Christian Financial Management and Debt Advice
On this page we acknowledge the challenges of Christian financial management and Christian budgeting in this modern age and provide some useful Christian financial management and debt advice detailing the best support centers and advice on Christian money management we have come across.
We learned in school that a human’s basic need is food, clothing and shelter, but in life, the common denominator of all these is money. We find ourselves in need of money to buy our food, clothes and provide a place to stay. Further to these basic needs, the commercial world entices us through advertising to spend our money on many other things, often leaving us in a place of continued challenge as we work out what we can and cannot afford (of which we will refer to as Christian money management or Christian budgeting). After all money does not grow on trees!
The advance in technology and automatic bank payments, has left many of us in a place where our actual financial position is hard to track, making Christian budgeting and Christian money management even harder to manage. It is not surprising therefore that people are ending up in debt (where their outgoings are more than their income or available funds), as it often only takes a slight change in spending habits or a change in life circumstances to cause an imbalance, creating more of a need for good Christian financial management and debt advice.
A Christian Perspective
Whilst many people say that money makes the world go round, the Christian perspective is far from this idea. The bible actually has a lot to say about money, wealth management and a correct perspective of these things.
References in scripture
For the Lord your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations, but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you. (Deuteronomy 15:6)
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Philippians 4:12)
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? (Luke 14:28)
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? (Luke 16:11)
Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (Proverbs 3:9-10 ESV)
Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. (Ecclesiastes 5:10)
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matthew 6:24)
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. (Malachi 3:10)
Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions. (Luke 12:15)
The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. (Deuteronomy 28:12)
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. (Proverbs 22:7)
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
So from scripture we can see that God’s desire is for us to be in control of our finances, free from any chains of slavery that debt can bring. Not to have to borrow from others but instead, to be in a position to be able to be the lender. Jesus came that we may have life to the full, for this to happen however we must shield ourselves form the belief that possessions or money bring true happiness and joy. We too must follow in Paul the apostle’s example and find contentment in every situation.
It is not easy to just change your mindset or your financial position! But it can be done! It is advisable to let others help in your time of need to support through advice, a plan, encouragement and honest challenges.
What to look for when seeking good Christian debt advice
When using a company or other third party to support with Christian budgeting, remember the below points:
- Check that debt solutions is their main business and not just a small add on. (Confirm they have a number of years’ successful trading history and be aware of anyone making ambitious claims if they have only been operating a short time). Look however for a long strong track record of debt adjustment.
- Ask the provider to quote their success rates in negotiating the interest & charges of frozen debt and the average retention on debt solutions (Be cautious of those that ‘guarantee’ to get interest & charges frozen or high levels of debt written off)
- Ensure they offer a full range of debt solutions including: Debt Management Plans (DMPs), Bankruptcy Assistance, Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) and Protected Trust Deeds if located in Scotland, UK.
- Always check the initial debt advice is provided free of charge, without any obligation and available at a time to suit you.
- Ensure that an in depth review of your financial affairs is undertaken, before a debt solution is discussed. Look for reassurance that your preference and best interests are their priority (be wary of any that offer a quick ‘fact find’ particularly if conducted over the phone)
- Check that the service will be for the lifetime of your debt solution and not just at the beginning.
- If the third Party is going to collect monies and pay people on your behalf, ensure that they offer a wide range of payment methods and allow you to make just one, affordable monthly payment, checking that that is promptly disbursed to each creditor. (Establish how you will be kept informed of the disbursement of payments and any important correspondence throughout the lifetime of your debt solution, including statement of your account and a diary of activity)
- Ask if regular reviews will be held and how regularly these will be. (You would at least expect a yearly review, with the opportunity to call a review should your circumstances change)
- Establish if you are allocated a personal account or case manager, or who to call or email if you need to contact them.
- Where circumstance permit and funds allow, ask if they would be able to help with or handle the negotiations of full and final settlements with any creditors
- Ask if they offer any additional services that will assist you in regaining control of your finances as your capacity increases. These could be things such as income optimisation (including any benefit entitlements), legal support services (dealing with solicitors letters, CCJs etc), selecting better bank accounts (without penalty charges), utility switching services and reviewing of your critical insurances to ensure that you are properly protected with the lowest premium.
Always remember that the sustainability of a repayment arrangement is crucial to the success of any Christian money management and debt solution plan. So do not feel pressured into something that you honestly do not feel you can genuinely afford.
Self Help Practical steps
If you are in a position of major debt, we always advise getting professional help. Be completely honest with your family or close friends and not to try and hide the debt. We do understand however that you may want to start tackling some of the debt yourself, if you feel able, so have come up with some useful pointers and guidance below.
There may be others of you that may also feel that they want to use these steps to help put better measures in place to ensure good Christian financial management, providing you a better understanding of your financial position.
Five self-help stages to better Christian financial management:
Stage one: List your income and expenditure
Look at what money you have coming in (income), what money you spend each month(expenditure) and also how much you owe (your debts). List these on a simple sheet or spreadsheet so you can clearly see your current financial position.
Stage two: Make your financial statement balance
If you have more going out than coming in, you will need to priorities essential bills and money for food and try to ensure there is something left to start paying your debts.
Stage three: Review and determine affordable payments to your creditor
Contact your creditors to tell them your situation and your repayment offer. This shows you areserious about dealing with your debts and can often reduce the hassle you get from them.
Stage four: Set up your payments
It’s important to start making the affordable payments as soon as you can, as this shows your creditors thatyou are serious and helps you feel more on top of the situation.
Stage five: Stick to your budge
It’s important that you stick to your budget. It takes discipline, but it’s worth it.
Download the full PDF for more in-depth detail and guidance on these five steps!
Another great self-help resource is the book The Debt Doctor which is a handbook for getting out of debt and staying debt-free.
Our Recommendation (Christian financial management resources and debt advice centers)
As mentioned before if you are in debt and need support in helping plan your way out, then we always suggest professional support. Some great Christian debt advice centres we have come across in the UK are the CAP (Christians Against Poverty) Centres, who will meet with you and help you step by step, they are a Christian charity and offer their services free of charge.
There are also many books on this topic of getting out of debt and staying debt-free, as suggested previously please check out our tackling personal debt resource page for information on some great resources.
We know working your way out of debt is not easy and takes a lot of perseverance and a bit of planning. But be reassured that the arms of God are not short. As you trust in him and make steps in the right direction he will reach out and touch your situation. He can make a highway in the desert and even in the sea! He has done it before, He will do it again!
If you have found this information on debt advice useful or know someone who this could help, then please send them this URL or post it on social media. Thank you!