Proper Education

As the race for the 2016 presidency gets closer, the debates between the candidates are getting more aggressive in their attempts to capture the votes among the citizens.  Specific questions are being asked as to what they can accomplish once they take office to solve the problems that this country is faced with.

One particular question is how they would tackle the national debt and financial situation plaguing this nation.  We have heard some answers from certain candidates about how they plan on solving this problem, as well as vague ideas that may seem farfetched, which could in all likelihood impact the rest of the world. Ideas of lowering taxes and bringing jobs back from overseas alone will not solve the debt crisis.  The idea of perhaps wiping out the national debt completely by simply not paying what is owed, as has been done in the past, could very well have detrimental effects this time from the rest of the world, as we point out as part of our comments in our update 724 as to how Donald Trump would possibly solve the national debt.  (See also our StandingWatch program, “Trump Shocks Europe.”).

The problem however has been years in the making.  Throughout history, America has struggled with debt and as one candidate recently pointed out, and rightly so, this country has a “saving problem” and this unfortunately stems all the way back to grade school.

CNBC published an article in January 2016 entitled, “US Schools Get Failing Grade for Financial Literacy Education.” Out of the 50 states, only 20 states currently mandate that high school students take economics, according to the Council for Economic Education, and only 17 of those states require high school students to take a course in personal finance.  Those who are required to take personal finance courses have better average credit scores and lower debt delinquency rates as young adults, according to data recently released.  Being properly trained and educated is the key.  Many at a young age lack basic personal finance skills because they haven’t received the proper education at home which in turn sets them up for failure in the years immediately following high school graduation.

The article points out that “a 2012 study of nearly 30,000 teenagers from 18 countries found more than 1 in 6 students in the U.S. failed to reach the baseline level of proficiency in financial literacy.  Overall, American students fall in the middle of the pack globally.  Financial education classes offered in the K–12 [kindergarten through high school] setting don’t delve into complex concepts… Instead, they teach students practical life skills, like how to balance a checkbook, the effect of interest rates and how investments can benefit from compounded growth. To be successful, most kids don’t need to learn about collateralized debt instruments, but they do need to know how to open a bank account, how much they need to save each month to reach their goals and, if they borrow this amount of money, how much money they will need to earn to pay it back.”

This common sense thinking of how to save money from an early age could have lasting results in the future, which this country has failed to do.  Instead, they spend and borrow, borrow and spend, and the cycle repeats itself, which is why the national debt continues to increase even at this very moment you are reading this editorial.  Proverbs 21:5 states that “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.”  Also Proverbs 21:20 states (Authorized Version): “There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.”  The Ryrie Study Bible comments: “The wise man plans and saves for the future, but the foolish person squanders what he has.”

Applying the principle of the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 when it comes to saving is very beneficial and could also have life-long benefits.  One of the ways that God provides for us is through money and it is our duty to manage that money well.  Just imagine if this nation had utilized this way of thinking from the beginning instead of letting it get out of hand as we see today.  Saving money demonstrates good stewardship of the resources God gives us and we are accountable to God how we use everything He gives us in this life, including money.  It’s also vital in that saving allows us to be better prepared for the future, which is obviously a good thing.  Even in nature, this principle is expressed in Proverbs 6:6-8, “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.”

Brian Gale stated in his editorial in update 722, “… had these biblical admonitions been implemented with children from a very early age, we would have a very different society today, but the basics have been missing.   It is because man thinks he knows better than God, we have the problems that we have today.”  This is why it is important to be properly trained and educated by also applying biblical principles in our lives.  Properly saving money makes it easier to accomplish goals and become more effective. Applying basic principles set forth in the Bible for our admonition should give us an advantage on how we can utilize the importance of planning ahead – a stark contrast to this nation’s current situation.

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