Hope for your financial life and beyond

Surety: How to Get Out of a Cosigned Loan

The idea of becoming surety for a stranger, friend or family member has not been spoken highly of in the Bible. We have been warned about the potential dangers and risks involved in doing so. Despite these warnings, there will still be some people who think their situation is unique and choose to vouch for the debt obligation of someone else by cosigning for them. It is unfortunate that they would ignore this wisdom and put themselves at risk for financial and emotional harm.

So what do you do if you become surety for someone? Is there a way out if you regret your decision? Well again we turn to the wisest man who ever lived.

Deliver Yourself From a Cosigned Loan

In Proverbs 6:1-5, Solomon addresses this situation by saying,

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Surety: The Potential Costs of Cosigning a Loan

Any good professional financial planner would tell you their primary goal is to create financial security for their clients. They would organize your investments in such a way as to produce that desired outcome. They would also counsel you the best path to establishing financial security is to engage in wise personal behaviors. In other words, don’t do anything in the present to damage your financial picture and thus jeopardize a secure future.

The fact of the matter is, when you become surety (going into debt, cosigning) for another, it puts you at risk in the present. It is the risk you take that could have devastating affects on your long-term financial picture.

Words from Solomon on Surety

Solomon about surety often and he clearly did not think it a wise financial move.

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Surety: Do You Really Want to Cosign That Loan?

There is a curious money word in the Bible – found mostly in Proverbs – that needs some defining. It’s the word “surety.” Surety refers to the act (or promise) of a person to take on or assume the responsibility for the debt obligation of someone else if that person cannot repay their loan. In essence, you become the guarantor of the loan by being willing to provide this service.

This type of arrangement is most common when the lender of money has a question or some doubt the borrower may be able to repay the loan. So they will require a third party (you the guarantor) to step forward and legally enter into the borrowing contract. The lender does this to reduce their risk and, in some cases, this may actually lower the interest that is charged to the borrower.

An Example of Surety

So, for example, your son wants to buy a $8,000 car.

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All Work and No Play: The Importance of Rest

all work and no playPlease don’t fear…I am not writing from a snowed in mountain resort lodge. I have to admit that, until recently, I assumed the “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” proverb came from that Jack Nicholson thriller The Shining.

(Disclaimer: if you are reading this and under the age of 30 you shouldn’t go watch the movie to which I refer. And maybe if you are over 30, you shouldn’t watch either.)

Turns out the phrase “all work and no play” was originally published in Proverbs in English, Italian, French and Spanish (1659) and is attributed to a writer by the name of James Howell. I think this one turned out to be his most popular proverb. Can you name another one?

Of course the warning of this proverb seems clear enough…that if you don’t release yourself from the pressures of work from time to time you will become dull, boring, uninteresting, and unexciting. You will also probably find yourself completely bored with your life over time, as work becomes your sole focus day in and day out. No time for hobbies, family, friends, exercise, watching sports, reading, or just plain vegging.  That doesn’t sound like much fun to me.

All Work and No Play: Rest vs. Work Balance

I think maybe God knew a thing or two about this and tried to warn us. In the Bible Exodus 23:12 says:

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Living Life With An Open Hand (Part II): How to Properly Control Money

In the post Giving to the Needy, we saw how God wants us to relate to those who may be less fortunate. We saw from Deuteronomy 15:7-10 that God commands we give to them. Our hearts should be sensitive to their need and we should give freely, generously and cheerfully.

The main point of these verses is that in our relationship with the poor we should not forget to give to them. But I can’t help but feel there is something deeper here that speaks to an internal attitude that has the potential to cripple our ability to truly prosper and be blessed. It’s found in the phrase “open your hand.”

I have a little exercise for you.

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Living Life With an Open Hand (Part I): Giving to the Needy

We live in a socioeconomic divided world. There are the “haves”, the “have-nots” and the “have-in-betweens.” Your status, in regards to wealth, can determine how much influence you have, how much access you have to important people, and how many things you can buy for yourself. It is a measure of your success, power and importance. You are somebody if you have money, and you are nobody if you have none. At least that is how most of the world sees it.

So we have this financial asset disparity present in our world, yet we all, rich and poor alike, have to share the same space. We only have one earth. With that being the case, unless NASA (or Sir Richard Branson) decides to start a colony on the moon where only the rich will be able to afford the space ride, we are stuck with one another. That means we will have to figure out how to coexist peaceably, figure out how to treat one another, and figure out what our responsibilities are to those who have more or less than we do. And we already have seen how hard relationships can be. 

The Bible’s Take on Giving to the Needy

The Bible weighs in often on how the rich should treat the poor. Perhaps no verse better sums it up than Deuteronomy 15:7-10 which reads:

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Why to Develop a Strategic Plan

It has been a tough summer in many parts of the Midwest as crops have suffered due to the lack of rain. Drought conditions reduce crop yields, lessen the food supply and can put a farmers entire livelihood in jeopardy. In some countries, a severe drought can lead to famine as crops completely disappear over an extended period of years.

These type of conditions are very difficult for a farmer to plan for because they never know when one might occur. One person from history, however, did get a heads-up about a drought/famine and, because of his foreknowledge of the event, he quite possibly enacted the greatest crisis management plan the world has ever known.

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God’s Provision (Part II): Our Attitude Plays a Role

We saw in part one how God provided for Elijah during a terrible drought in Israel. I Kings 17:6 tells us that ravens brought him bread and meat each day and he drank water from the brook.  Everything was going fine for him, that is until the brook dried up because of the drought. “What now God?” Elijah is surely thinking. “How will I survive without water?”

God wasn’t through showing his miraculous powers to Elijah. No more water…no problem for God. He next instructs Elijah to go to the city Zarephath. When Elijah arrives at the city gate, he meets a woman gathering sticks. This is their interaction in verses 10-13:

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God’s Provision (Part I): “You’re Feeding Me How?”

“I’m starving,” the little girl said as she walked into the kitchen after school. It would be another hour before dinner was ready and the thought of going that long without something to eat was too much for her. “Please daddy,” she pleaded…“just a little something, I feel like I’m going to die!”

The father knowing how overdramatic his 8-yr. old daughter was being, thought about launching into a discussion about what “starving” truly meant. Or maybe he could explain the intricacies of the human body and how God had designed it to go on for days without needing food, only water. Or maybe just a “No!” would do.

Then he looked at his daughter, with those cute curls and big eyes looking up at him.

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For the Love of Money

“Money money money money, MONEY!”

“Some people got to have it…Hey, Hey, Hey – some people really need it…Hey, listen to me, y’all do thangs, do thangs, do thangs – bad thangs with it

Well, you wanna do thangs, do thangs, do thangs – good thangs with it…talkin’ about cash money, money…Talkin’ bout cash money – dollar bills y’all…”

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Do You Want to be Debt Free?

Breaking the chains of debt is key to gaining financial freedom.

Where do you stand on the concept of debt?

It is huge issue in our culture today with proponents pushing both sides of the debate. And probably no Biblical issue about money has been more widely and passionately discussed than this one. We can all find justification for our particular position from the pages of the Bible or from just an everyday practical, money management standpoint.

So, the purpose of this post today is not to expound on and discuss the virtues or vices of debt. We will have plenty of time to do that at a later juncture. Rather it is to help us understand this one irrefutable core concept from Scripture…

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