful, but only if you have the means to pay them off quickly.
With all this advertising in our culture there is also a rising 'expectation' of the standard of life that we should be achieving, including the type of house we should live in, the type of car we should drive etc. Often this 'expectation' is unrealistic in relation to the current financial position that families find themselves in. Many families attempt to achieve this 'standard of living' through getting further and further into debt by using a credit card or obtaining a personal loan.
A generation ago most families were much more reticent to take on personal debt, as they seemed to understand that debt is often a difficult weight to carry, and a weight that is ever present. However today it often seems that banks and other financial institutions are increasingly ready to loan you money, whether or not you are in a secure enough financial position to be able to repay it.
One of the major down sides about getting into debt is the pressure that it brings to bear upon the family and especially the father as the main bread winner. There are many different ways that we can bring pressure upon ourselves, but one of the most common is through getting into debt. As parents we should be teaching our children how to be financially responsible and that is difficult to achieve if we are constantly in debt.
Financial pressure is one of the major contributing factors in a large percentage of marriage/family breakdowns in our society, and often could have been avoided. This type of pressure is often very difficult to deal with, especially when there are always going to be 'unexpected' bills arriving that add to the debt.
If we continually increased the pressure in a steam engine boiler, eventually that pressure would surpass the limits of the boiler to handle and there would be an explosion. This is often the way of life for those who are under financial pressure, and unless they can find some way to relieve the pressure, there is often an explosion.
Unfortunately these explosions often happen around their families, and the very ones that they are trying to provide for are in the firing line. Many who find themselves in this position find a sense of relief through getting some financial counselling from a professional.
Staying out of debt begins with simply 'living within your means', or not spending more each week than you are earning. This most basic financial theory can help many families avoid falling into the trap of unserviceable levels of personal debt.
Dads' Call To Action:
Enjoy life and buy the things you need, but realise that there is an emotional price to pay for getting into debt.
(Romans 13 v 8)
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.