I’m Deep in Debt, and I Can’t Swim

deep-debtOne day I went to a local drug store scanning the aisles for some shaving products and noticed a woman I had not seen in years. I said, “How are you doing?” “Not so well, I feel a little under the weather,” she replied. “Why don’t you take off work for the day,” I could see that she was not feeling well. Her eyes were puffy, as she spoke she sounded like she had a nasal clog, and her posture was as though she was extremely weak. “Go home and get some rest,” I said. Her reply was shocking, “I would, but I have to go to work because I have too many bills to pay.”

People who are forced into parsimony because of the loss of a job, divorce, death in the family or their debt is out of control usually experience the common financial stress syndrome. This debt syndrome can often lead to feelings of insecurity, anxiety, anger or even depression. It results in a hopelessness that perpetuates poor money management decisions that can lead to a vicious cycle of fear and panic. A person under such financial stress can be tempted to commit suicide, thinking that this will be the answer to ending it all. Instead, their families will have to face the debt they left behind, including the anxiety, grief, and unanswered questions of why. If you notice someone with symptoms like the ones previously mentioned, reach out to them with comfort and reassurance that you will be with them as they tackle their debt problem.

According to the United States Federal Reserve, 45 percent of households in America spend more each month than what they earn. Keep in mind that this figure is a conservative number and can most likely be higher. This cycle of having more ‘month’ at the end of your money has created a debt problem for many American families, who are often unable to keep their heads above water. Getting out of debt, or even managing it, is difficult. It requires financial discipline and patience. Nevertheless, whom do you turn to for help? Of course, there is credit card debt help, Christian debt help, mortgage help, families in financial crisis help, debt free government help, debt consolidation help, and the list goes on.

I do not believe that people have a shortage of information concerning debt; what people lack is a strong relentless desire to become disciplined, to not only get out of debt, but stay out of debt. Because after they have read all the booklets on how to get out of debt, hire a debt consolidation company to assist them in getting out of debt, the larger percentage of people will regress back into the same ruthless debt cycle.

A financial coach can help you first acknowledge your weaknesses and then point you in the direction of your strength. People should volunteer to be tutored on how to help themselves. Before a person usually experiences having a shortage of money to pay their bills, it is preceded by the lack of discipline to control their spending habits. I believe that every person should incorporate their own system of checks and balances. Make yourself accountable to someone else other than you. If you are not married, but you have children, let them in on the checks and balances system so that they can help you. They may not keep you from spending money ridiculously, but a word of reminder from them would help you consider the consequences.

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Come let’s talk some more about this, comment your thoughts below.

Just say “NO!” to Recession

We live in an erratic and ever changing culture, and the only thing certain about this world is that it is unpredictable. The world’s financial markets are unstable, morality is declining, marriage is indefinable, basic health care needs are unaffordable, nations’ bureaucratic systems are a political mess, and high taxes is legal theft. People are ill prepared and unequipped for the challenges that confront us. Can we depend on our nation’s leaders to lead this country out of the spiral downhill spend?

What can individuals do to ensure their future success? Do we have to participate in the recession if we do not want to? Emphatically, NO! You do not have to accept any package…send it back to sender. This is the time to rise up and take full control of your life-health, finances, business, marriage, etc. and declare that you are not going to become a victim of society. Although, the world system seems to be on shifting sand, your life does not have to be. You can decide to make a strong move toward a brighter tomorrow by making the right decisions today. This may sound like an advertisement for some product or service, but I assure you that the only ones benefiting from this information are the readers.

What do I need to do in order to secure my future and legacy for my children and grandchildren? Securing your future starts with securing and protecting your assets. Investigate your need for insurance. As simple as this answer may appear, I believe it is the easiest and surest way to protect your family from loss of income and property and at the same time ensuring enough money for your family to live after you are gone.

Insurance is needed because of how unpredictable occurrences are and people generally do not have the kind of money that can pay for accidents where their cars may need to be replaced, hospital care is necessary, property needs repair resulting from unforeseen damage, or the loss of wages due to illness or death. I am not a complete advocate for insurance in general because of its rising cost and laws that protect insurance companies when negligent; but I am all for what it provides. My future is important, not only to me but also for those who depend on my existence to provide for them.

