Let's see now. We have borrowed so much money that we are in trouble for it. And the solution is to borrow more money? Yes, I am smart enough to know the problem is far more complex than that. It is going to take time and deliberate action on the part of wise leaders to bring the crisis to heel. But we aren't patient. We show few signs of meaningful action. And I'll leave you to make your own comments about the amount of wisdom that is coming from national leaders.
If poor management of money is a national problem of major proportions, what about the magnitude of personal and family debt?
- Total US consumer debt is at $2.43 trillion.
- Average per household credit card debt is reported to be $14,687.
- The average APR on those credit card balances is 13.10%.
- The average college graduate has nearly $20,000 in debt.
- College graduates have an average of $4,100 in credit card debt.
All these figures are taken from a source that promotes the use of credit cards and links visitors to its site to credit card companies. That is to say, these scary figures aren't made up and are supplied by people in the debt industry.
Money itself isn't evil — although it is hard to find much in the Bible that is positive toward it. Scripture's best-known statement about money is this one: "The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil" (1 Timothy 6:10). Anybody care to challenge that? Murder, drug trafficking, robbery, prostitution, Ponzi schemes — these and many more evil actions trace directly to greed and lust for money.
Then there are people who get trapped in cycles of debt out of ignorance about money and how to use it properly. Parents seem not to be teaching their children about saving money, borrowing money, and sharing money. They are setting them up to be hamstrung for years by bad choices that could have been avoided with a minimum of sound financial information.
I have been concerned enough by what I have seen of individuals and families put under stress (that some didn't survive) by poor judgment and bad information that I wanted to do something positive about it. So I went to a long-time friend in whose small-group Bible study I was a member for several years and asked that we try to find a way to help high school and college students.
Next week, I will tell you what Dave Ramsey and I have come up with as one means to help teens and young adults. You might want to share it with someone.
Lay up treasures for yourselves as a firm foundation for the coming age," said Paul, "so that you may take hold of the life that is truly life (1 Timothy 6:19).