5 Scriptures on Money Financial Need 4
4. Avoid Debt
Proverbs 22:7 – The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.
This proverb takes no skill to interpret. It describes debt as a kind of slavery – and modern Americans appear to agree. A survey by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that for many Americans, debt is a condition that lasts a lifetime and is impossible to escape.
The survey found that 80% of all Americans are in debt, and a majority of the oldest Americans are still carrying some form of debt in retirement. And 70% of those surveyed said debt was a necessity in their lives – something they didn’t want, but still couldn’t imagine living without.
All that debt takes a toll on those who carry it, both mentally and physically. A 2014 article in Health reports that high levels of debt are associated with anxiety, depression, and relationship problems. Debt can also be linked to high blood pressure, lowered immunity, and a host of physical symptoms, including headaches, back pain, and ulcers.
However, the Pew survey also found some signs that Americans’ attitudes toward debt are changing. Younger Americans – those in the Millennial generation – are more likely to take a negative view of debt, saying it has burdened them rather than expanded their opportunities. They’re also more inclined to say the way Americans use debt is irresponsible. And in their own lives, they’re less likely to take on new debt, such as credit card debt or mortgages.
These young Americans, it appears, have taken the Bible’s advice about debt to heart. They view debt as a type of enslavement, and they want to avoid new debt and pay off the debts they already owe.