When evaluating family debt, a common shortcoming seems to run through all unmanageable debt experiences: the lack of thorough planning. Sometimes this deficiency is amplified even more by ignorance or indulgence. In order to recognize this shortcoming and then to change its progression, families must consider the two common errors and the three common expenses that lead to debt and seek to either avoid or control these errors and expenses. The primary method in which families can identify shortcomings and to do something about correcting the effects of the shortcomings is to develop a family budget and stick to it.
The two common errors that lead to unmanageable debt are allowing a get-rich-quick mentality to govern decisions and ignoring the advisor that God has given. The three common expenses that lead to debt are: home purchases, car purchases, and scheduled disasters.
Allowing a get-rich-quick mentality to govern decisions
Symptoms of get-rich-quick mentality are evident in many of the investment schemes in the world today. Unfortunately, many Christians find themselves caught in the get-rich-quick trap before they realize what is actually happening.
If investments in get-rich-quick schemes were limited to available cash, most people would be far more cautious about losing it. But somehow it is easier to risk borrowed money because it seems to many Christians to be almost free money. Much like the same justification used when purchasing consumer goods on a credit card, it is easy to justify using borrowed money to invest, especially if the return is “guaranteed.” But speculating on the future not only is a practice in surety, which is warned against in the Bible, it also is presumptuous, because no one can rightly predict what will happen in the country’s financial markets over the next hour, much less the next few months or years. So, borrowing money in order to speculate on the future is both unwise and dangerous, placing the borrower in a position of potentially losing everything if the economy turns downward.
Another danger concerning get-rich-schemes is that most times investors know nothing or very little about the product, service, idea, system, or organization into which they are being solicited to invest. Christians are particularly vulnerable to being tricked by get-rich-quick schemes, because they tend to trust people who call themselves Christian, especially if they claim to have a special revelation or leading from God. So, stay with what you know and do not invest until you have completely and thoroughly investigated the product, program, or company. In addition, no decision should be made hastily. Always wait for at least one full day, and earnestly pray before making any investment decision.
Ignoring the advisor that God has provided
It is very dangerous for a husband or wife to ignore the primary advisor that God has given them: their spouse. When there is a relationship as close as a husband and wife relationship, there will be problems. Since opposites tend to attract, they may not agree on a number of things and issues. But that’s okay as long as they communicate and try to reach a reasonable compromise. God’s Word is very specific when it comes to husband and wife relationships.
Husbands are to love their wives and listen to their advice before making any financial decisions that would change or affect the families’ financial state. Wives may give their advice, but the final decision is up to the husband. And whatever the decision, whether she agrees or not, she must respect him as the head of the family. God created husband and wife to function as a single working unit, each with different but essential abilities. Without the balance that each can bring to a marriage, great errors in judgment will most likely be made.
Nearly every family in America dreams of owning their own home. But many times they try to buy a home too soon after marriage or pay too much for a first home and end up in financial trouble. Unfortunately, quite often these families don’t realize that owning the home created their financial problems, because it took too large a portion of their spendable income. Because of this, inadvisable home purchases are the number one expense that leads to unmanageable debt.