Saturday, May 21, 2005

Debt - Help Yourself Get Out of It 3

In my last two posts, I talked about a plan to get out of debt. This time I'll conclude.

  1. Don't Borrow Again. This may seem like an obvious concept, but what happens the majority of the time is that people feel the tremendous freedom of getting out of debt, and then let credit card balances creep up again. Cut up your credit cards and never use them again. I can't emphasize that enough. Have a credit card slicing party. I heard someone talk about melting them in your oven. Then send them back to the credit card company and insist that they never send you advertisements again. You might be saying that is not practical for you because your job requires travel and that requires credit cards. Hogwash!! In a previous post I talked about a fairly recent development that allows you an alternative that can limit your risk of overspending with a credit card. See that post by going here for the post titled "Alternative to the Credit Card". Hebrews13:5 tells us to be content with what we have. We don't need to have a credit card and we don't need debt in any form. If you can hear what Jesus said about being content with your pay in Luke 3:14, you won't need them at all.
  2. Negotiate with Your Creditors. I'm not suggesting that you attempt to pay as little of your debt as possible. I am saying that you should negotiate away the interest you are being charged. If you are in trouble, credit cards will be charging you interest in the 20% to 35% range. That is simply a cement block tied to your feet. If you let it continue, you may never get out of debt. Communicate your plan with the creditors and tell them what you can pay. Explain to them that if they continue to charge interest that you will never get out, and you don't want to file for bankruptcy (if that is true, of course). Ask them to stop the interest and allow you to pay off the debt. You might be thinking, and they will surely argue, that they must make money or they would go out of business. But I say, you have already paid significant interest. Add it up over the life of your account, and give them that number. Then ask them how much is enough? You have probably already paid back the original loan and are paying interest on interest. This is worth the effort because Proverbs 16:7 tells us you can turn your enemies into friends by following the ways of the Lord. Commit to the new payment plan once you have come to an agreement. Get it in writing so the creditor doesn't conveniently forget their agreement and alter it. Believe me, it happens. These days, if the agreement isn't in writing, it doesn't exist.
  3. Stay On Course with Your Plan. Remind yourself of Galatians 6:9 regularly. God will reward your persistence and discipline. It won't be easy, but remember that life is a test. If you prove yourself trustworthy to be a good steward of God's resources, you will be trusted with it. God will take care of your needs, but you must trust Him.

This is just one possible plan. You have to do what works for you, but whatever you do you must stick with it. Everyone's situation is unique and that is why no single plan sold in the myriad of financial planning books on the market will necessarily work for you. You must seek advice, become financially literate yourself, and study the scripture. Once you learn what is means to be a good steward, this problem will be overcome because you will know how to handle challenges with money. You will no longer be lead into financial slavery again.

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