A recent article in Time magazine reported that in the second quarter of this year 29% of new car loans were for 8 years. Due to the way cars depreciate, that means that five years from now tens of thousands of people will be driving cars that are worth significantly less than the loans they have on those cars.
While there have always been a few people with bad credit who bought cars using shaky financing, this new wave of auto debt is fueled by people with good credit who just want more car than they can afford. And they are willing to pay for it, even though there is no good logical reason for them to do so.
One might argue that a family needs a good car, but no one can logically argue that they need one so expensive that they must take out an 8 year loan to pay for a car that in five years will have very little value left. It's financial suicide, yet, it is also becoming extremely common.
This is propelled by our society's desire to have more, even when we can't afford it. This is the age old monster of greed raising up in a new reincarnation. It is greedy for financiers to offer these loans. It is greedy for car dealers to suggest them. It is greedy for consumers to buy cars using them. Five years from now when those cars are worth a lot less and the loan still has three more years on it, there will be plenty of blame to go around. But the deal will be done and the damage will be done.
Those of us who are Christians need to take seriously the Lord's words about debt. He spoke through the Apostle Paul to tell us to "not owe anyone anything, except to love on another." Christians who engage in debt driven accumulation of material items will have less resources to demonstrate love tangibly to those in need. If we hope to fulfil the law of Christ, we must resist our culture's desire to have what we cannot afford. We can choose to save longer and only buy what we can afford. We can choose to buy something less expensive. The choices we make about these things says a lot more about our faith than we may realize. Let us make sure our financial choices are proclaiming Christ's love to those around us.
Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at: