You need a plan for college! If you don’t plan for college, you’ll end up in a very sorry state. Having a plan for college before you apply will save you time, debt, and stress. Watch this video for 10 quick and easy ways to go to college DEBT FREE. Watching this video, and learning how to get a debt free college education, will be the best eight minutes you’ve ever spent.
***Note, becoming a policeman or fireman requires you to attend job-specific courses. Visit this link for more information.
That’s a good question! There is no doubt that debt is still the American way. The total U.S. Consumer debt is $2.8T (U.S. Federal Reserve, 2013). In spite of some improvements on the levels of debt since the recession of 2008, for the most part Americans still rely heavily on debt on a regular basis.
As a personal finance coach and blogger, I seek to teach on the best way to handle your money. Usually most people agree with me on the issues of doing a budget and saving money for emergencies and for the future. Where I find myself swimming against the current is in the area of debt. The current common wisdom is that debt is a tool and when used wisely can lead you to prosperity. Conversely, I believe that debt represents risk and that it should be avoided or eliminated as quickly as possible
I am also an Evangelical Christian and I advise and teach people from a biblical perspective. So, how do I answer the question that titles this post? The short answer is that no, having debt is not sinful. There is no prohibition in Scripture against having debt.
However, Scripture does have plenty to say about debt and none of it is good. So I want to share 3 principles that will hopefully motivate you to get out of debt and to stay out of debt: Having debt is not wise, is risky, and it is a hindrance to prosperity.
Probably the best known Bible verse regarding debt is Proverbs 22:7: “The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” When you are in debt, you have surrendered control of your money to someone else. Let’s forgo for the moment the argument of “good” vs. “bad” debt. The point is that you are serving your lender whether you have borrowed for a car, on a credit card, a student loan, or a mortgage.
You enter into this agreement voluntarily as no one forces you to go into debt. The lender sets the repayment terms: how much interest, length of the loan, payment date. You are not in control because the lender is in control. The lender is the master and commander of the debt.
As a Christian I have to remember that Christ died to make me free, so I should be careful not be enslaved to anything. There is no wisdom in relying on debt as a tool to achieve prosperity.
“You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.”
I Corinthians 7:23 (NASB)
When we assume debt, it is usually based on the idea that “we can afford the payments”. That affordability statement is based on our current situation. But what happens if the situation changes? If you suffer a loss of employment or health, what then
?Your level of risk increases with your level of debt. When we carry balances on our credit cards, student loans, etc. we are increasing the chance of not being able to repay if our income situation changes. Do you know what else increases when our debt increases? Stress levels.
In full disclosure I have eliminated all of my consumer debt, although I still have a mortgage which I am working to pay off as soon as possible. Even though I have a reasonable mortgage loan and good equity on my home, I am still in the slave position to the mortgage company: they own the home, I don’t. I will only eliminate that risk completely when I pay off the mortgage.
“Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge, one of those who is surety for debts; if you have nothing with which to pay, why should he take away your bed from under you?”
Proverbs 22:26-27 (NASB)
Do you know the other problem with debt? It gives you a false sense of security. Years ago I bought into the idea of “building up my credit” as a good financial move. At one point, I had several credit cards and lines of credit. I had the possibility of borrowing up to $53K with those credit vehicles. I never got that far but I was very proud of my financial prowess.
In reality, I was counting on credit to bail me out in case of an emergency. Those same lines of credit prevented me from learning a basic but essential lesson; it is better to wait and save for what I really want to buy instead of borrowing money every time I “needed” something.
Debt can become a crutch that will keep you and me from walking on our own financial strength. When our income goes to payments instead of savings we lose. We should be gaining interest not paying interest. When we pay interest, the banks prosper but we remain stagnant.
So no, debt is not a sin. But I believe God has bigger and better things for us. So learn to live on less than you make, save for emergencies and for the future and get out of debt as fast as you can. Then you can use your money to invest for the future and more importantly to give and help others. The longer you stay in debt, the longer it will be before you can dictate your financial destiny.
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it, when you have it with you.”
Proverbs 3:27-28 (NASB)
Bio for José R. Figueroa
|Personal Finance Coach/Blogger @ Figueroa Financial: Help and Hope for Your Finances. He is also the author of the e-book 7 Principles for Financial Success now available @ Amazon.|
Did you know that every day 17,000 children die from the effects of malnutrition? Five children have died since you opened this webpage. Tonight, while you are sleeping, 5,000 more children will die from the effects of malnutrition. We can’t allow this to continue!
