Graduation is less than six weeks away, and up until last week, I had been putting off planning for the future. With a new degree comes a new stage of life, and I wasn’t sure I was ready for that. I felt like if I simply didn’t think about the future, I would be able to avoid it. The responsibilities of being a “grown up” would not impact me if I could simply ignore them long enough. “Ignorance is bliss,” right? Unfortunately, this is not the case. Avoiding difficult topics only makes them harder to handle when they become unavoidable.
This familiar phrase “ignorance is bliss,” is flawed. This idea may work for a little while or may work when we are children and have our parents to protect us and make our decisions. To our own chagrin, as adults, ignorance can be dangerous. Not learning about the facts of life can come back to haunt you. This concept is important to grasp in every aspect of life, but especially in our finances. For example, if you ignore your bills and student loans, that does not mean they do not exist. You will eventually begin to receive letters and phone calls asking for the money. The original amount that was due will increase exponentially due to late fees and interest. In time, your credit will be destroyed, which can impact several aspects of your life including housing and employment. This is an extreme example, however this attitude is one that starts at a young age and can be hard to break. I have heard many students claim that they do not want to face the realities of financial topics such as student loans and expenses after college because it is overwhelming and easier to simply put off at this point in their lives. Some students do not feel that finances are a priority right now since they do not have a current source of income. While a student may lack a bi-weekly paycheck, it is important to realize that nothing in life is free. The money for classes, lodging, books, and food must come from somewhere. Understanding this is critical so that after graduation, you do not break down when faced with financial obligations.
There are two imperative things to do when the realities of the world are bearing down on you. The first is to trust in God. All throughout the Bible, God tells us that He will protect us and give us peace even in the most devastating times. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Even though we are bound to face trials of this world, God has already overcome the world and he is bigger than anything we will face in our lives. He never leaves us to confront problems on our own. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). When we give our struggles to the Lord, he gives us comfort and peace that he will carry us through. “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22). If you are finding yourself overwhelmed with a financial dilemma or problematic life-situation, give it to God and have faith that He will help you through it.
The second thing to do if you are struggling to come to grips with the realities of the world is to keep yourself informed. Ignorance is our enemy when it comes to responsibilities. If we are well prepared for expenses and know what to expect from our finances and life situations, we can handle them with ease and preparedness. It’s the unexpected issues that have the potential to impact us the most. While it is impossible to prepare for everything that can go wrong, it is important to be prepared for the things that we can control and gain knowledge on the things in life that we are bound to come into contact with at some point.
Ignorance is only effective for those who are not responsible for their own actions. Don’t attempt to put off the future, because the future will eventually catch up to you regardless of whether you are ready for it or not. If you would like to take on the future by equipping yourself with God’s peace and financial preparedness, contact me.