New statistics just out from the Federal Reserve Board give weight to what many of us know from our day-to-day lives. We’re writing fewer checks these days to pay the bills. It’s not that we’re not paying our bills, but…
“I’m sorry, but this card has been rejected,” the snooty waiter says. Your companions around the table stare and you can’t meet anyone’s eyes as you go shifting through your wallet for another credit card that perhaps will go through.
Sorry. It just doesn’t happen that way any more …
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What time is your credit card payment due? Yes, not what date is it due (though that, of course, is important). But do you know the cut-off time your credit card company sets for processing payments? For many credit card…
The audience listens intently as the speaker schools them on getting rid of credit card debt.
“Debt is a sickness and credit cards are an easy way to get sick,” he says. I sit, taking notes. It’s not a personal finance seminar, although in many ways it sounds like one. No. This is a Sunday church service. The lecturer turned personal finance coach is senior pastor of a Central Texas church. Around the room, Bibles are open.
To Some, it may appear to be an unlikely venue to talk about getting out of mountainous credit card debt, but two big screens in the front of the room show hypothetical breakdowns of a repayment plan for getting out of — and staying out of — debt.
“The Bible is full of wisdom from God to lead us to financial freedom,” the pastor says. He reveals that in his former profession he managed portfolios worth nearly $50 million as a financial advisor. Now, he feels, personal financial management is so important to his church members’ lives that he set up a series of four Sunday sermons around the topic in November 2007. Patching up bad credit and fixing financial woes that cause family stress, marriage trouble and depression may be just as important as saving souls.
Ministering to the financially trouble has in fact grown across the country over the past decade — perhaps tracking the growth of mounting credit debt among families. Faith-based credit counseling services are emerging in many cities and a new wave of pastors is seeing the light. Why not preach sermons that speak to the real-world financial crises faced by growing numbers of parishioners?
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We all could use a little escape from the everyday once in a while. If you’re an American Express cardholder and can clear some space on your calendar between Jan. 20 and Feb. 13, 2009, why not take some time off in the form of a luxurious 24-day, five-continent vacation?
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