Here are some of Alcorn's thoughts on various aspects of debt. All of this is taken from chapter 17 of the book, although this is merely in outline form. The book includes much more explanation.
When Debt is Especially Dangerous
1. Debt is especially dangerous when a possession's resale value is less than what is owed. [i.e. a new car]
2. Debt is especially when it tempts us to violate our convictions.
3. Debt is especially dangerous when we're tempted to rob our primary creditor (God) to pay our secondary creditors (people).
4. Debt is especially dangerous when our monthly payments leave us little freedom to respond to the Holy Spirit's promptings to give generously to meet other's needs.
5. Debt is especially dangerous when it restricts our freedom to respond to the Holy Spirit's call to move or change.
The Consequences of Debt
1. Debt lingers.
2. Debt causes worry and stress.
3. Debt causes denial of reality.
4. Debt leads to dishonesty.
5. Debt is addictive.
6. Debt is presumptuous.
7. Debt deprives God of the chance to say no or to provide through a better means.
8. Debt is a major loss of opportunity.
9. Debt ties up resources and makes them unavailable for the kingdom of God.
Illusions About Debt
1. "The money we borrow is ours."
2. "The amount we borrow is the amount we'll end up paying back."
3. "Borrowing actually saves us money because of the tax benefits."
4. "It's foolish to pay back a loan that has lower interest than your money can make somewhere else."
How to Get Out of Debt
2. Immediately give God the firstfruits.
3. Incur no new debts.
4. Systematically eliminate existing debts.
5. Perform plastic surgery on your credit cards.
6. Stop rationalizing your debt habit.
7. If debt seems the best or a necessary choice, go slowly and prayerfully.
9. Learn the difference between saving and spending. Saving is when you have more money than when you started; spending is when you have less. If you buy an $80 sweater on sale for $30, how much money did you save? Most people would say $50. Wrong. You don't save anything. You spend $30. Far too many people have "saved" themselves into financial bondage.
10. If you've done everything else and it still seems insufficient, consider ways to increase your income in order to eliminate existing debts.
Financial Principles to Live By
- Nothing is a good deal unless you can afford it.
- Before you take matters into your own hands, God wants an opportunity either to provide your needs or to show you that they aren't really needs.
- Just because you can afford something doesn't mean God wants you to get it.
- Increased income doesn't necessarily mean that God is saying spend more. More often, his real message is give more (2 Corinthians 8:14; 9:10-11).