I have dealt with cancer three times, yet, worrying about cancer and all it entails cannot compare to the stress and worry over money. Worrying about where the next dollar is coming from to pay a bill, worrying over having a utility cut off, having your car repossessed, or potentially losing your home to foreclosure or being evicted from an apartment is debilitating and all-consuming. It is especially tough if you feel you have nowhere to go or no one to turn to. I have been there and done that. Having our cars repossessed was embarrassing. What made it worse was knowing that it was because of our own financial irresponsibility. Other things became more important than making our car payment and we intentionally spent our money on other things that momentarily seemed more pressing.
I Can Relate
Part of my problem was I hated having to limit my wants and frivolous spending to a budget. I didn’t want to take inventory of my spending. I was always in an emergency mode with bills and I had had no idea what our debt to income ratio was. I purposely kept my head in the sand because as they say, “ignorance is bliss.” I don’t know who came up with that misnomer but it is flawed thinking, counterproductive, and may be even harmful in the long run. Remaining ignorant will keep you spinning your wheels and nothing will change. The dire financial situation will only get worse. The Bible says, “A prudent man forseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on and are punished.” I was intentionally simple minded when it came to handling money. Because I was undisciplined, I didn’t want to do the hard work of reining myself in and curbing my spending appetites. I didn’t want to take stock and inventory of my financial situation. My attitude did not change the painful results of inaction.
Now don’t get me wrong, not all of our financial woes were due to our lack of prudence. When my husband lost his business, we were legitimately in financial stress and desperation. We were dependent on friends and family for groceries and money to survive. When I was diagnosed with cancer for the 2nd time we had to leave our home in the Bahamas, so I could be treated in the U.S. We left with just the clothes on our back and $100 in our pockets. We moved into my mother’s one-bedroom apartment in New York City with three small children. That was very humbling. My husband also had to go on unemployment insurance twice since we moved back to the States. It hasn’t always been an easy road for us.
However, when we were finally able to buy a home and obtain two cars loans, we believed we finally achieved the American dream. We were lulled into believing we were financially secure and thus lived way beyond our means. When we were able to get approved for credit, we took advantage and maxed out credit cards. We even decided to put our children into Christian private school and that was a priority over paying our car loans and other bills or debt. But all our excessive spending finally came home to bite us when the housing market crashed, causing a recession around 2009 and 2010. My husband’s commission based income dropped. Both cars were repossessed at different times and we were in danger of losing our home to foreclosure. The fear, anxiety, and pressure were beyond comparison to any other stressful experience.
It Can and Will Get Better
But thank God, his mercies are new every morning. He is gracious and merciful despite our mistakes and He is there for us in unfortunate situations. My husband decided to read a proverb a day regarding wisdom and prudence in handling money. His focus was on how to Glorify God through industry and enterprise because he became convinced, through scripture, that every able-bodied man has a responsibility to provide for his family and the next generation and be a responsible steward of what he earns.
In about a year we were eventually able to turn our financial situation around. We saved our home and was able to get one of our cars back paid in full and purchase a new one, which we completely paid off in less than 3 years. It was liberating and satisfying. We saw our financial pitfalls and mistakes as a learning experience and Sean developed Live Recession Proof Now as way to teach and help others take control of their money and financial situation.
Live Recession Proof Now has a four-step program to teach Christians how to manage and produce more income. I encourage you to learn more and check out the website. But for those who are struggling right now and don’t even know where to begin, you are desperate, and your situation seems dire, I have four things I want to share with you. You need:
- A game plan
- Discipline and determination
- Extra income.
I plan to expand further in the next few articles. Rest assured, you will get out of this. God will turn it around if you work with him and don’t give up or give in to fear. As the saying goes, “trouble don’t last always”. There is light at the end of the tunnel if you are willing to accept the hard realities of life, be willing to make hard choices and decisions, and change yourself. If you need help or are blessed by this article and topic, please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.