Too many people lack adequate life insurance. Studies show that 40 percent of American adults have no life insurance whatsoever and over 50 million people in this country lack adequate life insurance. Although each type of insurance is different, the basic principles are the same. The more limited the possibilities, the simpler it is to establish a premium for insurance companies. Nonetheless, the need for insurance is an absolute must. Even if you have a savings of millions, one illness can deplete your funds or one lawsuit against you can strip you of everything you own.

MORTGAGE PROTECTION AND HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE

When is a house a home? A house is more than just a “house,” when you’ve laughed in it, cried in it, and lived in it. It’s a home-your home because your memories are locked away and stored there. If something should happen to you, will it remain with those who have shared the memories with you? A life insurance plan can ensure that your home stays with your loved ones.

PROTECTING FAMILY INCOME

When you have worked hard to bring your family’s standard of living up to where it is it is worth safeguarding. You should never be willing to give up the results of your hard work no matter what. Earning capacity goes when you do! There is a way to guarantee that your family will never have to sacrifice the standard of living they have been to accustom to enjoying, whether you are here or not. Life insurance is the answer.

There is a story in the Bible about a widow whose husband was in ministry, died, and left his family with no means of support – which is a true depiction of what happens all too often today. When her husband died, so did their family income. Her creditors came looking for their money, but she used everything they had to bury her husband. In times of antiquity, if a debt that was owed could not be paid, the debt collectors could confiscate their children and make them slaves for seven years in order to satisfy the debt. Thank God, this law is no longer in existence. If it were, would we then consider the importance of having insurance to protect our family when we are gone? Your legacy is for those you leave behind, but your detriment can paralyze your family for generations.

Heavy or Heavenly Decisions

The country waited with great anticipation, as cities such as New York, Chicago, Miami, and most of all Cleveland, stilled their emotions in hope that the great LeBron James would come to their town to play for their basketball teams. There has never been a time, when one person’s decision, would raise the hopes of so many and yet have the opposite effect of letting down so many at the same time. This young basketball icon, (by the way, who never said he was the savior of Cleveland), has never had to deal with the likes of this kind of pressure. Playing in the NBA Finals did not carry half the weight as the decision he had to make about his future basketball prospects. As fans from Cleveland and his hometown of Akron pleaded, prayed and begged that he would remain in Cleveland and become the legitimate hometown hero, who would help their dying city resuscitate from an economic meltdown and revive the hearts of the young and old by winning a championship.

Put yourself in Lebron James’ shoes and ask yourself, “How would I handle this decision making process?” What factors would you consider to help you make a well-thought out and balanced decision to remain in Cleveland or to leave it? It is easy for all of us to sit back and have none of the weight that this young basketball player has on him, where people have dubbed him the King who revived Cleveland. He is a basketball player for heaven’s sake, not Jesus Christ.

Lebron is surrounded by hands that are all asking for something from him and yet has nothing or very little to offer him in return, but perhaps cheers when he does something for their team to win. Everyone surrounding this young man has one major motive and it is most likely not Lebron James, but rather his or her own self-serving interest. I am sure that his mother may make the ultimate sacrifice for her son by giving her life; but the so-called fans that are cheering for him during a game will not consider giving him their only kidney if he needed one to survive just to continue playing basketball.

One day a chicken and a pig had spent days together, but neither had anything to eat. They were both famished and brainstorming what they could do to find food. After hours of deliberation, the chicken said, “I know what we can do; I’ll lay a couple of eggs but you must provide the bacon.” The pig said, “That’s easy for you to say because all you have to do to provide a couple of eggs is lay them, but for me to provide the bacon, it takes a total commitment.”

In truth, Lebron James is a young man who is expected to think and act like a responsible, well-seasoned, well-mannered person, but inside of him is a young man who is in need of fatherly examples that would foster maturity behind closed doors as well as in public. He has probably lived his entire life always being depended on. However, he needed someone else to lean on. I believe the decision he made to play in Miami was a very difficult decision to make because he does care for the city of Cleveland and I believe he does care about their economy, but he is not their savior. Cleveland is a city with many millionaires, white-collar professionals, large, medium and small businesses; as well as communities and suburbs where people will do what they have to do to survive. Moreover, Cleveland was there when Lebron James was born and it will most likely be there when he dies.

One man can make a difference, but only ONE MAN (Jesus) can save a world. Jesus Christ was thirty when He started his ministry and thirty-three when He was crucified. However, Jesus knew why He was in the world; Lebron James does not have a clue why he is on earth.

