As we leave 2018 behind and ring in a new year, many folks have already prepared, or are busy preparing their traditional list of new year’s resolutions.

With consumer debt at an all time high, I wonder how many folks will make a new year’s resolution to get out of debt and stay out of debt?

In October 2018, U.S. consumer debt rose to $3.963 trillion. Of this, $2.926 trillion was non-revolving debt. Most non-revolving debt is education and auto loans. Credit card debt totaled $1.037 trillion. It exceeds the record of $1.02 trillion set in 2008.

The number one cause of divorce in the U.S.A. is financial stress. Until I turned my life around in 1986, by the grace of God, I was an expert at mismanaging money and abusing credit cards! If you’re interested, you can read more about my story HERE.

From 1994 to 2004 I worked part-time as a financial consultant. With a limited securities license I was able to sell mutual funds, and with a life and health insurance license I was able to sell life and health insurance products as well as annuities.

From 2005 to 2011 I worked full-time as a Registered Financial Consultant and started my own company, Safe Money Solutions Inc. I dropped my limited securities license, kept my life and health license, and concentrated on selling term life insurance and annuity products.

I also taught community workshops and Sunday School classes using Larry Burkett’s “How To Manage Your Money” video series and workbooks.

I offer this background information for you as I hope to share a great deal of the wisdom I have gleaned from my years spent working in the financial services industry, teaching what I have learned and what my wife and I have done our best to practice to this very day.

A New Year To Start Getting Out Of Debt and Start Building Your Wealth

Cash Box

The very first step to getting out of debt and building wealth, no matter what age you are or how much money you are making, is ALWAYS SPEND LESS THAN YOU MAKE and put what’s left in a savings account. It sounds so simple but many folks find it so hard to do!

According to Larry Burkett, here are the tell-tale signs of financial bondage:

  1. Overdue Bills => anxiety, fear, frustration, worry.
  2. Family Needs Unmet
  3. Greed => desiring more than what you have or always wanting the best.
  4. Covetousness => desiring what others have.
  5. A "Get Rich Quick" Attitude => jumping into an investment or purchase (a) you don't understand, (b) you can't afford, (c) you are being forced to make a hasty decision.
  6. Deceitfulness => Lying to others for financial gain.
  7. Worry About Investments
  8. Laziness => won't work or unwilling to look for work.
  9. Over-commitment To Work => Too busy making a living to make a life.
  10. Money Entanglements => robbing Peter to pay Paul, using credit cards to pay other bills.
  11. Self-Indulgence => irresponsible spending on items that yield temporary satisfaction and little utility.
  12. Financial Superiority => pride and hoarding.
  13. Financial Resentment => blaming others for your financial problems, including God.

 Larry Burkett also gives us the steps to freedom from financial bondage:

  1. If you're a Christian, Transfer Ownership To God => tithing is the best way to do this. Giving 10% of your gross income, or more, to the church you attend is the best way to show God that you are trusting Him to meet all your needs with what is left.
  2. Get Out Of Debt, and stay out => (a) buy on a cash-only basis, (b) practice saving money regularly.
  3. Refuse Quick Decisions => wait 30 days before making major purchases or investments. Maybe you'll change your mind!
  4. Excel In Your Work => become a valuable asset to your company. If downsizing happens, your value will help keep you off the layoff list.
  5. Contentment => seek a moderate lifestyle.
  6. Provide For Family Needs
  7. Balanced Commitment => God, family, work, leisure time.
  8. When necessary, Sacrifice Wants and Desires to provide for your needs. (a) Needs - purchases necessary to provide for your basic requirements such as food, clothing, shelter, medical coverage, etc. (b) Wants - choices about the quality of goods to be used. (c) Desires - choices that can be made only out of surplus funds after all other obligations have been met.
  9. Put Others First => Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to  receive." (Acts 20:35)

It’s important to understand that there is a difference between borrowing to make a purchase and real debt:

  1. Buying something on credit is a contract between the lender and the borrower. It is an agreement to pay.
  2. Debt is the inability to meet agreed-upon obligations.

A car loan, college loan, home mortgage, etc. doesn’t mean you are in debt unless you begin to fall behind and fail to meet your obligations to make scheduled payments on these loans.

Having said that, initiating a money management plan that pays off car loans, college loans,  and even home mortgages will bring total financial freedom and allow you to practice greater generosity in other areas of your life.

“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.” ~ Ellen Goodman

Over the next few weeks we’ll look at the steps necessary to get out of debt, how to become better money managers, and begin living a debt-free lifestyle.

Wishing you and your family a very healthy and prosperous 2019 filled with great potential for positive change!



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.