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Jeremy Crooks

Jeremy grew up in Sydney Australia. He has tertiary qualifications in business, training, and Bible. With experience in both church ministry and corporate human resources, Jeremy has a strong interest in how faith is demonstrated in our homes and workplaces. You can contact Jeremy at jeremy@teaminfocus.com.au.

17 Comments

  1. avatar

    Elizabeth

    Good post.

    I just read through Deuteronomy 15 about the cancelling of debts at the end of 7 years.

    Perhaps there is a good principle to be found in this chapter about loan periods?

    I recently got out of debt (mortgage)and it is the most liberating thing ever. My current rent is actually MORE than what my mortgage repayments were, but I feel LESS in bondage now than when I had the loan.

    Funny that.

    Credit cards are evil (I have one so I can say this :D ) and I hope they die.

    Home loans in Australia are scary, given the housing bubble. You could end up in financial ruin by borrowing for a home if the market drops significantly (which it has recently).

    Yep.

    Reply
  2. avatar

    Jeremy Crooks

    Thanks Elizabeth,

    I have had both a mortgage and been mortgage free. It is amazing the difference in thought patterns and time allegiances when one is in debt verses not being in debt. I wonder how much our indebtiness is affecting our ability to fulfil the great commission?

    Reply
  3. avatar

    Steve

    Some good thoughts there. I think as Christians we have to be wise stewards of our finances, and that includes managing our debts wisely. For me that has meant paying off and getting rid of the credit card, which is a big temptation for most people. A debit card is a much better alternative.
    Living within your means is a good standard, and that means not borrowing too much, mortgage included. I think having a buffer zone in case interest rates move up is a good precaution. That may mean buying a smaller house than you originally wanted, or in a less desirable location.
    Personally, I don’t think getting a loan for a car is a good idea but if you can afford it, that’s fine.

    I think renting and paying more rent than you would mortgage repayments doesn’t make sense but if that somehow reduces your stress level, then that’s great.

    Not sure I can do anything to extract myself from the “debt bomb” in a global sense, apart from dying or being raptured. Just have to trust God in the end and not be anxious but instead pray.

    Reply
  4. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Some important issues raised here, though I’m significantly more optimistic than you are about debt in general. Corporate debt is an important mechanism for maximising returns for investors who are willing to take more risks while at the same time providing steady returns for investors unwilling to take such risks. In other words, the debt system allows the overall market to be far more efficient. If we didn’t have the system in place, many resources would sit idle and society would be poorer for it.

    That said, I think you’re spot on that individuals must be wise. An important distinction to make in regards to debt is the nature of the asset. A depreciating asset such as a car or consumer items is rarely, if ever, an appropriate use of debt. Debt backed by an appreciating item is more appropriate, though Steve’s comment about keeping a larger gap is really good. We’ve got to buy less house than we can afford. But also, now that the mortgage market is becoming a speculative concern, we can’t necessarily assume that a house is always an appreciating asset any more.

    And then there are credit cards…

    Reply
  5. avatar

    Jeremy

    In regards to personal debt, I am interested in people’s thoughts of going into debt for an education. In years gone by, a bachelor degree was an item that was an asset that ‘guaranteed higher earns’ over one’s career. However, recent surveys indicate that VET sector graduates earn o average over $4,000 per annum more than those who graduate from university. Can debt be justified (HECS or otherwise) for an education?

    Reply
  6. avatar

    Jason Harris

    The Economist, World Debt

    I thought this link was quite interesting considering your topic here. I’m not sure how they manage to have Australia in the highest debt category while we were in surplus a while back, but interesting nonetheless.

    Reply
  7. avatar

    Jeremy Crooks

    That is interesting. We were in surplus in 2007 and now have nearly $400,000,000,000 (billion in public debt) It show how much we as a country have been living beyond our means over the last 5 years.

    Reply
  8. avatar

    PJ

    @ Jeremy. No! It shows that our economy has been exceptionally well managed over the last five years.

    Imagine how high unemployment might have been during and post the GFC if the government had not borrowed to stimulate demand in the economy. Imagine how many people would’ve gone on the dole and been an even greater drag on the nation’s finances. Imagine what a mess we’d been if the economy had been allowed to contract rather than maintain some meagre growth.

    Its macro-economics 101 – you borrow and spend when things go bad, you save and pay down the debt when things are good.

    Australia has one of the lowest public debt to GDP rations in the world, our unemployment rate is almost without comparison in the developed world.

    I’m thankful we are not governed by those Tea Party/Hard Right/Economic Conservatives we see in the US. Their brand of economics is heartless and fallacious.

    (Thus endeth the rant.)

