Debt felt like a noose around my neck. I had just graduated seminary and for a time I lived on a credit card. Ends didn’t meet. I went out with friends and put it on my card thinking it was ok. I’ll pay it off later when I graduate and have a full time job.
Growing up I learned some very unhealthy way’s about money. In middle school I salivated over a stereo system. My father lent me a thousand dollars and told me I could work it off. I did chores and things and worked at a country store down the road sweeping floors and stocking shelves at night. I’d walk there, do my job and walk back home. I think I was 13. In hindsight, I wish my dad had taught me to save up before buying things so I could experience the joy of paying for something big I wanted. I would have put up a fuss for sure, as any teen would. My parents weren’t taught about money so they didn’t know what this was teaching me: debt is ok.
When I landed my first full time job I found myself struggling to make ends meet each month. I was working full time and going to school full time so a side gig wasn’t an option. I paid minimum payments on my credit card and spent the rest I had on who knows what. I didn’t have a plan.
My parents sent me a book in the mail with a long note written in the front expressing they learned these principles and wanted me to learn them too. They said they wished they had known these things beforehand so they could have their children good principles about money.
Bottom line is our culture programs us to think debt is ok. Actually, so many things we see even encourage us to be a slave to the lender. I coached someone recently who just bought a new vehicle for $28,000. When we looked at how much would be paid over the life of the loan total, they will pay $38,000! That’s giving $10,000 to the lender overtime paid in interest! Yikes! A plan was made to pay it off sooner so that $10,000 can go towards other more important things than making the lender richer!
We think it’s normal to borrow money. Life is hard. We sacrifice peace when we borrow a lot and live paycheck to paycheck.
We ignore our debt, afraid to face it because it’s stressful and keep doing what we’ve always done. Facing our debt is scary and can feel embarrassing and shameful. That’s normal. There are many better options that can bring peace into our lives.
I started to apply the principles I learned from the book my parents sent me. Awhile later I paid off that credit card! It felt amazing to not have that payment and I had more funds to use for other things.
Two decades later I’ve helped people in the churches I’ve served make a plan to get out of debt and I’m now a certified financial coach. Coaching someone towards financial freedom and peace excites me! Clients tell me they dreaded the coaching session but at the end I usually hear something like, “Wow! This feels great!” “That wasn’t as scary as I thought!” “I feel so good to have a plan that I know will work.”
It’s possible to make progress in your finances and know exactly what goals you’ll be able to meet. I’d love to chat with you about financial coaching if you’re ready to make progress, get ahead and stop being a slave to the lender.
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