Our mission at the Debt Free Squad is to help individuals and families get control of their finances, God’s Way. To get out of debt you need to find ways to make some extra money or find ways to SAVE money. In addition we feel strongly that every website should give back to a cause that they are passionate about. If every website would give a portion of their profits to help those in need we could change the world. Save1.com is a coupon website that will not only save you money on that next shopping trip but will feed a child for every coupon you use. That is a win-win situation in our books.
Save1 is a company that was launched in 2012. The Co-founders, Gerrid and Todd Smith wanted to create a business that could help make a positive change in the world and save children. Their mantra is, “Save money, Save lives.” Click here for Story. They also have a huge following on their facebook fan page and recently were feeding a child for every “Like”. At the time of this writing Save1 has fed close to 100,000 hungry children thanks to those who have used the coupons to save themselves money. – Wow..
The coupon site is similar to others like RetailMeNot.com but adds the principle of “giving back” and provides a meal for a hungry child through their partner organizations like Feeding America and Action Against Hunger. Click here to read about Save1′s feeding partners. You use an online coupon or special offer from Save1. Save1 receives a small commission then Save1 provides a meal for a hungry child. It is that easy.
You can also sign up to get great deals and other offers through submitting your email address.
Click on the below video as Co-founder Gerrid Smith shares with you the idea behind the name. Want to find out what the starfish story is?
We are now using the site. The next time I visit our local Kohls or my wife wants to buy a gift for our grandchildren we will check out what Save1.com has to offer and feed a child at the same time if we use the coupon. There are thousands of retail stores to shop from. Join us and visit the site.
After prayerfully deciding which organization the Debt Free Squad wanted to support we have selected Olive Crest. Their Mission is dedicated to preventing child abuse, to treating and educating at-risk children and to preserving the family – “One life at a time.” Their Vision is that every child deserves a strong family. My wife’s brother, Mike Haley recently took a job with Olive Crest and introduced us to this organization which has been around for 40 years. We started personally donating and now want to involve the Debt Free Squad.
Our Mission at the Debt Free Squad is to empower individuals and families to master and eliminate their debt and realize a life of financial freedom through sound biblical principles. We believe child abuse can be a by-product of the stress that debt brings on. Running out of money before the end of the month can cause parents to take their stress and anger out on the kids. We believe living within your means can make for a happier, healthier family and especially if we do it God’s Way.
Watch the above video from CBS news on “Whatever happened to children of the recession?” It talks about the impact the Olive Crest organization is making on America. In 2009, Olive Crest launched a new program called Safe Families for Children. The program equips Christian families to take in children whose parents are in crisis for temporary care while they work to stabilize their lives. The parents keep custody of their children in most cases and do not lose them to the system.
If you feel the Lord tugging at your heart strings and you would like to help in some way check out their website at http://www.olivecrest.org/
Since 1973, Olive Crest has transformed the lives of over 60,000 abused, neglected and at-risk children and their families. They provide safe homes, counseling and education for both youth and parents. Olive Crest feels strongly that strengthening the family is one of the most powerful ways to help heal children. We couldn’t agree more at the Debt Free Squad. Join us in donating to Olive Crest.
Check out our story and what the Debt Free Squad is all about by clicking here. http://www.debtfreesquad.com/
People ask me, “What is the magic number a person needs to be able to retire?” “How much do I need to retire?” There are so many variables depending on your individual situation. You have one financial expert say you need 8 times your salary and others saying you need 25 times your yearly expenses. Many financial advisors expect you to have your annual salary saved by age 35. Whoops – Robin and I missed that one. Well – what if you don’t have that by age 55? Are we going to have to eat rice and beans and never take another vacation? Maybe – but most likely not. My Dad passed away at age 57 and because of Social Security and a Life Insurance policy my Mom was able to have a good retirement for almost 25 years. When she remarried our step dad they were basically living on two social security checks and a small military pension. They went on several vacations each year and lived in Orange County, California. How could they do this? They were Debt Free. If you are only paying for living expenses and have good health insurance you can make it work. 25% of retirees are depending solely on Social Security checks according to bankrate.com. http://www.bankrate.com/finance/financial-literacy/americans-plan-to-work-through-retirement-1.aspx
I am one to believe it will be around a long time – though you might have to wait longer to reach full retirement age or take a reduced benefit. Remember the Social Security Act was enacted in August of 1935 by Franklin D. Roosevelt and the first monthly payments were first paid in January of 1940. That means Social Security has been around almost 80 years. Medicare was not enacted until July of 1965 which covers much of the health expenses of those 65 years and up. Most are paying for supplemental insurance to cover some expenses that Medicare will not.