As I watched Lebron James interview on ESPN, as he courageously held his composure in place, with hesitancy in his voice, he verbalized his decision to play for the Miami Heat Basketball Organization, while unaware of what to expect. Finally, it is out! He paused before exhaling and then gave a subtle sigh of release and continued his interview. His response to those burning his number 23 Jersey and sad and disappointed expressions, exonerated his mixed emotions to a degree. The Cleveland owner and fans who cheered when he was in Cleveland are now ready to crucify him. This is demonstrative of people whose true immature reaction to a young man’s decision about his own future has cared nothing about him as a person. How sad it must be to be known only for what you do, but few really know who you are.

If I were asked by Lebron as to how to handle such an ordeal, I would tell him that basketball is a game and a business, but your future is your life. The decision you make today will affect more than just you. However, the decision you make tomorrow will affect more than just you. A person’s maturity is indicated by how he or she weighs what is of little importance or great importance. When you can unequivocally differentiate between the two, and make a sound decision without outside influences and live with your choice, you have arrived. People are important, but so are you. However, decisions will always affect others. Just make sure your decision is the one you sought God’s counsel.

Improvising Under Pressure

Discover how to over the pressure of life.

What do you do when you’ve placed a lot of time and thought into your plan, but your plan does not seem to work out accordingly? How do you deal with the stress that is associated with having to make adjustments in the middle of a time restraint? Well, staying calm is your first inclination, but your initial action is to push the panic button. Staying calm and maintaining one’s composure is easier said than done. It is always less stressful for the person giving advice to stay calm, especially when they are on the outside looking in.

Pressure exists when time and schedule collides – which inevitably creates deadlines. However, a different kind of pressure exists when you are in the process of buying a new home and moving out of your existing one. I have never personally experienced or seen anyone seeking to purchase a home, where everything went according to plan. I am sure that there are isolated cases out there, but the majority of house hunting and moving in situations fail to meet the time schedule. A person can plan, plan and plan; but just when you think you have it all down, covering every mishap, something happens. Usually, someone in the process misses their cue, drops the ball, or procrastinates during the timetable, and creates an inconvenience for you.

I recall in 1993, my wife and I were in the process of buying our first home together and we thought we gave ourselves ample time to prepare to move out of the house we were living in and move into the new one. We had it all together. We were going to have the old house painted, cleaned and ready for the new tenets to move in right before closing on our new home. It was set, we were ready to move out, and I received a call from my real estate agent that closing was might be delayed for several days. My wife started asking questions concerning the reason for the delay and becoming frantic about having a place to stay. I couldn’t answer her questions until I spoke with the mortgage company. Suddenly, we are pushed into a situation that had catastrophic written all over it.

I quickly realized my temperature was rapidly increasing, so before I got out of control, I decided to remain calm so that I could digest the information and consider our next step. Two people in a panic only creates [create sounds wrong] more panic. I asked the new tenets if they could delay moving in to our home for several days until the mortgage company could straighten out the paper work. Thank God, they did not have a problem with it. When we sat down with the mortgage broker, he explained a catch 22 scenario and informed us that they would have to resubmit the paperwork to the loan committee. I asked, “How long will this take?” “Up to 30 days”, said the mortgage company broker. I wanted to say that we didn’t have thirty more days, but in reality, I resolved that we had as long as it was going to take to move into our new home.

I was determined that I was not going to be beaten down by someone’s apparent oversight and allow them to push us into a difficult situation. I said to the mortgage broker to resubmit the paper work, knowing that he didn’t have the guts to mention it was his fault. I collected my thoughts, talked to my wife about our next step and informed the new tenets to prepare to move in two days from then. We moved into a hotel, placed our furniture in storage, and went to a restaurant for dinner. When we became calm, so did our environment. It was not the end of the world; it was the beginning of a new plan. We ended up moving in with friends and paid them what we would have paid the hotel.

The mortgage paperwork took approximately thirty days to be approved and for us to move into our new home. However, something happened with us when we did not allow the situation to dictate to us feelings of panic and uncertainty. When situations are out of your control, it does not mean that you are out of control. Keep your cool, relax, and allow your creative juices to flow. You will discover new avenues that ultimately create situations that turn in your favor. Moreover, your blood pressure will remain 120 over 80, your stress will be less, and today will eventually turn into tomorrow. When schedules and time collide, don’t you crash with them! When things are out of your control, you remain in control. See you at the next deadline.

My book, Unexpected Treasures will give you many points on how to not coexist with stress, but neutralize its effect.