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Financial Deception—You Should Try To Obtain Financial Freedom (ASAP)
by Tom Copland
Many people believe it is good to try to get rich quickly. Some of the common methods utilized to obtain “financial freedom” are as follows:

1. lottery tickets—sometimes promoted as “Imagine the freedom”
2. aggressive investing—usually with a lot of debt
3. excessive hard work, which is out of balance

God’s directive is different. The emphasis in scripture is to plan and save for future needs slowly over a period of time.
 
“Steady plotting brings prosperity, hasty speculation brings poverty” (Proverbs 21:20 TLB)

“He who gathers money little by little makes it grow” (Proverbs 13:11 NIV).

“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”(Proverbs 21:5)

Over the past 30 years I’ve seen many cases in which people who wanted to get rich quickly ended up losing everything. God warns that hasty decisions frequently lead to poverty. In my experience, individuals who have accumulated significant wealth—and retained it—have done so over many years (20 years or longer).

At the time the Book of Proverbs was written, most people made their living off the land as farmers. God provides the following admonition:
He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty. A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 28:19, 20 )

In short, God is saying that you should focus on earning your income from your occupation or business. When people invest or get involved in areas that they don’t understand, generally they lose money. (See Proverbs 19:2.)

God warns of the dangers of trying to get rich:
Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle. (Proverbs 23:4, 5)

The Apostle Paul also outlined significant “spiritual risks” of trying to get rich:
People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:9, 10)

In summary, the emphasis in scripture is to plan and save for needs over a period of time, without the attitude of trying to get rich quickly. God has promised that if we put him first, then he will meet our needs (Matthew 6:31–33).
 
Financial Deception—Debt Restructuring Will Solve Your Financial Problems

Several years ago, I counselled an individual who had accumulated significant debt on his credit cards. To lower his interest costs and to be able make appropriate repayments, it made sense to restructure his debt. He obtained a line of credit from his bank at a much lower interest rate and used those funds to pay off his credit cards. At the same time, I emphasized to him that restructuring his debt was treating the symptom and not the problem. The real problem was that he and his wife were spending more than they were earning, and they had been doing this for a couple of years.

I strongly recommended that they develop and implement a budget with the objective of ensuring that they spend less than they earn on a monthly basis so that they can use the surplus to pay down debt. Unfortunately, they did not do so, and within three years they had accumulated new credit card debts. Since his bank line of credit had been fully utilized, it was necessary to take out a second mortgage on his home to pay off the new debt. Again, I emphasized the importance of spending less than their income.

About four years later, he came to me again with the same problem. With all sources of credit maximized, it was necessary to withdraw money from the couple’s RRSPs to pay off the high-interest credit card debt and satisfy the credit card companies. This resulted in two new problems: first, a tax liability because of the RRSP withdrawals and second, a significant concern that they would not have sufficient funds for retirement.

At this point you may well think that this individual cannot be very astute financially. Actually the reverse is true. He is chartered accountant who understood and agreed with the advice. However, because he and his wife were not prepared to make the necessary sacrifices to reduce their personal spending, today they are reaping the negative consequences.

Sometimes the root of financial problems goes beyond the financial sphere and into the spiritual. Some spiritual problems that can give rise to financial problems include covetousness, lack of contentment, greed, selfishness, and pride. These mindsets are clearly contrary to God’s Word. Often it is necessary for a Christian to meditate on God’s Word with regard to finances in order to think differently about money and material things. Romans 12:2 states, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

In summary, if you are in debt, may I encourage you to do two things:

1. Develop and implement a budget to ensure that you are spending less than you are earning, and use the surplus to pay off your debts. For a free copy of my firm’s Excel-based budgeting template, just click Home below and download it under Resources section.  Watch the instructional videos - Copland Budgeting System just below it on how to use it. 

2. Study and meditate on God’s Word regularly with regard to finances. Excellent materials are available through Crown Financial Ministries: www.crown.org.