Does the End Justify the Means?

I’ve read my fair share of financial books but there are a couple which really stick out in my mind as having a major impact on my outlook. One of these is Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.

There are many things I have been able to take away from this book which have challenged my thinking. The greatest challenge however is Kiyosaki’s idea of “good” debt and “bad” debt. Kiyosaki believes that you should leverage other people’s money to make money for yourself. How you leverage other people’s money is by borrowing from them, another way to say you have to go into debt. Although I understand his outlook and it does make sense to me I really had to stop and match up this concept with concepts from the Bible.

The logic behind leveraging debt makes sense. If you buy an apartment complex with borrowed money from the bank and turn a profit on that regularly, a profit that more than pays for the monthly payment you now have to the bank, then this processes will gain you money in the short term and probably in the long term. Mathematically it’s sound.

Another example is leveraging 0% offers to make money. It is argued that you should take 0% offers on credit cards or other debt opportunities because this can also make mathematical sense. If you have $2,000 on a credit card with 0% interest it would make more sense to put $2,000 in an interest bearing account than to pay off that $2,000 credit card.

I tend to be a very logical person who likes to run the numbers on everything. I think that’s why it was so hard for me to see the truth in this instance. The truth is, the end doesn’t justify the means. Just because going into debt could earn you more money or because it makes mathematical sense when you run the numbers, doesn’t make it right. This was, and sometimes still is, a very hard concept for me to grasp.

God is very clear about his stance on debt in the bible, just check it out for yourself (Romans 13:8, Proverbs 22:7). Although it never says going into debt is a sin, it makes a very clear case for why you don’t want to do it. It doesn’t make any concession for debt that makes you money or for debt that doesn’t have an interest rate.

The really tricky part in all of this is truly applying it to my life. What does that mean about buying a house? It can’t possibly mean that you shouldn’t buy a house until you can pay for it 100%…. right? Well, from reading what the bible says, I have to conclude that’s exactly what it means. The same thing goes for buying cars or furniture or education.

As you know by now, if you’ve been reading this blog, I do have debt. So I have not followed what the Bible has to say on this. To be honest with you, even now knowing what the Bible has to say I don’t think I would follow it when it comes to the house. The truth is I’m impatient and don’t want to wait the 5 or 10 years it would take to save up that kind of money. It’s harsh reality but I have to be honest with myself.

I’ll just leave it as something I’m working on. I’m not perfect yet. I hope to not get into debt again, now that my choices are made. I will work hard on getting out.