May 27, 2009

Don't Panic

2009 1515 page7 cap TELEVISION AD IN THE WASHINGTON, D.C., METRO AREA HAS attractive, intelligent-looking young adults saying, “I needed extra cash to help me get by, so I took my car title to Blank Blank, and they gave me the money I needed to live the lifestyle I deserve.”

What they don’t say is that now Blank Blank holds the title to their car, effectively owning their vehicle. If they default on their loan, they lose their car. They also fail to mention that until they pay off their loan, they’ll be paying interest rates that border on being larcenous.
With an economic recovery still a long way in the future, we have to avoid making bad situations worse. Rather than going further into debt trying to sustain lifestyles that are unmanageable, we would do well to invest our resources toward getting out of debt and living within our means.
Sadly, those most desperate in a downward economy are those who have the most to lose—their homes, their jobs, their overall security. They’re the ones who respond to appeals from unscrupulous advertisers about avoiding foreclosure or accessing easy money.
In truth, there is no such thing as “easy money.” The only safe way to survive an economy such as ours is to spend less than we earn.
The old adage was never truer than it is today: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” However, God is faithful. As the psalmist said: “I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread” (Ps. 37:25).
This is a time for prudent people to live sensibly. Even if we’re desperate, we should avoid doing anything stupid. 
Stephen Chavez is managing editor of the Adventist Review.