Conquering Debt

credit-squeeze-522549_1280 (1)By Marcia Shetler

It’s been almost 80 years since the Disney movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs made its first appearance on the silver screen. The grandparents of many young adults might have been their age when they first saw it. The song of the Seven Dwarfs has had staying power and is familiar to every generation that has seen the movie since its first release: Heigh ho, Heigh ho, it’s off to work we go (I know, now you’re singing it in your head).

Sometime between 1938 and today, a marketer had the brilliant idea to tweak Doc’s, Grumpy’s, and Bashful’s et al. words. We hummed to new lyrics as we saw cars on the highway sporting bumper stickers and license plates that said, “I owe, I owe, it’s off to work I go.” Maybe you still see them now and then: they’re still for sale.

Unfortunately, in North America there is truth to those new lyrics, and debt is a part of everyday life for most of us. According to the investment website The Motley Fool, the average amount of debt for US households in 2015 was calculated at $90,000 including households without debt, and a $130,000 average when debtless households are removed. In Canada, the Globe and Mail reported statistics a bit differently, saying that at the end of last year Canadian households held more than $1.65 in debt for every dollar of disposable income. Either way, you get the idea: conquering debt is difficult for many North Americans. Millennials face a perfect storm of challenges: lower entry-level salaries and benefits, never-before-seen levels of student debt, and a conditioned consumer palate that makes it difficult to do without.

black-and-white-1498213_1280Putting a C-clamp on your wallet, though, isn’t really a practical solution. But this month, this blog and other COMPASS resources can start you on the right path to conquering your debt. Each week new articles here on the COMPASS blog will provide practical ideas, personal reflections, and spiritual connections to faith, finances, and conquering debt. Follow our Twitter feed and join us on Facebook all month long for great curated content on the topic. And learn about resources on the COMPASS web page that you can use for further in-depth study.

Finally, join us in a Live Chat with Darryl Dahlheimer, Program Director for LSS Financial Counseling, for “Conquering Your Debt: the Overlooked Key to Faith and Finances” on Wednesday, September 28 at 8 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Central, 6 p.m. Mountain, 5 p.m. Pacific. Debt stress is the #1 identified financial problem for many families, but few know about the special resources to help get debt-free faster. Debt repayment is one area where “do it yourself” can lead to a dead end; trustworthy help is available. This Live Chat will share specific resources for each type of debt, including Debt Management Plans (DMPs) for credit card debt, available at nonprofit certified agencies, and income-based repayment and forgiveness options for student loan debt. Get free of debt faster, while building a good credit score, and avoiding heavily advertised “help scams” such as debt settlement and refinance schemes. It’s free! Register today at People of all ages are welcome!

The COMPASS Steering Committee and I look forward to journeying with you this month as we meet each other on Facebook, Twitter, and at our Live Chat, to gain new insights into Conquering Debt!

About the Author
marcia shetlerMarcia Shetler became the Executive Director/CEO of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center in March 2011. She holds an MA in philanthropy and development from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, a BS in business administration from Indiana Wesleyan University, and a Bible Certificate from Eastern Mennonite University. She formerly served as administrative staff in two middle judicatories of the Church of the Brethren, and as director of communications and public relations for Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Indiana, an administrative faculty position. Marcia’s vocational, spiritual, and family experiences have shaped her vision and passion for faithful stewardship ministry that recognizes and celebrates the diversity of Christ’s church and the common call to all disciples to the sacred practice of stewardship. She enjoys connecting, inspiring, and equipping Christian steward leaders to transform church communities.

This blog is a component of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center’s COMPASS initiative to engage young adults in conversations about faith and finances. Like what you see and want to know/do more? Visit the COMPASS web page and join the COMPASS community on Facebook.

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