Beware, Financial Traps Ahead!!!

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Part of growing into a responsible young adult is learning to manage money with wisdom, common sense, and generosity. We set a pattern for our finances from the moment we start making money, even if that money is only from birthday and Christmas gifts. In order to safely survive without incurring mounds of deadly debt, we must first mark the major financial pitfalls on the road ahead.

Despite popular belief, the most important years of your financial journey are your high school and college years. Why? Because the financial philosophy you develop during this time will either make or break the next few decades of your financial future.

If you are not careful, you could spend years cleaning up the financial mess from your high school and college days.

You may think that being a teenager means no financial decisions or problems, but it is possible, even now, to land in huge financial trouble. Once a fourteen year old boy called the Dave Ramsey radio show, because he had $21,000 dollars of debt.

If you make it past your high school years with no financial scares, the college years still await and are ready to devour you. According to Student Loan Hero, “The average student loan debt for Class of 2017 graduates was $39,400*, up six percent from the previous year. . . Americans owe over $1.48 trillion in student loan debt, spread out among about 44 million borrowers.”[emphasis mine] In other words, as soon as you get out of high school, you will have to decide if you want to incur almost $40,000 dollars of debt in only four years.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg. Many students incur even more than $40,000 dollars of debt, but without the high paying degree to rectify the issue. Financial guru and bestselling author Dave Ramsey regularly has young adults calling into his radio show who have anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000 dollars just in student loan debt. While a couple of these individuals have degrees in high paying fields (such as medicine or engineering), several of them have super low paying degrees or even degrees from bogus universities. Just like these people, you could spend years, maybe decades, paying off student loan debt unless you carefully guard your finances during college.

If you managed to survive the student loan debt attacks, then you still have to contend with vicious credit card companies. Credit card companies fiercely target college students, knowing that they are some of the most gullible victims. You must have a plan before you set foot on campus, because if you wait, you’ve already been sold. Newsweek cited a study that showed just how susceptible college students are to credit card marketing:

“Last year, U.S. PIRG compiled the survey results from 40 universities in 14 states and found that more than three fourths of undergraduate students stopped at a marketing table to learn about credit-card offers. Of those, a third were offered T shirts, water bottles, food, even “stress balls” in exchange for filling out a credit-card application. Such tactics work: nearly two out of three students in the 1,500-person sample said they’d signed up for a card.” [emphasis mine]

In another story, one college freshman applied for a credit card purely because she wanted the t-shirt that the marketing table offered if she filled out the application. She incurred $25,000 dollars of debt on that credit card which she is still working to pay off fifteen years later, now thirty-three years old. Your college financial decisions will haunt you long after you graduate.

 

While I cited a great deal of scary statistics about financial danger, the essence of this article is pretty simple (and not terrifying). Money is not a moral force, but rather a tool. If you use it poorly, it will wreak mass destruction on your life and the lives of your family members. But, if you utilize it wisely, it will empower you and your family to live prosperous, generous lives. Choose carefully, because the financial decisions you make now could shape the rest of your future.

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Why We Should Obey

ludovic-charlet-544834-unsplash.jpgAt Shelton High School in Connecticut, parents and students were outraged when the high school administration chose to enforce the prom dress code. The dress code banned dresses that were backless, had cut-outs, or exposed the wearer’s midriff. Students who arrived at the prom sporting inappropriate attire would not be allowed into the building. However, for many, respecting this rule was simply too much to ask. Students even started a petition protesting the dress code enforcement. A mass rebellion was sparked, simply by asking people to obey a basic rule that was stated in the student handbook.  

This story reveals a much deeper root of disrespect in our society. Many young adults and teenagers struggle to obey rules and submit to authority.

Submission is never easy. To the contrary, it may be one of the hardest things we ever learn. However, we must practice it because there will always be someone we have to submit to. Right now, we have to submit to our parents, teachers, coaches, and bosses. In the future, we will have to be submissive and humble if we want to sustain a healthy marriage. Successful adulthood is impossible without humility and submission to authority.

I understand that this is a heavy topic. Discussing submission typically does not make people feel warm and fuzzy. However, it is a vital discussion that we must have if we want society to function correctly.

On a side note, this article was never intended as a direct attack against any individual or group, but rather as a discussion of the general attitude of disrespect that our culture fosters. Thankfully, we have complete and full forgiveness for all rebellion through Jesus’ love and grace. However, we can save ourselves much heartbreak and trouble if we choose now to submit to God and those in authority over us.

The severe consequences of adult disobedience

Our regard and respect for rules and authority in our lives right now will foretell how we respond to rules and authority as an adult. If a young person continues on with their immature flippancy and disrespect towards authority, then the consequences will be severe, even life altering or deadly.

Christal McGee is the perfect example of the consequences of disrespect for rules and authority. According to The Washington Post, in September of 2015, eighteen year old Christal McGee was driving home from work. She decided to use the snapchat speed filter to document her speed. She reached 113 mph. Problem is, the speed limit on the suburban road was 55 mph.

Unfortunately, Christal did not see the other vehicle before it was too late. She crashed into Maynard Wentworth, an Uber driver, going 107 miles per hour. Inflicted with a traumatic brain injury, Wentworth was hospitalized for months.

Not only did Christal hurt herself and another driver on the road, she also risked the lives of the friends who were in the car with her, including a friend who was pregnant. According to another source, Christal is now in jail for her offense.

All of this damage was caused by Christal’s blatant disregard for the speed limit posted on the side of the road. Much heartache could have been prevented if she had simply respected the rules.

The Young Christian’s Response to Authority

Thankfully, those who have received Jesus as their savior have complete and perfect forgiveness, and thus the ability to move forward after making mistakes. God helps us overcome our rebellion and turn to humility instead. 1 Peter 5:5-6 paints a picture of what Biblical submission should look like for the young believer:

“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,”

God’s grace covers us when we mess up; and gently turns us around when we are stuck in our own pride. James 4:7 instructs us to submit ourselves to God. The purpose of submitting to God is so that we can be closer to Him, thus experience His love and grace more powerfully. Obedience to authority and to God is actually freeing, giving us the power to move forward in life with a clear conscience. I would encourage you to live as a radical example of submission to God and authority in this rebellious society. We can shine a light for Jesus by simply being humble and obedient.

Sources for the news stories referenced in this article:

Prom Dress-Code Change Sparks Outcry at Connecticut High School

Shelton prom goes on amid dress code controversy

Teen took Snapchat photos while crashing Mercedes at 107 mph. Now her victim has sued Snapchat

Teen driver in Snapchat ‘speed filter’ crash jailed on felony charge