By Yay Padua-Olmedo
“H” is stressed rotten. Job-related? Partly, yes ─ because she is in Sales and meeting her periodic quota sometimes feels like hanging on for dear life while a storm, just like Super Typhoon Yolanda, surges.
But her stress decibel has lately been compounded by plastic.
You see, “H” has been happily flashing her just-acquired credit card ─ utang dito, utang doon (borrow here — borrow there) ─ so in just a few months, she amassed debts which her katiting or puny salary could not pay off.
How does a plastic tragedy start, especially for yuppies so eager to take on life and its rewards as soon as that first paycheck comes?
Let “H” tell you herself:
“I was walking into a mall when this debonair-looking guy sidled up to me. But more than his good looks, I salivated at the prospect of having a credit card; so I immediately signed up; and voila, I was off shopping as soon as I received it.”
About.com says, “Part of the allure of debt is the fact that you can get the emotional high from getting new things now, without having to deal with the pain of parting with the money now. It can feel like you’re getting something for nothing.”
A lot of yuppies get sucked into credit card debt simply because of naiveté.
The prospect of acquiring ─ gadgets, fashionable clothes and blings ─ becomes so strong especially when one gets a sense of independence and “world-here-I-come” rush once he gets a job.
Little did “H” realize the fine print details would hang her head on her own guillotine.
“Pay only the minimum amount of ____,” is the first thing you read on that credit card billing notice.
“Yey, that’s so easy!” your consumer mind rejoices.
“I know I purchased ten times more than that,” your memory insists. But you follow the “minimum” suggestion anyway because that looked just fine.
So you shopped some more and paid the minimum, a vicious cycle which throws you into an even deeper well from which you could not climb ─ because your interests and penalties for late payments have mounted beyond belief and relief.
What does the bible say about being in debt?
Proverbs 22:7b says that “the borrower is the slave of the lender.”
Romans 13:7-8: “Pay to all what is owed to them… revenue to whom revenue is owed… Owe no one anything…”
During these times when the fear of getting robbed is very real ─ that’s why we don’t carry much cash anymore ─ is it still practical to follow these biblical principles?
God wants you to ask for wisdom even during our modern age. His principles still apply ─ restraint, faithfulness with little, growing from glory to glory, not being too hasty to reach the top if you’re not yet ready for it.
A credit card is a convenient alternative to cash especially if you’re disciplined enough to purchase within your earning capacity and won’t compromise your future pay. If you buy something on instalment, like a house or a car (Who buys these in cold cash nowadays?), make sure you can afford the monthly payments ─ otherwise, you face house foreclosure and eviction, or your car impounded.
God promised in Deutoronomy 28 that He will bless you if you fully obey Him, “granting you abundant prosperity” wherever he plants you. Surely, being weighed down by debt is not part of that.
Another godly wisdom: Be content. Blings, designer bags, cruises, etc., are all good ─ momentarily making you happy; but these are nothing compared to the peace that passes all understanding in Jesus if you obey Him. He promised to bless you anyway.
Someone today needs to make a decision to go under the knife. Plastic surgery may be painful but it may be your door to freedom from debt.
(For more on financial stewardship, read “Going Up? Making Right Choices at Work,” a book specifically written by this author for yuppies.)