Columnist: Credit dos and don’ts

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Jerry Johnson

Contributing columnist

Did you know the Bible has the answers to your financial difficulties?

Yes, the Bible has more than 2,350 verses dealing with money and possessions. One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 11:24, “There is one who scatters, yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, but it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.”

Every time I get concerned about money I find a need or cause where someone needs the money more than me, and I do what I can to help. I like Proverbs 28:27, “He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes have many curses.”

You may ask, “Why am I talking about money?” This past week I have had dozens of calls from people wanting better housing and when I say, “Even on rentals we run a credit check,” so many blame their ex-husband or ex-wife because their credit isn’t good. It is all their fault.

Folks, you have to deal with it! Your name was on that credit card also. You can pay higher interest rates for years or go and make it right with the people that loaned you money.

There is no easy answer, but you must start today to correct your past mistakes. Most lenders will work with you if you get in touch and get started making things right. Many will waive fees, including late fees, to get paid a lump sum and move on.

Your credit is something you should take great pride in and protect it as a value that you honor. I was blessed to have great parents that taught me if you make $100 per week, live on $70, give $10 to the church, save $10 and invest $10.

Some people always tell me there is not enough money to go around. Maybe you need to look at what you’re spending that is not life or death.

Do you have to spend $110 per month on TV ? Do you have to have the $8 popcorn and $4 Coke at the movie? Do you have to buy the $63,000 truck, or will the $37,000 truck do just as well?

You have choices you must make. Yes, you can get that new red sports car with no interest and your payments are only $725 for 72 months, but did you forget the $150 monthly insurance because it has the 350-horsepower engine?

This article is for the older crowd just as much as for the younger crowd. I went and looked at trucks the other day and the ones I liked were all at $62,000-plus. What I buy will be closer to that $36,000 range. I will look till I see a bargain.

It is a must to have that mindset or you buy off your ego. Dave Ramsey is one of the popular authors now on how to be debt free. I would tell you to go to a used bookstore and get any of his books about being debt free. Make this a family affair.

Read it many times –or as my good friend James Stogner says, just spend less than you make and save the rest. Whatever you do, read a book, find a mentor and start today!

One of my best memories was a couple who stood up in church and said they had saved $147,000 by taking my advice. I told them to change by going from a 30-year mortgage to a 15-year mortgage. Some people listen and it will change their lives FOREVER!

“One loss is good for the soul. Too many losses are not good for the coach.” — Knute Rockne

Jerry Johnson is president of First Realty of LaGrange.