Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Debt: No big deal

Something I learned when going through Financial Peace is that we typically look at finances the wrong way. The way our grandparents handled their money (only paid cash, lived on less than you make) is long gone. The average American today, before they make a large purchase, will ask themselves if they can afford the monthly payment. For example: New car costs $25K but spread over 4-5 years might cost $350 per month. They pay no attention to the fact that they are about to go $25K in debt and will actually end up paying more than that amount because of interest. This kind of thinking typically leads to people getting trapped in the "rat race" and with debt up to their eyeballs.

I know the concept of debt has always been around (Proverbs 22:7 The borrower is SLAVE to the lender), but it seems to have gotten out of hand in the last 50 years. I am pretty sure too that Master Card, VISA, American Excess, etc. have had something to do with it. I think eventually all this debt is going to catch up with us. In fact, it probably already is. Bankruptcy is at the highest level it ever has been and I doubt it will be getting better anytime soon. The national debt is at a whopping 5 trillion dollars. Obviously people don't mind being in debt or it just doesn't bother them enough to do anything about it.

As I type this I am reminded of our mortgage and how I can't wait for the day that it is paid off. Does it drive anyone else crazy to know that you owe such a large amount of money? It does me. If Proverbs is true, then why would any of us want to be a slave to money any longer than we have to be? Maybe it's time we started taking our grandparents advice again and change the way we look at money. Let me know if I am preaching to the choir or if you have a different view on debt. I am interested to know if debt drives you crazy as much as it does me.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Bible and Money

Here goes nothing. This blog was inspired over five years ago when Anna and I were first introduced to Dave Ramsey. Anna's mom and dad thought it would be a good idea for us to go through Dave's Financial Peace University (FPU) class at church before we got married. They graciously paid for it and the rest is history. For those of you who have never heard of Dave you can check him out here. It would be an understatement to say that those 12 weeks of FPU have been a lifesaver for us.

I am a big believer in Dave's way (really the Bible's) of handling finances. I was really surprised to find out when going through Financial Peace University exactly how much the Bible talks about this issue. Did you know that the Bible mentions the issue of money over 800 times? Eight hundred times!!!! If the Bible talks about money that many times then it seems to me that God must think that it is an important issue. It possibly has never been more important than now since money fights and money problems are the #1 cause of divorce in America today. It doesn't have to be that way. God has already told us what to do with our money, but why is it so hard for us to actually do it?

Please don't get the impression that because this blog is about finances that I am an expert in the field. That is hardly the case at all. In fact, please feel free to voice your opinion if you disagree with me at all. I will try to share with you some of the things that I have learned in the past five years that have been helpful for our family. I hope to delve into issues relating to debt, credit cards, budgets, mortgages, retirement, kids college funds, etc. I know I probably just lost about half of my readers already, but this blog is for all the other geeks out there who enjoy keeping up with their finances.