    Reply
  9. avatar

    Jason Harris

    I agree PJ. If there is a complaint to be made with the fiscal policy of the past five years, it would have to be about the efficiency of the stimulus and the forms it took, not the stimulus itself.

    I’m no fan of Swan’s politics, but I have to admit I felt a sense of pride and gratitude the other day when he was commenting on the 21 consecutive years of growth in our economy. That is a stunning record and places a very real responsibility on us in terms of funding the spread of the gospel.

    Reply
  10. avatar

    Jeremy Crooks

    @ PJ, I enjoyed your rant, even though I disagree with some of it :)

    Just to add some facts to the discussion.

    As someone who has lived in the US for 10 years, I know many Tea Party Americans. They are not heartless or fallacious. We must be careful to not automatically believe the picture of the US that the Australian media paints.

    You said, ‘Its macro-economics 101 – you borrow and spend when things go bad, you save and pay down the debt when things are good.’ To a degree there is some validity to that economic theory. However, the application of that principle has not happened in 2010 – 2012. There was bi-partisan support for a stimulus immediately after the 2008 GFC (of between $50-$100B). The trouble is that since we officially avoided recession in 2009, we have had record terms of trade from the mining boom, yet we have accelerated our demise into committed debt (to the turn of nearly another $300B) in the last 3 years alone.

    Also, as Jason said, the use of stimulus is critical. Most of it went on plasma TVs, rather than productivity enhancing capital like roads and rail that could be used by us and future generations. I believe the need for a post-GFC stimulus was an excuse to gratify our flesh and indulge our selfishness.

    Last week the Australian Financial review found another $120B debt black hole in the budget. That will obliterate the forecast surplus of $1.5B. Last week alone, we had another $20B of unfunded announcements in relation to dental and education programs. I have no issue with supporting education and teeth, but the issue is who are we enslaving ourselves to in order to ‘fund’ these great programs.

    @ PJ, I really do appreciate your genuine heart of compassion. I often agree with your views on the pitfalls of capitalism and democracy, etc. I can honestly say that many fiscal conservatives also have hearts of compassion too.

    @ Jason: I would be interested to hear how you practically see the responsibility of financial good terms relating to funding the gospel. I agree about the responsibility, but I want our financial good terms to be sustainable, so we can spread the gospel over the long run.

    Reply
  11. avatar

    Jason Harris

    @Jeremey, Yeah, I think it’s just a general principle… for instance, inflation has been reasonable. That should free us up to invest a few more dollars a week per person in ministry (supporting the needy, supporting our local church, supporting mission projects, etc.). Or when the government hands out lump sums as they have been wont to do of late, at the very least, we can be giving a tithe of that toward ministry. Better yet, we can be giving generously. There are no shortage of opportunities to fund the spread of the gospel (local and global mission, the Gideons, giving scholarships to Christian camps and colleges, taking time off to evangelise personally, keeping an eye out on facebook/twitter/linkedin for needs and opportunities [like this one]).

    If individual believers are taking these sorts of steps to give out of our abundance, we should see an aggregate increase in resources available for the spread of the gospel.

    I agree though that this is no commentary on the fiscal policies of a particular government. In other words, just because it has led to current prosperity doesn’t mean it is wise or sustainable. It just means we should make hay while the sun shines. =)

    Reply
  12. avatar

    Alen

    I earn less than the Australian average yet I am not in debt (though I am making payments towards things, I could pay everything off right now if required) and I have a lot of luxuries. Several computers, large LCD TV, an Apple laptop, a recent model car and a host of other things that I have bought, not to mention the things I have bought for my parents and friends and family. At no point in the last 5 years of my life had I to check to see if I could buy something. Essentially, I am rich whilst I am poor.

    I currently use repayment options not because I absolutely require to, but because it just makes life easier. For example, I could’ve paid for my car outright, but had something gone wrong early on I would struggle to pay for fixing it and the same goes for my HELP debt too.

    I have always lived by the rule of not buying anything unless I had the physical money to do it right then and there and it’s served me well thus far. Anyone who is rushing to their credit cards or to get loans to pay for things should probably rethink things. Especially if everything in their house is either being paid off or rented.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jeremy Crooks

      Those are good principles Alen

  13. Pingback: Education is not Wisdom » InFocus

  14. avatar

    scott

    isn’t lying against god’s wishes? Australia’s $200B debt? Try $15B. But don’t let facts get in the way of a good story.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/100272556/Australia_Current_Account_Deficit_Widens_Rate_Cut_Near

    Reply
  15. avatar

    Jeremy

    Scott. There is a difference between an annual deficit and total net debt. The link in your article is talking about $15B net deficit year to date. The total government debt accumulated over the last 5 years is close to $200B. Sorry to let the facts get in the way.

    Reply

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