As 2013 came to a close, I reflected on the previous year.  I am exceedingly grateful for so many blessings, one of my greatest being an opportunity to serve my community in a meaningful way.

As much as I love what I do, this past number of months has been troubling to me. As you may know, for the past 12 years I have been diligently working to spread the news about the strategies, benefits and even the necessity of becoming debt free. Sadly, it is evident that we are losing the battle.

Over the past year I have noticed a trend in the age, desperation and debt load of those attending the Financial Fitness Seminars.  The average age of the participants is increasing, they are becoming more desperate realizing that retirement is around the corner and they have no means of managing on reduced income and their debt load is climbing.

There are people sitting on either side of us in church, living in a cone of silence and denial. Their experience is not one of victory but one of defeat, feeling more like the tail instead of the head. It may in fact, be you.

No one wants a doom and gloom message and I do not want to be a fear monger. Truth is, trouble coming.  Is anybody listening? In spite of all the warnings of world economic crisis, US debt meltdown, government warnings,   people are still borrowing and spending at an alarming rate oblivious to the risks and costs.

So, what are you doing about it?  Do you have a plan? Have you eliminated the use of your credit cards and lines of credit?  Is your debt load lower than it was this time last year? If you have it under control, are you helping those around you that aren’t?

In 2014, I implore you to have a plan to eliminate consumer debt in your home and family. Join a financial small group study such as Compass, attend a Financial Fitness Seminar, buy a Dave Ramsey book and implement.  If you can’t do it on your own (and if you are honest with yourself 95% of you know that you can’t) reach out for some help. If you are going to use a consolidation product, work with a coach to ensure the debt doesn’t come back and become a bigger problem. The Financial Fitness Seminars are done on a regular basis at no cost to the participants. Tell people you care about, bring them and get your young adults to join you.  Do something!

If you are ready to get serious about your financial fitness, there are resources to help you. Make it a priority today, waiting until it gets better is just another form of denial. The longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes.

I pray that 2014 is remembered as the year of freedom for you and those you love.

Lynn Fraser