How Do We Deal With Financial Trouble and Survive?
“Wise people store up choice things but a foolish person consumes everything he has“ (Proverbs 21:20).
Ever wonder how people who seemed not to have much end up with significant amounts of money when they need it? “He who gathers money little by little makes it grow“ (Proverbs 13:11).
Some of the harshest words Jesus spoke were about the “wicked” servant who didn’t put the master’s money in the bank so it would earn interest (see: Matthew 25:27).
“We spend everything we earn (and more) and then complain how unfair it is when we can’t make it through a rainy day. Here’s a 2,000 year old news flash… It’s gonna rain! Are you ready for a stormy year?” (Glen Williams, EHF, Web-church.com)
The Bible says that “it rains on the just and the unjust” so we can count on the fact that we will encounter storms at times. And when the storms come, we can also lose a lot in the process. That’s when we can encounter financial problems and sometimes our relationship with each other is compromised to the point that one or both spouses believes divorce is the only way to solve things.
But there is a better way —a way in which God would be more pleased. As financial expert Dave Ramsey says,
“There’s a joke that says ‘Marriage is grand, but divorce is 50 grand’ (which means that divorce is multiple times more expensive than people realize in many, many ways). If you can’t make it financially together, you’re going to have a real hard time making it apart.
“What I tell couples is that the enemy is out there —hang onto each other and work through these problems together, rather than separately.” (Dave Ramsey)
But how do you work together to deal with situations which cause financial and relationship chaos?
First off, BE PREPARED. The Bible talks about being wise in building your home upon the foundation of Christ and His principles for living. Jesus stated,
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.“ (Matthew 7:24-25)
To help you to wisely prepare and/or deal with financial trouble when a “storm” hits, below you will find two web site links to insightful articles. Within these articles, you can learn ways to get through times of crisis and also learn how to better build your future financial house on a more solid footing.
The first article is written by Dennis Rainey and is posted on the web site for the ministry of Family Life Today. And the second one is written by Mary Hunt and is posted on the web site for Crosswalk. I encourage you to read:
And lastly, from the book, Money Trouble: Surviving Your Financial Crisis written by Deborah McNaughton, here are some of the many tips she gives for weathering a financial storm, that you may find helpful:
• “Don’t panic. When facing a financial crisis, stay calm. This will help you think logically and you’ll avoid unnecessary arguments with your spouse.
• “Quit spending money. When faced with a financial challenge, it’s easy to use your credit cards. But you may run up your balance to the credit limit and not be able to afford the payments, which will result in a poor credit rating—something you won’t want during a crisis time.
• “Prioritize your bills. Pay essential, or survival, bills first: food, mortgage or rent, utilities. Next, pay car insurance, medical needs, child support, and any loans such as automobiles and furniture that are secured as collateral. Then pay the nonessential bills—those debts in which no immediate consequences occur if paid late: credit and charge cards, attorney, medical, and accounting bills, newspaper and magazine subscriptions, life insurance, childcare, gyms, or clothing.
• “Communicate with your creditors. If you can’t pay your bills or can only pay a partial amount, your creditors may be able to help you to establish a repayment plan. Some lenders will allow you to defer one payment a year, meaning the payment for that particular month doesn’t have to be made. The deferred payment is added to the end of the contract.
• “Take notes of any conversations with creditors, listing the date and person with whom you spoke. Whatever arrangement you make, get it in writing from the creditor before you send in money.
• “Know your rights. Many collection agencies are in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. To get a copy of this legislation, visit www.ftc.gov. If you feel you’ve been violated, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at their website.
• “Avoid bankruptcy. Bankruptcies should be your last resort. A bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for up to 10 years.”
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it,’ when you have it with you.” (Proverbs 3:27-28)
This article is written by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International.
If you have additional tips you can share to help others in this area of marriage, or you want to share requests for prayer and/or ask others for advice, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.