Broker Check


In Texas, they don’t like fakes. Where wealth is measured by livestock and ranch land, people tend not to hold back when they speak. Here’s how a Texan describes a man living a flashy lifestyle with no real wealth:

“Big hat, no cattle.”

Randy Newman sang a song by the same title. The lyrics describe the deception: “Since I was a child, I’ve tried to be what I’m not, I’ve lied and enjoyed it all my life…threw my head back and lied, lied, lied. Big hat, no cattle.” While the words seem harsh, the problem today is serious.

The Federal Reserve’s statistics on the status of consumer borrowing are frightening. Between 1980 and 2001, total consumer debt (not including real estate loans) grew nearly five times in size. In 2012, total consumer debt in America reached $11.34 trillion! 1

The Bible speaks to the problem in Proverbs 13:7:

“There is one who pretends to be rich, but has nothing.”

Scripture does not prohibit borrowing, but gives clear guidelines. Borrowing is not designed to be the normal, everyday way to operate. God expects us to repay valid debts, regardless of what bankruptcy laws allow. We are warned that borrowers become slaves to lenders. Some not only borrow, they borrow in excess.

For many Americans, there are three lifestyle levels. The first is the level that you can afford. This is where you “act your wage” and live within your means. The second is your current lifestyle. Unfortunately for many, at this level, you are financing an affluent lifestyle with debt. As if this isn’t dangerous enough, there is a third level. This level is your desired lifestyle. Your desired lifestyle is encouraged by advertisers who tell you that what you have now is not good enough.

The stress and anxiety caused by a heavy debt load is not the main problem, however. When we strive for more and more stuff, our focus is in the wrong place. We may seem rich with material goods, but we are spiritually poor. Our relationship with the Lord falls short and we suffer eternal consequences. With God, there is no pretending.

1 Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Household Debt and Credit Report 2012 Q4.

The views are those of Bruce Olmstead and not those of Summit Brokerage Services. Investments in securities do not offer a fix rate of return. Principal, yield and/or share price will fluctuate with changes in market conditions and, when sold or redeemed, you may receive more or less than originally invested.  No system or financial planning strategy can guarantee future results