How much income do you need to retire? A person could potentially have 12 streams of income to get them through the retirement years. If married that increases almost two-fold.
This week sit down with your spouse or financial fitness partner and figure out if you are in the 10-10-10-70 club and if not, how much do you need to retire?. If you are within 5 years of retirement sit down with a financial planner or insurance agent and see if you are on target to retire when you want. 75% of those surveyed by bankrate.com said they plan to continue to work and most because they choose to. If you are healthy and love what you do then keep going. You can always ask for time off with no pay to vacation more if you want. Most people having worked in a job over 5 years have 2-3 weeks paid time off and weekends and holidays. That is approximately 130 days off. On a closing note make sure you continue to exercise and watch what you eat so your chances of enjoying a healthy retirement increase.
Debt and health go hand in hand. The ole’ saying goes something like this, “In our younger years we are willing to spend our health gaining wealth and in our older years we end up spending our wealth on gaining better health. “ Well, here is the million dollar question and you can’t choose both answers. What is more important to you, health or wealth? When I ask those up there in years (55+) I always get a quick answer, “health without question.” When I ask the youth I get a pause then usually an answer of wealth. Many teenagers and twenty something’s take their health for granted. They say, “I’m in great physical shape and am certainly not going to have any health issues in the immediate future.” When I tell them about the young cadet in my water survival class at the Air Force Academy who was recently diagnosed with a tumor on his brain and a young tennis coach who recently had two strokes and is learning to walk all over again the answer quickly changes to, “well, maybe health.”
We would all love to answer both and many folks do have the health and wealth but the sad truth in looking at the statistics is most don’t. Living a healthy lifestyle balanced against living within your means is clearly something we should all be striving to achieve but as we all know, it is easier said than done. We can do everything right and in an instant you can lose your health and/or your wealth …. a real catch 22.
If your stress level is high because of debt this will lead to health problems like heart disease and diabetes.
Less money for yourself (when living paycheck to paycheck or trying to get out from under debt most of your money has to go to the basics of living – leaving very little for self care.
Stepfanie says, “When things get tough, you can always start small. Those tiny steps add up to big savings. By making small changes, you can make big differences in your health.”
In an article written by Kim Painter for USA Today she talks about a PBS documentary called, Unnatural Causes: Is inequality making us sick? In this documentary psychologist, Sheldon Cohen along with many other scientists and public health experts, concluded contrary to popular belief, your health is not just the sum of your genes, your health habits and the quality of your health insurance plan. Your income, education and race matter; so does your address, your job title and the status your parents had when you were small.
The point of this documentary is not that we are powerless to improve our health: Whether you are rich or poor, it’s a bad idea to smoke and a good idea to eat fruits and vegetables. It’s also good to have health insurance. But all those things are harder to sustain and may do less good if you live in a dangerous, unwalkable neighborhood with lots of fast food and no supermarkets; if you have little control in your work life; if you are constantly worried about money, housing and safety.
At a time of widespread economic pain, when the “poor are getting poorer and the middle class is being squeezed,” in the words of one sociologist quoted in this film, there’s plenty of reason to worry about the literal health of the nation.
Don’t exchange debt and health for a wealthy way of living. At the end of the day, getting control of your finances can indeed reduce stress which can improve one’s health as well as lead them down the path of achieving financial freedom and independence.
Interested in flying the coop? After working with high school and college kids for over 40 years I have come to the conclusion that most kids have no clue what it takes to move out on their own. Not happy with your parent’s house rules at 26 is no reason to just “Fly the Coop” unprepared for the real world. The Debt Free Squad has started this project to help young folks get all of their ducks lined up before moving out to that new pad. We will not only help you to get organized for the move but also save you tons of time and money. Watch this before you fly that coop!
If you want to beat debt, you need a debt plan and a debt coach! The 60-day Budget Bootcamp will be hitting your city the summer of 2013. You will have a chance to get financially fit, and develop a proven debt plan, using God’s principles. Beating debt is hard and is one of the biggest challenges you will face. This is why having a debt coach to motivate you through the process is important. Get ready for an intensive debt-crushing challenge that will eliminate debt forever.
The Debt Free Squad is here to guide you every step of the way with your debt plan. It is time to form good budgeting habits that will keep you living below your means. Having a one on one debt coach is absolutely the best way to make it through this challenge. You will replace pressure with peace, stop the money fights, practice debt-reducing tips, develop a debt plan, cut up those credit cards, be able to give, invest and save more.
What you need to master the art of debt reduction is one on one debt coaching from the comfort of your home. You need motivation every day. Good things come to those who work for them and are coachable. Start living the stress-free life you deserve. Are you ready for the ultimate debt plan? Get pumped and get ready, to join us, for the 60-day budget bootcamp.
From the comfort of your home and any place in the world.
At the end of the 60-day Budget Bootcamp we would like you to share your story via video for the Debt Free Squad website. (optional)
The Debt Crushing package is an investment of $99.00. This includes all of the above except the One on One Coaching, Four one-hour sessions and unlimited emails for one year.
The Debt Crushing Elite Package is an investment of $399.00 and includes the four one hour sessions with Jeff and Robin Ehrlich and email access for one year. You will feel like you gave yourself a pay raise at the end of the 60 days.
Find out how Jeff & Robin eliminated over $150,000 of debt in five years and are now living a “Debt Free” life. They can help you do the same.
Supermarkets employ clever tactics in order to get us spending more than we need. They are full of tempting delights, which sometimes are hard to resist. Supermarkets are cathedrals of consumerism – their aim is to get us spending more than we intend to. The way products are displayed and advertised has a huge impact on how we spend our money.
There has never been a better time than now to start saving money and being more careful with our funds. Whether you are hoping to invest one day in gold through sites like Bullion Vault Italy or you want to save some money to put towards a house, a wedding or a vacation, you are sure to find the money saving tips below helpful.
Stay away from items by the checkout
When you enter a supermarket, just remember that everything has been laid out with precision in order to tempt us with pricey luxuries. Don’t be tempted by items near the checkout. They encourage impulse buys which soon add up.
Stick to your list – No additions
Are you the type of person who goes in for one or two things and comes out with a bagful? This is due to product placement. All the regularly bought items are dotted around the store; this is the stores way of getting us to walk through all the aisles and picking up tempting goodies along the way.
Look High and Low
If you want to save money, it is certainly worth opting for the stores own brands. Their products are often much cheaper than the name brand items. The higher priced products are normally placed at eye level, making them easy to spot. However, the value prices are often found on the very top or bottom shelves, making them difficult to spot. The saying, “Look high and low for something” really does apply in the situation.
Eat before you do your grocery shopping
Believe it or not, when we’re feeling a little peckish we often pick up indulgent sweet treats. So before you take that grocery trip, make sure you have a full stomach.
Good ol’ Envelope method
In closing if you want to stay within your Food budget you should try paying cash for your groceries. This way you are guaranteed to not go over budget. When the envelope is empty that is it until payday. At the very least use a debit card and deduct that grocery bill from your food budget. Groceries are the biggest variable expense in any budget and you can really save if you are a savvy-saver in the supermarket.
Need a monthly food budget? Food budget for 3? Monthly food budgets help you save money and get out of debt. We are excited to introduce to you the 30-day Food Budget Challenge featuring Jonni McCoy, author of Miserly Moms. Jonni is one of the leading experts on frugal living and monthly food budgeting. Her first book, Miserly Moms, was a best-seller upon release, offering fresh, fun tips on how to save money and cut your monthly food budget in half. View the videos below to learn how to best approach your monthly food budget.
Below we have a 3-part video series to start you on your way to cutting those food costs. Take the next month and go over one video per week with your spouse or financial fitness partner.
Are you excited to cut your food bill in half? Help the Debt Free Squad reach 1 million families with the 30-day Food budget Challenge. Share this with your friends on Facebook and encourage them to do the same. Let’s start the journey together to become DEBT FREE!!!