Family Finance

By Darryl Budge

What we need to kill debt addiction

cutting credit card

Historically low interest rates have encouraged households and governments to cheaply fund their responsibilities through higher leveraging. The problem is that we cannot borrow or print new money (i.e. quantitative easing) forever.

What can you do to help your family and your country from letting debt spiral out of control?

1. Change your mind and heart about money

If the profit-motive is the reason why capitalism succeeds, selfishness and greed is the reason why countries and communities fail on all levels. Greed is a heart problem, not a policy problem.

Someone wisely said, 'Whoever loves money never has enough. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.'*

No amount of policy tweaking can end greedy over-consumption, only a change of attitude to being others-focused.

2. Construct a new Australian dream of 'living within your means'.

Does the motto 'a government for the people and by the people' resonate with you?

Make sure your personal budget is within your means so that you can give your money and efforts to helping your neighbours when they are 'doing it tough', rather than looking solely to the government for their support.

If you are in financial bondage, how can you help your neighbour?

Plus, if their citizens are financially self-controlled, government officials will listen when asked to be fiscally responsible. We must lead, not wait to be led.

3. Take personal responsibility for what you and your community needs.

Stop looking to the government to solve your local community's socio-economic problems. Instead solve them through a neighbour network, and providing your time and money to local charities.

Some only need someone to help them through the pressure and stress they face. Knock on your neighbour's door and ask if you can be of any help. If they don't need anything, ask if they would be available to counsel a neighbour in their time of need.

Look for retired financial experts in your community who may lead a seminar at the local community hall or church about money management skills.

Business and professional associations can set up programs that rewards being wise with money, and offer assistance to employees to escape credit or housing traps.

The real antidote

The solution to economic woes lies in our heart: our beliefs, values and faith. Those who trust in riches alone will eventually pursue them to greedy extremes. Those who trust in the Maker of the Universe "the Ruler of all mankind" (1 Chronicles 29:12) have an anchor for the soul and need not fear if their daily needs will be met.

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