We live in a time where patience and waiting are unnecessary. Why wait when we can have what we want now. The pressure to spend money we don’t have has never been greater. Getting credit has never been easier. However what is the true cost? Marriages are under enormous pressure over financial issues; children are learning from us and are likely to follow our example. One day we will discover we’re not prepared for retirement because we were spending when we should have been saving. Below are some principles to consider before you borrow money.
Debt isn’t normal
“You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow” (Deuteronomy 28:12). Borrowing is never God’s best for His people. The truth is we give up some control over our money when we become a borrower. We’re not only accountable to God in how we manage our money; but now we are at the mercy of creditors. Any debt can be called in by the Creditor at any time. Remember it’s their money we’re using. Debt isn’t normal but pay as you go is.
Don’t accumulate long-term debt
The average American family uses 40 to 70 percent of their income for a 30-year mortgage to buy a home; but the longest term of debt God’s people took on was about seven years (see Deuteronomy 15:1-2). Today it’s common to finance a home for 25-30 years, and a vehicle for 4-5 years, but whose idea is that. What’s wrong with saving up enough money to put a substantial down payment and finance a home for 7-10 years or paying cash for a vehicle? Long-term debt interferes with building wealth; try to avoid it if possible. The longer we’re in debt the more things that can go wrong.
Surety is an obligation to pay, such as cosigning a loan (see Proverbs 17:18). The only way to avoid surety is to collateralize a loan with property that covers the complete debt. Credit rating and credit scores have historically been high predictors of customer behavior. The only reason a creditor wants a co-signer is because he doesn’t expect the borrower to pay. In other words, as a co-signer be prepared to pay the debt. Generally if a person needs a co-signer for a loan; they are better off not obtaining the loan.
The borrower is absolutely obligated to repay
Annually, millions of borrowers add more debt than they can repay, then choose bankruptcy to postpone or avoid repayment. Some voluntary bankruptcy may be acceptable – but only to protect the creditors, never to avoid payment. God doesn’t allow exceptions to keeping vows. “It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay” (Ecclesiastes 5:5). Don’t take the obligation to repay lightly; God is very much concerned with attitudes and behavior towards others. Try to live within your means and trust God to provide increase.